The Stewards

from a manuscript believed to be by Alice Sophia Briggs (neé Steward)

The earliest we know of the Steward family is in the year 1343 when John was Sheriff of London. He was born in the parish of St. Mary Axe in the 17th year of the reign of Ed. III. His son John was also Sheriff of London in the reign of Ed. IV. His will is dated Dec. 31. 1472 & his name is on the first window slab at St. Botolph's E.C. as benefactor to the church. He married twice. Petronilla... and Margaret. His son John was a merchant in London in Henry VIII reign. He had three children. John born 1570, Agnes died 1569 buried at St. Michaels Cornhill and Thomas born 1577 who married Margery Eglesfield. He was entered in Merchant Taylors School in 1586 & settled in the parish of St. Andrew's in the Wardrobe. The name of John continues and each seems to have been a City merchant in the neighbourhood of Aldgate.

Then in 1725 James Steward was born. He married Jane, daughter of Peter Freeland and his wife Elinor Levingston both of Scotland. James was married at St. Michaels Cornhill. (Note: the registers of baptisms, marriages and burials of St. Michaels, Cornhill has been published by the Harlean Society for the years 1546 - 1754. In it I found the marriage of Peter Freeland and Elenor Levingstone, both of Scotland, who were married on 10 June 1705. I did not find a marriage between James Steward and Jane Freeland. Also, if Jane Freeland was a daughter of Peter and Elinor she might have been too old to marry James Steward. Maybe generations mixed up here). Their children were James, educated at Merchant Taylors' School was buried at Charterhouse, Elinor married John Whitmore, & Richard married at Keith Chapel Mayfair to Elizabeth of J. Nottsford and widow of ... Clarke. John married Penelope (Whitmore?) & had 5 children. They do not seem to have any of them married. Richard and Elizabeth had 3 sons and 5 daughters. Two of the sons were named John Clarke. One died 1756, the other was born 1760. He married Elizabeth Walton of Stepney. James married Elizabeth Bache 1794. He was a Commander HEICS and later Sup. of Ordnance at Woolwich. This James had 3 daughters Jane, Elizabeth & Agnes. The two former married Gamage and Hipputt. The children of John Clarke and Elizabeth Walton were Richard died unmarried, James (father of ASB) Jane, Catherine and Sophia. James married Alice Lacell of Prittlewell, Essex. Jane married Miles Stringer of Effingham. Catherine married Capt. Manning HEICS. Sophia married Col. Morton.

Miles Stringer was a wealthy man and High Sherriff of Surrey. Effingham Hill nr. Guildford, a fine place. Some details I remember being told by my sister Louisa, others I heard in 1905 from an old servant 'Ann' then over 90 who had lived with the Stringers since she was 12. The Stringers had 1 son and 3 daughters. The son Miles sold Effingham soon after he came into the property. He married Louisa, daughter of Thomas Howe barrister and niece on the mother's side of Lauderdale Maitland of Eccles Dunfirmline.

Of the 3 daughters, Jane married Wm. Ed. Rawlinson Gen in Indian Army. He died in 1848 and she married Col. Julius Griffiths, Bombay Artillery. Georgie daughter of Jane and Gen Rawlinson married Mr Cookson a wealthy Yorkshire horse(?) breeder. Their place The Towers at Broughton in Furness is a fine one. To continue the Stringer branch Charlotte married her cousin Edgar Stringer whose father lived at Effingham Hill House, his mother was a niece of Lord Liverpool. Charlotte and Edgar had two children, Lindsay who was with his father in a shipping business in London and it was at their home P H Rathbone met Jane Steward. The third daughter Adelaide Stringer had grand ideas and wished to marry a duke! But after refusing several non-ducal offers married in 1859 Wm. Davis eldest son of John Davis of Cranbrook Hall Illford Essex. Wm. was a sugar merchant. She had a large family of sons and daughters of whom I have lost sight. One son was in the Bank of England and one daughter (Addela) married Col. Thomson who is now Judge Advocate in India.

To return to James Steward who married Alice Lacell, he told me he ran away with her to Gretna Green but no other member of the family knows it. They were very young and began life farming. Indeed my father was of an excitable disposition, very optimistic, very improvident and very unsuccessful. He appears to have lost largely in farming, being financed by his brother Richard who never married and by his mother. The old lady in her portrait looks a stern hard old lady and 'Ann' told me wore a brown frock and a cap all her married life. She was very tall and stately and walked with a long stick with a silver top.

My father had eleven children:

Jas. Dick married a daughter of my mother's sister Charlotte wife of Revd. George Harris. He was Capt. in the P&O and they had 8 children. Of the other children of my father James Steward, Elizabeth married Col. Towers went to Australia and was lost sight of. Jane married in 1853 Philip Henry Rathbone of Greenbank, Liverpool. They had 7 sons and 3 daughters.

Alice Sophia Walton married 1860 Archibald Briggs. The name of Walton was from my grandmother. I was baptized by my father who disapproved of the church formula, my aunt Mannning had me baptized at St. Pancras when I was about 7 years old and in her agitation she left Walton out. I was not believed but before my marriage a certificate was sent for and I was found to be right, my name being only Alice Sophia Steward. (Note: in the IGI there are two entries for Alice Sophia Steward, one in Llandudno, Carnarvon, "about 1839", and the other on 19 Apr. 1848 at St. Pancras, Old Church. I have not yet found the originals of these,but they agree with ASB's memory). My father gave up farming and studied for the curch, but Dr Sumner then Bishop of Chester refused to ordain him as he would not accept the doctrine of the Trinity. He therefore would not have me baptized with the Trinitarian formula. After his rejection by Dr Sumner, he went through the Lancashire factory districts as a missionary to the operatives. He used to say the hand loom weavers chanted as they worked: Clicketty clack Clicketty clack Thin water porridge and scarcely that.

After this he took up engineering and spent a great deal of money trying to fix beacons on the shifting Goodwin Sands. He made many costly models which he showed to the Admiralty but none were accepted.

After my mother's death my sister Mary had a hard life managing the household and all the young ones and especially trying to keep father from spending money uselessly. She never married feeling she could not leave him and died shortly after I was married. No other of my father's children married except John Clarke married Léonie Gogael whom he met at Algiers where he came to visit me and my husband when on leave from India, he being in the P&O service long stationed in the East. Their wedded life was short. He left the P&O and went into business with Archd. (Archibald) Briggs. After 14 mos. he broke a bloodvessel when out shooting. With much difficulty he came to England where he died at Greenbank Cottage. After I think 2 years Léonie married W. E. Topham Steele partner of R. W. Rathbone.

The report in part of the Stringer family that we had very aristocratic relatives and that the name was originally Stewart the t being changed to d at the time of the Rebellion must I think have arisen from Prince Charlie having hidden in the house of one of our family leaving behind a dress Stuart plaid in satin and having given his sword and a seal to those who sheltered him. The sword and seal are now in possession of Yorke Steward, a descendant of James who married Elizabeth Backe 1794. The scarf I foolishly gave to Edgar Steward son of my brother Jas Dick and I fear Edgar may sell it!

In all probability Prince Charlie did shelter with the Stewards who had for generations riverside premises and likely hiding places and the Prince probably flattered the Stewards by noticing the similarity of names and so the tradition arose of our aristocratic and Scottish origins but in truth the Stewards were always English merchants.

Currer - Briggs
Stansfield - Rawdon
The confusion of Briggs, Stansfield and Rawdon began in the lifetime of Archie's great grandparents when a Rawdon married John Briggs and the following generation Charlotte Briggs married Christopher Rawdon. Henry Briggs marrried Marianne Milnes, her sister Margaret Milnes married Wm. Standfield and Ann Briggs married Tom Stansfield, two brothers. All this is more clearly explained in my Diary page 72. (Note: I do not know whether this diary has survived or where it might be)

Rawdon Briggs banker Halifax married a Currer daughter of the Vicar of Clapham (or Kildwick). Kildwick Hall was the home of the Currers. Mrs Chas Heywood and Mrs Herbert Phillips were Langtons and Mrs Langton was a Currer. Through this slender thread both these ladies call me cousin.

The Currer family had died out, the last being two unmarried ladies who died at an advanced age about 1890 or even later.

James Dick Steward of P.&O. service who m. Mary (Polly) d. of Charlotte Lacell my mother's sister & Rev. George Harris had 8 childen:

May Petley had 2 sons and 2 daughters. Harold, Ethel b. 1889, Cyril & Gladys b. 1896. Frank Steward had 2 boys, Philip b. 1903 & Villiers b. 1906. Edgar had 5 children, 3 sons & 2 daughters. Kenneth, Donald b. 1895, Mary, Barbara, Norman. Morton had 1 daughter.

Jane Stringer Steward m. Philip Henry Rathbone. They had 7 sons and 3 daughters.

(That looks to me like 8 sons and 3 daughters)

Alice Moore had 5 daughters & 1 son.

Edgar 2 sons 1 daughter
Basil, Beatrice b. 1893, John b. 1897

Harold 1 daughter 1 son
Lorna Gabriel b. 1904 Della Robbin

Oswald 3 daughters 2 sons
Olive, Helen, Granfel (?), Cristopher & ?

Herbert 2 daughters
Marianne Ethel & Philippa

Edmund 1 son 1 daughter
Ellinor Closilde b. 1901, Paul Philip Albert b. 1903

Ethel 2 daughters, 2 sons
Hermione b. 1894, Eileen b. 1895, Philip, Gilbert b. 1910

Wilfrid 2 daughters

Alice Sophia Steward m. Archibald Briggs 1860. (Note: I have a rather poor photocopy of the entry in the marriage register of Llandudno. The marriage was by licence and took place on 11 Sep. 1860). They had 4 daughters, 2 sons.

Archibald Briggs (b.1833 drowned 1886) son of Henry Briggs & his wife Marianne Milnes. The Milnes were an old Yorkshire family probably connected with the Houghton family as the crest is the same.

Charlotte Mary m. Camillo Trivero 1891. 1 daughter Loisa Alice d. 14 days old 1894.

James m. Lucia Tracagni 1890. They had 2 daughters & 1 son.

Henry Briggs (d. 1868) m. Marianne Milnes (d. 1886)
They had 3 sons
Willie, Henry Currer & Archibald.
Willie died young
Henry Currer m. Catherine Shepherd (d. 1907).
Archibald (b. 1833 d. 1886)

Henry Currer & Catherine had 3 sons & 1 daughter
Arthur Currer b. 1855 d. 1906
Gerald O ? b. 1860
Marion b. 1858
Gilbert b. 1863 d. 1910

Arthur m. Helen Jones
They had 1 daughter & 2 sons
Dorothy (Dodie), Martin, Donald

Marion m. Geoffrey Jackson
1 daughter Madge b. 1880

Gerald m. Auguste (Guddie) Raikes
1 daughter Geraldine

Gilbert m. Nellie Scattergead
They had 1 son & 1 daughter, Geoffrey & Ella.

Madge Jackson m. Arthur Jackson
children Catherine Margery b. 1909, Arthur Geoffrey b. 1911

Dodie m. Austyn Barran
children Philip b. 1909, Arthur Howarth b. 1911.


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Transcribed and slightly edited by John Stowell, 2003/2004