Benjamin BENNETT (1847–1934)
[Probably] His wife Mrs Sarah Anne BENNETT née Ward (1850–1893)
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 16a, Grave D61½

Benjamin Bennett


In Memory of
DIED DEC. 12, 1934 AGED 87.


There is no inscription to his wife Sarah Anne who died 41 years earlier, but she is likely to be here too

Benjamin Bennett was born at Gloucester Green, Oxford in 1847 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 29 August. He was the son of George Bennett and Eliza Barnett, who were married on 4 August 1846 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford. For more about his family, see the grave of his parents. Benjamin became a dyer like his father. His mother died early in 1869, and at the time of the 1871 census Benjamin (23) was living at 64 George Street with his brother Frederick (14), next door to his father and his other five siblings.

Sarah Anne Ward was born at Beaumont Buildings, Oxford in early 1850 and baptised at St Giles's Church on 15 May. She was the daughter of the college servant Caleb Ward (born in Eynsham in c.1815) and Catherine Mary Durran (born in Steeple Aston in 1821). Her parents were married at Steeple Aston on 13 May 1847, and had Sarah's older brother William Durran Ward baptised at St Giles's Church in April 1848. At the time of the 1851 census Sarah Anne (eleven months) was at home in St John Street, Oxford, with her parents and elder brother William (2), plus their 15-year-old servant girl. In 1861 her family was living at 13 Beaumont Street, and Sarah Anne had four more siblings: Catherine (8), Albert (5), Emily (3), and Julia (1). She is hard to find in the 1871 census.

On 24 September 1874 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, Benjamin Bennett married Sarah Anne Ward: both were described as being of that parish. They had the following children:

  • Fred William Albert Bennett (born in Oxford in 1875, reg. Headington district third quarter)
  • Frank Edward Bennett (born at Friars Entry in 1876 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 14 December)
  • Rae Durran Bennett (born at Friars Entry in 1878 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 21 December)
  • Reginald Ward Bennett (born at Walton Crescent on 22 December 1880 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 16 February 1881)
  • Lionel de Bensted Bennett (born at 33 Walton Crescent on 28 October 1882 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 21 November);
  • Violet Mary Kate Bennett (born at 33 Walton Crescent in 1884 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 10 July)
  • Annie Maud Bennett (born at 33 Walton Crescent on 4 July 1886 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 29 July)
  • Benjamin George Bennett (born at 33 Walton Crescent on 4 February 1889 and baptised at St Barnabas's Church on 24 March).

Soon after his marriage, Benjamin took over the family laundry & dyeing business, B. Bennett & Sons, which operated from 15 Magdalen Street.

At the time of the 1881 census Benjamin (33), who was still working as a dyer, was living at 33 Walton Crescent with his wife Sarah Anne (30) and their first four children Fred (5), Frank (4), Rae (2), and Reginald (three months). Benjamin's disabled father George Bennett (59) was also living with them.

By 1891 Benjamin (43), who now described himself as a cleaner as well as a dyer, was still at that address with his wife Sarah (40) and all eight of their children: Fred (15), who was still at school; Frank (14), who was a library assistant, and Rae (12) Reg (10), Lionel (8), Violet (6), Anne (4), and Benjamin (2). They employed a 23-year-old servant.

Mrs Bennett died in 1893:

† Mrs Sarah Anne Bennett née Ward died at 33 Walton Crescent at the age of 45 in 1893 and was buried at St Sepulchre's Cemetery on 31 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

Mrs Bennett was buried in the St Mary Magdalen section of the cemetery, and the space may have been reserved by the family: Benjamin had grown up in that parish, and his business was there. Hence she is likely to have been buried in this grave (even though there is no mention of her on the headstone), especially as her husband Benjamin was buried here 31 years later after living in Cumnor for a quarter of a century.

Fred and Reginald (and possibly the other boys too) were educated at the Boys' High School in George Street. In 1898 Reginald won an Exhibition in Mathematics at St John's College, Oxford, obtaining his B.A. in 1902.

Benjamin Bennett's eldest son was married in 1899:

  • On 20 September 1899 at St Barnabas's Church, Oxford, Fred William Alfred Bennett (24), described as a dyer, married Lilian Sarah Flight (24), the daughter of Frederick Flight, who was a boarding house keeper in the High Street.

Bennett cart near GWR stationCart on Park End Street inscribed “B. BENNETT & SONS, ART DYERS & DRY CLEANERS, 15 Magdalen Street, Oxford”

At the time of the 1901 census Benjamin (53), a widower who now described himself as a laundryman as well as a dyer and cleaner, was still living at 33 Walton Crescent, looked after by a 63-year-old housekeeper and an 18-year-old general servant. His five youngest children were still at home: Reg (20), who was presumably on vacation from St John's College; Lionel (18), who was engaged in laundry work; and Violet (16), Anne (14), and (Benjamin) George (12). His son Frank (24) was a schoolmaster boarding in Lewisham, and Rae (22) was an accountant's clerk and boarding at Bournemouth.

His son Rae Durran Bennett, who was a commercial clerk, died at home at 33 Walton Crescent at the age of 25 on 23 January 1904 and was buried in his grandparents' grave on 27 January 1904. His effects came to £255, and his father was his executor.

Four more of Benjamin Bennett's children were married before the next census:

  • Near the beginning of 1903 in Oxford, Lionel de Bensted Bennett married Fanny Skelcher;
  • On 29 August 1905 at Cumnor Church, Frank Edward Bennett (28), described as a schoolmaster of Cumnor, married Kate Evans (21) the daughter of the traveller J. Holmes Evans, deceased;
  • On 28 April 1909 at Cumnor Church, Violet Mary Kate Bennett (24) married Eardley Lenton Turner (26), a bank clerk of South Bersted and the son of the rate collector Eardley Leton Turner senior;
  • In the fourth quarter of 1910 in the Portsmouth district, Reginald Ward Bennett married Alice Bridget Franey, the daughter of James Franey

By the time of the 1911 census Benjamin (63) who was still working as a dyer & cleaner had moved to Chawley, a hamlet of Cumnor (then in Berkshire). He still employed a housekeeper and a general servant, and two of his children were at home: Annie (24), who was a draper's shop assistant, and Benjamin junior (22), who was a dyer's clerk.

Two more of Benjamin Ward's children were married in the next few years:

  • On 25 September 1912 at Cumnor Church, Annie Maud Bennett (26) married Arthur Wallace Ainsworth (30), a relieving officer of Barrowford, Lancashire and the second son of Emanuel Ainsworth, with Annie's brother, the Revd Reginald Ward Bennett, officiating. A photograph headed “Pretty Wedding at Cumnor” appeared in the Oxford Journal Illustrated of 25 September 1912 (p 16);
  • On 20 August 1914 at Cumnor Church, Benjamin George Bennett (25), described as a dyer of Cumnor, married Lily Flora Minty (26), the daughter of the house furnisher Norman Edward Ernest Minty of Banbury Road, Oxford. A wedding photograph appeared in the Oxford Journal Illustrated of 26 August 1914 (p. 9).

Benjamin George Bennett and his wife Lily had two daughters: Mary K. Bennett (1921) and Jean D. Bennett (1928). He predeceased his father, dying at Cumnor Hill at the age of 43 in June 1932. His funeral service was held at Cumnor Church, and he was interred at Botley Cemetery on 11 June.

Benjamin Bennett died in Cumnor in 1934:

† Benjamin Bennett died at Glen Durran, Chawley, Cumnor Hill at the age of 87 on 12 December 1934 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 15 December (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

His effects came to £11,822 8s. 11d., and three of his sons were his executors: Fred and Lionel, who were dyers & cleaner, and Frank, who was a schoolmaster. Fred and Lionel continued to run the family business.

The six surviving children of Benjamin & Sarah Anne Bennett
  • Fred William Albert Bennett (born 1875) was a laundry clerk in his father's business in 1901, living at 117 High Street with his wife Lilian and two undergraduate lodgers and a general servant. They had two children born in Oxford: Doreen Annie Bennett (1904) and Cyril Ward Bennett (born 1907). By the time of the 1911 census he described himself as an assistant manager to a dyer & cleaner, and had moved with his family to Normanhurst in Chawley, near his father. He served on the city council and was elected Mayor of Oxford for 1931/2. He died at Normanhurst at the age of 72 on 14 September 1947, and his funeral was at All Saints Church in Oxford (then the City Church) and was buried at Botley Cemetery. His effects came to £7,281 9s. 2d., and his executors were his brother Reginald and his brother-in-law Arthur Wallace Ainsworth, a retired local government officer.
  • Frank Edward Bennett (born 1876) was an assistant schoolmaster aged 36 in 1911, living at 23 Morley Road, Lewisham with his wife Kate (36) and their daughter Constance Mary Bennett (1). A 14-year-old boy was boarding with them, and they had a servant. Frank Edward Bennett died at Tunbridge Wells at the age of 86 on 25 October 1962. His effects came to £9,977 16s., and his bank acted as his executor.
  • Reginald Ward Bennett (born 1880) was Curate of Holy Trinity Church, Hastings from 1903 to 1910, and at the time of the 1911 census he was living at 4 Whyte Road, Chichester with his new wife Alice (28). They had two children: Reginald G. Bennett (born 1911) and Bridget M. Bennett (born 1914). Reginald Ward Bennett was Curate of Rumboldswyke from 1910 to 1912; a Minor Canon and Sacristan of Peterborough Cathedral from 1912 to 1917; and Rector of Linton, Herefordshire from 1917 to 1929. He was Vicar of Kirtlington from 1929, and was appointed Chairman of Kirtlington Parish Council in 1934. He appears to have died in Oxford in 1975, aged 94.
  • Lionel de Bensted Bennett (born 1882) was a dyer & cleaner aged 27 in 1911, living at Elm Croft, Cumnor Hill with his wife Fanny (27) and their son Kenneth (1); they also had a boarder, and employed a 13-year-old servant girl. They had two more sons: Douglas (1911) and Maurice (1917). He was in the Army Service Corps in the First World War and was promoted to temporary Second Lieutenant on 4 March 1917. He died in the Abingdon registration district at the age of 86 in 1968.
  • Violet Mary Kate Bennett, Mrs Turner (born 1884) was aged 26 and living in Bognor in 1911 with her husband Eardley (28), who was a banker's clerk. She died in Essex at the age of 77 near the beginning of 1962.
  • Annie Maud Bennett, Mrs Ainsworth (born 1886) is hard to locate after her marriage in 1912.



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