the only Bence in L&M Companion
Bence, Ald. [John] (d.1688). Merchant; appointed Navy commissioner 1646; M.P. for Aldeburgh Jan.-Apr. 1659; Alderman 1664 (discharged 1665). His (second) wife was Joan (b. Cotton).
12 Mar 2021, 5:52 a.m. - San Diego Sarah
Since Alderman John Bence has his own page, he probably isn't this Mr. Bence.
I propose this might either have been Navy Commissioner Alexander Bence, who was appointed Master of the Trinity House by the House of Commons in February, 1660, just before the Restoration.
Or it might have been Navy Commissioner Squire Bence (Squire seems to have been his name, not a title). They were both brethren of Trinity House, Commissioners of the Navy during the Civil War; they were prominent merchants and adventurers in the American and West Indian trade, as well as owners of privateers. They both appear to have resided in Wapping at some time, as their names are found in the parish registers there.
Trinity House enjoyed a varying degree of popularity during the Civil Wars. Although a few of the members were Royalists, many of those who were not at least desired settlement by peaceful means. There are very few records left in existence so they both drop from view around the Restoration.
These notes are from a 1952 paper, presented by Capt. William Robert Chaplin, of the Trinity House, London. It contains information about the growth of shipbuilding under James I and Charles I, the Civil War years, shipbuilding in Boston and along the Thames, the history of the Seething Lane offices, Quakers and Puritans, and the characters Commissioner "Major" Nehemiah Bourne was related to by marriage (the entire Trinity House Brotherhood were his Puritan in-laws and cousins from Wapping during the Cromwell years and at the Restoration).
And yes, Pepys and the Diary get some mentions.
12 Mar 2021, 6 a.m. - San Diego Sarah
Squire Bence MP (1597 – 1648) was an English merchant, seafarer and politician who sat in the House of Commons of England from 1640 to 1648.
Bence was the son of Alexander Bence and his wife, Marie Squier, daughter of Thomas Squier.
He was a merchant and shipowner who undertook trading expeditions by sea. Bence Island in the estuary of the Sierra Leone River was named after him.
In the 1620s Squire Bence is recorded as raiding an Algerian ship and removing Christian slaves and prisoners from it.
In April 1640, Squire Bence was elected MP for Aldeburgh in the Short Parliament. He was re-elected in 1642 as MP for Aldeburgh when he joined his brother Alexander Bence in the Long Parliament.
Squire Bence MP sat until his death in 1648.
In 1642 Squire Bence MP was appointed by parliament as one of the Commissioners for the Affairs of (His Majesty's) Navy, the King having prevented all his principal officers of the navy from performing their duties.
Squire Bence MP died aged 51 years, 6 months and 12 days at Thorington Suffolk, although he is also commemorated on the family monument at Aldeburgh.
Bence married Elizabeth Pett on 26 August 1617 at St. Dunstan, Stepney, London. His second wife was Mary.
12 Mar 2021, 6:06 a.m. - San Diego Sarah
Alexander Bence MP (born ca. 1590) was an English merchant and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1640 to 1648 and again in 1654.
He supported the Parliamentarian side in the English Civil War.
Alexander Bence was the son of Alexander Bence and his wife, Marie Squier, daughter of Thomas Squier.
In November 1640, Alexander Bence Jr. was elected Member of Parliament for Aldeburgh, Suffolk in the Long Parliament and sat until he was excluded under Pride's Purge.
In 1642 he was appointed by parliament as one of the Commissioners for the Affairs of (His Majesty's) Navy, the King having prevented all his principal officers of the navy from performing their duties.
Alexander Bence Jr. MP was a member of the Worshipful Company of Grocers in the City of London and became an Alderman for Walbrook ward in May, 1653.
In 1654 he was elected MP for Suffolk in the First Protectorate Parliament.
He was master of Trinity House from 1659 to 1660.
Alexander Bence Jr. married his first wife, Anne Aylett of Rendham, Suffolk, and his son by her, John Bence, was later also MP for Aldeburgh.
Alexander's brother, Squire Bence, was also MP for Aldeburgh during the Long Parliament.
12 Mar 2021, 6:17 a.m. - San Diego Sarah
Turns out their father, Alexander Bunce SENIOR, was also an MP for Aldeburgh. His Parliamentary biography gives more family background:
Bence may have been descended from the family of that name resident in the parish of Bungay in north Suffolk in the 14th century.
His grandfather, Edmund, was resident in the East Anglian port of Aldeburgh by 1524, and was sufficiently prosperous to be included in the subsidy assessment.
By the Elizabethan period the Bences were a thriving family of Aldeburgh merchants and mariners; a member of the family served as bailiff in 1566 and two years later Bence’s father and uncle were both assessed there for the subsidy.
By 1582 seven people of that surname feature in the tax roll.
His associates makes it unlikely that Bence was numbered among the Puritan ‘godly’.
Alexander Bence Sr., died at Aldeburgh the following January, and was buried in the parish church, where a monument was erected depicting him in his bailiff’s gown and a ruff.
His will was proved by his sons and executors, John and Robert, on 25 February.
Son John Bunce was elected for the borough in 1624, while two other sons, Squire and Alexander Jr., were returned in the 1640s.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.