Tuesday, September 25, 2018

B23 Branches The Bisdees From the Beginning

The Bisdee Family Early Beginnings

Like most families, over the years, branches spring up all over the world.  Predominately the Bisdee family lived in the area known as Weston-super-Mare,  in Somerset in United Kingdom, and owned Hutton Hall. 

Weston-super-Mare  is a seaside town in Somerset, England, on the Bristol Channel 18 miles (29 km) south west of Bristol between Worlebury Hill and Bleadon Hill. It includes the suburbs of Oldmixon, West Wick and Worle.

By 1848 there was a tenant in residence by the name of Edward Bowles Fripp, a Bristol merchant. How long he was a tenant is unclear but he joined the Vestry the next year. There now appears what is possibly the most famous family to reside at the Court since the Paynes of the 15th and 16th centuries.

"The Bisdees were of French Huguenot origin and they were to dominate village life for the next 66 years. As early as 1838 Thomas Bisdee farmed the Symons’ lands at Oldmixon and occupied Oldmixon Manor, owning nearly 70 acres of land in his own right. By 1859 his younger brother had become owner of the Court with Sydney occupying the Grange and John Bisdee in residence at Moorlands.

To give some idea of the style of life that this family enjoyed in the middle and latter part of the 19th
century, they employed nine gardeners, three gamekeepers, three coachmen and one groom.
Edward Bisdee died in 1869 and was succeeded by his son Alfred H. Bisdee, the first to claim to be Lord of two Manors, Hutton & Oldmixon, and who now owned a considerable slice of the parish.

The old deference of the village to the Court is shown by some of the entries in the school’s earliest logbook. In 1880, for example, when Alfred Bisdee’s son Frederick returned from his wedding tour abroad, the school children were granted a half-day holiday and on the day of Alfred Bisdee’s funeral in 1898, the school was closed.

It was at this time that the porch was added to the west front of the Court bearing the Bisdee coat of arms with its French motto “Dieu et ma FOI” … The translation reads “God and my Faith”.
In Victorian times the Court contained a room whose walls were entirely covered with postage stamps – in all 38,291 with a face value of £174.5s 7d. It was at this time that the Bisdee family kept a kangaroo as part of a small private menagerie.

Thomas Gamaliel Bisdee succeeded his father in 1899, aged 47, and with his wife Edith (née Sutherland) and their six children, the Court entered a period of affluence, for the Bisdees were great socialites and many banquets and balls were to take place at the house. This was Edwardian England before the Great War, the height of the British Empire and if you had wealth, property and connections as the Bisdees had, then life was enjoyed to the full.

One of the great social occasions of this period was the marriage. of the eldest daughter, Miss Marjorie Sutherland Bisdee, who on 22nd July 1908 married Mr Eric Marston Garcia (the third son of Captain Garcia of Buckland” Weston-super-Mare) in St. Mary’s  Church, the reception afterwards being held at the Court.

The church was packed to capacity, there being present, in addition to the villagers, a large attendance of relatives and friends. The Weston Gazette of the time gives a detailed account of this major event in the village and the guest list, which reads like a page straight from the Tatler, included Mr & Mrs Graves-Knyfton of Uphill Manor, Colonel & Mrs Tyler, Dr. & Mrs Ashley, the Reverend & Mrs Woodforde, Major & Mrs Forbes, Sir Robert & Lady Lucas-Tooth & Miss Lucas-Tooth, Dr. & Mrs
Garcia, Dr. & Mrs Percival Crouch, Colonel & Mrs Wylde, Colonel & Mrs Rahilly, Admiral & Mrs Copeland-Sparkes, Captain & Mrs Welldon, Major Garcia D.S.O., Admiral Sir George & Lady Atkinson Willes etc. and so the list goes on.

Thomas Bisdee was active in village affairs, being Chairman of the Parish Council, Chairman of the School Managers and Churchwarden. He could be seen regularly riding around his estate on his great grey horse and any boys who were caught playing in the quarry or orchards or wandering through Hutton Woods were unwelcome trespassers to Mr Bisdee and many a time they fled when the cry went out “look out, here comes Squire Bisdee”.

When Edith Bisdee died in January 1926 he gave the church its electric light in her memory. His daughters started the Girl Guide movement in the village and he gave the land and the British Legion Hut to the village just after the Great War.

When, on 16th September 1933, Thomas died at the age of 81, he had been Squire of Hutton for the past 34 years. His eldest son, Thomas Edward Bisdee, who held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, became owner of the Court and its estate upon his father’s death. Alas, within seven months of him becoming Squire of Hutton, he met with a tragic and fatal accident when he was thrown from a young horse and died of his injuries. He was only 46.

This then was the end of the Bisdee family’s ownership of Hutton Court, for the following year Percy Palmer, estate agents and auctioneers, sold the house to a Captain Stamp. On 4th July 1935 there was an auction of all the contents including old English furniture, oil paintings, prints and etchings, bedroom equipment and livestock, poultry etc."

Being of French Huguenot origin it is likely that the family were involved as merchants or involved in the lace making and weaving industries.  However the name Bisdee does not appear in the names of French Huguenot Society. 

There are records confirming that Edward Bisdee was a baker and living in the St Michael's region in Bristol in the beginning of the 1700's.

In 1696, Edward Bisdee was appointed Collector, for the Bristol area.  To be appointed to that position, he had to have been a merchant.  A collector was responsible for collecting the taxes, and as Bristol was a port, there would have been a great deal of trade.

Held by:
The National Archives in Kew, hold details of a claim in which several merchants are listed, among them as defendant, Edward Bisdee.

Short title: Downer v Duckingfield. Plaintiffs: William Downer , of Wapping, Middlesex ,...
C 6/402/1
Short title: Downer v Duckingfield.
Plaintiffs: William Downer, of Wapping, Middlesex, Martin Arnaut merchant, of London, Robert Murden rope maker, of Wapping, Middlesex, Thomas Sanders citizen gunsmith, of London, John Dobson compass maker, of Wapping, Middlesex, William Warren mariner, of London and Joy Mears widow.
Defendants: John Duckingfield, of Bristol, Gloucestershire, William Clymer, of Bristol, Gloucestershire, John Watkins, of Bristol, Gloucestershire, Thomas Roach, of Bristol, Gloucestershire, William French, of Bristol, Gloucestershire, Richard Dalton, of Bristol, Gloucestershire, John Harrison, of Bristol, Gloucestershire, Edward Bisdee, of Bristol, Gloucestershire, James Leg, of Bristol, Gloucestershire, James New, of Bristol, Gloucestershire, John Beecher, of Bristol, Gloucestershire.
Subject: The plaintiff Mears's entitlement to the goods and chattels of her late husband, in particular two ships built at Bristol called the Royal Anne and the Bristol and the payment of the other plaintiffs for the sails, ropes, guns and other goods they supplied to the ships. The plaintiff Warren had entered into an agreement with HM Post Master General to provide packet boats to carry mail from Bristol to New York, America. Sampson Mears merchant, of St Botolph without Aldgate, London had supplied the money for the defendants to build the ships: St John, Wapping, Middlesex.
Document type: bill, two answers, schedule.
Held by:

In researched information regarding the Tyndale family, the descendants of a Mary Tyndale, married before 1719, person of the name of Bisdee of Bristol.

There were several Tyndale members living in 1696, Athelstone Tyndall, Onisporous Tyndall and his wife Elizabeth, Thomas William and Joseph.

ONESIPHORUS TYNDALL: was a Member of Common Council of Bristol - 1703. and the Sheriff of Bristol - 1707. he was a merchant  - Occupation: Drysalter and Jamaica Slave Trader
596. Descendants, if any surviving, of Mary Tyndale, 6. 3 June 1696; bur. 1751 ; m. before 1719, [ ] Bisdee of Bristol

In 1714 Edward Bisdee and his wife, a Baker  employed an apprentice named James Hellier.


Records of Wills in Bristol show the Bisdee wills as being proven.

BISDEE, Edward the elder 
City of Bristol 
City of Bristol 

In 1717 Edward Bisdee died, and he was buried at St Michael's Bristol.  No doubt Edward Bisdee, Senior the Baker.  His wife Mary the widow died in 1722. 


Oldbury House was constructed in 1670, and is part of the University of Bristol and used for offices. The "Atlantic Trade" involved slave trading, quite prevalent among the merchants and ship owners of Bristol


A James Bisdee married in Somerset in 1722.  All that survives of that record has been digitised.

In order to provide an idea of the lineage, and working on traditional family names, and attributed information, the first known family was Richard Bisdee.  His name would have been in Latin, or Old English, and this might be the reason that there are very limited searchable records for the surname Bisdee.

Almost every digitised record provide some variations to the spelling as it is now known.

Naming patterns provide the means to establish family connections, however if there were six sons, each would name their sons the same names. That pattern would include the names of the father, grandfathers, mother and grandmothers.  Often they named children the same name, especially prevalent when a child died.  The next son would be named the same.

Creating a "base" tree often results in further information being forthcoming, in order to establish where the family lived, worked or were buried.

The Family of Thomas Bisdee lived at Kewstoke, in Somerset.  The children's names reflect the parents and grandparents. 

James Bisdee married Elizabeth, and their son Edward married Ann Millard, in Banwell in 1756.

 The descendants of Thomas Bisdee and Elizabeth Bishop, include John Hutton Bisdee.
There is another line of the family that predominately uses William in the naming pattern.
Some of these children were sent to Western Australia as convicts.

The Bisdee Family of Congresbury in Somerset

Edward Bisdee was born in 1730, the son of James Bisdee and his wife Elizabeth.  They were farmers.  Edward married in 1753, Ann Sheppard, and she died in 1755.  He married Ann Milliard in 1756.  Perhaps Ann Sheppard died giving birth to son William, who then died in 1762.

Edward and Ann Milliard's children included

1  .      Edward/Edmund Bisdee         1757 - 1757
2.      Thomas Bisdee                         1757 - 1816  m  Nancy Burge 1755 - 1819
3.      Edward Bisdee                          1761 - 1765
4.      William Bisdee                         1762 - 1840   m  Ann Capell  1752 - 1859

They had their farms in Somerset, around the same area, Congreave.  The parish Church was St Mary's, it was built 800 years ago.  The area is 13 miles from Bristol

Thomas and Nancy Burge married in 1778 in Banwell.

Their children included

1.      Thomas Bisdee            1779  - 1840                 m  Elizabeth Bishop 1773 - 1843
2.      Mary Bisdee                1781 - 1781
3.      Edward Bisdee            1783 - 1850                  m   Hannah Hewlett  1775 - 1847
4.      Nancy Bisdee              1787 - 1787
5.      Ann Bisdee                  1790
6.      Prudence Bisdee          1795

Edward and Hannah emigrated to America in 1835 with their surviving children, including

1.      Sidney Bisdee               1814 - 1888                  m Mary Taylor 1815 - 1844 m Martha Miller
2.      Samuel Bisdee              1815 - 1891                  m Margaret Cuddlebuck  1820 - 1901
3.      Caroline Bisdee             1821 - 1886                  m  George Wellington Wilson
4.      Fanny Bisdee                1827 - 1878                  m Anston Sprague Woodworth  1822 - 1907
5.      Edward Bisdee              1829 - 1909                  m Sarah Shaw 1829 - 1887
6.      Alfred James Bisdee      1832 - 1853

The children of Thomas and Elizabeth also emigrated, they went to Tasmania.  Later some returned to take up residence again at Hutton.

The stories of the lives of these children, reads like a "Who's Who of Early Australia".

There were others who emigrated to Ontario, Canada.
Another who went to New Zealand.

And another Edward Bisdee who settled in New York. 

By now the Bisdee Family Tree has sprouted many branches, with lots of different family members.  

No doubt continuing farming in Somerset with so many children became difficult, and could be the reason for some taking opportunities in other lands.

By now also, there are marriages between the same families of the area.

MR. BISDEE was born in Somerset county, England, in 1845. His parents were born and lived through their lives and died in that county. They were farmers. Edward was raised upon the farm, and remained at home until 1865, when he became of age. He then concluded to emigrate to America in company with his brothers William and James. They came to New York, and went to the town of Waterloo, and there Edward learned the butchering business and worked there until 1870.

 He then came next to Indianapolis, Indiana, and carried on butchering in that city for two years. In 1872 he came to Shelbyville, Illinois, and here he and William, his brother, opened a meat market and continued partners until one year ago, when William retired from the firm, and Edward ha s continued the business to the present time. He has built up a good business, and has been very successful.

He married Miss Mary Church in 1872. She was born in Ohio. By this marriage there are three children, named Charles, Frank and Bessie Bisdee. His wife is a member of the M. E. Church. 

Politically he is a Republican. He is among the enterprising active business men of Shelbyville. He understands his trade thoroughly, and has built up a good custom by trying to please his patrons and customers. He also packs pork during the winter season sufficient to supply the home market. A view of his business place can be seen on another page.

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