Please contact me, Elizabeth, at My email address

watchcartoon

Caricature of Sir John Bennett and his watch dated 1871
Reproduced by kind permission of
the Guildhall Library, London, England
Copyright protected 2003

This story is like all family histories, an incomplete one . What has been found so far is an extraordinary and unexpected collection of facts .

There are several references to the Bennetts watch and clockmaking firm being in existence as early as 1765 but unfortunately this headline on the Sir John Bennett notepaper does not say ” of Cheapside ” or of anywhere else . However , the discovery of a list of property leasehold and freehold owned by John Bennett senr, shows that he tenanted a property in Greenwich High St but that he owned freehold the Banks at Mountfield . This page came to light with other papers concerning the court case between Sir John and the widow of George Weedon Bennett and her new husband Mr Jenkins . Had it not been for our Australian cousins knowledge of the Bennett v Jenkins court cases we might never have discovered this list of property ..   ( see The Banks Mountfield page )

The earliest watchmaker found is John Bennett ?1760 – ?1830 who married Mary ? . This couple baptised a single child , John ,( this seems unlikely) in St Alphage , Greenwich in 1786 . This first John and his parents leave no paper trail in Greenwich until after he himself marries in 1813 and then dies in 1828 aged 42 . By this time he has become Mr John Bennett and although buried in St Margaret`s Lee , he has a plain plaque on the wall of St Alphage church, Greenwich , which says that he was a churchwarden and died much lamented . A painstaking search by Greenwich Heritage Centre staff , showed an entry in the Land Tax Assessments of 1765 , of a “Messrs Bennett and co ” in the High Street , Greenwich . There is no further detail . So perhaps this is John senr and maybe George Bennett . Messrs would indicate relatives such as brothers but not the usual Bennett and son.

His short will leaves all his property to his wife Elizabeth Sinnock Bennett for the benefit of all his children . These are John b 1814 ,.George Weedon b 1816 , Abraham b 1818, Elizabeth b 1819 and William Cox b 1820 . Sadly Abraham died at a few days old in 1818 and is also buried in Lee . And the only daughter Elizabeth married a William Gilbert in Bread St , in 1837 , died young but left a single son , Alfred . Elizabeth is with her sons John and William in the 1841 census at Stockwell St in business as a watch and clockmaker . George is living at 9 Osborne Place in Blackheath in the 1841 and is described as a jeweller . However to go back a few years to the death of John Bennett , in 1828 his surviving children are all very young . John junr is just 15 and at Colfe`s Grammar School where he is being educated with the help of the Spectacle Makers Company , he was appointed head boy in 1831 and he later claimed that he was being thought of as a future headmaster of the school for which job he would have to have taken Holy Orders. : George and William are 12 and 8 yrs old so both very unlikely to be assisting with the watch and clockmaking business .

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Sir John Bennett in his Sheriff’s Robes
by Maull
Reproduced by kind permission of
the Guildhall Library, London, England
Copyright protected 2003

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George Weedon Bennett , c 1856 .
Courtesy and copyright of
George Willmott Bennett , snr,
family of Australia

Elizabeth , John`s widow , has some income from the house in Hastings left to her by her uncle Richard Sinnock and from another property left her by her grandfather John Williams . The shop in Stockwell St continued in business despite the loss of John senr. And this can only be because John senr had competent and loyal workmen to assist his widow and sons .

And maybe some help was given to the widow Elizabeth by her husband`s trustees who were known to her . The first of these was George Smith , wine merchant of Park Row, Greenwich and the second , George Sargent , linen draper of Battle , Sussex ..

Greenwich is a very busy place by the late 18th C and Bennett is a very common name . There is a family of George Bennett, milkman . His first son is also John bapt St Alphage 1786 by his first wife Susanna Wilks . By his second wife Elizabeth Suter who he married in Deptford later in 1786 , he has Weeden Hall Bennett bapt and buried 1790, William Hull Bennett 1794 and John Alexander Bennett bapt 1797 buried 1800 as well as three daughters in 1787, 1792 and 1803 . ( William Hull Bennett survived to the 1851 census in which he is described as 58, and a carpenter , with wife Anne, and two daughters Sarah Ann and Mary Ann and a niece Sarah E Horsley , 20 , b Shadwell .) .

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Sir John Bennett
by Maull
Reproduced by kind permission of
the Guildhall Library, London, England
Copyright protected 2003

There is also a George Bennett, watchmaker of Greenwich , who is working according to Baillie and Loomis between 1802 – 1811 ; he is appointed Borsholder of Greenwich ( petty constable) in 1801/2 and he is perhaps the same George Bennett who apprentices his son John , no baptism found yet , to Oswald Strong , of the Tylers and Bricklayers Company in 1800 . An apprentice would be between 10 and 15 years old perhaps , and so this John son of George might have been born circa 1785 -90 . Whether he is connected to our John Bennett , watchmaker of Greenwich is not yet known. Nor is there any connection yet between the family of George Bennett milkman who names one of his sons Weeden Hall Bennett, our John Bennett who names one of his sons , George Weedon Bennett. And in Deptford Thomas and Martha Bennett bapt George Freeland Bennett in 1786. Freeland is an unusual name and found in East Sussex as well as in Greenwich where they were linen drapers.

There is little known about John Bennett 1786-1828 , except that he was a silversmith and watchmaker , and that he successfully reduced the rates in his parish of St Alphage during his time as churchwarden . He also seems to have been a man of some means beyond the income suggested by his two trades . He purchased the remainder of the lease of Wricklemarsh Park house, Blackheath from the estate of the late Capt Thomas Larkins in November 1825 and the development of this estate resulted in it being renamed the Bennett Park estate . It remains named thus today and another 99 year lease was sold to the Bennetts in 1860 for its further development . John`s wife Elizabeth Sinnock Bennett , nee Williams, is easy to trace . She is the daughter of John Williams of St Clements , Hastings, builder , and the niece of Richard Sinnock, gent , of Battle who was a remarkable dissenting minister . Uncle Richard also names John Bennett her husband and John Williams her brother as his executors .

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Bennett Clock on
Royal Arsenal Building Woolwich
taken Oct 2003
copyright site owner

There are several Sussex connections , though these may only be coincidental, but there is in Greenwich in the same 1790 – 1810 period and later in the 1841 census a family of linen drapers called Trill whose name is also unusual and found in East Sussex. Several Trills starting with John Trill of Buxted , who married Ann Bennett dau of George Bennett of Warbleton in the late 17th C and then in the late 19th C Elizabeth Bennett dau of George Bennett of Beckley married James Trill of Dallington . Is it coincidence that Thomas Trill , linen draper b c 1800 is living in Tranquil Vale a few doors away from George Weedon Bennett .

Elizabeth Bennett seems to have remained in her shop until her retirement in 1860 when she moved to the Circus , Greenwich . She died in 1864 leaving her estate in four parts to her three sons and her grandson , son of her late daughter Elizabeth , Alfred Gilbert . However by 1864 her son George Weedon was already dead himself and so Elizabeth`s will is administered by her third son , the one who took over the Greenwich business, William Cox Bennett .

By the mid 1840s John Bennett , the eldest son, was in business in 65 Cheapside and his brothers were running the Greenwich and Blackheath businesses and presumably the Bennett Park estate development . John married Agnes dau of John Wilson , builder of St Paul`s Deptford in 1843 and they went on to have three children , John Mountfield , Juliet (who married in 1873 Richard Douglas Powell , KCVO , Physician in Ordinary to Queen Victoria, Edward Vll and George V )and Alice ( the latter became the grandmother of Sir Christopher Cockerell who pioneered the hovercraft ). John Mountfield their only son is named after the village in East Sussex that John Bennett claimed all his long life , was the family home. This son emigrated to New Zealand and his descendants live there today . This John Bennett had such an illustrious career that he is added separately at the end of this narrative .

George Weedon Bennett bapt in St Alphage, Greenwich in 1816 is in Osborne Place in 1841 as a watchmaker and jeweller . Although both his brothers attended recorded schools , Colfe`s and Rev. Wm. Smithers, no school is known for George Weedon Bennett . He seems to have been a bookish person and more interested in the the arts and literature than watch and clockmaking . It took him until the age of 34 to marry 19 year old Sarah Ann Willmott . They were married in March 1850 at Lee . The witnesses to this marriage were George`s mother Elizabeth Sinnock Bennett and a E Maria Sophia Bennett, and on Sarah Ann`s side her father George Willmott , builder . William Cox Bennett , George`s younger brother , married Emma Sophia Willson in Southwark in 1845 .

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Sir John and Lady Bennett
request the pleasure of
an invitation to the Banks, Mountfield 1875
Reproduced by kind permission of
the Guildhall Library, London, England
Copyright protected 2003

The Willmotts are worth a brief mention . George the father of Sarah Ann was a builder in Greenwich and Blackheath , and its possible that he worked on some of the new development of the Bennett Park estate and that George Weedon met his future bride through his dealings with her father . George Willmott was born in Selling , Kent and married Fanny Apsley in St Alphage in 1831 and their daughter Sarah Ann was baptised at Lee in 1832 . George and his family are in Tranquil place in 1851 and with them is his married brother Henry who is a gardener . George died in 1859 and left an estate valued at £2,000 .

George Weedon and Sarah Ann have George Williams Bennett a year and a day after their marriage in March 1851 and their household increases by a monthly nurse and a nursemaid . Between 1851 and 1861 George became Honorary Secretary to the Blackheath Society for the Acquisition and Diffusion of Useful Knowledge and it offered libraries , popular reading rooms and lectures and further education . He also founded the Blackheath Railway Timekeeper , New Crystal Palace Gazette and Kent, Surrey and Sussex Advertiser . This gives us a tiny glimpse of his personality . He writes that his paper will contain ” Things worth thinking of : and Jokes etc. : Selections and Remarks on the Inventions and Literature of the Day : Gardening for the Month and all communications must be addressed to Mr G W Bennett , watchmaker, jeweller and silversmith , 9 Osborne Place, Blackheath .”

Until recently George Williams born in 1851 and Leonard Willmott Bennett born in 1859 were thought to be the only children of George Weedon and Sarah Ann Bennett, but Australian descendants have uncovered a further son John Sydenham Bennett born in 1854 . The 1861 census shows an odd situation. George Weedon is living at 9 Osborne Place, with his son Leonard aged 2, and two servants . Diligent searching finally revealed George Williams aged 10 and his widowed grandmother Mrs Fanny Willmott boarding at the Banks , Mountfield , Sussex . Of Sarah Ann Bennett and John Sydenham their middle son there is , so far, no sign . By September 1861 George Weedon is dead aged 45 of an injury to the knee, acute excitement of the brain and chronic exhaustion for 4 to 5 days . The death is registered by William Sherwood of Camden Cottages, Lewisham . The census for that year shows him to be a porter , and its odd to think that neither of the servants nor his wife were present at George Weedon`s death . However he died intestate and his estate was adminstered by his wife Sarah Ann Bennett and shows a value of under £3,000.

Apart from claiming that the family firm was established in 1765, John Bennett also claimed that the family came from Mountfield in Sussex . At the time young George Williams and his granny Willmott are staying there in 1861 , the house known as the Banks is tenanted by the Rolfes . The last Bennett to own or live at the Banks was a James Bennett from 1837 – 1841 and he followed a John Bennett who took over from the Ruck family in 1824 . Whilst the name John Bennett is common to all families , there is no trace of a James Bennett to date to have any connection with the watch and clockmakers of Greenwich and Blackheath .

Following the death of George Weedon Bennett in 1861 , his widow Sarah Ann , now aged 30, remarried to Henry Jenkins. They were married at Holy Trinity Islington in Oct 1865 . He is described as a bachelor , a builder and the son of Henry Jenkins, dissenting minister . The witnesses seem to underline the family unity at this wedding . John Bennett is the first to sign, followed by A W Gilbert, her nephew in law, and Elizabeth Gilbert, and representing the Jenkins , E W Jenkins, M A Jenkins and John Jenkins . Nevertheless in 1869 the London Gazette reports that there is a Chancery case Jenkins v Bennett in which Henry Jenkins and another are the defendants against John Bennett and others , creditors , in the matter of the estate of George Weedon Bennett . By 1871 the Court of Chancery has made an order for the sale of the leasehold and rental properties of the late George Weedon Bennett , to be sold in 11 lots , certain leasehold ground rents , amounting to £160 per annum , for terms expiring at Christmas 1951 secured on 17 premises . Most of these were 1 – 22 The Avenue, Bennett Park and then a set of 4 properties plus a business premises and dwelling house in Brunswick Place . What happened next is not clear . But as late as 1928 under a heading Dormant Funds in Chancery , the Bennett v Bennett suit is unresolved and the funds which may be held from 1867 for the benefit of Leonard Willmott Bennett ,infant in 1867, and John Sydenham Bennett also an infant in 1867 , had not been dealt with . Perhaps there were no funds left but this is the last mention of the cases Jenkins v Bennett and Bennett v Bennett .

It is notable that George Williams Bennett the eldest of George Weedon`s sons is not mentioned in any of these proceedings . In the 1871 census Sarah Ann Jenkins is living in Wimbledon with Henry who is away on census night , and with her mother Frances Willmott and her son Leonard ” Jenkins” , 12, and two small children Catherine , 4 and Henry Jenkins junr 6 months ………however in the same 1871 census at St Paul`s Deptford , Frances Willmott is again recorded , aged 58, house property (proprietor) b Deptford, with Leonard W Bennett , 12 , b Blackheath, and lodging with them are George W Bennett, 21, architect and surveyor , b Blackheath and his new wife Eliza Bennett aged 20, sewing machinist . However in this 1871 census , John Sydenham Bennett, mistranscribed as Barnett , aged 17, butcher`s shopman, b Blackheath , is found also in Ridgway Rd , Wimbledon, not far from the family home of Henry and Sarah Ann Jenkins .

GWB & EE

He is not with either of his uncles , John or Wm Cox Bennett in the 1861 census , although John has his niece May and his niece Kate visiting , both daughters of William Cox in each of the census. And why was he named Sydenham ? The others are named after family members Williams and Willmott .

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George Williams Bennett , courtesy and copyright of the George Willmott Bennett snr family Australia
Eliza Bennett nee Evans , courtesy and copyright of the George Willmott Bennett snr family Australia

What is clear though is that there was a considerable family break up at this point . It is possible that Sarah Ann had already left George Weedon before his death in 1861 and taken John with her , or that she and he were both ill or abroad somewhere . The appearance of Henry Jenkins seems only to have exacerbated the situation . And with their father`s early death , it seems that none of his three sons followed in the watch and clockmaking trade , though there would have been opportunities to do so with their illustrious older uncle as well as with their more bookish younger uncle . But it would seem that Sarah Ann has effectively alienated her sons from their Bennett uncles by the remarriage and subsequent court case. .

In the 1881 census Henry and Sarah Jenkins are still living in Wimbledon and this time they do have ” son in law ” John S Bennett , 26, butcher , b Blackheath , living with them . He later married Margaret and had two daughters and a son John born 1898 and died relatively young in 1903.

Leonard Willmott Bennett the youngest son was living in Barnes in the 1901 census with his Scottish wife Laura a dressmaker and their daughter Ethel who is a school teacher . Leonard is described in 1891 as a grocer`s assistant , the grocer presumably being Henry Jenkins, and in 1901 as a commercial salesman .He is the informant on the death certificate of his mother Sarah Ann Jenkins in 1901 when she was living in Mortlake .
By 1886 George Williams Bennett,  ( we presume as no trace of his name has yet been found ) was on SS Parsee with his family of three children and his wife Eliza on their way to Australia . By now he had George Willmott Bennett, Bertram Leonard Bennett and Kate . ( the fares for the family on SS Parsee in 1885 would have been 40 guineas per adult 1st class, 24 guineas 2nd class ,  14 guineas 3rd class and children under 12 half fare,  babies free . Source Peter Hammett , the mariners list .   These fares updated would be around £5,750 per adult 3rd class ).     The names resonate with family connections . Around the same time Eliza Bennett`s sister Sophia and mother Mary Ann Evans also emigrated .     It is possible that two other of Eliza Bennett`s family  also emigrated to Australia .  She had two very much younger brothers , Walter b 1867 and Victor b 1865 , and the Australian cousins know of the cousins in South Melbourne one of whom was Wal , and Sophia Evans speaks of a Vic in her letters to George Williams Bennett`s family in Australia .    Frances Willmott who had been with young George Williams Bennett in 1861 the year of the death of his father lived until 1892.

The Bennetts arrived in Melbourne and settled in South Melbourne where it is rumoured that George Williams designed and built a house called Khartoum Terrace on Beaconsfield Parade by the sea. Nothing is known of their lives in Australia in detail , where they lived , how he found work or what he did . John Melbourne Bennett their last child was born in 1887 and registered by his father George Williams in 1887 as of Khartoum Terrace . That building appears to be gone now but Beaconsfield Parade is still in evidence .

Some time between 1891 and 1901 , the family returned to the UK . They brought home Bertram Leonard and John Melbourne but left behind in Melbourne , George Willmott and Kate . Nothing much further is known of Kate who married a John Somerville a seaman in 1902 in Melbourne . Sadly whilst he was at sea she left home for Sydney to live with another merchant seaman David Thomson b Glasgow. John Somerville went to Sydney to try to reclaim his wife but found only the abandoned clothing and other personal possessions of David Thomson who had jumped ship . Amongst the personal effects was a number of loving letters from Kate to David Thomson . The judge granted a dissolution of the marriage and a decree nisi . Apart from Kate, her eldest brother George Willmott was in the Australian merchant navy , and married in 1904 Sarah Ellen Barker, and left a son George Willmott b 1904 , Kate Ellen, Leslie John , and Millicent Augusta who died aged 2.. In the 1901 census for Camberwell , George Williams Bennett and his wife Eliza have John Melbourne their youngest son born Melbourne, aged 14 living with them . Middle son Bertram Leonard is in the Royal Navy and in Portsmouth . What happened next is not known , except that John Melbourne Bennett married in Chelsea Registry office , Ethel Rogers in 1910 . In the 1911 census we have George Williams Bennett aged 60 a surveyor born Blackheath living in Lewisham Workhouse , he says he is married. There is no sign of Eliza Bennett his wife , nor can she be found in any other part of the census . Eliza and Bennett are both very common names and there are literally dozens of them . None match her details . So how come George Williams who had at the age of 20 had the huge sum of £1,187 given him by his uncle Sir John Bennett , he could have so fallen in fortune to be in the workhouse and on his own . It isn`t as if he is without family . Somewhere he has a wife, and two married sons , yet he has been abandoned in the workhouse where remains until the last sighting of him in December 1917 . There is more yet to find but that is how things stand at July 2015.

(See the update below , Jan and Feb 2016 which reveals the last years of both George Williams and Eliza Bennett ).

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John Melbourne Bennett
Picture property of website owner

But to go back to the first of the sets of three brothers , John b 1814 , George Weedon , b 1816 and William Cox Bennett b 1820 , the two brothers either side of George Weedon were both interesting men who made their mark on London and Blackheath . William Cox Bennett seems to have had as little interest in the watch and clockmaking business and like his older brother George Weedon , to have had more of a literary and artistic leaning . However in keeping with the Jenkins v Bennett court case , in 1868 William Cox Bennett submits to the courts a list of his debtors and becomes bankrupt . One of his creditors is his cousin Horatio Nelson Williams of Hastings, Sussex who is his late mother`s brother`s son . The other creditors are both jewellers including a wholesale jeweller of Hatton Garden . This bankruptcy does not prevent William Cox becoming the London reporter of Le Figaro and from writing some fairly dreadful poetry which is held in the British Library . It would seem that the creditors of George Weedon Bennett were simply underlining the fact that the development of the Bennett Park estate had run away with more money than it earned and like a lot of speculative building projects , it failed . And around this time Bensons takes over the business which despite being called Bennetts for another 50 years , has no further family involvement .

William Cox Bennett had four children two daughters and two sons, May, Kate, Harold and William . He died in 1895 in Blackheath . He and his eldest brother Sir John both have entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography .

John Bennett born 1814 and the oldest and grandest of the brothers moved to 65 Cheapside to a shop which according to Gog and Magog , the House of Bennett published in 1920 , was already in existence from as early as 1750. It is still not clear if this is a watch and clockmaking business in 1750 nor if it belonged to a Bennett . Various documents indicate that John Bennett was apprenticed to his father but this seems unlikely as he was still at Colfe`s in 1828 aged 14 when his father died , though it is not impossible that he could have been apprenticed whilst still attending school .

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Spy cartoon of Sir John Bennett
Reproduced by kind permission of
the Guildhall Library, London, England
Copyright protected 2003

John worked with his mother and brothers until 1843 when he married Agnes Wilson daughter of John Wilson , builder , of Deptford and by 1845 they had moved up to the shop at 65 Cheapside where he was to remain until the mid 1880s when he retired to St Leonards , Sussex. He was very much a man of his times and ahead of his times when it came to advertising . For the Great Exhibition of 1851 he had the vision to book the front page of the catalogue to advertise his watches and clocks at a cost of £750 , a colossal amount of money in 1851 He also booked stand no 1 at the exhibition . For the 1861 exhibition he took 1,000 guineas worth of advertising in the catalogue He entered politics by standing for Cheap Ward in the city and was elected Alderman three times . He was also made Sheriff of London, Deputy Lieutenant of the City of London and the crowning glory of being made a knight bachelor by Queen Victoria in the year of celebrations for the recovery from typhoid of the Prince of Wales . The Guildhall Library in the City has many pictures of him and the Greenwich Heritage Centre at Woolwich Arsenal has files on the Bennett family.

From the latter it is clear that the reason John Bennett was not confirmed as an Alderman of the City of London was because he was a larger than life figure who would in turn have become Lord Mayor of London which perhaps the other senior Alderman did not find a palatable idea …but perhaps also because whilst still married to wife Agnes, he had embarked on a robust relationship which was to last almost to his death, with a young Guernsey born art student called Aimee Guilbert with whom he had no less than seven children.

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Picture 1

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Picture 2

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Picture 3

Pictures property of cousin John of Tunbridge Wells
His kind permission was given to put these pictures on my site.
Thank you John.
copyright site owner

It maybe that the City authorities could have coped with one or even two illegitmate children of an Alderman , but an openly flourishing relationship with seven , was too much for them to accept . So despite being elected three times the Court would not ratify his appointment . He was however created a knight bachelor by the Queen in 1872 and used this title on all his future products and advertisements . The firm went through some tough times in the 1880s and was eventually sold to Bensons and Sir John retired to St Leonards in Sussex where he died in 1897 leaving a short and rather plaintive will which states that ” my family ( who during the whole of their lives have occasioned me a large amount of trouble anxiety and expense ) are otherwise provided for and in grateful acknowledgment of the incessant kindness I have received from the said Aimee Guilbert for upward of a quarter of a century .”, he gave the whole of his remaining estate . His will was proved 1st February 1898.

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St. Alphage Church, Greenwich
taken Oct 2003
copyright site owner

Perhaps the most wonderful relic of the days of Sir John and his high flying watch and clockmaking business is a letter from Charles Dickens to Sir John ” My dear Sir, Since my hall clock was sent to your establishment to be cleaned it has gone ( as indeed it always has ) perfectly well, but has struck the hours with great reluctance , and after enduring internal agonies of a most distressing nature , it has now ceased striking altogether . Though a happy release for the clock this is not convenient to the household . If you can send down any confidential person with whom the clock can confer , I think it may have something on its works that it would be glad to make a clean breast of . Faithfully yours, Charles Dickens “.

The above is the known ancestry. And any earlier connections are purely speculative.

However as Sir John Bennett knew rather than guessed or invented the story of the family coming from Mountfield in East Sussex , then to get any further back those parishes around Mountfield had to be searched ..

In Mountfield the registers record the burial of an Elizabeth Bennett daughter of Thomas Bennett in 1750 aged 56 which makes her birth date around 1694 , and the marriage of a John Bennett to Mary Swane in November 1678 . In Trish Jones Mountfield Meanderings pub 2000 , she says that the house The Banks was constructed in the 15th C probably by the Creasy family , and from them it passed to the Cruttendens …..and the Bennett connection comes at the marriage in 1631 of Edith Cruttenden the widow of Anthony Cruttenden, who married Robert Bennett . Robert Bennett bought the house of John Banks and by 1662 he was assessed for Hearth Tax . Sadly they had no children .

However Robert Bennett did have a brother Abraham who had three sons , Thomas 1677 -1702 : Robert, and John who died in 1692 . So Abraham`s son Robert was the heir and his son Thomas inherited from the original Robert in 1678 . In the 1702 Poll Tax he is assessed with his wife and his son Thomas . Unfortunately both these Thomas` died young in their 20s although the second Thomas had a single son Abraham born 1720 and two sisters Ann and Mary . This Abraham died childless in 1753 and so the estate reverted to Mary who had married Francis Morris and then to Ann who married Thomas Usher of Bethersden . Thomas Usher junior inherited when his mother and aunt died and the Ushers are owner occupiers in 1780. The house then transfers to the Ruck family until 1824 when John Bennett becomes owner occupier until 1837 when it is owned by James Bennett until 1841 although it is in the tenancy of John Shorter in the 1841 census ..

So far this latter John and James are not attached to any family at present nor are they recorded in Mountfield , nor are they at the moment in any way connected with Kent or Greenwich or watchmaking . There is though a John Bennett , maltster , of Hellingly , married to Abigail , who has sons John , George, James, William and Henry , and whose will is proved 1811 , and witnessed by Jno Sinnock ……..and in A2A there is a James Bennett , carpenter, of Hellingly who in 1827 assigns his personal effects to James Breeds of Hastings, merchant .This James Breeds was first cousin to Elizabeth Sinnock Bennett (nee Williams) whose mother was Susannah Breeds . So both the Sinnocks and the Breeds are connected to the Williams and thus to the Bennetts . And two of the Breeds family witnessed John Bennett and Elizabeth Sinnock Williams marriage at Oare in 1813 . And maybe it was because James and John Bennett of Hellingly were the owner occupiers of the Banks as ROHAS has shown up to 1841 and because of a distant kinship young George Williams Bennett and his granny Willmott were visiting the Banks in 1861…..

Similarly there are two Bennett /Trill marriages in Sussex one in 1700 and the other in 1794 and three mentions of the Trills as relatives in Bennett wills ….and this connection is further strengthened by the family of Jenny Trill aged 82 with dau Jane 35 , neither of whom are born in the county of Kent , living in Tranquil Vale a few doors away from George Weedon Bennett in the 1841 census ……other Trills in this same small part of Blackheath are Thomas Trill, draper , 40, N and his family who live in Nelson St South ….this continues to be a work in progress ……..always bearing in mind that the House of Bennett , pub 1920, claimed that the House was founded in 1750 as Clockmakers to the Royal Observatory ..

Please contact me, Elizabeth, at My email address