In 1824, Thomas Baillie, a 28-year-old military officer, and his wife Elizabeth arrived in Fredericton. Born in Hanwell, England, in 1796, Baillie joined the British army at 19, served in Waterloo and Versailles, and briefly in Ireland, where he made numerous friends. With his brother’s help, he entered the Colonial Office and was appointed Commissioner of Crown Lands and Forests and Surveyor General of New Brunswick—a position of considerable authority at the time, second only to the lieutenant-governor. Although offered a consul post in Tunis, Baillie chose New Brunswick for its temperate climate and arrived with his Irish servants.
In 1825, Baillie successfully petitioned for 500 acres in the Parish of Kingsclear, which he later expanded by 200 acres. He named the settlement Hanwell, after his hometown in England. He advocated for the construction of a road from Fredericton, which became known as Hanwell Road, and acquired several islands in the St. John River, as well as land in Richibucto River and Fredericton.
As Commissioner, Baillie oversaw the regulation and taxation of the province’s timber trade. In 1829, the British government aimed to reorganize the timber industry, authorizing the sale of large amounts of Crown Land to provide homes for settlers. Baillie embraced this, generating significant revenue for the province and aiding Irish and other immigrants in settling in the area until 1846.
After serving in the New Brunswick legislature, Baillie retired to England in 1851. Hanwell grew into a farming community, with 52 families by 1866 and a population of 300 in 1871. The original land grants in the area featured the names of prominent individuals, including Baillie himself.
On May 23, 2014, Hanwell was incorporated as a rural community under the Municipalities Act.
On January 1, 2023, Hanwell annexed Upper Kingsclear and part of Island View. Covering 248.9 square kilometers in York County, Hanwell’s boundaries extend from Fredericton’s southern edges to just beyond Yoho Lake, and include Upper Kingsclear, part of Island View, Mazerolle Settlement Road on the west, and border the Village of New Maryland and the New Maryland Local Service District on the east. Access to Hanwell is provided by exits 271 and 281 on the Trans Canada Highway and Route 102.
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