Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 27, 2018
Webpage updated: January 01, 2020



JOHN BAYLY (1804-1893)

Mr John Bayly was born in London on January 9th 1804.  He was the son of Mr Robert and Mrs Anne Bayly, his father being a barrister of the Inner Temple and a Bencher and Treasurer of Gray's Inn.  His mother was formerly Miss Anne Joules, of Winchester.

At the age of fifteen, John moved down to Plymouth to join his uncle, Mr Richard Bayly (1763-1836), who was running the family's timber business at Coxside.  However, young John was not destined to work there just yet but was articled to Messrs Saunders and Whiddon, solicitors and notaries, with whom he duly qualified as a solicitor.

Mr John Bayly married Miss Elizabeth Windeatt, the youngest daughter of Mr Thomas Windeatt, of Tavistock, in 1833.  He was a Unitarian throughout his life.

He supported his Uncle Richard in his work for parliamentary and municipal reform.  Unfortunately the excitement of the events leading up to the election of Mr Thomas Gill as the first Mayor under the new Municipal Corporations Act proved too much for Uncle Richard, who died in his sleep during the night of the celebrations.  John now took over control of the family business and went into partnership with his brother-in-law Mr Charles Fox, as Messrs Bayly and Fox.

During his lifetime, Mr John Bayly played a prominent role in getting the Town to adopt the Health of Towns Act.  He was always a Liberal and supported Mr Gladstone on the issue of Home Rule for Ireland.  As a public speaker he was described as 'eloquent, practical, and at times, incisive' and his views of the duties of public bodies were broad and uncompromising.  He devoted his energy to the building of the Mount Batten Breakwater and the formation of the Cattewater Harbour Commission, of which he became its first chairman.  This was, of course, before the construction of the docks at Millbay.

Perhaps because he was a teetotaller, he was very concerned about the supply of clean water to the Town and in 1884 he presented Plymouth Corporation with a valuable stretch of his land at Sheepstor, where he was Lord of the Manor, upon which to build the Burrator Reservoir.  He was also 'a large and liberal employer of labour, and interested himself in everything concerning his workmen'.  He took a great deal of interest in the Sailors' Home and the founding of the Royal Eye Infirmary at Mutley.  The establishment of the Marine Biological Laboratory on the Hoe was almost entirely due to his generosity.   He supported all the local charities and was cunning in his encouragement of others to donate money as well.

Mr John Bayly died at around 9pm on Saturday July 22nd 1893 at his residence, Seven Trees, Plymouth.  He was 89 years-of-age.  His wife had died some 11 years earlier.  He was survived by a son, Mr Robert Bayly (1839-1901), and four daughters.


  Compiled with the kind and valued assistance of Mr R D Bayly