We began to research William Stenniford and through him, his wider
family. Our first port of call was the 1901 Census where we found a family
of STENNIFORDS headed by a Richard Stenniford who was said to have been
born in Chorley. His wife, Maria, was said to come from Chamleigh
while the William who began this quest plus all the other children
bar one, were born in Devonport, Plymouth .
When we went further back to the 1891 census, we discovered that their
name had been entered as STIDFORD. This was obviously the same family at
the same address with a head of household doing the same job as Richard
did in 1901 at the local gas works and yes, it was the same Richard and
Maria except that Richard's birthplace was given as Chudleigh as was
So then back to the 1881 census. This time we discovered that their
name had been recorded as HENNIFORD and that the birthplace of Richard and
Maria was given as Chawleigh. What enabled us to discover their true identity was
the fact that Richard's age seems to always have been accurate and
at that point we assumed that his place of birth was also accurate.
That led us to Chawleigh in the 1851 census where we found William and
Elizabeth STENTIFORD (who we wrote about briefly in Issue 2). Their son
Richard was baptised on 20 October 1850 and this was undoubtedly the same
man. We traced his marriage at Chawleigh to Maria Tolley in the March
Quarter of 1877 and the baptism of their first child, Jane at Chawleigh on
Christmas Day 1877. Two more children were also born in Chawleigh but
then, shortly before the census was taken in 1881, Richard and Maria made
the move to Devonport and it was there that the William mentioned above, and his younger
brothers and sisters, were born.
So a 60-mile move across the county triggered a series of name changes
which finally became accepted by them as STENNIFORD and was brought into
general use by them. When Richard died at the age of 60 at his
daughter Lily's home in Monmouthshire in the September Quarter of 1915,
his death was registered in this form of the name. He was born and married
as a STENTIFORD and buried as a STENNIFORD.
The descendents of Richard Stentiford aka Stenniford have continued to use the
STENNIFORD variation up to and including the present day.