Hugh Williams Austin
John Bruce
Sarah Austin
Henry Austin Bruce, 1st Baron Aberdare


Family Links

1. Annabella Beadon

2. Norah Creina Blanche Napier

Henry Austin Bruce, 1st Baron Aberdare 18,34,35

  • Born: 16 April 1815, Aberdare, Glamorgan, Wales
  • Marriage (1): Annabella Beadon on 6 January 1846 in Clifton, Bristol 235
  • Marriage (2): Norah Creina Blanche Napier in 1854
  • Died: 25 February 1895, 39 Princes Gardens, Kensington, London aged 79

bullet  General Notes:

From The Times, February 26, 1895

We regret to announce the death of Lord Aberdare, which occured
yesterday afternoon in Prince's-gardens. Although Lord Aberdare had
been in indifferent health for some time past, it was not until Monday
in last week that he complained of being unwell. On Tuesday, not
feeling better, he took to his bed, but it was not until Friday that
symptons of influenza showed themselves. On Saturday morning he
appeared to be going on satisfactorily, but between that time and
Sunday morning his condition showed a marked tendency towards
weakness, and Sir Russell Reynolds joined Dr. Baker, his lordship's
regular medical attendant in consultation. It was then decided that
it would be advisable to summon the family. Dr. Baker again visited
his patient late on Sunday night; and yesterday morning a further
consultation was held, and it was announced that Lord Aberdare had
passed a fairly quiet night, but that there was a further marked
decrease in his strength. At 3 o'clock his lordship lost
consciousness and gradually sank, passing quietly away in the midst of
his family a few minutes after 5 o'clock.
The Right Hon. Henry Austin Bruce, first Baron Aberdare, was the
second son of the late Mr. John Bruce Pryce of Duffryn, near Aberdare,
Glamorganshire. This gentleman's name was originally Knight, but he
changed it to Bruce in 1805, and added the surname of Pryce in 1837.
He was a brother of the late Lord Justice Knight Bruce. His second
son was born at Duffryn on April 16, 1815. Six years of his childhood
he spent in France, and the familiarity which he then acquired of the
French language he never lost, keeping it up by assiduously reading
French literature, travelling, and conversing. His family returned to
Wales when he was 12 years old, and he was sent to Swansea Grammar
School, where he remained for five years. He then entered the
chambers of his uncle at Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the Bar in
1837. He practised for a few years, and in 1847 he was appointed
police magistrate for Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare. In this position
he gained a hold upon the confidence of his fellow-townsmen, and in
1852, at the general election, he was sent to Parliament as Liberal
Member for Merthyr. For 16 years he held this seat, but in the
general election of 1868, when the Disestablishment question had begun
to arouse the enthusiasm of the Welsh Nonconformists, he was beaten
and made way for a more determined partisan, the late Mr. Henry
Richard. In Parliament Mr. Bruce made his way steadily, though not
rapidly. His industry was great, his interest in the questions of the
day sincere, he spoke more than moderately well, and his manner was so
pleasant and genial that he was everybody's friend. Accordingly, when
in 1832 he was made Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department,
the appointment was generally approved, as was his promotion in 1864
to the important post of Vice-President of the Council. In this
position he became thoroughly familiar with the working of the
Educational Arts, as they then were, and his assistance was afterwards
of great use to Mr. Forster, when the time came for putting the
elementary education of the country on a new basis.
About this time, also, Mr. Bruce was appointed a Charity Commissioner
and a Church Estates Commissioner; for no one exemplified better than
he the practice of doing vast quantities of unpaid work which is
characteristic of so many of the best Englishmen. When, at the end of
1868, Mr. Gladstone came into office with a large majority at his
back, Mr. Bruce was for the moment without a seat; but on his
appointment as Home Secretary, he was at once elected for
Renfrewshire. Next to the Irish Secretaryship, the post which he had
accepted is, as every one knows, the most thorny and uncomfortable in
the whole Cabinet. For a couple of years Mr. Bruce filled it without
mishap, but in 1871 his political reputation received a severe injury
from his handling of the difficult licensing question. It was an
unlucky year for the Gladstone Government. Except the Abolition of
Purchase Bill, they carried hardly any of their leading measures;
neither Mr. Bruce's Licensing Bill, nor Mr. Lowe's "Match Tax" Budget,
nor Mr. Goschen's Local Government Bill, nor Mr. Forster's Ballot
Bill. The Cabinet, composed, as Mr. Bernal Osborne impertinently
described them, of "fifteen most respectable men, more or less
gifted", was beginning to show signs that it was out of touch with the
country, and its members out of touch with each other. Of all these
fifteen members Mr. Bruce came in for the hardest knocks, the most
universal attacks. An improvement of the Licensing Laws and of the
laws generally which control public drinking had been demanded by a
majority at the polls; but when the demand came to be met Mr. Bruce
and the Government failed. His Bill was introduced shortly before
Easter, and it was at once seen, from its reception inside and outside
the House, that it could not pass. It proposed to allow all existing
holders of licences to retain them for ten years, except in case of
misconduct, but it allowed no increase in the number of publichouses,
and after ten years a general law was to decide the number for the
future. At present licences were to be put up to auction and sold to
the highest bidder. These provisions, especially the last, were
received with great outcry. During the recess public meetings were
held in all directions to denounce them, and after a short time the
obnoxious clauses were withdrawn, and the Bill was lost with them.
Next year a new Bill, with quite different provisions, was introduced
by Lord Kimberley, and passed. But this required to be amended under
the next Government, and Mr. Cross, the Conservative Home Secretary,
has the credit of having passed the Act for the general control of
publichouses under which the country has remained for some 14 years.
If his Licensing Bill was a failure, Lord Aberdare may, at any rate,
claim the credit of a successful and beneficent piece of legislation
in the Mines Regulation Act, 1872.
In 1873, soon after the close of the Session, the Cabinet was entirely
reconstructed. Mr. Lowe, who had not been a very successful
Chancellor of the Exchequer, became Home Secretary; Lord Ripon
retired, and Mr. Bruce, on being raised to the peerage as Lord
Aberdare, succeeded him as President of the Council. This last,
however, was but a barren honour, for, as will be remembered, the
dissolution of Parliament and the defeat of the Liberal party at the
polls occured early in 1874. It cannot be doubted that a great part
of that defeat was due to the undying hostility which the publicans
and the brewers had vowed against the Government which had attempted
to reform them too radically. Lord Aberdare had to bear the blame of
the defeat from many quarters; and he bore it without complaining.
After his retirement from office in 1874 he did not again take a
leading part in politics. He was not a member of Mr. Gladstone's 1880
Government; and, in fact, from 1874 onwards he rather occupied his
mind with social reforms, with educational questions, and with
geographical discovery than with the joys and sorrows of the
politician. He was president of the Social Science Congress in 1875;
and about 1883 he was chosen to be president of the Royal Geographical
Society, and was always ready, in committee or in public meeting, to
advocate whatever expeditions or publications would advance
geographical knowledge. Another matter in which he took great
interest, and for which he worked hard and on the whole successfully,
was the cause of University education in Wales. He was described by
Mr. Rathbone at a deputation in the early part of last year to Mr.
Acland as the "father of Welsh education", and took the leading part
last year in the reconstitution of the new University of which he was
Chancellor. As Governor of the Royal Niger Company he has repeatedly
in these columns vindicated his colleagues and the agents of the
company from the aspersions cast upon them by foreign critics. In
August, 1891, he wrote a letter to this journal on the Crampel
expedition, and defended the conduct of the company with respect to
the occupation of Baghirmi and Wadai against the strictures of the
Siècle, and pointed out at the time that Lake Tchad had been reached
by the three British travellers Denham, Clapperton, and Oudney in
1823, long before the advent of other Europeans. In July, 1892, in a
letter to The Times, he conclusively proved, out of Lieutenant Mizon's
own mouth the falsity of the charges made by that officer against Mr.
Flint of having incited savages to murder the French traveller and his
colleagues; and in September, 1893, he claimed that his company had
scrupulously observed the stipulations of the Treaty of Berlin with
regard to the free navigation of the Niger and Binue. Although Lord
Aberdare had taken of late years no active part in politics, his name
is found in the small minority in the House of Lords which supported
the second reading of the Home Rule Bill. He was also Chairman of the
Royal Commission on the Aged Poor, for which he had prepared a draft

Lord Aberdare was twice married, first to Annabella, daughter of Mr.
Richard Beadon, and secondly, in 1854, two years after his first
wife's death, to Norah, daughter of the late Lieutenant-General Sir
William Napier, the historian of the Peninsula war. Of this
illustrious and writer Lord Aberdare afterwards wrote the life (1864).
He had a numerous family, his eldest son, who was born in 1851, and
who succeeds him, being Mr. Henry Campbell Bruce. Personally he was a
man who inspired great affection among his friends. His fine
presence, his pleasant voice and smile, his ready and interesting
conversation, helped to make him popular in society; and to those who
had occasion to go deeper than the surface he showed himself a staunch
friend, and a man who did not spare himself in working for any cause
that he thought to be good. He will be greatly missed in South Wales,
where he was trusted and beloved by all classes; and in his favourite
London haunt - the drawing room of the Athenæum Club - his place will
not easily be supplied.
Bruce was offered a choice of three appointments: the Lord Lieutenancy
of Ireland, the Viceroyalty of Canada, or the Lord Presidentship of
the Council. Bruce chose the last and was raised to the peerage (22
August 1873) with the title of Baron Aberdare.

Found in 1861 Census, staying at The Rectory, St. Nicholas, Llandaff
I'm guessing this is his brothers family. (not 100% sure).
Alfred C Bruce bc 1852 Llandaff, Glam, Wales Son
Anna M Bruce bc 1846 St Nicholas, Glamorgan, Wales Daughter
Charles R H Bruce bc 1860 St Nicholas, Glamorgan, Wales Son
Ernest K Bruce bc 1854 St Nicholas, Glamorgan, Wales Son
Henry A Bruce bc 1816 Aberdare, Glamorgan, Wales Visitor
Isabel E Bruce bc 1859 St Nicholas, Glamorgan, Wales Daughter
Mary E Bruce bc 1818 Cropredy, Oxfordshire, England Wife
Revd W Bruce bc 1817 Aberdare, Glamorgan, Wales Head


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

1. Visitor: 1861, The Rectory, St. Nicholas, Llandaff, Glamorgan.

2. Census UK 1871: 1871, 1 Queen's Gate, Kensington, London.

3. He was Created Baron on 23 August 1873

4. Resided: 25 February 1895, 39 Princes Gardens, Kensington, London. 13

5. Resided: 25 February 1895, Duffryn House, Mountain Ash, Llanwonno, Glamorganshire. 13

6. He had an estate probated on 17 April 1895 in London. 13


Henry married Annabella Beadon, daughter of Richard Beadon and Annabella à Court, on 6 January 1846 in Clifton, Bristol.235 (Annabella Beadon was born in 1821 in Bath, Somerset and died on 31 July 1852.)


Henry next married Norah Creina Blanche Napier, daughter of Lieutenant Colonel William Francis Patrick Napier and Unknown, in 1854. (Norah Creina Blanche Napier was born in 1828 in Bromham, Wiltshire and died on 7 April 1897 in Shirehampton, Gloucestershire 13.)

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