Our Visit to Lincolnshire-Horncastle

Jim Winegar and Pat Stephenson stand at the entrance to St Mary's Church of Horncastle.

On our recent trip to Lincolnshire, one of the places we visited was Horncastle.  My 3rd great-grandparents, George Stephenson and Elizabeth Would, were married in Horncastle in 1797 and had 12 children.  Several of the children died as infants, including two Susannah’s.  Most of the sons became tailors.  It seems probable that this was George’s occupation as well, but we have no documentation to support this assumption. 

St Mary's Church of Horncastle.

All of George and Elizabeth’s children were christened in St Mary’s Church in Horncastle.  Parts of the church date back to the 12th and 13th centuries.  The church was restored in 1861, but it probably looks substantially like it did while George, Elizabeth, and the children attended in the early 1800s.   Originally, there was a cemetery beside the church, but all graves have been relocated to another area and we were unable to find any Stephenson graves.  The church is open daily when “volunteers are available.”  On the day we visited, there were no volunteers but the women working in the office took pity on the poor visitors who came all the way from America to see the church and let us tour and photograph the wonderful structure.  We are very thankful for their kindness.

St Mary's Square, south of the church.

The first complete census of England was taken in 1841, so we have no records of where the family lived before that date.  By 1841, many of the children had moved away.  One of George and Elizabeth’s children, my ancestor George Wold Stephenson, was married to Agnes Catherine Hamilton and was living in Liverpool.  From census reports we know that Elizabeth Would Stephenson was living on Prospect Street in Horncastle with two of her children.  Where her husband George was is a mystery.  He died five years later in Tetford, Lincolnshire.  Elizabeth’s son Joseph was living on High Street in Horncastle.  Ten years later, Elizabeth was living with her son Henry south of the church yard and Joseph was on Foundry Street.  Henry later lived on Queen Street in Horncastle. Although none of the dwellings retain their original appearance, we were able to visit and photograph the areas where our ancestors lived.

Stained glass window at St Mary's of Horncastle.

Eve Stephenson points out the Old Dispensary and Work House just south of St Mary's Church. Burial records indicate that William Stephenson, son of George and Elizabeth, lived in the Work House at the time of his death.

Prospect St in Horncastle.

Jim in Horncastle.

Foundry St, Horncastle. Joseph Stephenson, son of George and Elizabeth, lived on this street in 1851.

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One Response to Our Visit to Lincolnshire-Horncastle

  1. dianefrancis says:

    Hi there. I am sooooo excited to read all about your trip and research. It’s fantasic! I am a descendent of Absalom Would Stephenson (who settled in Liverpool)and who was a tailor. His adverts are in the local newspaper of the time (the Liverpool Mercury)- where he reports that he makes corsets! He lived near to another brother (Charles), who was also a tailor and advertised extensively. I think your pictures are fantastic and have certainly filled in a few gaps. It tickles me that one Henry Stephenson was born in 1666 (the year of the Great Fire of London) – a particularly noteable event in British history (recorded contemporaneously in diaries by Samuel Pepys). Anyway, I’m starting to waffle on – so I’ll simply say ‘thanks’ for uploading this info. It’s a real treat. Liverpool will welcome you if you ever pay the city a visit (the street where Absalom lived and worked for a while, still exists)! sincerely Diane Francis

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