Maria Brabyn

Brabyn Family Page

Maria Eliza BRABYN was born in 1849 in Cardiff. She was the daughter of John BRABYN and Nancy HORNABROOK who were born and married in Padstow, Cornwall. Maria married James William DEANS in Cardiff in 1867.

William Brabyn (Padstow)           Top of the page

William Brabyn was born about 1779. for many years I believed him to be the son of William Brabyn and Elizabeth Dungay from Mawgan in Pyder but he might have been the son born to Henry and Rebecca Brabyn from Egloshayle. 

William married Elizabeth Brown on 12th July 1803 in Padstow and the baptisms of six children are recorded in the Parish Records for Padstow: Henry (1804), William (1806), John (1809), Jenny Brown (Tenny Brown) (1812), James (1820) and Joseph Brown (1822). Nothing more is known of either Henry, Jenny or James so it is likely that they died in infancy. William died in 1840, aged 61 years, the newspaper announcement of his death states that he was a harness maker by trade.

In 1841 Elizabeth is living alone in Lanadwell Alley, Padstow. Her son, William is living in Middle Street, Padstow with his wife and family.  William's occupation is also given as harness maker. John is not found on the 1841 census. John married Nancy Hornabrook, in 1940, shortly before his father died and 1841 Nancy is living in Lewis Street, Cardiff with her daughter Annie and John's younger brother, Joseph.    In 1851 Elizabeth is lodging with Betsey Horsewell in Church Street, Padstow and is described as a Saddler's widow. In 1861 Elizabeth is now over 80 years old and is a pauper, living in Almshouses in Lime Kiln Lane, Padstow.  The census states that she was formerly a saddler's wife. Elizabeth died in 1862 aged 84 years.

John Brabyn (Cardiff)           Top of the page

John was born in Padstow in 1808, the son of William Brabyn, harness maker and Elizabeth Brown. He was baptised in Padstow on 7th March 1809.  A mariner by trade. he joined the Merchant Navy on or before 1836, entries can be found in Lloyd's Merchant Ships Index and other shipping and crew lists from this date.  There are also numerous newspaper accounts of shipping leaving and entering ports which were Captained by John.  These include Marie Eliza, New Parliament and Resolution.  He regularly took cargo beteen Cardiff and Cornish ports such as Falmouth. Master's Certificates were issued in Cardiff in 1851 and Liverpool in 1852. Later in life John joined the Dock Police in Bute Dock, Cardiff.

John married Nancy Hornabrook in Padstow on 24th March 1840, an announcement of the marriage appeared in the local newspaper.  John took Nancy to Cardiff to live and his younger brother Joseph joined them there. Their first child, Annie was born in Cardiff in 1840.  In 1841 Nancy living at Lewis Street along with Annie and Joseph.  John does not appear on the census so is presumably "at Sea".  Two more children were born to John and Nancy: John born 1843 and Marie Eliza in 1847. Again, in 1851 , John was "at sea" at the time of the census and Nancy is living at 12 Tredegar Street, Cardiff, with Annie, John and Maria, also living with her is her cousin Amelia Hornabrook.  Amelia is in fact Nancy's sister, born 1813 in Padstow to Philip Hornabrook and Jenepher Cowl.

John appears with Nancy on the 1861 census, his occupation is given as Master Mariner.  They are living 33 Sophia Street with their three children and Amelia Hornabrook is still living with them - this time she is described as a visitor. In 1863 John and Nancy's son, John, died aged just 20 years.  John, himself died in Cardiff on 3rd July 1866. probate was granted to Nancy.

Nancy continued to live at 33 Sophia Street after John's death.  Maria married James William Deans in 1867 and later, in 1869, Annie married William Henry Goodman.  In the 1871 census they are all living together at 33 Sophia Street, William Goodman is entered as being Head of the household. Also entered onto the census is James and Maria's daughter Elizabeth.  Living at 26 Sophie Street is George Squires (Squiers) and his wife Jane (Hornabrook). Jane is Nancy's neice - the daughter of William Hornabrook and Susannah Epletts.  Amelia Hornabrook is no longer living with Nancy. Amelia married George Davies in 1865 and is living in Sandown Place, Cardiff.

It seems that John had bought three properties: 31, 32 and 33 Sophia Street, Cardiff, however they were subject to a yearly ground rent.  John had made a will in 1857 in which he left these properties to his wife.  He had also taken out a Life Insurance policy to cover the mortagage and pay off any debts or expenses upon his death. The will stated that if Maria remarried then the properties should pass equally between his children or their heirs but if Maria died without remarrying then the rents accrued from the properties should be divided equally amongst his children or their heirs. He stated that none of the properties owned by him should be sold or mortgaged after his death and in the event of the death of all of his children and their issue the rent for the  properties should pass to his surviving brothers or sisters. In the event of them dying without issue the properties should pass to Amelia Davies (Hornabrook), Jane Squires (Hornabrook) and Ellen Withelm Parsons (Brabyn).

When John died in 1866 probate passed to Nancy who was executor of his will along with a man called Noah Jones who had since died.  Nancy paid off the mortgage, funeral costs and other expenses after John died presumably covered by the insurance policy on John's life. However, it would seem that Nancy forgot (or declined to pay) the ground rent on the properties which, over the years, had accrued to £62.7s.2d and , moreover the houses had fallen into state of disrepair.  Therefore the persons name as beneficeries (or possible beneficeries) needed to either sell the properties or to raise a mortgage in order to pay off the rent arrears and to carry out improvements. Nancy was issued with a summons on 5th January 1875 to force her to mortgage or sell the houses and to ensure future payment of of the ground rent and carry out repairs to the houses.

DEANS v BRABYN Bill of Complaint. Between JAMES WILLIAM DEANS and MARIE ELIZA, his wife, WILLIAM HENRY GOODMAN and ANN, his wife, EDWARD SQUIRE and JANE, his wife, Plaintiffs and NANCY BRABYN, Defendant. 

I do not know the outcome of the summons but Nancy died on 18th January less than a fortnight after it was issued. I think that Nancy may have been ill, possibly a form of dementia, and the family had to go to court as the only way to legally get the problem of the houses and debts cleared. It doesn't seem as if the family had a personal quarrel with Nancy as she died at home with her daughter and son-in-law,  James and Maria Deans.

William Brabyn (Padstow) born 1806           Top of the page

William Brabyn, born in Padstow, and baptised there on 8th August 1806. He was the son of William Brabyn and Elizabeth Brown.  He married Maria Brinton in Padstow on 19th July 1829. William and Maria had 5 children: Henry, Jane, Ellen, William Henry and James. Henry died in Infancy in 1833.  William and Maria are living in Middle Street, Padstow in 1841 with Jane and Ellen and also William Hornabrook (who is probably the brother of Nancy Hornabrook, married to John Brabyn). William's occupation is given as a harness maker.

William Henry was born in 1841 and his brother James in 1846. In 1847 William met with a most unfortunate end. The barque "Clio" was anchored off Padstow under sailing orders to take emmigrants to Quebec in Canada. Some of the passengers had come ashore into Padstow to get provisions and William and another tradesman, named Rawlings, were rowing them back to the Clio. The boat overturned in rough sea. William,Rawlings and 5 passengers were drowned. 

Maria can be found in the 1851 census living in Lanadwell Street, Padstow with the four children, she is described as a pauper. 1861 census shows that Maria has moved to Quay Street, Padstow, she is now described as "formerly bonnet maker".  Living with her are her son William, a shipwright, and her daughter Ellen, a tailoress.  In the 10 years between the two census her daughter Jane had married John Steer in 1854 and now had a family of her own and is living in Broad Street, Padstow. James his now an Able-bodied seaman and is listed on a vessel called the "Collina" docked at Runcorn in Cheshire. In 1862 James married Mary Ann McKeown and raised his own family in Padstow.

Ellen is listed on the 1861 census as Ellen Withill on the 1861 census but in fact married Thomas Withell Parsons in Padstow on 11 September 1855. By 1856 Ellen was a widow. This may be a reason why John Brabyn included her as a beneficiary of his will should he have no children or their heirs. When the Bill of Complaint was lodged against Nancy Brabyn in 1875 is stated that Ellen  had been requested to concur with the Plaintiffs but had refused to do so.  Ellen remarried in 1864 to George Capell and went onto having a family of her own.  In 1871 Maria is living with Ellen and George at Strand Street, Padstow and is described as former straw worker.  Maria died in Padstow in 1879.

William married Elizabeth Ann Bate at St Minver on 5th November 1862.  William and Eliza moved about a bit over the next few years.  Their first child, William John Brabyn was born in Cardiff in 1863, as was Rosalia in 1865 but their third child, James was born at Hayle, Phillack, Cornwall in 1867 and Eliza is living there with the three children and her brother Matthew in 1871, Eliza is described as a ship's carpenter's wife.  William is lodging in Whitstable, Kent with Edward Kemp, shipwright and his family.  William's occupation is given as shipwright but his status is listed as single.  In 1881 the family is living at Trenant, Egloshayle and includes Eliza Ann, born at Hayle in 1871, Mary Jane born at Illogen in 1873, Bertha M. born at Padstow in 1875, Helena born at Padstow in 1878 and Lilian born at Egloshayle in 1880. William Henry's occupation is given as ship and boat builder and his son William is a shipwright apprentice.

1891 sees the family still living in Egloshayle but now at Chapel Cottages. William, Rosalia and James no longer live at home but another son has been born to William and Eliza, Stephen Bate Brabyn was born at Egloshayle in 1883.  By 1901 the family had moved to Egloshayle Road, Wadebridge.  Stephen Bate is now 18 years old and is also listed as a shipwright and boat builder. 1911 sees William and Eliza still living in Wadebridge, William's occupation is still shipwright and boat builder.  Living with them is their daughter Lilian (Hawkins) and their granddaughter Marjorie Lilian Hawkins aged 2.  Elizabeth passed away in 1926 and William in 1931 at the grand age of 90.

I am unsure whether William Henry started the shipbuilding business at Brabyn's Yard in Padstow or whether this commenced with his youngest son Stephen Bate Brabyn. Access to the yard is now cut off by a private housing complex but I was able to view some of it from the coastal path above the yard.

Brabyns in the Royal Navy           Top of the page

James Henry Brabyn (1867-1919) joined the Royal Navy 1902-1912 and served on several ships including HMS Sappho, HMS Hawke, HMS Pioneer, HMS Canopus and HMS St. George. He was a ship's carpenter.

Vernon Arthur Brabyn (1886-1978) served in the Royal Navy from 1912-1926.  During WW1 he was drafted to HMS Inflexible and must have seen plenty of ction. In 1914 the Inflexible sailed to the Falkland Islands and took part in the Battle of the Falklands.  She then saw action in The Dardenelles in 1915 bombarding the fortresses but suffered mine damage and was towed to Malta for repairs.  In 1916 she took part in the Battle of Jutland. In 1918 she suffered further damage when she collided with a submarine during the Battle of May Island.  She was present at the German surrender in 1918.

Harry Brabyn (1891-1972) served in the Royal Navy from 1909 until 1927.  He served on several different ships during his Naval career but spent most of WW1 serving on HMS Dominion.

Kenneth Arnold Brabyn born 1921 was the son of Vernon Brabyn and May Brooks was an engine room artificer. He died on 19th December 1941 when HMS Neptune was sunk after hitting mines in the Mediterranean Sea. His body was never recovered, his name is inscribed on the Chatham Naval memorial.

Gallery           Top of the page

MariaBrabyn Maria (Brabyn) Deans (1847-1908) WilliamHenryBrabyn William Henry Brabyn (1885-1956) WilliamJohnBrabyn William John Brabyn holding William Henry Brabyn
williamHenryBoat William Henry Brabyn and one of the boats that he built RosaliaBrabyn Rosalie (Brabyn) Hedworth (1865-1939) with her daughter Rose BrabynGig The gig "Brabyn" under wraps at Padstow
brabynsYard Brabyn's Yard, Padstow BrabynsYard2 Brabyn's Yard, Padstow