Monday 11 December 2023

(566) Benthall of Benthall Hall

Benthall of Benthall
The Benthalls trace their descent from Anfred of Benthall, who was probably lord of the manor in the early 12th century. Their ownership was hardly continuous, however, for in the late 12th century the property was in the hands of Wenlock Priory for a time, and around 1383 it passed to a kinsman, Hugh, Lord Burnell of Acton Burnell (Shrops.), whose descendants held it until 1562. Nevertheless, the Benthalls seem to have remained in possession of the estate as tenants, and in 1562 Richard Benthall (d. 1575) bought most of the estate from the Burnells. Richard survived his father, William Benthall (d. 1573) - with whom the genealogy below begins - by only a couple of years, and it was left to his son, Lawrence Benthall (d. 1603), to build the present Benthall Hall on the site of its predecessor in the 1580s. All three of Lawrence's sons predeceased him, with the last of them being killed by his brother-in-law in 1602. As a result, when Lawrence died the estate passed to his younger brother, John Benthall (d. 1633), who appears to have been a Roman Catholic recusant. He in turn was succeeded by his eldest son, Col. Lawrence Benthall (1590-1652), who remodelled the interior of the house in the 1630s and probably added the porch, with its Catholic symbolism. He was a firm supporter of the Royalist cause in the Civil War, and between 1642 and 1645 Benthall Hall was garrisoned for the king, but it was captured after the fall of Shrewsbury, and damaged in an abortive attempt to retake it later in 1645, when the church adjoining the house was also destroyed. The following year, one of Lawrence's sons was killed fighting for the king at the Battle of Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire, and the Benthall estate was sequestrated by Parliament, although Lawrence was able to recover possession on payment of a surprisingly modest fine of £230.

Lawrence left two surviving sons, Philip Benthall (c.1632-1713) and his younger brother, Edward Benthall (d. 1679). Philip inherited the estate and was responsible for rebuilding the church in 1667-68. When he died in 1713 it passed to his only son, Richard Benthall (c.1673-1720), who never married. At the time of his death, however, he is said to have been engaged to his first cousin once removed, Elizabeth Browne (1686-1738), who was a granddaughter of Edward Benthall (d. 1679), and he bequeathed her the estate. Not surprisingly, his sisters did not appreciate this romantic gesture, and kept the lawyers busy for more than twenty years pursuing a claim to the estate all the way to the House of Lords. By the time they finally lost their case, Elizabeth was dead, having left Benthall to her brother, John Browne (c.1692-1746). He in turn died unmarried and left the estate to another brother, Ralph Browne (1696-1763), who died without issue. His widow died in 1767 and left the estate to her brother, Francis Turner Blithe (1709-70), and thus it passed out of the hands of the Benthalls and their descendants.

That might well have been the end of the story, but the descendants of a younger son of William Benthall (d. 1573), who had settled in Essex, preserved an awareness of their kinship to the Benthalls of Benthall. They spelled their name as Bentall and seem to have conformed to the established religion. For several generations they were farmers and brewers at Halstead, sometimes aspiring to be called gentlemen but at other times content to be regarded as prosperous yeomen and tradesmen. John Bentall (1690-1750), who was a younger son, moved to Colchester (Essex) and became a wine merchant. He died while on a buying trip to Portugal, leaving a much younger second wife, and a son and daughter by her. The son, William Bentall (1736-1811) was apprenticed to his maternal uncle, John Thornton of Kingsbridge (Devon), and became a prosperous merchant trading in grain, cider, wool and wine. He married into a local gentry family, moving to Totnes (Devon), where he acquired a large house near to his warehouses by the town wharf. In 1792 he went into partnership with some other local merchants and founded the Totnes Bank, which further increased his wealth. He was twice mayor of Totnes, and when he died in 1811 he left four sons and two daughters, who all had interesting lives. His eldest son, William Searle Bentall (1778-1854) inherited his property in Totnes, and his partnership in the Totnes Bank, and joined another partnership which opened a similar bank in Newton Abbot (Devon). Unfortunately, two of the partners in the latter concern borrowed large sums from the bank without security, invested heavily in the Newfoundland cod fishery, and lost everything. The partners in the bank, including Bentall, were all bankrupted in 1841, and as far as I can establish, Bentall was still undischarged at the time of his death in 1854.

By the time of the collapse of the Newton Bank, almost all of William Searle Bentall's fifteen children were grown up and pursuing careers (many of them fascinating, if not always distinguished!). His eldest son, William Bentall (1803-77) was able to buy the family house in Totnes and take over his father's business interests as a wine merchant. A younger son, Francis Bentall (1816-1903) was a solicitor in London, and acted for his father in the bankruptcy proceedings. He had antiquarian interests, and seems to have been obsessed with the gentry status of his Shropshire forbears, obtaining royal licence to change the spelling of his name to Benthall (something his father had done informally). His father and uncle had acquired Buckfast Abbey (Devon) in 1813, although they never occupied it, and he bought their interests in the estate and persuaded the College of Arms to register his pedigree as 'Benthall of Buckfast' before later selling the estate again. His interest in the family seems to have communicated itself to his brother Edward Benthall (1807-89), who was a judge in India. When Benthall Hall came on the market in 1844, he tried to buy it, but was outbid at auction, and on retirement he settled at Sherborne (Dorset). His eldest surviving son, Ernest Benthall (1843-1928) had an unremarkable career in the India Office, but married well, and in 1889 he retired to the small estate in Wales which his wife had inherited. After her death, he sold it and moved to Countess Wear House in Devon, with his only surviving daughter, Mary Clementina Benthall (1879-1960). 

After her father's death, when she was in her fifties, Mary married a cousin, James Floyer Dale (1883-1942), and in 1934 they were finally able to realise her grandfather's ambition, and buy Benthall Hall. Unfortunately, only a few years later, her husband became mentally ill, and after attempting suicide he was confined in a mental hospital for the rest of his life. Benthall Hall was leased to a preparatory school for the duration of the Second World War, but afterwards Mary moved back, and lived there for the rest of her life. Having no children to inherit it, she consulted with her wealthy cousins, Sir 'Tom' Benthall (1893-1961) and Sir Paul Benthall (1902-92), and together they made over Benthall Hall to The National Trust, with the cousins providing an endowment to support the property in perpetuity. Mary remained as the Trust's tenant until her death in 1962, after which she was succeeded by Sir Paul. He handed over the tenancy in 1985 and it has since been held by his twin sons, James and Richard (b. 1933) and now by Richard's son, Edward (b. 1963). So there are still Benthalls at Benthall Hall, even though once again they no longer own the freehold. The National Trust opens the house to the public regularly in the summer months.

Benthall Hall, Broseley, Shropshire

A fine and well-preserved Elizabethan and Jacobean house, said to have been built on the site of its predecessor in 1583 for Lawrence Benthall (d. 1603), but refitted internally in the 1630s for Col. Lawrence Benthall, whose initials appear on a tablet on the porch. 

Benthall Hall: the entrance front in 2012. Image: Gammock. Some rights reserved.
The exterior seems to date entirely from the late 16th century, with the probable exception of the porch. The house is built of pale sandstone, and consists of two storeys plus gabled attics. The main south front is well balanced and pleasing to the eye, but almost entirely asymmetrical in detail. A broad and projecting gabled bay on the left represents the parlour cross-wing and there are three equal gables on the hall range, but the service cross-wing on the right does not project although it has an asymmetrical gable mirroring that on the parlour range. 
Benthall Hall: early 20th century photograph, showing the porch entered from the front.
Image: Historic England.
The fenestration of the floors below bears no relation to the spacing of the windows in the attics, and includes two deep canted bays and the square porch as well as three- and four-light mullioned and transomed windows. The porch is now entered from the side, although early photographs show it being entered from the front, and both entrances may have been used at different times in the past. Above both entrances four patterned discs are set into the walling in a pattern believed to  represent Christ's stigmata, and intended as a sign to contemporaries that this was a Catholic household.

Benthall Hall: plans of ground and first floors. Image: The National Trust. 
The house has a fairly conventional Elizabethan plan, with the porch giving access to the lower end of a central hall. There was probably originally a screens passage here, which may have been removed when the interior was refitted in the 17th century, or more probably later, when minor alterations were made in the 18th century. The bay window to the left of the porch lights the dais end of the hall, and the fireplace overmantel, with the arms of the Benthall and Cassy families, dates from the 17th century refitting. A 19th century tenant, the tilemaker George Maw, laid down a spectacular but inappropriate encaustic tiled floor in the hall in 1859, but this was floored over in 1918 and forgotten about until restoration work in the 1980s; a small area of it has been left exposed. To the right of the hall is the dining room, which has early 17th century panelling with fluted pilasters supporting a timber frieze, although its plaster ceiling was lost in the 19th century. A timber overmantel rising the full height of the room, again with the Benthall and Cassy arms, incorporates a fireplace surrround of the 1760s, no doubt to the designs of T.F. Pritchard. 

Benthall Hall: dining room. Image: Selwyn Ray.

Benthall Hall: staircase. Image: ©National Trust Images/Tim Imrie.
On the other side of the hall, the main staircase separates the hall from the drawing room. The original stair was no doubt in the projection at the rear of the house, but it was replaced as part of the general refitting of the house in the 1630s with the present richly-carved open well staircase. It rises through two full storeys, and has big square baluster-shaped newel posts and bold finials, and flat openwork panels that incorporate the Cassy wyvern among the decorative details

Benthall Hall: drawing room. Image: Selwyn Ray
The ground-floor drawing room in the south-west corner is the most richly decorated interior in the house, and was probably the Great Chamber in the 17th century. Like the dining room, it has a full-height overmantel incorporating a Pritchard fireplace surround (for which his design survives). The walls have panelling with tapering pilasters framing enriched fields, above which is a deep plaster frieze with grotesques derived from a Mannerist pattern book enclosing roundels with a variety of beasts; the frieze is nearly identical to one at Abcott Manor, Clungunford (Shrops.). The ceiling has beams dividing it into six fields, all decorated with bold strapwork. The woodwork and plasterwork is now painted cream, making this a delightfully light room, but Victorian photographs show the panelling unpainted, which would be a more authentic period effect. On the first floor, above the hall is a large room, now the library, which was probably the original Elizabethan great chamber. It has a heavily beamed ceiling and relatively simple panelling, although some decoration may have been lost when it was divided into two rooms in the 19th century. Like the drawing room it is now all painted cream.

Benthall Hall: the first-floor library. Image: Selwyn Ray

Descent: Thomas Crompton sold 1562 to Richard Benthall (d. 1575); to son, Lawrence Benthall (d. 1603); to brother, John Benthall (d. 1633); to son, Col. Lawrence Benthall (1590- 1652); to son, Philip Benthall (1634-1713); to son, Richard Benthall (c.1673-1720); to cousin and fiancée, Elizabeth Browne (1686-1738); to brother, John Browne (c.1692-1746); to brother, Ralph Browne (1696-1763); to widow Anne (1705-67); to brother, Francis Turner Blithe (1709-70); to daughter, Lucia, wife of Francis Turner and later of Rev. Edward Harries (d. 1812); to son, Thomas Harries, who sold 1844 to John George Weld Weld-Forester (1801-74), 2nd Baron Forester; to brother, George Cecil Weld Weld-Forester (1807-86), 3rd Baron Forester; to brother, Orlando Watkin Weld Weld-Forester (1813-94), 4th Baron Forester; to son, Cecil Theodore Weld-Forester (1842-1917), 5th Baron Forester; to son, George Cecil Beaumont Weld-Forester (1867-1932), 6th Baron Forester; to son, George Cecil Wilfrid West-Forester (1899-1977), 7th Baron Forester, who sold 1934 to  James Floyer Dale (later Benthall) (d. 1942) and his wife Mary Clementina Benthall (1879-1960), who joined with her cousins, Sir 'Tom' and Sir Paul Benthall in giving the house in 1958 to The National Trust. The Benthall family have continued as tenants, with the lease granted in 1962 to Sir (Arthur) Paul Benthall (1902-92) passing before 1985 to his son, James Holme Benthall (b. 1933) and then to his twin brother, Richard Pringle Benthall (b. 1933) and to the latter's son, Edward Anfrid Pringle Benthall (b. 1963). The house was also let while owned by the Weld-Foresters, with tenants including George and Arthur Maw (who divided the house between them) and Robert Bateman (1842-1922), who was here between 1890 and 1906.

Benthall family of Benthall Hall

Benthall, William (d. 1573). Son of Robert Benthall and his wife Katherine, daughter of Robert Willaston. He married Agnes alias Anne (d. 1559), daughter of [forename unknown] Caswell of Lilleshall (Shrops.), and had issue:
(1) Richard Benthall (d. 1575) (q.v.);
(2) John Benthall [for whom see below, under Bentall family of Halstead and Totnes];
(3) Jane or Joan Benthall; married Henry Wall;
(4) William Benthall; 
(5) Francis Benthall;
(6) Anne Benthall;
(7) Mary Benthall;
(8) Margery Benthall.
He was the tenant of Benthall Hall.
He was buried at Much Wenlock (Shrops.), 7 March 1572/3. His wife was buried at Much Wenlock, 9 May 1559.

Benthall, Richard (d. 1575). Eldest son of William Benthall (d. 1573) and his wife Agnes Caswell of Lilleshall (Shrops.). He married Johanna alias Jane (d. 1597), daughter of Lawrence Ludlow of Morehouse (Shrops.) and had issue including:
(1) Lawrence Benthall (d. 1603) (q.v.);
(2) Maria Benthall; married Richard Buck and had issue three sons;
(3) Elizabeth Benthall; married Richard or William Fowler of Bricton and had issue one son and one daughter;
(4) Dorothy Benthall; married 1st, 28 June 1582 at Benthall, George Willaston of Prees and had issue; married 2nd, 9 June 1590 at Much Wenlock, Thomas Mason of Church Stretton, and had issue one son and one daughter;
(5) Ellena Benthall; married, 12 February 1592 at Benthall, Richard Hawkins of Penkridge (Staffs) and had issue one daughter;
(6) Michael Benthall; 
(7) William Benthall; 
(8) George Benthall; 
(9) Francis Benthall; 
(10) Roland Benthall; 
(11) John Benthall (d. 1633) (q.v.);
(12) Edward Benthall;
(13) Maurice Benthall (d. 1609); buried at Much Wenlock, 7 October 1609;
(14) Richard Benthall; married Katherine, daughter of Richard Cotterell, and had issue two sons;
(15) Alice Benthall (d. 1559); buried at Much Wenlock, 13 March 1558/9.
He purchased the freehold of Benthall Hall in 1562.
He was buried at Much Wenlock, 6 July 1575; an inquisition post mortem was held in 1576/7. His widow was buried at Much Wenlock, 26 October 1597.

Benthall, Lawrence (d. 1603). Eldest son of Richard Benthall (d. 1575) and his wife Johanna alias Jane, daughter of Lawrence Ludlow of Morehouse (Shrops.). Bailiff of Wenlock, 1593-94. He married Cecily (d. 1616), probably a daughter of George Forster of Evelith, Shifnal (Shrops.), and had issue:
(1) Jane Benthall (b. & d. 1575), baptised at Much Wenlock (Shrops.), 24 July 1575; died in infancy and was buried at Much Wenlock, 24 September 1575;
(2) Ellen Benthall (b. 1577), baptised at Much Wenlock, 24 February 1576/7; married Brian Badger;
(3) Richard Benthall (b. & d. 1578), baptised at Much Wenlock, 19 February 1577/8; died in infancy and was buried at Much Wenlock, 1 September 1578;
(4) Rowland Benthall (1579-90?), baptised at Much Wenlock, 14 June 1579; died young; possibly the Rowland [no surname given] who was 'killed upon Benthall Marsh by one Philip Fletcher', who was buried at Much Wenlock, 8 January 1590;
(5) Edward Benthall (1580-1602), baptised at Much Wenlock, 23 March 1580; married Ann (d. 1602), daughter of Thomas Astley of Patshull and had issue one son (who died in infancy); slain by Henry Dawes on Benthall Marsh in the lifetime of his father, and was buried at Much Wenlock, 23 September 1602;
(6) Jane Benthall (b. 1582), baptised at Benthall, 14 August 1582; married Henry Dawes of Caughley Hall, Barrow (Shrops.), and had issue;
(7) Cecily Benthall (b. 1584), baptised at Benthall, 23 December 1584; married 1st, William Harwood and 2nd, Thomas Bromhall;
(8) Margery Benthall (1586-87), baptised at Benthall, 15 April 1586; died in infancy and was buried at Much Wenlock, 3 November 1587;
(9) Anne Benthall (b. 1588), baptised at Much Wenlock, 21 September 1588; married, 20 November 1619 at St Julian, Shrewsbury (Shrops.), Thomas Harries, and had issue one son;
(10) Elizabeth Benthall (b. 1590), baptised at Much Wenlock (Shrops.), 19 November 1590; married Edward Penn;
(11) Mary Benthall (b. 1592; fl. 1652), baptised at Benthall, 30 October 1595; married John Nechell;
(12) Frances Benthall; married Edward Adams, and had issue.
He inherited Benthall Hall from his father in 1575 and rebuilt it, reputedly in 1583.
He was buried at Much Wenlock, 8 November 1603; his will was proved in the PCC, 29 February 1604. His widow was buried at Much Wenlock, 12 November 1616.

Benthall, John (d. 1633). Younger son of Richard Benthall (d. 1575) and his wife Johanna alias Jane, daughter of Lawrence Ludlow of Morehouse (Shrops.). He married Joyce (d. 1643?), daughter of George Forster of Evelith in Shifnal (Shrops.), and had issue:
(1) Jane Benthall (b. 1589), baptised at Much Wenlock, 14 March 1588/9;
(2) Col. Lawrence Benthall (1590-1652) (q.v.);
(3) John Benthall (1591-1658?), baptised at Much Wenlock, 16 June 1591; apprenticed to a silk merchant in London; a representative of the East India Company at Gombroon (Persia) [now Bandar Abbas (Iran)], 1618-28, who returned with a personal fortune in silk; living in 1653 and was probably the man of this name who married, 28 September 1653 at St Andrew Undershaft, London, Anne, widow of Isaac Gould, and had issue, and whose will was proved 9 November 1658;
(4) Elizabeth Benthall (b. c.1592; fl. 1652), born about 1592; married Roger Mohun alias Mone of Posenhall (Shropshire) and had issue at least one daughter;
(5) Richard Benthall (fl. 1623);
(6) Sampson Benthall (1603?-67), of Upton-on-Severn (Worcs), said to have been born in 1603; married 1st, 10 March 1636 at Ludlow (Shrops.), Mary Floyd (d. 1654), and had issue; married 2nd, Katherine [surname unknown]; will proved in the PCC, 26 November 1667;
(7) Cecilia Benthall; married, 1633, John Archer.
He inherited Benthall Hall from his elder brother in 1603.
He was buried at Much Wenlock, 7 September 1633. His widow is said to have died in 1643.

Benthall, Col. Lawrence (1590-1652). Eldest son of John Benthall (d. 1633) and his wife Joyce, daughter of George Forster of Evelith (Shrops.), baptised at Broseley (Shrops.), 3 June 1590. Educated at Oriel College, Oxford (matriculated 1610) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1611). He was a staunch supporter of the Royalist cause and was appointed Commissioner to raise funds to support Prince Rupert's forces. From 1642-45 he garrisoned Benthall Hall for the king, but after the fall of Shrewsbury it was captured by the Parliamentarians, who garrisoned it in their turn. The Royalists tried unsuccessfully to recapture it later in 1645, when the church was destroyed, but the damage to the house was relatively minor. The estate was sequestrated and Col. Benthall paid a fine of £230 for a pardon and its recovery. He was suspected of being a Roman Catholic (as his wife certainly was), and the absence of most of his children from the parish registers would seem to support this. He married Catherine (1594-1663), daughter of Thomas Cassy (d. 1634) of Wightfield, Deerhurst and Cassey Compton (Glos), and had issue:
(1) Col. Cassey Benthall (d. 1646), an officer in the Royalist army; educated at Shrewsbury School (admitted 1641); he was taken prisoner at the capture of Shrewsbury, 1645, but escaped from custody, only to be killed at the Battle of Stow on the Wold (Glos), 21 March 1646;
(2) Katherine Benthall (1619-24), baptised at Deerhurst (Glos), 16 January 1618/9; died young and was buried at Much Wenlock (Shrops.), 30 July 1624;
(3) Cassandra Benthall (1620-37), baptised at Deerhurst (Glos), 31 January 1619/20; died unmarried and was buried at Much Wenlock (Shrops.), 7 April 1637;
(4) Frances Benthall (b. c.1621)*, born about 1621;
(5) Joyce Benthall (b. c.1622)*, born about 1622;
(6) Penelope Benthall (b. c.1623)*, born about 1623;
(7) Dorothy Benthall (b. 1629), baptised at Deerhurst (Glos), 26 July 1629; living in 1652;
(8) Mary Benthall (fl. 1652); living in 1652;
(9) Philip Benthall (c.1632-1713) (q.v.);
(10) Edward Benthall (d. 1679) (q.v.)
(11) Abigail Benthall (d. 1667); died unmarried and was buried at Much Wenlock, 8 March 1666/7;
(12) Lucy Benthall (fl. 1652); living and unmarried in 1652;
(13) John Benthall (d. 1638); buried at Much Wenlock, 30 September 1638.
He inherited Benthall Hall from his father in 1633 and remodelled the interior before 1642.
He died 13 November and was buried at Much Wenlock, 16 November 1652; his will was proved in the Commonwealth probate court, 6 June 1653. His widow was buried at Benthall, 2 April 1663.
* One of these daughters married Thomas Wells (fl. 1653) and another Sir [forename unknown] Anderson, kt.; the latter died shortly before 1652.

Benthall, Philip (c.1632-1713). Son of Col. Lawrence Benthall (1590-1652) and his wife Katherine, daughter of Thomas Cassy of Wightfield, Deerhurst and Cassey Compton (Glos), born about 1632. He married Joyce Evans, and had issue:
(1) Anne Benthall (c.1669-1751); married, 20 July 1699 at Darfield (Yorks WR), John Rotherham (1669-1706) of Dronfield (Derbys), and had issue one son and one daughter; buried at Dronfield (Derbys), 30 October 1751;
(2) Elizabeth Benthall (c.1670-1741), born about 1670; married, 6 May 1692 at Carlton-in-Lindrick (Notts), William Langley (d. 1706) of Rotherham (Yorks WR), mercer, son of Arthur Langley of Rathorpe Hall, Walton (Yorks WR), and had issue four sons and four daughters; died 5 November 1741;
(3) Richard Benthall (c.1673-1720) (q.v.).
He inherited Benthall Hall from his father in 1652 and came of age in 1655.
He died 26 July and was buried at Benthall, 1 August 1713. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Benthall, Richard (c.1673-1720). Only son of Philip Benthall (1634-1713) and his wife Joyce Evans, born about 1673. At the time of his death he was engaged to his first cousin once removed, Elizabeth Browne (1686-1738) (q.v.), but he died unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Benthall Hall from his father in 1713, and bequeathed it, together with lands in Posenhall, Wyke, Atterley and Broseley, to his fiancée. The will was contested by his sisters in a case which went all the way to the House of Lords, where it was decided in 1746 in favour of John Browne, the brother of Elizabeth Browne (who had died by then).
He was buried at Benthall, 9 May 1720.

Benthall, Edward (d. 1679). Son of Col. Lawrence Benthall (1590-1652) and his wife Katherine, daughter of Thomas Cassy of Wightfield, Deerhurst and Cassey Compton (Glos), said to have been born 6 December 1623, but in reality probably the youngest son. He married Fortune (d. 1695), a recusant in 1682, said to be the daughter of Humphrey Hyde of Hopton Wafers (Shrops.), and had issue:
(1) Katherine Benthall (1663-1709) (q.v.);
(2) Elizabeth Benthall (1664-71), baptised at Benthall, 7 December 1664; died young and was buried at Benthall, 5 June 1671;
(3) Charles Benthall (b. & d. 1666), baptised at Benthall, 16 January 1665/6; died in infancy and was buried at Benthall, 17 December 1666;
(4) Abigail Benthall (b. & d. 1667), baptised at Benthall, 7 February 1666/7; died in infancy and was buried at Benthall, 8 March 1666/7.
He lived at Benthall or Much Wenlock.
He was buried at Much Wenlock, 25 June 1679. His widow died 30 September and was buried at Benthall, 1 October 1695.

Benthall, Katherine (1663-1709). Only surviving child of Edward Benthall (d. 1679) and his wife Fortune, daughter of Humphrey Hyde of Hopton Wafers (Shrops.), baptised at Broseley (Shrops.), 18 July 1663. She married, 4 May 1681 at Benthall, Ralph Browne (1658-1707) of Caughley Hall, Barrow (Shrops.), high sheriff of Shropshire, 1687-88, and had issue*:
(1) Margaret Browne (b. & d. 1682), baptised at Benthall, 28 March 1682; died in infancy and was buried at Benthall, 3 October 1682;
(2) Katherine Browne (b. & d. 1684), baptised at Benthall, 14 April 1684; died in infancy and was buried at Benthall, 16 June 1684;
(3) Ralph Browne (b. & d. 1685), baptised at Barrow, 16 July 1685; died in infancy and was buried at Benthall, 10 June 1685;
(4) Elizabeth Browne (1686-1738), baptised at Barrow (Shrops.), 14 October 1686; engaged to Richard Benthall (d. 1720) (q.v.) of Benthall at the time of his death and inherited his property; died unmarried, 28 April 1738;
(5) Edward Browne (1688-1740), baptised at Barrow, 5 April 1688; lived at Caughley Hall, Barrow; buried at Benthall, 31 May 1740;
(6) Mary Browne (b. 1690), baptised at Barrow, 16 March 1689/90; probably the woman of this name who married, 20 May 1719 at Benthall, William Churchman? of Much Wenlock (Shrops.);
(7) John Browne (c.1692-1746), born about 1692; inherited the Benthall Hall estate from his sister, 1738; died unmarried? and was buried at Benthall, 17 June 1746; will proved in the PCC, 1 July 1747;
(8) Charles Browne (1695-1717), baptised at Barrow, 11 July 1695; died unmarried and was buried at Benthall, 28 June 1717;
(9) Ralph Browne (1696-1763) (q.v.).
She died 16 August and was buried at Benthall, 21 August 1709, where she and her husband are commemorated by a monument. Her husband died 23 August 1707 and was buried at Barrow; his will was proved 18 April 1709.
* According to her monument at Benthall, she and her husband had ten children, of whom six survived, but I have traced only nine.

Browne, Ralph (1696-1763). Fifth and youngest son of Ralph Browne (1658-1707) and his wife Katherine, only surviving child of Edward Benthall of Much Wenlock (Shrops.), baptised at Barrow, 12 October 1696. He married, 20 February 1734, Ann (1705-67), daughter of William Turner of Shrewsbury, and had issue:
(1) Ralph Browne (1736-38), born 13 November and baptised at St Chad, Shrewsbury, 14 November 1736; died in infancy and was buried at St Chad, Shrewsbury, 25 October 1738. 
He inherited the Benthall estate from his brother in 1746. At his death it passed to his widow and then to her brother, Francis Turner (later Turner Blithe) (1709-70).
He died 9 May 1763 and was buried at Benthall; will proved in the PCC, 31 December 1763. His widow was buried at Benthall, 23 March 1767.

Bentall family of Halstead and Totnes

Benthall, John*. Second son of William Benthall (d. 1573) and his wife Agnes Caswell of Lilleshall (Shrops.). He married Agnes Barbar, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Bentall (b. 1564), baptised at Halstead, 27 March 1564;
(2) William Bentall (b. 1567), baptised at Halstead, 9 November 1567;
(3) Anthony Bentall (b. 1569) (q.v.).
He lived in Essex.
His date of death is unknown. His wife might be the 'Widow Benthall' buried at Halstead, 30 April 1601.
* Some sources give his name as Thomas.

Bentall, Anthony (b. 1569; fl. 1615). Third son of John Bentall and his wife Agnes Barbar, baptised at Halstead, 8 October 1569. He married, 1588 at St Gregory, Sudbury (Suffk), Christian Hurn or Hum, and had issue:
(1) Ann Bentall (b. 1590), baptised at Earls Colne, 5 March 1590; probably died young;
(2) Anthony Bentall (1593-1662) (q.v.);
(3) Elizabeth Bentall (b. 1596), baptised at Earls Colne, 19 February 1595/6;
(4) George Bentall (b. 1598), baptised at Earls Colne, 18 April 1598; probably died young;
(5) Anne Bentall (b. 1600), baptised at Halstead, 4 January 1600/1;
(6) John Bentall (b. 1603), baptised at Halstead, 5 May 1603;
(7) William Bentall (b. 1606), baptised at Halstead, 5 May 1606;
(8) Thomas Bentall (b. 1609), baptised at Halstead, 9 November 1609;
(9) George Bentall (b. 1615), baptised at Halstead, 20 February 1614/5.
He lived in Essex.
His date of death is unknown. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Bentall, Anthony (1593-1662). Eldest son of Anthony Bentall (b. 1569) and his wife Christian Hurn or Hum, baptised at Earls Colne (Essex), 1 April 1593. High Constable of Hinckford Hundred (Essex), 1649-52. He married, 10 September 1620 at Ridgewell (Essex), Ann Manners (1596-1677) of Langham and Halstead (Essex), and had issue:
(1) Anne Bentall (1621-24), baptised at Halstead (Essex), 12 June 1621; died young and was buried at Halstead, 26 October 1624;
(2) Margaret Bentall (b. 1622), baptised at Halstead, 5 November 1622;
(3) Anthony Bentall (b. 1624; fl. 1665), baptised at Halstead, 5 February 1623/4; married, 1653 at Halstead, Catherine Sweeting (fl. 1665), and had issue at least one son and one daughter;
(4) William Bentall (1625-27), baptised at Halstead, 25 September 1625; died in infancy and was buried at Halstead, 20 January 1626/7;
(5) John Bentall (1627-79) (q.v.);
(6) Thomas Bentall (b. 1628), baptised at Halstead, 14 September 1628;
(7) Amy Bentall (b. 1629), baptised at Halstead, 25 October 1629;
(8) Mary Bentall (b. 1630), baptised at Halstead, 24 October 1630;
(9) Charles Bentall (d. 1661); will proved 18 February 1661/2.
He lived in Essex.
He was buried at Halstead, 17 January 1661/2; his will was proved 18 February 1661/2. His widow was probably the 'Old Mistris Bentall' buried at Halstead, 3 August 1677.

Bentall, John (1627-79). Third son of Anthony Benthall of Essex and his wife Anne Manners of Langham and Halstead (Essex), baptised at Little Dunmow (Essex), 27 March 1627. Brewer in Halstead. He married, 1652 at Bury St. Edmunds (Suffk), Mary (d. 1669), daughter of William Carter of Gestingthorpe (Essex), and had issue:
(1) William Bentall (d. 1726) (q.v.);
(2) John Bentall (1653-1700), born 26 February 1653; married Katherine [surname unknown] (who m2, 1715, John Tweed) and had issue at least one daughter; will proved 17 August 1700;
(3) Elizabeth Bentall (1662-63), baptised at Halstead, 19 May 1662; died in infancy and was buried at Halstead, 26 January 1662/3;
(4) Charles Bentall (b. 1662), baptised at Halstead, 19 May 1662;
(5) Anna Bentall (b. 1663), baptised at Halstead, 2 January 1663; died in infancy and was buried at Halstead, 8 January 1663;
(6) Laurence Bentall (b. 1664), baptised at Halstead, 20 January 1664; married Mary [surname unknown] and had issue; living in 1696;
(7) Anne Bentall (b. 1666), baptised at Halstead, 4/14 August 1666; died in infancy and was buried at Halstead, 7 August 1666;
(8) Anne Bentall (b. 1668), baptised at Halstead, 22 December 1668; possibly the woman of this name who married, 19 November 1696 at Halstead, Robert Sage.
He lived at Halstead (Essex).
His will was proved 26 February 1678/9. His wife was buried at Halstead, 30 October 1669.

Bentall, William (d. 1726). Eldest son of John Bentall of Halstead (Essex) and his wife Mary, daughter of William Carter of Gestingthorpe (Essex). Clothier at Halstead. He married Mary [surname unknown] and had issue:
(1) Anthony Bentall (fl. 1726) of Plaistow House (Essex), inherited the family property at Halstead from his father, but sold it; died without issue; 
(2) William Bentall (d. 1761); probably buried at Halstead, 2 May 1761;
(3) Hannah Bentall (b. 1688; d. by 1724), baptised at Halstead, 1 August 1688; married John Shaw;
(4) John Bentall (1690-1750) (q.v.);
(5) Arthur Bentall (1692-1778?), baptised at Halstead, 1 January 1693; farmer at Felsted (Essex); married 1st, 28 April 1725 at Bocking (Essex), Sarah Bentall of South Halstead (Essex), and 2nd, 30 September 1731 at Sible Hedingham, Elizabeth Allen of Steeple Bumpstead (Essex), and had issue; possibly the man of this name buried at Halstead, 1778; will proved in the PCC, 23 January 1779;
(6) Mary Bentall (d. 1741?); married, 5 September 1710 at Sible Hedingham (Essex), as his second wife, Francis Turner, and had issue; probably buried at Halstead, 29 August 1741;
(7) Katherine Bentall (fl. 1724); married, 8 December 1708 at Sible Hedingham (Essex), John Wilkin of Halstead;
(8) Susan Bentall (1696-1726?), baptised at Halstead, 26 March 1696; married John Dennis; possibly buried at All Saints, Colchester, 26 February 1726;
(9) Anne Bentall (b. 1699; fl. 1725), baptised at Halstead, 28 May 1699; married, 7 July 1725 at Sible Hedingham, John Wing of Fulbourn (Cambs).
He lived at Halstead (Essex).
His burial has not been traced; his will was proved 13 June 1726. His wife was living in 1724; her date of death is unknown.

Bentall, John (1690-1750). Third son of William Benthall of Halstead (Essex) and his wife, said to have been born 27 December 1690. Wine merchant in Colchester. He married 1st, 13 November 1717 at Sible Hedingham (Essex), Ann Sparrow of Halstead, and 2nd, 2 July 1734 at St Martin, Colchester, Elizabeth (1709-83), daughter of Rev. William Thornton of Birkin (Yorks WR), and had issue:
(2.1) John Benthall (b. & d. 1735), said to have been born in 1735 and died in infancy; 
(2.2) William Benthall (1736-1811) (q.v.);
(2.3) John Bentall (1738-42), born 6 June and baptised at St Mary-le-Walls, Colchester, 6 July 1738; died young when he was drowned at Middle Mill, Colchester (Essex); buried at St Mary-le-Walls, Colchester, 7 May 1742;
(2.4) Elizabeth Bentall (1744-1810), born 24 February and baptised at St Mary-le-Walls, 22 March 1743/4; married, 24 February 1764 at All Saints, Colchester, Thomas Mendham (1732-1812) of Islington (Middx), secretary to the Master of the Rolls, and had issue seven children (of whom five died young); buried at St Mary, Islington, 14 May 1810.
He lived at Colchester (Essex).
He died suddenly while on a business trip to Portugal, 1750, and was buried there. His widow was buried at Totnes, 1 October 1783.

William Bentall (1736-1811) 
Image: National Trust
Bentall, William (1736-1811).
Second but only surviving son of John Benthall (1690-1750) of Colchester (Essex) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. William Thornton of Birkin (Yorks WR), born 20 December 1736 and baptised at Colchester, 11 January 1736/7. Following the death of his father he was apprenticed to his uncle, John Thornton of Kingsbridge (Devon). He began his independent commercial life as a grain merchant in Kingsbridge, who also traded in cider, wool and wine, but after his sister was married in 1764 his mother moved to live with him and he relocated to a large house in Totnes which remained in the family for nearly a century. In 1792 he became the managing partner of the Totnes Bank, which he founded with his cousin Henry Thornton, Ayshford Wise and Christopher Farwell. Mayor of Totnes, 1799-1800, 1808-09. He married, 12 August 1777 at Dartington (Devon), Grace (1743-1802), daughter of William Searle of Allerton (Devon), and had issue:
(1) William Searle Benthall (1778-1854) (q.v.);
(2) Elizabeth Bentall (1779-1848), baptised at Totnes, 9 October 1779; married, 27 January 1800 at Totnes, Samuel Adams (1769-1842), son of William Adams (1723-89) of Totnes, and had issue six sons and four daughters; buried at Mitcham (Surrey), 10 January 1848; will proved in the PCC, 24 May 1848;
(3) Thornton Bentall (1781-1844), born February and baptised at Totnes, 17 May 1781; trained as a banker with Down & Co. in London and then took a year out to travel as purser on an East Indiaman to Madras and Calcutta, 1801-02; partner in the Totnes General Bank (a different concern to his father's Totnes Bank) with Walter Prideaux; an officer in the Totnes Voluntary Infantry (Lt.); twice mayor of Totnes; by 1841 he was renting Bowden House from Sir George Pownall Adams; after his death his widow lived with her nephew, the Rev. John Benthall, at Willen (Bucks); married, 31 July 1805 at Totnes, Margaret Eleanora Admonition (1787-1860), youngest daughter of Dr William Marshall, but had no legitimate issue*; buried at St James, St Pancras (Middx), 5 August 1844; will proved in the PCC, 14 August 1844;
(4) John Bentall (1782-1852), baptised at Totnes, 27 October 1782; wine and tea merchant and stockbroker in London; a clerk of the Petty Bag, 1812-42, when the office was abolished and he received a pension of £411 a year in compensation; freeman and patternmaker of London from 1803; became guardian of his younger sister's children after they were orphaned and is said to have been an aetheist in religion at one time; married, 6 January 1838 at St Michael, Stamford (Lincs), Frances Rooe (1805-63) and had issue two sons and one daughter; buried at Torquay (Devon), 12 June 1852; will proved in the PCC, 19 August 1852;
(5) Louisa Bentall (1783-1823), born 25 December 1783 and baptised at Totnes, 28 January 1785; married, 16 February 1810 at Totnes, William Marshall (1780-1828) of Exeter (Devon), an officer in the East India Company's merchant marine, 1795-1810 and later an army paymaster in Cape Town (South Africa) and Mauritius and a merchant at Leith (Midl.), youngest son of Rev. John Marshall, and had issue seven sons and two daughters; died, possibly of cholera, 24 March 1823;
(6) Henry Bentall (1785-1827), baptised at Totnes, 30 December 1785; collector of customs at Bridgetown (Barbados); married, 23 August 1812 at St Olave, Southwark (Surrey), Elizabeth (1775-1845), daughter of William Hawes and widow of Alexander Stewart (d. 1801), naval surgeon, but had no issue; died at Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, and was buried in Jamaica, 1827.
He lived at Totnes (Devon).
He died 10 March, and was buried at Dartington (Devon), 15 March 1811; his will was proved at Exeter, 1811. His wife was buried at Dartington, 28 December 1802.
* However it seems probable that he was the father of an illegitimate son, John Thornton Bentall, baptised at St Bride, Fleet St., London in 1801, whose parents were named as Thornton Bentall and Susanna Cutmore.

Benthall, William Searle (1778-1854). Eldest son of William Benthall (1736-1811) and his wife Grace Searle of Allerton (Devon), born 9 July and baptised at Totnes, 30 September 1778. Probably educated at Totnes Grammar School. Merchant at Totnes who was involved in several short-lived ventures. He was also a partner in the Totnes Bank in succession to his father, and in the Newton Bank at Newton Abbot, but the debts of two of his partners in the Newton Bank forced him into bankruptcy in 1841. He informally resumed the spelling of the family name as Benthall. He married, 5 December 1801, Mary Anne (1780-1866), daughter of William Marshall of Totnes (Devon), and had issue:
(1) William Bentall (1803-77), born 21 January and baptised at Totnes, 16 February 1803; educated at Westminster and Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1821); wine merchant and cider maker (as Bentall Lloyd & Co.), whose business suffered a severe reverse when his wine warehouse burned down in 1860, with the loss of his stock of bottled wines; bought his father's property in Totnes at the bankruptcy sale in 1843; mayor of Totnes, 1864; a schoolmate and friend of the inventor, Charles Babbage; married, 8 September 1831 at Totnes, Elizabeth (1809-71), daughter of Hubert Cornish, a judge in Bengal (India); died without issue, 16 June, and was buried at Dartington (Devon), 22 June 1877; will proved 13 August 1877 (effects under £10,000);
(2) Elizabeth Bentall (1804-86), born 19 November 1804 and baptised at Totnes, 4 January 1805; married, 17 June 1826 at Totnes, Thomas Nelson Waterfield (1799-1862), a senior civil servant with the Board of Control for India, 1818-61, son of William Waterfield, and had issue seven sons and four daughters; died 4 October 1886 and was buried at Exeter Higher Cemetery; will proved 29 November 1886 (effects £331);
(3) Rev. John Bentall (1806-87), born 8 February and baptised at Totnes, 6 March 1806; educated at Westminster and Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1824; BA 1828); usher at Westminster School, 1828-46, when he was dismissed for his failure to control the boys; ordained deacon, 1829 and priest, 1830; chaplain at Hounslow Barracks, 1846-52; vicar of Willen (Bucks), 1852-87; chaplain to Marquess of Ailsa, 1846-73; married 1st, 27 May 1835 at Berry Pomeroy (Devon), Harriet, daughter of Joseph Everett of Salisbury (Wilts), and had issue two sons; married 2nd, 7 May 1861 at Wroughton-on-the-Green (Bucks), Frances (1813-1908), daughter of William Levi of Moulsoe (Bucks); died 1 September 1887; will proved 6 October 1887 (effects £7,512);
(4) Edward Benthall (1807-89) (q.v.);
(5) Anna Bentall (1809-74), born 25 September and baptised at Totnes, 1 October 1809; married, 5 May 1827 at Totnes, James Gay (1791-1858) of London, solicitor, son of James Gay of Southwark (Surrey) and Gimingham (Norfk), and had issue two sons and two daughters; died 20 January and was buried at Orcheston St Mary (Wilts), 24 January 1874; will proved 23 March 1874 (effects under £800);
(6) Henry Bentall (1811-79), born 29 June and baptised at Totnes, 2 August 1811; trained for business in Duckett & Morland's Bank, London and became a coal merchant and later a wine merchant and general merchant in partnership with two brothers called Hill, who are said to have ruined him; he was imprisoned for debt for several months in 1840; later he was involved in many different businesses and was made bankrupt again in 1866 and 1872; after which he retired to Hampton (Middx); he married 1st, 13 July 1840 at St Alfege, Greenwich (Kent), Mary (c.1806-42), daughter of Thomas Walker, watchmaker, and widow of William Newham (d. 1826) and James Archer (c.1791-1838); married 2nd, 20 May 1843 at St Clement Danes, London, Sarah Ellen (1819-1913), daughter of William Harkness, surgeon, and had issue one son; died 25 October and was buried at St James, New Hampton (Middx), 30 October 1879; will proved 5 January 1882 (effects £5);
(7) Alfred Bentall (1813-39), born 19 January and baptised at Totnes, 30 January 1813; joined the Royal Navy, 1826 (Midshipman, 1828; discharged 1834), and was later a captain in the merchant marine; married, 1 October 1839 at St Botolph, Aldgate, London, Elizabeth Ann Ackland (1818-40) who had already borne him an illegitimate daughter in 1837 and bore him a posthumous son; he was drowned while attempting to salvage the brig Permie which had been wrecked on a sand bar in the Adriatic Sea, December 1839; will proved 26 February 1840 and a grant of administration made to his brother, May 1842;
(8) Thornton Bentall (1814-98), born 7 October and baptised at Totnes, 9 November 1814; educated at Totnes Grammar School and Westminster School; apprenticed to his uncle, John Bentall, patternmaker, 1829; stockbroker, scrivener and dealer in railway shares in London and Croydon (Surrey) who decamped to France in 1845 leaving debts of £50,000 and being declared bankrupt, but no serious attempt seems to have been made to trace him; he made a new life under the assumed name 'Thomas Bennett' in Denmark and later Norway, where he became a teacher of languages and one of the first travel agents and founded a business which survived him for nearly a century; he travelled freely to England by 1860 at the latest, and was an acquaintance of George Bradshaw (who died of cholera while visiting him in 1853) and the novelist Jules Verne, and also a correspondent of Charles Darwin; he married, 18 May 1864 at Christiania (Oslo, Norway), his housekeeper, Inger Marie (1831-1903), daughter of Eric Sann, farmer, and had issue three sons; died in Oslo, 7 March 1898;
(9) Francis (k/a Frank) Bentall (later Benthall) (1816-1903), born 31 March and baptised at Totnes, 10 April 1816; educated at Totnes Grammar School and Westminster School; articled clerk to John Cole, solicitor; admitted a solicitor, 1839; an antiquarian (FSA, 1841) who acquired property in the neighbourhood of Benthall (Shrops.) and 'was generally obsessive about the genealogy of the Benthall family'; he bought the interest of his father and uncle in Buckfast Abbey, and obtained royal licence to spell his name Benthall; he decided in 1861 to change career and read for the bar at Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1861; called 1864) and became a conveyancer; after the death of his wife he moved to Boteler Lodge, Silsoe (Beds), where his antiquarian collections and pictures were opened to the public; he married, 17 December 1859 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster (Middx), Susanna (1807-71), daughter of John Aylward and widow of David Nicholas Bates (1791-1858) of Sudbury (Suffk), surgeon; died 6 May 1903 and was buried at Highgate Cemetery; will proved 18 July 1903 (estate £17,561);
(10) Octavius Bentall (1818-46), born 6 April and baptised at Totnes, 20 April 1818; an officer in the Royal Navy (Midshipman, 1837; Lt. 1845); drowned while attempting to cross the bar of Hokianga Bay (New Zealand) in the pinnace of HMS Osprey, 21 April 1846; will proved at Exeter, 1847;
(11) Louisa Bentall (1820-59), born 3 February and baptised at Totnes, 16 February 1820; acted for some time as housekeeper to her brother, Rev. John Bentall; died unmarried, 24 September 1859; will proved 17 February 1860 (effects under £1,500);
(12) Ellen Blayds Bentall (1822-65), born 27 May and baptised at Totnes, 14 August 1822; married, 6 November 1849 at Stanwell (Middx), Lt-Gen. Robert Romer Younghusband (1819-1905), Indian army officer (who m2, 10 August 1869 at Swainswick (Som.), Anna (1830-1905), daughter of Robert Grant Shaw of Hackney (Middx), merchant, and had further issue two sons), son of Maj-Gen. Charles Younghusband, and had issue six sons and three daughters; died at Nusseerabad, Bombay (India), 29 October 1865, and was buried there the following day;
(13) Mary Bentall (1823-1907), born 10 December 1823 and baptised at Totnes, 29 January 1824; married, 23 September 1843 at St George, Hanover Sq., Westminster, her first cousin, William Marshall (1807-85), a clerk in the War Office, son of Dr. Richard Marshall MD, and had issue five sons and three daughters; died 27 April and was buried at Willen (Bucks), 1 May 1907; will proved 25 June 1907 (estate £5,115);
(14) Arthur Bentall (1825-82), born 5 April and baptised at Totnes, 19 May 1825; educated at Westminster, Clare Hall, Cambridge (matriculated 1843; BA 1848; MA 1851) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted, 1843; called 1848); barrister-at-law, but did not practice and joined the General Post Office (Clerk, 1850; Under-Secretary, 1873; Inspector-General of Mails, 1877; Third Secretary, 1881); married, 1 September 1855 at Higham Gobion (Beds.), Alice Margaret Wardale (1826-86), but had no issue; died 16 February 1882; will proved 9 March 1882 (effects £10,258);
(15) Laura Bentall (1827-1912), born 1 October and baptised at Totnes, 21 October 1827; a competent artist; after her mother's death in 1866 she became financially independent and this was enhanced when she inherited the property of her elder brother, William Bentall, in 1877; she settled at Dawlish (Devon), where she lived in a large villa called Rockstone which an old family servant ran for her as a lodging house, chiefly for members of the family, until a few years before her death; she also travelled extensively in Europe; died unmarried, 11 December, and was buried at Dawlish, 16 December 1912; will proved 10 February 1913 (estate £10,301).
He and his brother Thornton bought the Buckfast Abbey (Devon) estate in 1813, but never seem to have lived there and it was leased for a time to his sister Elizabeth and her husband Samuel Adams, and later to Capt. Thomas White RN. His moiety was sold after his bankruptcy and both moieties were acquired by his son Frank but later sold. He then lived in London for some years, before returning to Totnes, where he was living in 1851. In 1852 he moved with his wife and unmarried daughters to live with his second son at Willen (Bucks). His widow remained at Willen until 1859 and then lived with Edward Benthall at Sherborne (Dorset) until her death.
He was buried at Willen (Bucks), 3 June 1854. His widow died in Sherborne, 15 December 1866; her will was proved 18 January 1867 (effects under £1,500).

Benthall, Edward (1807-89). Third son of William Searle Benthall (1778-1854) and his wife Mary Anne, daughter of William Marshall of Totnes (Devon), born 24 April and baptised at Totnes, 9 May 1807. Educated at Buckfastleigh Grammar School and East India College, Haileybury. He joined the East India Co. in 1827, eventually becoming a judge in the Indian Courts at Jessore (Bangladesh) and later at Alipore near Calcutta (India), retiring on health grounds in 1855. JP for Dorset, 1863-78, when he was obliged to resign as his landed income had fallen below the qualifying level; a Governor of Sherborne School, 1863-89, and also of other local charities. He married, 24 March 1840 at Totnes (Devon), his first cousin, Clementina (1818-1905), eldest daughter of Rev. William Marshall (1774-1864), rector of West Chickerell (Dorset), and had issue:
(1) Clement Benthall (1841-73), born at sea on the voyage to India, 28 August and was baptised at Calcutta (India), 21 November 1841; an officer in the 17th Bengal Lancers (2nd Lt., 1858; Lt., 1859; Capt. 1867); a freemason from 1871; died unmarried of gastritis at Allahabad (India), 3 September 1873 and was buried there the following day;
(2) Ernest Benthall (1843-1928) (q.v.);
(3) Edith Mary Benthall (1845-1932), born 14 April and baptised at Jessore, 5 July 1845; married, 5 April 1866 at Sherborne Abbey (Dorset), her first cousin, William Henry Bentall (1837-1909), a clerk in the India Office, son of Rev. John Bentall, rector of Willen (Bucks), and had issue three sons; died 16 November 1932; will proved 7 January 1933 (estate £1,047);
(4) Madeleine Anna Benthall (1847-92), born at Alipore, 22 September and baptised at Kidderpore, Bengal, 18 October 1847; married, 19 April 1881 at Sherborne Abbey, Edward Robert Dale (1853-1903) of Glanvilles Wootton Manor (Dorset), and had issue one son (who married his cousin, Mary Clementina Benthall (1879-1960) (q.v.)) and one daughter; died 29 August and was buried at Sherborne, 1 September 1892; will proved 27 October 1892 (effects £2,358);
(5) Bertha Margaret Benthall (1850-1944), born at Alipore, 9 November, and baptised at Agra, Bengal, 11 December 1850; died unmarried, 11 September, and was buried at Sherborne, 14 September 1940; will proved 22 December 1940 (estate £3,378);
(6) Winfred Benthall (1853-1912), born at sea between India and Wynberg, Cape of Good Hope (South Africa), September 1853; educated at Sherborne School, Pembroke College, Cambridge (matriculated 1872; BA 1876; MA 1898; MB 1881) and St Thomas' Hospital, London; qualified as a physician (MRCS, 1879; LSA, 1880) and was in practice near Derby and as a consultant physician at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary; retired to Shiplake, Starcross (Devon) about 1908; married, 1892, Phoebe Mary Christina (1849-1921), daughter of Henry Harrison of Maple Lodge, Surbiton (Surrey) and widow of Matthew Turner Shaw of Wimbledon (Surrey), but had no issue; died 3 August 1912; will proved 14 October 1912 (estate £15,702);
(7) Alfred Elliott Benthall (1856-86), baptised at Sherborne, 7 January 1857; educated at Sherborne School and University College, London; physician and surgeon (MRCS 1879; FRCPEd, 1883); house surgeon at Hartlepool Hospital (Co. Durham), 1880-82 and later in practice at Sherborne; died unmarried, 14 June, and was buried at Sherborne, 19 June 1886; will proved 31 July 1886 (effects £1,407);
(8) Rev. Octavius Arthur (k/a Octo) Benthall (1859-1900), baptised at Sherborne, 26 August 1859; educated at Hertford College, Oxford (matriculated 1877; BA 1880; MA 1883); ordained deacon, 1882, and priest, 1883; curate of Willen (Bucks), 1882-88; rector of Oborne (Dorset), 1888-94 and vicar of Haydon and rector of Goathill (Dorset), 1898-1900; married, 5 July 1888 at St Mark, Surbiton (Surrey), Annie Brassey (1847-1926), daughter of Henry Harrison of Maple Lodge, Surbiton, but had no issue; died 10 August and was buried at Haydon, 13 August 1900; will proved 20 October 1900 (estate £3,734);
(9) Rev. Charles Francis Benthall (1861-1936) (q.v.).
After retiring, he lived at Sherborne (Dorset). He tried to buy Benthall Hall in 1844 but was outbid at auction.
He died 9 June and was buried at Sherborne, 13 June 1889; his will was proved 12 July 1889 (effects £3,126). His widow died 30 January and was buried at Sherborne, 2 February 1905; her will was proved 29 March 1905 (estate £7,599).

Benthall, Ernest (1843-1928). Second son of Edward Benthall (1807-89) and his wife Clementina, eldest daughter of Rev. W. Marshall, rector of West Chickerell (Dorset), born at Jessore (Bangladesh) (in the house there built by Lord Clive), 14 April and baptised 30 May 1843. Educated at Sherborne School. A clerk in the India Office (Junior Clerk, 1862; Senior Clerk, 1877; retired 1889). Commissioner of Taxes, 1897-1917; JP for Breconshire. He taught himself the Welsh language but never became a fluent Welsh speaker. He was a Life Governor of the Welsh Girls School at Ashford (Kent) and a Life Member of the Bible Society. He married, 28 December 1876 at Ystradgynlais (Brecons.), Jane Rogers (1848-1906), only surviving child of William Price MRCS of Glantwrch, and had issue:
(1) Dorothy Benthall (1878-1904), born 16 May and baptised at St Mary, West Brompton (Middx), 18 June 1878; died unmarried, 12 April 1904; administration of goods granted to her father, 4 May 1904 (estate £1,029);
(2) Mary Clementina Benthall (1879-1960) (q.v.).
He lived at Kensington (Middx) while working at the India Office but about 1891 moved to Glantwrch House, Ystradgynlais (Brecons.), which his wife had inherited from her father. He seems to have left Glantwrch and moved to Ystalyfera House (Glam.), but in 1917 bought Countess Wear House (Devon).
He died 22 January, and was buried at Ystradgynlais (Brecons), 26 January 1928. His wife died 6 April 1906; administration of her goods was granted 16 July 1906 (estate £1,913).

Benthall, Mary Clementina (1879-1960). Second but only surviving daughter of Ernest Benthall (1843-1928) and his wife Jane Rogers, only surviving child of William Price MRCS, born 6 July and baptised at St Andrew, Kensington (Middx), 10 August 1879. She and her husband took the surname Benthall in 1935. Her husband became mentally ill in 1937 and attempted suicide by throwing himself down a well at Benthall Hall, but survived, although after he recovered he was cared for in mental hospitals for the rest of his life. She married, 17 October 1933, her cousin, James Floyer Dale (1883-1942), electrical engineer, only son of Edward Robert Dale of Glanvilles Wootton Manor (Dorset), but had no issue.
She and her husband bought Benthall Hall for £6,000 in 1934, and she gave the house to the National Trust in 1958, with her cousins, Sir Edward and Sir Paul Benthall providing an endowment. From 1941-45 the house was leased to Langley Place preparatory school near Slough, which needed to move to a safer area.
She died 24 September 1960; her will was proved 11 May 1961 (estate £53,316). Her husband died 17 January 1942; his will was proved 12 October 1942 (estate £2,789).

Rev. C.F. Benthall on holiday in Morocco, 1925, 
by Alethea Garstin. Image: National Trust.
Benthall, Rev. Charles Francis (1861-1936).
ixth son of Edward Benthall (1807-89) and his wife Clementina, eldest daughter of Rev. W. Marshall, rector of West Chickerell (Dorset), born 9 August and baptised at Sherborne, 11 September 1861. Educated at Sherborne, Pembroke College, Cambridge (matriculated 1880; BA 1883; MA 1887) and Salisbury Theological College. Briefly a schoolmaster a Godalming (Surrey) before being ordained deacon, 1888 and priest, 1890. Curate of St Martin, Salisbury, 1888-91; vicar of Cofton (Devon), 1891-1918; rural dean of Kenn, 1909-12. Chaplain at Tangier (Morocco), 1923-24. He married, 19 July 1888 at Wimbledon (Surrey), Annie Theodosia (1867-1950), artist, daughter of James Leonard Wilson of Wimbledon, book cloth manufacturer, and had issue:
(1) Clementine Margaret Enid (k/a Crow) Benthall (1890-1931), born 20 April and baptised at Wimbledon (Surrey), 15 May 1890; educated at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford (matriculated before 1911; BA 1920); worked briefly as a domestic cook in Highgate and later as a social worker in Poplar (Middx) and Sheffield (Yorks WR); died suddenly and unmarried, while on holiday with her parents, 19 August 1931; will proved 5 November 1931 (estate £3,973);
(2) Monica Clare (k/a Mick) Benthall (1891-1969), born 2 June and baptised at Cofton, 12 July 1891; married, 1 January 1917 at Holy Trinity, Meiktila (Burma), Arthur Henry Armstrong (1893-1972) of The Old Vicarage, Queen Camel (Som.), barrister-at-law and later a judge of county courts and Chairman of Somerset Quarter Sessions, son of Rev. William David Henry Armstrong of Ilchester (Som.) and had issue one son and two daughters; died 15 July 1969 and was buried at Queen Camel; will proved 1 April 1970 (estate £70,349);
(3) Sir Edward Charles (k/a Tom) Benthall (1893-1961), kt., born 26 November 1893 and baptised at Cofton, 22 January 1894; educated at Eton (where he was distinguished academically and in sports) and King's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1912; Rugby blue); an officer in the army (2nd Lt., 1914; Lt. 1916; Capt. 1918) who served in India and Mesopotamia, 1914-18 (wounded) and on staff of War Office, 1918-19; businessman in Calcutta (India); chairman of Bird & Co. Ltd. and F.W. Hedges & Co. Ltd.; a director of the Imperial Bank of India, 1926-34 and Reserve Bank of India, 1935-36; President of Bengal Chamber of Commerce, 1932 and 1936; a delegate to the Indian Round Table Conference, 1931-32 and Council of State, 1932-33; official at Ministry of Economic Warfare and Board of Trade, 1940-42 and served with Home Guard, 1940-42; member of the Governor-General's Executive Council, 1942-46; Leader of the House, Indian Assembly, 1946; Crown representative on Governors of SOAS, University of London, 1948; Leader of UK mission to Middle East, 1953; lived in retirement at Lindridge, Bishopsteignton (Devon); Vice-Chairman, Devon River Board, 1950-55; High Sheriff of Devon, 1951; knighted, 1933 and appointed KCSI, 1945; married, 11 March 1918 at Bishopsteignton, Hon. Ruth McCarthy (1895-1973), second daughter of Sir Ernest Cable (1859-1927), 1st Baron Cable of Ideford, and had issue one son (the theatre director, Michael Benthall (1919-94)); died 5 March 1961 and was buried at Cofton; will proved 11 August 1965 (estate £125,334);
(4) Anne Beryl (k/a Doit) Benthall (1895-1949), born 1 November 1895; married, 3 April 1920 at Benthall, Maj. Geoffrey Theodore Garrett (1889-1942) of Bishopsteignton House (Devon), an Indian civil servant and army officer and later a farmer and journalist, who was killed on active service in World War II, son of Rev. Charles Foster Garrett, vicar of Little Tew (Oxon), and had no issue but adopted two children; died 12 September 1949 and was buried at Cofton; will proved 26 November 1949 (estate £74,888);
(5) Sir (Arthur) Paul Benthall (1902-92) (q.v.).
In 1918 he retired and took up the tenancy of Benthall Hall, but from 1921 sub-let it and divided his time between Devon and Tangier.
He died at Lindridge (Devon), 15 December 1936 and was buried at Cofton (Devon); his will was proved 19 April 1937 (estate £8,533). His widow died 17 July 1950 and was also buried at Cofton; her will was proved 30 October 1950 (estate £30,142).

Benthall, Sir (Arthur) Paul (1902-92), kt. Second son of Rev. Charles Francis Benthall (1861-1936) and his wife Annie Theodosia, daughter of James Leonard Wilson of Wimbledon (Surrey), born 25 January and baptised at Cofton Chapel (Devon), 6 April 1902. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. Businessman in India with Bird & Co. (Director) and F.W. Heilgers & Co. (Director) of Calcutta, 1924-53; President of Association of Chambers of Commerce in India, 1948, 1950. Chairman of Amalgamated Metal Corporation, 1959-72 and of Bird & Co. (London), 1953; Board member of Imperial Bank of India, 1948, 1950-53; Director of Chartered Bank, 1953-72 and of Royal Insurance Ltd and associated companies 1962-72. Knighted, 1950. President Royal Agri-Horticultural Society of India, 1945-47; Chairman of All India Board of Technical Studies in Commerce and Business Administration, 1950-53; President, UK Citizens' Association (India), 1952; Trustee of Victoria Memorial, Calcutta, 1950-53 and Gandhi Memorial Fund, India, 1948-63; Vice-Chairman of Indo-British Historical Society of Madras, 1985. Author of The trees of Calcutta and its neighbourhood (1946); Fellow of the Linnean Society, 1948. He was certified blind in 1985. He married, 31 December 1932 in Bombay (India), Mary Lucy (k/a Mollie) (1905-88), daughter of John Archibald Pringle of Horam (Sussex), and had issue:
(1) twin, Richard Pringle Benthall (b. 1933) (q.v.);
(2) twin, James Holme Benthall (b. 1933), born 8 November 1933; educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Cambridge (BA 1957; MA 1964); did his National Service as an officer in the Scots Guards (2nd Lt., 1952); tenant of Benthall Hall 1985-96; married, 27 January 1959, Jill, elder daughter of James Rea Hechle of Merstham (Surrey), and had issue one son and one daughter; 
(3) Jonathan Charles Mackenzie Benthall (b. 1941), born in Calcutta (India), 12 September 1941; educated at Eton and Kings College, Cambridge (BA 1962; MA 1968); secretary of Institute of Contemporary Arts, 1971-74; director of Royal Anthropological Institute, 1974-2000 and of International NGO Training and Research Centre, 1998-2006; editor of Anthropology Today, 1985-2000 and author or editor of many works in the field of social research and anthropology; married, 23 October 1975, Zamira (b. 1939), daughter of Yehudi Menuhin (1916-99), Baron Menuhin, the celebrated international violinist, and formerly wife of Fou Ts'ong, concert pianist, and had issue two sons;
(4) Timothy Paul Rodney Benthall (b. 1944), born 21 August 1944 and baptised in Calcutta (India); educated at Eton and Kings College, Cambridge (BA 1965; MA 1968); emigrated to USA; corporate consultant with McKinsey & Co., 1970-81 and Information Builders, 1981-2021; author of Portraits of a Merchant Family (2020); married, 1981 in New York (USA), Susan A. Kirsch, and had issue one son and one daughter.
He joined with his cousin, Mary Clementina Benthall (1879-1960) in presenting Benthall Hall to the National Trust in 1958, and became the Trust's tenant in the house from 1962-85.
He died 7 January 1992; his will was proved 24 April 1992 (estate £268,627). His wife died 4 December 1988; her will was proved 27 February 1989 (estate £108,077).

Benthall, Richard Pringle (b. 1933). Elder twin son of Sir (Arthur) Paul Benthall (1902-92) and his wife Mary Lucy, daughter of John Archibald Pringle of Horam (Sussex), born 8 November 1933 and baptised at St Paul, Calcutta, 1941. Educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Cambridge (matriculated 1954; BA 1957; MA 1961). Did his National Service as an officer in the Scots Guards (2nd Lt., 1952). Businessman in India, 1957-66. A Fellow of the Geological Society and of the Gemmological Association. Treasurer of Christ Church College and the Dean & Chapter of Oxford Cathedral from at least 1990-98. He married, 1 July 1961 at Christ Church, Kensington (Middx), Stella Margaret Lascelles (b. 1936), daughter of Hutton Swinglehurst of Easterton, Devizes (Wilts), and had issue:
(1) Edward Anfrid Pringle Benthall (b. 1963), born 11 February 1963; investment banker; tenant of Benthall Hall since 2004; married, 12 June 1987, Sally Katherine (b. 1967), daughter of Bryan Michael Ranger (d. 1998) of Cobham (Surrey), builder's merchant, and had issue one son and two daughters;
(2) Rebecca Lucy Margaret Benthall (b. 1964), born in Calcutta (India), 25 August 1964; married, 1990, Timothy L. Willson, and had issue one son;
(3) Jamie Richard Lascelles Benthall (b. 1970), born 25 December 1970.
He succeeded his twin brother as tenant at Benthall Hall, 1996-2004.
Now living. His wife is now living.

Principal sources

Burke's Landed Gentry, 1972, pp. 61-63; J. Ionides, Thomas Farnolls Pritchard of Shrewsbury, 1999, pp. 172-73; J. Newman & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Shropshire, 2006, pp. 141-42; J. Roethe, The gatehouse, Caynton Manor, Edgmond, Shropshire: building investigation, Historic England, 2018; T.P. Benthall, Portraits of a merchant family, 2020; G. Williams, The country houses of Shropshire, 2021, pp. 91-93;

Location of archives

Benthall family of Benthall Hall: deeds, family and estate papers, 17th-20th cents [Shropshire Archives]; Devon estate deeds and papers, 17th-20th cents [Devon Archives and Local Studies Service 1503M add]; Devon deeds and papers, 1755-1946 [Plymouth Archives 1048]; Dorset estate deeds and papers, 1611-1853 [Dorset History Centre D/FFO]
Sir Edward Charles Benthall (1893-1961): correspondence and papers, 1926-61 [Cambridge University Centre of South Asian Studies]

Coat of arms

Benthall of Benthall:  Or a lion rampant queue forché Azure crowned Gules.

Can you help?

  • Can anyone provide photographs or portraits of the people whose names appear in bold above, for whom no image is currently shown?
  • If anyone can offer further information or corrections to any part of this article I should be most grateful. I am always particularly pleased to hear from current owners or the descendants of families associated with a property who can supply information from their own research or personal knowledge for inclusion.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 11 December 2023.

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