Benjamin Farmer 1748-1821

Benjamin Farmer was born about 1748 in Ludlow, Shropshire, England as possibly the ninth child of Thomas Farmer and Mary (further research is being carried out to determine exactly how many children Thomas and Mary had). Benjamin was baptized on 15 Mar 1748 at St. Leonard's Church in Ludlow, Shropshire, England.

Baptised - Benjamin Farmer, Son of Thomas & Mary Benjamin Farmer's baptism at St. Leonard's Church in Ludlow, 1748
St. Leonard's Church, Ludlow

When Benjamin was 23, he married Mary Mills on 07 Jul 1771 at St. John's Parish Church in Hereford, Herefordshire, England.

Benjamin Farmer's marriage to Mary Mills in 1771

St. John's Church didn't actually exist, instead the people of St. John's "worshiped in a designated space within the cathedral building but (St.John's) was distinct from the cathedral clergy and services." (Source

A designated space within Hereford Cathedral was used as St. John's Parish Church

A boy named James Oram was indentured as Benjamin Farmer 's apprentice on 17 Nov
1778 in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. This is also the first time that Benjamin's trade as a Gunsmith is mentioned. James was indentured for 7 years with his first day of duty being on the 17th December 1778. Benjamin was paid £10 by James' parents/guardians for taking him as an apprentice (In 1778, £10 would have the same spending worth of 2005's £628.50)

UK Register of Duties Paid For Apprentice Indentures 1778

On 20 Dec 1781 the following article appeared in The Hereford Journal. It appears that
James Oram didn't take to the trade of Gunsmith and absconded from his apprenticeship.
The fate of James is unknown.

The Hereford Journal, 20th December 1781

Benjamin eventually took another apprentice called Samuel Winter, who was indentured on
10 Nov 1783 in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. Samuel was indentured for 6 years with his first day of duty on 17th November 1783. Benjamin recieved the sum of £5 for taking him as an apprentice. (In 1783, £5 would have the same spending worth of 2005's £314.25).

UK Register of Duties Paid For Apprentice Indentures 1783

On Wednesday 24th June 1789 an advert appeared in the Hereford Journal for a concert and ball to be held at Harding's assembly room in Hereford. Tickets were to be available from several places in the town including Benjamin's premises on Eigne Street.

The Hereford Journal, Wednesday 24th June 1789

In 1791 Benjamin Farmer's name appears in the Hereford section of the Universal British

The Universal British Directory Part 2, 1791

In 1795 Benjamin's son Henry, a sailor, makes his first will and testament and names
Benjamin as his sole executor of his estate.

Will of Henry Farmer, 1795

In 1796 Benjamin's name is found among the voters for the County of Hereford Parliamentry elections listed in the Hereford poll book. Apart from giving us an idea of how Benjamin voted that year, this list also tells us that he owns a freehold property that is currently occupied by a Mr.Jones:-

Herefordshire Poll Book, 1796

Benjamin's name can be found twice in the 1798 UK Land Tax Redemption lists (this was a
lump some paid by the owner of a property to free it from being taxed). Firstly Benjamin
appears for his own residence:-

UK Land Tax Redemption List, 1798

and secondly for the property that is still occupied by Mr. Jones and also someone called

UK Land Tax Redemption List, 1798

On 29th Dec 1798 Benjamin was one of the witnesses at the marriage of his eldest daughter Elizabeth:-

Marriage of Elizabeth Farmer to Thomas Todd, 29th December 1798

The next mention of Benjamin Farmer that I can find is in The Hereford Journal on
Wednesday 10th December 1800. An advert was placed by Benjamin for someone called
"T.C." who was looking for work as a park or gamekeeper.

The Hereford Journal, Wednesday 10th December 1800

It seems that Benjamin liked to help people looking for this type of work as a year later he
places another similar advert for someone called "J.H." in the same newspaper on 22nd Jul

The Hereford Journal, 22nd July 1801

Benjamin Farmer's name then appears in the 1802 poll book for Hereford again listing the
freehold that he owns - presumably Charles Jones is the same tenant as Mr. Jones as in
earlier poll books.

Herefordshire Poll Book, 1802

In 1810 the inhabitants of Hereford held a meeting regarding rumours of the stability of the
Hereford Old Bank. Ads were placed in newspapers announcing their support for the bank
and that they would accept its bank notes. Benjamin's name appears in two of these adverts - firstly in The Gloucester Journal on 6th Aug 1810:-

The Gloucester Journal, 6th August 1810

and secondly in The Worcester Journal on 9th August 1810:-

The Worcester Journal, 9th August 1810

In 1818 Benjamin Farmer once again appears in the poll books for Hereford:-

Herefordshire Poll Book, 1818

Benjamin Farmer died on 29 Nov 1821 in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. He was buried
on 03 Dec 1821 in the parish of All Saints in Hereford, Herefordshire, England.

Benjamin Farmer's burial at All Saints Church, Hereford, 1821

An obituary appeared in the Hereford Journal on 5th December 1821:-

The Hereford Journal, 5th December 1821

and in the same edition there was an annoucement regarding the auction of all of Benjamin's remaining possessions:-

The Hereford Journal, 5th December 1821

Benjamin had left a last will and testament, but neglected to name an executor. As a result
letters of administration were pleaded for and granted to his oldest daughter Elizabeth
Todd (nee Farmer):-

Letters Of Administration

Benjamin's will names his children and also many of their spouses, which was a godsend in
proving that I had the right person. Daughter Mary (Collins) was to recieve the rents of 2 of
his properties in Eign Street and Bewell Street in Hereford. Son Thomas was to have the
rents of another property in Eign Street until Thomas's son Benjamin attained the age of 21
and then Benjamin was to have the property. Daughter Ann (wife of William Kemsey, of
Bristol, Surgeon) was to have the rents of another 2 properties on Bewell Street. Daughter
Susan (wife of Edward Griffiths, Exciseman) was to have the rents of a further 2 properties
on Eign Street, and grandson Thomas Todd was to have the rents of another 2 properties in
Eign and Bewell Street. It would seem that Benjamin was in the end quite a wealthy man.

Benjamin Farmer's Will, 1821

According to the Death Duty Register, Benjamin wrote his will on 19th November 1821 and
proven on 27th November 1821 - but seeing this contradicts the reported dates of his death
and the date on the will itself so one of them must be wrong. The will was executed on 22nd December 1821 by Benjamin's daughter Elizabeth. The total of his estate came to just under £2000 which was split between his living children, Grandson Benjamin, and six other people. Benjamin's children each recieved £250, while Grandson Benjamin (Aged just 5 years old) recieved Benjamin's leasehold house and the rents that accompanied it (Amounting to £210). The following is Benjamin's entry in the Death Duty Register:-

Death Duty Register, 1821

There is an online memorial for Benjamin at

Benjamin Farmer and Mary Mills had the following children:

1. Elizabeth Farmer was born about 1772 in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. She married Thomas Todd on 29 Dec 1798 at All Saints Church in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. Elizabeth died on 11 Jan 1839 in Edgbaston, Warwickshire, England.

2. Henry Farmer was born about 1773 in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. He died either on 25th Nov 1812 or sometime in Feb 1813 aboard the East Indiaman, "Lord Castlereagh".


3. Benjamin Farmer was born about 1776 in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. Currently, nothing more is known of Benjamin.


4. Ann Farmer was born about 1777 in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. She married William Kemsey on 21 Feb 1801 at St. Martin's Church in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. Ann died on 28 Mar 1839 in Bristol, Avon, England.


5. Thomas Farmer was born about 1779 in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. He died in Dec 1823 at in Brecon, Breconshire, Wales. He married Anne Williams on 06 May 1804 at St. Mary's in Brecon, Breconshire, Wales. He married Ann Probert on 31 Dec 1811 at Llanspyddid Parish Church in Llanspyddid, Breconshire, Wales.Thomas died on 31 Dec 1823 in Brecon, Breconshire, Wales.


6. Mary Farmer was born about 1781 in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. She married Henry Collins on 04 Aug 1818 at All Saints in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. Mary died on 01 Feb 1846 in Hereford, Herefordshire, England.


7. Sarah Farmer was born about 1783 in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. She married John Colwell in 01 Jul 1826 at St. Phillip's Church in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. Sarah died on 01 Dec 1862 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.


8. Susannah Farmer was born about 1788 in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. She married Edward Griffiths on 31 Dec 1809 at St. Mary's in Brecon, Breconshire, Wales. Susannah died on 19 Mar 1870 in South Shields, Durham, England.

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by Wayne Farmer