BEMBRIDGE : Derbyshire, Nottingham and Lichfield

The surname is also recorded as Benbridge and Bainbridge.

My great-great grandmother was Eliza Bembridge, born at Darley in Derbyshire c.1814, daughter of William Bembridge, an agricultural labourer.

On the 1841 census she was unmarried, living at Island Street, in the parish of St Mary’s, Nottingham, and working as a cotton doubler (pleater?) aged 25. Head of the household was Hannah Bembridge, aged 65, most likely Eliza’s mother, and there were two children, William, aged 5, and Eliza, aged 2. Only the last named was born in Nottinghamshire. Hannah Bembridge was probably the same individual who died aged 84 at Swadlincote, Derbyshire, in 1859. Her death certificate records her as widow of William Bembridge, agricultural labourer. In 1851 she had been living with her widowed daughter Mary Morrell at Makeney, near Duffield, and the census gives her birth as “America, British Subject”.

Eliza Bembridge married a framework knitter, William Eyre, at Snenton parish church on 15 May 1842. The marriage certificate shows bride and groom to be of full age, both living at Queen Street, Nottingham; and Eliza’s father is given as William Bembridge, a labourer, deceased. The witnesses to the marriage were Thomas Bembridge and Ann Topham.

On the 1851 census Eliza and William were living at Mill Street in St Mary’s parish:
William Eyre, aged 36, framework knitter, born Nottingham
Eliza, wife, aged 37, cotton doubler, born Darly (sic) Derbyshire.
No children are shown.

Sometime before 1857 Eliza and her husband moved to the toll-house at Quinton Gate, Ridgeacre, Halesowen (Birmingham). The only surviving child of the marriage (to my knowledge) was my great-grandfather William Warrener Eyre, who was born here on 3 June 1857. His birth certificate gives his father’s occupation as toll-gate keeper.

By the time of the 1861 census the family had moved to the Turnpike House, 3 Brettle Lane, Kingswinford, and are recorded as William Eyre, aged 46, born Nottingham; Eliza Eyre, aged 47, born Darley, Derbyshire; and William Warrener Eyre, aged 3, born Ridgacre, Worcestershire. 

Eliza Eyre died on 9 February 1866 at the Lying In Hospital, Broad Street, Birmingham.  A death notice published in the Birmingham Daily Gazette on Monday 19 February, reads: “EYRE on the 9th inst. At the Lying In Hospital, after much suffering, Eliza Eyre, Moseley Toll Gate, aged 52 lamented by a large circle of friends.”

Eliza Bembridge, wife of William Eyre, obituary notice 1866

William Warrener Eyre was baptised on 8 July 1866 at St Mary’s church, Lichfield, when he was nine years old. The baptism entry shows his father’s occupation as toll gate keeper, and their address as Upper St John’s Street, Lichfield.

William Eyre remarried at Lichfield on 17 January 1867 to Harriet Bembridge, a relation of his late wife’s, possibly her niece. At the time of the marriage both were living at St John’s Street, Lichfield. On their wedding certificate his occupation is given as a clerk of works. The witnesses were William Bembridge and M. Carter.

Harriett Bembridge had been christened on 26 February 1832 at Radford, Nottingham, the elder daughter of Samuel Bembridge and Sarah (Rogers), who married at Radford on 30 July 1828. Their younger daughter, Emma, was baptised there on 28 July 1833.
Sarah was buried on 15 October 1837, aged 44, and Samuel then married her widowed sister, Lucy Wilkinson, at Radford parish church on 3 April 1838. His father is shown as William Bembridge, farmer. His bride was the widow of Joseph Wilkinson, whom she had married at Radford 30 June 1828. She had been baptised at St Mary’s, Nottingham, on 22 Jan 1804, daughter of George and Hannah Rogers. Her deceased sister, Sarah, had been baptised there on 22 Feb 1796.

1841 census, living at ‘back of Lenton Row’ in Nottingham:
Samuel Bembridge, aged 40, cotton lace maker, not born in Notts
Lucy aged 35, born Notts
Harriet, aged 8
Emma, aged 7
John Wilkinson, aged 10 (stepson)
Mary Clark, aged 45, lace runner.

Sometime during the 1840s the family moved to Lichfield, Staffordshire. Samuel Bembridge died there on 5 November 1849 at Wood End, Shenstone, where he was working as toll gate keeper. His age is shown as 52, cause of death ‘obstruction of the bowels attended with severe spasms 29 hours’. Present at the death was his wife Lucy Bembridge.  He was buried at Shenstone three days later.

His daughter Harriett remained in Lichfield, and on the 1851 census, she was working as a general servant, aged 19, in the household of a retired victualler in Market Street. She was still there on the 1861 census, working as cook. 

Three years after the death of her husband William Eyre in 1880, Harriett married Post Office employee Arthur Clement, a 63-year-old widower from Lichfield, who on the 1881 census was living at Potters Hill, Aston. In 1891 they were living at 15 Bevington Road, Aston.

Arthur Clement died at Aston in 1893, aged 73. His widow Harriett lived until 1918, dying at Aston aged 86.

Harriett’s stepmother, Lucy Bembridge, returned to Nottingham after her husband Samuel’s death, and on the 1851 census she was living at 19 Bond Street in St Mary’s parish, working as a seamstress. With her was her 19 year-old son John Wilkinson, from her first marriage, Thomas Tate, a 59 year-old widowed lodger, and an infant child from the workhouse (described as a Union child), one year-old Sarah Ann Gould.  In 1861 Lucy was still living with her son, but died in 1865. 

Harriett’s sister Emma Bembridge, 17 years old in 1851, was out of work and homeless, lodging in Derby Union Workhouse, where she was classified as ‘pauper’.  Late in 1859 she had a child, William Allen Orme, and in 1861 married the boy’s father William Orme, at Derby.  On that year’s census they were living at Litchurch in Derby, where a second son, Isaac Harry, was born in 1862.  Sometime in the next few years they moved to William Orme’s home town, Burton-on-Trent, where Emma died before the 1871 census was taken.