Isaac Bennett

Cecil Sharp visited Isaac Bennett on 2 April 1907 in Little Sodbury when Isaac was aged 68 and sang him one song, the Wassail Song.

An Isaac Bennett was born in 1848 in Chipping Sodbury Registration District. Previously, a Mary Anne Bennett, daughter of Elizabeth Bennett, had been born in Iwerne Courtenay Parish, Wiltshire (near Sherborne) on 12 February 1832. Isaac’s parents William and Elizabeth lived in Little Sodbury from at least 1851.William was an agricultural labourer, born in Little Sodbury, but Elizabeth came from Sherborne, Wiltshire.  In 1851 they were living on the Common. Isaac John had three brothers and four sisters:  Mary Anne, William, Elizabeth, George, Hannah , Ann and John.

In 1861 Isaac  aged 13 was living with his father William, aged 50, and mother, Elizabeth, aged 47 on the Sodbury Road, Little Sodbury. Also living with them were his siblings, William aged 19, George aged 16, Hannah aged 11, Ann aged 8 and granddaughter Anne aged 6. The father and sons William, Isaac and George were all agricultural labourers. Elizabeth was born in Wiltshire but the rest of the family were born in Little Sodbury.

Isaac John Bennett was married in 1867 in the Chipping Sodbury Registration District and by 1871 aged 25 he was working as a general servant, living in Little Sodbury End, Little Sodbury, with his wife, Emma, aged 28, born in Wapley, Gloucestershire and daughters, Elizabeth aged 2 and Hannah aged 8 months. Isaac, Elizabeth and Hannah were all born in Little Sodbury. His first son, William, was born in Iron Acton circa 1876 so the family may have moved there.

In 1871 William Bennett, Isaac’s father, an agricultural labourer aged 60 continued to live in Little Sodbury with his wife, Elizabeth, aged 50 and two sons, George aged 23 and John aged 12, both also agricultural labourers. Also with him was his granddaughter, Angelina Bennett, a domestic servant.  The children were all born in Little Sodbury.

Around 1873 Isaac became blind but by 1881 at the age of 38 he was continuing to work as an agricultural labourer. He was living in a ‘Cottage’,in  Little Sodbury with his wife Emma, born in Wapley, Gloucestershire aged 38 and children Elizabeth, Hannah, Alfred, Jane and William, aged between 12 and 5 years old.  Isaac’s father, William Bennett, aged 70 was also still living in Little Sodbury in 1881 in a ‘Cottage’, but he probably died in 1889 as a William Bennett’s death at age 80 was registered in Chipping Sodbury Registration District in 1889.

However by 1891 Isaac’s fortune was declining and, still blind, he was living on Parish relief in the Sodbury Road, Little Sodbury with his wife, Emma aged 47 and 6 children: Elizabeth aged 22, Hannah aged 20, both general servants(domestic), Alfred aged 19, William aged 15, both general  labourers, Louisa aged 6, a scholar, and Helen aged 2. The younger children were all born in Little Sodbury.

By 1901 Isaac Bennett now aged 55 was described in the Census as a widower and pauper, living on the Ledbury Road, Little Sodbury with two sons, one also called Isaac Bennett aged 26, who was a carter on a farm (agricultural horse) and William aged 23 who was a cowman on a farm (agricultural cattle) and two daughters Louisa aged 16 and Helen aged 12. Ten years later Isaac’s family is the only Bennett family living in Little Sodbury. He was then aged 67, a widower, living in Little Sodbury with his daughter Hannah aged 41, his son Alfred aged 41, a waggoner on a farm, daughter Louise aged 26, all three single. He had also taken in a boarder, Joseph Henry Marshall aged 30, a widower and domestic groom born in Stichley, Worcs..

Isaac J. Bennett died aged 73 in the Chipping Sodbury District in 1918.

Note by Carol Davies November 2011