The Staffords
in Ashley
Family Tree

The Staffords in Ashley
Francis and Mary Stafford

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Great (6) Great (12) Great (24) Grand (48) Sons (96) of Francis Stafford (192) - His parents (384)

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In their time

Francis Stafford (192) and Mary (193)
Francis:1693-1750    Mary:?-1758

These are the Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents of the author.

Early years
I believe that Francis was born in Shearsby (Leicestershire) in 1693 to Zachariah and Hannah Stafford. This is based on Francis' age at death and known baptisms for Francis Stafford. Certainly the family names and incidental details seem to confirm this. He was baptized at St. Mary Magdalene, Shearsby on 20th October 1693.

As a master shoemaker (which was not the trade of his father) Francis must have served a seven year apprenticeship, probably between 1707 and 1714. It may be possible to locate the indenture governing this in the Public Record Office.

I have no evidence for their marriage, but I would presume, if they were married, it was between 1714 and 1716.

Francis and Mary Stafford had two children baptized in Dunton Bassett, which is five miles west of Shearsby. They must have moved to Ashley between May 1720 and November 1721. They then had eight children baptized at St. Mary, the Virgin, Ashley.
Children Baptized Place Notes Code
Mary 14 Dec 1716 Dunton Bassett She presumably died young 192-A
William 8 May 1720 Dunton Bassett 192-B
Thomas 8 Nov 1721 Ashley 96
Hannah 1 Feb 1723 Ashley Probably married William Wright 1 Oct 1745 Ashley 192-C
Mary 14 Apr 1726 Ashley Banns 1755 to William Sherman of Stoke Albany 192-D
Frances 22 Nov 1728 Ashley Buried 24 Nov 1728 192-E
Francis 29 Aug 1730 Ashley 192-F
Elizabeth 19 Feb 1732 Ashley Buried 22 Feb 1732 192-G
John 5 Jun 1734 Ashley 192-H
Zachariah 11 Jul 1736 Ashley 192-I

Ashley from the South, in the background, across the river Welland, lies Medbourne.

Francis' father, Zachariah, died in 1723. In the will Francis and his brother Thomas inherited his 'house at Westerby with all its Apertenances'.

Although his father was a 'grazier' it is evident that Francis took on the trade of a shoemaker or cordwainer. This is recorded in the Burial register of St Mary's Ashley.

Master shoemaker
In 1729 Francis agreed to Simon Wood, 'a poor Child', of Ashley becoming his apprentice. Francis was to teach him the 'arts and trade of a shoemaker which he now useth and followeth'. It is not apparent from the indeture how old Simon was but he would serve his apprenticeship until the age of 21, and the ususual term was about 7 years. This meant that he was with the family until 1736. Francis was to provide for his apprentice 'meet, competent, and sufficient Meat, Drink, and Apparel, Lodging, Washing, and all other Things necessary and fit for an Appprentice.' This included two sets of clothes, 'a good new Suit for Holy-days, and another for the Working days'.

Francis appears in the Ashley Tithes book from 1731 (there are no records in the book prior to this) to 1750. There are entries beyond this, presumably for his son Francis.

From 1731 to 1733 he was assessed 2 1/2 d and for 1 cow at 2 1/2d.
In addition in 1732 he paid 6d for a churching (presumably after the birth of Elizabeth)
For 1732 and 1735 he had two cows and in 1734 paid for a further churching (presumably after the birth of John)

He was assessed for six sheep in 1734, four in 1735, five in 1737 and four in 1738 and 1739. There is no entry for him in 1736.

From 1735 onwards he is assessed for a quartern of land except that in 1741 there is also mention of a meadow and from the figures the following years it appears that he was assessed for this in at least the next two years.

Towards the back of the book there an entry for 1740. In addition to the normal reference for a quartern of land there is a further line:
Francis Stafford for Bryans Close took for 3 yrs             £00 - S03 - d00

Francis' Death and Will
Francis died 20th November 1750 at the age 67. His youngest child, Zachariah, being 14. He was buried in Ashley 21st November 1750.

Francis had made his will in 1736. In this he left e left all his property to Mary. He mentions in the will 'the House wherein I now dwell with the shop, yard, out houses and all others its appertenences scituate standing and being in Ashley aforesaid'.
The will says that his is 'of Ashley' but does not mention his trade.
Thomas was already married, Francis married a year or two later. I am not sure about William and the two younger sons were presumably still at home.

Mary's Death and Will
Mary died some 8 years after Francis and was buried in Ashley 9 Sep 1758. Her gravestone is next to Francis' in Ashley graveyard but unfortunately the details are too difficult to read.

She made her will on 24 Dec 1751, a year after the death of Francis. At that stage she was said to be of Medbourne in the County of Leicester. She left all her possessions :
'All and singular my Messuages Cottages Clover Lands tenements and hereditaments whatsover and wheresoever and also all and singular my Goods and Challtels and personal estate whatsoever and wheresover'
to Josiah Hodgson a Gentleman of Medbourne. One of the witnesses to the will was Ellen Hodgson, however I do not know what relation, if any, they were to Mary.

Gravestones in Ashley churchyard:


From the Ashley memorial inscriptions booklet:
In memory of FRANCIS STAFFORD, who departed this life *** the 5th ****, aged *7 years.
(Having read this myself, I noted the date as Nov 20th 1750 or possibly 1730. He was either 37, 57 or 87. From the burial register it is apparent the date was 1750 and he was the date is Nov 20th 1750. His age was 67.)

(In fact in the right light the inscription is partly visible, the name is definitely Mary Stafford. From the burial register she died 9 Sep 1758.)

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