Sir John Kerle Haberfield - 1783-1857 (Mayor 1837, 38, 45, 48, 49 & 50)


In 1838 he was president of the Dolphin Society and in 1840 he was president of the Grateful Society.  Unusually, he was Mayor no less than six times and was therefore probably better known for this rather than in his profession as a solicitor and attorney.  It was reported1 that he was a convivial man who enjoyed presiding over banquets, dinners and festivities - which often came his way as Mayor ('Chief Magistrate') and his 'showy equipage with postillion, in the old style, was familiar with most inhabitants'.  On one occasion, when he was sitting on the Bench, a question arose about the water provided in the courtroom and a sample was handed up for the opinion of magistrates, but Sir John declined, saying he "had not tasted water for 30 years and did not feel qualified to pass his judgement upon it."

He lived in Royal York Crescent and died in 1857.  In 1872 his widow Dame Sarah bought land and properties to set up a trust that would fund the building and maintenance of almshouses for 24 people in her husband's memory, "of either sex .. poor impotent, of good character, be members of and as far as they were able, attendants at the services of the Church of England".  The almshouses, the last to be built in Bristol, were erected in 1891.

1 Bristol Worthies by A B Freeman 1907 (photo above also copied from this book).

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