Dennis Bradwell

Dennis Bradwell became a Silk Merchant, Alderman, three times Mayor, and Magistrate. He was Churchwarden twice and was a benefactor of St Peter’s. His memorial is in the main aisle. Like his brothers, Dennis aged 21 started work as a brickmaker. He lived in Mill Street, near the mills he later came to own. During the next decade he moved into the silk business. In 1860, aged 32, he married Sarah Barber and set up home in Holmes Chapel Road near to Back Lane. In spite of the Free Trade Act of 1860 seriously damaging the silk industry in Britain Bradwell`s businesses prospered. He worked in several mills in the next thirty years: Dane Mill, Square Mill, the Old Mill (which he bought for £2050 at an auction in the Lion and Swan hotel) and Royle Street Mill. He used the opportunity of the growth in the silk and fustian trade in the mid Victorian era to become a rich, powerful and successful Gentleman.

The evidence of his success is seen in his rise in status in the town, his last house, at Higher Daisy Bank (where he lived for much of his life with his wife, children and servants.) and in the extensive portfolio of properties and investments he left in his will. After he moved to Higher Daisy Bank he held an annual garden party there for the children of St James` School.

During his year as mayor Bradwell (1876) was also one of the churchwardens. Together with the vicar and his fellow warden he presented a new Bible to the church. 64 years later his surviving daughters presented another Bible to the church in their father`s memory. Both Bibles are still in the church.

But like many Victorian families the Bradwells suffered the loss of a child: in the Victorian section of the graveyard is a tomb inscribed: “In / affectionate remembrance / of / FREDERICK / son of / DENNIS and SARAH ANN / BRADWELL / of Higher Daisy Bank / born Oct 5th 1863 / died Jan 28th 1868 / “Jesus called a little child / unto him”. Later he, his wife Sarah, and their youngest son were all buried in this family grave.