Thomas Eldridge and a number of his descendents were bell-founders of Wokingham, Berkshire and later Chertsey,
Surrey, England. The initial basis for this family is from a book Surrey Bells and London Bell-Founders
a contribution to the comparative study of bell inscriptions by J. C. L. Stahlschmidt published in 1884 which includes
a pedigree of the Eldridge family compiled mainly from information supplied to the author by the Rev. H. Vyvyan,
Vicar of Chertsey. The following quoted text is from page 109 and following pages.
"Thomas Eldridge, the first whom we are able to trace, was casting bells at Wockingham, Berkshire, about 1565, the business being, in all probability, an offshoot from one of the Reading bell-foundaries,"..."Richard Eldridge, presumably his son and successor, was also of Wockingham. His bells exist in abundance, and bear dates extending from 1592 to 1623". "Bryan (the elder of that name) succeeded him". "The earliest bell bearing his name is at Ifield, Sussex, and is dated 1618; it was probably cast at Horsham, as he is noted in the Horsham accounts for that year as paying the rent in lieu of Richard. His Surrey bells extend in date from 1619 to 1638". "I think he was the first of the family to settle at Chertsey"Bryan died in 1640 and in his will dated 14 Aug 1640 he is shown as Brian Elderidge of Chirtsey and he mentions his wife Katherine, his eldest son Brian (who received the bell house), daughter Katherine, youngest son William. Bryan died in 1661 and his will dated 9 Nov 1661 he mentions his widowed mother Katherine Bennet (suggesting she remarried), his wife Anne, Katherine Richd John & William Hall the children of his brother-in-law Richard Hall (a maulster of Chertsey), an uncle John Eldridge a weaver of Wokingham and his brother William Eldridge a belfounder who he leaves his tools, implements and utensils. William Eldridge died in 1716 bringing the Chertsey foundary to an end. His will dated 5 Feb 1715 mentions his wife Barbara, daughter Barbara the wife of Richard Swaine.
"It will be noticed that no mention whatever is made therein either of the bell-foundary or of his eldest and only surviving son, William. I think we can easily read between the lines here, and conclude that the foundry had already for some years passed into the son's hands;". "William Eldridge the younger migrated to West Drayton in Middlesex, and although apparently not in business as a bell-founder, seemingly determined to show his hand had not lost its cunning, as he recast some of the bells there, his name appearing on them as both churchwarden and bell-founder. He died there in September, 1731, leaving a son, a third William,".This last William Eldridge is the extent of the Eldridge family shown in the published pedigree.
The will of William Eldridge who died in 1731 is dated 31 Aug 1731 and it shows William as a carpenter of West Drayton and mentions his wife Letitia, daughter Susanna, two sisters Alice and Ann, brother George and son William. This son William died in 1769 and his will dated 11 Apr 1769 described him as a gentleman of West Drayton and mentions his wife Mary, daughter Susannah the wife of Francis Evans, grandsons Silas, William and Eldridge Evans, four granddaughters Martha Susannah Sophia and Mary Evans, daughter Mary Palmer and son-in-law Silas Palmer and granddaughters Mary and Sophia Palmer.
Eldridge family members at Wokingham from the end of the seventeenth century are thought to descend from the John Eldridge, weaver of Wockingham, mentioned in the 1661 will of his nephew Bryan however the Wokingham Registers only exist from about 1680.
Updated 9 April 2014
Thomas Eldridge ( -1597) m ( ) (Unknown) ( - ) | Richard Eldridge ( -1623) m ( ) (Unknown) ( - ) | Bryan Eldridge ( -1640) m ( ) Katherine (Unknown) ( - ) | | | Bryan Eldridge ( -1661) | m ( ) Anne (Unknown) ( - ) | Katherine Eldridge (1631- ) | m ( ) Richard Hall ( - ) | | | | | Katherine Hall ( - ) | | Richard Hall ( - ) | | John Hall ( - ) | | William Hall ( - ) | | | William Eldridge (1634-1716) | m ( ) Barbara (Unknown) ( -1717) | | | Barbara Eldridge (1661-1661) | Elizabeth Eldridge (1663-1665) | Barbara Eldridge (1665-1732) | m ( ) Richard Swain ( -1732) | | | | | Thomas Swain ( - ) | | | William Eldridge (1667-1731) | m ( ) Susana (Unknown) ( -1700) | | | | | Susanna Eldridge (1695- ) | | m ( ) (Unknown Tylluer?) ( - ) | | George Eldridge (1699-1708) | | | m 1715 Letitia Burton ( -1743) | | | | | William Eldridge ( -1769) | | m ( ) Mary (Unknown) ( -1776) | | | | | Susannah Eldridge (1727- ) | | m ( ) Francis Evans ( - ) | | | | | | | William Evans (1750- ) | | | Laetitia Evans (1751-1751) | | | Mary Evans (1752- ) | | | Eldridge Evans (1755- ) | | | Martha Evans (1758- ) | | | Silas Evans (1761- ) | | | Susannah Evans (1763- ) | | | Mary Evans (1765-1765) | | | Sophia Evans (1766- ) | | | Mary Evans (1768- ) | | | Mary Evans (1771- ) | | | | | Mary Eldridge (1730- ) | | m 1755 Silas Palmer ( - ) | | | | | | | Mary Palmer ( - ) | | | Sophia Palmer ( - ) | | | | | Letitia Eldridge (1732- ) | | | Thomas Eldridge (1668-1708) | Elizabeth Eldridge (1670-1678) | Brian Eldridge (1674-1674) | Maria Eldridge (1677- ) | Elizabeth Eldridge (1679-1683) | Alice Eldridge ( - ) | m 1696 Richard Tredway ( - ) | | | | | Alice Tredway (1699- ) | | | Ann Eldridge ( - ) | m ( ) (Unknown Davis?) ( - ) | George Eldridge ( - ) | John Eldridge ( - )