William Brazenor (1789 – 1859)

William, who was baptised at Pontesbury in 1789, was the eldest of the five saddler sons of Richard and Mary Brazenor, nee  Cooper. After learning his trade from his father William moved to Birmingham, where he married Margaret Pugh on 1 January 1816, at Aston, Warwickshire. Margaret was the daughter of Simon and Sarah Pugh of Guilsfield, Montgomeryshire.

William appears to have changed his business and  premises in Birmingham fairly frequently, as revealed by his listings in various trade directories :-

1821 – Pigot’s – saddler and harness maker (S & HM) – at 6 Carr’s Lane
1823 – Wrighton’s – S & HM – 21 Jamaica Row
1828   He took a lease on a property in Alison Street, his occupation victualler and saddler.
1828 – Pigot’s – victualler and saddler – 6 Carr’s Lane
1830 – Wrighton’s – S & HM – Bath Row
1830 – West’s –  S & HM & victualler – 20 Phillips Street
1833 – Wrighton’s – victualler  – 32 Bath Row
1835 – Wrighton’s – victualler – 32 Bath Row
1839 – Robson’s – publican – The Welsh Harp – 32 Bath Street
1841 – Pigot’s  – victualler – Welsh Harp – 32 Bath Street

During 1838, he acted as one of the executors of his father -in -law’s will and in that same year William and his youngest brother Robert had been the victims of a crime of theft. In the 1841 Census, William and his wife Margaret were at Bath Street and living with them were Margaret’s sisters Mary Ann and Emma Pugh. On 20 May 1842, it was reported in the London Gazette that William was detained at Warwick Gaol, as a debtor. In July 1842, William appeared before a meeting of creditors for public examination. A summary was given of William’s business history which included  being a saddler at Carr’s Lane, a publican and brewer at the Red Lion Inn,  Bull Ring, Birmingham, some time at Spark Brook, where he was out of business, a publican and brewer in Phillips Street, Birmingham, a publican and brewer at the Cross Inn, Bath Row, and lately of the Welsh Harp Inn, Bath Street, Birmingham, where he was the publican and also a dealer in gun stocks.

By 1849,  William had bounced back and reinvented himself as a Racket and Bowls Maker, in Bath Street, his residence being at 106 Great Charles Street, Birmingham. In the census of 1851, William was a racket maker of 302 Summer Lane, Birmingham. Living with him was his wife Margaret and his 85 year old mother – in – law Sarah Pugh. His sister -in -law, Mary Ann Pugh, was by then the licensee of the Welsh Harp. On the 4 June 1854, a notice appeared in Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, that a benefit event was to be held on 6 & 7 June, at the Bath Street Racket Court, for W Brazenor’s Farewell, as he was leaving for Australia. Some of England’s finest exponents of the game were expected to be playing, tickets being 5 shillings. The Bath Street Court, which was for the indoor game of Racquets, has been associated with the invention of the game of Lawn Tennis, which is thought to have first been played in Birmingham, in the garden of one of the Bath Street members. It could well be that  William manufactured the first  tennis rackets or at least the first rackets used to play lawn tennis.

There is, as yet, no record found of William and Margaret’s departure from England or arrival in Australia. From Margaret’s death certificate it is estimated that they arrived in Melbourne, Victoria in about December 1854, assuming that they travelled together. Just two months later in February 1855, Margaret died of dysentery in Melbourne. From the absence of some details from her death certificate it is evident that William was not with her at her death and it may be assumed that he was out at one of the goldfields. In the following months advertisements appeared in the The  Argus, Melbourne, announcing that unclaimed letters addressed to  Mrs Brazenor, and also W Brazenor were awaiting collection at the Post Office, Melbourne. As yet,  I have no record of William’s departure from Melbourne or his arrival back in England.

William’s death  occurred at Birmingham, in the December quarter  of 1859, his name being recorded (or transcribed) as Brazener, though throughout his life his name was always Brazenor. In about 1865, after the death of his brother Samuel Brazenor, at Pontesbury, Richard Brazenor of Spring Hill, Birmingham made an affidavit that stated amongst other things, that his brother William had died intestate and  without issue, at Birmingham on 29 November 1859. Mary Anne Pugh, of Birmingham,  also made an affidavit to the effect that William Brazenor and her sister Margaret had died childless. It is assumed that William must have been made a beneficiary in Samuel’s will.

William and Margaret had been the first of the Shropshire Brazenors to migrate overseas. On his return to Birmingham, William must surely have influenced his young nephew William Brazenor to try his luck in Australia, which he did in 1857.