to previous page

A Bending History - page 2


On this site the term descendants refers to male line descendants ( with the exception of the 1996 electoral roll), and using this definition Robert of Payhembury has 1465 descendants over 15 generations, and a calculation (see male reproductive rate) shows that this number could be achieved by each family having just over three active children. Total descendants, at this rate of increase could, in theory, amount to over one million.

At the start of the 17thC there were about 20 Bendings, of the 18thC of the Robert line, at most 20, and of the 19thC about 40, in seven families. These 40 descendants were of the four great grandsons of Robert, and by the 1851 census the numbers had grown to 157 (including wives of Bendings and excluding married female Bendings), by 1881 to 321, 1901 to 360, and in the electoral roll for 1996, excluding <18 year olds, to 388.

The four great grandsons did not share equal fecundity, John had 236 living adult descendants in 1996, William 78, Gilbert 38, and Robert 36. Of the eight families with ten or more children, five (including the largest family of 16 children) were descended from John, two from Robert and one from Gilbert.

The number of main-stream Bendings in each generation may be seen in the Appendix


In 1720 Gilbert, a grandson of Robert was sentenced to 14 years transportation, as a bonded servant, to Maryland, America. After completing his senence Gilbert remained in Maryland, marrying bigamously, having two more children, and dying in 1749. Although there are mentions of Maryland Bendings in US Marriages, US Censuses , and Maryland Soldiers in the Civil War, it has not been possible to link with them.

A John Bending appears in 1786 in Portsea, Hampshire, and is a possible grandson of Gilbert. This Hampshire family appears to have moved to Plymouth about 1800, where 12 of his 39 present day adult descendants live.

John Bending, a tailor, moved to Combe Down, near Bath, about 1815 (the year of Waterloo and the times

  and place of Jane Austen), and his family continued to live there, but none of the 63 present day descendants live in that area . By 1851 one of his sons, Richard, (a baker) had moved to Clifton, near Bristol, and his son Henry, ( a boot and shoemaker) moved to Bethnal Green about 1880. In the 1901 census Henry had 18 children and grandchildren, and has 16 descendants in the 1996 electoral roll.

James Bending, a coachman, later a cab proprietor, moved to Lewisham about 1830, John Bending, an agricultural labourer, moved to Cardiff about 1870, Henry Bending, a currier, moved to Northampton about 1880.

At the time of the 1851 census there were 23 households (a Bending as 'Head' at an address), 19 in Devon, 3 in Somerset and one in Kent

The 1901 census shows a further dispersal. Of the 69 households, 28 households were in Devon, 17 in London, 6 in Somerset, 4 in Glamorgan, 3 in Northants, 2 in Dorset, Kent, Gloucester, and Lancashire, and one each in Sussex, Warwick, and Yorkshire.

The first voluntary emigrants were William who, with his family, sailed on the Carnatic (later to sink in 1879) and arrived at Adelaide in 1857, and John who sailed on the Beejapore arriving in New South Wales in the same year. John's origins are unknown. The next to emigrate to Australia was Caroline who sailed on the Forfarshire arriving in 1874. I know nothing else of Caroline. Possibly, because her given name was the same as William's wife, she was related to William.

The first emigrants to Canada were Abraham and his family, about 1875, and they are buried in Ontario. The next was Alfred who sailed from Liverpool on the ss Mongolian and arrived in Canada, destined for Toronto, Ontario, in 1892. Another emigrant was Hibon Bending, who returned to England after marrying and having a son.

In 1910 George William Bending emigrated to New Zealand, and died in Auckland in 1966. His family continues in New Zealand.

The Distribution table and maps give a general picture of movements between 1851 and 1996.

to next page