Stephen Whiting 1793-1867

Parents: James Whiting and Catherine Hilsdon (1)
Born: 1st March 1793 in Burton End, Haverhill. (1)
Baptised: 14th July 1810 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill (1)
Married: Elizabeth Chapman, spinster, on 24th June 1810 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill (1,4)
Children: James Whiting b.1815, John Whiting b.1817, David Whiting b.1819, William Whiting b.1827 and Susannah Whiting b.1831
Died: 1st May 1867 in Haverhill. Buried at Haverhill Cemetery on 7th May 1867. (2,3)

Bio: Our first possible sighting of Stephen is in 1809 on the Pay List of the Risbridge Regiment of local Militia. There is a private Stephen Whiting in Captain Godfrey's (2nd) Company who is training at Bury St Edmunds from 15th May to 13th June. He'd be quite young, but could this be him? We know that his cousin David Whiting was in the Militia at this time, and from the records we know they both lived 20 miles march from Bury which is the distance to Haverhill.

Stephen is recorded in the parish registers and Barnabas Webb's diary as marrying Elizabeth Chapman in 1810. It appears likely that she was the Elizabeth Chapman who was witness at Stephen's elder brother John's marriage to Mary Scotcher in Ipswich in 1807. Elizabeth and Mary were both from Kedington, and Elizabeth was baptised here on 25th September 1785(5), the daughter of Thomas Chapman and Elizabeth Loveday.

We know from non-conformist records that Stephen joined the dissenting congregation at the old Meeting House in Haverhill in 1820.(6) This is confirmed in Barnabas Webb's diary, p.186, as '1820 - Wm & Ste. Whiting'. His brother John also joined, as did William who looks more and more likely to have been another brother. (see William's page)

The Suffolk and Essex Free Press dated 30th December 1840 records the convictions of "Stephen Whiting and Samuel Ship, for stealing wood at Haverhill; to be imprisoned 2 months". This could be our man. Samuel Ship was a weaver, some twenty years Stephen's junior, living a few doors down from him in Burton End.

The first census finds Stephen as a widower living in Burton End with three children and working as a labourer. An Elizabeth Whiting died on the day the 1841 census was taken, or very close to it because she was buried 2 days later on 8th June at St Mary's Parish Church. I presume this was Stephen's wife as the deceased's age was given as 56 and residence as Burton End - this ties in with Elizabeth's age as we can approximate from her baptism date. There were no other Elizabeth's of a similar age in Burton End at this time as far as I know. Ordering a copy of the registration from the GRO would confirm this, of course.

Stephen did not marry again, and by the 1851 census he was living at Haverhill Road, in Helions Bumpstead with his son William and his wife and child. They are both working as agricultural labourers. His eldest son John and daughter Susannah have left home and married, and his second son David had died suddenly whilst doing agricultural work.

By 1861 the same family group have returned to Haverhill and are living in Rookwood. William is now a farmer of 5 acres and 3 roods, and Stephen is lodging with them. He would end his days here and he died on 1st May 1867(7) and was buried at Haverhill Cemetery. (2,3)


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578.
(2) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref. 5.
(3) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1867, Risbridge district, Volume 4a Page 242.
(4) Barnabas Webb’s pocket-book, Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds. HA553/1
(5) SFHS, Suffolk Baptism Index, Clare Deanery, 1754-1812
(6) Registers of Protestant Dissenting Community, Haverhill. National Archives. RG 8/1844
(7) Suffolk and Essex Free Press, 9th May 1867, 'Deaths', p.8,