Robert Balshaw, 1828-1877.


7th January 1828, son of  Thomas Balshaw and Lucy. Baptised 3rd February. (c.f. Robert Belshaw)


Went to sea at the age of 14 and travelled to America three times.  He fell from the top-mast and returned home, to be apprenticed to his father as a letterpress printer.

He later became a local preacher and subsequently a Wesleyan Methodist Minister (accepted for training by the Conference of 1850).  He worked at Louth, Newport, Tiverton, Dunstable, Manchester, (Irwell Street, etc.) London, (Great Queen Street, etc.) Kentish Town and Blackheath, Chelsea, Westminster, Birmingham (Handsworth), and finally Kilburn (West London).

His life and character were described  in a sermon  preached at City Road Chapel, London, on Monday evening, December 17th 1877, by the Rev. G. Bowden. “Lessons from the conversion, character and death of the Rev. Robert Balshaw.”  This also gives some information about the character of his parents, Thomas and Lucy, confirming his identity without doubt.


Mary Anne Procter.  Her  maiden name is the same as that of Hannah Priscilla Procter, (wife of  Robert's brother Edward Pass Balshaw). Does this suggest a case of two brothers marrying two sisters? (I can find no evidence of this in the marriage registers.) Mary Anne predeceased Robert but I haven't yet confirmed details of their wedding or her death.

They had 6 children including Thomas Procter Balshaw, 1863; Janet Balshaw, birth registered Swinton, Sept. quarter of 1864; Mark (aka George Herbert) Balshaw, 1865; George Bowden Balshaw, 1869.   The others have not yet been identified.

Thomas P, Janet, and George B were wards of Revd. George Bowden at the 1881 census, aged 17, 16 and 11 respectively, living at 7 Southfield Road, Westbury On Trym, Gloucestershire.  (George Bowdon was born about 1830 in Stockport, Cheshire. His wife Ellen was born about 1836 in Ashmore, Dorset.  They had no children living at home on census day in 1881.)

George Herbert appears as a scholar at the Wesleyan College in Charlcombe, Somerset, age 15.

The remaining children are not easy to find on the 1881 census.  The national index includes an intriguing reference to James ((Edward)) Balshaw, living in the British Orphan Asylum, Upton cum Chalvey, Buckinghamshire, age 14, born in Bowdon Cheshire.  I speculate that this James could be another son of Robert Balshaw.  The head of household was Caroline Milne, Matron, age 46.  I have no idea why the name Edward is given in brackets. Presumably this James could not have been the son of Robert's brother, Edward Pass, as Edward's wife Priscilla was still alive


Dec qtr 1877, in Hampstead, aged 49, (i.e. born c.1828). His will reveals that Reverend Robert Balshaw was a Wesleyan Minister who died 21st November 1877, (will proved 15th December 1877), at No. 27 St Georges Road, Kilburn in the County of Middlesex, having formerly lived at Soho Hill, Handsworth in the County of Stafford. No wife is mentioned, but he had a son called Thomas Procter Balshaw. Note that the will states that he left effects under £3,000, no leaseholds. This was a considerable sum of money in 1877!

In the will of his brother Edward Pass Balshaw who died in 1876, he named his brother as the Reverend Robert Balshaw.  By the time the will was proved in 1878 this Robert Balshaw had died, leaving only the other brother Henry as executor.

I have obtained an obituary from the minutes of conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, 1878.

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