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Anne-Marie Ford    -    30 September 2012

In Fawley, in Hampshire on 20th December 1806, James and Margaret Stanley “travellers, saying their parish is Chievely, near Newbury, in Berkshire,” baptised a son, Vandelow, “aged 5 days.” Fawley was also the parish where William and Repentance Stanley, “travellers,” had baptised a daughter, Mahala, on 20th October the previous year. This conjunction of names, locations and time indicates a familial link, perhaps that of cousins or siblings.

Unlike James and Margaret, however, Fawley was to continue to be a significant parish for William and Repentance; a daughter, Anne, baptised at Dibden, Hampshire on 15th October 1815, was married at Fawley on 10th October 1838, to Matthew Limburn, son of Robert and Mary (nee Nicholas), bride and groom both “aged 22.” Matthew had been baptised there on 6th November 1815, as had all his brothers, and it was where Anne’sson, Alfred, was baptised on 8th June 1841, indicating a marriage into a village family. Another daughter, Mahala also married at Fawley on 13th November 1824 to a Henry Bunday, and their daughter, Anne, presumably named after her sister, was baptised in Fawley on 4th September 1825. (Two other children of William’s, a third daughter, Thurza, baptisedas Thursal, at Boldre, in Hampshire on 14th June 1807, daughter of William and Pentey, married Henry Blake in Southampton, on 29th January 1834, and a son, Josiah, baptised 8th December 1811 at Wimborne Minster, Dorset, married Sarah Ivall in Hampshire in 1836)

In addition, William and Repentance Stanley were witnesses at a wedding in Fawley between a Francis Proudley (described as a widower) and an Ann Parker, on 13th January 1812.Equally intriguing is the fact that a Francis and Patience Proudley baptised a son Vandaloe (sic) on 18th February 1827, at Titchfield, in Hampshire. Fawley was also to be the burial place of Repentance, probably living as a widow with her married daughter, and the record shows that she was 55 years of age at the time of the burial, on 25th January 1829. The connection with the Proudleys still provokes interest, since just one week earlier a 49 year-old Francis Proudley was also buried at Fawley. Other links with the Proudleys include the marriages of Rose Stanley, baptised 16th August 1778, and Callony/Colony Stanley, baptised 9th April 1785, daughters of William and Rose, “Gypsies and travellers of Hambledon” to brothers William and Francis Proudley, sons of Henry and Sarah.

By the time they baptised Vandelow in 1806, James and MargaretStanley had already baptised two of their known children: James on 7th November 1802 in Bosham, Sussex; Elizabeth, born 8th November 1804, on the 25th of November at Eling, Hampshire. A later son, Henry, was baptised 19th March 1809 at Catherington, son of James and Margaret, “travellers,”and a daughter, Theodosia, on 10th February 1811 at Droxford, Hampshire, a “Gypsy’s child, born Mislingford.” Little Theodosia died early, and was buried at Merston St.Giles, Sussex on 25th July 1811, the daughter of “a vagrant.”

Yet Fawley was to continue to be an important location for Vandelow himself; it was the burial site of his first known child with his wife, Sarah. Richard, baptised 29th June 1824, son of Sarah and Andrew (sic), a tramper, at Hythe, Hampshire, was buried on 13th September 1824, aged 11 months, the son of Anslon (sic) and Sarah Stanley.*Vandelow’s next child, child, Betsy, was baptised at St Mary the Virgin, in Salehurst, Sussex on 16th September 1827, the daughter of Vandal (sic) and Sally Stanley, “basket maker,” followed by Mary, on 3rd January 1830, at Compton, in the same county, and then Sarah, daughter of Vanlow (sic) and Sarah, baptised on 27th May 1832, back in Hampshire, in the parish of Hambledon. By 1834 yet another daughter, Sophia, was baptised on 17th August, at Climping, Sussex, the daughter of Vandelow and Sarah Stanley, “poor travellers and basket makers,” who, like James and Margaret, Vandelow’s parents, were to name Chievely, Berkshire as their home parish. A burial record of an infant, Vandelow Stanley, the son of trampers at East Lavant on 20th October 1836 was probably also their child. A fifth daughter, Georgina, was baptised on 13th March 1837, at Funtington, in Sussex, the daughter of Vansille (sic) and Sarah, and Emily was baptised on 20th October 1839, at Westhampnett, Sussex, the daughter of Vandelo and Sarah, “a traveller of Hambledon.”Again at East Lavant, on 14th August 1842, the couple baptised another Vandelow Stanley, followed by Henry, the son of Vandelor (sic) and Sarah, baptised on 2nd February 1845 at Blendworth, in Hampshire. This county was also the location for the last known child of this couple, Charlotte, who was baptised on 26th September 1847 at Binstead, in Hampshire.

Vandelow was also to be the name chosen byDaniel Dangerfield Stanley and his wife, Anne, formerly Clark, who had baptised their son on 26th September 1841, at the Church of St John the Baptist, Sedlescomb, Sussex. Samuel and Elizabeth Stanley, the parents of Daniel Dangerfield, are often found showing the same territorial preferencesof Hampshire and Sussex as James and Margaret, and the genetic marker of naming is a strong indication that Samuel and James Stanley were closely related, probablysiblings.

In the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle of 13th March 1852, a reference to Vandelow Stanleyis mentioned, together with his family, “A Gypsy named Vandelo (sic) Stanley was charged with having on 7th inst., slept with his family, in a tent on the roadside, near Boxgrove, after having been warned to leave; and also with having in his possession several articles of which he gave a very unsatisfactory account.” Thereafter, Vandelow appears in court regularly over the years, generally in the county of Sussex. In Chichester, on 22nd December 1855, he was charged with assault, “John Britton, versus Vandall (sic) Stanley: the parties, who were Gypsies of different tribes, between whom much ill will exists, were both fined in the sum of 10/- to keep the peace for six months.”

The 1861 census shows Vandelow Stanley as a resident of Petworth Gaol, following his conviction for larceny on 18th March 1861. Two years later The Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicleof 29th August 1863 reports, “Sarah Walker, a gipsy woman, was brought up for an attempt to extort money under the pretence of fortune-telling . . . Prisoner was remanded until Friday for the magistrate’s decision and was admitted to bail in a 10/- bond, Vandelo (sic) Stanley, another gipsy, being accepted for that purpose. The relationship with Vandelow is not known, but one probably exists, in order for him to stand bail.

In 1864 Vandelow made two court appearances, the first, reported in the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle 25th June 1864, “Vandelo (sic) Stanley, a gipsy, was charged with cutting grass upon land in the occupation of Mr. P. Calhoun . . . He pleaded guilty and was fined 20/- including costs. The money was at once paid. The same newspaper reported a fight involving Vandelow Stanley at the George and Dragon Inn, in its 23rd July issue, where he is described as “a well-known Gypsy.” The Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle 8th November 1865 mentioned him once more, with regard to “A Stray Horse,” explaining that “Vandelo Stanley, a gipsy, was charged with allowing a horse belonging to him to stray on the public road between East Lavant and Snagg’s Corner, on 30th October. He was fined 2/6d and 11/- costs and paid the money.”

At Chichester, as reported in The Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle of 9th August 1862, there was a fight involving both Vandelow Stanley and his daughter, Emily. “Emily Stanley and Vandelo Stanley, her father, were charged with assaulting the wife of Charles Stanley at Eastgate on Saturday, the 2nd inst., it appeared from the evidence that Charles Stanley was selling beer at Goodwood Races, and during the week had been repeatedly annoyed by the defendants and others. They were returning from the course on Saturday afternoon and met at Eastgate, when a general fight ensued.” Emily Stanley, (who said her proper name was Carter), admitted that she struck the first blow and she “appeared in court with her nose covered in plasters. She said it had been bitten by the complainant.” The Magistrates, the article reported, having carefully gone through the evidence, fined Emily Stanley 10/- and 8/- costs, and the male defendant 10/- and 10/- costs, or, in default, to be each imprisoned for 21 days. The money was paid.

But it is the case involving an assault upon Vandelow himself that attracts most interest. Under the title ‘Assault with a Sledge Hammer,’ The Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle 27th May 1874, recorded that “William Pidgley, a hawker, was charged with an assault on Vandilo (sic) Stanley, an aged member of the Gypsy fraternity. It appeared from the evidence of Sarah Carter, Stanley’s daughter, that on Saturday evening the parties quarrelled about some timber which was lying under Stanley’s van at Portfield, but which the prisoner claimed. The latter fetched a sledge hammer for the purpose of knocking it away, Stanley interposed and received a blow on the right ear, which felled him to the ground. He bled profusely and remained insensible over ten minutes. Two weeks later, however, Vandelow has decided not to pursue the case, and when “Wm Pidgley appeared on remand charged with attempting to murder Vandelo Stanley, and also with assaulting him with intent to do grievous bodily harm. Vandelo’s daughter was present at the hearing and said her father did not mean to appear, as ‘he had thought better of it.’ . . . The case was dismissed.”

The familial link with the Pidgeleys, like that of the Proudleys, is significant. In the 1871 census Vandelow Stanley, a hawker, can be found with Sarah, his wife, together with William Peasley and Dorothy, also hawkers, at Oving in Sussex. These are almost certainly the William Pidgley and his wife, Diaphene Stanley, daughter of Charles, who married William in 1856 as Daphene Stanley, on 16th June 1853, both aged 28, at the Church of Saint Faith, Havant, Hampshire. Clearly related to the Stanleys, and to Vandelow specifically, through marriage, this is, in all probability, the same William Pidgley named in the assault charge. By the following census, Vandelow is to be found, still in Oving, Sussex, but now a widower, with Robert and Sarah Pidgley, hawkers, who are William’s parents.

Vandelow Stanley died in Sussex (the death is recorded in the registration district of Westhampnett in the March quarter of 1889), claiming to be 87. In reality he was only four years out, being 83, but had lived a colourful life, and probably felt a bit older than his years.

* I owe thanks to Paul Kimber for this burial reference.

Copyright © 2012 Anne-Marie Ford