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.
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.
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.