My ancestor was John Benwell b. 1749 at Whittly or Whitley Park, St Giles Reading; he was a Quaker and later went on to found Sidcot School in Somerset. His parents were Henry Benwell and Hannah (Smith), also of Reading, who were yeoman farmers amd landowners in the area. Henry Benwell died in 1770, and his wife Hannah died in 1785.
I am trying to trace Henry Benwell's parents. Many of the family were born at Whitley Park, Reading, and I have a copy of the Will of a Thomas Benwell of Whitley Park (Thomas Benwell the Elder), dated 1723. He refers to his wife Mary and a number of children, including Henry and William Benwell, who were younger sons (also Thomas Benwell the Younger). I think that possibly this Henry Benwell was 'my' Benwell, who was the father of John, but am looking for proof. So far I have not found any birth records, although this Henry would likely have been born around the early 1700s as he was around 21 at the time of the will (brother William was yet to attain the age of 'one and twenty', and there were four younger daughters Maria, Lydia, Bathsha? and Susanna). From the Will, it appears that Thomas Benwell also owned land at Rotherfield Peppard and Rotherfield Greys in Oxfordshire as well as at Whitley Park in Berkshire.
Thomas Benwell the Younger married Sarah Clinton in 1723 with Archbishop's licence. His father Thomas Benwell the Elder may have been married before he married Mary - he appears to have had an 'older' family- daughter Elizabeth Benwell married a John Larkin in 1695, Mary Benwell married a John Ffrowin?, Grace Benwell married a Daniel Loundy in 1685, Ann Benwell married a William Bennet in 1707. All are mentioned in his Will, as well as his 6 younger children.
If anyone has any information, particularly on Henry Benwell and Thomas Benwell, please let me know.
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