A Stokes Family of Dublin

Written by A. G. Stokes

Melbourne 1986


Table of Contents

Foreword. 1

Sources of Information. 3

The Stokes Family of Dublin. 7

The Forebears and Descendants of John Henry Fielding Stokes. 11

WILLIAM (1846-1902) 14

JOHN FREDERICK (b. 1847) 15

CHARLES HENRY (1852-1895) 15

ALAN BROOK (1860-1932) 18



The Stokes Family in England. 20

The English-Irish Family Connection. 26

APPENDIX A                         Biographies. 34

GABRIEL STOKES (1732-1806) 34

WHITLEY STOKES M.D. (1763-1845) 34

WILLIAM STOKES (1804-1878) 35

WHITLEY STOKES (1830-1909) 37

SIR WILLIAM STOKES (1838-1900) 38



ADRIAN STOKES      (1887-1927) 41


Members of the stokes family, born before 1900, who achieved prominence in various pursuits. 43

Members of the Clergy of the Church of Ireland or Church of England. 43

Academics who occupied professorial chairs. 43

Medical practitioners. 44

Legal practitioners. 44

Men who served in the imperial forces. 44

Men who achieved eminence in the public service. 44

Notable Gaelic scholars. 45

Recipients of imperial honours. 45


Wills. 46

Will of John Stokes of SEAGREE         (1626-87) 48

Will of Abjohn Stokes of Titherton (1641-1707) 49



            In 1978 I received a letter from a great niece in Brisbane asking about the history of the Stokes family.  She had been assigned a school project “My Family Tree” so she wrote seeking help in setting out one quarter of her ancestry.


            In trying to meet this request I soon realized I knew very little about my family.  Like most people, I had in my earlier years the opportunity to ask older members of the family about my forebears but neglected to do so.  My Stokes grandmother (an Englishwoman) was the only grandparent alive when I was born and she could have given me quite a lot of information but I never asked.  My father gave me some details but his knowledge was not extensive.  He did tell me that there were a lot of notes in their family bible but it had been lost in disastrous floods in the Brisbane River in 1893 when their house with all its contents was swept away.


            As I was already retired when I received the request from my niece I had the time to investigate the family history and proceeded to do so.  My first contact was with John Stokes, a first cousin living in Melbourne.  Being the eldest son of the eldest son he had some information including documents.  This whetted my appetite so I started visiting libraries and joined the Australian Society of Genealogists.  Slowly the story started to unfold.  About that time I came across Burke’s “Irish Family Records” (1976) which set out our family genealogy in some detail.  This allowed me to contact members of the family living in Ireland, England and Canada.


            A consequent development was to visit these countries to meet the people I had contacted and to sight a lot of relevant material in the national libraries and public record offices of Britain and Ireland.  In all I made three overseas visits in search of material.


            So it sent on.  It has been a pleasant experience during which I met a lot of delightful people, saw a lot of nice places and spent many hours in interesting libraries and other repositories of historical documents.


            I think it is now time to gather in the threads and set down the story for others to read now and in the future.  I am disappointed I have not been able to establish the link between the English and Irish families.  This is especially frustrating as I believe the evidence exists if it could be found in the records of the Chief Herald of Ireland.


            In writing the story I have used the first person as I think it is appropriate to do so in notes of this kind.


            Melbourne 1986


A.G. Stokes

Sources of Information




            In writing these notes I have been tempted to use footnotes or notes at the end of each chapter to give the authority from which the information was derived but I have not done so as I think they would distract the casual reader.  Naturally I believe the information contained in these notes is correct and have records to substantiate it but they are too voluminous to expect them to survive for long.  There are many sources which I have consulted that are available to any future researcher.


            In England the records are very comprehensive going back over many centuries.  They have been carefully preserved and are well indexed.  The general section of the British Library is a mine of information and the manuscript section also contains many relevant documents.  Unfortunately for me many of them are written in latin or old script.  As I have no command of Latin and had great difficult in deciphering the early writings the manuscripts were of limited help but someone with ample time available in London at his disposal may be able to unearth important information.


            The Public Record Office in London also contains many documents of importance to genealogists but here again many of the older ones are in latin or early script.  The wills section is an important source which was of assistance but time limited my use of it.


            County libraries in England are also a very valuable source where one can peruse county histories, parish registers, wills etc.


            In Ireland much information has been lost due to the disaster at the Four Courts in 1922 when parish registers, wills, census returns etc. were destroyed during the civil war.  Most of the parish registers had been collected by the Government and stored in the Four Courts building in Dublin along with many official documents.  During the war the Four Courts was occupied by the Irish Republican Army (I.R.A.) under Rory O’Connor.  The building was invested by government forces who bombarded it with artillery borrowed from the British Army.  Some records were destroyed during the bombardment and many more were lost when the I.R.A. set fire to the building before surrendering.


            The loss of records has been a disaster for Ireland as well as for genealogists.  The foolishness of the action was commented on by Frank O’Connor in his autobiography “An Only Child” when describing his experiences as a member of the I.R.A. during the civil war.  His comment was that the government forces had no need to bombard the building; a siege of a week would have brought about a surrender through starvation.  Fortunately some of the parishes copied their records before handing them over and in some cases were able to convince the authorities that they had the means to conserve them.  The records which survived are now stored in the Public Records Office which is housed in a building at the rear of the Four Courts.


            The Genealogical Library contains many important records.  It used to be housed in the Castle but it has been closed since 1982 and is being relocated at No. 2 Kildare St.  Unfortunately the transfer is not yet complete.


            The official register of births, marriages and deaths is at the Customs House where records from 1864 are available except for Church of Ireland marriages which go back to 1845.


            Trinity College manuscript library contains Stokes material including Dr. Henry’s notebooks and some of Whitley’s letters.


            I found a lot of useful material in the National Library of Ireland including a comprehensive collection of early Dublin Almanacs.  The Registry of Deeds in Henrietta St. also yielded important information and another source was the Library of The Church Representative Body at Braemor Park in Dublin.


            As a general guide to sources of Irish material I found the “Handbook of Irish Genealogy” published by Heraldic Artists Ltd. of us although it contained many inaccuracies.


            Another important source of general information has been the International Genealogical Index compiled by the Church of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) of Salt Lake City.  They have spent millions of dollars in listing births (and some marriages but no deaths) extracted from parish registers.  A lot of work has been done in England, Scotland and Ireland in particular but work is proceeding in other countries as well.  They have set up a very large genealogical centre in Salt Lake City and are prepared to do genealogical research for moderate fees.  I have not used their services except to refer to the Index (which has a wide distribution) because I have been able to obtain the information I was seeking in other ways.


            I understand the reason the Mormons have undertaken this work is to confer retrospective baptism on the departed!  This has met with strenuous opposition from some ministers; others take a less dogmatic approach and even welcome it because of the wear and tear being suffered by their registers.  County Librarians welcome the Mormon’s work for the same reason.  The parish records are the property of the parish and ministers can charge a fee for inspecting them.  In Ireland the Representative Body of the Church of Ireland decided that their records would not be made available so the Mormons’ lists of Irish births are restricted to those contained in records that have already been published.  I found this an irksome restriction.


            As an outcome of overseas visits and correspondence with members of the family I obtained copies of four histories of the family written by, or for, members of it.


            In 1854 Thomas Dalton, a professional genealogist, wrote about the Stokes family of Stanshawes in Gloucestershire for Dr. Thomas Stokes (1784-1859) who was his friend.  This history was helpful although Dr. Thomas Stokes seemed to be more interested in recording connections with the County families than in members of the Stokes family.


            In 1910 Anson Phelps Stokes, an American millionaire banker, wrote a history of the Stokes family which he had printed privately in New York.  He apparently intended it to be of four volumes but I located only two volumes in one binding.  Copies are in the British Library, the Library of Congress, Devizes Library and one held by Robert Van Slyke of Auckland, a descendant on the distaff side; no doubt there are others.  Anson died in 1913 so volumes III and IV may not have been published.


            Anson seems to have been an eccentric man who spent a considerable amount of money (and visited England several times) endeavouring to establish his link with the Stokes of Gloucestershire and Ireland.  He, too, seemed to be overly interested in the social status of such a connection.  In his book Anson records that three people had said they saw a marked resemblance in Anson and his son to Dr. William (1804-78) and his son William (1838-1900).  This seems altogether too fanciful as they would have to go back many generations to find a common ancestor.  Although Anson did not produce any convincing evidence that his family was descended from the Gloucestershire stock he did record a lot of information which I found helpful.


            The most thorough of the historians of the English family of Stokes was Arthur Schomberg, a lineal descendant of the Duke of Schomberg who led King William’s cavalry at the battle of the Boyne and was killed while crossing the river.  He lived in Seend (Wilts.) and his findings were published in “The Pedigree of John Stokes of Seend, Co. Wilts.” in 1886 and additional material appeared serially in “Wiltshire Notes and Queries” vols. V and VI.


            The pedigree which Schomberg published was a transcription from an old parchment document which set out the generations of de Stokke, Stokys, Stokes (as the name changed) from Sir Adam who died in 1312 down to about 1725.  It was written on five skins glued together and contained 64 Coats of Arms.  The author is unknown but I suspect it may have been ordered by Richard Stokes (1661-1724), an attorney of Calne (Wilts.).  From his will it is apparent he was intensely proud of his ancestry and was also a wealthy man.  It would seem that the fortunes of the Gloucestershire Stokes reached their peak in his generation.  Richard died shortly before the latest date on the pedigree but it may have been completed by his son, Richard.


            Genealogists have questioned the authenticity of the pedigree but I believe it to be genuine as I have been able to check it at many points and always found it to be substantially correct.  The original parchment is in the possession (1986) of Robert Van Slyke of Auckland.  I have photographic and microfilm copies of it.


            The earliest notes made by a historian of the Irish family are those compiled by Rev. Thomas Gabriel Stokes (1828-1911) who was also a church historian and those notes have been helpful.  Unfortunately all the family historians were only concerned with showing the lines of descent and did not indicate the sources or authorities for their statements.


            Sir William Stokes (1838-1900) included some notes on the family in “William Stokes” a biography of his father.  The notes were rather superficial involving little research.


            Dr. Henry Stokes (1879-1067) was another researcher who gathered a lot of information and very carefully set it out in several small notebooks which are now in the manuscript library of Trinity College.  Unfortunately he never attempted to evaluate this information.  His daughter, Margaret, once told me that her father was more interested in digging in the bogs of Ireland for bones of prehistoric elks than in the history of the family!  This is unfortunate because his notes contain many important items which need clarification or elaboration before they can be used as reliable evidence.  His main objective seems to have been to list all the Stokes he could find in documents such as books of Bonds, Chancery Bill books, Deeds, Hearth Money Rolls, Patent Rolls etc.  This list contains 150 names up to about 1700 including 7 in the 12th. century, 16 in the 13th., 19 in the 14th. and so on.  It is not quite clear if all those listed were resident in Ireland but the great majority certainly was.


            Another family historian was Rev. Hudleston Stokes (1898-1978) who lived in England.  By employing a professional genealogist in Dublin he discovered a deal of important information in 1917.  Unfortunately he went to France with the British Expeditionary Force in that year and never resumed the search.  In later years he was in touch with Dr. Henry Stokes.


            The pedigree of the Irish family was given in Burke’s “Irish Family Records” published in 1976 and the work was thoroughly done.  It has been one of my principal sources of information.  Through it I was able to make contact with living members of the family in Ireland, England and Canada.  A subsequent development was to visit these countries and meet the relatives I had contacted.  As a result I received much help from Dr. Mary Brazier (nee Stokes), of Warminster, Mrs. Marguerite Stokes of Leamington Spa, Dr. Barbara Stokes and Miss Margaret Stokes of Dublin and the late Miss Lucie Stokes O.B.E. of Belfast.


            It is my intention to deposit copies of Mr. Dalton’s notes with the Wiltshire County Library and those by Rev. Thomas Gabriel Stokes in the manuscript library of Trinity College.

The Stokes Family of Dublin


The relationship of the Stokes family of Dublin to their English forebears will be discussed in a later section.  Here I will set out some of the story of the descendants of Gabriel (1682-1768), the surveyor, but before doing so I would like to remark on the position of the Anglo-Irish in Dublin in Gabriel’s time.


It is indisputable that from the time of Strongbow, the Earl of Pembroke (1170), the English in Ireland regarded themselves as victors and the native Irish as the vanquished.  I am no authority on Irish history but it seems that the first attempt to put this attitude into law as in the Statutes of Drogheda (Poyning’s Law) of 1494 which subjected the Irish parliament to the overriding control of the English Parliament.  Over the years the statutes were complemented by many directions, decisions, regulations and additional legislation such as the Test Act (1673) and the Penal Laws.  As Trevalyn said the Penal Code placed the catholics in Ireland under every political and social disadvantage that malice could invent!


Poyning’s Law was repealed in 1782 and in other ways the disadvantages under which the native Irish laboured were relaxed during the 18th. century.  Charles II summed up the attitudes of generations of English to the Irish when he said “my justice I must afford to you all, but my favour must be placed upon my protestant subjects.”


In the latter part of the 17th. century when Gabriel came on the scene the penal laws were in force so as Anglo-Irish came to occupy an unusual position in Irish society.  Avoided by the native Irish and distrusted by the English they formed in many respects a separate community but it is remarkable that most of the rebellions against English authority were led by Irish protestants such as Wolfe Tone and Edward Fitzgerald.


Perhaps because of the clannish nature of their society the Anglo-Irish seem to have kept better records within their families and institutions than was usual in Ireland as a whole.  This was fortunate in view of the wholesale destruction of the official records in the Four Courts in the civil war in 1922.  although family historians such as Rev. Thomas Gabriel (1828-1911), Rev. Henry Hudleston (1898-1978), Dr. Henry (1979-1967) and Sir William (1838-1900) set out some of the family history the first comprehensive genealogical records of the lineage of the family was published in Burke’s “Irish Family Records” in 1976.


In 1650 the population of Ireland was 1,260,000 of whom 85% were catholic; a census of Dublin shows that in 1644 its population was 8159 of whom 68% were protestant:-


                                                Protestant                     Roman Catholic


            Males                           2565                            1202

            Females                        2986                            1406

                                                5551                            2608


This was the community into which Gabriel was born in 1682.  His birth was recorded in the register of St. Nicholas Within.  The only other detail supplied was that his father was “John. a taylor within the White Lyon”.  The forebears of John are a matter for speculation and will be discussed later.


The next record we have of Gabriel is a licence to marry Elizabeth King of Rathfarnam in 1711.  Elizabeth was born in 1689, the daughter of Jo Lobiesky King, a merchant grocer of Castle (Dame) St.


There was a Gabriel made Freeman of the city of Dublin in 1714, his trade being that of cooper.  This was almost certainly our Gabriel who had married Elizabeth King but he seems to have been busy about a lot of things besides making barrels.  He was an instrument maker producing surveying and astronomical instruments and some of these are now on display in the National Museum.  He also produced some papers on technical subjects such as a design for a mole to make a harbour at Dublin now known as the pigeon house wall and also some mathematical discussion papers.  Probably as a result of these publications he was made Deputy Surveyor General of Ireland in 1721.  One of his earlier tasks had been, in 1715, to make a survey of all the properties throughout Ireland belonging to Trinity College, the first such survey to be undertaken.  Some of the resultant maps and plans are listed in the T.C.D. “Catalogue of Muniments” in the M.S. library of T.C.D.


In 1735 there was a tract printed by Syl. Pepyat, Printer to the Honourable City of Dublin which was described as “a scheme for effectually supplying every part of the city of Dublin with pipe water without any charge of water engines, or any water forcers, by a close adherence only to the natural laws of Gravitation, and the principles, rules and experiments of Hydrostaticks”.  It is signed Gab. Stokes and is a well written and well argued tract.


There was another tract “The Mathematical Cabinet of the Hydrostatical Ballance unlocked: or an Easy Key to all its uses” by Gab. Stokes, Mathematical Instrument maker in Essex St., Dublin.


Clearly Gabriel was a very talented man but I wonder how he came to be granted Arms in 1721.  This grant will be discussed later.  I suspect that he received patronage, perhaps from Lord Grafton, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.


Gabriel and Elizabeth seemed to have lived all their married life on the corner of Eustace and Essex Sts. in Dublin where he had his workshop although he also had an office in the lower yard of Dublin Castle.


Many of Gabriel’s children possessed great talent.  Their first born, Gabriel (1712), won a prize of a volume of Horace and he attended Trinity College but unfortunately died as a youth in 1729.


The records are incomplete but he seems to have had five other sons and three daughters.  James was born in 1718, John (1721-81), Gabriel (1732-1806), Benjamin (d.1771) and William (d.1793).  Of the daughters, Elizabeth (b.1713), Mary (b.1714) and Ann (b.1718) nothing has come down although it appears from William’s will that Elizabeth may have married George Fowkes and one of the other daughters married a Mr. Richmond.


Elizabeth (Mrs. Gabriel Stokes) died in 1751 and Gabriel retired as Deputy Surveyor General in 1753 when he went to live in Clare St.  He died in 1768 at the age of 86.


The eldest surviving son, John (1721-81), attended T.C.D. in 1735 and graduated B.A. in 1740, M.A. 1743, B.D. 1752, D.D. 1755 and he was admitted a Fellow in 1746.  He was appointed Professor of Mathematics in 1762 but later transferred to become Professor of Greek in 1764 when his brother took over the chair of Mathematics.  He as Archbishop King’s Lecturer in 1765 and 1768 and was appointed to the living of Rahy in 1777.  John was intensely shy which is unusual in a man who achieved so much.


I do not know the date of Benjamin’s birth but he died in 1771.  Gabriel and his sons all left wills but Benjamin’s is the only one which survived the Four Courts fire although the genealogical content of William’s will was extracted by Sir William Betham and is recorded in the genealogical library in Dublin.  Benjamin was an eminent goldsmith and silversmith who was made a Freeman in 1747 and became Warden of the Goldsmith Guild in 1763.  Some of his pieces are on display in the National Museum in Dublin.  His first wife, Catherine, by whom he had a daughter, Mary, and a son, Charles, died in 1758 and in 1759 he married a widow, Sarah Leazenby.  Charles became a Freeman in 1769 and was also elected Warden of the Goldsmith’s Guild.


William and his descendants are discussed in the section covering the forebears of John Henry Fielding Stokes.


Gabriel (1732-1806) was also a brilliant academic and churchman.  He entered Trinity College in 1751 and graduated B.A. 1753, M.A. 1756, L.L.D. 1761, B.D. and D.D. 1770 and was elected a Fellow in 1756.  Further details of Gabriel’s career are given in his biography in the Appendix.


The talents and mental capacity of John and Gabriel were inherited by their descendants.  John’s grandson (Sir) George Gabriel (1819-1903) was a brilliant mathematician and his biography is included in the Appendix.  The Dictionary of National Biography records that “as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge (1849-1903), Secretary (1854-85) and President (1885-90) of the Royal Society he held three offices which had only once before been held by one man, Sir Issac Newton”.


Four of John’s eight grandsons became Ministers of the Church, one, John Whitley, becoming an Archdeacon.


Of Gabriel’s three sons, Gabriel (1773-1848) became an attorney, William (1768-1806) was a doctor and Whitley (1763-1845) was a doctor and an academic (his biography is also in the Appendix).  Little has come down to us about Gabriel and William.  One genealogist recorded that William never married but Dr. Henry noted that he married a Miss Stuart.  Faulkner’s Journal noted in his obituary “William Stokes Esq. M.D. late of Killeshandra, a gentleman whose learned and benevolent mind enlightened and improved the circle in which he moved: his capacious friendship embraced the human race”.  Rev. Thomas Gabriel (1828-1911) in his family history said of William “He died early from fever caught in the exercise of his profession in Co. Cavan.  He was a man of great promise”.


The outstanding man of the next generation was Dr. Whitley’s on, Dr. William (1804-78), a man with an outstanding international reputation in the field of medicine (See Appendix A).


William’s children also achieved eminence in their chosen vocations.  Biographies of Whitley (1830-1909), (Sir) William (1838-1900), and Margaret M’Nair (1832-1900) are included in the Appendix.  Sir William was an eminent surgeon and Whitley and Margaret were gaelic scholars.  In this generation many of the Stokes family became prominent in the Public Service and the Armed Services (especially in India) and received Imperial Honours.  Details are given in Appendix B.


The family is now scattered widely around the world.  Comparatively few are now resident in Ireland but they are well represented in England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Forebears and Descendants of John Henry Fielding Stokes




            This part of the story of the Stokes family is about John Henry Fielding Stokes’ forebears and descendants.  This branch is little known by the larger family and did not appear in Burke’s “Irish Family Records” published in 1976 probably because there had been no male residents in Ireland or England for over forty years and the only members in Ireland today are descendants of one of his daughters, Louisa (1861-1912).


            There is another reason why this branch has not entered the main family records which goes right back to the listing of the children of Gabriel, the surveyor (1682-1768).  The forebears and children of Gabriel have been discussed in an earlier section but some repetition may be worthwhile.  Gabriel was born in Dublin in 1682, the son of “John a Taylor within the White Lyon”.  In 1711 he married Elizabeth King, the daughter of John Lobiesky King and his wife Cecily.  John King was a merchant grocer in Castle St. who came to an untimely end.  To quote a record dated 24th. June, 1729 “On Sunday last one Mr. King, formerly of Castle St., merchant, was unfortunately choaked eating some mutton for dinner which stuck in his throat and could not be removed till he suspired”.


            Gabriel and Elizabeth lived on the corner of Eustace and Essex Sts. all their married life and where Gabriel also had his workshop (his office as Deputy Surveyor General was in the Lower Castle Yard).  After Elizabeth died in 1751 Gabriel moved to Clare St. where he remained till he died in 1768.


            All of Gabriel’s children were christened in his parish church of St. Andrews.  The baptismal, and the most of the other records were destroyed in the Four Courts fire in 1922 but, unfortunately, some information was extracted in 1917.  The Rev. Hudleston Stokes was interested in the history of the family and engaged a professional genealogist to do some research for him. One task was to search the registers of St. Andrews for details of the baptisms of Gabriel’s children.  For some reason (probably cost) he limited the search to the years 1712-1722.  This was unfortunate for future family historians as Hudleston went off to France with the British Army and never resumed the search.


            A Miss Elliot extracted the following baptismal details of Gabriel’s children :-


            1712    June 5th.           Gabriel             son of Gabriel and Elizabeth Stokes

            1714    Nov. 26th.        Mary                daughter                                

            1718    June 1st.            James               son                                       


            Miss Elliott did not find baptismal details of Elizabeth (b. 1713) or Ann (b. 1718) which were unearthed by other family historians and I have found evidence that they were daughters of Gabriel.  Gabriel and Elizabeth had other children.  Dr John (1721-81) and Dr. Gabriel (1732-1806) were famous clerics and professors at Trinity College.  Their birth dates were probably calculated from their known ages at date of death.


There were at least two other sons born in the 1720’s.  Benjamin was an eminent Dublin silversmith whose will has survived.  It was written in July, 1768 and in it he said “I give and bequeath unto my father Gabriel ten pounds sterling to buy him mourning if he be living at my decease”.  Gabriel died in December, 1768.  There was another son, William, but little has come down about him.  A note in “Anthologica Hibernica” of March 1793 records “Mr Stokes, many years Clerk to the Board of Works in the Lowgrounds, died 22nd. February”.  He left a will which has not survived but Sir William Betham extracted the following genealogical details from it;























I have a copy of the marriage licence of William’s daughter Mary, signed by William in a very well formed hand.


Our descent is through John who married Mary Walker, daughter of a haberdasher of Castle (Dame) St.  John appears to have started his working life as an ironmonger in partnership with his brother-in-law William Southwood.  Their business was in Kennedy Lane.  In 1799 they bought Clonskeagh Castle in Dublin for 12,000 pounds, no doubt because the property included “2 iron mills, 1 grinding mill and 1 boring mill”.  The purchase must have proved unsatisfactory in some way as the property was sold in 1801.


John next appears in the records in 1806 when he became “Artificer and Supervisor” with the Grand Canal Co.  He stayed with this Company for the rest of his working life.  Climbing the ladder he became Chief Engineer in 1832 and lived at Harcourt Lodge on the Grand Canal.  He died in 1843 leaving a will which has not survived.


John and Mary had twin sons, William and Charles, in 1793 and another son, Henry Fielding, in 1797.  This is the first appearance of the name Fielding in the family.  It reappeared in his grandson and in John Henry Fielding Stokes’ grandson, my uncle John Frederick Fielding Stokes.  I think it may be taken as an indication that William (d. 1793) married a Miss Fielding.  I have found out nothing further about Henry Fielding (b. 1797).  Charles never married and was buried in Mt. Jerome cemetery in 1859.


William married Charlotte Conroy of Clonakilty in 1816 and they had two children, John Henry Fielding (1819-72) and Charlotte (1827-98).  Charlotte never married and was buried in the same grave at Mt. Jerome.


William was a land surveyor.  It is rather strange how many members of the family were concerned with surveying or civil engineering; William (d 1793), clerk to the Board of Works; his son John, Chief Engineer of the Grand Canal Co.; his son William, land surveyor; his son John, a chief Engineer of the Irish Northwestern Railway; his son William who was a Civil Engineer of the Australian Commonwealth Railways and my father, Alan, who was a land surveyor.


William (1793-1864) was a fine penman as well as a surveyor and produced a booklet “Pictorial Survey and Tourist Guide to Loch Derg and the river Shannon” in 1842 for the Board of Works and the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co.  It contains some fine line drawings and I have a picture of a yacht by him which shows fine penmanship.  A copy of the booklet is in the Irish National Library.


William’s wife Charlotte may have died about 1840 as he lived in many places in Dublin from that time onwards, sometimes with his son John.  He was living in Rathmines when he died in 1864.  He was buried in the family vault at Mt. Jerome.


John Henry Fielding married Louisa Crowe Wherland in Cork in 1845.  Louisa was the daughter of James Wherland who was a Lieutenant in the City of Cork regiment and, later, Secretary of the Cork Annuity Society.  Her mother was Louisa Crowe, the second daughter of a banker of Bath, England.


There is quite a number of family legends concerning the Wherlands.  These stories have it that they were a very well to do family who once owned Kilgobban Castle on the edge of the Pale and, later, Clonskeagh Castle in Dublin.  The story goes on that the Head of the family went to Scotland to fight for Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745.  When the Jacobites were defeated he had to flee and returning to Ireland assumed the name of Wherland (“where I land”).  The legend also has it that they lost all their valuables during the crossing from Scotland to Ireland.


Although the name Wherland sounds common enough, in all my researches I have never found it in any records except in reference to this family of Cork.  The earliest reference I have found is the marriage of James Wherland, an Attorney, in 1729.  That rules out the change of name after the 1745 rebellion but James or his father could have been involved in the first Jacobite rebellion in 1715.


The ownership of Kilgobban Castle cannot be checked because of the change of name but it seems the reference to Clonskeagh Castle confuses the ownership by John Stokes and William Southwood with the Wherlands.


I have set out a pedigree of the Wherland family (4F) as far as I have been able to discover it, covering the 18th. and 19th. centuries (about 150 years).  They were mainly trades with the odd professional man.  I can find no reference to any Wherlands presently living in Ireland.  The family may have died out or they may have migrated.  I believe the legends have painted the family rather larger than life but there is no doubt Mrs. J.H.F. Stokes (Louisa Wherland) was a worthy and pious woman who was revered by her children.  The name Louisa (or Louise) has continued in the family down to the present day.


But now back to the Stokes family.  John and Louisa lived mostly in Dublin or Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire), moving to Enniskillen about 1864.  John was a railway man for all his working life.  He was for many years Superintendent of the Dublin Kingstown railway and moved to Enniskillen when he became Engineer in Chief of the Irish Northwestern Railway.


John had at least six sons and two daughters:-


            William (1846-1902)                Louisa Charlotte Mary (1861-1912)

            John Frederick (b.1847)           Josephine Frances Emma (1864-1935)

            Joseph (b. 1849)

            George (b. 1851)

            Charles Henry (1852-95)

            Alan Brook (1860-1932)


            John died prematurely at Enniskillen in 1872 and was buried in the family vault at Mt. Jerome.  His wife died in Dublin in 1897 and was buried in Hollywood cemetery near Belfast.


            Due to John’s premature death the family was impoverished so the sons were affected by the urge to emigrate and four of them left Ireland never to return except Charles who made a short holiday visit during his honeymoon in 1883.


            WILLIAM (1846-1902).  The eldest son, William, decided to leave Ireland just before his father died but he was present at his death.  He had been working as a junior engineer under his father for about six years.  From the reference given him by his father it is clear William’s intention was to go overseas but he spent two years in Liverpool as a civil engineer working on a large sewerage scheme.


            When the work at Liverpool was completed in late 1874 William set sail for Australia.  His first efforts there were directed at seeking his fortune at the Palmer River goldfield in North Queensland and, later, at Eidsvold in Central Queensland.  Fortune eluded him and he became Town Surveyor of Bundaberg in 1881.  In that year he married Lizzie Houlden, a schoolteacher from Lincolnshire who had been teaching in Western Australia.  In 1884 they moved to Brisbane where he was engaged as a civil engineer by the Queensland Government.  They had three children:-


                        John Frederick Fielding (1881-1968)

                        Alan Herbert (1883-1968)

                        Louisa (1885-1954)


John started off his working life as a surveyor in Malaya.  Upon returning to Australia he became a railway engineer in Queensland and later with the Commonwealth Railways, eventually becoming Chief Engineer of Ways and Works.  He married May Knight, the daughter of the editor of the Brisbane Courier, and had two sons and a daughter (see chart 4A).


            Alan Herbert was trained as a surveyor and worked in Queensland country areas before moving to the Northern Territory as a surveyor.  He then became a wolfram miner for seven years before moving to South Australia surveying in connection with soldier settlement schemes on the Murray river.  Two years later, in 1923, he was engaged by the Queensland Government as a surveyor.  Alan married a schoolteacher, Ethel Mary Griffiths, in 1909 and had two sons and a daughter.  Louisa never married and died in Sydney in 1954.


            JOHN FREDERICK (b. 1847).  I have little information about this son of John Frederick Fielding.  He was born in Dublin in 1847 and married Victoria Milligan.  He was either an officer in the Royal Navy or in the Belgian mercantile marine.  A notice of his daughter Isabele’s funeral indicates that he died prior to 1898 and had lived in Antwerp.  He had another daughter, Madle Louise.


            JOSEPH (b. 1849).  Nothing is known of this son other than that he was christened in St. Peters in Dublin in 1849.  I think it can be assumed that he died before reaching maturity.


            GEORGE (b.1851) was also born in Dublin.  He married Emily Pinchin, an Irishwoman, either in Ireland or Canada where he migrated in the early 1880’s.  He worked as a civil engineer in Manitoba.


            George had four sons and two daughters.  One son, George, and the two daughters migrated to California, Charles went to British Columbia and Frank and William remained in Manitoba.  Some details are shown on the accompanying chart but I have not been able to garner a lot of information about this section of the family.


            CHARLES HENRY (1852-1895) was also christened in St. Peters church in Dublin in 1852.  Twenty years old when his father died, he and his mother went to live in Liverpool, probably with William, where Charles worked in a shipping office.  In 1877 Charles, looking for wider horizons, joined the Church Missionary Society and was trained as a lay missionary at Reading, near London.


            He sailed to Africa in the S.S. Hindustan arriving in Zanzibar in May, 1878.  His main duties seemed to revolve around transporting goods to mission stations located inland.  His temperament was such that he was able to get on well with the natives, a very desirable quality as all transport of goods was by head porterage.


            As each porter carried about 30kg. on his head some of his later caravans consisted of about 3000 natives which must have resembled an army on the move.  Such a caravan would carry goods approximately equal to the total load of about four modern large semi-trailers.


            In 1882 the C.M.S. sent out four trained nurses to help in its work.  Charles fell in love with the prettiest one, Ellen Sherratt, who came from Shrewsbury and they were married in the cathedral at Zanzibar in January, 1883.  In April the newlyweds went home for a holiday in England and Ireland.  On their return they were stationed at a mission station at Kisokwe.  In March, 1884 Mrs. Stokes gave birth to a daughter, Ellen Louise, but died a week later.  The baby was sent to her mother’s parents in Shrewsbury when she was five days old and Charles never saw her again.


            In 1885 Charles married an African, Limi, a kinswoman of the new Chief of the Wanyamwesi tribe with whom he was on very friendly terms.  In 1886 the couple went through the church ceremony at Zanzibar.  The church immediately dismissed Charles so he set himself up as an ivory trader and cartage contractor.  In this connection his marriage to Limi was very beneficial as he had the loyalty of the Wanyamwesi porters who were the best available for this work.


            The marriage to Limi produced no children.  By this time he had assumed the Moslem way of life and dress (but not its religion).  The King of Buganda gave him two young women, Nanjala and Zaria, relatives of the Prince of Koki.  Zaria was the handmaiden of Nanjala; later they were both Charles’ concubines.


            Charles’ business ventures prospered and in 1890 he joined the German service in their territory as an Assistant Commissioner whilst still carrying on his transport and trading activities.  In 1894 he decided to organise a huge caravan of over 3000 porters and cross into the Belgian Congo to buy ivory hoping to make enough profit to be able to retire and return to Ireland.


            Unfortunately everything came unstuck.  Unknown to Charles the Belgians had decided that all Congo ivory was to be the personal property of King Leopold which must be transported westwards down the Congo river.  To enforce this decision an armed force under Captain Lothaire was sent into the area where Charles hoped to procure his ivory.  Lothaire arrested Charles and, after a farcical trial by court martial, immediately hanged him.  This was plain murder and caused an international furore.  The British and Germans forced the Belgians to put Lothaire on trial in Boma (Congo) and, later, in Brussels, but he was “whitewashed” on each occasion.  The matter was not resolved until Queen Victoria intervened personally with her cousin, King Leopold.  The Belgians eventually paid 8,000 pounds compensation to each of the British and German governments.


            The matter of Charles Henry Stokes adventures in Africa has been the subject of at least two books.  Mrs. Anne Luck wrote “Charles Stokes in Africa” in 1972 which was published by the East African Publishing House in Nairobi and Nicholas Harman wrote “Bwana Stokesi and his African Conquests” which was published by Jonathan Cape in London in 1986.  There is also a blue paper presented to both houses of the British Parliament reporting on the death of Charles and the subsequent developments.  Its title is “The execution of Mr. Stokes in the Congo State” listed as Africa No. 8 (1896).


            Charles’ daughter Ellen Louisa was brought up by her mother’s relatives in Shrewsbury but a court ordered that she be placed in the care of Charles’ sister, Josephine, in Dublin.  In 1908 she married George Cooper, an Irishman, kin to the Earl of Shaftsbury.  They immediately migrated to Canada and later spent fourteen years in Melbourne, Australia.  They returned to Vancouver and eventually retired there.  They had three daughters who all live in Canada; Marie Louise; Ellen Ruth, who married Lynn Beard (no issue) and Kathleen Courtney who married Samuel Anderson and had two sons and two daughters.


            Charles Stokes had two children by his concubines.  Louisa was the daughter of Kabula.  She died at a mission station in 1895.  Photographs of Nanjala taken when she was an old lady show her to be a very dignified person.  She lived to be well over 90 and died in Kampala in 1968.


            About 1908 Charles Kasaja was taken to Scotland by the widow of a Presbyterian missionary, Mrs. Walker.  He trained in Dundee as a medical orderly and returned to Uganda where he served the government for the whole of his working life.  One of his principal tasks in his later life as to organise and conduct the blood transfusion service in that country.


            At the time of writing (1986) Charles Kasaja is alive and enjoying good health at the age of 91.  He lives in Kampala on land given to him in 1903 by the Regents of Buganda in recognition of his father “who was our friend”.


            Charles Nanjala (Kasaja) married Sarah Nambalilwa in 1921.  They had a family of eight children, 3 sons and five daughters, of whom 2 sons and 4 daughters grew to maturity and married.


            Stanley, who married Alice Alison, lives in Kampala and has six children and one grandson.  Charles Edward lives in Nairobi, Kenya.  He married Freda Butler and has two sons and two daughters.


            Two of Charles daughters live in the United States and two in England.  Mary Sarah married James Hannington and lives in the U.S.  They have one son and two daughters.  Edith also lives in America; she married Warren Harrison and has one son.


            Jessica lives in London and is the wife of Ronald Freislich; they have two sons.  Christine also lives in London; married to Brian Isabor she has three daughters.


            More details of the descendants of Charles Henry Stokes can be seen on pedigree 4D.


            ALAN BROOK (1860-1932).  Alan was the only son to remain in Ireland.  He was a land surveyor who worked for the Belfast Harbours Board and was also at one time manager of a quarry near Belfast.  In 1890 he married Sara Jameson and they had two sons and two daughters.  None of the children ever married.  The sons enlisted in the British Army during the first world war and both were killed in action in France in 1917.  Lucy Mary trained as a nurse and was matron of the Birmingham General Hospital including the period of the second world war.  In recognition of this service she was awarded the O.B.E. in the Queen’s Honours List.  In retirement she lived in Belfast and died there in 1985.  Sara Louise was a teacher in Ireland.


            The story of Alan Brook’s family is a sad one.  It was obviously wrecked by the first world war and died out with the demise of Lucy.  For further details see chart 4B.


            LOUISA CHARLOTTE MARY (1861-1912).  In 1878 Louisa married Robert Symes who became a bank manager with the Bank of Ireland.  They had one son, Sandham, and three daughters.  Sandham married Cherrie Copinger in 1907 and they had three sons and five daughters.  The eldest son, Sandham had two sons and a daughter; his eldest son migrated to Victoria in 1967.  The second son, Glascott, was killed in action in the second world war.  The third son, Wilfred, changed his name by deed poll to Copinger and lives in England; he has one daughter.


            Of the five daughters of Sandham Charles, Dorothy married the Rev. Studdert, Vera married Patrick West and Helen married Robert Sandys.  Cherry is unmarried and Marjey, who died this year (1986) was also unmarried.


            Of the three daughters of Louisa, May Kathleen married N. Dickson without issue.  Ina Amy Alice married John McElderry and they had three sons.  Edward John married Myra Tracey without issue.  Victor Neville married Florence Cunningham and they had two sons and one daughter.  Thomas died in his minority.  Louise Nancy married Dr. Welply and they had one son, Brian.


            Some further details are shown on pedigree 4E.


            JOSEPHINE FRANCES EMMA (1870-1935) was the only child of John and Louisa not born in Duplin.  She was born at Enniskillen after John had been transferred there by his employers.


            Josephine never married.  She looked after her mother until she died in 1897 and later was given custody of Charles Henry’s daughter, Ellen, as the result of litigation over Charles’ will.


            Josephine died at Sandymount, near Dublin, in 1935 and is buried in the family vault at Mt. Jerome.


            In this story of the descendants of John Henry Fielding Stokes I have stopped description at my father’s generation as it would be tedious to follow them down to the present day.  Some details are shown on the charts 4A-E but I will leave it to future family historians to set out details about them.

The Stokes Family in England




            The name of Stokes occurs in English records as early as the reign of King Stephen (1135-1154) and often in the 13th. century.  It is now common in England, particularly in the south and especially in the south west counties.  In searching the International Genealogical Index I found over 3000 births or marriages recorded for Devon alone.


            The early Stokes came from Normandy.  Burke in his 1846 edition of “Dictionary of the Landed Gentry” said that the Stokes of Stanshawes Court were of Norman origin and came from Caen to England after the conquest when honours and possessions were assigned to them.  Burke’s “General Armory” records that another family of Stokes settled in Pembrokeshire in the time of King John (1199-1216).  They also came from Caen and had the same Coat of Arms as the Stokes of Stanshawes.


            From the reign of Henry III (1216-72) onwards the name of Stokes appears with increasing frequency.  In 1245 there was a note “a number of carcases of bacon which were being sent to the King (Henry III) in Gascony during his disastrous campaign against Louis IX were stored at Portsmouth in the house of one Hugh de Stoke; the house fell through overloading, and Hugh was ordered to have 20s. compensation”.  It would seem that the treasury was not overgenerous to Hugh!


            The first positive identification of the Wilts.-Glos. family comes from land records in the Tower of London.  In the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) Adam de Stokke had possession of the manors of Stokke and Rutishall.  His eldest son, Thomas, had the manor of Sende and his second son, Sir Roger, the manors of Wolshall, Savernagge and Hungerford.  From Great Bedwyn Stokke is 1 ½ km. northwest, Rutishall (Rushall) is 18km. southwest, Sende (Seend) about 33km. west, Wolshall (Wolfhall) 4 ½ km. southwest and Hungerford 5 ½ km. northeast.


            The effigies of Sir Adam and his son, Sir Roger, were in the south transept of the parish church of St. Mary, Great Bedwyn.  The effigy of Roger was removed some years ago but that of Adam was still there in 1980.  It has crossed legs indicating that he was a crusader.  The Coat of Arms is quite different to that of the Stokes of Pembrokeshire and Gloucestershire.  In 1862 John Edward Jackson described them thus – “A 5 bars G. overall a band charged with 3 escallops O (perhaps argent) between 6 martlets S”.  I won’t put this into plain language but it is clearly quite different to the later Coats of Arms.


            Records show that the effigy of Roger had an inscription around the figure.  It read “Roger de Stocre, chev ici gycht deu de sa alme yet merci”.  It seems that de Stokke may have been a corruption of the French de Stocre.


            The deeds of Rushall tell us more about the family.  Sir Adam’s parents Roger and Alice Stokke received the property by grant under royal licence from Lord de le Warre in 1302 as recorded “In an inquisition taken by John de Hertrugg, Sheriff of Wilts., at Cherleton next Upavene, on Saturday next after the feast of St. Dunstan, 30 Edw.1 (1302) on the oath of various Jurors, who say it is not to the damage of the King or others if the King shall grant to Roger la Warre that he may give his manor of Rustesal, which he holds of the King in Chief, to Roger de Stocke and Alice his wife, to hold to the said Roger and Alice of the King and his heirs for the whole life of the said Roger and Alice by their services therefore due and accustomed.


            The said manor is held of the King in chief by the service of one knight’s fee, and is worth per annum, clear 20 pounds.  No tenements or lands remain to the said Roger besides the said gift and grant in Co. Wilts, and the Jurors do not know what lands and tenements he held of the King or others elsewhere”.


            Under another royal licence a Rushall was granted to Adam and his wife Gena (sometimes Eve or Yves).  When Adam died in 1312 the manor was settled on Gena and Robert Hungerford whom Adam’s widow had married.  When Hungerford died in 1352 Rushall was settled on Edward Stokke, the son of Roger (d. 1331), grandson of Adam and Joan, his wife, in 1355.  Edward died in 1361 and the manor was held by Joan who later married William Hornby until her death in 1404.  Edward had a son, John, who died without issue in 1376 so the manor passed out of the Stokke family to the Hungerfords in 1404 under the terms of the settlement of 1355.


            To follow the history of the family we now have to refer to the old parchment pedigree which was drawn about 1725 and which is now in the possession of Robert Van Slyke of Auckland.  This follows the descent from Sir Adam’s son Thomas Stoke of Sende in the time of Edward III (1327-77).


            Six generations later the pedigree shows William Stoke living at Brighton in Berkshire which is about 60km. east of Seend.  Details of his descent are not indicated and the line is not followed beyond his son, John.  In the same generation as John we have John Stokys de Sende (d. 1498) who married Alice (d. 1500) and some of his details have come down to us.  He was a clothier in comfortable circumstances.  A clothier was a maker of cloth, a weaver, not a maker of garments.  Weaving had developed into a prosperous industry due to the actions of Henry VII.  Henry had stopped the export of English wool in order to deny it to Flanders as he was at war with France.  He brought Flemish weavers to England to teach their trade to his subjects.  Much of the weaving trade seems to have been centred in Wiltshire.


            John paid for the building of the north aisle of Seend church (and perhaps the whole church).  He and his wife were buried there and small brasses of them were inlaid in the stone flagging of the north aisle.  Later covered with pews the brasses were forgotten for many generations but when rediscovered they were mounted on the west wall of the aisle where they can be seen today.  They are about 40cm. high and under them is the inscription “here lyeth Iohn Stoyks and Alys his wiff whiche Iohne decessed the XVIII day of June in the year of our Lord God thousand CCCCLVII on whose soulys Jh’u have mercy.  Amen.”


            The surrounds of the window above the brasses have shears and a pair of scissors carved in the stone to indicate the trade of clothier along with other decorations.  The windows were adorned with pictures of John, his wife and children but it is reported that “about the year 1648, in that rebellious sacril’gious and pretending age to holiness, these things were lookt on with suspicion, and al the painted glass was defaced and broken by William Somner of Sene”


            John (d. 1498) had two sons called John which was most unusual.  I have come across instances where parents used Christian names a second time when the older child had died before the younger one was born but both Johns grew to maturity.  John (d. 1502) married Marjery Nicholas of Rundwale and the pedigree shows the Coat of Arms formed by this marriage.  This is the first appearance of the ermine lion rampant with forked tail on a black escutcheon which was the Coat of the Stokes of Stanshawes.


            Of the sons of John (d. 1502), William the eldest remained in Seend and in the pedigree this line is continued down to about 1700.  The Stokes of Titherton are descended through the second son, John.  The third son, Christopher, was a clothier at Castle Combe as was his son, Anthony.  Castle Combe was an important centre of weaving until the end of the 17th. century when the stream, Bybrook, was said to have dried up and insufficient power was available for the looms.


            It is a tradition that the name, blanket, originated in Castle Combe in Christopher’s time.  It was named after the brothers Blanket who devised a way of raising the nap on the woolen bed cover.


            The parchment pedigree states that Christopher (d. 1566) was of Stanshawes.  There is no mention of the property in his will but Anthony (d. 1593) mentions his messuage and ferme of Stanshialls now in tenure of John Stokes”.  From other records it appears Stanshawes passed into the family in 1566 so perhaps Christopher was not the owner on 5th. November, 1565 when he wrote his will and did not add a codicil to bequeath the property to his son before he died about June, 1566.  Stanshawes Court was in the Stokes family until 1859 when it was sold to R.N. Hooper when it was derelict.  The last Stokes who lived there may have been Captain Thomas (1698-1786) with his wife Sarah (1703-88).  Their son seems to have had another property at Hardwick.  Mr. Hooper pulled down the old house and in 1874 erected a large stone building of several stories which now serves as a hotel and is used for receptions.  Some of the estate with its old trees still surrounds the building.


            The descent of the Stokes of Stanshawes from Anthony is shown on chart No. 1.  John of Codrington went to London but his son, John, took up land at Churchill, Somerset, and there are many Stokes in that area now.  His half brother, Thomas, held the manor of Kingston St. Michael but it passed out of the family when his son, John, sold it for 5500 pounds in 1679.


            The line of primogeniture descended through Samuel (1608-1705) to Dr. Adrian Stokes who died on New Year’s day 1885.  With his death the male line became extinct.  The fortunes of the family seemed to reach their peak in the time of Richard (1661-1723/4) who was an attorney in Calne.  From his will (see appendix C) it is evident he was a wealthy man.  The later members seem to have been quite comfortable with a sprinkling of doctors and lawyers.


            I did not follow the descent at Seend in great detail as I was mainly concerned in discovering the forebears of the Irish family but they seemed to have proliferated around Seend, Corsham and Bishopstrow many being yeomen or weavers.


            The Stokes of Titherton, Wilts., descended through Edmund (d. 1614), the grandson of John Stokys de Sende (d. 1502).  Edmund’s grandson, Edward (1615-1677) was a worthy citizen in very comfortable circumstances.  He was a J.P. for the counties of Wilts., Glos. and Somerset and fought for Cromwell in the civil war reaching the rank of Captain.  He was a devout man and the church at Titherton Lucas was jointly owned by the Stokes and Barrett families.  As a J.P., Edward had to hear a case of obscenity, blasphemy, etc. against the Minister of nearby Langley Burrell.  This so shocked him that he produced an 83 page booklet in 1652 called “The Wiltshire Rant”.  Aubrey in his “Collections for Wilts” said of his pamphlet “a narrative of the most unparreled profane actings, counterfeit repentings, and evil speakings of Thomas Webbe, pretended Minister of Langley Burrell.  The zealots of these parts were come to that degree of perfection, that they might use one another’s wives in common.  There was such blasphemy and uncleaness among them (all of which is sett forth in this book, by the author, a sober, prudent person) that in after ages ‘twill scarcely be believed : most of the parties I myself knew.  The baccanalia of the Romans were not more licentious”.


            It was left to Edward’s son, Abjohn, to squander the assets of the Titherton Stokes.  His first wife, Ann Scott, brought eight thousand pounds into the marriage but that was soon spent by Abjohn.  Anson Stokes said Abjohn was persecuted by Jeffries, “the hanging judge” which may, or may not, be so.  The story is told in a petition which Abjohn presented to Parliament:-


            “To the honourable the Knights Citizens and burgesses in Parliament assembled the humble petition of Abjohn Stokes Esqr. Folio showeth


            “That the petitioner in the reign of King Charles and the late King James being in the Commission of the peace for Gloucestershire Wiltshire and Somersetshire did make a discovery of about six hundred Clyppers Coyners and utterers of false money and by the encouragement of both the said Majesties, four years did prosecute and convict great numbers of said criminals at his own proper cost and charges …..


            “That your petitioner, to the great Damage and almost Ruin of himself and family, having expended above 3000 pounds, did at length meet with obstruction on the said Proceedings from the late Lord Chief Justice Jeffries, who being prevailed with by indirect means usd by the said criminals did oppose the further prosecution against them.


            “That his said Majesty King Charles the Second declared your Petitioner should be refunded his charge, and also gratified for his said services, but died soon after before any order was made.  That the said late King James did order 1000 pounds, be paid your petitioner by Richard Kent Esqr.  Receiver of his Majesty’s Customs, in part for your Petitioner’s disbursements, and also a Commission for a Regiment of Foot provided be would use his endeavours to abrogate the Test and Penal Laws, but because your Petitioner would not comply, the said Commission was not sealed, nor the 1000 pounds paid so that your Petitioner was forced to mortgage the greatest part of [his] Estate and since sell for the payment of Debts contracted in the Prosecution.


            “Your Petitioner most humbly implores that this Honourable House will vouchsafe to take his great sufferings into their consideration that some expedient may be found out (as in your great wisdom shall be thought meet) by which your Petitioner may be preserved from ruin ….”


            Apparently Abjohn received nothing from the Crown and at the time of his death he was in hiding from the Sheriff.  In the many Chancery proceedings which followed his death the character witnesses had little to say in favour of Abjohn except one witness, John Fido, Clerk in Holy Orders, of Hilperton, who said he was with him three or four days before his death and also on the day of his death when he prayed with him.  “Be behaved himself” Fido said, “decently and humbly like a Christian”.


            Before leaving Abjohn in his dishonour let me relate a story told by Sir James Long of Draycot.  “Mr. Norborne of Caine upon insufferable abuses desired to meet him upon a hill of the Downes near Caine.  They met without seconds.  Mr. Stokes excepted against Mr. Norborne’s sword as too long.  Mr. Norborne gave him his sword to measure, which he took and immediately got to horse and carried away with his own also, of which he hath so heard since that of late he wears no sword because he will not be engaged to fight.”


            After Abjohn’s death his son and grandson continued litigation against John Mereweather in attempts to recover the Stokes’ properties.  As they were unsuccessful this completed their ruin and they were forced to leave Titherton Lucas.


            Abjohn had a more respectable brother, Christopher (1642-1700) of Whitchurch who married Jeane Stenhouse (Stonehouse).  David Stonehouse was the M.P. for Great Bedwyn in the Long Parliament (1661) and Jeane’s brother, Francis, held that seat in the time of Charles II and William and Mary.  Christopher Stokes became the member for Whitchurch in the second and third parliaments of William and Mary (1689 and 1695).


            Before leaving the Stokes of Titherton I would like to place on record the rather romantic story of Abjohn the Elder’s granddaughter Sarah (1703-88).  Richard of Calne did not approve of his eldest son Thomas’ behaviour and in his will he excluded him from his inheritance unless he “reclaim and become a sober man and a good husband and marry a wife with a future of 1000 pounds bona fide paid, to the satisfaction of my trustees”.  The term, a good husband, meant one who conserved his assets and the marriage provision was designed to stop him marrying his “cozen” Sarah Stokes, the granddaughter of Abjohn (1641-1707) with whom he had been in violent disagreement.


            Thomas and Sarah went ahead with their plans and were married a few months after Richard died and the trustees denied him his inheritance.  Stanshawes passed to the second son, Richard (1700-82) so Thomas and Sarah went off to India where he served as a Captain in the East Indies Company’s army.  They had two children, Thomas (1725-1803) and Sarah (d.1801).  When Richard died in 1782 Thomas returned to Stanshawes which he had inherited from Richard who said in his will “to whose birthright it properly belongs”.

            Thomas was 84 years old when he came to live at Stanshawes with Sarah.  He did not have long to enjoy the old manor as he died four years later but he did have time to mortgage it for 2500 pounds!  He as able to do this as he had inherited it from his brother and not from his father.  It has been suggested that he developed his profligate ways at Oxford from where he graduated in 1716.


            Thomas and Sarah were buried at Yate and a memorial tablet may still be seen in the parish church.  It says, in part, “To the memory of Captain Stokes of Stanshawes Court in this parish, died Dec. 18th. 1786, aged 80 years.  Also of Sarah Stokes, relict of Captain Thomas Stokes, a lady equally pious and benevolent, who met the stroke of death with Christian fortitude Feb. 17th. 1788, aged 84 ….

                        Take these tears, mortiality’s relief

                        and till I share your joys forgive my grief

                        these little rites, a stone, a verse, receive,

                        ‘tis all that tender friendship can now give.”


            It is curious that the tablet understates Thomas’ age by eight years and there are other instances where his age is understated.  Anson Stokes suggested that it may have been done to imply that he was not the eldest son of Richard and so suppress the fact that his younger brother had kept him out of Stanshawes for fifty eight years.

The English-Irish Family Connection




The problem of establishing the connection between the Stokes of Dublin and their English forebears is the most perplexing one I have encountered in my research into the family and the annoying aspect is that it should not be so.  The heraldic records of the College of Arms in London and of the Chief Herald of Ireland in Dublin are (or were) in possession of a document which would establish the connection with certainty.


            Gabriel (1682-1768) the Deputy Surveyor General of Ireland was granted Arms in 1721.  Smith’s “Ordinary of Arms” had this to say “The following entry was made in the handwriting of Hawkins, Ulster; Stokes-Gabriel.  Mathematical Instrument Maker – G. a demi lion, double queue, A, a bordure S. entoyre of bezants, and for skill in his profession the following crest allowed him (viz.) a forestaff in pale P. 15 Nov. 1721 (By Ulster under a special patent).”


            Fox-Davies in his “Armorial Families” (1929) records the grant in these terms “STOKES (U.O., 15 Nov. 1721 Ped. H. Coll. and U.O.) Gules, a demi-lion rampant double queued argent, a bordure sable entoyre of bezants, mantling gules and argent.  Crest; on a wreath of the colours of forestaff in pale proper.  Motto Ire in Adversa”.


            In that note Fox-Davies states that a pedigree was lodged with the College of Heralds and the Ulster King of Arms.  This was not a required procedure but it is apparent Gabriel, a meticulous man, wanted to put his pedigree on record so that there could be no doubt of his right to bear the Arms he registered.  It was not unknown for people granted Arms to select a design they thought attractive and then bribe or bludgeon the College into registering that design.  There are instances of this being done by families which later became very prominent.


            Clearly Gabriel’s pedigree should be available from the College of Arms and the Chief Herald of Ireland (the successor, in 1949, of the Ulster King of Arms in Ireland) but it cannot be located.


            Protracted correspondence with the Somerset Herald at the College of Arms was unsuccessful.  He did say that the collections of the 18th. century Heralds are in many cases badly or totally unindexed.  He went on to say “Though there appears to be no surviving contemporary records of the 1721 grant, all the evidence suggests that it was a grant of Arms and there was no pedigree lodged at the time.  There is no need for a grantee of Arms to record a pedigree and a man’s pedigree is not relevant when he is granted new Arms.”  I did not raise with the Herald (Mr. Woodcock) that these were not new Arms but had been worn by William Stokes of Watersend (Kent) in the 15th century.


            I also took up the matter of the missing pedigree with Mr. Begley, the Chief Herald of Ireland in 1982-83, when he said his records were in some disarray and he could not locate letters and papers from clients earlier than 1785.  At that time the Genealogical Library was in the process of being moved from the Castle to a new location.  I suspect the Ulster records had been out of order for a long time as the Somerset Herald in London told me that Gabriel’s Arms had been regranted in these terms “To all and singular to whom these presents shall come I Sir Arthur Edward Vicars F.S.A., Ulster King of Arms and Principal Herald of all Ireland, Registrar and Knight attendant on the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick do hereby certify and declare that the armorial bearings above depicted, that is to say: Gules a demi lion double queued Argent a Bordure entoyre of Bezants and for skill in his profession A forestaff in pale proper were granted unto Gabriel Stokes Mathematical Instrument Maker and his descendants with their due and proper differences according to the Laws of Arms and were duly recorded in the Office of the Ulster King of Arms in Ireland on the 15th. day of November 1721 As witness my hand and Seal this 11 day of January 1899.  Arthur E. Vicars, Ulster.”  My Woodcock went on to say “There is no indication of the identity of the client for whom this registration was made and if it was made in 1721 the need for confirmation in 1899 seems irrevelant if it was properly recorded on the first occasion”.


            I again met Mr. Begley, the Chief Herald of Ireland, in 1985 when he told me that the Ulster records were still unavailable as the Library had not yet been relocated but he hoped the records would be properly filed and indexed within the next two years.  He said the Government had made money available to employ 10-12 new graduates to sort out the papers.


            In the absence of Gabriel’s pedigree we must look elsewhere for evidence of the Irish-English connection as it is obvious such a connection existed.  The evidence is very fragmented and half a dozen hypotheses can be propounded using available evidence and a deal of imagination.


            The tradition in our branch of the family is that the ancestor of Gabriel went to Ireland in Cromwell’s time but not as part of his army.  There is some support for this story in that they were protestants.  The Reformation did not make much impact in Ireland so any earlier Stokes migrants would probably have remained catholics in Ireland.


            Rev. Henry Hudleston (1798-1878) met a tea planter named Stokes in Ceylon in 1935 who set out his descent from Robert, the son of William Stokes, a merchant tailor who married Catherine Evans in 1663.  He said he thought it most probable that William was the brother of John Stokes who was engaged as a surveyor under Sir William Petty in the survey of Ireland (the Down survey-1652) and the ancestor of Sire George Gabriel (1819-1903).  He went on to say that silver in their family carried the same crest as on the silver of the family of Sir George and that about the middle of the 19th. century a member of his family, Robert Stokes of the National Education Office and Sir William Stokes had agreed that there was a relationship between their two families but that it was very far back.  H.J.D. Stokes (the planter) also said that much of John Stokes work in the Down Survey was in the Record Office.  I have tried to check this point but unfortunately none of the original Downs Survey records is extant.  Much of the original material in the Surveyor-General’s Office as destroyed in a fire in 1711, whilst other maps and records transferred from the Quit Rent Office before 1922 to the Public Record Office were lost in the civil war.


            Sir William Petty who was in charge of the Down Survey was a prolific writer on many subjects.  I was in touch with the office of the Marquis of Lansdowne (who is a lineal descendant of Petty) at Bowood (Wilts.) to see if he left a list of the surveyors he employed but they were unable to locate any such list in Petty’s private papers.


            The idea that the possible forebear of Gabriel was John the surveyor and a brother of William the tailor was taken up by Rev. Hudleston and Dr. Henry and they unearthed a lot of information.  There were two such brothers in Dublin in that period.  William was a merchant tailor who married Catherine Evans in 1663 and died in 1678.  Four children, Robert, Joseph, Susanna and Mary were mentioned in his will which was extracted and recorded by a professional genealogist before it was destroyed in 1922.


            Then there was John, a vintner, who was married.  He died intestate and bankrupt in 1672.  Dr. Henry noted some Chancery cases where John was sued for not honouring some bonds covering purchases of wine.  In these cases he was described as “late citizen of London now residing in the city of Dublin”.  Incidentally Dr. Henry also notes a Bill against William, Merchant Taylor, concerning tailoring work done between 1661 and 1665.


            William and John were certainly known to each other and they seem to have acted in concert in becoming members of the Merchants Guild and Freemen of the City of Dublin:-


            Roll of the Freeman of the City of Dublin 1575-1774 Vol. IV R-Z


                        Car. 2 16 (1664) pas.               Stokes John vinar

                        Car. 2 16 (1664) pas.               Stokes William vinar

                        The description of William as a vigneron is almost certainly an error)


Records of the Merchants Guild, Dublin 1601-1686


            5th. August 1664.  John Stockes merchant admitted a brother of this Guild upon grace especiall and for the fine of five pounds sterling and has paid for his admittance 2/- and for wax 2/- and has put in for securitie Edward Meredith to pay all taxes.


            20th. April 1665.  William Stocks, merchant, admitted a brother of this Guild upon grace especiall and for the fine of seven pounds sterling and hath paid for his admittance 2/- and for wax 2/- and hath put in for securitie John Eaton to pay all taxes.  (In the index the name is written Stoakes, William).


            The connection between John the surveyor cum vintner and Gabriel (b. 1682) is vague.  Obviously John was not Gabriel’s father as he died ten years before Gabriel was born but he could have been his grandfather.  The similarity of occupation is noteworthy; John (d. 1672) had been a surveyor and Gabriel became one; William was a tailor and Gabriel’s father was also a tailor.


            I tried to trace John the vintner in London.  There was a John Stokes apprenticed to Isack Bringhurst, vintner, on 1st. February, 1641/2.  The record of his indentures noted that he was the son of William Stokes of the parish of Halleton (i.e. Hallaton), Leics., painter.  This man could well have been John the vintner of Dublin.  As it was usual to be apprenticed to a City Livery Company between the ages of 13 and 16 he could have been born about 1623-26 and therefore about 29-32 years of age at the time of the Down Survey.


            A search of the I.G.I. for London parishes did not reveal a John the son of John Stokes in the 1650’s but John the tailor in the White Lion could have been born in Dublin after John the vintner went there about 1652.


            I made a brief study to see if I could find the forebears of William the painter of Halleton.  The visitations of Leicestershire, 1619 records that a William Stokes of Abkettleby in Leics. married Theodosia Neale but doesn’t say when.


            Leaving John the surveyor and vintner hypothesis I will now describe another which also takes us to Leicestershire and some English history.  Adrian Stokes (d. 1585) came from Devon where he had a manor, Langacre near Torrington.  In 1572 he married Frances, Duchess of Suffolk and this makes an interesting tale.


            William Brandon was the standard bearer for the Duke of Richmond (Henry VII) and was slain in person by Richard III on Bosworth Field.  His son, Charles, stood high in Henry VIII favour and was created Duke of Suffolk.  Brandon married Mary, Henry VII’s daughter (and Henry VIII’s sister).  Mary was the widow of Louis XII of France.  Henry looked kindly on the proposed marriage in expectation of receiving the gold plate and jewels which had been promised to Mary by Louis but became very angry when they married secretly.  Eventually Brandon made a settlement through the good offices of Wolsey which satisfied Henry.


Charles Brandon and Mary had three children one of whom Frances (1517-59) married Henry Grey who later became Duke of Suffolk.  Lady Jane Grey, the nine days Queen, was their daughter.  The parents survived the downfall of Jane but the Duke was later attainted and beheaded for his involvement in the Wyat rebellion of 1554.  The Duchess was in disgrace when Adrian Stokes, who was apparently a member of her household, married her in 1554/5.  They had a daughter, Elizabeth, who died an infant.


The Duke of Suffolk lost all his possessions to the Crown when he was attainted, including Beaumanor in northwestern Leicestershire.  Apparently the Duchess leased it back from the Crown and bequeathed the lease to her husband, Adrian Stokes when she died in 1559.  Adrian renewed the lease in 1562/3 and bequeathed it to his brother, William, when he died in 1585.


William died in 1596/7 aged 70-72.  Unfortunately he made a nuncupative (oral will on his deathbed in which he left “all his goods to his kinsfolk and servants amongst them” without specifying his kin so it was not possible to follow the descent beyond William without considerable research which I did not undertake.  It may be possible to establish a connection between William, Adrian’s brother, and William, the father of John the vintner, but the whole hypothesis rests on uncertain foundations.\


In searching for the name Stokes in wills I came across a reference which may bear on the relations of the Stokes of Ireland and Leicestershire.  James Margetson, Archbishop of Armagh, died in 1678 and in his will he said “Indenture of 17 Jan. 1661, made with Edward Stokes, gent., of Melton Mowbray, Leics ….”.


Before leaving Adrian’s history it should be said that his escutcheon carried a rampant lion, double tailed, confirming that he was a member of the Stokes family in which we are interested.


I also conducted a search to find the forebears of the Irish family in the Stokes of Glos. / Wilts. based on assumptions that the brothers John and William had gone to Dublin in the 1650’s.  Anson Stokes recorded that Dr. Thomas Stokes (1784-1859) of Stanshawes expressed the opinion that the Irish family was a junior branch of his own and Rev. Thomas Gabriel (1828-1911) also recorded similar remarks of Dr. Thomas and went on add that one of his reasons for holding that opinion was that the Irish branch possessed a very ancient seal bearing bezants and a crescent, tokens of a family whose ancestors had been engaged in the holy wars.  This seal was the property of Dr. John Stokes (1721-81).  Speaking of Dr. John Rev. Thomas Gabriel went on to say “when we take into account his character … it is highly unlikely that he would use a seal to which he had no right?  There is an impression of this seal on a piece of paper with Dr. Henry’s notes in T.C.D.  I wonder where the seal is now?


In my search for two brothers John and William of the appropriate age in the Glos. / Wilts. families I noticed two sons of Thomas of Titherton and Anne Cheeke; John (b. 1626) and William (b. 1632).  This looked promising but the theory collapsed when I discovered John had never married and died at Seagree in Wilts. in 1687.  No other likely forebears were found in the Glos. / Wilts. families.


There have been suggestions that the Stokes of Dublin came from Devon but I have found no hard evidence to support such suggestions.  Undoubtedly there were Stokes with the double tailed lion on their escutcheon resident in Devon.  As previously mentioned Adrian Stokes came from Torrington in Devon in the time of Elizabeth I.  There are so many births and marriages recorded in the I.G.I. for Devon (and I found many more in wills and parish registers around Churchill in Somerset) that some good leads are necessary before serious research can be undertaken.


I have given a thought as to whether unusual Christian names could provide a lead to the English-Irish connection.  The only unusual names which occur with any frequency are Gabriel, Whitley and, to a lesser extent, Adrian.  Gabriel was an unusual name in every period but it occurs often in the Irish family as shown in the attached charts.  There were other Gabriel Stokes in Ireland in the 17th. / 19th. centuries which I have been unable to place.  Thomas Stokes had a family of two sons and two daughters all christened in Christ Church, Cork including Gabriel christened in 1722.  there was also a Gabriel Stokes who was curate of St. Annes, Dublin in 1725.  There were also two Gabriel Kings in Dublin in the period just before Gabriel the surveyor was born.  This is not very relevant as it does not help to establish the English connection.


I consulted the I.G.I. for many countries in southern England.  A Gabriel Stokes married Fanny Old at Pitscombe in Somerset in 1792 but that is too recent to be of any use.  A Gabrial (sic) Stokes married Mary Sills at Wichling in Kent in 1714 but here again the date is too recent for my purpose.  There was another Gabriel Storkes (sic) of the parish of St. Aldgate, London.  He died in 1669 but that is about all I know about him.


I also wondered if the name Gabriel had any geographical significance.  There is a village called Stoke Gabriel on the river Dart in Devon.  I checked the entries for that village in the I.G.I. but found no Stokes entries of relevance.  There is a parish of St. Gabriel in London but its registers offered no clues.


The name Whitley is also unusual.  It does not seem to have crept into the family until 1763.  I can attach no significance to it other than that there is a village of Whitley in Wiltshire about 2km. northwest of Calne and 5km. southeast of Titherton.  I have not come across any reference to it in the annals of the Stokes of Glos. / Wilts.


I think we can safely assume that if there is any significance in the name of Adrian it relates to the rather romantic character who married the Duchess of Suffolk.


There is some evidence that John the vintner / surveyor may have come from Kent.  The strongest piece of evidence is the Coat of Arms granted to Gabriel which is identical with those of William Stokes of Watersend in Kent.  These were first recorded in the Arundel roll in the reign of Henry VI and given in Foster’s “Some Feudal Coats of Arms from heraldic Rolls 1298-1418” (1902).  It is possible Gabriel was aware of William’s Arms but highly unlikely except through family records.  Mr. Woodcock, the Somerset Herald at the College of Arms, told me that Hawkins, the Ulster King of Arms, should have checked Gabriel’s right to these Arms but doubted if he would have done so.  I don’t know the import of these remarks but it infers that Heralds were sometimes careless in these matters but in view of the fact the Gabriel lodged a pedigree I think we can safely assume that he was entitled to bear them.


Rev. Hudleston Stokes (1898-1978) discussed the significance of the components of the Coat.  I doubt if he was any more knowledgeable in heraldic matters than I am but he conjectured that when the grant was confirmed on Gabriel Stokes the half lion was used to denote the traditional connection within a bordure to denote its lack of proof.  Sir William said “The similarity of his Arms … indicate that he probably belonged to a junior branch of the family long resident in Gloucestershire”.  In heraldic usage either interpretation could be correct but it is apparent that neither of them was aware of the Arms worn by Sir William in the 15th. century.  Their theories would, of course, have been equally applicable to the original application for a grant of Arms by Sir William or his forebears.  The bezants in the bordure may have been an indication that the original grantee was a crusader but they were also used simply as a mark of difference or just an embellishment.


Burke’s “Dictionary of the Landed Gentry” (1846) speaking of the Stokes family of Stanshawes noted that “some of the family enjoyed lands in Sussex and Kent” and this statement was repeated in Edward Dalton’s history of the Stokes family of Gloucestershire in 1854.


Watersend was a manor about 5km. northwest of Dover on the river Dour.  It is now only the name of a farm.  I have made a desultory attempt to learn something of the Stokes of Watersend but my basic data was scanty and there were many records of John and William Stokes in the parishes of Swingfield, Lydden, Temple Ewell and others.  The name Stokes crops up in many early records which is hardly surprising as Kent is very close to the site of the original Norman landing.  In an old pedigree of William Delawarr of Delaware in Kent I noticed Sibilla de La War, heyr of Martin Delaware married Walter Stokes about 1265 and the name Roberto de Stekes (sic) in the time of Henry III (1216-72).  I am left wondering if this family of de La War is related to Lord de la Warre who granted Rushall in Wiltshire to Roger and Alice Stokes in 1302.


The next reference to Stokes of Watersend is a deed by Queen Elizabeth granting to him the manor of Brosthall in Swingfield.  A manor, Sutton Farm (Winkleton) was bought by a Stokes and a descendant, John Stokes, sold it to Edward Merriweather “about the beginning of Charles I reign” (1625-49).  This period is getting close to the time when John the vintner was in Dublin.


William Berry in his “County Genealogies – Pedigrees of the Families of Kent” (1880) records the following pedigree:-


Henry Stokes                                       =          Thomazine daughter of Robert

                                                                        Symonds of Swingfield



John Stokes of Watersend                    =          Mary d. of John Sellers B.D. and

                                                                        Ann d. of Thomas Cranmer




John aet. 11 1619         Thomas            Mary                Susannah          Dorothy



John, born about 1608, could be John the vintner of Dublin and the John referred to above who sold Winkleton.  An interesting point is that his grandmother, Ann Cranmer, was the granddaughter of Archbishop Cranmer who was burnt at the stake in Mary’s reign.


            In my research into the Stokes family of Watersend in the parish of Temple Ewell I came across a William Stokes of Dover who was almost certainly a member of that family.  He was a Captain in the Royal Navy and was in command of the ship that brought Charles II from France to Dover for the restoration in May, 1660.  He was later elected Mayor of Dover on seven separate occasions between 1669 and 1688.  he was also a Member of Parliament for Dover in three Parliaments of Charles II 1678-9, 1680 and 1680-81.  He would have known Christopher Stokes of the Titherton, Wilts. family who was the Member of Whitchurch in three Parliaments of William and Mary and also Christopher’s brother-in-law Francis Stonehouse who was the Member for Bedwin, Wilts. in five Parliaments between 1678 and 1705.


            In this section I have discussed a number of hypotheses about the origins of John the possible grandfather of Gabriel the surveyor.  Others can be developed from Chancery cases involving Stokes resident in Ireland before the time of Cromwell but all the hypotheses require a lot of imagination to gain acceptance.


            I believe the forebears of Gabriel will not be established with certainty unless his pedigree is found in the Dublin Genealogical Library or some other documentary evidence comes to light.  If I had to make a guess I would say that his ancestors came from Kent.  That guess would be based on the heraldic evidence.

APPENDIX A                         Biographies


GABRIEL STOKES (1732-1806)




            Gabriel Stokes was born in Dublin in 1732.  His father was an instrument maker of great ability who made several useful discoveries and improvements in mechanics.  He published a treatise on calculation which resulted in his appointment as Deputy Surveyor General of Ireland.  Gabriel was educated in Trinity College, Dublin and graduated under the tutelage of his brother, John, then a senior fellow.  Stokes junior obtained a junior fellowship in his twenty third year and soon after went out on the College living of Ardtrea where he served for fourteen years.  He afterwards presided over the Corporation school at Waterford with much distinction.  Bishop Newcombe appointed him to the Chancellorship of Waterford Cathedral.


            He was next promoted to the living of Dysart-Martin in the diocese of Derry, where, up to his 74th. year he diligently exercised all his professional duties.  His death was caused by over-exertion in helping to put out a fire.  (Extracted from “History of the university of Dublin” by William Taylor, 1845, p.424).




WHITLEY STOKES M.D. (1763-1845)




            Dr. Stokes was the eldest son of Rev. Gabriel Stokes, Chancellor of Waterford Cathedral, Rector of Ardtrea and his wife Sarah Boswell.  He was born in 1763 and educated at the Endowed School, Waterford.  He entered Trinity College, Dublin in 1779 and, having won a scholarship, graduated B.A., 1783, M.A. 1789 and M.D. in 1793.  He became a fellow in 1788 and was appointed King’s Professor of the practice of medicine in 1793.


            Of known nationalist tendencies, he was summoned before Lord Clare at his visitation in April, 1798 which was held for the purpose of purging the College of all those in sympathy with the United Irishmen.  Dr. Stokes admitted being a member of the Society before, but not since 1792; having visited professionally an insurgent who was sick and in distress; and having furnished information to Lord Moira about the atrocities and torture inflicted on the people of the south of Ireland.  He denied having taken part in the revolutionary movement and was believed by all who knew him.  Nevertheless he was suspended from all his teaching functions for three years.


            Wolfe Tone, the leader of the 1798 revolution, was a fellow student of Whitley Stokes at Trinity College.  In his journal Tone wrote on 20th. May, 1798 “With regard to Stokes, I know he is acting rigidly on principle, for I know he is incapable of acting otherwise; but I fear very much that his very metaphysical unbending purity, which can accommodate itself neither to man, times, or circumstances, will always prevent his being of any service to his country, which is a thousand pities; for I know of no man whose virtues and whose talents I more sincerely reverence.  I see only one place fit for him and, after all, if Ireland were independent, I believe few enlightened Irishmen would oppose his being placed there – I mean at the head of a system of national education”.


            When the passions of the times had worn themselves out, Stokes regained his former positions.  In 1805 he was made a senior fellow; in 1816 he was appointed lecturer of natural history and in 1830 he became Regius Professor of Physic to the university, which appointment he held until 1842 when he was succeeded by his son, William (1804-78).


            Whitley was engaged in many activities in addition to his university work.  As a physician he had a large practice and much distinguished himself by his treatment of fever during the severe epidemics of 1817 and 1827 and he was instrumental in founding the College Botanical Gardens and in establishing the Zoological Gardens in Dublin.


            Dr. Stokes was one of a family of five.  He had two brothers, Dr. William (1768-1806) and Gabriel (1773-1848) and two sisters, Harriet (b. 1768) and Eliza (d. 1846).  He had a large family of five sons and five daughters, Whitley (1801-71), Dr. William (1804-78), Dr. Gabriel (b. 1806), Henry (1808-83), John (1810-45), Harriet (1798-1825), Mary Anne (1799-1832), Elizabeth (b. 1803), Sarah (b. 1812) and Ellen Honoria (1816-80).  He married Mary Anne Picknoll of Swords who predeceased him in 1844.


            Whitley died at his home in Harcourt St., Dublin and was buried in Taney graveyard along with his two brothers and several other members of the family.




WILLIAM STOKES (1804-1878)




            William Stokes was born in Dublin in 1804, the fifth child of Whitley, Regius Professor of Medicine at Dublin.  He was educated in classics and mathematics by John Walker a fellow of Trinity College and in science by his father.


            He studied medicine and graduated from Edinburgh University in 1825, the year in which, while still a student, he published the first book in English on the use of the stethoscope, the invention of which had been announced by Laennec in 1819.


            After qualifying he returned to Dublin and became a physician at the Meath hospital.  Together with his colleague, Dr. Graves, he helped reform the clinical teaching in the Irish capital.  Stokes rapidly became famous as a medical teacher but he was equally renowned for his compassionate treatment of the poor of the city.  This was particularly borne out by his work in the great typhus epidemic of 1826 which ended when he himself developed the disease in the following year.


            In April, 1828 he married Mary Black of Glasgow, and it became their custom to hold an open evening each Saturday at their home in York St., Dublin.  Dr. William and his Saturday night friends had a strong influence on Dublin society for many years.


            He continued to write and lecture on the application of the recently invented stethoscope to diseases of the chest and published a major work in 1827, “A treatise on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the chest”.  This was based predominantly on his clinical lectures with clear and definite summaries of the various conditions mentioned.  It also discussed in detail the views of Laennec, the French chest physician, who was the first to introduce auscultation as a major aid in diagnosis.  Much of the book was highly original and at the time was said to be “a model of medical exposition”.


            The description of the peculiar type of respiration now known as Cheyne-Stokes had been clearly defined by Dr. Cheyne in the Dublin Hospital reports 28 years before William published an example of his own in which he quoted Cheyne.  It is not clear why the two names were linked but as Cheyne was a relatively quiet, little known physician while Stokes was a leading light in the medical world of his day it is possible that Stokes’ account brought Cheyne’s to public notice and thus he was jointly credited with its discovery.


            In 1843 William assumed the duties of Regius Professor of Medicine at Trinity College and when Whitley died two years later he was appointed to the chair.  Among his many innovations he was responsible for establishing a Diploma of Public Health at Dublin, the first such qualification in the British Isles.  He had been involved in working in the great Irish epidemics during his early years in Dublin, having reported the first case of Asiatic cholera in 1832.  He was also responsible for founding the Dublin Pathological Society.


            The second of his great works was published in 1854, “Diseases of the heart and aorta”.  This was again an original piece of observation and description in the field of cardiology.  Together with Adams he first described the characteristic bradycardia and cerebral anaemia known as Stokes-Adams syndrome.


            William was elected Physician to the Queen in Ireland in 1861, the same year that he was made a fellow of the Royal Society.  He also served two terms as President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.  He was not only the most prominent physician in Ireland but, according to Sir George Paget, Stokes was the greatest physician of his time in Europe.  This is borne out by the fact that his works were translated into several European languages and in 1876 he was awarded the Prussian Order of Merit for his medical writings.


            His interest in art, archaeology and Irish history was recognized when he was elected President of the Irish Academy in 1874.  he was a friend of the painter Burton and of Petrie whose “Life” he wrote.


            William had a large family of whom three sons and six daughters reached maturity:- Whitley (1830-19090, William (1838-1900), Henry (1842-1920), Margaret (1832-1900), Marianne (1834-61), Harriet (1836-1915), Janet (1840-70), Elizabeth (1844-1926), Helen (1847-73).  Some of these children established reputations in several fields of endeavour.


            When he retired William moved from his home in Merron Square to his house “Carrig Breac” on Howth peninsula where he died in 1878.  He was buried in St. Fintan’s graveyard on the peninsula where several members of his family were also interred.




WHITLEY STOKES (1830-1909)




            Whitley was the eldest son of William Stokes M.D. and was born in Dublin in 1830.  he was educated at St. Columba’s College, Rathfarnam, Trinity College, Dublin and the Inner Temple, London.  He was called to the English bar in 1855 and practiced law in England for six years.  He then went to India and held several important legal posts in madras and Calcutta.  During his Indian service he published a number of works on Indian law.  He was made C.S.I. in 1877, C.I.E. in 1879 and returned to England in 1882.


            Although he led a busy life as a lawyer his life was one of unflagging industry in Celtic studies.  In his father’s house he had met Patric O’Donovan and O’Curry and from his early twenties devoted himself to the words and forms of the Irish language.  His first publication “Irish Glosses from an old M.S. in T.C.D.” appeared in 1859 as a paper in the transactions of the Philological Society of London.  For his first book, “A medieval tract on Latin declensions” he received the gold medal of the Royal Irish Academy.


            With John Strachan he published a thesaurus, “Paleo-Hibernicus”, more than 1200 pages of old Irish glosses from manuscripts anterior to the 11th. century.  This work rendered easily accessible for the first time the mass of old Irish glosses on the continent and in Ireland.  Other texts edited and translated by him include “Fis Adamnain”, “Togail Troi”, the tripartite life of St. Patrick, and the “Feilire of Aengus”.  Beside these and many other Irish texts and glosses he published editions and translations of Cornish and Breton texts, many papers on grammatical subjects, and critical reviews of the work of other scholars in the field.


            In 1865 Whitley married Mary Bazely by whom he had five children, four of whom grew to maturity: Whitley (b. 1867), Frank, Harriet (1866-1961), and Anne (b. 1870).  Mary, his first wife died in 1884 and in 1885 he married Elizabeth Temple.  He died in London in 1909 and was buried there.  A memorial Celtic cross was erected to his memory in St. Finian’s graveyard on Howth peninsula.








            William was the second son of William (1804-78) and Mary, daughter of John Black of Glasgow.  He was born in Dublin and educated at the Royal School, Armagh and Trinity College where he graduated B.A. in 1859, M.B. and M.Ch. in 1863.  He received his professional training in Dublin in the school of Physic at Trinity College, in the Carmichael School and at the Meath and Richmond hospitals.  He was awarded the gold medal of the Pathological Society of Dublin in 1861, becoming its President in 1881.  He was admitted a licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1862 and a fellow of this body in 1874.  After he had received his medical qualifications in Dublin he spent two years in Parish, Vienna, Berlin and Prague where his father’s reputation procured him the personal friendship of the most renowned teachers of those cities.


            In 1864 William settled in practice in Clare St., Dublin until 1878 when he moved to his father’s house in Merrion Square.  In 1864 he was elected surgeon to the Meath Hospital but resigned this post in 1868 upon his appointment as surgeon to the House of Industry Hospitals (which included the Richmond Hospital) where he performed the greater part of the operative work, which justly placed him at the head of the surgical profession in Ireland.  He was for some time lecturer in surgery in the Carmichael School of Medicine, and in 1872 he was elected Professor of Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland where he served as President in 1886-7.  He received his knighthood in 1886 and in 1888 returned to Meath Hospital as surgeon, resigning a similar position at Richmond Hospital.  In 1892 he was appointed Surgeon-in-ordinary to the Queen in Ireland.


            Sir William was a Governor of the Westmoreland Lock Hospital, a consulting surgeon to the National Children’s Hospital, a member of the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and he was for a number of years one of the representatives of the College on the committee which managed the examinations conducted by the College of Physicians and the College of Surgeons in Dublin.  He took much interest in the Academy of Medicine and for many years occupied a seat on the surgical council of the Society in addition to the position he held as Secretary for foreign correspondence.  He also acted at various times as an examiner in surgery at the University of Oxford, at the Queen’s University in Dublin, and at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Dublin.


            Early in 1900 William sailed to South Africa to be consulting surgeon to the British Army engaged in the Boer war.  He fell ill with pleurisy and died in the base hospital at Pietermaritzburg.  He was buried in the military cemetery at Fort Napier, Natal.


            In 1869 William married Elizabeth Moore by whom he had one son, Aleyn (1880-1965) and two daughters, Anna (b. & d. 1871) and Angel Helen (1872-1952).  Like many other members of the family in this period William was a man of great versatility; a good surgeon and a first rate teacher, he was also an orator and a master of English composition.  He was also a cultivated musician, possessed of a fine tenor voice which was often heard in private society in Dublin.  As a surgeon he was both brilliant and successful, and his name is associated with a particular method of amputation of the knee.








            Margaret was born in Dublin, the eldest daughter of Dr. William and Mary Black, a member of a large and very unusual family of three boys and six girls.  As a child in her father’s house she grew up in close contact with James Tood, George Petrie, William Reeves, (Sir) Samuel Ferguson and Edwin Quinn, the third Earl of Dunraven.  These, and others of her father’s antiquarian friends were to play an important part in her life.


            Her aptitude for archaeological investigation was stimulated by the careful training of her father and was well suited for the work she was later to undertake.  Although her taste for research was developed in this atmosphere it was not until she was past middle age that she found the leisure necessary for the pursuit of her interests.


            Margaret’s first important work was undertaken with no thought of publication but was the outcome of her friendship with, and admiration of, Sir Samuel Ferguson.  It took the form of illustration and illumination of his poem “The Cromlech of Howth”.  The illuminated initial letters were modeled on examples in the Book of Kells.  This work was so widely admired that it was arranged to publish an illustrated edition of the poem which appeared in 1861.


            She next undertook to edit the monumental volumes of the Earl of Dunraven’s “Notes on Irish Architecture”.  This work appeared in 1875-77 after Dunraven’s death.  She next produced “Christian Inscriptions in the Irish Language, chiefly collected and drawn by G. Petrie”.  Margaret also published “Early Christian Architecture in Ireland” in 1878, a series of handbooks on “Early Christian Art in Ireland” in 1886 as well as many other works concerning art and architecture in Ireland.  In the last decade of her life she undertook quite strenuous journeys in France and Italy tracing the footsteps of early Irish missionaries.  The results of this research were published in two separate books.


            Margaret was made an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1876 and she was also an honorary member of the Royal Antiquaries of Ireland.  She died at Carrig Breac on Howth peninsula and is buried in St. Fintan’s graveyard near her father and other members of the family.








            George Gabriel was the youngest son of Gabriel Stokes, Rector of Skreen and his wife, Elizabeth Haughton.  He was born at Skreen and educated at Dr. Wall’s school in Dublin from 1831 until he went to Bristol College in 1835 where he studied under Dr. Jerrard, the mathematician.  He entered Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1837 and became senior wrangler, first Smith’s prizeman and fellow of his College in 1841.


            In his early Cambridge years he established a close scientific friendship with William Thomson (afterwards Lord Kelvin).  Both were impelled by the closest interest in the advance of scientific discovery.  Their endowments were, in some respects, complementary.


            Gabriel remained a student throughout his life, closely pondering over mathematical questions and the causes of natural phenomena, perhaps over cautions in drawing conclusions and in the publication of his work, remarkable for his silence and abstraction even in crowded assemblies, but an excellent man of affairs, inspiring universal confidence for directness and impartiality in such administration as came to him.  In 1849 he was appointed Lucasion Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, a post he held till his death.


            In his early years of residence as a graduate Gabriel promoted most conspicuously the development of advanced mathematical knowledge at Cambridge.  His own early work was mainly on the science of the motion of fluids which he developed into an ordered mathematical and experimental theory.  This included a study of the phenomena of waves and he published in 1845 and 1850 two memoirs which created the modern theory on the motion of viscous fluids.  In 1849 he published two memoirs on optics dealing with Newton’s coloured rings followed by further memoirs on the theory of light.


            The copious output of his own original investigations slackened towards middle life.  In 1851 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society and next year was awarded the Rumford medal for his discovery of the nature of fluorescence.  In 1854 he became secretary of the society.  He became a member of the Meteorological Council which managed the British weather service and in 1878 he founded the observatory for solar physics.


            The insufficient endowment of the Chair at Cambridge made it necessary for him to supplement his income from other sources and for some time he was a lecturer at the School of Mines and a secretary of the Cambridge University Commission of 1877-81.  In 1883 Gabriel was appointed a lecturer at Aberdeen and in 1891 a lecturer at Edinburgh; these appointments required him to treat the scientific material of his lectures from the point of view of natural theology.  His interests as a churchman and theologian were strong throughout his life, and found occasional expression in print.


            In his later years Gabriel received nearly all the honours open to men of science including the Prussian Order of Merit and foreign associateship of the Institute of France.  He also received honorary Doctor’s degrees from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, and Aberdeen universities as well as Oxford and Cambridge.  In 1885 he became President of the Royal Society and in 1893 he was awarded the Copley medal.  On becoming president of the RS he shared with Sir Isaac Newton the distinction of being the only scientist to have occupied the Lucasian chair of Mathematics at Cambridge and to have been Secretary and President of the Royal Society.  In 1887 he was elected one of the members of Parliament for Cambridge University and was appointed Royal Commissioner for the reform of the University of London (1888-9).  In 1889 he was created a Baronet and in 1902 he was elected Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, of which he had long been fellow and of later years, President.


            Sir George Gabriel Stokes married Mary Robinson.  He had two sons, William George Gabriel (1863-93) and Sir Arthur Romney (1858-1916) as well as three daughters, Susanna Elizabeth (1859-63), Isabella Lucy (b. 1861) and Dora Susanna (b. & d. 1868).  He died at Cambridge in 1903 and is buried there.  The Baronetcy was passed on to his son, Arthur Romney but became extinct with his death in 1916 as he left no male heir.


            There is a portrait of Gabriel in Pembroke College and another at the Royal Society.  Marble busts were placed in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and in Pembroke College and there is a medallion bust in Westminster Abbey.




ADRIAN STOKES        (1887-1927)




            Adrian was the youngest son of Henry John (1842-1920) and his wife Mary Anne MacDougall and was born at Lausanne.  He was educated at St. Stephen’s Green school and at Trinity College, Dublin where he obtained honours in anatomy.  He graduated M.B. in 1910 and M.D. in 1911.  In 1910-11 he was working at St. Mary’s Hospital and was house surgeon at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton.  In 1911 he was awarded the medical traveling prize and the Banks medal by Trinity College.  After spending six months at the Rockefeller Institute for medical research in New York he was appointed assistant to the Professor of Pathology in Dublin where he remained until the outbreak of war.  He went to France as a Lieutenant in the Royal Medical Cops in 1914 and was appalled by the great number of men who reached the base in the agonies of tetanus.  He packed the sidecar of his old motorcycle with anti-tetanic serum and set off by himself to visit the field dressing stations, thereby saving many lives.  In this way the first mobile laboratory of the British Expeditionary Force was established.  He invented the method of giving oxygen continuously through a nasal catheter to victims of gassing, a method later extended to civilian practice.  He did valuable work on typhoid, cerebro-spinal fever, gas-gangrene, trench nephritis, dysentery and wound infections.  In 1916, when an epidemic of jaundice appeared in the Ypres salient he proved by animal experiments that the disease was spirochaetal in origin and showed that it was conveyed by rats with the result that the epidemic was stamped out.  For his war services he received the D.S.O. and O.B.E. and for his work amongst the civil population, the Belgian Order of the Crown.


            In 1919 Adrian returned to Dublin as Professor of Bacteriology and Preventive Medicine at Trinity College but in 1920 at the request of the Rockefeller Yellow Fever Commission he went to Lagos to investigate epidemic jaundice.  However no cases were available for investigation so the expedition proved fruitless.


            In 1922 Adrian was appointed Sir William Dunn Professor of Pathology in London University, working at the Pathological Department of Guy’s Hospital.  In 1927 the Rockefeller Commission again sought his assistance.  He proceeded to Lagos in June of that year and carried out decisive experiments showing that yellow fever could be transmitted to monkeys and thus ensured that further progress could be made by animal experiments.  Unfortunately he developed yellow fever himself and died after an illness of four days.


            Dr Adrian Stokes was a keen sportsman engaging in fishing, shooting and cricket.  He was extremely popular and in his short life he exerted an enormous influence for good on all those whom he came in contact at Trinity College, in the Royal Army Medical Corps and at Guy’s Hospital.  He never married.





Members of the Stokes family, born before 1900, who achieved prominence in various pursuits.

This list is almost certainly incomplete




Members of the Clergy of the Church of Ireland or Church of England.




            Dr. John (1721-82)                              Hudleston (1831-1902)

            Dr. Gabriel (1732-1806)                      Charles Henry (1852-95) (Africa)

            Henry (1760-1838)                              William Fenwick (1959-1945)

            Gabriel (1762-1834)                            Henry Cortlandt (1865-1949)

            John Whitley (1800-83)                        Adrian (1875-1956) (Australia)

            William Haughton (1802-84)                Gerald Angus (1876-1951)

            Henry George (1804-78)                      Cosby Hudleston (1881-1932)

            Henry John (1820-72)                          Henry Hudleston (1898-1978)

            Thomas Gabriel (1828-1911)




Academics who occupied professorial chairs




            Dr. John – Founding Professor of Mathematics, T.C.D. 1762-64

                        Regius Professor of Greek, T.C.D. 1764-75.

            Dr. Gabriel – Professor of Mathematics, T.C.D., 1764-1806.

            Whitley – King’s Professor of the Practice of Medicine, T.C.D.

                        1798-1812.  Regius Professor of Physic, T.C.D. 1830-40.

            William – Regius Professor of Physic, T.C.D. 1840-78.

            Sir George Gabriel – Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge


            William – Professor of Surgery R.C.S. (1872-1900)

            Adrian – Professor of Bacteriology and Preventive Medicine T.C.D.

                        (1919-1922) Professor of Bacteriology, London (1922-27)

Medical practitioners




Whitley (1763-1845)                                        Whitley Bland (1867-1909)

William (1768-1806)                                        Whitley  (1868-1807)

Gabriel (1806-83)                                            Thomas G. Nesbitt (1877-1963)

William (1804-78)                                            Henry (1879-1967)

Sir William (1838-1900)                                   Adrian (1887-1927)

William George Gabriel (1863-93)




Legal practitioners




John Whitley (1760-1838)                                Gabriel (1808-52)

Whitley (1801-1871)                                        Whitley (1830-1909)

Gabriel (1773-1848)                                        Alexander Hudleston (b. 1876)




Men who served in the imperial forces




John Whitley (1821-44) India                           Thomas Gabriel (1895-1970)

Thomas G. Nesbitt (1877-1963)                      Adrian Henry James (1897-1974)

William Noel (1881-1969)                               Aleyn (1880-1965)

Terence  (1890-1917) India



Men who achieved eminence in the public service



Gabriel (1682-1768)                                        Gabriel (1849-1920) India

John Whitley (1760-1838)                                Sir Hopetoun Gabriel (1873-1951 (India)

John (1791-1876) India                                    Thomas George Nesbitt (1877-1963) India

Henry (1808-83)                                              Henry (1879-1967)

Whitley (1838-1909) India                               Sir Henry Edwards (1841-1926) India

Herbert Bland (1894-1962)                             

Notable Gaelic scholars



Thomas Gabriel (1828-1911)

Whitley (1830-1909)

Margaret M’Nair (1832-1900)



Recipients of imperial honours



John (1791-1876) I.C.S.                                  Sir Hopetoun Gabriel (1873-1951)

Hudleston (1806-95) I.C.S.,                             K.C.I.E., C.S.I., C.I.E., I.C.S.

Sir George Gabriel (1819-1903) Bart.              Thomas G. Nesbitt (1875-1963) IMS

Whitley (1830-1909) C.S.I., C.I.E.                  William Noel (1881-1969) DSC OBE

William (1838-1900) K. Bach.                         Adrian (1877-1927) D.S.O., O.B.E.

Sir Henry Edward (1841-1926) KCSI ICS      Lucie Mary (1893-1985) O.B.E.

Henry John (1842-1920) KCSI ICS                Adrian Henry James (1897-1974) DSC

Sir Arthur Romney (1858-1916) Bart.              Aleyn (1880-1965) D.S.O., M.C.

Whitley Bland (1867-1909) I.M.S.                   Henry (1879-1967) O.B.E.







            Wills are a prolific source of genealogical information and in the course of my research I have student many Stokes wills as well as others.  In this appendix are reproduced some of the more interesting ones not so much for their genealogical content but rather as a matter of general interest.  They show what the people had, what they valued, how they disposed of them and how they tried to influence the decisions of their descendants in their social behaviour.


            The following Stokes wills are included:-


                                                Adrian (d. 1585)

                                                William (d. 1596/7)

                                                Edward (1615-67)

                                                John (1626-87)

                                                Abjohn (1641-1707)

                                                Richard (1661-1723/4)

                                                Thomas (1672-1731)


            John Stokes (1626-87) left fifty pounds (a large sum in those days) to Mary Stokes, the granddaughter of his half-brother Edward on the condition that she did not marry Andrew Killen within two years of his death.  She didn’t, so presumably she got her fifty pounds.


            Abjohn Stokes (1641-1707) was the head of the Titherton Lucas branch of the family and a dissolute rogue withal.  He literally cut off his eldest son with one shilling and left all his estate to his son-in-law, John Merriweather who had married his daughter Mary, the one mentioned in John’s will above.  This led to prolonged litigation over two generations and eventually forced the Stokes off their Titherton lands.  They seem to have gone to Essex as there are records of Abjohn Stokes’ around Chelmsford in the 19th. century.


            Adrian Stokes was a romantic character who married the Duchess of Suffolk when she was in disgrace after the decapitation of Lady Jane Grey and the attainting and subsequent execution of her husband the Duke of Suffolk.  After the Duchess died Adrian married a widow, Dame Throgmorton.  As Joseph Chester, an eminent genealogist, remarked in 1880, Adrian seems to have had a passion for marrying distinguished widows!


            Adrian had no children living when he died.  After making substantial bequests to his widow and her children he left the balance of his estate, including Beaumanor, to his brother, William.


            William died in 1596/7 but unfortunately he made a nuncupative (oral) will which left all his goods to his kinsfolk and servants.  He must have been at the point of death when he made the will as he did not specify his kinsfolk.  This was unfortunate for me as I wished to follow that line of descent.


            The will of Richard Stokes of Calne is very interesting.  It is obvious he was a very wealthy man for those times.  I imagine his second wife would not have been pleased to read that Richard wished to be buried as near as possible to his late wife!


            Richard didn’t like his eldest son’s (Thomas) ways and made provision to disinherit him unless “he do reclaim and become a sober mane and a good husband and marry a wife with a fortune not less than the sum of one thousand pounds”.  The marriage provision was designed to prevent his marrying his “cozen” Sarah, the daughter of Abjohn Stokes (1675-1725).  However Thomas was a resolute man and he married Sarah about four months after Richard died.  He was disinherited and went off to India for fifty years.  He returned to Stanshawes in 1782 when he inherited the estate under the will of his brother, Richard.  In India he had served in the army of the Honourable East India Company attaining the rank of Captain.


            Another interesting point in Richard’s will is the provision he made in case his sons left no male heirs.  This was to the effect that any beneficiary through his daughters had to change their name to Stokes or suffer severe penalties.


            The will of Edward Stokes of Titherton (1615-77) is of interest mainly because it shows that the Titherton Stokes were reasonably well off until his son, Abjohn, started squandering his inheritance.  Edward was a worthy citizen who fought with the Cromwellian forces in the civil war attaining the rank of Captain and he was a J.P. for his county.  In his capacity as a J.P. he had to hear charges against Thomas Webbe “the pretending minister of Langley Burrell” of profanity, obscenity etc.  What the evidence produced was so offensive to him that he published an 83 page booklet which he titled “The Wiltshire Rant”, a copy of which is in the British Library.  It was described as “a narrative of the most unparalleled prophane actings, counterfeit repentings and evil speakings of Thomas Webbe, late pretended Minister of Langley Burrell”  Apart from showing the character of Edward it illustrates the intensity of religious fervour in this period.


            The last will in this appendix is that of Thomas Stokes (1672-1731) a doctor who practiced in Barbados.  He was the seventh son of Edward of Stanshawes (b.1630) and graduated from Merton College, Oxford.  His will shows him to have been a kindly widower who bequeathed his assets widely in the family, to the church and the poor of the old parish of Yate in Gloucestershire.  It is interesting to note the way he disposed of his slaves as he would any other chattel.


            In noting dates in old documents it is worth remembering two points.  The first is that up to 1752 the calendar year ended on March 24th. but 1753 began on the 1st. January.  The change also involved advancing the date in September, 1752 by eleven days to bring England into line with Europe by adopting the Gregorian calendar.  This change caused much tumult, people claiming that they had been robbed of eleven days of their lives!


            In order to avoid misunderstanding dates between the 1st of January and 24th of March prior to 1752 are often shows as for example 27th Jan 1623/4 indicating the date under the old system was 1623, but was 1624 in the Gregorian calendar.


            The second point concerns the early practice of noting the year not as anno domini but as the number of years the monarch had been on the throne.  This method causes little trouble in normal circumstances as the conversion to A.D. can be made simply by referring to the date the particular monarch ascended to the throne.  However, in the case of Charles II who was proclaimed King in May, 1660 the records show that the year of the reign was calculated from the date of execution of Charles I in January, 1649.  The result is that Charles II was proclaimed in the 12th. year of his reign.


            One final point.  The spelling of names varies and they have to be interpreted cautiously.  For example, Adrian Stokes (d. 1585) is spelt Stockes in his own will; on Lady Frances’ tomb in Westminster Abbey it is spelt Stoek and he will names her husband as Stoches on one occasion and Stocke on another.  The marriage licence granted by the Bishop of London in 1572 was to Adrian Stokes Esq.



Will of John Stokes of SEAGREE    (1626-87)



          IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN.  The eighteenth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty and seven I John Stokes of Seagree in the county of Wilts. Gentleman being sick and infirm in body but of sound mind and perfect understanding for which I praise the Almighty God do make this my last Will and Testament in manner following first I commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God my Maker assuredly believing that I shall be made partaker of evalasting life and be saved by the death and merits of my Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and my body to the earth whereof it was made and for the expense of my funeral which I desire to be in a private manner I appoint the sum of twenty pounds Item I give to the poor of the parish of Titherton in the County of Wilts. twenty pounds of lawful English money to remain as a stock forever for the poor of the said parish and for that end it is my will that the money should be paid to the Overseers of the Poor for the time being upon the twenty first day December unto such poor of the said parish as are in greatest want Item I give to the poor of the parish of Seagree in the said County of Wilts. ten pounds.  Item Whereas by a restraint instrument under my hand and seal I have obliged myself to give unto Charles Dickenson and Elizabeth Dickenson grandchildren of my dear brother George Stokes the sum of fifty pounds apiece of lawful moneys of England I do hereby appoint my Executors hereinafter named to pay unto my said brother George Stokes and Thomas Jones tobacconist of London the said moneys in trust for the said Charles and Elizabeth Dickenson during their minority and the receipt of my said brother and Mr. Jones shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors hereinafter named Item I give unto my cozen Mary Stokes daughter of my cozen Apjohn Stokes fifty pounds of lawful English moneys provided that the said Mary Stokes marrys not with one Andrew Killen also Killing within two years after my decease but if she married with the said Killing within the time aforesaid then I give the fifty pounds unto my cozen Apjohn Stokes the younger brother of her the said Mary Stokes Item I give unto my cozen Susan Atwell the sum of twenty pounds Item I give unto my cozen Chrytopher Stokes his son the sum of ten pounds to buy him a piece of plate Item I give unto Mrs. Elizabeth Jacob daughter of Mrs. Jacob of Norton the sum of ten pounds to buy a piece of plate Item I give unto my cozen Susan Hall the younger ten pounds to buy a piece of plate Item I give unto my cozen Thomas Garrett his wife ten pounds Item I give ten pounds to the three children of John Wheeler of Seagree aforesaid that is to say to each of the younger children of the said John Wheeler a broad point in gold of twenty three shillings and six pence value and the residue of the said ten pounds in silver to his oldest daughter to buy her a piece of plate Item I give unto Henry Reynolds of Chippenham in the said County of Wilts. Taylor forty shillings Item I give unto Richard Palmer the younger of Langley Walter Thorne of Sutton and Margarett Thorne twenty shillings apiece Item I give unto my cozen Apjohn the younger the sum of fifty pounds of current English money which moneys I appoint to be paid unto my said cozen Apjohn Stokes the older in trust for the said Apjohn the younger during his minority and the receipt of the said Apjohn the older shall be sufficient discharge to my Executors hereinafter mentioned Item I give unto the said Charles Dickenson and Elizabeth Dickenson the sum of ten pounds apiece which said moneys I desire likewise to be paid unto my said brother George Stokes and Mr. Jones in like manner as the one hundred pounds above menti0ned and their receipts likewise a discharge to my Executors Item I do hereby revoke all former Wills by me at any time made and of this my last Will and Testament I do hereby nominate and make Thomas Jacob of Norton son of the aforementioned John Jacob and William Coleman of Hallawington in the said County of Wilts. joint Executors in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written John Stokes signed sealed and published by me the above named John Stokes in the presence of witnesses underwritten who have all subscribed their names in the presence of me John Stokes Christop.  Simons Robert Stratton John Hibberd.



Will of Abjohn Stokes of Titherton (1641-1707)



            I, Abjohn of Titherton Lucas, esquire, revoking, etc., given unto my son Abjohn Stokes one shilling, to be paid to him by my executor in one year after my decease if lawfully demanded; my son-in-law Mr. John Merriweather, all my messuages, lands, tenements, and heriditaments, as well in possession as in reversion, with their appurtenances that I have not otherwise conveyed to him or in trust for him to have to him his heirs and assigns forever; also all my moneys paid into the Court of Chancery by Daniel Parke, esquire, or his orders, and all my other goods and chattels, the said John Merriweather my sole executor; the executors, administrators, representatives, or whom it concerneth, of Michael Naish and Henry Rogers, both long since deceased, my trustees or survivors of them to make the said John Meriweather, his executors, administrators or assigns, a legal title as well as he hath now in equity to certain closes called by the several names of Warthe Lease, Long Meade, and Great Meade Lease pursuant to a deed by me and my wife executed, dated 12 December 30 Charles II, “deceased annoque Domini 1678” and recited in a deed of assignment dated 17 June, A.D. 1693, and executed by me to convey the said closes to Jeffrey Meriweather, his executors, administrators, and assigns, and as he should direct for his wife and family, for the raising certain sums of money and interest as therein, or that the executors, administrators, or assigns of my trustees, Naish and Rogers, or the survivor of them, do otherwise raise the said money and all interest for the said John Meriweather and family as and according to the power by me to them and the trust in them vested by my deeds for that aforesaid purpose.  Signed and sealed by the said Abjohn Stokes, 4 February, A.D. 1706.  Witnesses, Edward Sly, Robert Mitten, Anne Merriweather, Abjohn Merriweather.