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.


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.

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.