BENSON
OF AUGHTON NEAR ORMSKIRK, LANCASHIRE
AND BIRKENHEAD, CHESHIRE

I am grateful to Sue Weighell for the the following family tree of the Benson family of Aughton. I have made additions for the family of Richard Benson and Elizabeth Sherman in generation 3 and in particular to the family of Henry Benson who married Eliza Stott in generation 4. A number of additions and corrections have also been made from information supplied by Kay Gifford of Perth, Western Australia. Of particular importance is the conclusion that Richard Benson in generation 3 married Elizabeth Sherman not Shannon or Sharmon as first interpreted from the records. In addition Kay had much more information on those in generation 2..

Footnote 1

The Starting Point

The starting point for my own search was the information provided by Ethel Swift, neé Benson.  Her father was Henry Benson, the son of Richard Benson, a gardener of Town Green, Ormskirk.  He was married to Eliza Stott on 8 May 1889 at Bidston Church and died on 6 November 1917 aged 55.  This puts Henry's birth in 1861 or 1862.  Ethel's niece, Joan, reported that her mother, Louise, spent much of her childhood at Town Green with her grandparents, Richard and Elizabeth Benson.  Richard was a gardener and had a market stall and grocery business.

A search at the G.R.O. for the years 1861/2 produced evidence of only one Henry Benson in the Ormskirk region.  The following details on the birth certificate fit with the starting information.

Certificate of Birth:  Henry Benson, born 1 February 1862 at Town Green in the sub-district of Aughton, Ormskirk.  His father was Richard Benson, a gardener (domestic servant) and his mother was Elizabeth Benson, neé Shannon (but see footnote 2).  He was registered on 5 February by his mother, who made her mark. 

A search for the marriage of Richard Benson was made and only one entry was found in the whole period from 1849 to 1860 in the Ormskirk area.

Certificate of Marriage:  Richard Benson, of full age, a gardener from Halsall, the son of Henry Benson, a weaver, married on 6 February 1860, to Elizabeth Shannon (see footnote 2), a spinster.  Her step-father was William Kirby, a labourer.  Witnesses were John Benson and Alice Shannon. 

Details of the couple and their seven children are shown in the census record for 1881.  It may be assumed that in view of Elizabeth's age, the family was then complete.  The eldest daughter, Mary, must have been born in 1860. 

Census Record for Ormskirk in April 1881 at 1 Bold Lane. Source Citation: Class: RG11; Piece: 3744; Folio: 72; Page: 38; GSU roll: 1341896

Name Age & Status Occupation Born
Richard Benson Aged 49 gardener Aughton
Elizabeth Benson Aged 49, wife   Scarisbrick
Mary Benson Aged 21, unmarried   Aughton
Henry Benson Aged 19, unmarried gardener (apprentice) Aughton
John Benson Aged 16 gardener Aughton
Richard Benson Aged 11 scholar Aughton
Edward J. Benson Aged 9 scholar Aughton
Elizabeth E. Benson Aged 6 scholar Aughton
Louisa Benson Aged 5 scholar  

Census Record for Ormskirk in April 1891 at Town Green, Aughton. Source Citation: Class: RG12; Piece: 3029; Folio: 65; Page: 35; GSU Roll: 6098139. By this stage, Henry and Mary the two eldest children have left home.

Name Age & Status Occpation Born
Richard Benson Aged 59 Gardener Aughton
Elizabeth Benson Aged 59   Scarisbrick
John Benson Aged 26 Gardener, domestic Aughton
Richard Benson Aged 21 Gardener at home Aughton
Edward J. Benson Aged 19 Gardener, domestic Aughton
Elizabeth E. Benson Aged 16   Aughton
Louisa Benson Aged 15   Aughton

Gravestone at Town Green:

Richard Benson, died 15 February 1902, aged 70
Elizabeth Benson, died 6 July 1910, aged 76.

Henry Benson and his wife Eliza Stott

We catch up with Henry Benson and his wife Eliza formerly Stott in the census of 1891 as they married in 1889 (Source Citation: Class: RG12; Piece: 2893; Folio: 54; Page: 10; GSU Roll: 6098003.) They couple were living at 2 Roe Street in Birkenhead where Henry was 28, Eliza 25 and their first child, Harold was four months old. The census was taken on 5th April in 1891 putting Harold's birth in 1890.

Census Record for Birkenhead in 1901 at 2 Roe Street in Birkenhead, Cheshire. James Stott may be related to Eliza, whose maiden name was Stott.

Name Aged & Status Occupation Born
Henry Benson Aged 38, head of household Gardener Ormskirk
Eliza Benson Aged 36, wife   Birkenhead
Harold Benson Aged 10, son   Birkenhead
Herbert Benson Aged 8   Birkenhead
Louisa Benson Aged 6   Birkenhead
Florence Benson Aged 4   Birkenhead
Henry Benson Aged 2, son   Birkenhead
Norman Benson Aged 6 months, son   Birkenhead
James Stott Aged 37, boarder Builder's labourer Birkenhead

Census Record for Birkenhead in 1911 at 35 Bray Street off Laird Street.

By 1911 the family was complete as Ethel is known to be the youngest child.

Name Aged & Status Occupation Born
Henry Benson Aged 49, head jobbing gardener Aughton
Eliza Benson Aged 45, had eight live births and all living   Birkenhead
Harold Benson Aged 20, son, single hawker's lad, greengroceries Birkenhead
Herbert Benson Aged 18, son, single jobbing gardener Birkehead
Louisa Benson Aged 16, daughter, single "not at home" and crossed out of record Birkenhead
Ada Benson (Florence in 1891) Aged 14, daughter, single shop girl, greengrocers Birkenhead
Harry (Henry in 1891) Benson Aged 12, son School Boy Birkenhead
Norman Benson Aged 10, son School Boy Birkenhead
William Benson Aged 7, son School Boy Birkenhead
Ethel Benson Aged 4, daughter At home Birkenhead
Footnote 2.

I am grateful to my correspondent Kay Gifford who has studied this couple. She has been over various records including births, marriages, deaths and Census and concluded that the wife is Elizabeth SHERMAN. Another variant is Sharmon. In the 1841 census, Elizabeth Sherman was only 7, she was living with stepfather, William Kirkby (not Kirby) and her mother Elizabeth Sherman. She was an illegitimate daughter. Her baptisms was at St. Cuthbert's, Halsall, Lancashire, on 5 Jan 1834 the daughter of Elizth. Shearman (sic) Single Woman of Scarisbrick. Register: Baptisms 1813 - 1837, page 157 entry 1255.

Elizabeth's marriage record and the banns state Sharmon. There is no Alice Sherman in the same family in the 1841 census so Alice, a witness to her marriage, is more likely to be a cousin.

The marriage of William Kirkby to Elizabeth Sherman, both from Halsall, took place at St. Thomas, Melling, Lancashire on 16 April 1838 when Elizabeth was 22. . Banns were read on the 1st, 8th and 15th April 1838 as noted in the Banns Register 1824-1861 page 87 entry 174. William Kirkby was of full age and said to be a labourer, the son of Richard Kirkby a labourer. Elizabeth Sherman signed with a cross. She was a spinster of full age, the daughter of William Sherman a labourer. Witnesses were John Sherman and Mary Kirkby. This is in the Marriage Register for 1837-1920, page 4 entry 8. This marriage was recorded in the Ormskirk Registration District in the second quarter of 1838.

An Elizabeth Sherman was born 14 Feb 1816 and baptised 25 Feb 1816 at St. Cuthbert's, Halsall in Lancashire, the daughter of William and Mary Shearman (sic) of Scarisbrick. William was a groom. The record is in the Baptism Register of 1813-1837 page 15 entry 113.

There is also a baptism on 24 Jan 1819 at St. Cuthbert's, Halsall of a John Sharman, son of William and Mary of Scarisbrick. He is said to be a groom so it looks like the same family. Baptism Register 1813-1837 page 30 entry 237.

Footnote 3

I have abstracted the full census records below to cast further light on this family.

The 1891 Census at Lilac Cottage, at Town Green, Aughton in the Parliamentary Borough of Ormskirk. Source Citation: Class: RG12; Piece: 3029; Folio: 36; Page: 22; GSU roll: 6098139

Name Aged & Status Occupation Born
Henry Benson Aged 56 jobbing gardener Aughton
Ester Benson Aged 58, wife   Aughton
Agnes Benson Aged 30, dau. single   Aughton
John Benson Aged 27, son, single jobbing gardener Aughton
Henry Benson Aged 22, single Agricultural Labourer Aughton
Ellen Benson Aged 19, single Assistant School Mistress Aughton
William Benson Aged 17, single Agricultural Labourer Aughton
Alice Benson Aged 14, single   Aughton
Albert Benson Aged 9, (stated to be nephew but a grandson) scholar Aughton
Richard Benson Aged 8, (stated to be nephew but a grandson) scholar Augton

Census of 1901 at Lilac Cottage, Town Green, Aughton, Lancashire. Source Citation Class: RG13; Piece: 3530; Folio: 105; Page: 46

Name Aged & Status Occupation Born
Henry Benson Aged 66, widowed Gardener, not domestic Aughton
Agnes Benson Aged 40, dau. single Housekeeper, domestic Aughton
John Benson Aged 37, son, single Gardener, not domestic Aughton
Albert Benson Aged 19, grandson Labourer Aughton
Richard Benson Aged 18, grandson Labourer Aughton
John Benson Aged 3, grandson   Aughton

By the Census of 1911, John Benson was the head of household at Lilac Cottage as shown in the census of Town Green, Aughton. Source Citation Class: RG14; Piece: 22826. The cottage was said to have five rooms and John Benson signed his name at the foot of the entry.

Name Aged & Status Occupation Born
John Benson Aged 48, Single, head Gardener, not domestic Aughton
Agnes Benson Aged 50, sister, single Housekeeper Aughton
Albert Benson Aged 30, nephew, single, Infirmity (feeble minded) Aughton
John Henry Benson Aged 13, nephew General Errand Boy Aughton
Thomas Benson Aged 10, nephew Scholar Aughton

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