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Rev Samuel Bradley

Rev. Samuel Bradley
Reverend Samuel Bradley Picture from Manchester Archives and Local Studies

My 3xgt.grandfather Benjamin`s brother, the Rev`d Samuel Bradley has been easier to investigate. After some research, information is fairly widely available concerning parts of his life. He was educated at Rotherham College; ordained as pastor of Doncaster Congregational Church on 17 September 1800; moved to Mosley Street Chapel Manchester 11 November 1801. Whilst here he was severely critisised for the introduction and use of an organ to provide music during services! On 23 September 1806 he became one of the founders of the Lancashire Congregational Union, and the Union`s first secretary (1806-08). In 1827 he moved to Cannon Street Chapel, which was enlarged shortly afterwards. He resided in Falkner Street, Cheetwood, Manchester for most of his life and married Helen Bellhouse (the Bellhouse family were prominent in Manchester at the time). The reason is not known, but Samuel resigned from the ministry in April 1844, although he appeared to keep the title ‘Rev`d’. He was at some time a member of the Itinerant Society. He died in Hulme, Manchester in 1860 aged 83. Many thanks to Manchester Archives and Local Studies for help with this research.

Extract from ‘The Story of the Lancashire Congregational Union 1806-1906 Centenary Memorial Volume’

‘Men who have served’

‘Rev. Samuel Bradley (1806-8)

Mr Bradley was the first Secretary of the Union, being appointed with the Committee and Treasurer on September 23rd, 1806, at the meeting at which the Union was born. He had been minister of the Mosley Street Chapel, in whose vestry the Union found its birthplace, since 1801, and fully sympathised with Mr Roby in his Evangelistic ideals. He had joined him in the Itinerant Society, visiting and preaching at various stations from time to time. He retained the Secretarial position for two years only, but his interest in the work of the Union did not wane. His Church was at the time the highest contributor to its funds, sending £51 11s. 6d. out of a total income of £365 3s. 61/2d., Mr Roby`s coming next with £50. It is interesting to note how these two Manchester Churches, in the matter of contributions for the Union, appear to have been engaged for several years in a little friendly rivalry, and how nearly they approached one another, Mr Roby`s Church one year raising £44 1s. 21/2d and Mr Bradley`s £44 1s. 03/4d.! Subsequently, however, the Mosley Street Church contributions fell considerably, whilst those of Mr Roby`s Church kept their high level. Mr Bradley`s ministry at Mosley Street continued for more than a quarter of a century.

Towards the end he appears to have had some trouble through the introduction of an organ into the chapel, which had just been enlarged. One of his deacons sent the following letter to the Church, which makes curious reading today, and whose arguments are somewhat of a puzzle; “As you have, together with your preacher, Mr Samuel Bradley, determined to intrude a costly organ upon the public worship of God, contrary to the usual custom of the place, an innovation not only unnecessary, but against the express commandment of the Lord in Coloss. ii. 21-23 ‘Touch not, taste not, handle not,’ etc., I henceforth shall no more, either as deacon or member, unite in your worship. I cannot conscientiously join with any worshipping assembly where instrumental music is used; should I do so, to me it would be sin.”

This letter was dated January 2nd, 1823, and it is a singular coincidence that in that year the Rev. John Adamson, who had recently removed to Charlesworth from Patricroft, near Manchester, issued a pamphlet, in which he fulminated terribly against the use of musical instruments in public worship, employing the following arguments in support of his position-

1. Instruments of music were never used, even among the Jews, in the ordinary worship of the Sabbath Day.

2. When instruments were used by the Jews in the worship of God, they were accompanied with sacrifice and dancing. Hence advocates for it in the New Testament Churches, to be consistent, ought to dance as well as play.

3. Instrumental music was neither admitted into the Apostolic Churches, nor into those that succeeded them for more than seven hundred years.

4. Instrumental music in the worship of God is a custom derived from the idolatrous Church of Rome.

5. The Churches which made the greatest progress in reformation laid instruments of music entirely aside.

6. Instruments of music should never be admitted into a place of worship, because wherever they are admitted they produce a train of the most lamentable evils.

It is scarcely necessary to say that these zealous and well-meaning friends fought a vain battle, and, though the last sounds of it had scarcely died away before the present generation were born, the organ won. Whether this trouble had anything to do with Mr Bradley`s removal is not clear, but in 1826 he resigned and became pastor of Cannon Street Church, where he laboured for eighteen years, when he retired. He is described as “a most eloquent preacher.” He did much to build up Manchester Congregationalism, and through it the Congregationalism of the county.`

A really interesting find through the internet provided an exciting moment for me when it was discovered from a Bradley surname interest in a Genealogy site that a lady in California was sharing information concerning a family bible/prayer book that she had purchased some years ago in an antique shop in California. She had thought it would be nice to return it to its ‘family’. This turned out to belong to Rev`d Samuel Bradley and listed his wife and children inside the cover. Also included was a very old newspaper cutting of an obituary for George Ashton who had lived in New Jersey and who, it is now confirmed married Helen, Samuel`s daughter.  Also written on the inside of the front cover was the following:

‘To the dear fountain of thy blood, Incarnate God I fly, Here let me wash my spotted soul From crimes of deepest dye. Saml. Bradley – April 16th 1856 My unshaken hope’.   It is interesting to wonder if this is in some ways a ‘confession’. This is dated just 4 years before his death and of course he had resigned from the ministry!

Samuel married Helen Bellhouse in the Collegiate Church, now Manchester Cathedral, on 14 June 1808.  They had 6 children:

Jane  (b. 1809 Manchester – d.1854) married her first cousin Samuel.

Mary (b.1811- ?)

Thomas (b.1813-d.1813)

Helen (b.1814 Manchester -d. 1889 New Brunswick, New Jersey) married (by her father) George Ashton 25th November 1840 at Cannon St. Chapel.  Their children were Kate (b. 1849), Helen (b. 1851), Lucy (b. 1853), Annie (b. 1854) and George F (b. 1856).  This family kept in touch with George`s sister Betsy who had married William Latham, brother to John who married Jemima Bradley.  There are copies of letters, one dated 7th March 1885 from daughter Helen Ashton in New Jersey to her cousin Jessie, daughter of Betsy and William. Helen states that Jessie might be surprised to hear from her rather than ‘Mamma’, as Mamma is not at all well and that her Papa is very sick too. (George dies that same year). Sister Kate who is married at this time, apparently visits every day. Then on 15th October Helen herself writes to Betsy describing her husband George`s last days and also enquiring after Betsy`s daughter Annie who apparently had suffered burns of some sort.  These copy letters have been forwarded from members of the Latham family in Australia.

Obituary for George Ashton

‘George Ashton, whose death occurred at New Brunswick, N.J. on the 10th inst. was for many years prominently identified with the dry goods importing commission business in this city, and many of our older merchants bear kindly remembrance of the energetic activity, strict integrity and unfailing courtesy displayed in all his business and social relations. He was born in Manchester, Eng. in 1807, came to this country while a young man, became a partner in the importing house of Bird, Gillilan & Co. and afterward the head of the firm of Ashton & Gillilan, until through ill health he retired from active business in June, 1857. For some fifteen years past he has resided at New Brunswick, and has been a great invalid, but never ceased to take a lively interest in the many friends whom he had in this country and in England, and bore his long continued illness with the truly Christian resignation and fortitude by which he had always been characterized. He leaves a widow, four daughters, and one son.’

Both George`s and Helen`s Wills have been obtained and a copy of the 1870 census for New Brunswick, New Jersey showing the whole family at home with the children, Kate 21, Helen 19, Lucy 17, Annie 16 and George F. 14. Also census returns for 1850 (including Jemima aged 2 months) 1860 in New York. In 1880 the family have moved to New Brunswick. George has left home and is in San Francisco as a bookkeeper. In 1880 Kate appears still in New Brunswick and married to Warren Hardenburgh, possibly a widower. In 1900 Helen, Lucy and Annie along with sister Kate Hardingburgh and her daughter Helen A are still in New Brunswick. Note different spellings.

George (jnr) married Bessie M Raymond in 1884 in San Francisco.  They had 3 children, Helena Howard Ashton (1885), Raymond (1886) and Bessie (1888).  George died 1899 and is buried in New York Greenwood Cemetery.  In 1900  Bessie and her 3 children are boarders in Broadway St. in San Francisco and the 3 children are at school.  In 1910 the family are still together and living on Pacific Avenue in San Francisco. Raymond is a Mechanical Engineer. There is a WW1 Draft Reg. Card for Raymond which lists his Mother and sister as sole dependents, and he is described as ‘tall, slender, blue eyes, light brown hair and nearly bald’.  In 1920 Raymond is in Cambridge City, Middlesex County, Massachusettes and is a General Sales Manager for a manufacturing company.  Bessie  and Helen (a library stenographer) are renting a house in California St. still in San Francisco.  Bessie is now married to John Pigott, a lawyer, and they have 2 daughters Elizabeth R and Virginia C (age 6 and 3) all living at 2175, 4th Avenue, Sacramento, California (rented).  1930 we find Elizabeth (Bessie) and Helen in Clay Street, San Francisco and Helen is a Secretary to the Christian Science Church.  Raymond now an Executive with an Investment Co. is now married to Ann.  There is a WW11 Draft Reg. Card for Raymond dated 1942 naming Ann as his wife and living at 1121 Greenwich St. and he is employed by Western Life Ins. Co.    Raymond died February 1972.  Bessie and John Pigott (now an Attorney in Gen. Practice) are now living and owning their own home at 3343 Presidio rd. San Francisco and are there with Elizabeth, Virginia and also son John aged 10.  It is possible that Elizabeth R Pigott married a Yost.  This information mainly obtained from the California Vital Records Index and census records.

Catherine (b.1816 Manchester – d.?) married (by her father) Robert George Milne (Independent Minister) 26th February 1845. Robert was brother to William Charles Milne, missionary to China and their father was William Milne also missionary to China and colleague of Dr Morrison.  Catherine died sometime after 1857 leaving 6 daughters, Helen Rachel (b. 1846 – d.1909 m. widower Edward Johnson Rimmer in 1875 who already had 5 children. They had 3 further children, Marjory, Edward, Lois (connections with the Boothroyd family here as 2 family members married 2 Boothroyds), Eliza Reed (b.1848), Catherine Jemima (b. 1852), Mary Amelia (b. 1854), Annie (b. 1856) and Amy (b. 1857). Robert was for many years the minister at Tintwistle Chapel, Cheshire. In 1861 Eliza Bradley (Helen`s cousin Samuel`s daughter) is staying with Robert at Tintwistle and helping out with the girls.  In the 1871 census he has moved to Portland St. North Meols, Southport with 3 of his daughters, and Eliza is a governess with the Elworthy family in Wellington, Somerset and Amy age 14 is at school in Selby.  In 1881 Robert is still in Portland Street with his 4 daughters Eliza, Catherine, Mary (all school mistresses) and Amy (Daily Governess). Don`t know what`s happened to Annie.  In 1891, after the death of their father Robert, Eliza, Mary and Amy are living at 14 Linaker Street, Southport with same occupations.  Catherine Jemima had married Cephas Bartle in 1887 in Ormskirk and in the following year Kathleen Milne Bartle was born. Cephas is an accountant/bookkeeper.  It appears they then moved to California in the United States where Catherine produced twin sons James Bennett and Richard Milne Bartle, as shown by the 1910 US census. In 1920 Kathleen is a lodger in the San Mateo district of California and is a librarian, and Cephas and Catherine are in Monterey.  Twins Richard and James are living together in Fourth St. Santa Clara and James is a mechanic.  Can`t make out what Richard did.  By 1930 Richard has married Nellie George and they have 2 children, Richard Milne (1925) and Ruth Georgene (1929).  Richard snr. died 22 February 1941 in Santa Clara age 49.  Kathleen has now moved back with her parents in San Mateo and remains a librarian at the public library.  James died in 1960 in Santa Clara. There are copy WW1 registration cards for both Richard and James.  Back in 1901 the Catherine`s  three have sisters have all moved around the UK – Eliza now aged 53 is a servant/companion to M C Clark in Exeter, Mary age 49 is a visitor with Hannah (?) in St Anne`s-on-Sea and Amy age 42 is living as a boarder on own means in Blackpool.

Jemima (b.1818 Birmingham- d. 1849 in Glasgow Scotland) married (by her father Samuel) John Latham at the Independent Chapel, Southport on the 21st October 1845. Jemima was his second wife. John was a Manchester Agent. There was a son Arthur Sidney Latham b. 1846 in Stretford, Manchester. Jemima, John and Arthur moved to Scotland sometime between 1845 and 1849 when their second son Ronald James Bradley Latham was born on 12th September (Jemima dying a few days later).  In 1851 John (now a Railway Manager) and his four children (2 from previous marriage) are living at 12 Windsor Terrace, Glasgow. In 1861 Arthur and Ronald are at school in Helensburgh, Dumbartonshire.  In 1871 and now young men aged 24 and 21 they are lodgers and back in England in Chorlton Upon Medlock – Arthur a Muslin Manufacturer`s clerk and Ronald a Calico Printer`s clerk.  In 1881 Arthur is in the Salisbury Hotel London and is a Cotton Manufacturer and Ronald is still in Chorlton Upon Medlock at Holms Common.  In 1891 Arthur is now a Cotton Manufacturer and Merchant and married to Edith Milnes Edmunds and living at Ashlea, Cheadle with their 2 children Alice and Henry (age 6 and 4 and both born in Cheadle). Ronald is in a hotel in London.  In 1901 Arthur and wife Edith and 2 children Edith and Ronald (age 13 and 2 and again both born in Cheadle). Arthur had obviously become quite successful as the household also consists of half a dozen live-in servants. Their son Henry is now at school in Sedbergh, Cumbria and Ronald will follow in his brother`s footsteps. Information from the school tells us that Henry was a keen and successful sportsman (football and rugby) as well as being Head of School.  He left in 1917 and went to Trinity Coll. Oxford (BA 1908) where he played rugby and played for Lancashire County 1905-12.  Henry became a solicitor and married in 1914 and lived in Wilmslow, Cheshire.  Ronald left Sedbergh in 1917. He served in the Great War – Lieut. Loyal North Lancs. Reg. France 1918.  He was an Accountant`s clerk and married Doris Greenhalgh in 1917 and lived in Bramhall, Cheshire.

It would appear that after the marriage of Helen and George in Manchester in 1840 and their subsequent move to America, the rest of the family moved to Southport where Catherine and Jemima were living at the time of their marriages  There is of course the possibility that Samuel  visited America either to see family or to preach – hence the prayer book turning up there. The Rev`d Samuel`s wife was Helen Bellhouse (a prominent family in Manchester at that time). Helen died 15th November 1850 in North Meols, Southport aged 63. Informant at her death was Catherine Milne of Tintwistle. The Rev`d Samuel died in 1860 at 169 Radnor Street, Hulme, Manchester, age 83. Informant at his death was J A Attenbury, also of 169 Radnor Street, Hulme.

The Rev`d Samuel Bradley does appear to have been quite a prominent figure in Manchester religious life in the early 1800s, and up until the mid 1860s the Bradleys have featured in Manchester life around the areas of Chorlton-on-Medlock, Rusholme and Longsight.