Robert Bright

12th Aug 1795 - 19th Sep 1869

Claimant or beneficiary


Bristol merchant, partner in Gibbs and Bright with George Gibbs (q.v.). One of the co-awardees of the compensation for the enslaved people on an estate in Barbados, probably named Applewhaites. Robert Bright was the son of one of the executors of Robert Bush, and by succession to his father was probably involved in the claim through a Chancery suit with John Cobham's estate. In addition, Gibbs & Bright claimed apparently unsuccessfully on several other awards in Barbados and Jamaica as creditor.

  1. Youngest son of Richard Bright (q.v.) and his wife Sarah nee Heywood. Joined George Gibbs & Son of Bristol 1814, in 1816 went to Anthony Gibbs' offices in Spain. In 1818 the Bristol firm was restyled as Gibbs, Bright & Co., of Liverpool and Bristol. Robert Bright became managing partner of the firm after George Gibbs' retirement in 1839: the firm purchased the SS Great Britain in 1850. The firm was absorbed into Anthony Gibbs in 1881.

  2. The Bright family appear to have had Unitarian leanings. Robert was baptised 04/02/1796 at Lewin's Mead Chapel (as were several of his siblings) and his eldest brother Richard attended a school run by the chapel's Unitarian minister.

  3. Robert Bright was a shareholder in the Great Western Cotton Works, Barton Hill, Bristol from 1837 and deputy chairman of the Great Western Railway from 1834 (with 259 shares). He left £80,000 in 1869.

  4. It is possible that this is the same Robert Bright who subscribed to the Eyre Defence Fund in 1866.

  5. Death at Abbot's Leigh near Bristol, 19/09/1869, Robert Bright, Esq., age 74.

  6. Robert Bright's eldest son Richard was MP for East Somerset 1868-1878. His fourth son George was a judge in India; his fifth son Charles Edward was a civil servant in Victoria, Australia; sixth son Arthur was a Lieutenant and Adjutant in the 22nd Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry and died during the Indian Mutiny of 1857; seventh son Reginald was "of Melbourne, Victoria".


T71/898 Barbados claim nos. 3130 and 3752; T71/860 Manchester claim no. 272. The extensive archives of the Bright family are held at the University of Melbourne Archives, see [accessed 24/01/2019].

  1. Elizabeth Neill, Fragile fortunes: the origins of a great British merchant family (Wellington, Somerset, Rylands, 2008), pp. 350-2, 378-82.

  2., England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970 [database online]. Royal College of Surgeons, Plarr's Lives of the Fellows [database online].

  3. Bristol Radical History group: [accessed 09/12/2012]; National Probate Calendar 1869.

  4. The Eyre Defence and Aid Fund (London, 1866), p. 30.

  5. London Standard, 23/09/1869 Issue 14084 p. 7.

  6., Burke’s Family Records (Indexed) [database online].

We are grateful to Primrose Bright and CJ Coventry for their assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Caroline Tyndall
Richard, Robert Onesiphorus, Tyndall, George, Caroline Margaret Anna, Charles Edward, Arthur, Reginald, Isabel Marianne, Constance
Wealth at death

Associated Claims (9)

£1,464 4s 4d
Unsuccessful claimant (Assignee)
£1,137 19s 4d
£5,348 1s 11d
Unsuccessful claimant
£7,247 6s 0d
£1,242 16s 10d
Claimants in List E or Chancery cases
£3,181 13s 1d
Unsuccessful claimant (consensual) (Mortgagee)
£613 7s 9d
£1,526 12s 0d
Unsuccessful claimant (Judgement creditor)
£5,928 15s 9d
Unsuccessful claimant

Associated Estates (2)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1834 [EA] - → Judgement creditor
1822 [EA] - → Mortgage Holder

Legacies Summary

Commercial (2)

Name partner
Firm Investment
notes →
28/02/1837: "Deed of Partnership - (1) Joseph Bell Clarke of Manchester, cotton manufacturer, William Edward Acraman, Alfred John Acraman, Philip William Skynner Miles, Thomas Kington, Peter Maze,...

Imperial (2)

Australia: Victoria 
notes →
Son Charles Edward Bright was a civil servant in Victoria. Another son Reginald was "of Melbourne,...
East India Company
notes →
Son Arthur was a Lieutenant and Anjunct in the 22nd Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry and died during the Indian Mutiny of...

Relationships (4)

Son → Father
Father → Son
Business partners

Addresses (1)

Abbots Leigh, near Bristol, Somerset, South-west England, England