Woman discovers Tongan family’s Suffolk roots

A descendant of Plowman Young, who trained as an apothecary in Norton, visited the place of work''Pictured: Hera Toutai and Dr. Michael McBrien
A descendant of Plowman Young, who trained as an apothecary in Norton, visited the place of work''Pictured: Hera Toutai and Dr. Michael McBrien

A woman who has spent years tracing her Tongan husband’s ancestry has discovered a facinating link to a Norton apothecary.

Hera Toutai, who lives with her husband Henele in Calgary Canada, traced their family tree to a Mildenhall-born surgeon called Plowman Young.

Young, who trained at Stanton House in Norton between 1811 to 1818, was the father of William Chambers Young who left England in 1841 with Major Bunbury to live in Australia and New Zealand.

He eventually settled in Tonga and was adopted by King George I of Tonga as his son.

On Monday, Hera visited Stabton House with historian and retired doctor Edward Cockrayne, David Burt and Michael McBrien, also a former surgeon who now owns the former apothecary.

Hera said it was a great experience to visit the home of her husband’s ancestors.

She said: “This is for my mother in law.

“All she wanted to know before she died was what happened to her relatives but I could not find her relatives because they were not from Tonga.

“After a while someone pointed me to New Zealand and the British embassy.

“In January 2007 I found out about her decendants and told her - she died that June.

“I am writing a book, just for the family. My husband will be so happy that I was able to come here and find out.”