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Some Guy Named Helme

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When Benjamin Helme was born in 1795 in Sharples, Lancashire, England, his father, also Benjamin, was 29 and his mother, Betty Brindle, was 20. He married Ann Ward on February 1, 1818, in Belmont, Lancashire, England. They had seven children in 15 years. He died on September 13, 1872, in Belmont, Lancashire, England, having lived a long life of 77 years, and was buried there.

Marriage register

Benjamin Helm(e) and Ann Ward

February 1st, 1818

No idea why the “e” is missing. But it wasn’t uncommon for names to be misspelled.

Benjamin signs his name that way.

Ann appears to no be able to sign her name. She marks with an “X”. Also very common.

Benjamin Helme was a very civic conscious person. From the stories I was told by the local Belmont historians, the village relied on him. Not just as a publican, but as a strong presence in the community, the church and the development of the town itself by building several, upwards of 16, homes on the High Street.

His obituary is the best, most detailed description of who Benjamin was, and how he was appreciated by the people in the village of Belmont.

Not just some guy named Helme, he was THE guy.

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Census of 1841

Benjamin Helme is 46 years old and a

Publican. Cnfirming the Black Dog ownership.

His wife Ann is 42 and there are some children as well listed.

John 22, Margaret 19, and Adam 16

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Helme cottage would be The Black Dog


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Above mentions that they live on Preston Road. This has to be

The Black Dog. The census taker would have put Preston Road

meaning the Road to Preston, referred to as Church Road now.


The Black Dog!

Death Certificate for Benjamin Helme

Benjamin died on September 13th, 1872. He’s listed as an Innkeeper.

Cause of death was “Softening of the brain, certified.”

I might suspect that the term was used in describing stroke as the cause of death.

Some form of brain inflammation or brain hemorrhage might be termed as softening.

He was 77 years old.

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Benjamin Helme


This obituary hangs in pride of place in The Black Dog Pub

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Interesting little article from the Bolton Evening News, Tuesday May 6th 1873

Individual licence transfers took place on

May 5th at the County Sessions. Each one relevant to our family story.

Highlighted in yellow. Following the death of Benjamin Helme in September 1872, and the execution of his estate, there is an application for the transfer of licence for the Wright’s Arms.

Note of interest here is that the article mentions a “James” Helme. I believe this to be an error in reporting. It should read James Ramwell, who was the husband of Benjamin Helme’s daughter Margaret.

I’d also like to mention that Ann Helme, Benjamin’s wife dies only 5 days after this article is published.

Highlighted in blue. A spirit licence transfer for the Black Dog from Ann Helme to Adam Helme. I will look for another transfer for the Black Dog as Adam dies in 1874.

Highlighted in green. A beer licence transfer for the Factory Arms from Adam Longworth to Mary Longworth. This is noteworthy as Adam died in January 1873 at the Factory Arms. It’s been conveyed to me by the local historian that Adam drank himself to death and was found on the floor of the pub.

Factory Arms

73 High Street


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