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St Michael & All Angels, Tatenhill.

Copyright 2023 - Nigel James Wright.

Thomas Masters M.A.

Thomas Masters M.A. is an important Steatham vicar in that he baptised William Statham in 1693.

William Statham was Robert Steatham's Great Grandfather.

See the Hannahs Origins for more details of Robert Steatham's ancestry.

Thomas Masters M.A officiated the following,

William Statham baptised.

Thomas Masters (1625-1696).

This research is broken down into Five sections;

Quick Overview.

Detailed Research (Thomas's origins and Children).

Census findings.


Research - Additional Planned.

  Quick Overview

Thomas Masters was born in 1625.

Thomas Masters married Isabella Forestor. They had five children.

Mary Masters (1658-).

Isabella Masters (1660-1677).

Charles Masters (1663-1686).

Francis Masters (1669-).

Unknown Masters (not yet found).

Detailed Research

Note - as children are born their lives will be covered in their entirety, before moving on with Thomas Masters' story.

Thomas and Isabella will shown as bold

Thomas Masters' children will be shown as bold underline.

Thomas Masters' grandchildren will shown as just underline.

Thomas Masters' baptism.

Thomas' year of birth 1625, is deduced from his age of seventy one at his death in 1696.

His baptism has not yet been found.

Exeter College Oxford.

Thomas' obtained an M.A., sometimes denoted as A.M. from Exeter University, Oxford - noted in an Exhibit Book of 1693 (Lichfield RO, B/V/1/89A).

Exeter College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford and the fourth-oldest college of the university. Its was founded in 1314 by Walter de Stapledon of Devon, Bishop of Exeter and later treasurer to Edward II, as a school to educate clergy. The college grew significantly from the 15th century onward, and began offering rooms to its students. The college motto is "Floreat Exon.", meaning "Let Exeter Flourish".

Notable alumni, include William Morris, J.R.R. Tolkien, Richard Burton, Roger Bannister, Alan Bennett, and Philip Pullman.

The final episode of Inspector Morse, based on the novel The Remorseful Day, was filmed in the college chapel and Front Quadrangle, where Morse has a heart attack.

Thomas Masters' Marriage

We see a Thomas Masters marrying a Isabella Forestor of Preshute, on Monday the 4th December 1656 at St Peter's church, Langley Burrell, Wiltshire. Banns on Monday 9th October 1656. Isabella mentioned her brother Forestor in her will that confirms we have the correct marriage. It also states that Thomas is the Rector at St Peter's church, Langley Burrell.

Preshute is about sixteen miles east of Langley Burrell. Oddly some records show Isabella being noted down as Mrs.

The living then would have been 100 per annum.

100 in 1654, in today's money would have been at least the equal to 28,367 - Calculated using this Link.

In the CCed we see the following for Langley Burrell...

Henricus Norbourne inst 14/10/1637
Jonathan Giar 27/8/1660

But there is no Thomas Masters listed.

We now see a paper that details the situation at St Peter's prior to Thomas Masters arrival.

In a Watching Pigeons Making Love:
From the Life of a Country Parson in
these Distracted Times -Thomas
Webbe at Langley Burrell, c. 1647-1651

...from a tract called The Wiltshire Rant, which appeared in July 1652. It chronicled the tumultuous incumbency of the Ranter Thomas Webbe, who ministered at Langley Burrell from c.1647 until his infamous ejection in September 1651...

...Massey's career did not survive the fracas. In the summer of 1655 Thomas Masters M.A. was admitted to the benefice. The period of intrusions was over. Normalcy returned to Langley Burrell. Masters stayed on until the Restoration. [Massey was sequestered before July 1655; see WRO, A1/110 T1655, fol. 118.

So it appears that our Thomas came to restore respectability to the parish.

We now see Thomas having number of children at Langley Burrell.

#1 Mary Masters was baptised on Thursday the 23rd May 1658 at St Peter's church, Langley Burrell, Wiltshire. Her father's occupation was down as Rector.

Mary then aged nineteen married Onesiphorus Lucas at St Michael & All Angels, Tatenhill, Staffs on Saturday the 4th December 1677.

Mary Lucas is mentioned in her mother's will [Quote] I give unto Mary Lucas of silver sugar dish & a plain mourning ring [End Quote].

They had one child,

@1 Isabella Lucas was baptised on Wednesday the 5th January 1678 [OE], 1679 [NE], at St Michael & All Angels, Tatenhill, Staffs.

Isabella Lucas is mentioned in her mother's will [Quote] I give unto my grandchild Isabella Lucas a silver poat? salt & two silver Sorkos? earring with three diamonds [End Quote].

We now see a Mr. William Reay [aged then twenty four], grocer, & Mrs. Isabella Lucas [aged then twenty five] marrying at, of all places, Long Clawson, on ? the 29th July 1703. William Reay was in fact married by his older brother, John Reay, the vicar of Long Clawson. So, here it goes, Isabella Lucas married her grandmother's son, so I suppose they are cousins, once removed.

#2 Isabella Masters was baptised on Tuesday the 24th February 1660 at St Peter's church, Langley Burrell, Wiltshire.

Isabella Masters dies aged just seventeen years and is buried on Tuesday the 8th June 1677 at St Michael & All Angels, Tatenhill, Staffs. There is Isabella Masters mentioned in her mother's will but it's her brother Francis Masters daughter.

#3 Charles Masters was baptised on Tuesday the 1st May 1663 at St Peter's church, Langley Burrell, Wiltshire.

We see him mentioned in...

Boase, C.W. "Register of the rectors and fellows, scholars, exhibitioners and Bible clerks of Exeter College, Oxford, With Illustrative Documents and a History of the College" (1879, 2nd edn 1894).

Title Register of the Rectors and Fellows, Scholars, Exhibitioners and Bible Clerks of Exeter College, Oxford: With Illustrative Documents and a History of the College.
Authors Charles William Boase, Exeter College (University of Oxford).
Illustrated by Charles William Boase.
Publisher William Pollard, North Street Exeter, 1879.
Original from Oxford University.
Length 272 pages.

Charles Masters, son of Thomas masters of Tatenhill near Burton (see 1648), matric. 1 Ap. 1680 age 17, el. 30 June and adm. 2 July 1682 in place of Samuel Masters; B.A. 9 July 1685, d. 1686.

He dies aged just twenty three a year after obtaining his B.A. So he is not mentioned in either of his parent's wills as he predeceased them both by ten years.

St Remigius, Long Clawson, Leicestershire.

St Remigius, Long Clawson, Leicestershire.

We know a little about Thomas Master's wife Isabella she had a brother "Forestor" who is mentioned in her will, and we know her sister Elizabeth Forestor married on Sunday the 20th June 1790, at St Michael & All Angels, Tatenhill, Staffs, John Reay (1650?-1725) then aged about forty four, Minister of St Remigius, Long Clawson (Claxton Longa), Leicestershire.

John Reay B.A (Cambridge) is mentioned on Saturday the 15th February 1666 as a candidate for ordination [Letter testimonial from 4 clergy. Endorsed 'Ex. P.' [Examined for priest's orders.].

John Reay Instituted on Friday the 12th March 1666 as a Perpetual Vicar at St Remigius, Long Clawson.

John Reay (Vicar of Claxton [sic]) was licensed to preach within the diocese of Lincoln on ? the 11th August 1668.

We see John Reay Clerk, as the sole executor of a will in 1692.

John Reay died on Saturday the 5th August 1725 [CCed], this date is in error as shown by his probate date below.

His will dated Wednesday the 4th July 1719 mentions leaving his three houses in Burton Upon Trent to his wife Elizabeth and forty shillings to Sarah Reay the daughter of his son John and forty shillings to Susannah Reay the daughter of his son George.

In the list of the goods, total value 157 10s. 10d., for John's probate, dated Thursday the 29th March 1725, we see as the last entry

Things unseen & forgotten 0 5s. 4d.

What a delightful way of putting it. I suppose these days we would use the term - odds and sods!

0 5s. 4d. in 1725, in today's money would be at least equal to 74 - Calculated using this Link.

157 10s. 10d. in 1725, in today's money would be at least equal to 44,679 - Calculated using this Link.

Both Isabella's brother and John Reay were joint executors of Isabella's will.

The dates with our John Reay are likely to be aged seventeen when entering University, so aged so forty at marriage and seventy five at death. Let's hope that the burial record says his age.

From the bishop's transcripts we also see John Reay (1660-1714).

The confusion with the above arise because we see all the children baptised with a mother - Sarah, but his wife is named Elizabeth is mentioned in his will. but the will clears it all up as they mention precisely the children he had with his first wife Sarah.

John Reay the father born 1650is firstly married Sarah and had George (1667), John (1672), Elizabeth (1673-1679), Sarah (1676-1676), Mary (1684-1705).

So to put it simply Elizabeth Forester was their step-mother. We do not find any children from his marriage with Elizabeth.

John Reay the father (aged about forty four) then married our Elizabeth Forestor in 1790, finally dying in 1721. He mentions his sons George and John in his will.

Thomas Master's Induction.

Moving on with Thomas Master's story...

We now see Thomas Masters being Instituted as Rector on Tuesday the 3rd February 1663 at St Michael & All Angels, Tatenhill, Staffs. [LRO, B/A/1/17 (Register)], [LRO, B/V/1/67 (Liber Cleri)], [LRO, B/A/4/3 (Subscription Book)].

This was noted in the parish registrars as his induction.

In a record of Friday the 4th August 1665 we see Thomas Masters was a licensed preacher. The Rectory valued at 140 p.a. [LRO, B/V/1/67 (Liber Cleri)].

140 in 1665, in today's money would be at least equal to 39,714.

Francis Masters' baptism

We see Thomas Master's final child being born.

#4 Francis Masters baptised on Friday the 31st May 1669 at St Michael & All Angels, Tatenhill, Staffs.

Francis Masters married Mary and had the following children.

@1 Thomas Masters born on Friday the 30th January 1693, baptised at St Swithins, London, on Friday the 6th February and died a few days later on Thursday 19th of February.

@2 Isabella Masters was baptised on Thursday the 12th February 1693, at St Michael & All Angels, Tatenhill, Staffs.

Isabella Masters died in infancy on Monday the 30th March 1693 and was buried on Friday the 6th April 1696, at St Michael & All Angels, Tatenhill, Staffs.

@3 Mary Masters baptised on Sunday the 4th May 1698 at St Swithins, London and was then lost to us.

Francis Masters is mentioned in his mother's will [Quote] I give unto my son Mr Francis Masters the silver tankard two silver porringe, 12? silver spoons one fork and the great diamond ring, and I desire him to wear it for my sake and one of fathers rings and tho? sugar raslorThe above confirms a number of details about their lives, but we also see mentioned that Francis was a Pharmacist and his was the only surviving child of five [the fifth child not yet found] [End Quote].

Francis Masters is mentioned in his father's will [Quote] Son Francis Masters of London... [End Quote].

In a record of Friday the 17th November 1676, Thomas Masters is down as Rector [LRO, B/V/1/77 (Liber Cleri)].

William Statham's baptism

Thomas Masters now baptises William Statham on Tuesday the 24th March 1693 to parents William and Alice Statham.

William Statham was Robert Steatham's Great Grandfather.

Thomas & Isabella's Master's burials (1695).

Thomas Masters died aged seventy one on Wednesday the 28th March 1696 and was buried on Saturday the 31st March 1696. Although in the CCed his death was given as on Saturday the 2nd May 1696. [LRO, B/A/1/18 (Register)], it is likely the CCEd record is incorrect. It would be interesting to consult the record referred to [B/A/1/18], as these records are not usually incorrect.

Note the references to Lichfield RO or LRO. This is now closed and all records have gone to Stafford County Records Office [SRO].

Note the spelling of the word burials, with a y.

Thomas & Isabella's Master's burials (1696) crossed out.

Thomas' wife Isabella died on Tuesday the 3rd April 1696 and was buried on Friday the 6th April 1696 at Tatenhill.

Before the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1752 the legal start of the year was 25th March (6th April in the new calendar). This means that there can be some confusion in 17th/18th century dates during the early part of a year as to which year in the modern style is meant.

Possibly there was some confusion about the date for the start of the year, thinking it was 1st April, if so we have Thomas died 28th March 1695 and was buried on Saturday the 31st March 1695 with Isabella dying 3rd April 1696 and was buried on Friday the 6th April 1696, apparently the year after!

We see their burials on previous page (1695) clearly inserted. So this may well explain why they are both in the registers twice, with the 1696 entry crossed out. At least we know what is going on.

The dates! They both die within six days of each other, Thomas first. They are then buried within six days of each other. Not sure what to make of this.

Thomas Masters will.

Isabella Masters will.

Master's Memorial.

Thomas and Isabella made wills.

Thomas signed his will on Wednesday the twenty third of September 1693.

Isabella signing her will with her mark on Monday the second day of April 1696, the day before she died!

Coincidentally both their wills were given probate at Lichfield on the same day, Saturday the 22nd May 1696. Most likely this was to prevent the executors from having to make two visits to Lichfield. In the probate index it states Thomas Masters Rector of Tatenhill. Isabella is down as a Widow.

Their wills make very interesting reading. To read their wills Click here.

One final glimpse of Thomas and Isabella. We see them mentioned in the...



Various other monuments were moved to the belfry when the church was restored in 1872.

1. Thomas Masters AM Rector of Tatenhill and Isabella his wife He died Mar 28 aged 71. and she Apr. 3. 1696 aged 40.

[End quote]

The correct tranlation for the text on the monument erected by their son Francis reads,

Thomas Masters, Master of Arts.
The hope of a blessed resurrection,
unmoved by the Holy Scriptures.
And his ardent love for souls.
The most faithful of the Church,
and the pastoral duties in this diligently.
for thirty-four years, more or less
As a father, a friend and husband,
the duties of a versed theologian.
Isabella wife and beloved God,
which bear long, longer rising,
the sixth day after the death of her husband
in the exact same bed gladly reclined.
Beloved parents, the greater merit,
this kind of love and care
documents, Francis Masters,
Pharmacist and citizen of London,
the only survivor of five children placed.
He Died March 28, her this April 3 following
Age: 71
Years of Marriage: 40

The above confirms a number of details about their lives.

Interestingly we also see mentioned that Francis was a Pharmacist and he was the only surviving child of five [the fifth child not yet found].

There is a history of the church at this Link.

To view the church in GoogleEarth, open GoogleEarth and click the following link:-

GoogleEarth - St Michael & All Angels, Tatenhill.

To see its location in What3Words Click Here - Switch to Satellite view.

Census findings.

This is difficult as we have not yet reached a person in the census.


What a fascinating story this is. This is the oldest Featured Steatham I have researched so far, as it is so far back, so we do not have resources such as newspapers and so on to call upon but research has been quite frutiful.

When Thomas Masters baptised Robert Steatham's Great Grandfather William Statham on Tuesday the 24th March 1693. I doubt if his parents William and Alice realized the academic life and history of the rector Thomas Masters.

I would also like to thank Phil Coleman for his help and input into Thomas Master's life.

Just to finish with an old rhyme which runs :

Barton under Needwood,
Dunstall in the Dale,
Tattenhill for a pretty girl,
And Burton for good ale.

Research - Additional Planned.

To locate the fifth child mentioned by Francis on his monument.

In Progress.


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