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Benjamin Bradley (1765-1848)

Benjamin Bradley canal worker

Direct Ancestry

The following places Benjamin in my direct line of ancestors, starting with my father

John Howard, Percy, Frederic, John Henry, BENJAMIN, Thomas, Anthony, Henry

Life of Benjamin

Benjamin and Eliza(beth) Baker were married by licence at St Martin`s Birmingham on the 23rd July 1799.  Benjamin stated he was from the parish of St Alkmund, Derby and he was an oilman.

Witness on the Licence is William Nevill, Benjamin`s brother-in-law having married Benjamin`s sister Catherine a few years earlier. William was a plater.

Official records for Benjamin

‘Mr Benjn Bradley and Mrs Benjn Bradley’ are mentioned in the Carrs Lane Church minute book 1783-1810 on the 15 May 1805.

Sept. 8 1805 the entry reads ‘ Mrs Jane Bradley was admitted into full communion with this Church in virtue of a regular and honourable dismissal from the Church in Derby under the pastoral care of the Rev`d James Gawthorne.’ This Jane Bradley is Benjamin (snr)`s mother, who is obviously moving from Derby to Birmingham.

Feb. 26 1806 ‘4) That Mr Orme be requested to converse with Mr and Mrs B. Bradley (who were proposed for admission into this Church at a former meeting) in place of Mr Tutin.’

June 4 1806 ‘ …Mr and Mrs Benjamin Bradley unanimously admitted as members of the Church’.

October 1809 ‘ Mr and Mrs Thornton proposed, also Mr Bradley snr…’


Benjamin and Eliza (Baker) had six children. Benjamin, Samuel, Elizabeth, John Henry, Jane and Mary Anne and a half sister and brother Helen Sarah and Henry Anthony, by Benjamin`s second wife Mary Anne Wild. Elizabeth`s birthplace is unknown as yet. Benjamin (jnr) was born in Derby in 1801. The remaining children were all born in Birmingham. John Henry, Jane and Mary Anne were all  baptised in the Carrs Lane Independent Chapel, the two girls being baptised by ‘Mr Bradley’. This turns out to be their father Benjamin`s brother the Rev`d Samuel Bradley.

So did Benjamin move to Birmingham and then his mother Jane joined him ? Was she already widowed? Unfortunately I can find no trace of death for Benjamin` s father Thomas.

Eliza died in Birmingham 1811 and Benjamin remarried to Mary Ann Wild  16th August 1817 by licence in the parish of Middlewich, Cheshire, witnesses were Mary McEvoy, John Augustus Nisbitt McEvoy, Mary Rimer and Anthony Wild.

Benjamin (senior) appears to have been a wharfinger in Birmingham at this time and possibly an agent to Francis Egerton, Duke of Bridgewater who was heavily involved in canal building.

Benjamin Bradley is listed in Trade Directories in 1808 – 1821. It is possible he then moved to Manchester and then arrives in Liverpool where an 1839 Directory lists him as ‘Gentleman, of Summerseat, Bootle Marsh’. He appears in the 1841 census at Bootle Summerseat with Mary Ann (2nd wife) and Helen and Henry. He is listed in the Trade Directories until 1845 and then Mary Ann is listed until 1851 in Richmond Vale. There are entries in Manchester directories in Pendleton and Salford but whether these are for him or his son Benjamin is not known. Here he is described as a Dry Salter (‘dealer in chemical products used in the arts, drugs, gums, etc.; occas. also in oils, sauces, pickles etc. Hence Drysaltery, the store or business of a d.; the articles dealt in by a d.’) He appears in the Trade Directories from 1824-1836, his house address being 2 Aldred St. Crescent, Salford and his business at Ridings Court, St. Mary`s Gate. He died in Liverpool in 1848 age 83 and is buried at St Mary`s Church, Walton-on-the-Hill, Liverpool.

In the notes I was given there was reference to a sister of John Henry who married a Figgis, and this turns out to be Elizabeth. She died in 1849 in Dublin. (See information on the Figgis Family). In the book ‘Figgis of Brighton’ there is reference to Elizabeth visiting her father in Liverpool in 1843.


Benjamin and Eliza`s eldest son:

Benjamin William Smith (1801-1876) (son of Benjamin), and family

Benjamin appears in 1841 in Park Place, Highbury Vale, Islington with his wife Emma and children Charles, Lucy and 4 day old Samuel Messenger. Benjamin is a Commission Agent and I think was probably working in Islington when he met and married Emma Johnson. Marriage licence applied for 27 January 1835. In 1851 he is in Birch Lane, Rusholme nr Manchester together with wife Emma and four children, Charles Howard, Lucy Jane, Samuel Messenger and John Bellhouse. This is from the 1851 census for that area and Benjamin`s birthplace is stated as Derby, and his children and wife Emma were all born in Holborn, Middlesex. So it seems that for a period of at least ten years he moved to the London area. After Birch Lane we find him in the 1861 census at 5 Queens Terrace, Moss Side with only son Samuel at home and he is a medical student. He then lived in Longsight Old Hall, Longsight where he is registered as being a cashier/bookkeeper. Emma died in 1869 in Bray Co. Wicklow, and in 1871 Benjamin is a widower living with just his servant Mary Harding at 177 Plymouth Grove, Manchester. Benjamin died (Will) in 1876 at 177 Plymouth Grove, Manchester.

Charles Howard, the eldest son (born 1836) appears in the 1851 census with the family in Rusholme and is a scholar at home aged 15, but I can find no trace of him after that.

Lucy Jane has proved another link with the Oldham family by marrying James Oldham, a Dublin merchant in Manchester 1859. They had James Howard, Benjamin, Ernest, Walter F. Winifred, and Lucy. It is presumed they lived in Dublin.

Samuel Messenger (1842-1880) – please follow link to find more information.


Dr Samuel Messenger Bradley

Dr Samuel Messenger Bradley

John, Benjamin`s youngest son, second name of Bellhouse was the maiden name of his Uncle Samuel`s wife.

Samuel (1802-1861) (son of Benjamin and Eliza) , and family

Samuel married his first cousin Jane (daughter of Rev`d Samuel). They lived first at Grosvenor St. Manchester and then 14, and later 24 Nelson Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester where Samuel was, in the early days a Timber Merchant (1843-52). Then he is listed as an Iron Founder in connection with Edward T Bellhouse (connections with his mother-in-law`s family). Samuel and Jane produced seven children, Frederick, John Samuel, Eliza, David, William Milne, Louisa Jane and Russell.  Jane died 1854 and Samuel married again to a widow Mary Hodges (formerly Mary Oldham).There is reference to a Coat of Arms on a watch presented to Samuel – a talbot passant! (Please see American Connection page). Samuel died in 1861 (Will). Mary survived until 1888 (Will).

Frederick died age 6 and John Samuel died age 20.

Eliza married Henry Fuller an architect in 1864 and they had one son and three daughters, Wilfred, Mabel, Jessie and Janet. She was a widow by 1881. Wilfred became a clergyman and married Ana Carlotta, who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Wilfred was curate of St George`s, Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffs. They had 3 children: Mary Charlotte,  Gardner Henry and Hilda. In 1861, before she married, Eliza was acting as housekeeper to Robert Milne, widower of her aunt Catherine. Robert was an Independent Minister in Tintwistle, Cheshire. I think Eliza died 1919 while living in Lichfield, Staffs.

Eliza Fuller (nee Bradley) with daughter Janet about 1875
Eliza Fuller (nee Bradley) with daughter Janet about 1875

David never married and emigrated to America (via Canada) with his younger brother William in 1860, not long before their father Samuel died. It appears he might have qualified as a teacher. He died in 1899.

William Milne also emigrated to America (see American Connection). The second name of ‘Milne’ has proved intriguing as again referring to the notes I was given, it was stated that Milne was a colleague of Rev. Robert Morrison who was a well known missionary to China. It was discovered that the Robert Milne mentioned above was the son of the missionary William Milne (born Aberdeenshire 1785) who accompanied Robert Morrison on his travels and became an eminent translator of parts of the Old Testament into Chinese.  Robert had an older brother, William Charles, also a missionary to China. The puzzle that still remains is that William Milne Bradley was born in 1842 in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester and his aunt Catherine did not marry Robert Milne until 1845.  Were the Bradley and Milne families acquainted earlier on perhaps.

Russell, on the death of his father Samuel in 1860, Russell was taken to Ireland by his step-mother Mary where he was educated.

Rev. Russell Bradley
Rev. Russell Bradley

This photo from Bill Miller.

From a biography written about Neville Figgis mentioning that a relative had become ‘Canon Bradley of Limerick’ set me off on another trail of investigation that confirmed this was Russell and he was actually a Church of Ireland Minister in Cashel, Newport and Waterford. Russell married Mary (Ellen) Burkitt (3rd dau. of Dr Robert James Burkitt of Waterford) October 20 1875. They had one son Samuel Robert and a daughter Mary Susan Ann. Russell died in Dublin 1937. (See the American Connection for more details on Samuel Robert.) Ellen died in 1917 in Rathgar and Russell died 1937.

Letter from Russell in Rathgan, Dublin to his son Samuel Robert in Woodruff Ave, Flatbush, Long Island, New York dated March 24th 1831.

My Dear Sam, I recd your welcome letter of the 14th inst today and am glad to learn that you are all well and happy. I am sorry that business is so bad in New York but hope it will improve before long. As you want information about my father & mother I will give you some. My father Samuel Bradley was born in 1802 and died in 1861 when he was 59. He died of pleurisy 4 years after his 2nd marriage to Mrs Mary Hodges who brought me over to Ireland and educated me. He was a partner in an iron foundry, Eagle Foundry in Manchester. My mother, his first cousin Jane Bradley was born July 25th 1809 and died in Sept 1854 aged 45, of consumption. They both died at 40 (12) Nelson St. Manchester where I was born on June 2nd 1850. My fathers father Benjamine Bradley was agent to the Duke of Bridgewater. My mothers father Samuel Bradley was an Independent Minister. He was 84 when he died. My father and mother had 7 children in all, of whom only your Uncle Willey, now 88, and myself survive. With best love in which Mary joins me. Your ever affectionate father Russell Bradley.’

On the bottom of this letter is a PTO, and overleaf it states ‘In a later letter Mr Bradley adds that his father Samuel was a partner with Edward Bellhouse in the Eagle Iron Foundry and mortgaged his house in order to buy in. Edward Bellhouse was a very extravagant and reckless man and nearly ruined the business. Samuel had a brother John, a successful man and manager of the Droitwich Worcs. Salt Works. He married and had sons, John, Samuel, Frederic and Charles.’ It goes on to give a brief description of Droitwich and its parishes and then a short piece about Francis Egerton, Duke of Bridgewater.

Elizabeth (1804-1849) (daughter of Benjamin and Eliza) and family

Elizabeth married John Figgis, a Commission Merchant in Dublin. The book ‘Figgis of Brighton’ does not make it quite clear but it appears they had four children, two daughters, Jeannie, Jane, and two sons John Benjamin and Samuel. There is also reference to a girl cousin adopted previously. According to the book, Elizabeth was a woman of forceful character. She, and her siblings, grew up under the ministry of John Angell James at Carrs Lane, Birmingham. The family entered into the church around the time James started, and Elizabeth`s paternal grandmother Jane had also been admitted into Carrs Lane having come from the church in Derby under the Reverend James Gawthorne.

John Henry (1807-1880) – my 2xgt.grandfather

Mary Anne (1810-1895) married Thomas Wilson Oldham from Dublin. They had eleven children Mary, Elizabeth, Jane, Frances Jane, Stanley, Christina, Jessie, Ellen Eliza, William Benjamin, Sarah Anne (who married her first cousin Samuel Bradley) and Marianne.