The Oliver Connection

When Thomas Oliver, otherwise Stanley, was removed from Downton, Wiltshire to Landford, in the same county, on 14th December 1784, it identified him exactly, and indicated his mother’s maiden name, too. He had been baptised at Landford, Wiltshire, on 28th November 1762, the son of Richard and Elizabeth Stanley.

Richard was the grandson of Hercules and Parthenia Stanley, and was baptised in 1738 in Farnham, in Surrey, son of Richard and Millicent. His first known child, assumed to be with Elizabeth, although she was not mentioned in the baptismal record, was Priscilla, daughter of Richard Stanley, Gypsy, in 1759, in Market Lavington, Wiltshire. Subsequently many of their children were baptised in the county, although some were baptised in Berkshire and Hampshire as well. Nevertheless, Wiltshire was much favoured, and their next daughter, Elizabeth, was baptised at Mildenhall in 1761, followed by Thomas in 1762, before their next child, Melissa (Amelia/Milly) was baptised at Aldermaston, in Berkshire, in 1765. Another little girl, Rhoda, was baptised back in Wiltshire in 1769, followed by a Richard Oliver Stanley at Allington, Wiltshire, in 1771. The use of the name Oliver, very much like the alias Thomas used, does, once more, suggest that Elizabeth was an Oliver before her union with Richard Stanley.

The couple had another son, Valentine, in Hampshire in 1775, but he was buried in Berkshire, at just three years of age; Vashti Stanley followed, baptised at Bright Waltham, Berkshire, in 1778, Teressia, also in Berkshire, in 1783, probably Joshua/Joseph, born c1784 and possibly William, born some three years later.

Marriages within the family suggest continued close connections: Elizabeth married a Peter Aires (Ayres) in Wiltshire in 1787, a family that had already at least twice united with the Stanleys, and Melissa/Milly wed Richard Cooper/White, who, at her death then married her younger sister, Rhoda. With his first wife Richard Cooper was to father Rhoda, Rebecca, Talenty and Onslow (?Anslow) and with his second wife a son, Eleazer/Esau and a daughter, Vashti. Teressia Stanley united with a Matthew Broadway, who was the son of Eleanor and John Broadway; it may be their marriage in Sussex in 1785 between an Elin (sic) Stanley and John Broadway. Joshua/Joseph Stanley married Rhoda Cooper, presumably the son of Richard and Milly, and a William Stanley united with a Sophia Cooper.

Richard Oliver Stanley, however, marrying a Frances Lambell Churchwill in Devon in 1797, was perhaps the most interesting, in that his eldest daughter, Trenett/Trinity appeared to use the surname Oliver when she married in Worcestershire in 1821 – and her bridegroom was an Anslow Stanley. Is this another son of Richard and Elizabeth, or, more likely, a grandson, the child baptised as Onslow/Anslow Cooper, son of Richard Cooper and Melissa/Milly Stanley? This would mean this union was, as was so frequently the case, a marriage between cousins, a particular feature of the extended Romany family.