William Stentiford was born in Drewsteignton and we have met some of
his family before - in Issue 9 we presented the service records of two
of his brothers - James and George - who joined the Devon Constabulary.
Both Herbert Samuel Stentiford (see Article 1 in
Issue 47) and this
William Stentiford are descended from the Ann Stentiford who we wrote
about in Issue 6.
William was the third son of George
Stentiford and Jane Browning and was baptised in Drewsteignton on 14 Aug
His wife Mary came from Drewsteignton too but their
marriage is a bit of a mystery. We think they may have married at
St. Nicholas church, in Cork, Ireland on 9 Feb 1889. The British
maintained a presence in County Cork throughout the 19th century and
this church was used by military personnel. The 11th of Foot can be
traced to Cork around this time. However, "other ranks" were
not encouraged to marry and, indeed, Peter Burroughs in The Oxford
Illustrated History of the British Army says that "the official
roll for wives was restricted to six per 100 infantrymen, those ‘off
the strength’ receiving no acknowledgement or help from the
Presumably it became William's "turn" to
become a respectable married man because the 1891 census shows him
living with his wife Mary and their first child Henry William in the married quarters provided
by his regiment in the Higher Barracks in Exeter
- now, incidentally, converted into luxury housing, renamed "The Horseguards" and completely unrecognisable!
The 1901 census finds the family living in the Mutley district of
Plymouth at 48 Gifford Torr Rd. William is described as an army Warrant
Officer and there are no other clues as to why he is living in
Plymouth. William and Mary now have four children and another family
member is staying with them - Albert Charles Stentiford who is an
Able Seaman in the Royal Navy. Albert was the second son of William's
policeman brother George (See Issue 9) and was born in Teignmouth during his
father's tour of duty there.
William Stentiford died in Plymouth in the March Quarter of 1921