Our Visit to Lincolnshire-Kirkby on Bain

July 2, 2010

St Mary's Church, Kirkby on Bain.

Today we continue the story of our visit to Lincolnshire with a stop in Kirkby on Bain.  This village was the home of Elizabeth Would who married George Stephenson in 1797.  We have records of the Woulds living in Kirkby on Bain as far back as 1695 when Edward Would, Elizabeth’s great-grandfather, lived there.  The name means Church on the River Bain and records show that there was a church here as early as 1085.   Elizabeth and her siblings were christened here, although the church was in poor repair during her life here.  The current church was rebuilt in 1802. 

St Mary's Church, Kirkby on Bain.

We visited on a Sunday evening, and Evensong was in progress.  We enjoyed listening to the music and when services ended, we talked with the rector and with some of the women who were knowledgeable about the history of the area.  They pointed out a house in the distance where Woulds were still living.  We were not able to visit the people living there, so we don’t know if they are descendants of our line.  The maiden name of one of the women was  Stephenson, but she didn’t know enough about her ancestors to establish if we were related.  There were a number of Would gravestones in the church graveyard, but none that we can establish as directly related to us.  It seems probable that the Woulds who settled in this small community would be related, but we do not have records to determine this for a certainty.  British records before 1813 are very limited.  We experienced the same problem with Stephensons in Horncastle and Hogsthorpe.

River Bain near the church. When this river floods, it is no longer the lazy, quiet stream that it appears in this photograph.

Jim and Pat visit with the members of St Mary's Church after Evensong.

Jim searches for Would graves at St Mary's, Kirkby on Bain.

Jim reads inscription on a Would gravestone.


The Woulds in Kirkby on Bain

May 20, 2010

On my last post, I described the project that Sandra and I have been working on tracking the Woulds in England.  We have learned a lot about English records from 1550-1800 and the lack thereof.  The most common records are christening records, although they are far from complete.  Also, early records only listed the father of the infant.  We can find patterns of movement, but there are big gaps that make this frustrating.   Death records are rare except in the case of infants being christened at around the time of their death.  Families often had several children with the same name until they had one that lived.  We are always conscious of the large number of infant deaths during this period.  Marriage records are quite extensive but still incomplete.  It is obvious that many women died in childbirth.  These deaths are rarely recorded.  The husband often  took a second wife but often these marriages are not found in the records either.

Another problem with our research is that the Woulds tended to use the same names for their children over and over.  Most of the males were named John, William, Thomas, or Nathaniel.  The females were most often Mary, Ann, Elizabeth and Susanna.  There is a large probability that John’s wife will be Mary, making it difficult to follow any given couple. 

With this background, I will try to explore the Woulds of Kirkby on Bain.  The earliest Woulds we find in England were in London or Fingringhoe, Essex.  By the 1550s, families were found in Alford and Sibsey, both fairly near to Kirkby.  Another concentration was in Thornton Curtis, Lincs. The first record of Woulds in the immediate area of Kirkby was the marriage of William Would to Anas Bunyan in 1615 in Haltham Upon Bain, a few miles from Kirkby.  At least two generations grew up in Haltham.  There were concentrations of Woulds in many of the small villages surrounding Haltham and Kirkby, including Tattershall, Coningsby, Toynton St. Peter, Roughton, and Hameringham, but we haven’t connected them with our family.

Anyone who would like a copy of the database of Woulds in Lincolnshire can request one by sending a comment and giving your e-mail address.  The spreadsheet is in PDF format.

Ancestors of Elizabeth Would

In 1693, Edward Would married Ann Gramm in Scrivelsby, a few miles from Haltham.  We cannot determine where either of these people came from.  The following year they had a daughter, Sarah, in Scrivelsby.  In 1695 William Would was born in Kirkby, but no parents are shown on the christening.  In 1697, John Would, the son of Edward, was born in Kirkby.  We are quite sure that this is all one family.  We are seeking a will for Edward which could help confirm this belief.  Both William and John Would married in the 1720s and raised families in Kirkby.

We have a problem following John.  In 1726, John Would married Ann Dawson in Kirkby and had a son Edward in 1727.  From 1729 to 1747, John had 8 children with Jane listed as the mother.  John and Jane’s first child was Ann.  We can find no record of the death of Ann Dawson or of a second marriage for John.   When Edward, the child of John and Ann, dies in 1730, Jane is listed as the mother.  There are some possible answers to this dilemma, but they are speculative.  Ann Dawson’s mother’s name was Jane, and Ann also had a sister Jane.  It is possible that Ann and Jane are the same person.  It is also possible that John married Jane Dawson after her sister’s death.  We are trying to find wills for John and Edward which might help resolve the confusion, but this may be a mystery we can’t resolve.

John and Jane had a son, John, in 1734.  He married Susanna Panton and they are the parents of Elizabeth who married George Stephenson.  Click on the link below for an updated pedigree chart for Elizabeth. 

Eliz Wold Pedigree


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