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A History of Peter Stay

Section 2

Peter Stay’s History

1 Peter’s Birth and Parentage
2 Movements by Peter during his life
3 Peter’s residence in Dorset at time of Marriage
4 Return to the Hordle and Milton Parishes
5 The Period of living in Christchurch
6 The Milton Period
7 Final Residence, Barton

Peter Stay is the last ancestor identified by Alice Bailey Stay to be in our direct family line. We therefore use him as our Reference to further our direct lineage. We knew little about Peter from her research other than that his wife was listed as Sarah Muston. As we stated earlier, we have since identified her name as Musson. Grandmother, during her research, was not able to identify his parents or where he was born. Much has been gleaned since Grandmother’s work due to the expansion of available material and the internet. The following discourse documents our most recent findings as of February 3, 2009.

Chapter 1
Peter’s Birth and Parentage

Peter Stay was born in HORDLE, Hampshire England. This is confirmed by the following:

1. Petter, son of Richard of Hordle was baptized 2 May 1779 in Milford.

From the Registers of the Parish of Milford, Hampshire (received by correspondence and the microfilm GS 1595858).

This is further confirmed by the 1841, 1848 and 1851 census that lists his place of birth, his age, his wife and the children living with him at the time

Records from The Congregation of Protestant Dissenters” in Christchurch provides the birth places and birth dates of some of Peter’s children i.e. Hordle, Ashley, Barton and Milford, each location where the family resided at the time of their birth. I should be noted that Hordle, Ashley and Barton are within a one mile radius, Milford is also very close.

Hordle Parish, Peter’s birth location:

From old maps of Hordle parish, there were a number of small units (clusters of cottages) in the area immediately surrounding the old Hordwell church. There were the farms and small villages of Taddyford, Rockcliff, Ashley Hill, Oakland, Barton, Royal Oak, Aubrey Ho. and Beckton Farm all within the radius of one mile from the so-called village of “Hordwell” (early spelling of Hordle). The first Ordinance Survey map of the area, published in 1799/1800, is very precise and shows the location of the old Parish Church surrounded by seven buildings, likely squatter’s cottages. This is where the present Hordle Manor farm is located and is adjacent to where the current boys school (i.e. Hordle House) exists.

Just to the East along the lane is what is known as the Taddyford area, where another early map (1825/26) shows additional cottages or residences. A later map from about 1867 does not show any residences in this immediate area except for the Manor Farm and Hordle House. It also shows the “Taddiford” farm complex just to the east of the old parish church. Many of the cottages in the area were taken down; this was a period during the Enclosure Act when landowners removed cottages to increase acreage in order to graze sheep.

An early description of the Parish of Hordle indicates that the parish did not actually consist as a village, but consisted of groupings of scattered farms and houses. However, if a very old Norman church existed and there were a grouping of cottages around that church, then one would likely label the location as Hordwell or Hordle after the name of the church. Secondly, if the saltpans and other early buildings were overtaken by the sea due to erosion, then a village existed in the immediate area of the old parish church. After the new Hordle church was constructed a village of Hordle was introduced at that location 2 miles inland.

It should be noted that since the time of Peter’s birth, in 1779, the sea has eroded better than one mile. The old Parish Church Site is now near the Cliffs. “The Field Guide – Hordle Cliff” (Ian West 2007) has a picture showing the area with a notation “Hordle Village Lost to Sea”.

Map 1 Study Area 1787.

This map of the study area shows the relationship of Hordle, Barton Ashley Area and Milford. Vaggs Lane is noted as Bagg Lane, Arnewood is above that. Setley is at the top right of the map.

Map 2 Study Area. This is a map dated just after Peter’s birth that better displays the relationship of Hordle, Ashley area (three locations), Barton, Milton and Milford.

I would think, therefore, after this rather lengthy discourse that we may well assume that Peter originated from the immediate vicinity the old Hordle church. We must caution however, that Hordle is also the parish name that includes a number of clusters of cottages. The fact that we find the entry of Peter’s birth in the Milford Register reinforces the costal location near the old Hordle Church.

Chapter 2
Movements by Peter during his life.

Peter moved about during his life, why? What took him to Lower Lytchett in Dorsetshire before his marriage? What took him back to the Hordle/Milford area? He then relocated to Christchurch, then back to Hordle, and finally to Milton where he lived out the rest of his life.

It appears that Peter was an itinerant laborer who moved about, as work was available on the land held by the Lord of the Manor. He may not have had a permanent residence.

Chapter 3
Peter’s Residence in Dorset at the time of his Marriage

Peter lived in Dorset at time of his marriage. We don’t know why he resided in Dorset. Is there some connection between Hordle, Hampshire and Lower Lytchett, Dorset? It may be possible that Peter had sympathies with the Catholic Church in his youth. Surely, Peter’s distant ancestors were Catholic and listed on the Popish Recusant Roles before the family left Brockenhurst in the mid 1600s. We have located Muston’s and Musson families on the Catholic recusant rolls in Canford Magna where Sarah was from. It appears that Sarah may have come from a Catholic family. (See Chapters 88, 89, 91)

We find a number of wealthy families that had holdings in both Hampshire and Dorset that could account for his move from Hordle to Lytchett because of employment with one of these families. Peter’s childhood must have been in and around Hordle his birthplace. Our next notation is his banns and marriage certificate which lists the following at Canford Magna, Dorset:

Banns of marriage between Peter Stay of the parish of Lytchett Minster and Sarah Mussen of this parish were published on 3 Sundays in 1803.

9 October
16 October George Tito Brice, Vicar
23 October

Marriage Certificate Number 46 -

Peter Stay X of Lower Lytchett - Sarah Mussen of Longfleet
Married in this church by Banns 27 October, 1803
By George Tito Brice, Vicar
Solemnized by the mark of P.S. and S.M.
In Presence of Joseph Pearce and Matthew Young

This marriage entry is our Peter due to the fact that he and Sarah’s first two children, Ann and Elisea were recorded* as being born in and about Lytchett Minster.

1806 - 25 December Elisea (Eliza) Stay daughter of Peter and Sarah Stay
1804 - 21 October, Ann Stay daughter of Peter and Sarah Stay
*Lytchett Minster Parish Register

Lower Lytchett is located about four miles north and east of Pool in Dorsetshire. There are several rural towns with the name of Lytchett, as well as small bay. “Lower Lytchett” is also known as Lytchett Minster, a parish and scattered village where the first two daughters were christened.

Longfleet, where Sarah Mussen was from, is located immediately north of Pool and is now a part of Pool. What took Peter from Hordle to Lower Lytchett is a question we may never answer. However he lived there at the time of his marriage (1803) and through the period of the first two daughter’s births. (This is anywhere from three to five years)

Chapter 4
A Return to the Hordle and Milton Parishes

Peter’s third Child, Mary, was born 1809 and christened in Hordle. Thus, we find Peter and his family back in the immediate Hordle area, where the remainder of the children were born.

While residing in Hordle an event took place that would have an effect upon Peter and his family for generations.

Peter’s third and fourth children Mary and John were christened in Hordle in 1809 and 1811, and Charles, the fifth child, was christened in Milford in 1813. These births place the family as members of the churches in Milford and Hordle administered by Reverend James Harington Evans, an ordained minister of the Church of England. Reverend Evans was 23 years old when an event happened which made a difference in his future conduct.- - -

“In the following year, their happiness was much increased by the birth of a son, but it proved the source of much sorrow, for the infant after languishing for some time died before the expiration of its first 12 months.”

“This event caused the Reverend much distress and caused him and his wife to be concerned about their lives and the doctrine they were espousing. He was given a book by the Rev. John Hill, he read it, and as he studied it, the Spirit of God poured in a flood of light upon his mind and he was led to see the glorious doctrines of Grace for the first time. - - - An awakening in the parish commenced, which though small in its beginning was the precursor of a large blessing - - “The Church was crowded with eager listeners and the evening lectures at the vicarage were thronged by those who were earnestly asking what they might do to be saved.” The article goes on to describe many converts, especially in the lower class - - -“principally among this class and their simplicity, life and fervor, were most instructive. - - - The Bible was carried into the fields with the daily provision of the family and while resting during the heat of noon one would read it aloud to the rest.”

It was told that “upon one occasion about the time Evans quitted Milford (1816) the Vicar suddenly appeared in church one Sunday and demanded the pulpit, whereupon Mr. Evans asked who were on the Lord’s side? The majority of the people left the church declaring they would not hear the Gospel preached there.” (Source: from the Milford Record Society)

It is very possible that Peter and his family were worshiping in the Church during the episode described above. Peter’s third child, Mary, was born in Hordle in June of 1809. William was born in 1817 at Ashley, so this would have Peter and Sarah being right in the middle of the fray.

We have not been able to locate the church where the last 4 children of Peter and Sarah were christened; they may have been associated with one of the Nonconformist congregations known to be in operation during the period. We have been unable to locate any of the registers for those churches.

Over the next 50 years, except for the period in Christchurch, Peter and his family would live within the radius of three miles, i.e. the villages of Milford, Ashley, Milton, Hordle, and Barton. The 1841 census places Peter and Sarah in the Milton parish in the village of Barton, which is within the tithing of Ashley. Mary (born Hordle), John (Hordle), Charles (Milford), William (Ashley), Rebecca (Milton), Sarah (Barton) and Joseph (Ashley).

We have two locations where they lived when children were born in the Milton Parish that may account for their later return to that parish in order to gain poor relief in their advanced years. Thus, with the exception of the first two daughters, the children were all born within this immediate local (see proximity map). Was Peter an itinerant laborer moving about, or did his family live in one location centered between these villages? Assuming that Peter was a farm laborer, it is noted that farm laborers moved around due to the settlement laws.

Chapter 5
The period of living in Christchurch

Between 1827 and 1831 the family lived in Christchurch, attested to by the adult baptisms of Peter’s children into “The Congregation of Protestant Dissenters” and records of the Poor Laws of that district.

The episode in Milford with Reverend Evans may well account for the entire family leaving the Anglican Church and being baptized into the Independent Church in Christchurch on the 22nd of June 1828.

The Congreation of Protestant Dissenters baptized large numbers of individuals during this period; a reverend Gunn is noted to have baptized a “substantial” number of children during 1828 including three of Joseph and Sarah’s children. The other children of Peter were baptized into this faith over the course of several years. Descendants of the Stay family (Charles line) are, to this day, still affiliated with this congregation in Christchurch.

This group initiated schools for the children of the church and several took advantage of these schools. (See history of Joseph Stay, which expands on this issue)

We do not find any evidence that Peter and Sarah were baptized into “The Congregation of Protestant Dissenters” faith as their children were. However, while residing in the City of Christchurch, it is recorded that Peter and Sarah were listed on the Poor roles and were given assistance by the “Church” (the Anglican or Protestant Dissenters Church?). We note from the “Overseers of the Poor Law” for Christchurch the following entries were found:

1831 May 21 Peter Stay - ill 3 shillings
1831 May 28 Peter Stay - ill 1 shilling and 6 pence

Thus, Peter was on the Poor roles in Christchurch in 1831. (About 52 years of age.) The above two entries from the Overseers of the Poor Law with a notation “Casual payments and not long term support” i.e. not persons of that Parish needing permanent aid from the Church. This entry signifies the jurisdiction of the Milton Parish.

This is the period when the adult children of Peter and Sarah were baptized into The Congregation of Protestant Dissenters, attested to by the following entries:

June 22, 1827 William Stay Born April 3, 1817 (was baptized)
Joseph Stay Born April 2, 1822
Sarah Stay Born Feb 13, 1825
Dec 22 1828 Rebecca Stay Born July 21, 1819

We then have several other important entries as follows:

Jul 13 1843, Charles baptized April 15, 1834 born Christchurch son of John and Mary Edgele Stay (mothers maiden name)

Mary is the third daughter of Peter and Sarah and this confirms that she married John Edgele 29 Dec.1831. We found this union recorded in early family group sheets of Alice Bailey Stay as well as from temple work in the LDS Church done by Sarah Jane Stay Powell, Peter’s granddaughter. Temple records also indicate Mary’s marriage to Edgell where the name is recorded as John Eagle or Engel.

Ann and Elisa were married in Christchurch: Ann to Robert Gandy and Elisa to James Hoar on 1 Oct, 1834.

Their daughter was baptized as follows:

22 May, 1836 Elizabeth baptized, born Christchurch, 20 Oct 1835, parents James and Elizabeth Hoare.

And a son Henery:
11 June, 1837 Henery born Christchurch, Dec 23, 1836
Parents James and Elizabeth Hoare (Stay) Laborer

Elizabeth would have been the second daughter of Peter and Sarah. This confirms the marriage of Elizabeth, which was shown on the early Alice Bailey Stay family group sheets.

We also note that Charles, Peter and Sarah’s fifth child lived in and about Christchurch during his life. He was married to Jane Brenton in Christchurch 25 Dec.1839. Harry Stay indicates, “Perhaps Peter was staying with his son Charles.” Charles is the great grandfather of Harry Stay, our distant cousin who has helped considerably in our research.

Our next source is some ten years later, the 1841 Census of Hordle lists the following:

Peter Stay - 62 - Ag Lab - Yes
Sarah Stay - 58 - - Yes

“Yes” indicates that the individual was born in the county of Hampshire, Sarah, however was born in Dorset. When they moved from Christchurch during that ten years is not known.

Chapter 6
The Milton Period

From the 1851 Census, we find Peter living back in Milton parish in the village of Barton of the Ashley tithing Hampshire, GS #288797

Prior to the census, Peter and Sarah moved or were removed to Milton from the Hordle parish. Based upon the Act called the Law of Settlement, every pauper was chargeable upon removal to his “Place of Settlement”. One would gain a “settlement” and become chargeable to a given parish if he succeeded in staying in a parish for a period of one or more years.

According to an order of Removal by the Overseers, Peter and Sarah were removed from the Hordle Parish to their “Place of Settlement” or voluntarily moved to their Place of Settlement, Milton Parish. It would seem that this settlement was based upon their last permanent residence in Ashley and Barton. Ashley and Barton are located within the Milton Parish. (See Harry Stay’s notation from the Poor Law Minute Books of the Poor Law Lymington Union under outdoor relief).

Chapter 7
Final Residence in Barton, Milton Parish

According to Harry’s research, the Parish of Milton had accommodations and utilized cottages for carrying for the very poor and infirmed (see notations in the Peter Stay History).

We have one very interesting additional fact regarding Peter’s location at this time. From a section of the 1841 Tithe Map of the Milton Parish, Harry Stay was able to determine the exact location of Peter and Sarah’s residence.

The cottages named below were a part of the Milton Parish Cottages. It appears that the Overseer would help a poor family by finding them accommodations and for a number of years, the parish had owned cottages for this purpose. These cottages were reserved for the very poorest and there was little comfort in a Parish Cottage, for the pauper families were packed in. From the entry below, it seems that there were two families living in the cottage on Plan 212.*

Bursey, John Esq.
Leasehold under Winchester College

James Stride and Peter Stay (occupiers) 34 Perches 15..od
Number on the plan 145. Two cottages and gardens.

Harry Stay indicates that this cottage (145) no longer exists it is only an open field.


Peter Stay and William Stone
1 Rod. 12 Perches 2s ..0d.
Number on Plan 212. Garden

(*Note: Harry Stay located these two entries)

Arrow shows actual location of the cottages where Peter lived his last years.

The map shows the location of these cottages as indicated by the arrow, just above the Barton farm. The farm is at the intersection of the road from Barton Cottages to Barton Common where the intersecting road runs north to Milton. This location is within several blocks of the Common which is known as the “Village Green” this was found in some of the early references to Peter Stay.

Harry Stay indicates that the second cottage on Plan 212 remains to this date.

We have found a description of cottages from this era and area in the Milford-on-Sea Record Society Journal. Part will be given here:

“These cottages seem nearly always to have been built with their long axes mainly East and West. The door was on the South aspect - - usually protected by a porch and so not facing the lane. They were built close to the lane or track which gave access to them, and many had a bread baking oven in a lean-to wood shed on the West end. The combined kitchen and living room had a large open fire place about eight feet wide and five feet high, the top of which was formed by a large oak beam twelve to fifteen inches square, and other beams at the back and side were furnished with iron hooks from which could be hung cooking pots, hams, sides of bacon, etc. The oven was of brick with arched roof and its door was in the lean-to woodshed its flue opened into the fireplace of the living room.”

“The windows were small about two feet high and three feet wide - filled in with small squares of rough glass set in lead, and often incapable of being opened. The upper room (often one only, but sometimes two) was as low as the living room (not over six feet high).”

“The roof was often made of rough fir trees, with cross bits of hazel, ash or any other wood, and to these were tied large bundles of dried reed or Spear over which the thatcher laid his reed or straw thatch and kept it in place with hazel spars. The floor of the living room was originally of puddled clay covered with straw. The walls of the cottage were puddled loam and clay mixed with straw.

Practically all of these cottages were originally Squatter cottages.

One can “feel” the living conditions of Peter and Sarah Stay during this period.

The costs associated with Peter’s care for this period were as follows:

Peter Stay (old age) £5.8.6 for 2 years ending March 25, 1848

Peter Stay (for old age of self and wife) £5.4.0 for the 2 years, September 29th 1848

Peter Stay -£ 5.4.0 for 2 years ending March 25, 1849

Based upon these three entries, it confirms that Peter and Sarah lived in the Milton Parish and were cared for under the Poor laws of the Parish.

By 1851, Sarah had died, and as Peter was virtually helpless, John and Rebecca (and her illegitimate daughter) returned home to look after him, John being a laborer and Rebecca a dressmaker. As a result, the family apparently no longer qualified for Parish relief. Two years before Peter died, Rebecca married William Adams, a Gunsmith of Milton. It is probable that Peter was now incapacitated in some way, so she was free to marry. Her daughter Ellen died in 1925. “I have seen a copy of her will and she left her estate to Rebecca’s children by William Adams” (Notes from Harry Stay).

The 1851 census gives Milton as the location of Peter’s residence; it confirms his age and place of birth:

Peter Stay - head - Widower - 72 - Pauper -Hordle, Hamps, Blind
John - son - unmarr - 39 - ag lab - Milford, Hamps
Rebecca - dau - - 31 - - Milton
Ellen - g-dau - 6 - scholar -

In his later years, as the above census record indicates, Peter was a Pauper and blind. He was listed in the Lymington Union - Parish of Milton, Parochial list of “The Outdoor Poor”. Harry Stay writes, “Peter must have had a hard life, at least in his declining years. After his children left home and he became blind, he and Sarah received relief from the Union i.e. they were added to the list of the “outdoor Poor” (they didn’t have to go to the workhouse).

The Tithe Map for the Milton Parish, indicates that Peter resided in that cottage for a number of years until his death in 1859. We would assume that Peter and Sarah are buried in the old Milton churchyard. .

From a letter from the New Milton Church warden we find the burial dates of Peter and Sarah.

Sarah Stay was buried on April 9th 1850.

Peter Stay was buried on May 4th 1859 age 81 years.

A History of Peter Stay's Ancestors

Owner/SourceGary Stay
DateMar 2009
File nameA History of Peter Stay
File Size
Linked toPeter (also Petter) STAY

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