Robert Harden Champion – Sweet success

This is a work in progress – posted before it is complete to share some of the information I have.

Robert Harden Champion, my Great-great-grandfather, was born at Berrow in January 1845, eldest son of James Harden Champion (1821-1895) and Jane Hawkings (1820-1884). He married Ellen Horseman (1845-1926) at St Barnabas, Bristol in 1868, and they had 7 children, including my Great Grandmother, Minnie Cowles Champion (1875-1947).



Robert’s father, James Harden Champion, was a farmer (more to come but he does receive a brief mention in Demographics and Mass Migration)


(more to come here)

Wife and children

Robert married Ellen Horsman (1846-1926) on 26th December 1868 at St Barnabas Church in Bristol. He was an accountant, aged 24, living at 17, William Street (there are 2 in Bristol, research needed to find which one). Neither her occupation nor her father are shown. She was living at Rodney House, Cheltenham Road, in the Parish of St Andrew, although, from later Census records she came from Winterbourne.

Their children were (to be expanded)

Unrelated Bristol Champions

As far as I can tell there is no connection to

even though both were also based in Bristol.


Although Bristol Archives have a film about Champion Cheese, he seems to have been primarily a confectioner

(to be expanded to have more about…

the “Champion” confectionery cutting machine

Print of the factory of Champion Davis & Co., Manufacturing Confectioners


Robert died at The Inns of Court Hotel, in Holborn, London on 22nd March 1895 aged 51. He may have been there on business as the Inns of Court area contains many lawyers. His probate record shows him as “of Lewins Mead and of The Grange, Tyndall’s Park, both in Bristol”

Chancel screen at St James Priory, Bristol

St James Priory claims to be the oldest building in Bristol which is still standing, having been established as a Benedictine monastery in 1129.

St James Priory, Bristol
St James Priory as it is today.

In 1896 Robert’s widow approached the Churchwardens of St James to offer to pay for a Chancel Screen in his memory, and their correspondence with Arthur Becher Ellicott Vicar General in Spirituals of of the right Reverend Charles John by divine permission Lord Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol.

In 1896 the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol was Charles John Ellicot, who had a son, Arthur who he appears to have appointed as his deputy.

The churchwardens, Samuel George Moxy and Edwin Thomas Lewis wrote the following document, which is held in the Bristol Archives as P/St J/CH W/19(a)

To the worshipful Arthur Becher Ellicot M A Vicar General in Spirituals of the right Reverend Charles John by divine permission Lord Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol and of his Episcopal consistory court of Bristol Official Principal lawfully constituted

The humble petition of Samuel George Moxy and Edwin Thomas Lewis the churchwardens of the Parish of St James in the city of Bristol

That at a meeting of the Vestry of the said Parish of St James held on the 19th day of February 1896 the Vicar laid before the members of the Vestry and they approved a plan for a proposed Chancel Screen which Mrs Champion had offered for the purpose of being put up in the Parish Church in memory of her late husband Robert Champion Esquire a Parishioner and former churchwarden of said Parish

That the said plan and and an extract from the minutes of the Vestry accompany this Petition

That the estimated cost of the said screen is One hundred pounds

Your petitioners humbly pray for a Facility to enable them to erect the said screen in accordance with the said plan

S G Moxey
E T Lewis

Bristol Archives

Citation to faculty for chancel screen in memory of Robert Champion, 1896 Mar 20

(More correspondence extracts to come)

The resulting Chancel Screens can be seen at St James Priory

The base of the chancel screens is of wood, with metal upper parts and they separate the area reserved for the clergy from the rest of the church.

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