My Family Connections with Birmingham Cathedral, St Philips by Judy Walker


I will start with my maternal Great Great Grandparents William Bennett married Mary Ann Allcock – they went through a wedding service (by Banns) on 18th April 1830 at St.Martins, which was witnessed and recorded in their book of Marriages.  However, written across this record is “NOT MARRIED”!  I do not know the reason.  Then, 3 months later on 11th July 1830 a wedding, again by Banns, is conducted at St.Philip’s, with different witnesses, but all is well !! How intriguing!


In 1841, the Bennett family: William, Mary Ann and children, Charles (aged 14), William (11), James (9), Samuel (7), Lucy (5) was absent on the Census but was born 19th November 1836, and Edwin (aged 2), are recorded as living in Nova Scotia Street. William’s occupation is a Hoop Harrier (part of the barrel making trade). He worked near to and perhaps supplied barrels to the George & Dragon in Nova Scotia Street.   William’s trade is described as barrel hoop maker, hoop harrier, hook shaver and cooper.  This shows the variety of different roles within one trade and the ability to progress through the ranks.

Nova Scotia Street was in the parish of St Philip’s so all the children were baptised here.

Charles (aged 3) and William (aged 1) were baptised together on 19th May 1828.

Their cousin, Susanna (aged 9) daughter of John & Clary Bennett was also baptised on this date. What a wonderful family occasion this may have been!

James (aged 10 months) was baptised on 28th December 1831 and Samuel (aged 11) two years later.

Sadly, a further child Edwin (no.1) born in 1835, died only 8 months old and church records show a burial on 28th January 1836.

By the Census of 1851 the family has moved to 22 Fox Street (still in the Parish of St. Philip’s) and they have had even more children!  Now we come to Edwin (no.2)…I have received a Birth Certificate from Birmingham Registry Office for Edwin born 11th February 1839 at George & Dragon Yard, Nova Scotia Street. However, I have been unable to trace a baptism for this Edwin, but there is a baptism for Edwin Henry Bennett, birth date 6th January 1839, parents William Bennett and Mary Ann baptised on 24th February 1840 at St.Philip’s….are they one and the same? I do not know at present, but trying to obtain a Birth Certificate for this child to confirm parentage and occupation of father.  Younger children Sarah born 17th November 1841 and Walter born 3rd July 1844, were baptised together on 29th July 1844 at St.Philip’s.

The reason for my particular interest in Edwin, is that he is my Great Grandfather!

By 1861 shows William has died and his widow Mary Ann now calls herself Ann, is living with 3 of her children in a back-to-back house in Buck Street.  The children are all working, Edwin (Brass Caster and French Polisher), Sarah (French Polisher) and Walter (German French Polisher). Again this gives a glimpse of the town of a 1000 trades and shows that women are very much part of the industrial progress in Birmingham.

The connections and the illustrations of Birmingham life continue with records of the childrens’ marriages (predominantly at St. Philip’s)

  1. Charles Bennett (now aged 21) and working as a German Silver Polisher marries Sarah Reynolds (18). His father, William, being a Hoop Maker and Sarah’s father a Saw Maker. Marriage date 23rd July 1849 at St.Philip’s.
  1. William Bennett (aged 23) a Spoon Maker, marries Mary Ann Watkins (20). William Snr (still Hoop Maker) and Mary Ann’s father a Shoemaker. Marriage date 12th April 1852, again at St.Philip’s.
  1. Samuel Bennett (aged 21) a Gun Side Filer, marries Mary Ann Trickett (20). William still a Hoop Maker, with Mary Ann’s father a Well Sinker. Marriage date 12th November 1855 at St. Philip’s.
  1. Lucy Bennett (aged 22) marries John Bourne, Carpenter, with William now having promoted himself to the occupation of a Cooper. John’s father is a Farmer. They married at St.Martins on 15th December 1858.
  1. Sarah Bennett (aged 21) married Henry Fitter (a Cabinet Maker), whose father Joseph was also a Cabinet Maker. William is still saying he is a Cooper. This marriage was held at St.Andrews, Bordesley on 23rd February 1862.
  1. Walter Bennett (aged 21) and a Polisher, marries Sarah Whitworth (21). However, William now

reverts to stating his occupation as a Hoop Maker, with Sarah’s father a Caster.  Marriage date 17th September 1866 at St.Philips

It would seem that William Bennett (Snr) is still working in the barrel making trade, forming the metal bands around the barrels when his children marry at St.Philips.   However, when they marry elsewhere he elevates his occupation to that of Cooper.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s