Our Visit to Lincolnshire-Horncastle

July 1, 2010

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.


The Stephensons of Horncastle and Hogsthorpe

May 22, 2010

After developing a data base of the Woulds in Lincolnshire, we decided to extend our project to the Stephensons.  This turned out to be such a formidable project that it was quickly amended.  It turns out that there are 5,000 Stephensons listed in the IGI in Lincolnshire alone between 1500 and 1850.  This number expands exponentially if one considers all of England.

Since we knew that the line of Stephensons that we are following settled in Horncastle and Hogsthorpe, we decided to limit our study to those two locations.  This yielded 41 family groups, enough to draw some conclusions and suggest new lines of inquiry.  From 1500 to the mid-1600’s, there were nine family groups living in Horncastle.  The first recorded Stephenson appears in Hogsthorpe in 1664 with the birth of Thomas to William Stephenson and Elizebeth.  More about William and Elizebeth Stephenson below.

For the next 100 years, Stephensons in our line, as well as other Stephenson family groups, continue to live in Hogsthorpe.  In the mid- to late-1700’s, however, they migrate back to Horncastle and the Stephenson population of Hogsthorpe declines rapidly.  By the early 1800’s, there were only two recorded family groups in Hogsthorpe.

William and Elizabeth Stephenson

It is widely believed among Stephenson researchers that William Stephenson and Elizabeth Woodcock fathered Thomas, b. 1664, and Henry, b. about 1666.  However, records show that William Stephenson and Elizabeth Woodcock married 23 Sep 1669 in Anderby, Lincolnshire, at least five years after the birth of Thomas.  While it is possible that this William and Elizabeth cohabited before the birth of their children, it is unlikely.  There is another marriage between a William Stephenson and Elizabeth Porter in 1666 in Wrangle, Lincolnshire, but this is still too late for children born in 1664 and 1666.  We will try to obtain wills of the two Williams to prove or disprove the parentage of Henry.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29 other followers