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Fay Sampson’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 30 generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from my own as (1)



STEPHEN LILLY is the middle one of the three known children of Richard Lilly and Hannah Beane. He was baptised on 20 March 1695/6 in the village of Wingham, halfway between Canterbury and Sandwich.[1] His father was a carpenter.

It is quite likely that his family moved from Wingham when Stephen was a child, since both he and his unmarried sister Elizabeth had children baptised in the nearby village of Wickhambreaux. There was a burial in Wingham of Richard Lilly in 1699. If, as seems likely, this was his father, Stephen would have been only four. Perhaps this is what led his mother to move.

We know from his son’s apprenticeship that Stephen became a yeoman farmer. Since he came from a family of craftsmen, this may not have been his original occupation.

At the time of his marriage he was living at Stodmarsh, a smaller village two and a half miles north of Wingham, just to the east of Canterbury. Its name reflects its character, with its large areas of reedbeds, open lakes, shallow, muddy pools, water meadows and damp woodland.


ANN BROWN. Ann Frank was a widow when she married Stephen Lilly in Feb 1720/1.

There is a promising marriage at St Alphege, Canterbury, on 26 Mar 1720 between Thomas Frank of Canterbury and Anne Browne of Wickhambreaux. Wickhambreaux is where Ann later spent her married life with Stephen.

We have not found a baptism for her in Wickhambreaux, but there is a cluster in nearby villages. Sturry is 3 miles from Wickhambreaux, and Ickham less than a mile.

Baptism. Ickham.
1694 June 3  Ann Brown daughter of John and Anne Brown
She is the only child of this marriage recorded in Ickham

Baptisms. St Nicholas, Sturry.
1695/6 Jan 5  Ann Brown daughter of John Brown
1701 May 8  Ann Brown daughter of John

Ann daughter of John Brown was buried in Sturry on 23 Mar 1701/2. There appear to be more than one John Brown, so the death could be of either girl.

Ann and Stephen’s marriage licence mentions Ickham, so the first of these baptisms is perhaps the most likely. This would make her about the same age as Stephen.

Weddings usually took place in the bride’s parish. A marriage in Canterbury suggests that Ann was living there at the time of her first marriage, though it was not her parish of settlement.

We have found no children from this marriage to Thomas Frank, but nor have we found a convincing burial for Thomas. It must have happened within months of the wedding.

Ann appears to have moved back to her home area, east of Canterbury, perhaps to the parish of her birth.

11 Feb 1720 a marriage licence was issued to Stephen Lilly bachelor and Ann Frank widow both of Stodmarsh At S[tour?] or Ickham.’

Stodmarsh is a mile from Wickhambreaux, and Ickham even less.

They were married two days later. The marriage index says that the wedding took place at Stodmarsh. The Stodmarsh register does not support this. Nor did they marry in Wickhambreaux. The scan of the Ickham marriage register cuts off the years 1720 and 1721, so this could be where the wedding took place.
Ickham derives its name from the size of the original Saxon settlement: a yoke of land, or about 50 acres. It is a typical small East Kent village with a single main street.

The couple made their home in Wickhambreaux and used St Andrew’s for the baptism of two sons.

Baptism. Wickhambreaux.
1722  19 April  Richard  son of Stephen and Ann Lilly
1726  1 May  Stephen  son of Stephen and Ann Lilly

The designation of Stephen as a yeoman at his son’s apprenticeship is surprising, given that his father was a carpenter. It is possible that Ann had an infant son from her previous marriage to Thomas Frank. If he inherited a farm, Stephen could have been managing it until the boy came of age.

Wickhambreaux lies between Stodmarsh and Wingham. In the 14th century, it was the manor of Joan, the original ‘Fair Maid of Kent’, who became popular as the wife of the Black Prince, Edward Plantagenet and the mother of Richard II. The village has a clapboard water mill beside the green.

Wickhambreaux water mill [2]

The Swan Inn in Wickhambreaux has been renamed the Hooden Horse. Stephen Lilly and his family would have been familiar with the custom of the ‘hoodening’. This saw the Hooden Horse, accompanied by labourers, going from door to door. They demanded funds for their Christmas festivities, with threats against those who failed to pay up. As a yeoman farmer, Stephen would have been expected to give generously to the Horse, in drink, food or money.

We do not know what the relations were between Ann and Stephen. No further baptisms have been found for their children, either in Wickhambreaux or elsewhere.

In 1725 there is a baptism for Diana bastard daughter of Elisabeth Lilly. The mother is probably Stephen’s sister.
Six years later there is the following entry in the baptism register.

1731 Nov 14  Thomas Bastard son of Stephen Lilly and Margaret Pack.

Pressure was put on an unmarried mother to disclose the name of the child’s father. He was made to pay for the upkeep of the child, so that it did not become a burden on the parish rates. The mother had to do penance in church, wearing only a white shift. The father escaped more lightly, being named in the mother’s confession in church, but not undergoing a similar punishment. Stephen would have been publicly shamed, but not to the same degree as Margaret Pack or his sister Elizabeth.

In 1736, 14-year-old Richard was apprenticed to a carpenter in the village of Ash, five miles from Wickhambreaux, in the direction of Sandwich. It is interesting that Stephen’s father was a carpenter. It may have been Stephen’s original trade, before he became a farmer.

Ann died in 1753.

Burial. St Andrew, Wickhambreaux.
1753 Mar 7 Ann wife of Stephen Lilly.

This was a year after the country switched from the Julian calendar, when the year began on Lady Day, 25 March, to the Gregorian, with the year starting on 1 Jan.

Stephen lived another 11 years

Burial. St Andrew, Wickhambreaux.
1764 April 6  Stephen Lilly.










 Read more on the Hooden Horse custom.



[1] BMDs from Findmypast
[2] http://wickhambreaux.org.uk/wp-content/gallery/history/old_mill.jpg





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