Alan March’s Family History
This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back many generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from Alan’s as (1)(1)
ROBERT RODWAY and ELIZABETH STANTON (9)
ROBERT RODWAY. Our 18th-century Rodways are concentrated in a small area of London between Westminster, Finsbury and Spitalfields. The churches they used are no more than 4 miles apart, and usually much closer.
There were Rodways in London from at least 1561. Nationwide, by far the greatest concentration of the surname is in Gloucestershire, and it is possible that they originated there. We also cannot rule out the possibility that one of those whose baptisms we are looking for came to London from the countryside, and was not born in the city.
Since Robert married in 1746 we should expect a baptism around 1721. The nearest we have found to that is:
Baptism. St Giles without Cripplegate, London.
1718 Apr 25 Robt Rodaway son of Robt Rodaway.
This is only half a mile from All Hallows on the Wall where the younger Robert had his children baptised.
There was a similar baptism at St Giles without Cripplegate in Dec 1715 for Robert Rodaway son of Robert and Mary Rodaway. This looks like a previous child who died.
The most likely marriage for his parents is on 11 Sep 1712, when Robert Rodway married Mary Lawrence at St Giles without Cripplegate.
A brother John was born in 1721, and possibly a brother Samuel in 1725, who died ten days later.
ELIZABETH STANTON. Stanton is a more common surname than Rodway, so there are a number of possibilities for her baptism. They mostly centre around Holborn, just over 2 miles from where Elizabeth married, or Clerkenwell, a little further north. We have no way of distinguishing the right one.
At the time of their marriage, both Robert and Elizabeth were living in the parish of St James, Westminster, but they did not marry in the parish church.
Marriage. St George’s Chapel, Mayfair.
1746 Sep 28 Mr Robert Rodway and Mrs Elizabeth Stanton, of St James, Westminster.
This seems to imply that both of them were from St James.
In the 18th century, the terms “Mr” and “Mrs” were used only for those of higher social status, such as the gentry or professional people and their families. There is a short period in this register, from 23 Jan 1742 to 28 Mar 1748 when these titles are applied to everyone in the marriage register.
St George’s Chapel, Mayfair, was built around 1730. It was in the parish of St George’s, Hanover Square, and close by the parish church.
Marriage ceremonies were performed here without banns, licence or parental consent, though the parties had to affirm that they were of legal age. These were called “clandestine marriages”, but, until the Hardwicke Act of 1754, they were valid and binding.
The Rev Alexander Keith officiated here until October 1742. The chapel drew couples from across London but some were lured away from St George’s, Hanover Square, resulting in a significant loss of income. The rector filed a suit against the Rev Keith, questioning his ordination. The latter was excommunicated.
Marriages continued at the chapel. There were 117 there in a single month in 1743, but in April of that year, Keitj was arrested and sent to the Fleet Prison.
Ironically, the Fleet Prison was itself a major venue for clandestine marriages.
A new chapel was established in a private house near Hyde Park Corner, close to the original. Here, Keith’s assistants resumed clandestine marriages in May 1744. For a fee of 1 guinea they provided a licence and a certificate.
This was known as “the New Chapel” or “Mr Keith’s Little Chapel”.
Keith died in prison in 1758.
Robert and Elizabeth may have made their way there following an advertisement such as this in the General Advertiser of 20 July 1744:
“To prevent mistakes, the little New Chapel, in May Fair, near Hyde Park Corner, is in the Corner House opposite to the City Side of the Great Chapel, and within ten yards of it, and the Minister and Clerk live in the same Corner House where the little Chapel is, and the Licence on a Crown Stamp. Minister and Clerk’s Fees, together with the Certificate, amount to One Guinea as heretofore, at any Time ’till Four in the Afternoon: And that it may be the better known, there is a Porch at the Door like a Country Church Porch.”
We do not know why Robert and Elizabeth chose to be married at the chapel, rather than their parish church. It may have been that the parents of at least one of them disapproved of their marrying.
St George’s Chapel, Mayfair
Robert’s is the only entry for Rodway in this register. There are 10 Stantons, but all from different parishes, so thy do not help us to establish Elizabeth’s family connections.
The baptismal register has many names followed by “a black”. These would be slaves of the wealthy Mayfair residents. Black faces would have been common on the streets of 18th-century London, though not those of free men and women.
We know of just two children from this marriage.
Baptisms, All Hallows, London Wall.
1747 Jun 7 Isaac and Sarah son and daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Rodway.
The present church of All Hallows on the Wall was built in 1767. Isaac and Sarah were baptised in its 12th-century predecessor. This was one of only a handful of churches to survive the Great Fire of 1666, but was now falling into disrepair.
There is a burial for Robert Rodway in 1749 in Finsbury. This is less than a mile from All Hallows on the Wall.
Unusually, this register gives the cause of death.
Burial. St Luke’s, Old Street, Finsbury.
1749 Jun 18 Robert Rodway A Man Consump
“Consumption” was the term used then for TB. It was particularly prevalent in towns, where people lived close together, often in unsanitary conditions.
Robert’s early death would explain why there are no more children.
The twins were only two.
Seven years later, Elizabeth may have remarried.
Marriage. St Giles without Cripplegate.
1756 Feb 26 Thomas Cusins and Elizabeth Rodway.
We do not have enough information to tell whether this is the widowed Elizabeth or a younger spinster.
There were no children from this marriage, which strengthens the likelihood that this was Robert’s widow.
Robert and Elizabeth’s only son Isaac was apprenticed to a coachmaker. The premium for this may have been paid for by Elizabeth or her family, or arranged by the Overseers of the Poor, which might have happened if the Rodways fell into poverty after the death of the breadwinner. Alternatively, the date suggests that Isaac may have waited until he had earned enough money for the premium and entered into his apprenticeship as an adult.
There is too much uncertainty for us to know when Elizabeth died.
NEXT GENERATION: 8. RODWAY
PREVIOUS GENERATIONS: 10. RODWAY-LAWRENCE