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On the Trail

Anne-Marie Ford    -    3 March 2013

On Saturday, 11th July 1846 the Hampshire and Sussex Chronicle reported details of a Gypsy funeral held the previous week:

On Saturday evening, 4th July, the body of a man named Clark, one of the Gypsy tribe, was interred in Westhampnett churchyard. The novelty of the scene drew together a number of spectators. The corpse was followed by the wife and a large body of the tribe. On conclusion of the funeral service a watch belonging to the deceased was smashed to pieces and thrown into the grave, after which the travelling van, bed, bedding and every other article belonging to him was burned. The van was first broken to pieces, but the survivor was persuaded to sell the horse. It is reported that the deceased died worth several hundred pounds – which the wife has taken proper care of.

The Gypsy referred to is Thomas Clark, who was buried at St Peter’s church, aged “38 years” and claimed to come from Andover in Hampshire. Given that location, and that of his burial, it is almost certain that he is the Thomas Clark found in the 1841 census at Netley in Hampshire, travelling with Lee and Stanley families. (In the census there is no mention of children for Thomas and Diaphene Clark, which seems borne out by the newspaper report of the funeral, which speaks of a widow and the tribe, but no offspring.) In addition, Westhampnettin Sussex was the burial site for some members of these tribes, including the Sarah Lee, buried in 1821, “aged 42 years,” who was “a Gypsy woman who, being taken ill in this parish was taken to the workhouse,” and the burial of Vandelow Stanley in 1889.

The group found at Netley in 1841 include:

John Stanley, hagler (41), Mary Stanley (38), sons Samuel (19), John (16) and James (13);

Noah Lee, umbrella maker (34), Emily Lee (32);

Mary Lee, basket maker (34);

Diaphene Stanley, Gypsy (21); Diaphene (4 mos);

Amelia Lee (60);

Susan Lee, basket seller (68), Celia Lee, basket seller (26), Elisha Lee, basket maker (21);

Thomas Clark, Gypsy basket maker (39),Diaphene Clark (40);

James Weeks, Gypsy hagler (48), Mary Weeks (45), John, basket maker (21), Caroline (18), Mary (14), Ann (9), George (5);

Caroline Lee, basket maker (38);

Mary Lee, hagler (50), John, basket maker (34), Matilda (24), George (4), Ezekiel (3);

Martha Lee (70), Caroline Lee (36), Patience Lee (32);

Of these Gypsies we know that John Stanley is the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Stanley, baptised in Soberton, Hampshire on 7th July 1799.With them are three of their sons, Samuel, John and James and a daughter, Diaphene. Diaphene Stanley wasbaptised at Ditchling in Sussex in 1821, her father John is recorded as a chairmaker.At Netley she is found with her baby, also named Diaphene.The other Diaphene in the group is the wife of Thomas Clark. The estimated ages of both Thomas and Diaphene are out by about six years; Thomas’ age at death would suggest a birthdate of about 1808, and Diaphene we know was baptised in Sussex in 1806 as ‘Daphne,’ the daughter of David Lee and Sophia Stanley. Clearly, the name is an important family marker.

The Stanley family has other examples of this name:a John Stanley, who was baptised in Bentley, Hampshire in1744, and his wife Susannah, had a Diaphene, christenedon 13th March 1785 in Soberton, Hampshire, daughter of a Gypsy man and woman. Their son Charles Stanley, together with his wife Mary (formerly Ayres), baptised a daughter Diapheneon 29th January 1826 at Fareham, Hampshire.James, another son of Samuel and Elizabeth Stanley, and his wife Frances also had a daughter called Dyphena, baptised on 5th January 1840 at Upham in Hampshire.

It is possible that David Lee’s wife, Sophia, is a younger sister of this elder John, but perhaps it is more probable that she is adaughter. As she began having children in 1788 it is likely she was born around 1768/70, when John would have been in his early twenties. There is a Sophia Stanley baptised at North Stoneham, Hampshire on 11th December 1768, daughter of John and Elizabeth Stanley, and it is tempting to suppose that Elizabeth is an earlier wife of John. Another possibility is that she is a niece, the daughter of one of John’s brothers. Whatever Sophia’s antecedents it is clear that her daughter, Diaphene Clark, is within a close family group.

Sophia Stanley and David Lee had 14 known children, and some of their daughters had names already used by John and Susannah Stanley in the previous generation and by John’s and Susannah’s daughter, Lydia, and her husband, Reuben Stanley, in the subsequent one. Sophia’s daughter Harriet was baptised in 1790, Lydy in 1794, Charlotte in 1796, Daphne in 1806 and Patience in 1816.One of David and Sophia’s sons, William, was also to use Stanley names for some of his children, includingDyphaney, a daughter who was baptised in Acton, Middlesex on 13th July 1823, Solomon, also christened in Acton,Middlesex on 9th April 1826 and Dangerfield, baptised late at Ryarsh, Kent on 10th March 1844.

Of the many Lees present at Netley we know Martha Lee is the widow of George Lee, and is with her two unmarried daughters, Caroline, baptised at Kings Somborne, Hampshire on 23rd January 1803 and Patience, baptised at Fawley in Hampshire on 31st March 1810. Noah Lee is also a child of George and Martha Lee, baptised at Stoke Charity, Hampshire on 17th February 1805 and is here with his wife Emily. Amelia Lee is clearly part of this Lee family, but little is known about her except that she baptised a son, Inverto, in Eling, Hampshire on 6th July 1811, giving the date of birth as 8th June and is recorded as a travelling Gypsy.(There are also records of her in the Calendar of Prisoners at Winchester in 1815 and again in 1818, where she is found travelling with a group who include Mark and Susan Lee.)

Susan/Susannah Lee is the widow of Mark Lee, and a sister of George Lee. Susan is at Netley with her two children, Celia, baptised as Sicilia at North Stoneham, Hampshire on 7thMary 1815, daughter of travelling persons, and Elisha, born about 1819.(Celia is believed to have formed a union with Samuel Stanley, son of John and Mary.)

Marriages between families travelling together and, in particular, cousin marriages were common and in census returns such relationships can explain travelling groups. There were certainly other unions between Clarks and Stanleys. On 7th February 1785 a Sarah Clark had married Robert Stanley at Upton Grey, Hampshire, and Daniel Dangerfield Stanley, the son of Samuel and Elizabeth (and brother to the John who is the father of Diaphene and husband of Mary), had married Ann Clark in Hampshire on 17th February 1834 at Millbrook.

The Weeks family may seem unconnected in this 1841 census, but they too are linked to the Stanleys by at least one marriage. James and Mary had a son, William, who had married Emily Stanley, the daughter of Charles Stanley and Mary Ayres, in the December quarter of 1838, in the registration district of Portsea Island. The certificate offers these details:

William Weeks, hawker, residing at Copner Road, son of James, hawker

Emily Stanley, residing at Copner Road, daughter of Charles, travelling Gypsy

Witnesses: James Stanley; Charlotte Hughes.

James Stanley is Emily’s brother and Charlotte Hughes is her married sister; the trail taking us to yet another family connected by marriage to the significant tribes of Stanleys, Ayres and Lees, and beginning another journey in genealogical research . . .

Copyright © 2013 Anne-Marie Ford