27 February 2021

An unexpected introduction
to the descendants and
family of Bishop Bedell

Bishop William Bedell of Kilmore (right) with Archbishop William Sancroft of Canterbury (left) in a window in the chapel of Emmanuel College, Cambridge … has Bishop Bedell descendants who continued to live in Ireland? (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

William Bedell (1571-1642) was the Church of Ireland Bishop of Kilmore, one of the great ‘Caroline Divines,’ and the fifth Provost of Trinity College Dublin. He is remembered for undertaking the translation of the Bible into Irish, and for his martyr-like death during the violence and wars that eventually led to the Cromwellian era.

He was under house arrest when he died of typhus on 7 February 1642. His last words were: ‘Be of good cheer, be of good cheer; whether we live or die we are the Lord’s.’ During his funeral at Kilmore Cathedral, a large Irish military force fired a volley over his grave, crying, according to some accounts: ‘Requiescat in pace, ultimus Anglorum.’

Father Edmund Farrely, a Roman Catholic priest who was present, was heard to exclaim: ‘O sit anima mea cum Bedello!, May my soul be with Beddell’s.’ His grave is shaded by a sycamore tree, said to have been planted by his own hands.

Saint Feithlimidh’s Cathedral, Kilmore, built as a memorial to Bishop William Bedell (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Bishop Bedell had two surviving sons, William and Ambrose, who received legacies of £80 and £60 a year each.

The eldest son, the Revd William Bedell, who was the bishop’s biographer, was born in Bury in 1613. He was ordained by his father in 1634 and became Vicar of Kinawley (Derrylin, Co Fermanagh) in the Diocese of Kilmore. He married Mary Barber from Essex, and after his father’s death, they left Ireland and returned to England. They first lived Black Notley in Essex, and then in Bury. William became was the Rector of Rattlesden in 1645, and remained there until he died in March 1671.

William and Mary Bedell had eight children, of whom the eldest, Leah, was baptised at Whepstead in 1643, and the other seven at Rattlesden: William, John, James, Ambrose, Penelope, Agnes and Isabella. The Revd John Bedell succeeded his father as Rector of Rattlesden, but died the following year, 1672.

The second surviving son, Ambrose Bedell, married in Ireland before the 1641 rebellion broke out. His wife Mary was a daughter of Peter Hill, Sheriff of Co Down. After the Restoration, he had a grant of lands in Co Cavan and Co Antrim. He died there in 1683, and had no surviving children.

Willaim Bedell’s grave in the churchyard of Kilmore Cathedral, Co Cavan (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

When I wrote a biographical sketch of Bishop Bedell for the site ‘Dead Anglican Theologians Society’ back in 2012, I said at the time, ‘It appears there are no longer any living descendants of the bishop.’

But I was wrong.

William Bedell was born at Black Notley, a mile outside Braintree in Essex, and some days ago I was contacted by David Grice, who lives near Braintree, and who is interested in Bedell’s earlier career as an Anglican priest in Venice, and who is also interested in finding Bedell’s descendants.

David Grice went to school in Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, where his history master was the late DP Adams, author of a history of the Comberford family and the Moat House on Lichfield Street, Tamworth (DP Adams, The Moat House and the Comberford Family, Tamworth, 1967). His schoolfriends included Archbishop Alan Harper and the Revd Stan Evans, so we found we shared many common interests.

David was sure Bishop Bedell had many Irish descendants through his eldest son, the Revd William Bedell, although William had returned to live in Essex. He pointed out that the name Bedell had continued to descend among members of the Stanford family, and he wondered whether the descendants of Bishop Bedell included the Irish-born composer Charles Villers Stanford (1852-1924) and Professor William Bedell Stanford (1910-1984), Chancellor of Dublin University and Regius Professor of Greek at Trinity College Dublin.

Genealogists must always be prepared to correct the information we present. We work on the data available at any one time, but if we come across new information, we must modify or correct how we have presented information in the past.

And so, I pursued two questions:

Did Bishop William Bedell have descendants in Ireland?

And, if so, were Charles Villiers Stanford and William Bedell Stanford among those descendants?

A plaque at Kilmore Cathedral recalls the former bishop (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The youngest son of Bishop Bedell, Ambrose Bedell, married Mary, only daughter of Peter Hill, Sheriff of Down, and his wife, the sister of Randall, first Earl of Antrim. When Ambrose married, his father bought part of the lands of Carne from the Revd Martin Baxter, Vicar of Kildallan.

Ambrose Bedell made a deposition on 26 October 1642 about the Cavan rebels of 1641. He was a captain in the royalist army in Colonel Arthur Hill’s regiment until 1649, and was one of the ‘’49 Officers.’ Ambrose Bedell bought adjoining lands in Carne in 1661 from Thomas Richardson. He was the High Sheriff of Cavan in 1668. In 1682, he went to London to be touched for the King’s Evil or scrofula, and later wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury saying his health had been fully restored. Bedell died the following year, 1683, at Cavan, aged 65, and was buried beside his father in the churchyard in Kilmore.

Ambrose Bedell left his lands and two mills in Co Cavan first to his nephew James Bedell and his heirs male; and failing such to his nephew Ambrose Bedell (James Bedell’s next brother) and his heirs male; and, failing such, to his heirs next in blood to his father, Bishop William Bedell.

Annagh Church, Belturbet, Co Cavan … many members of the Stanford family are buried there (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

So, Ambrose Bedell’s line of descent had died out, and I began searching for descendants of his brother, the Revd William Bedell, Vicar of Kinawley, Diocese of Kilmore (1634-1637) and Rector of Rattlesden, Suffolk (1644-1670). This William’s children included a daughter:

Isabella Bedell, who was born ca 1662. She married Major Daniel French of Belturbet, Co Cavan, ca 1685. He was Provost (Mayor) of Belturbet (1682, 1700), High Sheriff of Co Cavan (1690), and a JP. They were the parents of three daughters, all born after 1685:

1, Elinor.
2, Mary, who married … Fletcher.
3, Susanna, who was twice married: 1, John Britton, and had three daughters: Mary, Winifred, and Isabella; and 2, Francis Le Hunte. Susanna and Francis Le Hunte were the parents of Richard Le Hunte, of Artramont, Co Wexford, Barrister, MP for Wexford (1771-1776, and 1776-1783), died 1783.

Richard Le Hunt left Isabella Stanford his diamond ring, his little mare called Polly, and £200, while he left Artramont to his cousin, Major George Le Hunte, great-grandfather of Sir George Ruthven Le Hunte of Artramont, Governor of South Australia.

Isabella French died in 1718; her will is dated 21 June 1718, and was proved on 18 August 1718. Her eldest daughter was:

Elinor (French) married Captain John Stanford (1686-1745) on 22 November 1707. John was the eldest son of Luke Stanford (d. 1733), of Belturbet, Co Cavan, ‘a merchant of large dealing,’ and his wife Anne Hecclefield (d. 1755). John Stanford was born in Killeshandra, Co Cavan, in 1686, and was educated by a Mr Walker of Drogheda and at Trinity College Dublin (BA 1706). He was High Sheriff of Co Cavan (1734) and Co Monaghan (1741) and a JP for Co Cavan. He died in 1745.

John Stanford and Elinor (French) were the parents of three children, two sons and a daughter:

1, John Stanford (1719-1735), educated at Cavan and TCD (entered 1734). He died aged 15 in 1735.
2, Bedell Howard Stanford (1720-1776), married Elizabeth Jones, and died in Belturbet, Co Cavan. in 1776.
3, Daniel Stanford married Mary Richardson, and of whom next.
4, Anne, born 1727, married Dr Henry Richardson of Belturbet, Co Cavan. 5, Charity, married John Bradshaw.
6, Isabel.
The third son:

Daniel Stanford, of Dominick Street, Dublin, married Mary Richardson, daughter of the Revd James Richardson, in 1759. Their children included three sons and three daughters:

1, John Stanford (1760-1806), of whom next.
2, James Stanford.
3, Bedell Stanford.
1, Elinor, married the Revd Francis Eastwood.
2, Mary, baptised in Saint Mary’s Church, Dublin, 22 December 1770; she died young.
3, Isabella, married in Wexford John Brownrigg.

Daniel Stanford died in 1787. His eldest son:

John Stanford (1761-1806), of Carn, Co Cavan, and of Gloucester Street, Dublin. He was born in Co Derry. Educated at TCD (entered 1776, tutor the Revd William Richardson, FTCD, but did not graduate). He was a Barrister-at-Law and High Sheriff, Co Cavan (1789). He married at Wexford, 22 October 1784, Barbara, second daughter of Major Loftus Cliffe, and his wife Anne, daughter of William Hore, of Harperstown, Co Wexford, MP for Taghmon (1727-1731, 1741-1746). He grandmother, the Hon Dorothy Ponsonby, was a daughter of William Ponsonby, 1st Viscount Duncannon, and a sister of the 1st Earl of Bessborough.

John Stanford died in 1806. He was the father of two sons and a daughter:

1, John Stanford, dsp.
2, Bedell Stanford (1786-1857), of whom next.
3, Anne, who married Augustus Heron in 1809.

The second son:

Bedell Stanford (1786-1857), was born ca 1786. He was a captain in the Cavan militia (1807), a JP (1809), and High Sheriff of Co Cavan (1835). He married ca 1820 Elizabeth Christiana Gale, daughter of (the Revd) John Gale (1768-1842). They were the parents of:

1, Charlotte Barbara, born 1823.
2, John Woodward Stanford (1825-1904), of whom next.
3, Elizabeth Anne (1826-1907), unmarried.
4, Harriet Mary (1828-1828).
5, Frances Harriet, born 1829, married her cousin, the Revd Walter Charles Edward Kynaston.
6, Bedell Henry Stanford (1832-1842).
7, Walter Frederick Stanford (1834-1850).
8, (Revd Canon) William Bedell Stanford (1836-1929), Rector of Wishaw, Diocese of Worcester, and a canon of Christchurch, New Zealand. Educated at Baliol College Oxford. He married his cousin Harriet, daughter of (Very Revd) Frederick Owen, Dean of Leighlin, and granddaughter of (Revd) Roger Carmichael Owen, Rector of Camolin, Co Wexford, by Anne, daughter of Major Loftus Cliffe. They have living descendants.
9, Robert Loftus Stanford (1839- ). Educated Cheltenham College and Exeter College, Oxford (BA, LLB). Born Buckinghamshire 1839; he married in 1864, his cousin Louisa Owen, daughter of Dean Frederick Owen. Moved to New Zealand 1864; Stipendiary Magistrate, Wanganui.
10, Henry Bedell Stanford, married Florence Carter.

The eldest son:

John Woodward Stanford (1825-1904), of Carn, Co Cavan, and Chetwode Priory, Buckinghamshire. He married Louise Reade, and they were the parents of five sons and two daughters:

1, (Major) Henry Bedell Stanford.
2, (Revd) Charles Woodward Stanford.
3, Walter John Stanford, civil engineer.
4, (Revd) Alfred Bracebridge Stanford (1867-1895), educated Emmanuel College Cambridge, died at Mafeking in 1895.
5, Archibald Alfred Stanford.
1, Elizabeth Mary.
2, Charlotte Barbara.

The eldest son:

(Major) Henry Bedell Stanford (1861-1904), major, Royal Garrison Artillery. He was born on 9 October 1861, and married on 10 October 1887, Florence, daughter of Colonel William Frederick Carter CB and his wife Hannah Emily (Anderson); Florence was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1859. Henry died on 14 July 1904.

They were the parents of one son and two daughters:

1, Jack Stanford, of whom next.
2, Norah (1889-1960), married James Stuart and had three children.
3, Aileen.

Major Henry Bedell Stanford’s son:

Jack Stanford, born 27 July 1888. Through his descent from the French family, he became the senior representative of the descendants of William Bedell, Bishop of Kilmore.

A memorial plaque in the chapel of Trinity College Cambridge to the composer Charles Villiers Stanford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

So, yes, Bishop Bedell had descendants, who eventually moved to England, New Zealand and Canada. But they did not seem to include either Charles Villiers Stanford or William Bedell Stanford.

I had to search another branch of the Stanford family to find their lines of descent.

Luke Stanford (d. 1733) and his wife Ann (Hecclefield or Hucklefield), whose son John Stanford (1686-1745), who married Elinor French, Bishop Bedell’s eventual heir, was also the ancestor of the composer Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924), and of a well-known clerical family.

Luke Stanford came to Ireland during the reign of Charles II. He and his wife Ann were the parents of:

1, John Stanford (1686-1745), who married Elinor French (see above).
2, Luke Stanford, of whom next.
3, Thomas Stanford.
4, Anne, who married William Berkeley.
5, Hecklefield Stanford (born 1723).

The second son:

Luke Stanford (died 1774), married Anne Heart in 1751. They were the parents of:

William Luttrell Stanford (born 1752). He married Mary Poe. They were the parents of three sons and one daughter:

1, William Stanford (born 1775), of whom next.

The eldest son of William Luttrell Stanford and his wife Mary (Poe) was:

William Stanford (1775- ). He was a woollen merchant at 33 Lower Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street), Dublin, and also had a family home in Co Cavan. He married Sarah Margaret McCullan (died 1846), daughter of James McCullan KC. They were the parents of three sons and a daughter:

1, (Revd) William Henry Stanford (1801-1856), of whom next.
2, (Revd Dr) Charles Stuart Stanford (1805-1873), of whom after William Henry Stanford.
3, John James Stanford (1810-1880), of whom after Charles Stuart Stanford.
4, Mary.

The eldest son:

(The Revd) William Henry Stanford (1801-1856), born in Dublin, educated TCD (BA 1827, MA 1829), ordained deacon and priest in 1827. He was a curate in Slane, Maynooth, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bray, Stottesden and Taney (1827-1837) before becoming Perpetual Curate (vicar) of Taney (1837-1851) and Rector of Rincurran (1851-1856). He married in 1833, Esther Katharyne Peter of 1 Saint Stephen’s Green, Dublin. They were the parents of:

1, William Henry Nassau Stanford (1834-1871).
2, Adelaide Esther Katharine (born 1835), married John Hatchell Cooper.
3, (Revd) Bedell Stanford (1837-1896), of whom next.
4, Charles Edward Stuart Stanford.
5, Virginia Pauline.

Their third son:

(Revd) Bedell Stanford (1837-1895). He was born in Dublin in 1837 and educated at TCD (BA 1863, Div Test 1868). He was ordained deacon and priest in 1867 and 1868, and was curate in Castlerahan in the Diocese of Kilmore (1867-1869), curate, Saint Luke’s, Dublin (1869-1882), Assistant Chaplain, Old Molyneux Chapel (1882-1886), and curate, Saint Paul’s (1886-1894). He died in 1895.

Bedell Stanford married in 1868 Phoebe Thompson (d. 1901) of Burlington Road, Dublin, and they were the parents of an only son:

(Revd) Bedell Stanford (1873-1945). He was born in Dublin and educated at Rathmines School and TCD (BA 1896, Div Test 1897, MA 1899). He was a curate in a number of parishes before becoming Rector of Holy Trinity, Belfast (1909-1915), Diocesan Curate in Waterford (1915-1922) and curate-in-charge, Ballintemple, Diocese of Cashel (1922-1931). He died on 6 March 1945.

He married Susan Jackson of Albany Road, Ranelagh, in 1902, and they were the parents of four daughters and two sons:

1, Adela Constance Dorothy (born 1903), married William Henry Joseph Sherlock Bosanquet.
2, Helen Maud (born 1906), married Francis Thomas Hewson.
3, Charles Bedell Stanford (1908-1909).
4, William Bedell Stanford (1910-1985), Regius Professor of Greek, TCD (1940-1980), Chancellor of Dublin University (1982-1984), and a Senator (1948-1969). He was born in Belfast and was educated at Bishop Foy’s School, Waterford, and TCD He married Dorothy Isabel Wright, and they were the parents of two sons and two daughters.
5, Marjorie Kathleen (born 1912).
6, Eileen May (born 1914), married Maurice Henry Le Clerc.

The second son of William Stanford Stanford and his wife Sarah Margaret (McMullan) was:

(CanonCharles Stuart Stanford (1805-1873). He was born in 1805, educated at TCD (BA 1828, MA 1832, BD and DD 1855), and ordained deacon and priest in 1835. He was the Perpetual Curate (Vicar) of Glasnevin (1837-1843), Rector of Saint Thomas’s (1855-1872) and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin (1843-1854).

He was the editor of the Christian Examiner and the Dublin University Magazine (1833-1834), and published a number of anti-Catholic pamphlets.

He married (1), Pamela Louisa Campbell (died 1859), and (2), Agnes Fayle. He died in Surbiton in 1873.

There were seven children in this family:

1, Guy Howard Stanford (born 1842).
2, Charles Edward FitzGerald Stanford (1854- ).
3, Helen Emily, married Edward Fitzgerald Frederick Campbell.
4, Lucy Frances Felicite.
5, Pamela Charlotte Augusta.
6-7, two other daughters.

The third son of William Stanford and his wife Sarah Margaret (McMullan) was:

John James Stanford (1810-1880). In 1851, he married Mary Henn (1817-1892) and they were the parents of:

(Professor) Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924), the composer. He married Jennie Wetton (1856-1921) in 1878, and they were the parents of:

1, Geraldine Mary (1883-1956).
2, Guy Desmond Stanford (1885-1953), who married Gwendolyn Dalrymple.

Charles Villiers Stamford was Professor of Music at Cambridge and composed a substantial number of concert works, including seven symphonies. His best-remembered pieces are his choral works for church performance, chiefly composed in the Anglican tradition. His students included the composers Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) … Irish-born composer, his students included Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams

Additional sources:

Ross Hinds (ed.), William Bedell Stanford: Regius Professor of Greek 1940-80: Trinity College, Dublin: Memoirs (Hinds, Dublin 2002).
JB Leslie and WJR Wallace (eds), Clergy of Dublin and Glendalough Biographical Succession Lists (Dublin, 2001).
LG Pine (ed), Burke’s Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland (London, 1957).
Paul Rodmell, Charles Villiers Stamford (2017).

1 comment:

Della Palmer said...

Thank you for the information.
I very much enjoyed my read.
I think you did find William Bedell Stanford b 1837 son of Bedel Stanford and Elizabeth Gale.
Or if it was a younger one his son William Bedell Standford b 1865.
I am decended from John Stanford and Elinor French through their daughter Charity.
her daughter Elizabeth Bradford married George Gilford Crawford.
They had many children including Margaret who married William Hayes.This family famous for their Linen factory in Seapatrick.
One of their children Justice Edmund Bradshaw Hayes the authur of "Crimes and Punishment- criminal statute Law" he is my 2nd great grandfather.
Thank you again Della Palmer