John Bance

Date published: 18/04/2013
© Newbury Weekly News






The death of Mr John Bance, which took place on March 17 at his residence in Berkeley road, removes a familiar figure from local life. He was a member of an old Newbury family prominently associated with the business of the borough. Many years ago the firm of Bance Brothers conducted a wholesale cloth trade, one of the most prosperous in the Southern Counties. They bought largely at local  wool markets and supplied tailors with cloth over a large area. In those days every community boasted of one or more tailor who worked at home, having a special circle of customers. Most of them purchased their materials at Bances, whose establishment in Bartholomew Street was a busy emporium. Then came the vogue of ready-mades, and the house industry declined.


There were three brothers, John, Richard and William, all of distinctive personality, with a great love for sport, particularly one of them with a preference for angling.


 John, who survived the other two, was the moving spirit of the business, and took a prominent part in some phases of public life. He took a leading share in establishing the Newbury Water Company, of which he was chairman and managing director for many years. He had been a governor of  St Bartholomew's Grammar School, and a trustee of Newbury Municipal Charities, and took a prominent part in the management. Mr Bance never sought a seat on the Town Council, although actively concerned in election campaigns, and took part in many of the stormy agitations which were formerly a feature of municipal candidatures. He was a man with great force of character, and gifted with a vigorous and powerful expression. In days gone by he was the leading spirit of  “The Chequers Club” a select company of tradesmen who foregathered nightly in the smoking room of the old hostelry, into which circle none were permitted without proper credentials. Mr Bance was at one time a zealous Oddfellow. In later years he had been living in retirement in Berkeley-road, his chief delight being in his garden.


The funeral took place on Friday afternoon, the first part of the service being conducted in the Parish Church by the Rector (Rev. L.R. Majendie). The interment was in his wife's grave in Newbury Cemetery.


The mourners were Miss Bance (sister); Mr Greenland, Hereford (nephew); Mrs Hayton (niece); Mr E. Brookland (stepson); Mr Stripe; Mr E. Salway (executor); Mr B. Pinniger (solicitor).Among those attending were Mr J.W.H Kemp, Mr Freemantle, Mrs and Miss Salway, Mr A. Attewell; Mrs Mason; Mrs Wood.

The polished oak coffin was inscribed “John Bance, died March 17th, 1913 aged 81”.

The undertakers were Messrs. Penfold and son.

Newbury Weekly News 28 March 1913

Sources:Newbury Weekly News 28 March 1913

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