Share this page

By Any Other Name

Anne-Marie Ford    -    2 March 2019

In 1821, in Shipston-on-Stour, there was a wedding between Gypsies Anslo(w) Stanley

and Trinity Oliver.  Two known children of this couple were William, baptised at

Hullavington, Wiltshire on 3rd December 1815 and James, born c1816, who

emigrated to America and named Anslow and Trinity as his parents.

Prior to their marriage there is a complete lack of records for either Anslow Stanley

or Trinity Oliver given that, to have a child baptised in 1815, they must have both

been born in the previous century.  It is interesting to see, therefore, that a

Trinity/Trenett, the daughter of Richard Oliver Stanley and Frances, was baptised in

Bristol on 2nd March 1798 and an Anslow/Onslow to Richard Cooper and Milly,

formerly Stanley, baptised at Downton, in Wiltshire on 11th January 1797.  

Could this be the couple, aged approximately 19 and 17, when William Stanley was

born, and about 25 and 23 when they wed, using his mother’s surname in Anslow’s

case, and a probable grandmother in that of Trinity’s?   Since there is no record of a

legal marriage of the parents or grandparents did the couple use the names that were

legally theirs?

Fascinatingly, the couple’s marriage, where they made their marks, was witnessed

by a Margaret and James Stanley, who also put a cross against their names.  Trinity

Stanley had a brother next to her in age named James who, the previous year, had

married a Margaret Scarrett - could this be them?

Richard Oliver Stanley, the father of the Trenett/Trinity baptised in 1798 and the

Milly/Melissa Stanley who formed a partnership with Richard Cooper, were

siblings, of course, the children of an elder Richard Stanley and Elizabeth, possibly

an Oliver. This would make the union between Trinity and Anslow, if they are

indeed the couple suggested, that of first cousins, a common enough practice

amongst Gypsy families.

This particular family of Stanleys was very tribal.  When Milly Stanley died, having

had four known children with Richard Cooper (alias White), Rhoda, Rebecca,

Talanty and Onslow/Anslow, Richard then married Milly’s younger sister Rhoda,

with whom he had at least another two, Eleazer/Esau and Vashti.

Equally, when Richard Oliver Stanley’s daughter Trinity remarried, having been

widowed, she wed widower Esau Cooper, baptised in 1800 at Bromham, Wiltshire,

the son of Richard and Rhoda at Landrake, in Cornwall in 1842.  Therefore Esau, if

the hypothesis is correct, was a half-brother to Anslow, the son of Richard and Milly

and, of course, another first cousin to Trinity Stanley.

Of course it could be a simple coincidence that the couple known as Anslow Stanley

and Trinity Oliver baptised a son James, or it could be a tribute to her brother, but

more interestingly, and less common, is the use of the name Trinity that James and

Margaret Stanley used for their daughter, baptised on 25th July 1824 at

Christchurch, in Gloucestershire, just three years after the marriage between Anslow

and Trinity. This little Trinity seems to have been their first daughter, having

already baptised a son named after his father two years prior. It would seem to be a

fitting tribute to a favoured sister, and offers another clue to the identity of the

couple who wed in 1821.

Another hint of such a relationship might be found in Anslow and Trinity’s son

William and his eventual marriage. He emigrated to America, where he married

Betsey Stanley, the daughter of Joshua and Rhoda Stanley, formerly Cooper.

Another child of Joshua and Rhoda’s, another William, married a Phoebe Broadway

at the same time, so celebrating a double wedding with his sister. These were first

cousin unions both, as Joshua was another son of Richard and Elizabeth, and

Phoebe Broadway’s mother, like Joshua’s wife, was a Cooper before her marriage,

and, indeed, Rhoda Cooper’s sister.

Is it yet another coincidence that in Devon in 1828 Joshua and Rhoda baptised a son

Hensley, was this a corrupted and aspirated form of the name Anslow, favoured

amongst the Coopers, Eyres and Stanleys? Perhaps.

Copyright © 2019 Anne-Marie Ford