Petty records how in March 1838 the Upwell circuit appointed Bentley and J Jackson to carry out missionary work and the sphere of their operations was left to their own choice. After a day’s travel in May 1838 they arrived at Saffron Walden and finding no Methodist presence there began to mission the town and surrounding area. By the end of June 1838, they were able to rent a small chapel that had previously been used by the Wesleyans.
Bensley was born on 12 April 1813 at Hackford, Norfolk, to parents Thomas Redhead and Ann Bensley. he was baptised on 9 May 1813 at Hackford.
Census return identify the following occupations for Bensley.
- 1841 minister
- 1861 farmer of 210 acres employing 7 men and 3 boys.
- 1871 farmer of 210 acres employing 6 men, 2 boys and 2 girls
- 1881 farmer of 110 acres employing 4 men
- 1891 farmer
He married Elizabeth Proctor Sexton (1816-1902) on 19 October 1842 at Hilgay, Norfolk. Census returns identify four children.
- Elizabeth Ann (1845-1920) – married Anthony Proctor, a farmer, in 1873
- Bensley William (b1847) – a farmer (1891); a market gardener (1911)
- Thomas Henry (1849-1913) – assistant overseer (1891)
- William Proctor (1851-1870)
Bensley died in late 1891 at Hilgay, Norfolk.
- 1834 Norwich
- 1835 Fakenham
- 1837 Upwell
- 1840 Stowmarket
- 1841 Lynn
- 1843 Fakenham
- 1845 Norwich
- 1846 disappears
J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p431
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers
Note: Most Records have the forename as Bensley, not Bentley.