The Benton Family of Plaistow, West Ham, Essex

Benjamin Benton - The Grocer

Benjamin was born about 1792 (in Totham, Essex according to the 1861 census, and Harlow, Essex according to the 1871 census). He married Elizabeth LAYBANK on 4 June 1818 at Plaistow. Elizabeth died on 3 Sept 1847 at Plaistow. On 22 Jan 1850 he married Mary RUDGE from Deptford, Kent.

Benjamin lived most of his live at Plaistow in East London. His address varies within a small area around the All Saints Parish Church at Plaistow. His occupation in the census and other records is "Grocer". The records do not tell us whether he had a separate grocer's shop and lived elsewhere. Typically at that time families would have lived behind or above the shop at the same address.

                                    John BENTON  
                               James RUDGE
                                                                  |                                 |
      Elizabeth LAYBANK============v=======================Benjamin BENTON============v=========Mary RUDGE
            ?-1847                1818                        1792-1877              1850       1817-1894
                                   |                                                  |
                                   |                                                  |
    |------------------------------|----------|---------|--------------|              |---------------|
 Benjamin John                   James    William  John Laybank  Elizabeth Martha  Abel Benjamin  Ebenezer Frederick
 1820-1914                     1822-1874 1824-1871   1826-1913       1828           1854-          1856-
    |                                         |         |              |                              |
    |------------|--------|                   |         |              |                              |
  m1:1838     m2:1846   m:1882             m:1862    m:1856         m:1850                          m:1882
 Eleanor     Charlotte   Anne              Harriett   Mary          James                           Sarah
 GWALTER       SHARP    DRAKE               LOVETT    STENNER       WILLIAMS                         WOOD
    |            |        |                   |         |              |                              |

Benjamin and Elizabeth had five children:

Benjamin John 6 April 1820 26 Feb 1914  
James 14 Jun 1822 Sep 1874 Grocer and house painter
William 4 Jun 1824 Sep 1871 Cabinet maker
John Laybank 22 April 1826 9 Oct 1913 Carpenter
Elizabeth Martha 30 April 1828    

Benjamin remarried on 22 Jan 1850 to Mary RUDGE from Deptford, Kent. They had two children:

Abel Benjamin 1854
Ebenezer Frederick Sep 1856
Where did Benjamin the Grocer live?

From the census and BMD records his addresses were:

1841Black Lion Row, Plaistow
18514 Vine St, West Ham
18611 Vine Place, Plaistow
18712 South St, West Ham
18772 South St, West Ham
1841Black Lion Row, Plaistow
1841 Census

In 1841 Benjamin and family lived at Black Lion Row, Plaistow. Black Lion is not in the street index for London, but the census record shows it was adjacent to Broadway.


Benjamin, the oldest son has his own child, Benjamin, with him but not the youngest son James Gwalter Benton. His wife Eleanor GWALTER had recently died. Note that ages were rounded down to the nearest 5 years in the 1841 census.

1851 census

By 1851 Benjamin had married Mary RUDGE. The only Benjamin and Mary Benton in the 1851 census were living at 4 Vine St, West Ham. The names and places of birth are correct, but the recorded age for Benjamin is wrong. As he was more than 20 years older than his new wife, the census taker may have altered the age to 38 instead of 58.

Benjamin 38 House Proprieter Sutton, Essex
Mary 34   Deptford, Kent
1861 census

Benjamin and Mary with their sons Abel and Ebenezer are living at 1 Vine Place Plaistow, which is adjacent to Vicarage Lane, off Church St, close to All Saints Church.

Benjamin 68 Retired grocer Tatham, Essex
Mary 45 wife Deptford, Kent
Abel B 7 Scholar West Ham
Ebenezer F. 4 Scholar West Ham
1871 Census

They were now living at 2 South St, West Ham. Note that the sons are now using their middle names (Benjamin and Frederick).

Benjamin 79 Formerly grocer Harlow, Essex
Mary 55 Carriage cushion maker Deptford, Kent
Benjamin 17 confectioner West Ham
Frederick 14 Painter, glazier West Ham
1881 Census

By 1881, Benjamin had died (10 April 1877 at 2 South St, West Ham). His widow remained at this address:

Mary 64 Carriage lining maker Deptford, Kent
Ebenezer 24 House painter West Ham
Elizabeth 12 granddaughter Poplar, Middlesex
1891 Census

Mary is living with her son Ebenezer and his family at 17 Bushberry Rd, Hackney.

Ebenezer F. 34 House decorator West Ham
Sarah H.. 31
St Giles, London
Alice M. 7 Scholar Lenton, Essex
Frederick 6
Eveline 4
Eleanor 3
Benjamin 9m
Hackney, London
Mary 74 Pauper Deptford, Kent

Mary died in the June quarter 1894 aged 77.

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Last updated: 12/09/2017