Richard Bright of Ham Green

21st Jul 1754 - 1840

Claimant or beneficiary


Son of Henry Bright of Bristol and Sarah Meyler, the daughter of Richard Meyler of Bristol (d. 1772). Richard Bright inherited £30,000 in property and personalty of £40,000 on the death of his father in 1777, when he was 23. He also inherited half the personal estate of his grandfather Richard Meyler on his death in 1772, when he was 18, contingent on his attaining the age of 21. His grandfather Richard Meyler had left his real estate to Henry Bright in trust, and thereafter to Richard Bright.

  1. Henry Bright, Richard's father, has an entry in the ODNB as 'merchant' which details his slave-trading and slave-ownership. Richard's eldest son Henry Bright was MP for Bristol, 1820-1830.

  2. Richard Bright was also deemed to be the legal heir of the landed property in England and Wales and the Jamaican estates of his second cousin once removed Richard Meyler of Crawley House who reportedly died intestate in 1818. [In fact Richard Meyler did leave a short will, made in 1812].

  3. In 1818 he also inherited on the death of his business partner and first cousin Lowbridge Bright all their jointly owned businesses and properties in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, becoming sole owner. Also in 1818, Richard Bright and George Gibbs Snr. (who died in that year) reportedly formed the partnership for their sons Robert Bright and George Gibbs Jnr., styled Gibbs, Son & Bright, which gradually assumed the management of Richard & Lowbridge Bright’s Herefordshire and Worcestershire properties, the management of the former Meyler properties in Hampshire and Wales and the management of the Jamaican Estates business. In 1839 the Bristol and Liverpool companies were brought together and named Gibbs, Bright & Co.

  4. Richard Bright was a Unitarian and leading Bristol Dissenter. He attended Warrington Academy, a prominent Unitarian establishment, where he became friends with members of the Heywood family. Several of Richard's children were baptised at Lewins Mead Unitarian Chapel in Bristol and at least one of his children attended a school run by the Unitarian minister. Richard was buried in the family vault in the chapel in accordance with the instructions in his will, 31/01/1840.

  5. Richard Bright, almost certainly this man rather than his son of the same name (who was born in 1789), was partner in Cave, Ames & Cave ['the Bristol New Bank'] from at least 1813 until his retirement (together with Benjamin Heywood Bright) in 1821.


Elizabeth Neill, Fragile fortunes: the origins of a great British merchant family (Wellington, Somerset, Rylands, 2008), pp. 68-9; 378; 381, which gives his mother's name erroneously as Ann., Burke’s Family Records (Indexed) [database online]. Will of Richard Meyler (1773) PROB 11/988/221. Will of Henry Bright (1779) PROB 11/1053/390.

  1. Kenneth Morgan, ‘Bright, Henry (1715–1777)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [, accessed 17 Oct 2014]. [accessed 11/12/2014].

  2. See separate entry for Richard Meyler of Crawley House.

  3. Will of Lowbridge Bright, PROB 11/1609/59. Email from Primmy Bright 12/02/2015.

  4., England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970 [database online] which erroneously gives Lewins Head Chapel as Presbyterian and indexes the baptism of his son Robert as 24/02/1796 rather than 04/02/1796. Royal College of Surgeons, Platt's Lives of the Fellows [database online] entry for Bright, Richard (1789-1858). Richard Bright junior (1789-1858) was a physician, a leading nephrologist who was the first to describe what later became known as Bright's Disease. Sheryllynne Haggerty, 'Merely for Money'? Business Culture in the British Atlantic, 1750-1814 (Liverpool, 2012) p. 137 fn 30.

  5. London Gazette 16744 22/06/1813 p. 1231; ibid, 17721 03/07/1821 p. 1397.

The extensive archives of the Bright family are held at the University of Melbourne Archives, see [accessed 24/01/2019].

We are grateful to Primmy Bright, CJ Coventry, David Hogg and Michael Nash for their assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Sarah Heywood (died 1827)
Henry (1784-1869), Phebe (1785-1875), Benjamin Heywood (1787-1843), Richard (1789-1858), Sarah (1792-1792), Sarah Anne (1793-1866), Robert (1795-1869), Mary (1798-1799), Samuel (1799-1870), Elizabeth Mary (1805-1888)
Merchant and banker

Associated Claims (2)

£3,880 9s 4d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£8,092 7s 5d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)

Associated Estates (6)

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
1817 [EA] - 1829 [LA] → Owner
03/03/1818 [SD] - 1835 [LA] → Trust beneficiary
1819 [EA] - 1828 [LA] → Owner
1815 [EA] - 1818 [LA] → Joint owner
03/03/1818 [SD] - 1837 [LA] → Trust beneficiary
1817 [EA] - → Joint owner

Legacies Summary

Commercial (4)

Name partner
notes →
Partner from before 1813 to 1821, when he retired from the...
Name partner
Lowbridge and Richard Bright
West India merchant  
Name partner
Bright, Baillie and Bright
West India merchant  

Relationships (9)

Business partners
Father → Son
Father → Son
Grandfather → Grandson
Business partners
Notes →
The will of Lowbridge Bright shows him as co-owner of assets with Richard Bright and the Slave Registers show them as partners. The men were also...
Son → Father
Nephew → Uncle
Other relatives
Notes →
Second cousins once removed. Bright was also Meyler's...
Grandson → Grandfather

Addresses (2)

Ham Green House, Ham Green, Bristol, Gloucestershire, South-west England, England
Queen Square, Bristol, Gloucestershire, South-west England, England
Notes →

Birth of his son Henry (Cambridge University Alumni, 1261-1900)