The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Brecht One-Name Study

Search for Heinrich Brecht

In March 2021, I found some additional information which has put the cat among the pigeons. This was what I had summareised previously:

"My cousin helped me in the quest to find out:

1. the parents of the following 2 men, who may be related and
2. where they were born

John Christopher Brecht

who married a widow Susannah Pardom in 1795 at St Mary’s Church, Whitechapel

Search for John Christopher Brecht

Heinrich (k/a Henry) Frederick Ludewig Brecht (our direct line)

who married Mary Somes in 1808 at St Mary’s Church, Islington

He identified some interesting court cases at the Old Bailey - see Note 1 below.

Key information obtained to date

To date we had obtained 6 pieces of key information about Heinrich/Henry Brecht & his family:

(i) Heinrich/Henry Brecht was a colour maker at Fashion Street in Spitalfields in 1812 – circa 1830
(ii) Tragically between 1814-1824 Henry lost four young daughters and also his wife died young in 1819 (age 35)
(iii) Henry Brecht, widower married Harriet Piper in 1837 at St George in the East
(iv) Henry Brecht died at Bonner Street, Bethnal Green in 1838 (age 56) giving his date of birth as 1783/4
(for some reason his estate was administered in the name of Frederick Ludewig Brecht)
(v) Later in 1838 Harriet Brecht, Widow married Henry Colvin at St George in the East
(vi) In 1841 Henry & Harriet Colvin  were living at Bonner Street with Henry Brecht's surviving children

New additional information

Heinrich Fridrich Ludwig Brecht

In  information from Germany was the christening of a Heinrich Fridrich Ludwig Brecht on 7 July 1784; Jurgen Christoph Brecht was the uncle and godfather of Heinrich and it was noted that Jurgen was said to have been in London when the christening took place.

It is possible that Heinrich Fridrich Ludwig Brecht was one and the same as my ancestor Heinrich (Henry) Frederick Ludewig Brecht born 1783/4.

Also John Christopher Brecht couyld be  Jurgen Christoph Brecht.


We have a possible chronology of:

1. Heinrich Fridrich Ludwig Brecht bp 1784 Germany
2. Heinrich Brecht marrying in London in 1808
3. Heinrich/Henry Brecht colour maker in Spitalfields in 1812 – circa 1830
4. Henry Brecht re-marrying in London in 1837
5. Henry Brecht died in London in 1838.
6. Administration of estate in name of Frederick Ludewig Brecht in 1838 (error?)

Family legend has it that the family emigrated to London from Europe (Germany or Belgium/Holland). As names are often handed down through the family now we wonder if Heinrich (Henry) Frederick Ludewig Brecht roots are in Germany after all.

Note 1

In his search for Heinrich Brecht, my cousin traced 2 interesting court cases at the Old Bailey:

Court Case 1.2.1836: Alleged theft of a watch by Rowland Hall

One of the witnesses was Henry Lie Brecht, a shopman of Messrs Attenboroughs, pawnbrokers of Shoreditch

This is a curious entry as we had no previous record of a Henry Lie Brecht; more likely the surname was Le Brecht.

Court Case 27.11.1848: Alleged theft of looking glass and frame by James King and John Jones

Henry Colvin and Harriet (formerly Brecht) Colvin kept the Brass-founders’ Arms in Whitechapel from which the glass disappeared.

Harriet (born Piper) gave evidence as did her "son" Henry Brecht and "daughter" Eleanor Brecht.

This is interesting that Henry & Eleanor are referred to as Harriet's son and daughter, as Harriet Piper did not marry Henry & Eleanor’s father Henry Brecht until 1837.

Henry Brecht the son was baptised in  1833 and Henry & Harriet were named as parents. It is still not clear for which of the other children Harriet is the mother. 3 of Henry Brecht's surviving daughters gave their middle name as Piper when they got married.

By 1851 Henry Colvin (Victualler) and Harriet Colvin were living at 10/11 Mint St, Southwark. The search goes on!"

Search for Harriet Piper"

New Information

Heinrich/Henry Brecht was a colour maker in Fashion Stgreet, Spitalfields and died in 1838 (age 54) making his birth 1783/4.

It appears that he was christened in Germany in 1784.

When researching the Electoral Rolls in London 1832-1965, I found an entry under:

London Tax Records 1692-1932

Christ Church 1798

Bricht Fashion Street

This entry throws into doubt the previous entries and what they mean. A timeline illustartes this:

Heinrich/Henry Brecht

Christening 1784

Land Tax Records 1798 (age 14?)

Married 1808 (age 24)

Died 1838 (age 54)

The Land Tax Record date is not impossible but very unlikely.

Colin Bower
11 March 2021

Family Tree - Heinrich Brecht

Search for Mary Somes

Brecht One Name Study - Main Index

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