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Born at Tunstead

James Brindley was born at Tunstead in the parish of Wormhill, which is about four miles north-east of Buxton, Derbyshire, in 1716.

The Brindley cottage no longer exists, however in 1958 the Derbyshire Archaeological Society provided a bronze tablet to mark the spot where it used to be.

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Moves to Leek

In 1726 the Brindley family moved to Leek. Three years later (in 1729) James Brindley's father (who was also called James), bought a farm at Low Hill near Leek. This farm remained in their possession until 1839 when it was sold.

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Starts Apprenticeship with Abraham Bennett

James Brindley showed an interest in mechanical work Very early on in his life , and he therefore often visited nearby mills and began to understand and become familiar with the way in which natural forces, such as wind and water, could be harnessed in order to grind corn.

In 1733 and at the age of 17, Brindley became an apprentice with Abraham Bennett, a millwright and wheelwright. This involved making carts and wagons, and also making windmills and watermills that ground corn or sawed timber.

Brindley went on to construct many corn mills including the one in Leek, which he was asked to rebuild in the early 1750's. This particular mill is still there today.

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Marries Anne Henshall

On the 8th December 1765 James Brindley married Anne Henshall. In 1762 Brindley met John Henshall, a land surveyor of Newchapel near Tunstall, and later was introduced to his young daughter, Anne. Brindley and Anne were fond of each other and this led to Brindley proposing to Anne when she was nineteen years old. At this point in time Brindley was forty-nine years of age. Anne accepted the proposal and they got married in 1765.

The couple moved into Turnhurst Hall, Newchapel, as it was vacant and was in a good position for Brindley to reach his workshops at Burslem, the Goldenhill Colliery and for the projected work on the Grand Trunk Canal.

Anne proved to be very useful in helping Brindley with his work. She took over most of the writing that he had to do, which was very useful as Brindley was ill-lettered.

After Brindley's death, Anne remarried a man named Robert Williamson on 30th December 1775. Together they had seven children and Williamson died in 1799. Anne lived on until 1826 when she died at the age of seventy-nine.

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Dies on 27th September 1772

In September 1772, at the age of 56, Brindley was surveying the Caldon canal and got soaked to the skin. He caught a chill and then got taken to an inn and put in a damp bed. Brindley became seriously ill, and on the 27th September 1772 at about 12 noon he died.

Just before Brindley passed away, one of his friends, Josiah Wedgwood gave him something to wet his mouth, and he said, "It's enough, I shall need no more" and then shut his eyes.


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James Brindley

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