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Brentford Families - Walsh/Welsh and Ilbury/Ilbrey

John Welsh wrote in 2005 about two families.

The Walsh family from Ireland

My maternal line starts with a Thomas Walsh born about 1795 probably Ireland possibly County Cork. His grandson James b1856 in Middx seems to be the start of the name becoming Welsh or Welch. There were Walshs in Brentford from very early on, but as to whether they are mine is difficult to tell. Bearing in mind they used a lot of Irish navvies on the canals, one of which terminates in Brentford.

My dad's mother was a Martha Welsh and he was adopted at birth, more or less, by Martha's brother John.

Research notes

There was an Edmund Walsh or Welsh at The Lamb, 409 High Street from 1861 - 1891; he gave his birthplace as Ireland in 1891 when he was 68. His name varied through Walsh, Welsh and even Welch.

In 1881 Mary Walsh lived in the Salutation Almshouses (room 4). John replied to this 'Mary might be mine as both James and Martha had sisters of that name. There is however, or was, a very strict naming code in Irish families of that time and the first born daughter was always called Mary after the Virgin Mary. So there are loads of them in England alone.'


Ilbury is my father's birth name and yes it is very unusual. My great grandfather James Ilbury had two younger brothers George and William and when both of these guys married their weddings were recorded under Ilbrey. To this day these families still go under Ilbrey which is the phonetic spelling of the name. It originates in the Thames Valley where my 3xgreat grandfather married in 1769 and this marriage was recorded as Ilbery and to complicate matters even more his first four children were all baptised Hilberry!

I believe the name originates from a now deserted village near Banbury which was called Ilbury and is now more or less marked by a farm of the same name. From my research I know that from 1800 there were only three separately identifiable families world wide who bear the name Ilbery or Ilbury/Ilbrey.

Research notes

2005 I found no Ilburys in Brentford, although there was a Richard Tilbury living on the High Street in 1841. He was a wheelwright aged 30 - 35 and lived at around no. 57.

2022: in the 1952 electoral register:
William S Ilbrey and Hilda B Ilbrey were recorded at 216 High Street. 216 was a provision merchant's shop in 1946 in the name Purkiss. Although the Ilbreys lived here it is not known whether they also worked in the shop or simply lived above it.

Published 2005; last updated March 2022