Person    | Male  Born 14/5/1841  Died 19/4/1926

Sir Squire Bancroft

Categories: Benefactor, Theatre

Actor-manager. Born Rotherhithe. Squire was his given first name. Although much information about this man is contained on his Wikipedia page our colleague, Andrew Behan, researched him through public records and found he used a varied combination of names throughout his life. 

He was born on 14 May 1841, the eldest of the six children of Secundas Bancroft White Butterfield (1799-1848) and Julia Butterfield née Wright (1819-1861). His birth was registered as Squire Bancroft Butterfield in the 2nd quarter of 1841 in the Rotherhithe Registration District, Surrey (now Greater London).

His five siblings were: Hastwell Butterfield (1843-1858); Lambeth Butterfield (1844-1844); Julia Butterfield (1845-1904); Jane Butterfield (b. circa 1847) and Laura Butterfield (1847-1863)

In the 1841 census he was shown as Squire Butterfield, aged one month, living at Crystal Cottage, Oak Place, Rotherhithe, with his parents, his paternal aunt Emma Butterfield, a nurse and a female domestic servant. His father was shown as an oil merchant.

On 12 September 1841 his was baptised as Squire Bancroft Butterfield at St Mary's Church, Rotherhithe, where in the baptismal registers he is shown as living at Oak Cottage, Rotherhithe and his father was described as a merchant.

He was listed in the 1851 census as Bancroft Butterfield, a 9-year-old pupil and one of 17 scholars attending a boarding school in Stratton Street, Stratton St Margaret's, Swindon, Wiltshire.

He was recorded in the 1861 census as Squire Bancroft, a writing clerk, aged 19 years and lodging in the home of Charles and Elizabeth Smith at 151 Great Colmore Street, Birmingham, Warwickshire.

According to his Wikipedia page he became an actor using the stage name Sydney Bancroft and he changed his name to Squire Bancroft Bancroft by deed poll shortly before his marriage on 28 December 1867 to Marie Effie Wilton (1831-1921) at The Church St Stephen the Martyr, Marylebone, Middlesex (now Greater London). The marriage register confirms that his name was Squire Bancroft Bancroft, aged 26 years and a bachelor, whose rank or profession was recorded as 'Esquire'. It also showed his address to have been 3 Eaton Terrace, Marylebone. His wife was recorded as aged 27 years, a spinster who resided at 8 Circus Road, Marylebone, the daughter of Robert Pleydell Wilton (1801-1866), a gentleman.

His wife already had a son, Charles Edward Wilton (1863-1906), whose birth had been registered in the 4th quarter of 1863 in the Marylebone Registration District and who subsequently changed his name to Charles Edward Bancroft. Their two other children were George Louis Pleydell Bancroft (1868-1956) and Arthur Hamilton Bancroft (1870-1870).

The 1871 census shows him as Squire B. Bancroft, aged 29 years and a theatrical manager and comedian, living at 11 Grove End Road, Marylebone, with his wife who was listed as a theatrical manageress and a comedienne, together with a coachman, a cook and a housemaid.

When the 1881 census was undertaken he was recorded as Squire Bancroft Bancroft, aged 39 years, the lessee of the Haymarket Theatre and an actor, residing at 31 Cavendish Square, Marylebone, with his wife who was described as an actress, together with a butler, a coachman, a stable keeper, a cook, a maid and a housemaid.

On 6 April 1886, as Squire Bancroft Bancroft, he was initiated as a Freemason in the Drury Lane Lodge No.2127 that met at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. Masonic registers show that he was aged 46 years, an actor residing at 18 Berkeley Square, London. He remained in this Lodge until he resigned in February 1895. Meanwhile, on 16 October 1890 he joined the Universal Lodge No.181 which met at Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London, until 1893 when it moved to the Café Royal, Regent Street, London. He resigned from this Lodge on 24 October 1906.

He was recorded as Squire B. Bancroft, aged 49 years and an actor in the 1891 census, living at 18 Berkeley Square, with his actress wife, their son George Louis Pleydell Bancroft who was listed as a law student, together with a cook, an upper housemaid and a housemaid. 

The London Gazette confirms that on 18 August 1897, as Squire Bancroft Bancroft Esq., he was conferred the honour of Knighthood by Her Majesty Queen Victoria at Osborne House, Isle of Wight. His address was recorded as 18 Berkeley Square, London.

His 1911 census return form was delivered to him as Sir Squire Bancroft at Underlea, Sandgate, Folkestone, Kent, a 17 roomed property. He completed it giving his name as Squire Bancroft, aged 69 years, a retired actor, living with his retired actress wife, together with a lady's maid, a cook, a parlour maid, a housemaid and a kitchen maid. He also showed his London address, 18 Berkeley Square, London.

His wife, Dame Marie Effie Bancroft, died aged 82 years, on 22 May 1921 at The Burlington, Folkestone, Kent and probate records confirm that when administration of her estate was granted to her husband on 22 September 1921 her effects totalled £3,596-10s-4d.

On 7 April 1922 he departed from the Port of London aboard the SS Delta of the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company line. The ship's manifest shows him as Sir Squire Bancroft of A1, Albany, Piccadilly, London, aged 80 years, travelling 1st class and contracted to land at Gibraltar. The manifest also states that his country of intended future residence was India.  

His death, aged 84 years, on 19 April 1926 at A1 The Albany, Piccadilly, London, was registered as Squire Bancroft in the 2nd quarter of 1926 in the St Martin Registration District, London and his body was buried on 23 April 1926 alongside his wife in a private mausoleum in Brompton Cemetery, Fulham Road, London, SW10 9UG. Probate was granted jointly to his barrister son, George Louis Pleydell Bancroft and to Sir Gerald du Maurier on 9 July 1926 when his effects totalled £174,535-4s-11d.

The mausoleum was destroyed by German enemy action in World War Two and the Find A Grave website shows his current memorial. He is shown as 'SIR SQUIRE BANCROFT' on the memorial plaque attached to the Cabmens' Shelter in Russell Square, London, WC1. Although when he was knighted he became Sir Squire Bancroft Bancroft, it would seem that in later life he went by the name of just Sir Squire Bancroft and that is how we have chosen to list him.

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Sir Squire Bancroft

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Sir Squire Bancroft

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