Correspondence of James Hews Bransby

Scope and Content

Three books of bound letters to and from J.H. Bransby.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Bransby was born in 1783 in Ipswich, the son of John Bransby, Calvinist instrument maker and fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He studied to be a Unitarian minister at the academy of Timothy Kendrick and Joseph Bretland at Exeter between 1799 and 1804. In 1803 he was invited to become a minister at the Cross Street Chapel at Moretonhampstead, south west of Exeter. Whilst in Moretonhampstead he set up a school for boys with 8 boarders of which there is an amusing account in John Bowring's Autobiographical Recollections. In 1805 he moved to Wolverhampton Street Chapel in Dudley where he opened another school for boys. Bransby, a noted eccentric, was accused of various misdemeanours whilst at Dudley, culminating in an accusation of forgery for which he was excused prosecution on condition that he left Dudley and did not return, which he did in 1828. Following this incident he retired to Wales where he supported himself by teaching, writing and editing a newspaper. He wrote for the Christian Reformer, and published a variety of topographical guides and anecdotal compilations. He also produced a highly regarded edition of John Evans' Sketches of the Various Denominations of the Christian World which had first appeared in 1794. He married Sarah Issac the daughter of a General Baptist minister; there were no children. He died on 4 November 1847 at Bron'r Hendref near Caernarfon.


Alexander Gordon, 'Bransby, James Hews (1783-1847), rev. R.K. Webb, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).