Pontifex Family History
William and Mary  (Bailey) Pontifex
I was so excited to receive copies of these pictures.  I held them close, closed my eyes and thought, tell me something of your life. 
Jane, another Pontifex research from New Zealand sent me these photos and lots of other information that I treasure. 
Originally I believed these to be photo's of William and Hannah (Loughton) Pontifex but in a recent email from Ray Pontifex, author of a book on the Pontifex family, he writes "I had a look at your website, quite good, ..Unfortunately the Pontifex photo's you have there are not William and Hannah.  They are William, son of William and Hannah, and his wife Mary Bailey.  Bill Pontifex, Claus' brother sent me photo's of these minatures back in the early 1960's.  They are now with Claud's son Roy in Lindiedl, south of London."  Research is all about getting it right so I am happy to make this correction.
On July 4th, 1825 John Lake and Flora Margaret Pontifex were married in the Independent Chapel in Newland, Gloucestershire, England.   Click here for John and Flora's marriage record.
John Lake was a grocer and a farmer in Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, Wales close to the border shared with England. He and Flora had three known children, William Sr. born in 1826, Frederick born 1829 and Flora Margaret born about 1845.
In 1849 William Lake, the oldest child married Elizabeth Meredith and shortly thereafter moved to Elgin Illinois.  They lived in Illinois for a short period of time before moving to Clinton, Iowa.  See the Lake page for more information.
Frederick John the second son of John and Flora married Louisa Rodway in 1857 and lived in Wales or England until death.  While their third child, Flora Margaret married her first cousin Robert Pontifex and also remained in the Wales and England area.
Back to John's wife,  Flora Margaret Pontifex.  Her parents were Harriet Bland and Daniel Pontifex.  Daniel's parents were William Pontifex and Hannah Loughton.
Flora's father and mother moved to Trellech, Monmouthshire, Wales in the early 1800's after he faked his disappearance to New York.  The reason for this is not clear but as the family moved to Wales they began to use the name Price.  Some of the relatives used Pontifex as a middle name and Price as their surname.  This is another mystery.  Why the name Price?
Daniel and his son's came to own a copper and silversmith business in London on Shoe Lane.  Daniel had his mark and there are indications that the change of name and where they were living had to do with his "mark" and the fact that he did not finish his apprenticeship.  Some of his silver work is still in existence today albeit very expensive.  See example of Daniels work in picture of milk pitcher.
The name Pontifex has several suggested meanings:  Bridge builder, pontifex maximus, or ponte.  Ponte means bridge in Italian or Portuguese and there are places in Italy that are name Ponte.  Another suggestion made was that it means ex-Pontif or of the Pontiff .    As far as I can tell the origin of the name is not really known, but an area of continued research.. 
In the letter written by William Lake in 1907, he references his grandmother Flora Margaret Pontifex's family and states there, that Flora's great grandfather was first cousin to the Earl of Breaconfield, Benjamin Disraeli's grandfather. He further states that they were Jews and had come together from Italy to England and took up farming.  I have followed many leads from this letter and have found it to be correct in almost all instances.  So, I believe that this part must be true as well.
From British-History-Online "  Immediately south of Clyde Warf was the Millwall Lead Works, set up by Edmund and William Pontifex of the firm Pontifex & Wood in about 1843.  Pontifex & Wood was founded in 1788 and based for many years in Shoe Lane, Fleet Street, developing a large business as engineers, millwrights and manufacturers, specilainzing in equipment for brewing, distilling, dyeing, sugar-refining and other industrial processes."

"In the 1830's a steam-washing establishment was run on the site formerly occupied by a herring "hang" beside the ferry.  After the closure of the laundry, the premises became a black-lead factory, probably part of the Pontifex & Wood's establishment.  The premises were certainly part of Pontifex & Wood's lead and chemical works by the 1850s."

"A few terraced houses were built from the early 1850s in Westferry Road and on the south side of Chapel House Street." "Pontifex & Wood, the metal and chemical manufacturers, leased the large square site later known as North Yard for building in 1852, but by the late 1860s nothing had been erected on it beyond a handful of houses in Lead Street and Silver Terrace, Westferry Road." 

Other researchers have found the first mention of the name Pontifex in England was about 1446 and had religious connections and later in the early 1500's there was a William Pontifex who was a Roman Catholic priest.  Much research must still be done to find where the Pontifex family began.
Pontifex family members have written a couple of books.  One of those, written by  Claud E. Pontifex in 1977 was the basis for my continued research adding information that I found in newspaper clippings, census reports, letters, diaries and oral information given to me by other family and researchers.    I am thankful for them, as they have boosted my knowledge of this very interesting family.  I hope to add other bits and pieces of information to that research but have no desire to reproduce that book in its entirety here.
There are other researchers that have done quite a bit of work on their Pontifex families and of the spouses of the Pontifex.  Some have given me permission to show that work on this website and I will acknowledge them as I introduce their work.   As I have said before somewhere and will say again, this is not my website but a family research site that I hope others who are related will want to add their information to.  I am only the keeper of the site.  I guess that makes me the Webmaster.
See other bits and pieces:
Pontifex in the News                                     Pictures of Pontifex Researchers                        The Italian Princess
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