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Hartford Stanley Families


Gillian Rickard, B.A., Dip. Loc. Hist.
99 Strangers Lane, Canterbury, Kent CT1 3XN, England.
Email: Web Site:
Kent Genealogical, Historical and Biographical Research.
(Established 1978).
Kent Indexes and Publications.
Compiler of Kent Settlement and Removal Indexes.
Index of Vagrants, Gypsies and Travellers in Kent.
Index of Canterbury Baptisms 1790-1840.
Kent Miscellaneous Index.
Others in Progress.

Dear Mr. Roy Stanley,

I am pleased to be able to tell you that my research on your behalf into the Stanley and associated families has been successful and has now reached the point where I can send you a report.

From Elizabeth Finn I obtained copies of her letters to you dated 23 July 1999,

9 September 1999, 7 December 1999, 5 April 2000 and 7 August 2000 containing the results of her research into the Stanley family and I used the results of her research and the information contained in your Emails as the starting point for my own research.

Firstly I tried to fill in some gaps on the tree. Robert Stanley, who heads the tree, evidently died intestate so I sought the record of the grant of administration of his estate in the Probate Act Book of the local probate court, the Archdeaconry Court of Canterbury. I am mailing you a print-out of the page on which this appears. The entry is in Latin and I have provided a translation on the separate sheet enclosed.

There are two points of interest here. Firstly, reference to a will of Robert Stanley, which does not now seem to survive. In his probate account his widow Ruth included the cost of taking out letters of administration of his estate and there is no mention of probate of any will, so perhaps there was some irregularity about it so that it could not be proved and she had to apply for letters of administration instead.

Secondly, we learn the occupation - joiner - of Richard Stanley, one of the people who took the inventory of Robert Stanley's goods. This bears out references to payments to him for woodworking amongst the Tenterden churchwardens' accounts which Elizabeth Finn reported in her letter of 7 August 2000. The other bondsman was John Beare, blacksmith, and it was probably he who was another appraiser of Robert Stanley's inventory - so they were both in the metal-working business.

Next, I looked at some published material for any mention of your ancestors, the Stanleys or Eridge/Uredge, starting with the index to Hugh Roberts' book 'Tenterden: The First Thousand Years', published in 1995. There proved to be no entries for the latter surnames. For Stanley only:

Page 130:

William Standley, late miller of the town mill of Appledore and now miller of Tenterden Mill, presented by the churchwardens of Appledore in June 1628 for grinding on the sabbath day. Said that the inhabitants asked him to as the wind was good that day and they had no corn to make bread.

Page 141:

Joseph Standly was paid 10s for beating the drum at two musters held in 1635.

In the sections about emigration in the book mention was made only of the Tilden and Skeets families who went to New England. I refer to the Tildens again later in this report.

I also checked the personal names index to the Calendar of the White and Black Books of the Cinque Ports 1432-1955, being Minutes of meetings of the Cinque Ports Confederation - Tenterden was a limb of Rye, one of the five original Cinque Ports. I found no entries for Standley/Stanley or Eridge/Uridge in the index.

The publication 'Kent at Law 1602', an indexed compilation of all legal cases involving the county in that year, included some entries for the surname Stanley and variants, but not involving the Tenterden area or any entry for a Robert. There are no entries for Eridge/Uridge.

My own publication of 'Kent Communicants Lists 1565-1567, Part 1', includes Tenterden but it is unfortunate that only the names of those not taking communion were recorded. It was noted that in 1565 there were 612 communicants (those aged 14 and above) in Tenterden, so it was a populous place. Part 1 also covers communicants in the parishes of Woodchurch, Appledore, Brookland, Burmarsh, Dymchurch, Ebony, Fairfield, Lympne, New Romney, Orlestone, Saltwood, Stone and West Hythe but no-one surnamed Stan(d)ley or Eridge/Uridge were listed.

I next tried an index at Canterbury Cathedral Archives, known as the XYZ index, of people who gave depositions at local church court cases, generally between about 1560 and 1640, They were typically asked their age, where they were born, where they had lived and for how long, so these records can be very useful for tracing the origins and movements of people at a time when this can be difficult to piece together. Of course, not everyone appeared before a church court in their lives and it turned out there was just one Stan(d)ley in the index. John Stanley, beer brewer of Canterbury, gave a deposition on 3 July 1622. He was aged 49, had been born at Ripple and had lived in Canterbury for 15 years. No obvious relation of yours. There were depositions by possibly two people named Robert Eridge, both millers of Buckland (next Dover), in 1599 (born Buckland, aged 30) and in 1600 (lived in Folkestone and Buckland, aged 40). Again, no connection with Tenterden.

I now turned to the parish registers of Tenterden to check some information you gave me in your Email of 15 August and which is on the IGI. According to the IGI, Robert Stanley was baptised at Tenterden on 9 March 1571/2 (a date suspiciously similar to that of John Stanley at Ashford with whom Elizabeth started her research), married there to Ruth on 1 June 1590 and died there on 31 May 1605. The IGI also states that Ruth was born in 1574 {exact date not given) in Tenterden and was buried at Tenterden on 10 September 1617. The date of Robert's death we know to be correct from the heading to his inventory, the other dates were yet to be proved.

In fact, I could find none of these entries in the original registers of Tenterden. I searched the baptisms there on 9 March 1571, also 9 March 1572 (CKS: P364/1/1) but no-one was baptised on that date in either year. There was no entry for the marriage of Robert Stanley to Ruth on 1 June 1590 - I suspected this might be a fabrication anyway because Ruth's maiden surname was not given in the IGI but maiden surnames were given in the Tenterden parish register. There was no entry for the burial of Ruth on 10 September 1617. I decided to search the register of burials myself and extracted all for Stanley and Eridge/Uridge from 1605 up to 1660, with results on the sheet enclosed.

It looked as though Richard Stanley, the joiner, was married to Isabell and both died before the other Stanleys emigrated. I looked for a will or admon for Richard in case there was any mention of Robert but found no will or administration in the Archdeaconry Court of Canterbury, the local probate court, and no will in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, which had superior jurisdiction for probate purposes over the south of England.

I now turned my attention to seeking the marriage of Robert Stanley to Ruth. Elizabeth's search of Tenterden parish register and the Weald of Kent Marriage Index to 1601 had drawn a blank. I tried the Sussex Marriage Index, which has been published since she did her research, and there found:

Robert Stanle and Ruth Garland married 17 December 1588 - Heathfield.

Heathfield is about 18 miles west of Tenterden, as the crow flies. The original, very small, village is now known as Old Heathfield to differentiate it from the modern town of Heathfield, one mile away, which grew with the railway. I am mailing you some information about Old Heathfield church, where the marriage took place, and the parish. Interestingly, its vicar, Robert Hunt, sailed in the spring of 1607 as chaplain to the expedition which established the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, but he died that first winter of 1607-8.

Looking back at the probate inventory for Robert Stanley, I noticed that two of the appraisers were Timothy Garland and John Garland and wondered if they might be relations of Ruth while Richard Stanley, another appraiser, was a relative of Robert. A test of the relevance of this marriage would be to seek the baptisms of daughters Ruth and Patience at Heathfield, so I did so.

The early parish registers of Heathfield, which start in 1581, turned out to be quite badly damaged and difficult to read, but I searched the register of baptisms for any children of Robert Stanley, with the following results:

East Sussex Record Office, Lewes:

Heathfield baptisms 1589-1600 for children of Robert Stanley:

1590 Nov 8 Ruth Stanle dau of Robert Stanlee.

1593 Sep 21 Freegift son of Robert Stanlee.

1595 Apr 27 Patyence dau of Robert Stanlee.

Finding the baptisms of Ruth and Patience proved that this was indeed your ancestral family and I had found the right marriage. Their son Freegift probably died young as there was no mention of him in Robert's probate account of 1605 and I could now go on to seek his burial.

The use of the name Freegift is interesting, as it was one of the names which the more extreme Puritans of the time gave to their children. Patience was another. I am mailing you copies of some pages from 'First Names First', by Leslie Alan Dunkling, published in 1977, which is a general history of first names. Of course, it was the Puritans who first set up colonies in America. Perhaps we now get an inkling that your emigrant ancestors held Puritan beliefs, which may be why the three sons of Robert and Ruth were fairly early emigrants in 1633. You may remember that the 1605 inventory of Robert's goods included two Bibles.

As Elizabeth mentioned in her letter of 5 April 2000, there was a flourishing iron industry in the Weald of Kent at this time and Heathfield is in that area, so it all fits.

It appears that some time between April 1595 and October 1598 the Stanley family moved from Heathfield to Tenterden. I don't know yet why they would have done so but possibly Robert had business or religious interests in Tenterden. It may be a coincidence, but the Tildens of Tenterden were also Puritans, several of whom emigrated to New England. Brothers Thomas went in 1623 and Nathaniel in March 1635 and another brother, Joseph, moved to London, assisted in fitting out the 'Mayflower' and was one of the Gentlemen Adventurers who helped in financing the Puritans in the new colony. The father of these three brothers was named Thomas Tilden and by his third wife he had a son Freegift, born around the same time as Freegift Stanley.

I next examined a listing of memorial inscriptions inside Tenterden church and in the churchyard, which was published in 1919. However, I found no entries for any Stanley, Eridge/Uridge or Garland.

In the first stages of my research I had spotted the marriage of Robert Stanley and Ruth Garland as being a possible, so while searching the register of burials at Tenterden 1605-1660 I had also searched for the surname Garland, but there were no burials in that surname. There are no entries for the surname Garland in the index to Hugh Roberts' book about Tenterden. Finally, I searched the index to Archdeaconry Court of Canterbury wills, both registered and unregistered, 1449-1712, but found no entry for any Garland of Tenterden or for any Timothy or John Garland.

This brings you up to date with the results of my research, but there is plenty of scope for further research. I could continue by looking at burials at Heathfield and whether there are any wills for Stanleys or Garlands amongst the Sussex wills and administrations. I could also extend the search of the burials at Tenterden up to 1695 or so as it is still not firmly established whether the Ruth Stanley who married Humphrie Uredge in Tenterden in 1605 was the widow of Robert or his daughter. There is also the fate of Patience, baptised 1595 and alive in 1605, to ascertain.

Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone:

P364/1/1 - Tenterden burials 1605-1660 for Stanley and variants and Eridge/Uridge and variants:

1605 Jun 1 Robte Standley.

1607 Apr 1 Richard Earidge.

1612 Sep 2 [name faded] wife to Humphrie Earidge.

1614 Jun 25 Tymothy Standley.

" Feb 3 Isabell Standley wife to Richard Standley.

1616 Jul 10 Samuell Eridge: & Robert Hovenden drowned in Pysinge pond.

1625 Jun 22 Thomas Urige.

1629 May 15 Richard Standley.

1632 Dec 12 Elizabeth wife of John Stanley.

1639 Jun 29 A child of Edward Stanley unbaptized.

" Jan 1 Anne wife of Willia' Stanly.

1644 Oct 26 William Standly.

1654 Feb 26 Rebeccah wife of Joseph Stand[rest of surname lost in binding].

Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone:

PRC 3/26/122.

8 June 1605.

On the same day before the said substitute on the part of Ralph Bailes, notary public.

On which day at the petition of Mr. Norwood issuing from the Commission of Messrs George Elye, vicar of Tenterden, William Reade, vicar of Rolvinden, and William Lawse, rector of Halden, together and separately to hear one Ruth Standley executrix of the will of Robert Standley late of Tenterden in the Archdiocese of Canterbury deceased in and concerning the truth and validity of the will of the deceased and to order etc. within a month by commission of the aforesaid Master George Elye on the 10th day of the month of June, John Dunkin and Obadiah Elye etc. being bound with the same Richard Standley of Tenterden aforesaid, joiner, and John Beare of the same place, blacksmith, in 100 to produce an inventory of the aforesaid deceased to the Commission which was that same day extended, to the sum of 52 12s 1d.

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