My great-great-great-great-great grandfather (i.e. five greats) Francis Stainthorp (1765-1822) and five-greats grandmother Hannah née Waring (1768-1836) are buried in the churchyard of All Saints Church, Rudby-in-Cleveland, in the north-east corner of the North Riding of Yorkshire, about nine miles south of Middlesbrough.
My Stainthorp ancestors lived in the adjoining village of Hutton Rudby from at least the early 1600s until c.1890. Our surname derives from the former market town of Staindrop, across the River Tees from Hutton, in County Durham. The placename matches Old Norse steinn + þorp meaning the ‘stony’ settlement or farmstead, or one belonging to a Dane named Steinn, but is probably a Scandinavianization of an underlying Old English placename stǣner (‘stony’) + hop (‘valley’). Staindrop is spelt Stainthorp or -thorpe on some pre-nineteenth-century maps and gazetteers. The manorial district around the village was anciently known as Staindropshire. A Gilbert de Steyndrope, goldsmith and sheriff, was recorded in London in 1346.
The local history society in Hutton Rudby have transcribed the parish records for All Saints: despite dozens of Stainthorp burials recorded in Rudby over two centuries, Francis’s is the only one of my ancestor’s graves marked with a headstone. The memorial inscription is very well preserved and reads:
TO THE MEMORY OF
who died July the 19th, 1822;
Aged 57 Years.
JANE his First Wife,
who died June the 17th, 17[95?];
Aged 31 Years.
HANNAH his Second Wife,
Who died August the 14th, 1836;
Aged 68 Years.”
Francis Stainthorp, the only son of Robert Stainthorp (1744-1820) and Margaret née Wilchinson (d. 1771), was baptised at Rudby parish church on 10th March 1765. Francis became a linen weaver – hand-loom weaving at home was the traditional occupation in Hutton, an important centre of the Cleveland linen industry, processing Baltic flax imported into the Tees ports. The village was also notorious for its connections to smuggling:
“Hutton Rudby, Enterpen,
Far more rogues than honest men…”
— traditional rhyme.
After the death of his first wife Jane née Kendale, Francis married Hannah Waring on 14th April 1798 in Rudby. They had several children including two sons who survived into adulthood: my four-greats grandfather Francis (1803-1882), and John (1810-1858). Both also became hand-loom weavers of linen.
In 1807, the 42-year-old Francis Stainthorp’s name and occupation were recorded in the county poll book for that year’s election to the House of Commons of the two county MPs for Yorkshire – the so-called “Knights of the Shire”. Francis had the vote, pre-Great Reform Act, becaue he was a freeholder resident in the liberty of Langbaurgh (the wapentake which included Hutton Rudby). This was no secret ballot: how each man voted was recorded and published. Francis’s candidate—the incumbent, anti-slavery MP William Wilberforce—retained his seat.
As his gravestone inscription records, Francis Stainthorp sr died on 19th July 1822 at the age of 57; he was buried two days later in the churchyard at Rudby All Saints, where his bones presumably still lie.
In his will, written on 21st January 1822, and proved at the Exchequer Court of York later the same year, Francis left a considerable amount of property to his wife, five surviving daughters (Hannah, Mary, Ann, Margaret and Jane) and two sons. The will mentions several houses in Hutton Rudby already occupied by tenant weavers, two acres of land, an orchard, “farming stock, Implements of Husbandry, and stock in Trade… Household goods, furniture, plate, linen and china“, and sums of money to be given to each of his children. A copy of the will is held on microfilm at the Borthwick Institute for Archives in York.
“I give to my said Wife for her own use
absolutely the Cow now in my possession…”
— excerpt from Francis Stainthorp’s will.
After his death, some of Francis sr’s property in Hutton—consisting of two houses with a garden, orchard, shop and stable—was bought by David Hebbron, a butcher. Francis’s elder son, Francis jr, lived to 78 and was one of the last hand-loom weavers in Hutton Rudby. Francis jr and his wife Ann Seamer (1800-1883) had three sons of their own in the 1830s, though all but the youngest died in childhood.
Francis jr’s son Charles Stainthorp (1835-1905) and grandson William (1862-1924) became butchers, after the industrial revolution brought cheap imported linen to Britain and put paid to cottage hand-loom weaving in north-east Yorkshire. Ironically one of the last uses of Hutton Rudby home-spun linen was to make blue apron material for butchers like Charles and his descendants.
After a series of family and financial tragedies in the 1870s and ’80s, Charles and William Stainthorp both left the North Riding and moved their families to what would later become the metropolitan area of Tyne and Wear. William’s youngest child: my great-grandfather Henry Harland (Harry) Stainthorp, was born in Sunderland in 1904. He carried on the Stainthorp family butchering business on Tyneside, succeeded by his own eldest son: my grandfather, who ran a butcher’s shop in Whitley Bay until he retired in 1986.
There were no (living) Stainthorps left in Hutton Rudby by the end of the nineteenth century.
I’m grateful to the following people, some of whom do not even know me, but without whose help I would not have been able to write this post :– my late grandad Bill Stainthorp and my grandma Marjorie, Joan Stainthorp, Gill S., Carole A., John and Marianne S., Margaret Brabin, Alice Barrigan (North Yorkshire History), J. E. Stainthorp, the staff of the Lincolnshire public library service, the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York, and several people on the RootsChat family history forum. Thank you.
Paul Harland Stainthorp (email@example.com). Version 1.0, updated 20th May 2014.