In Part 1 of this post we looked at the first of the three Kingswinford families that were well represented in the historical records of the 16th and 17th centuries – the Corbyns of Corbyn’s Hall. Socially these were probably regarded as minor aristocracy. In this post we will consider the second of these families – the Bendys of Shut End – who came from less exalted stock.
A simplified Bendy family tree is shown above. This is still quite complex and shows marriage links with a number of local families. Much of this information is taken from the excellent Morgan web site, which includes information from a range of wills and other sources.
The early members of the tree were associated with the general Kingswinford area, with Richard Bendy (-1592) and Elizabeth Jones being married in Dudley, and Elizabeth being buried in Kingswinford. Their son William (1560-1598) was married to Elizabeth Brookes in Worfield, over the county border in Shropshire. They had just one child, another William (1593-1657). After the death of the elder William in 1598, Elizabeth probably married again to Richard Lee in Alveley, again in Shropshire, and thus, with her son, would have lived on the Lee estate at Coton Hall. The younger William married Mary Barnesley from Trysull on the Staffordshire / Shropshire border, and their eldest son (inevitably another William) was born there in 1620.
William Bendy (1593-1657), although referred to as a yeoman (farmer) in his will, was clearly well connected, perhaps because he was bought up in Coton Hall. He seems to have been based in the Shut End area either at Shut End House or Shut End Hall The name of Shut End is no longer in common usage. It referred to the region around the Dudley Kingswinford Turnpike Road in the High Oak / Tansey Green area. Shut End Hall was to the north of the road, and Shut End house to the south, close to Corbyn’s Hall. After the thwarting of the Gunpowder plot, the family come into possession of Holbeach House, the home of one of the conspirators, Stephen Lyttleton. William Bendy (1593-1657) would have been a minor at the time of the Gunpowder plot so could not have acquired Holbeach House directly. His elder son William (1620-1684) took his BA at New Hall Oxford in 1637, and at the very young age of 18 was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in London. Two other sons Nicholas and Edward (not shown in the tree) also worked in London, whilst another, Samuel, was a Fellow of St Johns College, Cambridge. The elder William’s chief claim to fame was as a member of the Committee of Stafford from 1643 to 1645, whose task was to suitably dispose of the Royalist property in the county for the Parliamentary forces. As such he would have found himself, as happened very frequently in that period, at odds with other families in the locality – and in particular his neighbours at Corbyn’s Hall.
William Bendy (1620-1684) married Dorothy Lee, daughter of Lancelot Lee of Alveley, thus making further connections with that influential family. The executors of his will were named as his brother-in-law, Lancelot Lee, and his uncle Richard Brettell. William and Dorothy had a number of children, the oldest of which was William (1653-1725). This William married twice, his first wife being Margaret Hoo, daughter of John Hoo of Bradley, by whom he had two girls, Margaret and Mary. His second wife was Mary, who bore him a number of children after Margaret’s death in around 1695, including William (1700-1782).
The sisters Margaret and Mary are referred to in various documents as William’s heirs, and it would seem they inherited most of the estate. Both married – Margaret to John Dolman, Vicar of Aldridge, and Mary to John Hodgetts of Shut End (1698-1741), the grandson of the John Hodgetts who purchased the Corbyn’s Hall estate. In documents from 1752, Mary Hodgetts and her son John are both referred to as living at Shut End and Margaret Dolman and her daughter are living at the Cathedral Close in Lichfield. Both seem to have some sort of interest in Holbeach House. The physical relationship of the properties of the Hodgetts and the Bendys around 1700 to 1750 is not at all clear and the sources are confused. On balance it would seem best to assume that, in the first half of the eighteenth century, Shut End House (to the south of the Turnpike Road near Corbyn’s Hall) was the ancestral home of the Hodgetts, and Shut End Hall (to the north of the Turnpike Road) and Holbeach House were both in the possession of the Bendys. Shut End Hall was obviously quite a grand dwelling and the extract from the Fowler Map of 1822 above, shows a long avenue of trees extending own into Kingswinford village. By 1822, it was owned by the Hodgetts (or rather the Hodgetts-Foleys at that time) , although they did not live there, so that property clearly passed to them in some way.
William Bendy (1700-1782) lived in the “New House”, situated on the Wolverhampton to Stourbridge road, which was presumably a minor portion of the Bendy estate, and in 1728, he is recorded as living there with Mary, his widowed mother. Some of the land exchanges that took place as part of the Ashwood Enclosure that allowed him to consolidate some of his lands in that area are described in KMAP and in another post. He also married twice, and had several children, none of whom seem to have produced an heir for the next generation. The last two surviving Bendys – half sister and brother Sarah (1736-1818) and Thomas (1738-1818), died around the same time, and their property and fortune passed to various cousins, the Bendy line becoming extinct with their passing.
Thus by the early nineteenth century, two of the three families that had dominated the life of Kingswinford Manor and Parish from the Middle ages – the Corbyns and the Bendys – had become extinct. The third of these families – the Hodgetts – were however flourishing. It is to the Hodgetts we turn in the next post.