A family name of the Branfills, owners of the Manor of Upminster Hall for six generations following its purchase in 1685 by Captain Andrew Branfill. He was born in 1640 in Devon and made a fortune out of privateering from his ship The Champion. His grandson John Redman later wrote that his Dartmouth-born grandfather was said to be “bred of the sea” like many of his forefathers, and was a “captain of a Guinea man” – a type of slave ship working the middle passage between West Africa and the Caribbean. His son was named Champion Branfill (1683 – 1738), and each succeeding male heir to the estate has since been given the name Champion. However, Champion only became heir following the death, aged 24, of Andrew’s eldest son Edward, who, like his father was a mariner. The last of the line of Champion’s to inherit the estate died in 1844. His son, also named Champion, was born in 1820 but was passed over for the inheritance having already been made the heir of his uncle Joseph Russell of Stubbers, and required to take the surname Russell to prevent the family line dying out. The Lordship of the manor and ownership of the Upminster Hall estate passed instead to her next youngest son Benjamin Aylett Branfill.
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