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Bevan Family


Silvanus Bevan I (1661 - 1725)
Born and died in Swansea, Wales

Burgess of the City of Swansea.  Possessed property at Penclawdd Llanrhidian, which he bought on November 9 1694 from Richard Davis and Joan, his wife, for 8 pounds.  Various farms and lands were bought including Gwen-y-Goredd, Tyry Gorge, and the Marsh and Lands adjacent to the sea.  These estates were eventually sold on January 2nd 1786 to John Morris, of Clasemont, and were held in 1923 by Sir Robert Morris Bt of Sketty Park, Swansea.

Silvanus married Jane Phillips in 1685 and they had five sons and six daughters.  Silvanus II was their eldest son.

Further Information

Philip Jenkins
Tory Industrialism and Town Politics: Swansea in the Eighteenth Century
The Historical Journal, Vol. 28, No. 1. (Mar., 1985), pp. 103-123.
Chapter VI, p.116
From the 1690s Beaufort's two chief agents were Watkins and Jeremiah Dawkins, the son of Rowland.  Both were remarkable allies for a 'jacobite' peer, but perhaps stranger was to come.  In the next century, the Beaufort industrial affairs were administered by the leaders of Swansea's substantial quaker community.  The first of this group to join the Beaufort interest was Silvanus Bevan, who had suffered frequent persecutions at the hands of both puritans and Anglicans.  Bevan managed the Duke's interest until his death in 1725, when he was succeeded in office by two fellow-quakers, his son Paul, and his son-in-law James Griffiths.  Throughout the mid-eighteenth century, Beaufort's followers in Swansea were led by a tight-knit group of quakers, whose family ties connected them to the national leadership of the sect, families like the Barclays and Gurneys.
The Bevans are extensively discussed in NLW, Badminton MSS; and Swansea University Library, Morris MSS, 'History of the copper concern', Dictionary of Welsh Biography; R.O. Roberts, 'Dr John Lane' in Gower, IV (1951), 18-24; R.P. Roberts, 'History of Coalmining in Gower' (MA thesis, University of Wales, 1953); G. Grant-Francis, The smelting of copper in the Swansea district (London, 1881). A. Rastrick, Quakers in science and industry (Newton Abbott, David and Charles, 1968), pp.283-8.

Silvanus Bevan II (1691 - 1765)

Left Swansea as a young man and moved to Cheapside.  He served a seven year apothecary apprenticeship with a master by the name of Thomas Mayleigh. Gaining admittance to the Freedom of the Society of Apothecaries on 5th July 1715, Silvanus established his Pharmacy in No 2 Plough Court, Lombard Street, which he rented from Salem Osgood, a Quaker merchant.  A previous tenant had been Alexander Pope, a Linen draper, whose son, the famous poet, was born in the old house in 1688.  William Cookworthy was taken on as an apprentice by him.
On 10th November 1715 he married Elizabeth Quare at the Quaker Meeting House in White Hart Court, Gracechurch Street. She was the daughter of Daniel Quare, clockmaker to George I.
His wedding was attended by Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, Lord Finch, Lady Cartwright, William Penn, the Venetian ambassador and his wife.  After the ceremony a dinner was eaten at Skinner's Hall.  Sadly Elizabeth died a year later, giving birth to their child, a boy who died hours later. Silvanus remained alone at Plough Court for two years before marrying Martha Heathcote in 1719.  They were childless.
The pharmacy prospered and in 1725 Silvanus took over the lease on 3 Plough Court and expanded his business, the same year that Silvanus was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society. His younger brother Timothy joined him at Plough Court about this time and in 1731 was himself admitted as a member of the Society of Apothecaries.
In May 1743 he sent a letter to the Royal Society which was printed in Philiosophical Transactions of that year.  Entitled An Account of an Extraordinary Case of the Bones of a Woman Growing Soft and Flexible, communicated to the Royal Society by Mr Silvanus Bevan, it describes how he had the curiosity to make a post-mortem examination, and gave a summary of his findings (Chapman-Huston 1954, 19).
In 1745 he was communicating with James Logan, deputy in Pennsylvania to William Penn.
He spoke Welsh and was skillful at carving ivory and several busts of well-known men are still in existence (he sent one to Lord Cobham, when he was seeking likenesses for statues for his garden at Stowe.
Towards the end of his life, Silvanus left Plough Court and practised as a physican from his home in Hackney. His circle of acquaintances was wide and included William Penn, the Quaker founder of Pennsylvania of whom Silvanus carved a likeness. Silvanus died on June 5th 1765 at Hackney and is buried at Bunhill Fields.

His will was held at Somerset House (Folio "Rushworth" 207) and lists the large sums of money left to his family.  The will (signed 30 Dec. 1764) was proved June 14th 1765, and witnessed by Sarah Chambers, Christopher Rawlins and Laurence Cole.
As well as numerous other bequests he left money for a number of relations - though no work has been undertaken to trace these individul:
Niece - Martha Collier 250.00 over and above what was given at her marriage.
Cousin - William Phillips 600.00
The children of Nicholas James, by his neice Jane James, deceased - 600.00
Cousin - Jane Pain 15.00 p.a. for life
Cousin - Mary Moody 10.00 p.a. for life
Cousin - Sarah Bevan 10.00 p.a. for life.
Poor of Swansea who do not receive alms from the parish 20.00 - to be distributed by his brother Paul.
The residue of his estate given to his brother Timothy.
Timothy and Paul were his executors.
Silvanus II and Timothy Bevan were listed in:
a)The Universal Pocket Companion. 3rd edn., 1760. London
Printed for C. Hitch, L. Hawkes, R. Baldwin, G. Keith, & J. Rivington
b)Kent's Directory for the Year 1753. 20th edn., 1753, KENT, Henry. London
c)Kent's Directory for the Year 1755. 22nd edn., 1755, KENT, Henry. London
Listed in Kent's Directory for the Year 1759. 26th edn., 1759, KENT, Henry. London
see The Monthly Record, 15 March 1873, No 46, Vol IV, also "Wedgwood, Flaxman, and an English eighteenth-century portrait carver, Silvanus Bevan." Hugh Tait. Proceedings of the Wedgwood Society, No 3 1959. pp.126-132.

Additional material about Silvanus Bevan II is available at:


Timothy Bevan (1704 - 1786)
Completed his medical studies at Leyden. The register of the Society of Apothecaries records him desiring his "Freedom" by "Redemption" March 11 1730.  Admitted to the Freedom April 6 1731.
See Logan-Fisher-Fox Family Papers in The Historical Society of Pennsylvania:
On arrival in London (ca.1724) he became a partner with his brother at Plough Court, where he lived during his first marriage.  In 1766 the firm became known as Timothy Bevan and Sons, Druggists and Chemists, Plough Court, Lombard Street.  By then Timothy had taken into partnership his two elder sons, Timothy and Silvanus III.  However, two years later, when Silvanus abandoned the Plough Court business to become a partner in Barclay's Bank, the "s" was dropped from "Sons" (Chapman-Huston 1954, 25). Records of Timothy Bevan and Son 1776-1794 are now in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's archives: 1 Lambeth High Street, London SE1
In 1775 he retired to Hackney.  In 1779 he was living in Church Street, Hackney. (MS 5392 Guildhall Library - Tower Division, Parish of St John Hackney, Land Tax Assessment book.
The Quaker diarist James Jenkins described him as "...thin, as to height of the middle size; and of complexion uncommonly sallow; he wore a white wig, and as it was the custom of each Plain Friend in those days to choose a colour and stick to it, he always appeared in a light drab."  "Henry Butt told me that he was of a temper the very opposite to cheerfulness and affability, 'so that,' said he, 'in all his deportment you seemed to hear the language of "Stand off !"'


Silvanus Bevan III (1743 - 1830)
Born October 3 1743, Plough Court Pharmacy, Lombard Street, London.  His parents were Timothy Bevan  1704-1786, and Elizabeth Barclay  1714-1745.  In 1767 he joined his uncle James Barclay in banking. The firm became known as "Barclay, Bevan and Bening" in 1776, and later as "Barclay's Bank".  He married Isabella Wakefield in April 10 1769.  She was daughter of Edward and Isabella Wakefield who came from an old Westmorland Quaker family.  Her father was a Mercer in Lad Lane (now Gresham Street), and resided in Kensington.  She died of fever, aged 17, on November 17 1769.
Left £1,000.00 by uncle Silvanus II when he reached 23 years.
In 1783 bought Swallowfield, Berkshire, from John Dodd for 20,000 pounds. Sold the house in about 1788. The Bevan Griffin still remains over the mantelpiece in the hall (1923).

1789 bought Riddlesworth Hall, Harling, near Thetford in Norfolk.

1814 moved to House, Hungerford, Wiltshire.  The house was sold to Alfred Huth in 1902 for 28,500 pounds and to a member of the Guinness family more recently.

He also had houses at 31 Gloucester Place, London and Collingwood House, 127 Marine Parade, Brighton.
Silvanus married, secondly, Louisa Kendall September 23 1773.  She was the daughter of Henry Kendall, a banker, of Lincoln's Inn Fields.  John Kendall and Louisa (Bevan) were the children of Henry's first marriage to Elizabeth.  John married Honor Raper of Lotherton, Abberford in Yorkshire, and had three sons, one of whom was Henry Edward Kendall (1776-1875), the architect .  The Esplanade and Tunnel, 1828-30, in Brighton, was designed with his son H.E. Kendall junior.  Antony Dale attributes a number of Brighton houses to father and son (Dale 1947, pages 83; 98; 109).  One of Henry Kendall's daughters married his pupil Lewis Cubitt (the architect), the youngest of the Cubitt brothers, who died in Brighton on 9th June 1883.
The marriage of Silvanus to Louisa caused him to leave the Society of Friends (the Quakers) and pobably cut him off from his immediate circle of relations and acquaintances.  Although Silvanus was a banker by profession, he was also a sleeping partner in Barclay, Perkin's Brewery in Southwark. He eventually surrendered his share in that business to his sons Henry and Charles.

He had seven sons – David was the eldest and Richard the youngest.


David Bevan (1774 - 1846)
Born in Bishopsgate and died in a fire at his house.

Educated at Winchester.  Banker.

In 1808 moved to Hale End, Walthamstow, which was sold in about 1822.  They moved to 42 Upper Harley Street.
In 1823 he bought a house called Mount Pleasant, from John Kingston on the borders of Hertfordshire and Middlesex. He re-named the house Belmont. The house had been built by Inigo Jones and lived in by Elias Ashmole.  He had a seizure in 1826 and retired from the bank.
Married (May 7th 1798) Favell Bourke Lee (1780-1841), daughter of Robert Cooper Lee of 26 Berners Street and 30 Bedford Square, London, (also of Rosehall, Jamaica). David lived at 59 Upper Guildford Street, then 9 Russell Square, and 14 York Place, London.  In 1808 David and his family moved to Hale End, Walthamstow.  They moved to 42 Upper Harley Street for a while.   David and Favell were buried in the Bevan family vault at Trent Church near Cockfosters.  They had seven children.


Richard Bevan (1774 - 1846)
Born Swallowfield, Berkshire.
Buried Brighton’s Extra-Mural Cemetery
of Highcliff Lodge, 128 Marine Parade, Brighton.
"Tall, slender man, more a thinker than a talker".
Became blind and deaf when old.
Excellent horseman.
Described as being (in 1808) "very slim, and silent and languid. Engaged in voluntary minesterial duties when at . He looked grave and depressed, which might have been owing to his being afraid of [David Bevan] who showed his real fondness for him in a rough way, and who criticised him and rallied him unreasonably."  He had two little darkish rooms in the attics.  There he was often shut up with Leader, the Vernham schoolmaster, contriving books and cards for the schools, especially the Sunday school...Mr Seaton, the dissenting minister from Andover, an orthodox man, was his only educated friend." "...his dutiful devotion to his parents, and to his many pleasing qualities, such as his candour, his refinement, and intellectual tastes." Favell Lee Mortimer (Bevan) in "Reminiscences of Richard Bevan".
Richard married Charlotte Hunter in 1823 at Holy Trinity, Clapham and had four daughters and a son – Richard Alexander.


Richard Alexander Bevan (1834 - 1918)
Born Highcliff Lodge, 128 Marine Parade, Brighton.
Harrow & Trinity College Cambridge
Banker – partner in Brighton Union Bank
J.P. Treasurer of Brighton College 1860-1918.
Lived Horsgate, Cuckfield, Sussex. Known as the ”Father of Cuckfield”
Father of Robert Polhill Bevan (artist)
Richard Alexander married Laura Maria Polhill (daughter of Edward Polhill) in 1861 and they had four sons and two daughters.

Additional material about the Bevan family is available at:


Polhill Family


Edward Polhill (1789 - 1859)

Of 17 Brunswick Square, Hove, Sussex.

Admitted Pensioner Trinity College, Cambridge 18th January 1810. Moved to Trinity Hall 10th December 1811. Obtained LL.B. in 1819. Admitted Lincoln's Inn on 28th April 1813.

Served on Brunswick Town Commission.

Founder governor of Brighton College.

Married Anne Margaret Graham (1801-1882) – watercolour of 1854

Five children:

Emily (1824-1898) unmarried – watercolour of 1854

Arthur Edward (1826-1879) unmarried

Robert Graham (1828-1854 Battle of the Alma) unmarried – watercolour and photo of tomb

Laura Maria (1833-1906) married Richard Alexander Bevan (1834-1918)

Charles Davenport (1839-1860) unmarried – letters to him in Minet Library

Additional material about the Polhill family is available at:


Graham Family


Archive of Graham / Polhill papers in Minet Library, Lambeth


NB “Valentine to Charlie from Flirtilla addressed to Charles D Polhill, 17 Brunswick Sq Brighton.  IV/4/34  ND”


Anne Margaret Graham’s Mother


Anne Margaret Graham

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The Bevan Family Letters website is a micro-site of The Regency Town House website. The Town House is a grade 1 Listed terraced home of the mid-1820s being developed as a heritage centre and museum to focus on the architecture and social history of Brighton & Hove between the 1780s and 1840s. For further information about the Town House project see