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The Basford Family of Nantwich

Ralph Basford 1769-1818

The Bradbridge Family of Woolwich, Shropshire and Liverpool

The Military Career of Captain John Bradbridge

The Siege of Fort Erie

The Bradbridge-Hinmers Connection

The Davey/Davy Family of Fakenham Magna

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The Bradbridge Family of Woolwich, Shropshire and Liverpool

 

Bradbridge Family Lineage
Captain John Bradbridge and Captain John Jones Bradbridge
The Seige of Fort Erie
The Bradbridge-Hinmers Connection



The Bradbridge surname originates from the Surrey/Sussex area and can be traced back to Roger de Bradbridge who was alive in the 14th century.

In the 16th century the Bradbridge family produced a number of well-known churchmen, most notably William Bradbridge (1501-1578), who was chancellor of Chichester and Bishop of Exeter at various points in his career. The Bradbridge surname is relatively uncommon but is still most prevalent in the South East of England.

The specific line of the Bradbridge family, which is of interest to us, had strong military connections, in particular to the Royal Artillery. The furthest back we can trace our Bradbridge ancestors is to Thomas Bradbridge, who, in the year he got married (1728), was a gunner in the Royal Artillery.

Thomas married Elizabeth Hadlow (born ca. 1706) and together they had three children, Elizabeth (b. 1729), John (b. 1731) and Thomas (b. 1734). Of these, we know that Elizabeth married a decorated Royal Artillery Officer, Samuel Tovey whilst John followed a military career like his father. John was a Cadet Matrose at Woolwich Academy October 1743, promoted to Fireworker on 29/10/1755 and promoted to 2nd Lieutenant 2/4/1757. He was in the Bengal Artillery in 1758 and died in India 1761.

One published source, which in all probability refers to him (but may just possibly also refer to Thomas Bradbridge Sr.) can be found in a journal of the Swinton family in India which mentions the presence of a Captain Bradbridge at the Battle of Gaiah in 1761. The relevant passage states:

There was found among the belongings of the Shah- zadah upon the driverless elephant his Majesty's writing-desk or " Kelemdar." It is an oblong box on a stand or small tray, lacquered, with a gold ground, ornamented with the flower called " Herzargulah, " and contains silver ink-holders, steel penknives with handles of the bone of lion lish, and carved ivory implements and Persian letters gold dusted, etc. The "lucky ball "from the twelve-pounder was fired by Captain Bradbridge, and when it killed the Royal Elephant Driver, his Majesty was forced to dismount, and the desk was taken. Archibald Swinton preserved it, and brought it home with him, and it is now at Kimmerghame.

Thomas and Elizabeth's third son, Thomas Jr. (my g.g.g.g.g.grandfather) was also an officer in the Royal Artillery. He married Abigail Reynolds in New York in 1860. They had six children. The eldest, (John b. 1761) may well have been born in America as there is no recorded baptism in the UK. The other children were Elizabeth (bapt. Woolwich 1763), Thomas (bapt. Bexley 1766), Samuel Tovey (bapt. Bexley 1774), Esther (bapt. Bexley 1775) and Ann (b. Bexley 1778 and baptised in Plumstead).

Of Thomas's two eldest sons, the career of Captain John Bradbridge (my g.g.g.g.grandfather) is heavily documented and is dealt with elsewhere on this website.. Lt Thomas Bradbridge, died at Port au Prince, St Domingo on 30 June 1794.

An obituary in The Gentlemans Magazine (Vol 157 pg 667) reports that Thomas Bradbridge's Senior's widow died May 8, 1835 in Woolwich, aged 97, having survived her husband sons and grandson by many years. The grandson mentioned is also named as a Captain Bradbridge who served in the 8th Infantry.

There are a number of additional historical documents, which may well provide further information about Thomas Bradbridge. Firstly, study notes issued by Bexley Council identify a Thomas Bradbridge as a local landowner in Bexley, having been briefly the owner of the local Poor House (1770-71). A further study note identifies Thomas' widow as being Abigail Bradbridge, the owner of part of the property at 57-59 High Street.

Finally, documentation exists pointing to a memorial in St Mary's Church, Bexley for Elizabeth Bradbridge, late of Woolwich, who died June 3 1780 aged 74. Thomas Bradbridge Jr. died in 1781 and, like his mother, is buried in Bexley churchyard.

Captain John Bradbridge did not maintain a connection with Bexley but evidence does exist from 1851 that shows a potential connection between a Bexley born Bradbridge and Captain John Bradbridge's children, Augustus and William Frederick, both of whom were living in Liverpool. The only other recorded Bradbridge family in the 1851 census was the family of another Thomas Bradbridge, who was born ca. 1820 in Bexley Heath but living in Birmingham. This Thomas' eldest child, (also called Thomas) was born ca. 1850 in Birkenhead, suggesting some family connection may potentially have been maintained.

If the details of Thomas Bradbridge's career are sketchy, available documentation on that of his son, Captain John Bradbridge, is much more comprehensive, allowing us to put together a fairly accurate picture of his movements.

He served with the Royal Artillery from 1775-97, seeing action at the siege of Minorca in 1882, eventually rising to the rank of Captain and commanding the Regiment's 4th Batallion in Gibraltar, where he served from 1896-7.

During this period John was married to a Catherine (surname unknown although educated guesswork suggests it may have been Lennard or Jones) and had three children, Elizabeth Lennard (b.1780), John Jones (b. 1788) and Miriam Ann (b. 1793). At some point after this Catherine would appear to have died.

Following his dismissal for duelling in 1897 John's movements are uncertain but at some point Bradbridge moved to Shropshire where he married Mary Anne Jones, who came from Llanyblodwel, a small village in Montgomeryshire. It is not clear why John moved to Shropshire or indeed whether there was any prior connection between the Bradbridges and the Jones's of Llanyblodwel (bearing in mind Captain John Bradbridge's choice of middle name for his son John).

What is known is that in 1805 the Bradbridge family were living in Llanymynech, a village straddling the border between Montgomeryshire and Shropshire and only a few miles from Llanyblodwel. It was here that John and Mary Anne's son Augustus was born.

In 1804 a John Bradbridge signed up with the Kings Liverpool Regiment of Foot, serving with them until 1824. This is likely to have been Captain John's son, John Jones Bradbridge. At any rate, the entire Bradbridge family ended up moving to Liverpool where they remained until the 1850s.

Mary Anne Bradbridge followed a career in nursing and for a period was Matron of the New Infirmary and Lunatic Asylum in Brownlow Street. The next records we have of the Bradbridge family are in the 1841 and 1851 censuses.

Augustus Bradbridge, Captain John's son, eventually grew up to become a surgeon. He married a local Liverpool woman, Margaretta (or Margrette) and had at least four children Mary Rathbone (b. 1840-41), Margaretta (b.1841), Laura Ann (b. 1847) and Elliot (b. 1849). Birth and death registers also show the birth of a John Bradbridge in 1838 and a death in 1839 as well as the birth of a Mary Ann Bradbridge in 1840 followed by a death in 1841. It seems likely that these were additional children, who died in infancy. Of the surviving children, Elliot is recorded in the 1861 census at college in Cheltenham. He eventually moved to London where he had several children. Margaretta must have died in infancy as she is not present in the 1851 census.

Augustus had a younger brother, William Frederick, born in 1806 in "Shacusbury" (presumably Shrewsbury). He followed a career as a linen and woollen draper but suffered the misfortune of going bankrupt in 1829. By 1841 he was married to Elizabeth (b. 1816) but was also listed as living with a daughter, Mary Ann (b. 1826), who was possibly the product of a first marriage. Mary Ann died in 1845, possibly in childbirth, as the records show the birth and death of an otherwise unaccounted for daughter, Laura at that time. The 1851 census shows William and Elizabeth as having three children Elizabeth, Frederick and John Hinmers (who died in 1852 aged 2). Birth and death records suggest there may have been one or two more children who died in infancy, specifically an Ann (1849) and perhaps Sarah (b. 1846 - no death record available). William Frederick himself died in 1857.

As he became older, Augustus Bradbridge became more mobile. During the late 1840s the family must have temporarily moved across the Mersey as both Laura and Elliot are listed in the 1851 census as being born in Cheshire (In the 1851 census Laura's birthplace is listed as being Tranmere). In 1851 he and Margaretta were back in Liverpool (4 Blackburn Street), but by 1861 they were in Chorlton cum Medlock in Manchester (Upper Brook Street) and by 1871 they were living in Llanbelig, Caernarvon. In the 1881 census their address is 12 Frondeg Terrace, Llanfaris Gaer in Caernarvon.

Augustus is known to have travelled abroad at least once in his lifetime.He was listed as a passenger to New York in 1848 travelling on the Liverpool from Liverpool and arriving in New York on 4 November 1848. Augustus eventually died in 1881 but Margaretta lived on until 1896.

Our connection with the Bradbridge family is via Augustus' daughter, Laura Ann, who married surgical instrument salesman Bernhard Hermann Beer. Little is known about Laura although one must presume that she met her husband through a work connection, the most likely being that Augustus Bradbridge was a customer of Bernhard Beer.