John Benn’s House (Circa 1864) — No Comments

  1. Hi Craig, Good to see you on here. Brings back such happy memories of my mum, Peggy and Maureen in Kenilworth. Are you Mary Anne’s son? I am compiling a family tree for my kids and if you send me a message by email – or facebook – I can give you access to it. I keep making interesting discoveries. The latest is that my grandfather, Conning Benn was named after his Aunt Charlottes husband whose name was Thomas Conning (they stayed in England) Do give my love to your grandmother. my email is

    • I am still looking for information on the Annie Benn Cottage in Hoekwil where I am staying at the moment.
      Could this Mary Anne possibly be the lead I am looking for?

  2. Hi Philip and everyone else contributing. I am so excited about stumbling upon this blog.
    I am visiting with my grandmother, Maureen Grobler(born Benn). She is the eldest daughter of Douglas Benn, second youngest son of John Benn.
    I am fascinated with our history and am very keen to chat to anyone who can help me piece together the family tree.
    I am coming to Knysna in April and would love to connect
    ( Elisabeth, it’s so funny, I used to play in Aunty Orethy and Una’s house in Kenilworth as a young boy when I lived with my Gran)

    • Hi Craig
      I would love to communicate with you, I have an extensive data base for the Benn families in South Africa. By the way Douglas was not the youngest, Frederick Wesley was.

  3. Hello Anre and Annetie,

    Good to make your acquaintance!

    We recently had a visitor from England who has been researching the Benn family for many years. He has quite a bit of information on the Knysna Benn’s.
    He has an impressive genealogical datebase with 1000’s of ‘Benn family’ names but like me probably isn’t into blogging.

    If you would care to e-mail me your details and your request on to me I will see that he gets it onto him and he can make a call on whether to pursue this directly with you.
    Kind regards, Philip Caveney of the Knysna Historical Society

    PS I would also be be very interested in any information that you have on 10 Agnar Street for our Archival Records.
    Philip 079 260 4159 or 044 382 4159

  4. I have been living in what is known as “The John Benn” house for the past 8yrs..which is situated on the corner of High Str and Lake View Road.
    The owner of the house,Elna Brown…says that her late,husband Trevor was part of the Benn family…..His mom Joyce,was murdered in this house approximately 20yrs ago.
    There are still many antique pieces of furniture in the house.
    There was a hippie called “dirty Annie” who rented the house during the 80’s,and had to be forcefully removed,due to the fact that she refused to move out.

  5. Hi everyone

    I would like to know if anyone knows who is currently staying in Mrs Annie Benn’s house in Knysna?

    She stayed in 10 Angar rd Knysna

    She lived there with her daugther Violet Mileham(Benn) and her husband George Mileham (Ex town clerk of Knysna)

    I’ve got some documents of the house (Deed papers since 1917)

    Their son George Edgar Mile passed away about 3 years ago and i was friends with him and these belongings came into my hands

    I’ve also got old Bibles, Hymn books and recipy books that belonged to Annie Benn and her daughter Also a couple of old photos of Mrs Annie Benn and family Not sure who all of them are!

    If anyone knows more and would like to give some insight please email me


    • Hi, Anre. Thanks for dropping in.

      I can’t even think where Angar Road is. I’ll send this link to Philip at the Historical Society. He’s likely to be more educated than me.

    • Hi Anre, Violet was the daughter of Donald Henry Walter Benn and Annie Catherine Beckett Sass, she also had a sister Hazel Pearl Benn. I would love tho have some copies of the photos that you have. I am busy with the Benn family tree, the first John Benn was the elder brother of my gggrandfather William that stayed in George. I have an extensive family tree on My Heritage and are still busy getting more information on the Benn family that came to South Africa. Love to hear from you.
      Annatjie van Breda (Benn)

  6. Hi Careen
    Annie may be my gran/great gran. I have 2 books & old newspaper cuttings at home (Clarens) which might have the info you are looking for. When I return to Clarens (end Sept?) I will contact you.

    • Hello Stella
      This is wonderful news! Thank you for your response.

      I would so much like to hear from you when you get back to Clarens. Maybe your information/newspaper clippings will throw light on the questions that I have regarding the
      Annie Benn Cottage in Hoekwil.

      My telephone (cell) number is 082 569 6200.

      Regards and thank you once again

  7. Hi Mike

    I just happened to see this whilst browsing the BENN FAMILY OF KNYSNA articles.

    I am the daughter of Donald Wedgewood Benn of Knysna. My father was the “baby” in the family. He was the youngest of 13 children but unfortunately he passed away in November 2002. Because the Benn family was such a big family (after all my Dad being one of 13 children) the family as very spread out throughout the country and I did not have the priviledge of meeting many of my Dads brothers and sisters.

    Just wanted to share this with you – if anybody wants to perhaps drop me a line ?

    Kin regards
    Michelle Joubert

    • If you page through the History articles, you’ll find contact details for the Historical Society. Maybe they can point you in a direction. 13 – wow!

    • Hi Michelle,
      I just happened to see your posting. Is Donald Wedgewood Benn one of John Benn’s sons. I know there was a Donald but did not know if he had a second name. My grandfather was Conning Benn. I’m compiling our family histories for our children and have gone back to Wiilliam Benn b. 1750, father of John Benn b. 1786 in Deptford, father of John Benn 1 who went out to South Africa. I’m trying to find out more about their lives in Deptford before they went out. There were about 4 generations of caulkers in the Royal Navy. Then around 1830-50 2 brothers went out and also at least one cousin. I’m in england now but grew up in South Africa and we went to Knysna to my grandparents every summer holiday so have very happy memories of the Heads

    • Hi Michelle
      I am busy with the family tree of all the Benn familie that came to SA, that include John Benn who stayed in Knysna, his younger brother William who stayed in George and their cousins that stayed in Oudshoorn and Grahamstown.
      I still have missing links with the Knysna Benn and would like to here from you

      • My father was Wesley Benn and my mother Leila (nee Moorcroft). I am Stella Rowbotham nee Benn, now 83! My grandfather was John Benn II. Peggy Benn was my late sister. Today I made contact with Memory Benn! now 88 who was married to Aylan. She is the daughter of one of my father’s many brothers, William. Her late sister was Merle Benn who was married to Ruben, Aylan’s brother. Also Benns. I live in Clarens but am in East London, South Africa, visiting my daughter. I have more info if you are interested.

        • Hello Stella

          I have been looking to find any information on a certain Annie Benn who once lived in the Annie Benn Cottage in Hoekwil. (We estimate the cottage to be approximately 100 year old!) I am presently living in that cottage and would eagerly receive any information that could help me to trace the origins.
          Kind regards

        • Hallo Stella
          I would love to talk on email with you, I still have missing links in your family, my father is now 92 years and he is the descendant of William Benn the brother of John Benn who first came to Knysna.
          Greetings Annatjie van Breda (Benn)

    • Hi Michelle, I almost accidentally came across your posting. I am busy writing a book on our family history (Cowley) from England to the Southern Cape and beyond. If my detail is correct, your mother was a Cowley (Valerie Clarice) and your maternal grandparents Cecil Cowley and Lilian Monk?
      If you would like to contact me, I am sure we can share information – I am at

  8. Hi Mike
    Thank you for your response – I will contact Phillip and also investigate at the museum. Do you know Andre Vercueil (architect in Knysna) He might also be able to have something on Annie Benn Cottage in Hoekwil, which I am renting presently.

  9. I need info on Annie Benn who apparently was a fisherwoman and had built a cottage in Hoekwil. Can you assist

    • Morning, Careen. Philip at the Knysna Historical Society will hopefully be able to point you in the right direction – caveney1 at Have you tried the museum?

    • Hi Careen
      The Annie Benn that stayed in Hoekwil was Annie Catherine Beckett Sass Bennborn 1876, she was the oldest daughter of Jessie Smith Benn and Andrew Christopher Sass, she married Donald Henry Walter Benn born 1871. the 2nd oldest son of the John Benn II who was married to Louisa Matilda Compton. My father told me about her, he grew up in Hoekwil and Wilderness Heights and is 92 now. Hope this will help you.
      Annatjie van Breda(Benn)

      • Hi Annatjie
        Thank you for this valuable information on Annie Benn Cottage, Hoekwil.
        Do you possibly know if she had built the cottage for herself to live in (or did she have a family still at the time) and did she die while living in the house. I am trying to establish how old the cottage, that I now live in, could be more or less.
        Kind regards

        • Hi Careen
          I’ll have to come back to you with that, it will only be possible when I visit my Dad, then we cango visit family in Hoekwil to find out. I am staying in Richards-bay and will probably only visit in the new year.

          • Hello Annatjie

            Thank you! I know you will let me know once you have more info on Annie Benn.

  10. Hello Mike
    Iv’e been living in the “John Benn House”….not the one in the article for 6yrs…..this house is 130yrs old.
    John Benn family must have lived in a few different houses in Knysna.
    Keep cool my friend…and al the best for 2012.
    Please see if you can find more history of the John Benn family.

    • Hi, Pierre. Best wishes to you and your music for 2012! I love the fact that Knysna has visible history and it’s been wonderful receiving contributions from the Knysna Historical Society. We’ve been aiming at buildings but i will inquire about the Benns. There is a mention if you click on the history page at the top of the site.

      • Hello Mike,
        I haven’t really had much time to study the Benn Family in depth but Margaret Parkes and Vicki Williams have documented the Pilots of Knysna (including the Benns) in Chapter Four of the book “Knysna the Forgotten Port”. I am sure there will be a copy in the Knysna Library.
        They also wrote a series of Millwood House Newsletters which are held in the Millwood House Museum. Some of these cover the Benns.
        Kind regards,