The union between Hercules Stanley, whose alternative name appears to have been Edward, and Parthenia, resulted in six known children, and there were probably several more. Hercules and Parthenia must have been born in the late 1600s, as their first child, also a Hercules, was baptised in 1717, and their last known child, a daughter, Artula, in 1741.

Trying to discover something of Parthenia and her antecedents is a problem, particularly given how early this is. It is a name that was popular amongst the Boswells, with whom the Stanleys sometimes travelled, and there was also a Pathany (sic) Tucker who was baptised in Hampshire, (where the couple were to baptise little Artula more than forty years later). Pathany Tucker was recorded at her baptism in 1699 as the ‘daughter of a vagrant.’ Another candidate is a member of a family who appeared in Dorset in a settlement hearing in 1708.

The Poor Law Settlements and Removals of Sherborne, Dorset, on 2nd August 1708 record a Philip Collins and his family from Marston Magna, Somerset, travelling just five miles down the road into the Dorset village, from which they were summarily removed. Philip and his wife had with them five children: Penelope, Martha, John, Cornelius, Pathenia.

Of these children it is likely that the baptism of a Penella, daughter of Philip and Mary Collins, at Marston Magna, Somerset, on 25th December 1692, is the Penelope in question. She may also be the Penella Collins buried there on 17th November 1711. There is a Cornelius, son of Philip and Mary Collins, baptised at Cameley, Somerset, on 8th July 1694, and another earlier baptism on 15th June 1690 at Merriott, Somerset, of a Thomas, son of Philip and Mary, may also be a child of theirs.

Is the child Pathenia referred to in the record the same woman who would later partner Hercules? Certainly Parthenia and Hercules’ descendants favoured Somerset, as well as Dorset and Hampshire, and the birth dates of the Collins’ children does make this Pathenia a possible candidate for Parthenia Stanley. There may be others . . .