Henry BENNEY (1806–1901)
His wife Mrs Catherine BENNEY, née Dorrell (c.1810–1887)
Their children Henry BENNEY (1835–1854), [Abraham] Willoughby BENNEY (1839–1854),
Miss Sarah BENNEY (1841–1922), George Isaac BENNEY (1843–1850)
Charles Richard BENNEY (1845–1850), [Peter] Thomas BENNEY (born and died 1850)
and Catherine’s mother Mrs Mary DORRELL (c.1782–1864)
St Paul section: Row 16, Grave A10½ [St Paul ref. H12 and H13]
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
DIED FEBRUARY 27, 1901
AGED 97  YEARS
WIFE OF THE ABOVE
DIED APRIL 4, 1887
AGED 77 YEARS
GEORGE [ISAAC] BENNEY
DIED … 1850 AGED 7 YEARS
DIED OCT. ?30 1850 AGED 5 YEARS
DIED NOV. 13, 1850 AGED 7 MONTHS
DIED MARCH 13, 1854 AGED 15 YEARS
DIED JULY 24 1854 AGED 18 YEARS
CHILDREN OF THE ABOVE
ALSO MARY DORRELL
DIED JULY 17 1864 AGED 82 YEARS
DIED JULY ?21, 1922 AGED 81 YEARS
A mother, father, five children (three infants and two teenagers) and one adult daughter, as well as a grandmother are all listed on this gravestone, which could not have been erected until 1901.
Henry Benney was born in Holborn, London in 1806, the son of John Benney and his wife Sarah, and was baptised there on 17 August. He was a tailor.
Catherine Dorrell was born in Broadway, Worcestershire in 1809 and baptised there on 10 September. She was the daughter of Edward Dorrell (born in Broadway in 1786) and his wife Mary Bayzand (born in Ashton under Hill, Gloucestershire in 1784), who were married at Ashton under Hill on 10 April 1809.
On 23 March 1833 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Henry Benney married Catherine Dorrell: they were both living in St Mary Magdalen parish in Oxford at the time of their marriage. They had eleven children:
- John Henry Benney (born at Friar’s Entry in 1834 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 9 March)
- Henry Benney junior (born at Water Lane, St Ebbe’s on 13 December 1835 and baptised at St Ebbe’s Church on 13 January 1836); died 1850
- George Benney (born at Observatory Street in 1838 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 4 February);
died aged four months and buried in St Giles’s churchyard on 15 April 1838
- Abraham Willoughby Benney, known as Willoughby (born at Observatory Street in 1839 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 26 May); died 1854
- Sarah Benney (born at Observatory Street in 1841 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 4 July)
- George Isaac Benney (born at Observatory Street in 1843 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 6 August); died 1850
- Charles Richard Benney (born at Observatory Street in 1845 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 10 August); died 1850
- Mary Louisa Benney (born at Observatory Street in 1847 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 25 July)
- Peter Thomas Benney, known as Thomas and baptised as Peter Tom (born at Observatory Street in 1850 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 19 May); died the same year
- Alfred Edward Benney (born at Observatory Street in 1852 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 23 May)
- Richard Benney (born at Observatory Street in 1854 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 29 February).
Henry and Catherine Dorrell evidently began their married life in Friar’s Entry but had moved to Water Lane, St Ebbe’s by the end of 1834. By the end of 1835 they had settled in Observatory Street, which became part of the St Paul’s district chapelry when that church was opened in 1837. Their son George Benney was born there in 1838, but only lived four months; he was buried in St Giles’s churchyard (rather than St Thomas’s, where the children of that area were buried until St Sepulchre’s Cemetery opened in 1848).
Three more of their young children died in the year 1850, with their deaths registered in the Headington district in the last quarter. There is no record of their burial in the burial register of St Paul’s, but it is likely that they were buried in its children’s area in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery. George Isaac Benney died first, aged three; then Charles Richard Benney died in October, aged five; and finally (Peter) Thomas Benney died in November, aged seven months.
At the time of the 1851 census Henry (42) and Catherine (41) were living at Observatory Street with John (17), who was an apprentice, and Henry (15), Willoughby (11), Sarah (9), and Mary (3).
Their son Willoughby died three years later (with his death registered under the name Willoughby Binney):
† (Abraham) Willoughby Benney died at Observatory Street at the age of 15 on 13 March 1854 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 19 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).
He was the first member of the family to be buried in this grave, at a depth of eight feet.
Their son Henry died five months after his brother:
† Henry Benney junior died at Observatory Street at the age of 18 on 24 July 1854 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 30 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).
He was buried at a depth of 7 feet 6 inches, just six inches above his brother Willoughby.
Their eldest son John Henry Benney died in Poplar, London at the age of 18 in 1858 and was presumably buried there.
At the time of the 1861 census only four of their eleven children were still alive. Henry (53) and Catherine (51) were then living at 14 Observatory Street with Mary (13), who was a dressmaker’s apprentice, and Alfred (8) and Richard (7), who were at school. Catherine’s widowed mother Mary Dorrell (78) was living with them. Their daughter Sarah (19) was a house servant of the coal merchant Henry Ward and his family, living with them at 12 Beaumont Street.
Catherine’s mother Mrs Dorrell died three years later:
† Mrs Mary Dorrell died at Observatory Street the age of 82 on 17 July 1864 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 20 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).
At the time of the 1871 census Henry (60) and Catherine (58) were at home at 14 Observatory Street with their daughter Mary (23) and their youngest son Richard (16), who was a tailor’s apprentice. Alfred (18) was now at Culham teachers’ training college.
Three of their children were married in the 1870s:
- On 5 July 1873 at St Paul’s Church, Mary Louisa Benney married Edward Cox, a college servant who also lived in Observatory Street, the son of the baker Edward Cox senior;
- On 13 April 1877 at St Paul’s Church, Alfred Edward Benney (24), described as a schoolmaster of St John’s, Bradford, married Mary Annie Sallis (20) of Observatory Street, the daughter of the coachman Joseph Sallis;
- On 17 September 1878 at Christ Church, Derby, Richard Benney (24) married Mary Ann Burton Cumming (born in Torquay near the beginning of 1849).
In 1881 Henry and Catherine were still living in Observatory Street, and their unmarried daughter Sarah (37) had moved in to act as their housekeeper.
Mrs Catherine Benney died in 1887:
† Mrs Catherine Benney née Dorrell died at 14 Observatory Street at the age of 77 on 4 April 1887 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 9 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).
At the time of the 1891 census Henry Benney (86), for the first time described as a retired tailor, was a lodger in his former house at 14 Observatory Street with the householder William Akers (25) and his wife Clara.
Henry Benney was living in New Iffley (the area near Donnington Bridge) when he died early in 1901:
† Henry Benney died at “12 New Iffley” at the age of 95 (age wrongly given as 97) on 27 February 1901 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 2 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).
Miss Sarah Benney (born 1841), only surviving child of Henry and Catherine Benney
Sarah, who had gone out to service as a teenager, never married. In 1871 she was living at 21 Lewes Crescent, Brighton, where she was cook to an elderly magistrate and his wife.
By 1881 she was back in Oxford, acting as housekeeper to her elderly parents at 14 Observatory Street.
By 1891 she was housekeeper at Dr Ince’s house at Christ Church. She was still at the college in 1901, but was now a cook in the Deanery.
By 1911 she had retired, and was lodging with an elderly widow at 8 Crown Street in east Oxford.
Miss Sarah Benney was living in Charles Street when she died in 1922, and was buried with her family:
† Miss Sarah Benney died at 65 Charles Street at the age of 81 in July 1922 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 22 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).
The other surviving children of Henry and Catherine Benney
- Mary Louisa Benney, Mrs Cox (born 1847) was living at 6 Observatory Street in 1881 with her husband Edward, a college servant, and their children Geoffrey Clarac Cox (5) and Dora May Cox (2). In 1891 they were living at 2 Parks Road and had another daughter, Catherine Cox (7), and a servant. By 1901 Edward was porter at Trinity College, and they were living at the college lodge with Dora (22) and Catherine (17). They were still there in 1911 with Dora (32): two of their four children were dead. Mary died in Oxford in 1917.
- Alfred Edward Benney (born 1852) and his wife Mary had two children, spaced apart: Edith Mary Benney (born 1878) and Ernest Alfred Sallis Benney (born 1894). At the time of the 1881 census Alfred (28), who was an elementary teacher, was living at 3 Amble Street, Manningham, Yorkshire with his wife Mary (24) and their daughter Edith (2). They were at the same address in 1901 with Edith (22), who was now herself an elementary schoolteacher, and Alfred’s mother-in-law Mary Sallis. By 1911 they were living at 9 Springcliffe, Bradford with Ernest (16). Alfred died at that address on 19 April 1928, and his effects came to £2,611 6s. 4d.
His son Ernest Alfred Sallis Benney became an artist: see some of his paintings.
- Richard Benney (born 1854) was a tailor employing one man in 1881, and living in part of 4 North Parade Avenue with his wife Mary. In 1891 they were living at 6 North Parade Avenue with their children Thomas (10), Alfred (9), Louisa (6), Richard (4), and Rose (eight months). Richard Benney died in the Radcliffe Infirmaryt at the age of 42 in 1896: his burial on 23 May is recorded in the St Giles’s register, which suggests that he is buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery. His widow went to live in New Iffley.