The Prance Family


1872 - 1955

    Cyril Prance was obviously a man of great character and spirit.  To have spent thirteen years as a settler toughing it out in the Veld of South Africa must have required endurance and plenty of creative talent.  From reading his books I have the impression of someone who was a keen observer of his fellow travellers and one who had the ability to communicate in such an amusing way the foibles and eccentricities of the company he kept.  He was very well read himself, a keen student of history, and his articles found their way into the Natal Mercury, the Nonquai, The Sunday Tribune, the African Observer and South African Opinion and no doubt elsewhere.  There is a certain repetition in the 'veldt' books but I thoroughly enjoy his concise style of writing.  The fact that he produced two books on the great seamen of the sixteenth century and in particular the great Admiral Sir John Hawkins could conceivably be due to the salt in the blood of the Devon Prances!  His 'Knights of the Sea' can be obtained from most libraries, certainly from Exeter, and is a 'must' for anyone interested in the extraordinary feats of seamanship and bravery of those ships and their crews that fought against the Spanish on the high seas and in the harbours.

    I do wish that we had more information about Cyril.  Someone must have photographs and more detailed information about his life so if you are reading this and can help to fill out the portrait of this interesting and remarkable man please get in touch.


                                                      Published Privately. Port st. Johns.

UNDER THE BLUE ROOF.     'Sketches of a Settler's Life in the Transvaal Backveld  1908 - 1921'
                                                     Published privately in 1923

ISLAND SEA LIONS.               'True Tales of Adventure by Sea and Land.'  Published 1925 by White
                                                      and Co.

   'A Backvelder's Scrapbook.'  Published in 1937 by WitherbyLtd.

KNIGHTS OF THE SEA.         'A Viking Family.' Published London Quality Press 1938.

THE RIDDLE OF THE VELD.   'Sketches of life, Character, and History in the Backveld of South Africa.'
                                                       Published Knox Publishing Company.  1941

A SOCIALIST SCRAP BOOK.  'Sidelights on Capitalism, Socialism and Bolshevism.'
                                                      Published by Knox Publishing Company, Durban 1945.

MIXED PICKLES,                     'Sidelights on Life's Serio Comedy.'
                                                      Published privately.  1953

ALSO.......                                    'Sidelights on Port St.Johns'

Cyril Rooke Prance headstone

                                                                    CYRIL ROOKE PRANCE

                                                                            Born April 1872
                                                                            Annesley, Notts
                                                                             Died July 1955
                                                                              Port St.Johns.

                                    TILL THE DAY BREAK AND THE SHADOWS FLEE AWAY

Gabrielle Elizabeth Massey (Prance) headstone

                                                                        Maltese Cross

                                                    GABRIELLE ELIZABETH MASSEY
                                                            Loyal and Beloved Wife of
                                                            CYRIL ROOKE PRANCE

                                                            B.1877    M.1913    D.1942
                                            "WHOSE SPEECH TRUTH KNEW NOT FROM HER THOUGHT
                                                              NOR LOVE HER BODY FROM HER SOUL"