BRIDEN, Bengeo, Hertford, Mid-19th century

A "Found" Family Bible




June, 2004

Is anyone interested in this family? I recently purchased a large box of books, and at the bottom was a massive, but damaged, Victorian family bible. Such damaged volumes are so commonplace and so bulky that most get dumped! A quick check at the family pages suggested no connection with Hertfordshire and contained the following entries:

Robert Briden, born August 31st, 1850
Caroline Briden, born May 31st, 1851
Married December 25th, 18__ at St John's Church Lewisham

Robert William Briden, March 15th, 1875
Alice Briden, September 21st, 1876
Florence Mary Briden, February 4th, 1880
William Frederick Briden, December 10th, 1882

Nellie Elizabeth Pleasurance Addis
Frederick William Briden
St Giles, Camberwell, July 3rd, 1915

Out of interest I decided to check the family out on the 1881 census. I found them at 122 Warner Road, Camberwell, Surrey:

 Name  Relation Age Birthplace Occupation
 Robert BRIDAN   Head   30   Hertford  Carpenter And Joiner 
 Caroline BRIDAN   Wife   29   Ridge   
 Robert W. BRIDAN   Son   6   New Cross, Surrey   Scholar 
 Alice BRIDAN   Daur   4   Camberwell, Surrey    
 Florence M. BRIDAN   Daur   1   Camberwell, Surrey    

Much to my surprise it seems that both Robert and Caroline had been born in Hertfordshire, so I decided to investigate further. The first check was to look in FreeBMD, which showed that the wedding took place in 1873 and the bride was Caroline Savill.

Holy Trinity, Bengeo 
Postcard published by A. A. Pickering, 75 Bengeo Street, Bengeo, Hertford.

Familysearch showed that a William and Sarah Briden had the following children baptised at Holy Trinity, Bengeo

 2. ROBERT BRIDEN - 08 FEB 1852 
 3. WALTER BRIDEN - 08 FEB 1852
 4. GEORGE BRIDEN - 08 FEB 1852 

If they are all part of the same family (see Right Name, Wrong Body, for the dangers to beware) there is a definite gap to be explained and then a "catch up group baptism in 1852.

A check of some Hertfordshire trade directories found some possibly relevant entries for Hertford:

1828 No entry for Briden in Hertford 

George Street, Port Vale, was built in the reign of George IV (1820-1830) Hertford Street and Place Names]

1839 BAKERS: Briden William, George Street 
1846 Brinden William, George Street, Baker 
1851 Briden George, Baker, George Street 
1866 Briden Sarah (Mrs), baker, George Street 
1882 Briden Thomas & George, bakers, George Street, Port Vale 
1890 Briden Thomas & George, bakers, 4 George Street, Port Vale 
1912 Briden Thomas & George, bakers, 4 George Street, Port Vale 
1922 Briden T. & G, bakers, 4 George Street, Port Vale 
1926 Brinden T. & G. (Walter Edwin Topham, proprietor), bakers, 4 George Street, Port Vale 
1937 Briden's (J W Skinner, propr.) bakers, 4 George Street, Port Vale and 24 Port Vale.

While it is clear that Brinden the bakers were in George Street from about the time is was built, circa 1830, until into the 20th century there is a "problem" in that one would not expect the son of a baker to become a carpenter - until one looks at the 1881 census for George Street:

22 George Street was the home of John Ambrose, Coachmaker, and his family.

23 George Street:

 Name  Relation Age Birthplace Occupation
 Geo. BRIDEN   Head   34   Hertford   Baker 
 Emma BRIDEN   Wife   38   Ware  Baker Wife 
 Alfred C. BRIDEN   Son   11   Hertford   Scholar 
 Geo.A.W. BRIDEN   Son   9   Hertford   Scholar 
 Catherine M. BRIDEN   Daur   7   Hertford  Scholar 
 Eleanor BRIDEN   Daur   5   Hertford  Scholar 
 Evelyn BRIDEN   Daur   4   Hertford   Scholar 
 Sarah E. BRIDEN   Daur   1   Hertford    
 Susan ROGERS   Serv   15   Hatfield  General Servant 

24 George Street:

 Name  Relation Marital Status Age Birthplace Occupation
 Thos. BRIDEN   Head   Widower  39   Hertford   Baker 
 Charles F. BRIDEN   Son   U   8   Hertford   Scholar 
 Walter BRIDEN   Bro   Unmarried  29   Hertford   Coach Builder 
 Mary A. BRIDEN   Aunt   Unmarried   60   Tewin   Housekeeper 

The Two Brewers, Port Vale, by the turning into George Street 
from Hertford Past and Present

The Two Brewers, 7 Port Vale [next door] David Welbourne, publican, and family

As you can see the census has turned up trumps - allowing the location of the house to be identified (next to the Two Brewers public house) and revealing another son, Thomas, born in the "gap". It also show a connection with carpentry. Brother Walter was a coach builder, as was one of the neighbours. The trade directory shows that Sarah was a widow by 1866 and may well have been left with young children to raise - and what more natural that some could have been apprenticed to a neighbour!


The above has all arisen from trying to find the background to the inscription in an unwanted bible. Please Tell Me if you are related to the Bridens and can give the bible a home, as I cannot store it indefinitely..

October 2004

Stephen Briden (sbriden06 @t writes: I stumbled across your "answers" section and believe that the bible you mentioned may have some connection to my family.

I hear vague snippets about the family history from time to time but know for sure that somewhere along the line the family were coachmakers (i.e. carpenters as listed on the census).  Furthermore, my father was from Hertford and I believe the family had lived there for some significant time before that - indeed, my uncle lived in Bengeo for many years when I was younger so I think that somewhere along the line it can be traced back to Thomas Briden (whose name I had heard mentioned before).

My uncle (Geoff) would know much more about it as he researched the history for a book - as he is also a wood craftsman.  I will send him a link to the site as he would undoubtedly be able to fill you in!

My grandfathers name was Bernard Briden, not sure if this helps you link back or whatever

To see if it helps I add brief details of the Briden living in Hertfordshire in the 1901 census:

Name			Age	Born at		Living at	Occupation																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Joseph Briden		22	Beds Toddington	Gt Berkhamsted	Police Constable																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Rebecca Briden		22	Beds Flitwick	Gt Berkhamsted	 																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Thos Briden		59	Herts Bengeo	Hertford	Master ...Flour																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
George Briden		56	Herts Hertford	Hertford	Bread Baker Shop Keeper																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Chas Briden		28	Herts Bengeo	Hertford	Brewers Assistant																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Catherine Briden	27	Herts Hertford	Hertford	 																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
George Briden		27	Herts Hertford	Hertford	Miller Traveller																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Harry Briden		25	Beds Toddington	Hertford	Traveller For Soap Co																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
John Briden		65	Herts Ickleford	Ickleford	...																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Mary Briden		62	Herts Ickleford	Ickleford	 																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Ellen Briden		84	Beds		Stevenage	Living On Own Means																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Mary Briden		55	Herts Hitchin	Stevenage	Living On Own Means																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Franklin Briden		27	Herts Stevenage	Stevenage	Grocer Draper Furnisher Jobmaster																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Hilda Briden		22	Herts Stevenage	Stevenage	Assistant Draper																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Ruby Briden		19	Herts Stevenage	Stevenage	Assistant Draper																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Alfred Briden		31	Herts Hertford	Watford Urban	Baker Master																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Lilian Briden		31	Hants Tetworth	Watford Urban	 																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Winifred Briden		4	Herts Watford	Watford Urban	 																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Constance Briden	2	Herts Watford	Watford Urban	 																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											
Lilian Briden		1	Herts Watford	Watford Urban	 																																																																																																																																																																																																																																																											

February 2006

Brinden's Bakeries Van taken in 1922 in Warren Terrace, Bengeo
Image kindly provided by Derek Parrott

April 2007

Mike Gray (mike_c_gray @t of Culver Road writes:  Quite by accident, I came across your page on The Bridens.  Through researching my house's history (90 Culver Road, St Albans, circa 1900) which we have corresponded on before, I came across a 1946 advert in Kellys Directories which shows that the Bridens opened a bakery around that time at my address, the proprietor listed as J W Skinner (which is the same as your 1937 entry on the Bridens page).  Copy of the advert is attached.  It has to be the same family / business I think.

An interesting link between two completely different queries - I am copying this to everyone who has shown an interest in the Brinden family. The advert you found states that the firm was established in 1830 - which fits in well with information from Hertford trade directories noted above.

 I have made some specific comments on the St Albans business on the Culver Road page.

January 2013

David Bower (davebower123 @t of Sudbury, Suffolk, writes: My mate & I worked part time for Jack Skinner the proprietor of Bridens of Hertford in the mid sixties until about 1970. He had two bake houses one in Port Vale with a shop and another in Cowbridge, he also had another shop near McMullens brewery. I am not sure what happened after 1972 as I moved away, I think the business was sold to somebody else.  I liked working for Jack Skinner he was a lovely man, generous and appreciative a real character, everybody knew him.

February 2015

Marilyn Taylor (marilynflowers @t of Bengeo writes: I am working on a history of Bengeo and can tell you that the Briden baptisms before 1855 would have taken place in St Leonard's Church as Holy Trinity was not built until 1855. The bakery business was sold to Mr Topham and then to Mr Jack Skinner who grew it into a catering company and added extra shops inc. the one in St Albans. He ran it for just over 50 years. If anyone is interested in more info on the Briden family of the business feel free to get in touch. I do hope the Bible found a good home..

So what happened to that bible? I dived into the bedroom waiting to be "de-cluttered" and found that I still have it. A quick check shows that the bible is undated but as the printer is described as "William Collins Sons and Company Limited" it must be 1868 or later. The fact that the year of Robert and Caroline's marriage is not shown suggests it was not their bible, and I suspect that it may have been a wedding present for Frederick and Nellie in 1915 - and all the dates were added then. Frederick died in 1954 and a quick glance suggests the couple had no children and it is likely the direct line from Robert and Caroline has died out. So there may be no direct claimants to be direct descendants of the people mentioned in the bible.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.