Budgett, Samuel (DNB00)

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BUDGETT, SAMUEL (1794–1851), merchant, son of a small tradesman, was born at Wrington, Somerset, on 27 July 1794. After moving to one or two of the neighbouring villages his parents, in 1801, took a provision shop in Kingswood, near Bristol. At the end of two years they gave up this business to their eldest son, and took a ‘general’ shop at Coleford. From early childhood Budgett thoroughly enjoyed a bargain, and by the time that he left home in his fifteenth year to be apprenticed to his step-brother at Kingswood he had accumulated 30l. by petty dealings. This sum he gave to his parents. As a lad he was somewhat weakly, and in June 1812, when he had served about half his apprenticeship, his master dismissed him ‘for want of ability.’ He soon obtained another situation, and earnestly sought to improve his education. At the end of his apprenticeship, when he was just twenty-two years of age, he entered into partnership with his brother as a dealer in provisions, and about five years after married Miss Ann Smith of Midsomer Norton, by whom he had four sons and two daughters. He started a wholesale business, and in spite of many discouragements was wonderfully successful. After about twenty years his brother retired from the partnership, and soon afterwards Budgett's place of business at Kingswood, which by that time had become large, was burnt to the ground. This led him to transfer his business to Bristol. He died on 29 April 1851 at the age of fifty-six, having succeeded in founding the greatest house in the provision trade in the west of England. His success was due not merely to his commercial ability, but in at least an equal degree to his invariable uprightness in his dealings. He was a very religious man, and did much for his poor neighbours. For some time before his death he gave fully 2,000l. a year in charity. He belonged to the society of Wesleyan methodists, and contributed largely to its funds. At the same time his charity was not limited by sectarian distinctions.

[Arthur's Successful Merchant, a book that has passed through many editions, and has been translated into several languages; Noel's Memoir of S. Budgett is taken from it; Bristol Times of 10 May 1851; private information.]

W. H.