The son of William Simonds (1733-1782) and Mary Blackall (1730-1797) he was first really energetic family businessman & brewer about whom there are some [often conflicting] records. Aged just 22 in 1783, he was married at The Church of St James the Less, Pangbourne, Berkshire [like me] to Elizabeth May (1764-1842),
Elizabeth was the daughter of Daniel May (1734-1780) from a wealthy family of millers in Basingstoke. She brought with her a dowry of £2,000. His wedding was just 2 months after he had inherited his father’s brewing business and 4 pubs and he wasted no time in developing it, opening a new brewery at 85 Broad Street in 1785.
Five years later at the age of just 27 he commissioned a huge new brewery with a capacity of ‘25 quarters’ or 6,000 barrels a year and a spacious new Georgian home. All designed by a leading young architect friend [later Sir] John Soane. This cost some £6,400 a huge sum, with a projected value today of over £9m, which left him deeply in debt. It may just have been a happy coincidence that in the same year he also became Receiver-General of Taxes for West Berkshire, and a co-founder of Messrs. Micklem, Stephens, Simonds & Harris’ Bank in the Market Place, each partner contributing £1,000 capital. Reading’s new Brewery had an output of 6,000 barrels per annum.
In July 1820, on account his position as Official Receiver of Taxes for Western Berkshire, an Act of Parliament ensured that his home, the Old Rectory in Caversham, [later Caversham Court and now the site of a public park, see ‘Properties’ below] could not become part of public his liabilities in that role.
He was Reading Town Treasurer for many years and Mayor in 1816/17.
William retired in 1846, aged only 55, when he and Elizabeth moved to 40 York Place, Baker Street in London. In common with many family – they were both buried in Hurst Churchyard.
David Ford’s Berkshire History site has his biography that I could not improve on, click HERE.
Wiki link click HERE.
In 1819 William’s daughter Jane [1796-1874] married George Hartwell Marsack [1791-1856] in Caversham.
This naive style portrait from 1822 shows William & his wife Elizabeth with with their daughter Jane Marsack holding her eldest child Charlotte [1820-1900]. The location is surely either William’s family home Caversham Rectory.or the Marsack’s nearby in Caversham Park!
In 1862 Charlotte went on to marry her 1st cousin, The Rev John Simonds Muller, in Ryde, Isle of Wight.