Thursday, November 4, 2010

Benbow family

What of the background of Anne Benbow, wife of barrister and solicitor William Y Alban, whose husband died when their youngest child was only eight? She outlived him by 35 years. She lived with her children in various places: in Ealing, Middlesex; Bath, Somerset and on Guernsey in the English Channel.

John Benbow (1770-1855) and Elizabeth Bradly (?-1825)
Like Anne Benbow’s husband and father-in-law, her father, John Benbow (abt 1770-1855) was a barrister and solicitor who appeared for clients at the Old Bailey. He was evidently related to ("kin") to Admiral John Benbow (1653-1702) according to Peter Burke's book Celebrated Trials Connected with the Army and Navy, W H Allen, 1866.

William Y Alban seems to have joined his father-in-law’s legal practice, which became Alban and Benbow. By 1824 Anne Benbow’s younger brother John Henry Benbow (1800-1880) had also joined the firm which now became Benbow, Alban and Benbow of London.

John Benbow (senior) became a liberal conservative Member of Parliament for the seat of Dudley in 1844. In 1868 John H Benbow testified in the Old Bailey in the trial of Frederick Augustus Farrar and John Hullett who were indicted for fraud against his father Hon John Benbow, Member for Dudley:

I am a solicitor, of Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn - I am solicitor to Lord Dudley - I have been so for the last twenty-five years - I have seen these documents, the agreement, and the bill-the signature of "Dudley" to them is not the earl's signature.

Anne Benbow’s mother Elizabeth Bradly had died prematurely in 1825 after giving birth to at least seven children in the nine years between 1797 and 1806.

One of them, Clifton Benbow (1799-1881) served as a Major in the Bombay Army. He retired to England and, at nearly 60 years of age, married a woman half his age. It seems likely that the many Alban descendants given a forename of Clifton were named after him.

Anne Benbow was the eldest of John Benbow and Elizabeth Bradly’s children. Like her mother Anne also gave birth to at least seven children before her husband William Y Alban died in 1841, leaving her of independent means, but with seven children to rear alone.

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