Budgett, Samuel

Born at Wrington, Som, on 27 July 1794, he grew up at Backwell, Nailsea and Kingswood. He was the co-founder of a grocery firm at Kingswood in partnership with his older brother, Henry Hill Budgett (1778-1849), a leading member of the Kingswood WM chapel.The business prospered by initiating country rounds and by moving into the wholesale trade. He gained a reputation for uprightness in his business dealings and considerate treatment of his staff. The firm prospered and moved to Bristol in 1842, following the destruction of its Kingwood premises by fire. His unostentatious giving to charity amounted to £2,000 a year and he was a generous contributor to WM funds. He died at Kingswood on 28 April 1851. William Arthur's biography, The Successful Merchant, made him widely known.

His son James Smith Budgett (1823-1906), son-in-law of Thomas Farmer and a missionary supporter, moved to Guildford and opened a London branch of the firm in 1857. He served as lay treasurer of the WMMS 1874-83. A younger brother, William Henry Budgett (1827-1900) maintained the Bristol business, was active in public affairs (including the building of the Colston Hall in 1861), in the Bristol *Stranger's Friend Society and in local Methodism. He married Ann Jacob Lidgett (1839-1936), an aunt of J.S. Lidgett.


'Bristol Bridge, among other places, had for me a deep interest, as the spot where Samuel Budgett, the "Successful Merchant", stood for hours trying to sell his jay, bought for ninepence, and sold for a shilling.'

James Flanagan, Scenes from my Life, both Grave and Gay (1907) p.20

  • WM Magazine 1851 pp.606-7
  • W.illiam Arthur, The Successful Merchant; sketches of the life of Mr. Samuel Budgett (1852)
  • D.P. Lindegaard, The Budgetts of Kingswood Hill and their Bristol Family (Bristol, 1988)
  • Martin Wellings, '"A friendly and familiar book for the busy": William Arthur's The Successful Merchant…' in Robert N. Swanson (ed.), The Use and Abuse of Time in Christian History (Woodbridge, 2002)
  • Oxford DNB