Thomas Stanley

Master Blacksmith of Chipping Norton

 Thomas was born & baptised in Didbrook, Glos., in 1790. He was the son of Thomas Stanley & Mary (nee Lyne).

His father died in 1807, Mary his mother recently widowed had to sell the blacksmith shop to cover her debts the 17 year old Thomas Stanley (1790-1870) must have thought it was the end of the world. No work available in the small village of Didbrook of course.

It is probably no surprise therefore that within a couple of years of these traumatic events the family had moved to the nearest town with work prospects, Chipping Norton. Little did they know that within a few decades the family would be “doing quite nicely”, hard work overcoming the bad hand they were dealt at that time. This is probably due in no small part to the hard work of Thomas himself.

In 1815, the time of the battle of Trafalgar, Thomas Stanley married Elizabeth Miles in Chipping Norton. They had many many children in the village between 1816-1841 and many of these survived infancy.

  • George (1816 - bef 1881)
    Married Mary Ann Hanson in Birmingham in 1843, some offspring
  • Henry James (1818 - 1886)
    Blacksmith, slater, plasterer, innkeeper
  • Amiah (1822 - aft 1841)
  • John (1822 - aft 1865)
    Labourer, Bricklayer
    Married Mary Ann in Chipping Norton, some offspring.
  • Thomas (1822 - 1890)
    Smith & machinist, engineer
  • Samuel (1824 - 1891)
  • Joseph (1827 - aft 1881)
    Smith, German silver plater, Railway carriage smith
    Married Eliza Harriet Hassell in Aston, Birmingham, some offspring.
  • Ann Miles (1828 - 1890)
    Married William Stoddard in Birmingham, some offspring.
  • Mary (1830 - 1831)
  • Mary (1832 - aft 1841)
  • Ellen (1834 - aft 1891)
    Married Thomas Smith in Chipping Norton
  • Un-named female (1838)
  • Edwin (1838 - aft 1871)
    Blacksmith, labouring gardener
    Married Mary Wells in Moreton-in-marsh, some offspring.
  • Jane Elizabeth (1839)
  • Jane (1839)
  • Mary (1840)
  • Frederick James (1840 - 1876)
    Blacksmith, painter & glazier
  • Ann (1841)

Thomas was a blacksmith throughout his life, although for some years he prefers to call himself a whitesmith. At the height of his working life in his mid-fifties he was termed a Master Blacksmith and had several tradesmen lodging with him and assisting in the smithy, he had come a long way since his mother had been forced to sell his father’s blacksmith shop.

His son, my direct ancestor, Samuel Stanley (1824 - aft 1891), didn’t stay in the town too long and left to find fame & fortune in Birmingham. Interestingly he didn’t go alone, at least three other brothers and one sister also made the move to the rapidly developing industrial city.