The following information, researched in the main by my dear cousin KATE KILLICK with a small additional amount found by yours truly, tells the story of my mother's direct ancestry reaching back 270+ years.
It is based mainly in and around a relatively small area of West Somerset - Wellington, Langford Budville, Elworthy, Pitsford Hill, Lydeard St Lawrence, Tarr and, of course, finally Taunton.
I hope you will not be too confused with the name William, as there are any number of William Stephens in our family tree!
JAMES Stephens, son of WILLIAM (no details) and MARY (? maiden name - b. 1738, d. 11.1.1807), was christened in Wellington, Somerset on 16.9.1781.
James married MARY (? maiden name - b. 1793) and died in Langford Budville on 3.7.1855.
James and Mary's son WILLIAM (photo no. 9 below), was christened in Langford Budville on 23.1.1820. He lived to the grand old age of 91, passing away at Williton Workhouse on 29.5.1911.
William married BRITANNIA BENNETT (b. 1822) on 27.3.1845 in Langford Budville. Their son WILLIAM was christened on Boxing Day 1847, but sadly only lived for a further few weeks, passing away at Elworthy on 13.2.1848. Britannia had passed away on 5.12.1847 - most likely in labour or due to complications with the birth of infant son, William.
Widower William married his second wife, ELIZA CHEDGEY (chr. 16.9.1821, Exford; d. 22.11.1901, Pitsford Hill) at Elworthy on 5.10.1848. William & Eliza produced 6 children -
Daughter Mary married EDWIN THOMAS (b. 1856, Oakford, Devon) in 1880 and daughter Ann married JOHN BAKER (b. 1860, Enmore) in 1886.
THOMAS (b. 23.11.1849, Tilsey, Elworthy; d. 22.5.1912, Pitsford Hill)
MARY (b. 1851, Elworthy; d. ?)
ELIZABETH (d. 20.11.1853, Elworthy - aged 3 weeks)
WILLIAM (d.11.2.1855, Elworthy - aged 2 weeks)
ANN (b. 1860, Elworthy; d. ?)
WILLIAM (b. 1863, Elworthy; d. ?)
Eldest son Thomas (photo no.3 below) married MARY ANN CRIDDLE (photo no. 7 below) (b. 7.6.1854, Stogumber; d. 7.4.1911, Pitsford Hill) at Lydeard St Lawrence on 10.4.1878. Thomas and Mary Ann had 7 children -
FLORENCE (photo no. 26 below)(b. 15.1.1881, Lydeard St Lawrence) married EDWIN JOHN BOYES at West Bromwich in 1905.
WILLIAM (photo no. 15 below)(b. 31.8.1882, Tarr; d. 7.12.1939, Taunton) married SUSANNAH JAYNE (photo no. 22 below)(b. 6.10.1884, Merthyr Vale; d. 10.7.1965) at Taunton on 26.12.1908.
LILLY (b. 29.8.1884, Lydeard St Lawrence) married WILLIAM T. KEEN at Exeter in 1916.
ANNIE (photo no. 21 below)(b. 25.12.1886, Lydeard St Lawrence) married ARTHUR G.F. KING in 1912.
MABEL (photo no. 21 below)(b. 1888, Lydeard St Lawrence) married HERBERT SINGLETON in 1918.
BESSIE (photo no. 20 below)(b. 1891, Lydeard St Lawrence)
ADA (photo no. 20 below)(b. 1893, Lydeard St Lawrence; d. 1985, Wells).
In the 1901 census, Thomas and Mary Ann were living at Scarr Cottage, Lydeard St Lawrence (photo no. 4 below). Thomas was an Agricultural Machinist & Wheelwright, their son WILLIAM a shoeing and General Blacksmith.
William's marriage to Susannah produced 6 children -
DOREENA MARY (b. 24.3.1910, Taunton; d. 2.4.1979, Taunton)(married ROBERT POOLE) - my mother & father.
WILLIAM THOMAS CHARLES (b. 28.9.1911, Taunton; d. 7.9.2010, Taunton)(married ANNIE COUGHTREY) - Kate's (and Pamela & Margaret's) father & mother.
EVA MAY (b. 8.2.1913, Taunton; d. 29.8.1996) (married JOHN PALMER)- Terry's mother & father.
ARTHUR DENNIS (photo no. 29 below)(b.24.9.1915, Taunton; d. 7.9.1918, Taunton).
CLIFFORD GLENFIELD (b.22.11.1919, Taunton; d. 26.6.1987, Taunton) (married VIOLET BOND)- Alan, John & Paul's father & mother.
(NORMAN) ERIC (b. 27.9.1923, Taunton)(married JUNE MILLARD)- Susan's father & mother.
The family lived at 2 Prospect Terrace, Canal Road, Taunton until the early 1920's when they moved to 69 Cyril Street West, Taunton.
You have read the history of the Stephens family, now I can bring some of these people to life, as it were, by featuring wonderful old photos of a number of the Stephens clan!
From various sources, including late Uncle Will's collection, we can not only imagine what these people looked like, we are able to actually see them, as they were, back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
My mum had a large and loving family - this is my tribute to them all, as we have passed the 100th anniversary of my mum's birth.
Please do enjoy these photos and contact me by email if you so desire.
May 2013 (updated)
1 - William & Susannah Stephens with Clifford and Eric (approx. 1930)
2 - Thomas & Mary Ann (nee Criddle) Stephens (approx. 1880)
3 - Thomas Stephens (approx. 1890)
4 - Scarr Cottage & Chapel, Nr Tarr, West Somerset.
(Where Thomas & Mary Ann Stephens once lived)
5 - William Stephens's father (my great-grandfather) Thomas, with his work-mates.
Thomas is in the trilby hat, third from the right.
(love the ZZ-Top lookalike 2nd from the left!!!)
6 - William T.C., Clifford G. & N. Eric Stephens at 9, Portland Street, Taunton (approx. 1925), standing in front of rabbit hutch beside covered-up clothes mangle
7 - Mary Ann Stephens (nee Criddle) (approx. 1897)
8 - Desmond, Arthur, Edie & Ivor Goldsworthy at 69, Cyril Street West, Taunton (? date)
9 - William Stephens (christened 23.1.1820 - Langford Budville; died 29.5.1911 - Williton Workhouse
Oldest photograph in collection (approx 1870)
10 - Farm workers (no further details)
11 - Charles Aplin & Susannah (nee Morle/Morell) Coles, who brought up Susannah Jayne (Stephens) from the age of 3 at 2, Prospect Terrace, Canal Road, Taunton
Child is likely to be Susannah Jayne (Stephens) (approx. 1886)
12 - Thomas Jane (lived in Merthyr Vale) b 15.4.1856 (Highway, Tywardreath, Cornwall); d 14.2.1920 (Merthyr Vale) (approx. 1900)
13 - Mary Ann Jane (nee Coles) (lived in Merthyr Vale) b 31.1.1859 (Taunton); d 1.7.1927 (Merthyr Vale)
14 - Thomas & Mary Ann Jane (as 10 & 11 above) married 7.5.1877 (High Street Chapel, Merthyr Tydfil). Lived in Merthyr Vale.
Photo maybe taken approx. 1912 when visiting 9 Portland Street, Taunton.
Who is the child in the photo?
15 - William Stephens - aged 20 (approx. 1902)
16 - Edith May John
Photo postcard sent in December 1907 to Aunt Edie's sister Susannah Jayne (known as Susannah Coles) at 2 Prospect Terrace, Taunton by Thomas & Lavinia John.
Edith May John (born in March ¼ 1902) was the niece of Aunt Edie Goldsworthy and my Grandma Susannah Stephens.
17 - Allen's Garage, Bridge Street, Taunton (? date)
18 - William & Susannah Stephens with son (Arthur) Dennis and soldiers of the Great War with a Model T Ford (1917)
19 - William Stephens with Allen's Garage Argyl breakdown vehicle (? date)
20 - Mary Ann Stephens with William Stephens (age 17), Aunt Bessie (age 8) & Auntie Ada (age 6)
Photo taken at Pitsford Hill in 1899
21 - Mary Ann Stephens (front) with Aunts Mabel & Nancy (Annie King)
Photo taken - 1908
22 - Susannah Stephens (nee Jayne)
In her teens - approx. 1900
23 - William Stephens (approx. 1930)
24 - 2 Prospect Terrace, Canal Road, Taunton - 1911
Doreena Stephens, Susannah Stephens, Susannah Coles & Nelly Coles
25 - 2 Prospect Terrace, Canal Road, Taunton - 1911
Susannah Stephens, Susannah Coles & Nelly Coles, Doreena Stephens (sat in wicker chair)
26 - William T.C. Stephens with Aunt Florrie (Florence Boys (nee Stephens)).
Photo taken on October 5th 1914
27 - North Town Boys School, Taunton. Standard 1 - approx. 1919
William T.C. Stephens - 2nd row from top, 2nd from left
28 - Clarence Street & Portland Street Carnival - 1923
William T.C. Stephens is the "Sandwich Man" (Don't Forget The Sports) - front right
Doreena & Eva Stephens dressed in white to his right, middle row, either side of the nurse
29 - (Arthur) Dennis Stephens - born 24.9.1915; died 7.9.1918 - (age 2; pneumonia)
(Extracted from photo 17 above)
30 - My maternal Grandparents, Susannah and William Stephens.
31 - Susannah & William's eldest children. From the left: Eva, Will & Dorrie.
This is the earliest photograph of my mother, Dorrie, taken in 1914 when she was 4 years old.
My very grateful thanks to cousin Terry Palmer & Rosemary for this wonderful early photo.
32 - Aunt Gin (far right) with, amongst others, Eva (middle row, far left) and Cliff (front row, left)
Photograph taken in Peter Street, Taunton in (c)1925
33 - William & Susannah's children.
My mother (in 1924, when she was 14), pictured here with her brother & sisters.
From the left: Eva, Cliff, Dorrie (my mother), Eric (in her arms) & Will.
34 - We are not at all sure where and when this photograph was taken, but estimate it to be around 1900 in, possibly, West Somerset.
The family was born, raised and lived in the Elworthy, Lydeard St. Lawrence, Tarr area.
As mentioned earlier, Thomas Stephens (born on 23rd November 1849 at Tilsey, Elworthy : died on 22nd May 1912 at Pitsford Hill) was an agricultural machinist and wheelwright and at the end of the 19th century was living at Scarr Cottage with his wife and 7 children.
The present inhabitant of the cottage and caretaker (together with her husband) of the adjoining chapel, Jenny Caines, has most kindly been in touch with me with some very interesting information regarding Thomas Stephens. Jenny has informed me that Thomas wrote a poem while living at the cottage entitled "In Affectionate Remembrance of John Greedy". It was, apparently, through the witness of John Greedy that Thomas came to know the Lord. The poem first appeared in a journal containing information about Timothy Winter's Reed Combing Machine (the Winters being a well-known local family in this area of West Somerset) and was passed to Jenny by a Winter's family descendent, Anne. The Winter & Stephens families were acquainted with each other at that time.
Anne is delighted for the poem to be featured on my website and feels that it deserves wider appreciation. Thank you Anne and Jenny - thanks to you, here is that poem, written by my great-grandfather more than a century ago. Thomas was a manual worker but he was, most definitely, a wordsmith too.
How often, through converse, the newspaper, or pen,
We hear, or we read of the world’s great men
Who for the valour, their wealth, or their name,
Have gained for themselves a world-wide fame.
Some member of Parliament, some warrior brave,
Of the estate of the rich, their ancient descent,
Who, for his country, his life’s blood he gave;
Of some wondrous explorer, or investor wise –
How much there is said of such when they die.
How much of their wealth in charity spent;
Of a lord, or a duke, or of some millionaire
One would think with such there’s none to compare.
Of funeral processions, what a long list we read
In memory of John Greedy is my simple rhyme,
Where born and where buried, their age and their creed.
Their wills and bequests, and I don’t know what not:
But the poor honest labourer is quickly forgot.
To speak his praise to all I think it no crime;
That noble Christian man is often in my thoughts
Of him to write I feel unfit to do it as I ought.
As a miner, hard he worked, to maintain his home,
Though but a humble miner, and not a learned man,
Like many, to the alehouse he was not known to roam;
From all intoxicating drinks, a firm abstainer he,
An advocate of temperance, wherever he may be.
His name was always found on the circuit preaching plan;
Through earnest love for souls, though toiling through the week,
He spent the golden Sabbath hours precious souls to seek.
But then each day in store, some gentle word hath he
But called to constant work in the vineyard of the Lord
For anyone in trouble who needed sympathy;
In love he’d warn the sinner, of tell of Jesus’ love,
Explain to all the narrow way to endless joys above.
He daily went from door to door with God’s Holy word;
He’d read some Scripture truth, explain in simple way,
Enquire in prayer, or give a tract – thus he spent each day.
A prayer meeting he’d conduct, almost every day,
Better far to wear out, than rust out, he would say,
Three services on Sundays, and thus he worked away;
He was beloved by all, and welcomed with delight,
He seldom reached his home till very late at night.
In the service of the Lord, though you have scanty pay.
Caring, lovely, good and kind, faithful, firm and true,
And most faithfully he sought his Master’s work to do.
A few short years of toil, his work on earth is done,
A short but useful life, his age just forty nine,
His sorrows here are ended, his joy in heaven begun;
Disease through over toil, a few weeks laid him by,
His course below was ended, God summoned him to die.
O may we each and all in glory with him shine;
Our life should be like his, then death will only be
A passport to the better land of immortality.
May God bless the widow, the bereaved children too,
My simple rhyme is ended, I’ve done the best I can,
May He supply their every need, and may they serve Him who
Has pledged Himself a husband to the widow in distress,
A Father, He has said He’ll be, to the fatherless.
I’ve never been to college, I’m but a working man;
Adieu to our dear brother, just for a little while,
In heaven may we meet again to greet his loving smile.
Thomas Stephens (1849 - 1912)