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Family Trees From The Garden of England

  • The Stovell family of Surrey

    Thomas Stovell had given his place of birth as Ockley in Surrey in the 1851 census. This agricultural parish lies on the Sussex border but he was however baptised in the neighbouring parish of Abinger. The entry from the parish register recorded that the family lived at Ockley. His parents, James Stovell and Susannah Nye married at Ockley in 1779. They were both buried at Send and James had been born there in 1731. James Stovell was baptised on the 13th of January 1731 the son of Anne. James was illegitimate, or 'baseborne' as he was described in the register, and no father's name had been recorded. Confirmation that James was from Send was discovered amongst the Poor Law records of Ockley.

    In 1784 James Stovell underwent a settlement examination in Ockley. So it seems the family fell on hard times and James had to apply for parish relief. Relief could only be gained from your parish of settlement and perhaps Ockley did not want to pay and so wanted to send him back to his 'home' parish of Send so he underwent a settlement examination. The whole family would have been included in this examination and their names also appear in the records; James's wife Susannah, his son Samuel aged one and the direct ancestor, Thomas aged three. There was no mention of the eldest child, Stephen, so he must have died by this time. This Christian name was used again in 1788. It was not uncommon at this time for the names of deceased children to be used again when naming later siblings.

    Settlement Examination at Ockley

    James STOVELL, 6 Jul 1784

    Susannah his wife & 2 ch. Thomas (3) & Samuel (2) from Send and Ripley

    Church Wardens: Rob Boughton, Jn Whitburn

    Overseers of the Parish: Jn Harris, Hy Harland

    Witnesses: Wm Yalden, Jn Heath

    Intriguingly there was also an apprenticeship record for James:

    There was an apprenticeship record amongst the papers of Send parish which possibly referred to the direct ancestor:

    James STOVOLD (X) son of Henry of this parish 6 Jan 1747

    to John WARNER of this parish, blacksmith

    CW: Tho Mabank, Wm Stanton

    W: JC, T. Chatfield

    Although there had been a Henry Stovell having children at Send in the 1720s there were no later children and none called James. There is even the possibility that Henry adopted James as his son if there was a familial connection between him and James's mother. Considering James's son, Thomas's later occupation of blacksmith, it may well be the case that his father had carried out this role as well.

    James would have just turned 15 in January 1747 which would have been a suitable age to begin an apprenticeship of this kind where a certain amount of strength would be required. His apprenticeship would have lasted at least seven years.

    It seems that it was his occupation that may have led him to Susannah Nye - her own father was a blacksmith as the marriage allegation for his first marriage confirmed:

    12 Oct., 1730. Thomas Nye of Abinger, blacksmith, bachelor 18, and Sarah Lane of the same parish, spinster; at Dorking. October y 12, 1730. Thomas Nye of Abinger aforesaid, Father of ye above said Thomas Nye is priv. and consenting. Mile Dudley of Dorking in co. aforesaid, gentleman, 2nd s.

    This marriage was short-lived as Sarah was dead within two months, being buried on the 6th of December 1730. Thomas went on to marry his second wife, Susannah's mother, in Hascombe on the 10th of July 1733. The marriage licence details, below, confirming Thomas's age and that he was a widower.

    9 July, 1733. Thomas Nye of Abinger, widower, 22, and Mary Manwaring of Cranley, spinster, 22 ; at Cranley or Haskcomb. Bowler Ray of Dorking, 2nd s. Both sign.

    The Stovell name can be found under numerous spelling variations but it does seem concentrated in this part of western Surrey. These are good examples of the useful information that can be found in marriage allegations and parish poor relief records to help trace your family's history.

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