Horfield Parish Church

History of our church - Signatories to the Petition of 1836


According to Matthews 1831 Directory, Francis Kentucky Barnes was Principal of F.R. Barnes and Company, Timber Merchants, of Counterslip and Cumberland Road, New River. His residence was at the Counterslip, now the site of Courage's Brewery.

This would not have been a very salubrious neighbourhood for a gentleman of means, with George's Brewery, Finkel's Sugar Refinery, Glass and Pottery kilns, Tanneries and many other works, all belching forth from their chimneys and cones, so that a thick pall of smoke hung over the City, not to mention the stench of the Floating Harbour itself, which was the stagnant receptacle of all the sewage from Bristol!

Looking for somewhere more pleasant to live, he moved to a house in Knowle, in 1834, and three years later moved to the even more pleasant surroundings of Horfield, living in Horfield Lodge on the Common, next door to the Rectory, with his wife Sarah, children Frances, George, and Robert, and two female servants.

The Company name meanwhile changed to Barnes, Staples and Board, Timber Merchants of Counterslip and Canons Marsh in 1844, whilst Francis continued to reside in Horfield.

In 1848, however, he forsook the life of a country gentleman, and moved into the city at 4 Upper Byron Place, Clifton. One wonders whether this was as a result of the 1847 re-build - was he tired of the Rev. Henry Richards' approaches for subscriptions, and the expectation of keeping open house for Parish functions - viz. the number he entertained at the Chancel re-opening the previous year?

In 1851 the name of the Company was changed back to F.K.Barnes, and Son, Timber and Slate Merchants, of Canons Marsh. The 'Son' would appear to have been George M. Barnes, and under the new set-up the business must have prospered, as Francis moved to No. 4 Berkeley Square in 1852, with George residing at 6 Burlington Buildings, Redland, before moving to Tower Leaze, Sneyd Park.

Francis lived on at Berkeley Square until he died in 1877, after which his widow occupied the house until her decease.


John Hember farmed at Horfield Court Farm, where he lived with his wife Ann, daughter Ann, and son John. In the 1841 Census they had as Lodger The Reverend Haslewood, Curate.


There were two families of Williams living in Horfield, one near The Limekiln in Russells Fields (the area starting from Morley Square and running up the East side of what is now Brynland Avenue as far as the present Nevil Road. The other lived on The Common, next to Reuben Rosling's cottage. Luke is not shown at either address, but could have been away from home at the time of the Census.


John Bailey was one of the Churchwardens, who in the 1841 Census is aged 72 (the ages given are not always too accurate) and is shown as being of Independent Means. He resided at Downend, Horfield, his son Henry being shown at the same address, occupation Farmer. There were two farms in the hamlet of Downend, one Downend Park, and the other Downend House.

Both farmhouses still exist, the one at the edge of the playing fields at the end of the road called Downend Park, and the other in Dovercourt Road which has recently been turned into separate apartments. Many people will remember the latter as "Dewfall's". In the 1841 Census both of these farms were occupied by members of the Smith family, so probably there were other dwellings there, the 1830 map showing quite a cluster of black dots between the farms, and the Bailey family occupied one of these, although the actual farm was in the vicinity. John's wife Betty was then still alive. and no doubt ruled over her Daughter-in-Law Jane, and spoilt her granddaughter Mary, then aged 7. No doubt John had handed the management of the farm to his son Henry and was enjoying an active retirement.


The other Churchwarden, James Marmont, lived in Horfield Cottage. In the 1841 Census the occupant is shown as James Marmont, aged 15, Land Surveyor. The age must be a copying error, even allowing for the fact that in this Census ages over 15 were reduced to the nearest 5 years below. There is a James Marmont shown in the local Directory has having an office in Shannon Court, Corn Street.

Horfield Cottage would have been a large villa (Cottage Ornée as popularly built towards the end of the 18th. Century) rather than the usual idea of a country cottage. James employed a Housekeeper and two female servants, Anne Parker and Eliza Lewis. The cottage is one of the few Horfield houses shown on the 1830 map (1" Ord. Survey) and by taking a tracing which marks a number of places still identifiable on a modern 1" map, and laying this off on the latter, it is found that all these points line up exactly, making the dot for Horfield Cottage as being in the area of Russells Fields, and somewhere in the region of St. Michaels Church.

By 1851 James had left Horfield for Hill End, Henbury (near Severn House) and his Office was at No. 10 Corn Street.

There is a memorial on the North wall of the Church to Charlotte Marmont of Oakfield, near Worcester, who died at Clifton on the 20th. April, 1836, aged 40.


The Shadwells were not a local family, having originated in Staffordshire, and do not appear to have been resident in Bristol, the John Shadwell shown as having signed the document as 'Lay Rector' was born in 1760, the son of John Shadwell, Barrister-at-Law of The Middle Temple, and Lord of the Manor of Horfield.

John Shadwell the Elder died at Brussels on the 18th. April, 1777, aged 45, leaving a wife, Isabella, who died in Bristol on the 18th. May, 1815 in her 85th. year. They had 9 children, one of whom, Isabella, has a monument in Church showing that she died on the 5th. March, 1763, aged 3 years and 2 months, being shown as the daughter of John Shadwell, of the City of Cork. Mr. Shadwell seems to have been well travelled.

The same monument records that the little girl's mother, Isabella, was the daughter of Thomas Mitchell, late Lord of the Manor "to whose ancestors it had belonged for a long series of years".

Our John Shadwell died in Southampton on the 6th. July, 1847, aged 87, and therefore did not live long enough to see the completion of the second re-building. According to his memorial he had been Lord Farmer of the Manor for 66 years, "it having been held by his family from the time of Henry 8th. After his decease it passed into the hands of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol".

In actual fact, after the Dissolution, the Manor of Horfield was part of the endowment of the new Bishopric of Bristol, together with the advowson, the value at that time, together with that of Filton and Kingsweston, being £49.13.10d.

On March 1st. 1647, at the time of the great Rebellion, the Manor was sold to Giles Calvert and Adam Haughton for £410.15.10d. and later, on the 30th. January 1649 (on the very day of King Charles the Martyr's execution), Horfield and Filton manors were purchased by Thomas Andrews for £1,256.14.0d. who then became the Patron and Proprietor of the Living of Holy Trinity. This seems to cast some doubt on the Shadwell claim; probably the Manor passed into the hands of the Mitchell family, from whom the Shadwells inherited it, by marriage.


Henry Richards was born in 1799 at Farlington, Hants. He was educated at Exeter College, Oxford, where he took his B.A. in 1822, and his M.A. in 1825. He obtained his B.D. in 1833. In 1822 he was ordained Deacon by the Bishop of Chichester, Doctor Buckner, and was ordained Priest the following year, by the same Bishop.

The Rev. Richards was appointed to the Perpetual Curacy of Horfield (the Parish was not created a Rectory until the 18th. June, 1867) in 1828, his Patron being the Lord Bishop of Bristol and Gloucester. The tithes were worth approx. £222 plus the income from the Manor. The Parochial Council's gross income was £79, and there was a house. He was the author of 'Reply to the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol on the Horfield Manor Estate, 1848'

On his appointment, Henry and his wife Caroline, together with their two eldest children; Helena Caroline and Edward, took up residence in the (just) Georgian Parsonage House recently built by their Predecessor, The Revd. Samuel Seyer, (famous as a Historian of Bristol and a writer of Latin Grammars), but apparently never lived in by him. Henry Richards is credited with the first manifestation of the Oxford Movement in Bristol; he was acquainted with Dr. Pusey mainly through Helena being friendly with Pusey's daughter Lucy. both of whom attended Miss Rogers' School for Young Ladies in Royal York Crescent, Clifton. As well as instigating the re-builds, he must have been responsible for the improvements in the new Chancel - piscina, sedilia, altar cloths etc., in addition to which he started daily Matins and Evensong, observed the seasons such as Lent, and, what was then quite an innovation, celebrated the Eucharist every Sunday. There were also early celebrations on week-day Festivals such as Ascension Day. He was not "High" by modern standards, not wearing Eucharistic vestments for example; in fact, he caused difficulties with the Officers from the Barracks when he wore a Surplice instead of the customary black gown when preaching.

During their time at Horfield Henry and Caroline had two more children making a family of four, as follows:-

Helena Caroline Born 4.11.1825; Died 16.5.1852.
Edward Griffith Born 26.7.1827; Died 16.12.1863.
Charles Henry Born 28.9.1830; Died 29.11.1855.
Mary Elizabeth Born 30.10.1834; Died 7.9.1854.

As Henry died in 1864, it seems that all his children pre-deceased him. His wife Caroline died in Clifton on 30.4.1885.

Edward Griffith Richards, M.A. resided at Langford House, Somerset, with his wife Charlotte Emily (was she the heiress?) who died on 20.12.1902, being buried at Dover. Their elder son, Henry Sillery Griffith Richards, born 4.11.1858, died at Charlton Lodge, Dover, on 22.12.1916. His younger brother, Edward Daubeney Griffith. died on 9.8.1915, aged 51. A second daughter, Charlotte, lived until 23.2.1915. (Family memorial in churchyard).

Henry Richards' successor at Horfield was The Rev. Henry Haistwell Hardy, who gained his B A. at University College, Oxford in 1848, and his M.A. in 1851. He was ordained Deacon in 1850 by the Bishop of Worcester, and Priested the following year by the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. He was Vicar of Preston, (Glos.) near Ledbury 1855-63, from where he was appointed to the Perpetual Curacy of Horfield before the Parish was made a Rectory on 18.6.1867.


There were several branches of the Rosling family shown as living on The Common.

Peregrine Rosling would have been aged about 42 at the time of the petition, and lived with his wife Mary, daughters Sarah and Elizabeth, and sons Richard, Thomas and Jesse. William was yet to be born.

Nearby lived Reuben Rosling, an Agricultural Labourer with wife Mary, son William, and daughter Eleanor. Another son, Peregrine, was yet to come in 1837.

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