Richard Brazenor (1795 – 1870) and Mary Lewis (1807 – 1870)

Richard Brazenor, born in 1795, was the third  son of Richard and Mary Brazenor, nee Cooper, of  Pontesbury, Shropshire. He was one of five sons all of whom became saddlers like their father before them. In 1829, at the age of 34, Richard married Mary Lewis at the Church of St Beuno, Berriew, Montgomeryshire, Wales.

It is recorded that a Mr Brazenor first attended Wem Presbyterian Church sometime between 1827 -1830. Richard, therefore, may have already established a business in Wem, Shropshire because after their marriage they had their first child Mary baptised there in January 1830. By the time of the 1841 Census they had produced four more children including William in 1833, Richard in 1835, Annie in 1837 and Edward  in 1839. There are records of baptism for Mary, William, Richard and Annie , who were baptised at Wem Presbyterian Church. The births events for Edward, Sarah and Henry are recorded in the Civil Register. Sometime between 1842 and 1846 the family migrated from Wem to Birmingham, in the English Midlands. In the 1851 Census, all the children with the exception of Mary were living with their parents in Harborne Heath Road, Birmingham. Their daughter Sarah had been born in Wem in 1842 but their youngest child Henry was born in Birmingham in 1846.

Their eldest child Mary was, at the time of the 1851 Census, living in Trwstywelin, Montgomeryshire, looking after her grandfather Edward Lewis, who was a farmer and whose name was to be  perpetuated through at least three generations of this Brazenor family.

By 1861, only Richard, Annie and Henry were at home with their parents in Birmingham. Their daughter Sarah was in service with a Birmingham family but William and Edward had truly flown the coup. William had arrived in Melbourne, Australia in 1857 and Edward was in Canada. It is not known exactly when Edward left England. One Canadian Census has him migrating in 1857 but whether this was to Canada or the USA is not clear. He was probably in New York in 1860, and definitely in Toronto in 1861.

In 1865, Richard Snr. made an affidavit relating to his siblings, following the death of his brother Samuel who had left considerable assets at Pontesbury, Shropshire. Richard stated  that his brother William had died without issue in 1859; that his sister Mary Humphreys had died leaving four children; that his sister Sarah had died a spinster; that his brother Samuel had died, without issue in 1864, leaving his elder brother Thomas his heir in law. It also said that Thomas was still living, the second son of their father and mother, nee Humphreys. This last point is incorrect, probably a mistake made by their solicitor or his clerk. Their mother was Mary, nee Cooper, not Humphreys. Their sister Mary Brazenor had married into a wealthy Humphreys family which owned the Pen Nant Estate,  in Montgomeryshire. For some reason, Richard failed to mention his youngest brother Robert who was married with a family, and living in London. I have not been able to find a baptismal record for Richard but I had correctly surmised that he would likely be related to the other Pontesbury saddlers. This affidavit, preserved in Shropshire Archives, confirms this beyond any doubt .

In 1867, Richard and Mary (nee Lewis) became grandparents with the births of Nellie Dolby  and Frederick Lewis Brazenor.  On 10 April 1870, Mary Brazenor passed away, aged 63, and was buried at Key Hill Cemetery. She was quickly joined there by her husband Richard, who died on 29 April 1870. Probably only  their daughters Annie and Sarah were in Birmingham at the time. Their sons Edward and Henry were already in North America and Richard may also have left to join them. William was in Australia and Mary Dolby was in Berkshire with her family.

Richard and Mary appear to have been good parents and citizens, as all their children remarkably survived to be adults;  none of their offspring seem to have fallen foul of the law and none appear to have been declared bankrupt, a common occurrence among some of their close relatives. Five, possibly six of their seven children and at least one grandchild eventually settled overseas in Canada, Australia or the USA.

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