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Steatham Research - Anomalies

Over the years I have found references to the name Steatham in church records and newspapers that do not fit into the Steatham investigation / story we have.

Just a thought about early newspaper mentions of Steatham. In this time period it was more probably than not, that people did not exactly know how to spell their surname, unless they were used to signing papers. So their surname would be spelt by others, as it was being pronounced. The unique thing about our Steatham name is that it was actually pronounced Staytham, but spelt Steatham.

Interestingly, I have recently found a number Smeathams spelt that way in civil and parish records, these are based mainly in the Liverpool area. I have found some recorded as Smeathams but on checking the original record it is clearly Smeathers. This is all very intersting, and I am presently investigating these.

These anomalies I have listed here, with comments.

We start with an Edward Steatham mentioned in Prison Records.

He appears to using the name Steatham with an alias of Statham, or the other way around of Statham with an alias of Steatham,.

Is he one of our Steathams?

The story and investigation is as follows...

We have a record of a Edward Steatham at the "Calendar Of Prisoners Tried At The Adjourned General Quarter Sessions Of The Peace".

His record is given as follows...

1876, 28th October, Elford, unlawfully killing 13 turkeys, 10 days and reformatory.

1885, 11th April, Tamworth, stealing ducks, 3 months Hard Labour.

1886, 13th Febuary, Tamworth, stealing fowls, 6 months Hard Labour.

1888, 16th October, Stafford Sessions, stealing a jacket, 9 months Hard Labour.

1890, 1st July, Stafford Sessions, stealing fowls, 12 months Hard Labour.

1891, 20th October, Stafford Sessions, stealing 2/6 whilst servant, 12 months Hard Labour.

1894, 3rd July, Stafford Sessions, stealing fowls, 12 months Hard Labour.

Six times trespass, drunkenness, &c.

Stated as, aged 30, labourer

Name and Address of Committing Magisrate - Alfred Elwell, Esq. Wednesbury.

Date of Warrant - 1897, 19th October.

When received into Custody - 1897, 20th October.

Offence, as charged in the Indictment - On 17th October, 1897, at Wednesbury, stealing one pair of leggings, the property of John Smith.

When tried - 1897, 30th November.

Before whom tried - The Right Hon. Edward George Percy, Baron Hatherton, C.M.G., Teddesley, Penkridge, [Edward George Percy Littleton, 3rd Baron Hatherton (1842–1930)].

Verdict of the Jury - Pleaded guilty of larceny, after a previous conviction for Felony.

Particulars of Previous Convictions charged in the Indictment and proved in Court - Edward Steatham. Staffordshire Midsummer Sessions, 1894 stealing fowls 12 months prison.

Sentence or Order of the Court - [All sentences of imprisonment in this Calendar are to commence on Tuesday, 30th November, 1897] 3 calendar months hard labour.

A few things to note here - look at huge social divide between our Edward, a labourer, sometime duck thief, and the Judge, a Peer of the Realm. I can't imagine what they must have thought of each other.

It mentions the offence was comitted in Wednesbury. At this time Darlaston was linked with Wednesbury, you would find buisiness, located in Darlaston, stating Wednesbury in advertisements, so we shouldn't exclude a Darlaston connection here.

Delving a bit further we find Edward in a "Convicts List 1898".

723-98 Edward Steatham alias Edward Statham, Stafford, 3440.

Height - 5ft 1 1/2 inches.

Complexion - fresh.

Hair - light brown.

Eyes - grey.

Marks - Scar over left eye an front of right thigh ; mole top of left shoulder and two back of neck.

Offence - Larceny-Stafford Session (Wednesbury).

Sentence and date of conviction - 3 months 30-11-97

Date of Liberation, intended Address and Occupation - 28-2-98, 87, Roebuck St., West Bromwich, Labourer.

A few things to note here - it mentions Wednesbury again, and his release to an address in West Bromwich, which is near Wednesbury.

Delving a bit further we find Edward in "Prison Registers".

Name, aliases, Prison, and Register No. - 2450-00 Edward Statham alias Edward Steatham Birmingham 4714.

Date and place of birth - 1866 Staffordshire.

Height - 5ft 1 1/4 inches

Complexion - fresh.

Hair - light brown.

Eyes - blue.

Marks - scar on right forehead and left eyebrow ; mole back neck and back left shoulder.

Offence - Fowlstealing-West Bromwich Sess. (West Bromwich).

Sentence and date of Conviction - 12 months 24-10-99

Date of Liberation, intended Address and Occupation - 9-9-1900 Smethwick Labourer.

The above is what we start with. We do not have an Edward Steatham born around 1864, in our tree. So who is he using the Steatham name?

The answer is found in a newspaper report of one of Edward Statham's, let's call him that now, early brushes with the law.

Tamworth Herald 18th April 1885


Saturday.-Before Mr. C. H. Cope and Mr. J. Holmes Joy.

STEALING DUCKS.- Daniel Statham, Edward Statham, and Sarah Ann Statham, father, son, and daughter, living at Fisherwick Road, Whittington, were charged with stealing two live ducks, value 7s., on the 10th of April, the property of Jas. Beddowes, farmer, of Whittington.- It appeared from the evidence of Sargent Given that on the day in question the ducks were swimming on a pool outside the homestead of of the prosecuttor's farm and the son, Edward Statham, who is about 19 years of age, caught them, and with the assistance of the sister cut there heads off, and carried them away. The same evening one of the ducks were plucked and cooked, and the three prisoners ate it for their supper. The next day information of the robbery was given to the police, and Sargent Given traced the prisoners' footsteps from the side of the pond to their residence. On searching the premises, the feet and head of one of the ducks was found in a pigstye, and the second duck was afterwards found enclosed in a black leather bag which had been hidden in the garden.- There was no evidence against the father, who said that his children had told him they had found the birds and he was discharged. Edward Statham who is an old offender was sent to prison for three months, and the girl was sent to gaol for six weeks.

We now see him in mentioned three "Habitual Criminals Registers - 1888 (Alrewas), 1890 (Fisherwick), 1895 (Fisherwick)".

We see him later him as having 11 previous convictions, and being discharged to Park Lane, Whittington.

Note the mention of Alrewas, we now find Edward in the 1939 Register.

Edward Statham born 19th June 1865, at the Old School Houses, Alrewas, with his wife Emma. Edward dies in 1945, aged 80. In the censuses his place of birth is given as Lichfield.

So the mystery is solved, Edward Statham born St. John's street Lichfield in 1865, commited an offence in Wednesbury and was recorded as a Steatham, this is not all suprising as the Steatham surname was prounounced 'Staytham' the same as the surname Statham.

Another way to describe Edward's journey is, he was born in Lichfield, lived at Whittingtom, moved around Wednesbury, West Bromwich, moved back a few miles north of Lichfield to Alrewas, where he now rests in the churchyard.

We see a Nimrod Steatham being mentioned in Electrol Registers in Leicestershire from 1911 to 1915. Living at Forest Rock Road, Coalville, Leicestershire. The name Nimrod Steatham does not appear in any other records except for here.

This is very odd, as it is spelt correctly.

We see a Sarah Steatham being married to a John Morris in 1829 at St Martins, Birmingham, Staffs.

The only Steatham with have that time that could fit is Thomas Steatham's daughter Sarah Steatham, who we know never got married, there is no other Sarah Steatham's that it could be.

This is very odd, as it is spelt correctly, as written on the certificate, but both bride and groom signed with their mark X. But if our Sarah was just a Statham, then why was it spelt that way?

We see an H.H. Steatham mentioned in a newspaper. [BNA]

Liverpool Mail 26th November 1836

Fatal Accident on the Railway.-An inquest was held on Wednesday last, before H.H.Steatham, Esq., deputy coroner, on the body of Michael Johnson...

This is very odd, as it is spelt correctly, but forename of H.H have never been seen for a Steatham. This is very hard to explain.

We again see an H.H. Steatham mentioned in a newspaper. [BNA]

The Albion Liverpool 16th March 1846

On Sunday, the 8th instant, at Everton, the wife of Mr. H.H.Steatham, solicitor of a son.

This is very odd, as it is spelt correctly, but forename of H.H have never been seen for a Steatham. This is very hard to explain.

We see an Elizabeth Steatham mentioned in a newspaper. [BNA]

Cheltenham Journal and Gloucestershire Fashionable Weekly Gazette - Saturday 23rd May 1863

May 16, at 10, St. Paul's Street North, aged 78, Miss Elizabeth Steatham.

This is very odd, as it is spelt correctly, but just look at her age that means she would have been born 1785. This is very hard to explain.

We see an William Steatham mentioned in a newspaper. [BNA]

Bradford Daily Telegraph - 1st May 1872

At the County Petty Sessions, Newcastle, Staffordshire, on Monday afternoon, William Steatham was charged with having assualted a good looking young woman named Emma Heaps, at Silvedale. On the 15th of April complainant was talking to the sister of the defendant, near to the house of the latter. Defendant came out, took her by both hands, and said he would kiss her. She resisted, and he struggled to have a kiss, but was dissapointed, his mother interposing on behalf of complainant. His disappointment was evidently increased by being ordered by the magistrates to pay 10s.

This is very odd, there was a William Steatham, aged twenty two, he fits but he was living at Darlaston, with his mother Elizabeth. This again is very hard to explain.

We now see another William Steatham, but of a much earllier date, mentioned in a newspaper. [BNA]

Hereford Journal - Wednesday 19th September 1798

Lot 3. Three Dwelling-houses and Gardens, Situate Newcastle aforefaid, containing 0A, 3R. 16p. or thereabouts, in the occupations of Mr. William Steatham's undertenants. Hereford Journal - Wednesday 19th September 1798.

This is very odd, as it is spelt correctly, and William is mentioned in a few newspapers around this time. Is it just that his name was mistakenly reported by the paper? But this is for a sale, so surely it would have been requested by William himself.

We now see the same William Steatham mentioned again in a newspaper. [BNA]

Hereford Journal - Wednesday 5th September 1798

William is again mentioned four times, in these articles of his selling of his property.

We see a Sarah Steatham mentioned in a newspaper. [BNA]

Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 29th January 1798

On Tuesday, John Thornhill, servant to the Rev. Mr. Leigh, was committed to Chester Castle, charged on the coroner's inquest, with the wilful murder of Sarah Steatham, of Lymm, in Cheshire.

Yet again this is spelt correctly, and again is this being reported incorrectly? it is very likely that the persons' reporting this did not know the correct spelling of Sarah's surname

We see a Ann Steatham being married.

On Wednesday the 23rd October 1766, we see a mariage license being granted for Ann Steatham, Acton, to a James Holland, Wauchman?, Cheshire.

Yet again this is spelt correctly, again very difficult to explain.

We see a George Steatham being buried.

In the burial records for Geelong Eastern Cemetery, Greater Geelong City, Victoria, Australia we see a George Steatham, aged nine, the son of William and Elizabeth, being buried on Monday the 15th June 1863, in an unmarked grave in an unknown location in the cemetery.

I found this poignant and heart-rending article in the Geelong Advertiser Monday 15th June 1863.

CORONER'S INQUEST An inquest was held before Forster Shaw, Esq. Coroner for the district, at the Geelong Hotel, on Friday evening, on the body of George Steatham, a boy nine years of age.

William Steatham deposed—Deceased was my son; nine years old. About 3 o'clock last Wednesday morning, he called me to get him a drink. I gave him water. He immediately began to vomit. He asked for more, and got it. That did not make him sick. He got into bed again, and slept till half-past 7. He got out and dressed himself, and ate a good breakast. I left home at 8 o'clock, deceased being apparently all right. When I returned at 1 o'clock, he complained of his stomach, and asked to go to bed. He went to bed without any dinner. Towards the latter portion of the evening he got much worse, continually calling out for his brothers and his sisters. He lay in my arms nearly all the night, and slept very little. I called on Dr Teague in the morning. He was not in. On going home my wife said he seemed better, and gave him some pills she had by her. He took one of the pills on my return, and another in the afternoon, and seemed to get better. About 8 o'clock in the evening my wife gave him some mutton broth. In about half an hour after he died. He became delirious early yesterday morning. I cannot say if he had taken any of the pills before he became delirious. He did not seem sensible when he took the last pill. He did not seem to know his mother or me. He threw up the second pill. He did not complain of any pain in his head—only his stomach. He was at Mr Fraser's lecture on Tuesday evening, and seemed in ver good health. He was not convulsed before death. He was always a healthy boy. I went for no other doctor. I had taken some of the pills myself.

Elizabeth Steatham deposed—I am the mother of the deceased. On Tuesday night he went to bed looking pale. He had been to a lecture. I did not wish him to go, he seemed so nervous. I gave him two pills recommended for nervousness and indigestion. He slept part of the night and vomited once, and had his bowels opened. Next morning he was drowsy and unable to go to school. He said he felt cold. He had but little breakfast: He was drowsy all that day. On Wednesday night he seemed unconscious. Early on Thursday morning my husband went for a doctor, but did not get one. We had no means, and did not send for another. I then gave him another pill, and a second in two or three hours after. He remained delirious till he died about 8 o'clock last night. He died very quietly. He did not snore, nor breathe heavily. The pills operated on his bowels, and a moisture broke out on his skin. I thought he was getting better. Therewas no eruption on his skin. I never heard of him having a fall or getting a blow on the head.

Dr Mackin deposed—I have examined the body of the deceased. There are no marks of any injuries. Having heard the evidence of the parents I am of opinion that the complaint was an attack of inflammation of the membranes of the brain. The pills which have been given are chiefly a compound of aloes,and are, I have no doubt, perfectly harmless.

The jury returned a verdict that deceased died of inflammation of the membranes of the brain.

How poignant is the [Quote] "We had no means, and did not send for another".

Does not match recorded Steathams in Australia at this time. So highly likely to be a mis-spelling.

We see a Mr. Steatham mentioned in a newspaper. [BNA]

Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 24th December 1798

Mr. Steatham, of Heage, in Derbyshire, has now a goose with a flock of young ones : — this truly prolific fowl has had three broods since February last.

Yet again this is spelt correctly, again very difficult to explain.


1220 VAGRANCY PASS dated 23 October 1742.

Cicelia Steatham and William her son were this day apprehended in the township of Thelwall there wandering and begging as vagabonds, to be conveyed to the House of Correction at Middlewich then to the parish of St. Mary in the city of Litchfield. SETTLEMENT EXAMINATION dated 23 October 1742. Cicelia Steatham a vagabond. She is the wife of Robert Steatham a soldier in Brigadier Ponsonby’s Regiment of foot, and that the said Robert Steatham this deponents said husband hath often told this dept that he was born in St. Mary’s parish in the citty of Litchfield and that his settlement is there also, and this dept further saith that she hath had one son by her said husband, named William which is now living and with her this deponent.

Cicelia X Steatham. [QJF 170/4/74&75]

They may well be a transcription error here, note the spelling of citty [sic], plus her mark X at the end.

Shropshire, Cassey's Directory, 1871.

We see an entry for a Richard Steatham farmer.

Who knows where this came from, I have never come across a Steatham as a farmer.    All Rights Reserved.