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A Bending History - page 3

History and Bendings

War is an unfortunate ingredient of history. The earliest fighting in which Bendings were possibly involved is the battle of Beandun (Bindon) in 614 AD when the Anglo Saxons slew two thousand and sixty five Welsh (The Anglo Saxon Chronicle).

Sir Robert Bendyn 1260?-1330? took an active part as an admiral in the wars of his time, fighting the French and the Scots, perhaps not successfully as the Scots gained independence under Robert Bruce, and Edward III paid homage to Philip of France in 1329.

The latter half of the 16thC was very unsettled with three monarchs, EdwardVI, Mary and Elizabeth; the execution of Lady Jane Grey in 1554, and Mary, Queen of Scots in 1587, and the defeat of the Armada in 1588. In 1549, following the introduction of the Protestant Prayer Book there were serious disturbances in Devon resulting in the 'Prayer Book Rebellion. It is against this background that in 1569 the Privy Council issued a directive to hold a general muster of all men over 16, and the muster rolls mentioned earlier, which included Bendings, were prepared.

1756 saw the start of the Seven Years War, with Europe divided into two camps led by Britain and France, over the disposition of lands in India, America and Africa.

In 1758 a fleet, including the Litchfield of 50 guns, sailed for the west coast of Africa, and on the 28th November, in foggy and tempestuous weather, found themselves close to the coast of Barbary. (also see Wikipedia)

Richard Bending, 1726-1758, was a cook on the Litchfield and drowned when the ship sank off that coast. In his will he leaves his estate to his wife. The survivors were taken into slavery by the Barbary pirates until ransommed by Pitt the Elder. Richard may have been ransomed as there is a will of a Richard Bending of his Majesty's Ship Syron, dated 1764.

Richard was a grandson of Richard Bending of Thanet, Kent, who appears in the middle of the 17thC.

In the Great War eight Bendings died, at an average age of 24. The first to die was a waiter on the old cruiser HMS Cressy. She was sunk on the 22 September 1914 with two other cruisers by a German submarine in the English Channel. Of the other seven, three were buried in France, two in Belgium and two in this country. Three Bendings had commissions, in the Machine Gun Corps, Northumberland Fusiliers, and Royal Artillery.


In the Second World War, seven Bendings died, one an Australian who is not in my records, the others with an average age of 29. They were buried in Hanover, Benghazi, Taunton, Tunisia, Burma, New Guinea and Rome. Three Bending held Army commissions, and one, a former officer in the Great War, a commission in the TA.

My family was affected by the war, my brothers, William (Bill), and George, were in the Army, and I was in the RAF, our mother, Marie Louise, remained in London. Bill served in Iceland, George, who had been in the TA was with the Essex Regiment, and later the Dorsets, and a few days after D-day crossed to France and fought into Germany, being wounded twice, once by 'friendly fire'.

I served in the RAF in 1940-46 as an aero-engine fitter, working on the dismantling and transport of crashed aircraft, wherever they fell; in Training Command; and in 3 Group, Bomber Command, on Stirling and Lancaster four-engined bombers and Mosquito night-fighters.

Zoe Bending (nee Glass) joined the ATS (Women's Army) in 1942, served first in a anti-aircraft battery defending Liverpool, then, under Mary Churchill (Winston's daughter) in the War Office, in London, and took part in the VE and VJ Day parades through London in 1945. (see Zoe's memoir)

Law and Order

Another important aspect of history is the application of 'Law and Order'. In Anglo-saxon times we have the example of Robert de Bendone, tried in his absence before the Devon Eyre

An eyre court was taken by an itinerant judge for serious cases which could not be dealt with locally, it had a jury of twelve men from the hundred. A hundred being an Anglo-Saxon administrative unit of one hundred hides. A hide was a measure of land, which at one time was the area sufficient to support a family; a tithing was a group of about ten freemen responsible for the conduct of its members.

In 1720 Gilbert, a grandson of Robert was sentenced to be hanged for stealing seven silver spoons of Thomas Salter, an Exeter goldsmith. Fortunately, the king, George III, was merciful, and the death sentence was commuted to 14 years transportation, as a bonded servant, to Maryland, America. Two years for each spoon.

In 1932 Caroline Selina Bending was sentenced to three months hard labour at Honiton Police Court for receiving goods to the value of a few shillings. She was a widow, 69 years old.

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