Select Bentley Surname Genealogy

Here are some Bentley stories and accounts over the years:

Bentley Hall

Bentley Hall near Wolverhamption dates from the early 14th century.  The early manor was moated with a double ditch on the northwest side.  The house came into the possession of the Lane family in 1438.  Bentley Hall is best known as one of the country houses where Charles II hid during his flight after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.  The house was demolished in the late 18th century.

Bentleys from Stratford Upon Avon

The first recorded of this line was Dr. Simon Bentley who died in Stratford Upon Avon in 1349.  A later Bentley, Geoffrey, was a property owner in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.  His sons were Thomas, the vicar of Upper Ottery and Nicholas, priest at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.  Nicholas died in London in 1571.   

Another Thomas, related in some way, was also in London.  He studied medicine and, with the assistance of his mentor Thomas Wolsey, was appointed Censor of the Royal College of Physicians in 1523.  He became the royal physician and attended the births of both Prince Edward and Princess Elizabeth who both later ascended the throne.  Thomas retired in 1545 and returned to his old family home in Stratford upon Avon where he died three years later.

Bentleys from Heptonstall

William Bentley and his sons Arthur and Anthony date from the 1540’s in Heptonstall.  In the registrar of church baptisms, there were no fewer than 42 people recorded by the name of Bentley between 1600 and 1660.  The parish was in fact sometimes known as Bentley’s land. 

These Bentleys were yeoman farmers.  Their family line in Heptonstall continued at least into the early 18th century, as the following early gravestone in the churchyard would indicate: 

“Henry Bentley oweth this stone and to the Lord he made his mone.  And he did pray to God when he did die, that his soul might rest eternally.  H.B. 1726.” 

One line of these Bentleys floundered and flourished. 

James Bentley was a captain for the King in the Civil War.  He was captured during the fighting, imprisoned in Pomfret castle where he died, and had his estate confiscated. 

His son Thomas was a tradesman in Wakefield who married well and they managed to send their son Richard - after a grammar school education in Wakefield - to Cambridge University.  Richard Bentley became a famous scholar who did much to revive classical learning in this country.  He was a long-time Master at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Later descendants of this family were the Bentley brewers, starting with Henry Bentley who opened his brewery in 1828 at Woodlesford near Leeds, close by Richard Bentley's home town of Oulton.  Bentley's Yorkshire Bitter continued to be produced from there until 1968.

Bentleys in England in the 1881 Census

Yorkshire and Lancashire dominate in the distribution of the Bentley surname in the 1881 census.

Numbers (000)

The main concentrations of Bentleys were at Stoke in Staffordshire and Cleckheaton in Yorkshire.

Edmund Clerihew Bentley

Edmund Clerihew Bentley was a humorist writer of the early 20th century and the inventor of the clerihew, an irregular form of humorous verse on biographical topics.

One of the best known is this verse written in 1905.

"Sir Christopher Wren
Said: 'I am going to dine with some men
If anyone calls
Say I am designing St. Paul's.'"

William Bentley in Ohio and Kansas

William Bentley was a blacksmith in Leesing, Ohio in 1861 when at the age of 24 he enlisted in the 27th Regiment of the Ohio Infantry at the onset of the Civil War.  He was struggling by the end of that campaign.  A fellow soldier remarked: 

"He was a strong man until the tedious march with General Sherman from Atlanta, Georgia to Savannah and on to Raleigh, South Carolina.  The veins in his legs burst and his legs swelled until they were twice or three times their size.  Sometimes some of us had to carry him." 

He returned in 1865 to his wife and family at Leesing.  Later they moved to Kansas to farm.  But due to crop failures they migrated to the town of Wichita where he resumed his trade as a blacksmith.  One morning in early 1908 he fell from his buggy on South Water Street and died the same day of his injuries.

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