William Stockley 1812/1815-1887

I recently heard from John, a descendant of William Stockley who died in 1887. More accurately, I received a nudge from John, who had asked me – more than a year ago – for information on William Stockley’s birth and parents and also his possible 2nd marriage to Ann.

The basics of William are easy: his marriage to Frances Ford appears in the parish register in 1833: the first four children died in infancy and there is a gap in the baptisms where one or even two more children might have been stillborn or miscarried.  Then, at last. a child survives to adulthood: John, who moved to Cheshire in the 1870s and became a cab-driver; then Mary who ; and finally Caleb, who also died as a baby.  In 1860, Frances died; in 1871, William is living with a new ‘wife’ Ann – though no marriage in the Tingewick registers – who I think died in October 1880; and finally William’s death in 1887.

Meanwhile he is faithfully recorded in all the census returns – a small farmer with wife and surviving children.  In 1851, his aged father-in-law is lodging with them; in 1861, he has a child from London visiting – perhaps a nephew of his late wif’e’s since the surname is the same.  In 1862, Jackson’s Oxford Journal reports that he was appointed one of the parish constables.  Through the 1860s and 70s, he is listed as a farmer in the Post Office directories.

None of this brings us any nearer to the question of his birth and parentage.  His year of birth is perhaps a bit fuzzy: in 1841 he is recorded as 25 – which should mean anywhere between 25 and 30.  In successive census returns he claims to be 37; 49; 56 and 68 – and in every case, he is said to have been born in Tingewick..  In 1887, in the burial register, he is said to be 74.  His birth, then, should be between 1812 and 1815.

Around that time, there were two couples with children appearing  in the parish baptism register: George and Elizabeth had children baptised in 1802, 1804, 1806: Edward and Elizabeth in 1809, then a gap till John and Sarah in 1817.  My transcript of the first years of the 19th century is unchecked, and taken from a poor copy of the microfilm: there was a possible entry in October 1811 where the parents were Thomas and Mary but I couldn’t read the surname – the IGI says it was Barnes, and ten months earlier there was a marriage of Thomas Barnes to Mary Everett in the marriage register so that is probably correct.

In the absence of another, entirely different branch, Edward and Elizabeth seem to be the most likely probability.   Perhaps they became non-conformists after that first baptism?

Although William and Frances baptised their children in the parish church, it is quite possible his parents were non-conformist.  Even so, his family should show up on one record or another in the parish.  So, my next step will be to analyse those – the Posse Commitatus, the Inclosure Act, and of course any wills I might have seen.

Henry Bartlett Pulley 1826-1882

When I first became interested in family history, some 25 years ago (jings!) it didn’t take me long to discover that my in-laws were descended from Richard King (1810-1891) and his wife Matilda nee Pulley (1805-1870) – photos here – who married at Akeley in 1831.

Richard and Matilda King on the 1861 census of Tingewick

Richard and Matilda King on the 1861 census of Tingewick

When I looked at the 1861 census of Tingewick I found on page 18 details of Richard King, aged 51, Parish Relieving Officer (administering Poor Relief) and Registrar.  Matilda was 55.  Two of their children – William aged 21 and Amelia aged 17 – were in the household.  There was also a ‘visitor’ – Henry Pulley, aged 5, a carpenter’s son born in Lambeth. Presumably a relation of some sort; I made a note and passed on, trusting to future research to uncover the link.

Fast-forward nearly twenty years, then,  to 2004, and I received an email – now, alas, lost in moving from one system to another – from a John Dews who was researching the Pulley and Butler families.  He told me that Matilda had given birth to an illegitimate son, Henry Bartlett Pulley, in 1826.  Sure enough, the Oxfordshire FHS transcript fiche for Weston-on-the-Green shows a baptism on 9th March:

1826 baptism of Henry Bartlett son of Martha Pulley

1826 baptism of Henry Bartlett son of Martha Pulley at Weston on the Green

Henry Bartlett son of Matilda Pulley, Spinster

No father named … but … nine months previously, at the marriage of Matilda’s sister Martha, the two witnesses were Matilda  and one William Bartlett.


1825  30 May  John Baker of Blechington, Oxfordshire, bachelor & Martha Pulley OTP spinster by licence witnesses William Bartlett, Matilda Pulley

Did “Something Happen”  that night between the barely-twenty-year-old Matilda and William, under the influence of too much romance and wedding wine?  Was William be the father of Matilda’s child?  If so, since he was presumably a close family friend, why did he not marry her?  Or was he just that – a dear family friend who was supportive and was honoured – perhaps as a godfather – by the use of his name for the baby.

A search of the OFHS fiche transcription doesn’t reveal much.  Mary, daughter of John and Mary was baptised in 1777 … and was buried soon afterwards, with her mother.  Two years afterwards, John married again: and 1782 they had a son William – who was buried in 1806, aged 24, followed a year later by his mother, aged 62.  His father died nearly ten years later, in 1816, aged 78: but this seems to be the only family named Bartlett recorded in the parish.  Oddly, though, there is a document mentioned on the Oxfordshire roots list that apparently says there was a William Bartlett resident in the parish in 1807: perhaps, though, they were in fact a landowner in the parish but living elsewhere.

What happened to Henry Bartlett Pulley?  I wonder if he was fostered, perhaps by a trusted family servant.  Someone must have paid for his indentures as a carpenter’s apprentice: in 1881 he was a 55 year old carpenter in Southwark, Surrey (now part of London) with a wife nine years his junior .  Henry jnr, who had been in Tingewick twenty years before, was in the household and had followed his father into the carpentry trade.  There were two daughters, and another son.  He died in London a year later, aged 56.

Tingewick Virtual Cemetery

Plan of Tingewick cemetery

Plan of Tingewick cemetery


J.F. sent an email to the e-group saying he could no longer see the map / plan of the Tingewick churchyard had vanished .  In fact, he was emailing the wrong person!   The plan on the Rootsweb Tingewick People website is of the Tingewick CEMETERY on Water Stratford Road which was first used for burials around 1900.  It can still be seen on this page: but the plan of the CHURCHYARD on the wonderful Tingewick Churchyard Project website (i.e. the graves round the church) has vanished.

However, if you try the link and then look at the address it is trying to take you to, you might spot the mistake – it ends in not one but TWO .pdf’s.  Sure enough, removing one of them works: try  http://www.tingewickchurchyard.co.uk/pdf/historical/churchyard+map.pdf