A number of family trees on Ancestry.com deal with the Stone families of Somerset and Devon, England. Two in particular contain incorrect ancestry for Robert Stone and his wife Elizabeth Hill, some of whose descendants immigrated to Tasmania, Melbourne and New Zealand. I note the discrepancy in the Sullivan Tilley FT and the Stone NZ FT. Robert Stone’s birth is estimated at 1676 in these trees but was probably closer to 1665 – 1670. There is abundant documentation on Robert Stone’s life on this website. I recommend viewing the Stone descendants chart and especially the Cheffins Auction documents. There are many documents regarding the history of this family. Also look at the Wills and Indentures on this website for more documents about the Stone family. The AUS and NZ Stones do not connect to the Stones of Yarcombe, Devon. The common ancestor of all of these Stones was Richard Stone ca 1579 of Clayhanger, Devon. Please leave comments on this site if you wish more information or would like to discuss further.
The STONE FAMILY OF CHIPSTABLE documents from the July 2013 auction at Cheffins of Cambridge can be viewed on this website and on the Dartmouth College Library website. They are also available for viewing at the Somerset Heritage Society, the Devon Heritage Society (Devon Records Office) and the Devon Family History Society. Many other surnames are involved in the documents. Abstracts of the documents are provided in this website and at the Dartmouth College library website. We will be grateful for expanded abstracts and full transcriptions. Please leave a COMMENT on this site if you are willing to provide abstracts or transcriptions. For access to the documents and the Dartmouth College website images, click STONE FAMILY, then STONE DOCUMENTS, then Cheffins.
Thanks to research done by Bishop Stone’s great great granddaughter Rosalind Nash Prewett of Dorset, we now can confirm Bishop’s relationships and family tree. This additional information, together with studies done by Robert Hayward, Nan Mead and me since the early 1990s, makes us confident that we now correctly understand Bishop Stone’s ancestry. Please see the archived post on this website dated September 2013 for a statement of the “Bishop Stone Conundrum.” Here are the questions then posed and the answers:
1) Who were John and Mary Stone, the parents of Bishop Stone 1803 and his older brother John 1800 and their two younger siblings Mary and Edmund?
As has long been believed, we can now confirm that Bishop’s father was John Stone 1775, son of John Stone 1739 and Elizabeth Sellick 1750, and a grandson of Thomas Stone 1716 and Betty Perratt 1718. John’s wife Mary was baptized Mary Stone in Brompton Ralph in 1778, a daughter of John Stone 1757 of Lydeard St. Lawrence and Patience Yendell of Raddington. Recent research into Chipstable land records and registers of voters in 1832 and 1846 now confirms that brothers John and Bishop Stone occupied properties that had been in the family of Thomas Stone 1716, then of his son John Stone 1739, and then of his grandson John Stone 1775. These properties include Easter Above Church and Wester Above Church, which were given to John Stone 1739 by his father Thomas and then to John 1775 by his father John 1739.
John Stone 1775 died in 1823 and was buried in Chipstable. The death date of his wife Mary Stone Stone is not certain. Perhaps she died in 1812 when her son Edmund died shortly after birth. Neither John nor Mary Stone were noted as witnesses when their son John married Grace Hancock in 1832 in Morebath, Devon. One would have expected one or both of them to be witnesses had they been alive. Wills are in hand for most of Bishop’s Stone ancestors. For neither John nor Mary has a will been found, suggesting possible unexpected deaths at short notice.
John Stone (1775-1823) had an older brother Thomas (1773-?) and younger brothers William (1779-1804), James (1781-1800), Captain (1784-1821) (my 3X great grandfather), Robert (1786-?), and Joseph (1790-1798)
(2) Who was Robert Stone, the innkeeper at Bampton Inn in Wiveliscombe?
In his 1864 will, Robert Stone the innkeeper provided for his brother John and his nephew Bishop Stone! For some twenty five years, those will provisions quite logically led us to conclude that the innkeeper was Robert Stone 1786 listed above. Robert 1786 indeed was a true uncle of Bishop Stone and brother of John 1775. Thus we determined that he must have been the innkeeper, even though much evidence pointed to Robert the innkeeper having been born in 1790, not in 1786.
While we believed that Robert Stone 1786 was the innkeeper who wrote his will in 1862, the naming of his brother John in the will forced us to question the 1823 burial of John Stone 1775 of Chipstable, even though the burial data appeared to be valid for this John. If John had not died in 1823, however, he would have been 89 years old when Robert’s will was proved in 1864. That age seemed somewhat improbable, but with the additional naming in the will of nephew Bishop, it seemed compelling at the time to conclude that the innkeeper was Robert Stone 1786.
With our recent research in hand, however, it is now certain that the innkeeper was NOT Robert Stone 1786. Indeed, I do not know what became of Robert Stone 1786. His life after being named in his mother’s will in 1804 remains a mystery. The innkeeper whose will is so important to this conundrum was Robert Stone 1790, son of Robert Stone 1744, clothier, and Jane Chorley. Census and tombstone data all confirm that Robert the innkeeper was born about 1790, not 1786. The latest research documents the conclusion that Robert Stone 1790 was the Wiveliscombe innkeeper.
In addition to his proprietorship of the Bampton Inn, Robert the innkeeper was a resident of the Wiveliscombe property called “Weare”, which he had inherited via his father from his grandfather Thomas Stone 1716. The will of Thomas Stone makes this clear. The line of descent to the innkeeper was Thomas Stone 1716\Robert Stone 1744 (clothier)\Robert Stone 1790. It was not Thomas Stone 1716\John Stone 1739\Robert Stone 1786.
Recent research regarding the two Somerset marriages of the innkeeper Robert Stone 1790 confirm the correct ancestry. Both marriages were to widows. Both marriage records state that Robert was the son of Robert 1744, clothier, i.e. not John 1739. According to the parish record in FreeReg, in 1839 Robert was living in Wiveliscombe as a clothier (like his father). He married the widow Maria Timewell in Bishops Hull, Taunton. Her father was Thomas Bowker. In the marriage certificate, Robert’s father was specified to be Robert Stone, clothier.
The widow Maria Timewell was recorded in Wiveliscombe parish records as being Maria Shaddock, the base born daughter of Ann Shaddock. In 1797 Maria married Robert Timewell, and in 1798 they had a son James. In 1861 James was living with his stepfather Robert Stone in Wiveliscombe, stating his age as 63. It appears likely that Thomas Bowker was Maria’s father, as he was named as such in the 1839 marriage record.
Maria died in 1858 and was buried in the Wiveliscombe churchyard in a site subsequently shared by her husband Robert Stone 1790. In 1861 Robert married another widow, Catherine Gerard, in Weston Super Mare. Catherine was the daughter of Edward Govett Dyer of Milverton. (See FreeReg). Once again, the groom’s father was named as Robert Stone, clothier. It is tempting to speculate that Robert 1790 was visiting John Stone 1789, his first cousin once removed. John was the former Lord of the Manor of Chipstable. After leaving Chipstable, John had become a prominent attorney in Bath and Bristol. He later retired to Weston Super Mare where he died in 1864.
Robert’s second wife, Catherine, died in Wiveliscombe on 10 April, 1865, leaving £1500 to her sister Ann Long in Bristol, described as “her only next of kin.”
So why did Robert the innkeeper name Bishop Stone as his “nephew” in his will, bringing upon us all of this consternation and doubt and requiring many months of additional research?
From the wording of his will, we can accept that Robert did have a brother named John, but as yet we have not yet identified brother John in parish records.
Using current relationship terminology, Bishop Stone was the “grandnephew” of Robert’s father, Robert Stone 1744, the elder clothier. Perhaps Robert 1790 (the younger clothier and then innkeeper) roughly concluded that if Bishop was his father’s grandnephew, he was his nephew. Furthermore, there are those doing genealogical research who counsel us not to take literally the word usage of relationships like “nephew” in documents from the 18th and 19th century. “Jim”, on Somerset Rootsweb, recently advised as follows:
“Relationships in the 19th Century did not have the same meaning as the words we use today. For example son in law was not the husband of one’s daughter but the son of a wife from her previous marriage. Equally, cousin did not necessarily refer to the child of one’s uncle/aunt. Nephew and Niece were sometimes used in reference to one’s God – Children, who may have no blood relationship of any sort. References in wills to “relationships” of modern usage therefore need to be taken with a pinch of salt. “True” blood relationships were usually referred to in the terms son/daughter of my said brother/sister. Anything else needs careful study before drawing conclusions.”
Today we would describe Bishop Stone as the first cousin, one generation younger, of Robert Stone 1790, the innkeeper who wrote the will. Since the true family relationships now are clear and documented, we must accept, as Jim suggested, that the relationship terminology used 150 years ago was not necessarily how we would describe relationships today.
This website has focused on the descendants of Richard Stone 1579 of Clayhanger, Devon, who can be found in Chipstable, Asbrittle, Wiveliscombe and other nearby parishes in Somerset and Devon.
When working with Robert Hayward, then of Wellington, and Nan (Mrs. George) Mead in 1995 and later, we discovered that we needed to separate our many Stones into at least two big lines after Richard Stone 1579 of my line was discovered to be the father of Emanuel Stone from his first marriage. Emanuel’s descendants include Captain Stone 1784 who emigrated to Illinois in 1818. This is the line from which I descend.
Richard 1579 (my 9th GGF) married a second time, almost forty years after his first marriage. The descendants of his marriage with Elinor/Eleanor also remained in the parishes named above and were close companions of their cousins from Richard’s first marriage, primarily around Chipstable, Ashbrittle and Wiveliscombe. This second marriage also produced a Captain Stone 1756, a cousin of my ancestor Captain 1784. This older Captain’s son Robert emigrated to Tasmania and is responsible for thousands of descendants there and in Australia and New Zealand. (Captain Stone 1784 of the first descent line was most likely named after his older cousin Captain Stone 1756 of the second descent line). I know of no other Captain Stones in Great Britain, and I have been told by an eminent historian and university vice chancellor that he has never seen a given (baptismal) name Captain in any English family of whatever surname!
There are many more Stones in the parishes named and in other neighboring parishes that I have been unable to attach accurately and confidently to my existing tree. Since the parish records in Ashbrittle and Chipstable are absent in the 16c and sparse in the 17c, many of these unattached Stones may indeed belong in the same large family that includes Richard Stone 1579. There were many Stones in Clayhanger, Devon from the late 15c or earlier. I recall that 13 of the 30 or so Clayhanger wills that are housed at the UK Archives were Stones, by far the largest one-name contingent from that parish.
When Richard 1579 of Clayhanger was discovered to be the father of Emanuel Stone 1608, and later as the father of a second family who then lived in Ashbrittle and Chipstable, the discovery separated this entire family from one that had been developed by Bob Hayward and that can be found online in various sites that contain uploaded family trees. Some of the data in those trees is now known to be in error, as the family of Richard Stone 1579 has been developed and documented. The direct lines from Richard 1579 to the Stones of Illinois and the Stones of Australia and New Zealand I am confident are correct. I cannot be certain, however, of the descendants of all the brothers and sisters down through the generations. There are hundreds of Stones in my PAF file that I cannot firmly tie to the Richard Stone 1579 line, but many of them may belong there.
Bob Hayward traced another Stone line back to William Stone of Yarcombe, Devon in 1566, and I am including in this post a chart of the descendants of William 1566, including an index. This data is Bob’s work and I have not done any research to corroborate or change it. Stone researchers who do not belong to the Richard Stone 1579 family may belong to the William Stone 1566 family. Perhaps the two families are connected, but at this time I do not know. Bob Hayward has many of the descendants of William 1566 living in Langford Budville, Wiveliscombe, Chipstable and other parishes around Wiveliscombe, i.e. almost the same parishes in which the Richard Stone descendants lived.
I would be most pleased if someone could find a connection between these two lines, or prove that there is not one. I will be happy to answer questions – if I know the answer!
Twelve generations of the descendants of William Stone of Yarcombe are shown here. Click below.
“STONE FAMILY OF CHIPSTABLE”. That is how the Cheffins Auctioneer in Cambridge described the almost one hundred documents obtained for this site in July 2013. At last I have compiled abstracts of the documents in order of date, from the 16c to the 19c. The documents relate primarily to the Stone family of Chipstable, Ashbrittle and Wiveliscombe, Somerset and Clayhanger and elsewhere in Devon, but there are many other surnames and a few other parishes mentioned. The most important surnames in addition to STONE are members of the Bluet family and John Bluet’s descendants, and members of the Hill, Norman, Perratt, Rogers, and Timewell families. Among others named in the documents are Arscott, Basset, Burge, Crympe, Davys, Daw, Gear, Hancock, Hawkins, Hooper, Hosegood, Jones, Langdon, Lang, Lenthall, Lord Lymington, Malet, Manly, Peaton, Perriam, Pook, Potten, Pyne, Quicke, Richard, Rogers, Scott, Slocombe, Standerwyck, Tanfield, Trevelyan, Waldron, Warren, Wellstead, Westcott, Williams, Winter, and Yeandle. There are probably more! The surnames BOND and BOYD should be added because the documents were obtained from the archives of those families. Anna Stone married Alfred Bond in Devon in 1863, and that is how the documents moved from the Stone family to their in-laws.
To find the documents, go to the STONE DOCUMENTS page table of contents, find the link to the Cheffins documents at the bottom of the table, and click on it. Alternatively, go to the bottom of the STONE DOCUMENTS page and find the same link at the bottom of the previous text entries. We welcome comments on these documents. Ultimately full text versions will be available.
Or simply click here: Cheffins documents in date order for web
In August 2013 we obtained almost 100 documents from an auction at Cheffins in Cambridge. Although they confirm most of what is shown on this website as descendants of Richard Stone 1579, there will be some changes and additions. For example, a major change involves William Stone 1716, son of Robert Stone 1670 in the second line of descent with Richard and Eleanor. Remove his son William who married Jane Crooke, and their descendants. They do not belong in this line. William 1716 married Betty Norman in 1775 and they had sons William and Robert, of whom Robert survived. I do not know the precise provenance of William Stone who married Jane Crooke but will suggest some options. There will be other changes and some additions based upon these marvelous original documents, but the change noted above is the major one in correcting an error. The line from Richard Stone 1579 and Eleanor (his second marriage) is now very firm down to the emigration of Robert Stone 1789 and his sons Captain James Stone and Robert Stone to Australia and New Zealand. For the descendants in AUS and NZ I have relied upon the expert work of my NZ cousins. There may be some changes in the collateral lines of Richard’s first line of descent (first marriage with wife UNKNOWN), but the direct line to the USA emigration remains firm. Stay tuned for further updates to this tree, but it will be a while before I have time to make all the additions.
The Bishop Stone Conundrum
The relationships described here are backed up by parish records. Only some of the interpretations remain in question.
Bishop Stone was baptized in Chipstable, Somerset in 1803 and was a life-long resident of the parish. The parish record for Bishop, and also for John 1800, Mary 1809 and Edmund 1812, list the parents as John and Mary Stone.
Who were John and Mary Stone? There appear to be two choices.
(1) A John Stone married a Mary Stone in Bishops Lydeard on March 10, 1799, perfect timing for the birth of first son John in November 1800 and Bishop in 1803. (Mary Stone was the daughter of John Stone and Patience Yendall of Lydeard St. Lawrence.) Stone family researchers believe that this John Stone was the son of John Stone and Elizabeth Selleck of Wiveliscombe and Chipstable. He was baptized in 1775 and would have been about 25 when John 1800 was baptized.
(2) There was another couple named John Stone and Mary in Chipstable at the time. Parish records show the dual baptisms of a son John Stone and a daughter Mary Stone on 27 Oct 1797, two years before the marriage of the #1 couple John Stone and Mary named above. This John presumably would have been slightly older than the first John described, because the two children of this John and Mary Stone were baptized three years earlier. The family relationships and marriage of this couple John and Mary Stone have not been identified.
The Stone family researchers with whom I have worked since the 1990s concluded that Bishop’s father was the first John Stone above, the second son of John Stone 1739 – 1799 and Elizabeth Sellick 1750 – 1804. John 1739 belonged to a long-time Chipstable family and lived in both Wiveliscombe and Chipstable. John and Elizabeth had six sons and no daughters, one of whom, in addition to John 1775, was Robert who was baptized in 1786.
Bishop Stone’s father John did indeed have a brother named Robert. A Robert Stone died in 1864 and in his will he named his nephew Bishop Stone as his primary heir and left a legacy of £200 to his brother John. The 1861 census noted that this same Robert Stone lived in the Wiveliscombe property called “Weare” that had been acquired under copyhold lease by Thomas Stone 1716 – 1789 father of John 1739, and remained in the family for three or more generations. Robert Stone was a victualler and a hotel manager. At his death he owned the Bampton Hotel in Wiveliscombe. After his death, his nephew Bishop Stone had some control of the hotel property, according to documents at the SHC. Robert’s will and the census data appear to confirm that both he and his brother John were sons of John Stone and Elizabeth Sellick.
So what is the conundrum?
1) In the 1851 and 1861 census Robert, the Innkeeper and uncle of Bishop and brother of John, gives his birth year as 1790, not 1786. His tombstone at St. Andrews, Wiveliscombe in 1864 states that he was 74 years of age (i.e. born 1790). Thus Robert is saying that his birth year was 1790, not 1786 when Parish records state that Robert Stone son of John Stone and Elizabeth Sellick was baptized. Did Robert fudge on his age? Could Robert 1786 have died and another Robert been born in 1790 – the same year his brother Joseph was baptized? There is no record of such burial or baptism.
There was, however, a Robert Stone who was baptized in Wiveliscombe in 1790. His parents were Robert Stone and Jane Chorley. Robert and Jane were married in 1788, and Robert was their first child. Unless this marriage was a second marriage for Robert, there is no room for an older brother John. To be a logical father for brothers John 1800 and Bishop 1803, John should have been born prior to 1780, well before the 1788 marriage of Robert Stone and Jane Chorley. He definitely would have been older than Robert the innkeeper. No other brothers John and Robert Stone who fit this scenario with Bishop Stone have been found. The 1775 baptism of the father John, son of John and Elizabeth and not of Robert and Jane, fits perfectly.
2) In Robert’s 1864 will, as well as naming his nephew Bishop he made a legacy to his brother John: “To my brother John Stone the sum of two hundred pounds”. In 1864 John 1775, would have been 89 years old! Although at least one of John’s direct ancestors did indeed live into his 90s, 89 is nonetheless an extreme age and considerably older than his younger brother Robert. Furthermore, John’s death was reported in 1823 when he was 48. Specifically, a John Stone was buried in Chipstable in 1823 at age 48, exactly matching a birth year of 1775! So how could John have been named in Robert’s will if he was forty years dead? Tending to confirm the burial record, no census data 1841 – 1861 finds the family of John and Mary Stone in the local area.
Summary: Parish records: A couple named John Stone and Mary were the parents of Bishop Stone and his presumed three siblings. The data and years exactly fit the choice of John Stone (son of John Stone and Elizabeth Sellick) and his wife Mary Stone, married in 1799. This John did indeed have a younger brother Robert, baptized in 1786. But Bishop Stone’s uncle Robert claims to have been born in 1790, not 1786, and his brother John to whom he left a legacy in 1864 was assumed to have died in 1823.
Can anyone shed any light on this conundrum?
After too long, I have finally added more than a dozen “new” wills and indentures to Stone Documents (see Stone page, Stone Documents, second book: Wills & Indentures). The final four will be added eventually.
I added a 1684 date of death for Thomazine Stone widow of Richard Stone 1640 of Clayhanger, because we have her Probate Inventory. I also added an approximate death prior to 1684 for Richard, her husband. I added a child, Grace, who would have been born after Richard’s mother Eleanor wrote her will in 1674 but before Thomazine’s death in 1684, perhaps in the mid 1670s.
Check the STONE FAMILY page for the some of the ancestors of John Charles Stone and his wife Gertrude Lucile Walser. Check the RHODES FAMILY page for some of the ancestors of Charles R. Rhodes and Mary Quarters Riley.