See also

Family of Thomas HUNT and Elizabeth STILL

Husband: Thomas HUNT ( - )
Wife: Elizabeth STILL (1763- )
Marriage 26 Dec 1781 Staplehurst, Kent1
Staplehurst Parish Church, Staplehurst, Kent
Elizabeth And Thomas were married by Licence

Husband: Thomas HUNT

Name: Thomas HUNT2
Sex: Male
Father: -
Mother: -
Birth Benenden2
Occupation Farmer3
Daughter Elizabeth married Thomas Hunt of Benenden, a widowed farmer, in 1781.

Wife: Elizabeth STILL

Name: Elizabeth STILL4
Sex: Female
Father: John STILL (c. 1734-bef1804)
Mother: Catherine CHESMER (bef1731-bef1804)
Birth 1763 Staplehurst, Kent4
Christening 2 Feb 1763 (age 0) Staplehurst Parish Church, Staplehurst, Kent4


1Staplehurst Marriage Registers.
Text From Source: Staplehurst Marriage Registers, Kent Archive Office, Maidstone
Assessment: Primary evidence.
Text From Source: Staplehurst Parish Registers

The Year 1781

Page 46

No 181

Thomas Hunt of the Parish of Bennendon
and Elizabeth Still of this Parish
were Married in this Church by Licence
this twenty sixth Day of December in the Year One thousand seven Hundred and eighty one
By me Anthony Borrowdale - Curate
This Marriage was folemnized between us { Thos Hunt
{ Eliz Still
In the Prefence of { John Still
{ Thomas Still
Centre for Kentish Studies / Kent County Archives Service, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1XQ. Tel: 01622 694 363.
3Anita Thompson, "Staplehurst Local History Society" (email to Graham Hoadly). Custom Id: 19/10/2004. Daughter Elizabeth married Thomas Hunt of Benenden, a widowed farmer, in 1781. Cit. Date: 19 October 2004. Assessment: Questionable.
Text From Source: From: Anita Thompson via Allan Rimmer <>
To: Graham Hoadly<>
On 14 October 2004
Re: The Still family in Staplehurst.

Thank you for Thomas Still's will dated 4/7/1835 and proved 30/12/1837. I haven't seen it before, and it makes many things plain, mostly what a good farmer and businessman he must have been to pull through the 1830s still having any assets at all.

The family were Nonconformist, in parts, (they must have been for Thomas Still sen. to have appointed William Jull as an executor in 1837: he was a Deacon in the Nonconformist Chapel as well as a grocer). I think John Still, son-in-law of Sander Chesmer, miller, came to Staplehurst first . Sander Chesmer used both the watermill at Lovehurst when there was water enough, and the windmill which once stood at the top of Bell Lane opposite the Church. Sander Chesmer's will, undated, was made pre-1765, and can be found at CKS PRC 17/99.158. He left his daughters Catherine Still and Mary Chesmer £50 each, to make them equal to their sisters Ann and Elizabeth. He left his son Alexander Chesmer the leases of the mills, plus £100 in cash, and John Still the lease of the farm he now lives in, and he made both his son Alexander Chesmer and John Still executors of his will. He was buried on 27 April 1774, and probate was given on 30 June 1774. I think the Chesmers came from Benenden. Catharine was 3 years older than John: I would think he had been apprenticed to her father. When their first child Ann was born in 1756, he was 22 and she 25.

Both died in 1804 in their seventies. Sons were:- John (1757) Thomas (1761) Alexander (1765: died at 20) and George (1767). John took the mills (which must have returned to the Stills from Alexander Chesmer) and Thomas took Bletchingley Farm. Nothing heard of George after his birth. Daughter Ann, born 1756, died either at 26 or 83. Daughter Elizabeth married Thomas Hunt of Benenden, a widowed farmer, in 1781.

Bletchingley Farm, plus Eastlands (now Chapman's Farm) and Priestlands (now swallowed up into Bletchingley) was bought from the Love family by Sir Horatio Mann of Linton Park.1n 1776 in the deed CKS U78 T220 the Tenants of Eastlands were given as William Marchant > James Love > Alex. Chasmer. By 1778 the Staplehurst Parish Rate Book has "Alex. Chesmer & Co now Still", so I think that Bletchingley must be where John Still sen. had lived. From 1791-1827 a John Still held the Mill Farm, Lovehurst Manor. Was he the son of JS? He gave up the lease because of "heavy arrears of rent." The mill was so dilapidated that the incoming tenant had to rent another mill for a year while it was repaired.

Thomas Still sen.(he was senior from 1810) held Bletchingley in 1827 at a rateable value of £72, which may not include the figure for Snapgate aka Putlands Corner. These were both notionally 80-acre farms: in the 1820 Tithe Book Thos Still sen held 90 acres.

Thomas also married young, to Mary Osborne of Ashford by licence dated 7/9/1782, the marriage to be at Ashford. Sons were Thomas (1784 ) John (1786) Stephen (1791, died as infant) George (1795)
and his only daughter Sophia Maria (1798). She, as you know, is your ancestress.

In 1788 "Master Still greatly hurt by a fall from his colt" - note in the Nonconformist Chapel Register, again making their Nonconformity likely. I have no idea which Master Still that was. CKS N/C 347 A2.

TS sen's probate was passed on 30/12/1837. According to the Staplehurst Parish Register he was buried on 20 November 1837. His widow Mary died on 9/7/1839, so Thomas Still's possessions were auctioned on 8/10/1839. These included mahogany four-post and tent bedsteads, capital feather beds and bedding, mattresses, mahogany and painted drawers, mahogany and other chairs, mahogany dining, Pembroke and other tables, mahogany bureau, pier and dressing glasses, carpets, hand stands (?), barometer, thirty-hour clock, kitchen utensils etc.

Soon after 1839 the trustees sold off Lindridge Farm, which I think is where old Mrs Still was living. The picture is complicated because John died in 1837 too, before his father. He had rented Exhurst till 1824, also Sweetings, Fleet Farm and Clapper 2. Taylors land is now part of Sweetings Farm. I'm not sure which of the others is meant by Gullens Farm, mentioned in Thomas' will. It may be the other part of Sweetings Farm. Clapper 2 and Robinson's land was also sold by George in 1838.

Poor Thomas Still jun., the eldest son, was the proprietor of the (new) windmill in Staplehurst in 1823, when country millers were being savagely and fatally undercut by mills on the coast which could grind cheap imported grain and sell it for less than the unprocessed inland wheat. No wonder father was bailing him out! He had 8 children, too. I've traced his son Henry, born in 1814. In 1851 he was a policeman at the Royal Docks in Sheppey.

In the 1861 census there was still a Still in Staplehurst, George & his wife Mary Ann at Bletchingley Farm and Snapgate (Putlands Corner), because he was farming 150 acres. The house at Snapgate had been divided into 2 labourers' cottages. Mary Ann "of Staplehurst" died in 1864 aged 55: George "of Maidstone" died in1869 aged 73, so he had moved on by then. He was buried next to his father, with twin gravestones embellished with the Eye of God looking out over the main road. The farms were bought by the local magnate, Henry Hoare of Iden Manor.

I think that Thomas senior was the Still mentioned by Robert Barling.
1. He was a farmer not a miller.
2. He lived down atrocious roads, in the right direction.
3. He was Nonconformist: he shouldn't have sworn.

Best wishes.
Anita Thompson
Graham Hoadly.
4Staplehurst Baptismal Registers (Microfilm).
Text From Source: Staplehurst Baptismal Registers - Kent Archive Centre, Maidstone
Centre for Kentish Studies / Kent County Archives Service, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1XQ. Tel: 01622 694 363.