William Bradley (c1730-1801) and his wife Sarah (c1734-1783) had at least eight children born in Buxhall in Suffolk between 1758 and 1778. This is probably the William Bradley who married Sarah Rainer in Harleston on 15th May 1758. It is their son James Bradley (1776-1845) who married Christian Otterwell in Buxhall on the 10th October 1798 who is my direct ancestor. Their son John Bradley (1817-1870) married Sarah Pearl from Hitcham on the 12th April 1842 in the Baptist Chapel, Rattlesden, Suffolk, and their son was John Pearl Bradley (1844-1915) who married Annie Eliza Smart in 1883. Her parents were Thomas William Smart and Ann Skinner. I am following the journeys of some of the descendants of James and Christian away from Buxhall and around England and to New Zealand. In the process I am picking up snippets of information about family members to compile a Bradley miscellany which appears below and will grow with time. Long memories, family stories I came across a letter from a cousin sent in 2007 that said she had a vague childhood memory that Sir Isaac Newton was supposedly an ancestor “just a family myth I am sure”. As the gentleman in question was childless, it would have to be through his parents’ lines or his half- siblings, and these have been fairly well followed up. I have however found another connection. I spent a lot of time last year researching the Essex parish registers for my Skinner ancestors, hoping that William Skinner (1800-1864) was the brother of my 2xgreat grandfather John. As I have DNA matches with William’s descendants in the USA the link is now confirmed, and it is possible to trace the Skinner line right back to Diana (Dionisia) Symes who married Richard Lancaster in 1613 in Albury in Hertfordshire. Her second husband was John Hauksbee, Vicar of Earls Colne from 1615-1640, and she married him in about 1620. Her daughters, Mary and Margaret Lancaster, were joined by Richard, Ann, William and Sarah Hauksbee. Richard Hauksbee lived in Colchester and: ffrancis Hauksbe son of Richard Hauksbe of Colchester in the County of Essex Draper was on the ffourth day of December 1678 bound an apprentice to John Hauksby Citizen & Draper of London as appears by their books this being the 17th day of October 1712. John Hauksbee was Richard’s oldest son, and he also had a son called Francis. You can read about both Francis Hauksbees on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Hauksbee https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Hauksbee_the_Younger So I think that probably settles the Isaac Newton link. Or does it? In another part of the same family tree I have a Hannah Smyth. Now Hannah Ayscough (née Blythe), the mother of Isaac Newton, married as her second husband the Rev. Barnabas Smyth and they had a daughter Hannah … It’s unfortunate that the name is Smith or variants thereof! My Hannah Smyth married John Lillie, the vicar of Lamarsh, and son of John Lillie (1612-1678), Musician to the King, who for some reason is not recognised by Wikipedia, but who is worth googling. It was a sad end to the young life of Caroline Jane Bradley when her body was recovered from the Thames at Purfleet in 1894 in an apparent suicide. SAD SUICIDE AT PURFLEET On Monday an inquest was held at West Thurrock concerning the death of Caroline Jane Bradley, aged 24, whose body was found floating off the Tunnel Works, West Thurrock, on Saturday. Walter Bradley, farmer, of Horns Farm, Stifford, an uncle of the deceased, said she had recently been staying with him. She was rather strange. When she left him she went to live with a brother at Bermondsey. A number of letters were produced, written by the deceased. The following are extracts:- “I am so dreadful bad; I can't face poverty : and I have done an artful deed. I am so dreadful I can't live. I am very sorry to bring such a mark upon the family, but I have been a mark upon the family, but I have been a wicked woman, and have squandered my money. All I have got is £7. I have got no clothes. If I am ill I have got some poison, and I leave the money to bury me. I have got a curse on me, so I shall take the poison to put me out of this world; I shall be justly punished in the next.” A verdict of "Suicide while temporarily insane" was returned. Essex Newsman. Saturday 6 October 1894 This does however tie Walter Bradley neatly into the family, as a brother of John Mortimer Bradley, and thus also a cousin of John Pearl Bradley. Caroline Jane was born on the 9th May 1867 in Bermondsey to John Mortimer Bradley and his second wife Mary Ann Wingrave who had married in Brentwood in 1864. Born in Buxhall in 1835, Walter had moved with his parents and siblings to Mucking in Essex before he was two years old. They found work as agricultural labourers; Walter’s father James Bradley died in 1850 and in 1851 the family, now with mother Charlotte a widow and a pauper are lodging at the Fox & Goose in West Thurrock. In 1861 and 1871 Charlotte and her son Walter are still in West Thurrock; and Walter is now a Railway labourer. Charlotte died in 1876 in West Thurrock. Walter however had married in Marylebone on the 19th July 1872; his wife Esther Julia Beckwith had been born in West Tilbury in 1845, but Charlotte and Walter had been living next door to her brother, Abraham Beckwith and his wife Elizabeth in West Thurrock in 1871. On the marriage certificate Walter and Esther both give their address as Taunton Mews, and Walter is just a Labourer. Notably none of the Bradleys - and the witnesses are his brother James and his wife Eliza - can sign their names. In 1881 Walter, Esther and their sons, Walter Frederick and Ernest Albert are living on Main Road, West Thurrock, and next door are Abraham and Elizabeth Beckwith. Walter is an agricultural labourer, but things would change dramatically for the better over the next decade. By 1891 Abraham Beckwith was a Licensed victualler at the Old White Horse in North Ockendon; and in 1898 he took over the running of the Crown at what is now Roneo Corner in Romford. Walter meanwhile took out a lease for one year from the Orsett Estate on Horns Farm in South Stifford at a rent of £3 per annum, and that is where he and his family - now with a third son, Charles - are living in the 1891 census. When the lease was renewed in 1894 the rent had gone up to £130 per annum. It would appear that the family were making a success of a market gardening business for in Kelly’s Directory for Stratford for 1912 there appears: Bradley Ernest Albert & Charles, vegetable salesmen, Stratford Market TN 456 Walter’s oldest son, Walter Frederick born in 1874, followed a different career: in the 1911 census and 1914 Kelly’s directory he is listed at 72 Orsett Road, Grays, Essex as a Monumental Mason. He is a Mill Stone Builder in 1901 and an apprentice in 1891, perhaps to a neighbour who was a Mill Stone builder. However, when in 1892 he signed up for 12 years in the Royal Navy, he stated his occupation to be Farm labourer; he is 5’ 5” tall, has light hair, hazel eyes and a fair complexion, and already has an anchor tattoo on his left forearm, but after a month he purchased his discharge for £8.00. Walter Frederick Bradley died in 1934. Walter died on the 28th November 1922 at Cockaynes Farm, Alresford, Essex. Probate was granted to his sons Ernest Albert Bradley and Charlie Bradley farmers, and his effects were valued at £2125 8s. 11d. Charlie died in 1935 (effects £19,134), but Ernest Albert makes it onto the 1939 register; living in Bradleigh Avenue in Thurrock, both he and his son Ernest Charles are listed as Arable farmers. He died in 1942, with effects stated to be £46323, probate was granted to his widow Annie and son Ernest Charles. What is it about men called Henry Armstrong? I was following up one Henry Armstrong who married into my Bradley family back in 1878. He was possibly born in Suffolk, and worked as a Coachman for a time. He married Jane Lewis - who was probably badly scarred from an accident when she was ten, at her parents’ windmill - two years after their first child was born, and two months before the next arrived. He was possibly strong-armed up the aisle - or to the Poplar Register Office - by her brother and sister. In the 1881 census he gives the wrong surname, and by about 1885 he vanishes, leaving Jane with five children, who all ended up in the Norwood Schools. Jane relied on the support of her sisters to keep herself out of the workhouse. The Henry Armstrong I think he probably was, was born near Stowmarket in 1854, and appears in the 1861 census as Harry, the son of James and Jane Armstrong, members of the family originally from Shelland. This Harry is not the one who went to Iowa, as some Ancestry family trees claim; that one was born in Australia, was back at a Reform School in north-east England in 1871, and working as coal-miner in Durham in 1881 before going to the States in 1882 where he continued his coal-mining. While he had two children born in the Sunderland registration district in 1880 and 1882 with the mother’s maiden name Parry, I can find no suitable marriage. So while looking at Armstrongs I thought I’d revisit others of that name in the family. This lot were descended from a family of Millwrights from Wooburn in Buckinghamshire. By the time we get to Henry John Armstrong, also known as John Armstrong, the family trade is plumbing. Thanks to the censuses we can see that he had children with two women (not at the same time!), the first called Elizabeth, and the second called Ellen. From the GRO online birth indexes their maiden names appear respectively as Freeman and Carter, unfortunately there don’t appear to be marriages listed for either of them.
The Bradleys of Buxhall in Suffolk