The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History
BENJAMIN SPARROW (1778-1853)
The first of the Sparrow family to become involved with the limestone quarries to the east of Plymouth was Mr Benjamin Sparrow, the son of Mr Benjamin and Mrs Elizabeth Sparrow. He was baptised at the Anglican Church of Saint George, the Parish Church of Modbury, on October 1st 1778.
Mr Benjamen (sic) Sparrow married Miss Elizabeth Wakeham at Charles Church, Plymouth, on April 16th 1804.
Crispin Gill in his book "Plymouth River" tells us that in 1813 a Messrs Sparrow and Simons were leasing part of the recently opened Hooe Lake Quarry for £20 per year from Sir John Rogers. Gill continues that: ‘When much of eastern Plymouth, from the Friary and Teat’s Hill out to Prince Rock, was included in a sale of part of the Manor of Sutton Pill in 1820, the occupants of Cattedown Quarry were shown as Messrs Symonds and Sparrow’. The land comprised three fields known as Catdown (sic), with limestone quarry, the old lime kiln buildings, and a wharf.
This neatly links with the fact that in 1823 a Mr Benjamin Sparrow was listed as a lime burner at Catdown (sic).
By the time of the census in 1841 Mr Sparrow was living at number 6 Brunswick Terrace, Exeter Street, Plymouth.
There is a document at the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office indicating that in 1841 Mr Sparrow held divine service in an upstairs’ room at his home while the new parish church of Saint John the Evangelist, Sutton-on-Plym, was being planned. It was licensed for 38 people.
According to a Notice dated October 28th 1841 concerning a fellow lime and coal merchant by the name of Mr George Vosper, of Saint Dominick (sic), in Cornwall, the partnership then consisted of Mr Peter Simons, of East Stonehouse, and Mr Benjamin Sparrow, in that order.
Mr Benjamin Sparrow senior died at Brunswick terrace, Plymouth, in 1853, at the age of 75 years, ‘upwards 50 years lime-stone merchant at Catte Down’.
The business of limestone Merchants was carried on under the name of Messrs Sparrow & Sons, with Mr Benjamin Sparrow (1813-1877) and Mr John Wakeham Sparrow (1815-1897) as partners. The partnership was dissolved upon Mr Sparrow senior’s death but the business was continued by his two sons.
Mrs Elizabeth Sparrow, died in Plymouth in 1857.
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