Our Visit to Lincolnshire – Huttoft: Home of Frances Stephenson, Horse Thief

July 17, 2010

St Margaret's Church of Huttoft

The last that I will share with readers of our trip to Lincolnshire is our visit to the village of Huttoft.  I am not sure if any of my ancestors came from Huttoft, but we found an abundance of Stephenson graves here.  One theory holds that Thomas Stephenson, the son of Henry Stephenson and Mary Richardson, moved here, married Mary Badger, and raised a large family. We are working to confirm this.  If this is true, Frances Stephenson, described in the article below, would be his granddaughter.

From the Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury (http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/LIN/lfhs/NewspaperExtracts/1820Listing.htm):

Frances STEPHENSON, aged 21, singlewoman, was charged with stealing a bay mare the property of Edward LINDSAY, at Raithby, on the 10th June (1828). The novelty of this case excited considerable attention, which was not at all diminished by the appearance of the prisoner, who was neatly dressed, and rather of an interesting appearance, but the strange situation in which she was placed seemed to excite no terrors in her, she gazed around with a considerable portion of effrontery, although the eyes of every person in the court were fixed with earnest curiosity upon her. The evidence for the prosecution, which was of considerable length, but not requiring a detailed notice, went plainly to prove that shortly after the robbery, the female had the mare in her possession, and employed a person to dispose of it, under the pretence that her master, the prosecutor, was distressed in his circumstances, and that he had commissioned her to dispose of the mare. – The Counsel for the prisoner insinuated that the mare had been given to her by Mr LINDSAY for certain favours which had been allowed by her. The prosecutor, in reply to a severe cross-examination upon this point, steadfastly denied that any thing of the kind had occurred. In her defence, the prisoner admitted taking the mare from the prosecutor’s stable, but asserted that it was with his license, as he resorted to this mode of requiting her for the favours already alluded to, and in consequence of which she declared that she was at that time far advanced in pregnancy. – Guilty, sentence of death recorded.

Frances was not executed, but was deported to Australia as a convict.  There she married Henry Sherwood, another convict.  According to our sources, being a convict deported to Australia conveyed considerable status, and a marriage of convicts was close to royalty.  Pat Stephenson has made contact with her descendants in Australia and is gathering more information.

Pat and Eve Stephenson talk with me as we search for Stephenson graves.

I have often heard that everyone has a horse thief in their background, so maybe Frances is ours.  It seems that most of my ancestors were law-abiding citizens, and I haven’t discovered any other criminals — unless you look at them from the British point of view, and then some of my colonial ancestors were pretty despicable.  I did have a cousin tried as a witch in early Massachusetts, but she was found innocent.  Anyway, if Frances is confirmed to be related, she would be my 2nd cousin 4 times removed.


Our Visit to Lincolnshire – Hogsthorpe and Mumby

July 9, 2010


Jim and Pat and Eve Stephenson examine a possible Stephenson gravestone at St Mary's church of Hogsthorpe.

I continue with the description of our trip to Lincolnshire with a visit to the small villages of Hogsthorpe and Mumby.  I was especially eager to visit Hogsthorpe because the earliest record that we have of the Stephenson family is in Hogsthorpe.  Henry Stephenson (1) was born in Hogsthorpe in 1666.  His son, Henry(2) and grandson, Henry(3) were also born in Hogsthorpe.  George Stephenson who married Elizabeth Would was the son of Henry (3).  There is evidence that William Stephenson and his wife Elizabeth were the parents of Henry (1) but we cannot confirm this at this time. 

St Mary's Church of Hogsthorpe.

We know a little about the Stephensons in Hogsthorpe.  We have discovered land records that show that William  Stephenson owned 39 acres in the “West End” in 1683.  Henry (1) and his wife Susannah Clark paid a poll tax to support the war in France in 1693, so they would have been land owners as well.  We also have found a record that says that Henry (2) was a staymaker.  Apparently, this was a tailor who made corsets.  Many of the Stephensons who settled in Horncastle were tailors, so they could be following in the occupation of their ancestors. 

Stained glass window in St Mary's church of Hogsthorpe.

St Mary’s Church in Hogsthorpe  was built in the 1300s.  The church registers date to 1558, and these registers are deposited in the Lincolnshire Archives.  Prior to 1813, the records were limited so that there are many questions that we cannot answer.  

In 1975, the churchyard was cleared of most of the gravestones.  Inscriptions on 307 stones were recorded and deposited in the Lincolnshire Archives.  To this date we have not found these records.  There was one very old stone at the church which appears to have the name Stephenson on it but that may be wishful thinking.  Behind the church are six small gravestones that are for six children of the same family, all of whom died of diphtheria in just one month. 

Pat Stephenson and I made a stop in the post office/general store for a brief chat with the proprietor.  In the late 1800’s, the post master was a Stephenson, but there are no Stephensons in Hogsthorpe today and have not been for quite a few years. 

The village of Mumby is located about three miles from Hogsthorpe.  Martha Richardson, the wife of Henry(2), and her family were from Mumby, just a short brisk walk from Hogsthorpe for Henry to court Martha. We ate lunch in the Red Lion Pub in Mumby and enjoyed English fish and chips and cottage pie.  I also was able to enjoy Sticky Toffee, my favorite English desert.  I was tempted to try Hanky-Panky Toffee Pie but was happy I stayed with my old favorite. 

Gravestone at St Mary's in Hogsthorpe. Is it inscribed "Stephenson?" It is hard to tell.

Saracens Head Pub in Hogsthorpe.

Street scene in Hogsthorpe. St Mary's Church is on the right behind the brick wall. The wall was built in less than a week in 1827 by two men.

St Thomas Church of Mumby.

Stained glass window in St Thomas Church of Mumby.

Our Visit to Lincolnshire-Tetford and Fulletby

July 3, 2010

St Mary's Church at Tetford.

We continue our description of our visit to Lincolnshire with stops in two villages that have played  a role in the history of our family.  George Stephenson, the husband of Elizabeth Would Stephenson is reported to have died in Tetford.  As was mentioned in earlier posts, why George was not with his family or what he was doing is unknown.  We did not find a gravestone for him in the cemetery at Tetford.

Although there has been a church at Tetford for some 900 years, St Mary’s church dates from the 14th century.  The tower is from the 15th century and contains three bells.  The door on the south wall is very old and may be original.

St Andrew's church at Fulletby.

Elizabeth Would’s mother was Susanna Panton who came  from Fulletby.  We were unable to find any Panton graves in Fulletby that we could identify as our line.  This warrants another trip to further explore Fulletby.

An interesting booklet describing the church of St Andrew in Fulletby, written by Florence L. Baker, states that the church was in existence as early as 1086 and is recorded in the Doomsday Book by William the Conqueror.  At that time, the village had a priest.  Over the years, the church has been repaired and renovated.  A heating system was installed in 1887.
The grounds of the church are covered in small daisy wildflowers that grow among the gravestones.  Paths have been mowed among the daisies to give access, but we did not search because it would have meant trampling the flowers.

Stained glass window in St Andrew's Church in Fulletby.

St Andrew's Church of Fulletby.

Daisies in the graveyard of St Andrew's of Fulletby.

St Mary's Church of Tetford.

City limits of Tetford.

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.

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.

Our Visit to Lincolnshire, England

June 28, 2010

Eve and Pat Stephenson with Jim Winegar at St. Mary's Church, Kirkby on Bain. Photo by Sandra Winegar.

Sandra and I have recently returned from a two-week trip to Europe.  We spent time in Northern Ireland researching Sandra’s family, a week in Switzerland, and then a day and a half in Lincolnshire, where the Stephensons and Woulds lived.  In Lincolnshire we met up with Pat Stephenson and his wife Eve who live in Essex, England.  Pat and I are descendants of George Stephenson, our 3rd great-grandfather, and Elizabeth Would.  We are 4th cousins and after meeting through this blog, have shared e-mails and phone calls for some time.  Because we would only have a short time in Lincolnshire, Pat and Eve spent several days there earlier and scouted out the area.  When we arrived, they became our guides in a whirlwind tour.  We enjoyed being with them tremendously and hope that we can meet again in the near future.

Jim, Pat, and Eve search the grave stones at St. Margaret's Church at Huttoft. Photo by Sandra Winegar.

I don’t think we learned anything really new on our trip, but the opportunity to visit areas where our ancestors had lived, see the churches they had  attended, and the cemeteries where they were buried was very rewarding.  We took lots of pictures and will share some of them in the blog. 

Burial records before 1813 are very limited and are maintained in archives in Lincoln city.  The archives were closed during the time we were there.  The grave stones in this area have not survived the weather well and most are illegible.  We were excited to find a few where the name Stephenson or Would could be read, but often dates or other inscriptions were not readable.  Still, we enjoyed the time in Lincolnshire and our visit with Pat and Eve tremendously and we feel that the trip was very worthwhile.

Jim and Sandra at St. Mary's Church at Kirkby on Bain. Photo by Pat Stephenson.

John Stephenson and wife Anne

May 29, 2010

In the course of our recent study of the Stephenson/Stevenson family in Lincolnshire, we have run across a fascinating Stephenson family group.  John Stevenson married Anne Clarke on 09 July 1688 in Hogsthorpe, Lincolnshire.  John and Anne had three children: Elizabeth (born 05 October 1690), John (born 18 February 1691), and Edward (born 08 July 1694).  They were apparently well-to-do for they had four servants — Elizabeth Kirkby, Unknown Balaam, Willm Hastrop, and Anne Harrison.

Born about 1663, John was a contemporary of whom we have come to call Henry I, born about 1666.  Anne, John’s wife, was born about 1667.  The ages of all three are derived from the ages they declared on their marriage records.  At this time, we do not have the birth or christening record of any of the three.

Anne Stevenson’s maiden name, Clarke, is the same as Susannah’s, wife of Henry I.  Were they sisters or close relatives?  We do not know yet, but we are hoping the information will surface as our study continues.

In 1692, the English Parliament levied a poll tax on each landowner to finance the war with France.  John Stevenson had to pay 6 shillings as his share, i.e. 1 shilling each for himself, Anne, the two children who were born at the time of the tax, and servants William Hastrop and Anne Harrison.  Although the other two servants are recorded by name, it does not state whether a tax was paid for them.

Speculation abounds about this family group, of whom we have learned so much.  It is highly probable that there is a family connection to our Stephensons but we have not nailed it down at this time.  Sandra and I have requested records from the Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City that may yield further information.  As we learn more, I will keep you informed.