The rebirth of the Atcherleys of Stanwardine

John Atcherley [], baptised at West Felton, Shropshire, on 6 April 1693, was the fourth child and second son of Thomas Atcherley of Twyford [1]. He was also a grandson of Thomas Atcherley, alias Edge, who had been born out of wedlock in the parish of Myddle and ended his days as a yeoman at Twyford (see Edge of the tree no longer: Thomas Atcherley, alias Edge). John was to play a significant role in the history of the Atcherley family. There had been Atcherleys at Stanwardine in the parish of Baschurch since the 1300s, but with death of Mary Atcherley (nee Spendlove) in 1703, when John was about 10, the Atcherleys of Stanwardine were no more. John, however, re-established the family there.

The rebirth of the Atcherleys of Stanwardine came about following John’s marriage to Mary Basnet, which had in turn followed the agreement of a marriage settlement on “the four and Twentieth Day of March” in 1720/21. An attested copy of the document is held at Shropshire Archives, where I examined it in 2010.

The “Articles of agreement” (as the document is headed) were made:

between Thomas Atcherley the Elder of Twyford in the County of Salop Yeoman & John Atcherley of the same Sone of the said Thomas Atcherley of the first part Thomas Basnett of Rednall in the said County of Salop Yeoman & Mary Basnet Spinster Daughter of the said Thomas Basnett of the second part Peter Basnett of Eardiston in the said County of Salop Gent & Thomas Atcherley the younger Son and Heire Apparent of the said Thomas Atcherley the elder of the third part.

With marriage intended between John Atcherley and Mary Basnet, Thomas Atcherley (the elder) was to pay John £310, while Thomas Basnett agreed to pay a marriage portion of £180. The combined sum was to be used in the purchase of freehold or leasehold lands and tenements within Salop. [2]

Six weeks after the above settlement was entered into, on Monday 5 May 1721, John and Mary were wed at Ellesmere. The parish register shows the marriage of “John Acherley & Mary Basnet both of the Parish of West Felton.” John was the first of Thomas Atcherley’s sons to marry and the only one to have done so at the time of Thomas’s death in 1722. Both of John’s sisters had also married some years before, Mary in 1708 and Elizabeth in 1709. This is presumably why John and his sisters (who had probably also received money from their father Thomas, as marriage portions) only received five shillings in Thomas’s will, while their youngest brothers Richard and Peter each received £200. (The oldest of the brothers, named Thomas after his father, received the residue of his father’s estate). [3, 4, 5, 6]

The money from John and Mary’s marriage settlement was evidently used by John to purchase freehold or leasehold property at Stanwardine, because a little over three years after the marriage of John and Mary, the the baptism of their daughter Mary took place at Baschurch on 19 June 1724. The register recorded that she was the daughter of Mr John Atcherley of Stanwardine. She was the first Atcherley child born and baptised in the parish for more than 50 years (since 5 March 1671/72 to be precise, on which date – by a rather amazing coincidence – the register shows the baptism of another Mary, daughter of Mr John Atcherley of Stanwardine in the Fields!). Sadly, within two years of her baptism Mary then became the first Atcherley to have been buried at Baschurch for more than 20 years when she was interred there on 25 April 1726. [5]

John and Mary had three more daughters, Elizabeth, a second Mary, and Sarah, who were baptised at Baschurch on 5 May 1729, 16 February 1730/31 and 28 July 1734 respectively. Elizabeth married William Dod of Hordley in 1750 and with him had a son and three daughters. Mary married Thomas Birch of Baschurch, probably around 1755, and with him had four sons and three daughters. Sarah did not marry. The Baschurch burial register shows that she was buried on 28 March 1818, aged 83, and still residing at Stanwardine in the Fields at the time of her death. Her will was proved at Lichfield later that year. [5, 7, 8, 9]

All three of John and Mary’s surviving daughters were named by John in his will, dated 17 November 1780. By this time John had been a widower for 14 years, his wife Mary having been buried at Baschurch on 7 May 1766. Sarah Atcherley came off best, with a legacy of £1,000 plus all John’s household goods and furniture, his horse and his stock of hay. John’s daughter Elizabeth “the Wife of William Dod of Bagley in the Parish of Baschurch” was left £20, and her daughters (John’s granddaughters) Mary, Elizabeth and Margaret Dod were left the sums of £200, £100 and £100 respectively to be paid upon their marriages. John’s daughter Mary was not a benefactor of his will, but he left her daughters Sarah and Elizabeth Birch £200 each. [5, 10]

The executor of John’s will was his only son, Thomas, who had presumably been named after his grandfather (and his great grandfather and great great grandfather). Thomas was baptised at Baschurch on 14 February 1725/26, but was probably born in 1725. He had married and had four sons by the time his father John made his will in 1780. All four of those sons (named in John’s will as “John, Thomas, Richard, and William Acherley”) were left “the Sum of One hundred Pounds a piece to be paid to them at their respective Ages of twenty one Years with the Interest thereof in the mean Time for their Maintenance and Education.” [5, 10]

John Atcherley of Stanwardine died less than two years after making his will and was buried at Baschurch on 10 July 1782 [5]. But through his son Thomas, and Thomas’s own sons and grandchildren, the new line of Atcherleys of Stanwardine that he established continued right through the 1800s.


[1] West Felton parish register. Original viewed at Shropshire Archives.
[2] Attested copy of articles made previous to the marriage of John Acherly of Stanwardine and Mary Basnett. Shropshire Archives Document Reference D3651/B/4/2/166.
[3] Ellesmere parish registers. Copies viewed at Shropshire Archives.
[4] West Felton parish registers. Copies viewed at Shropshire Archives. (Entry on 25 June 1708 shows marriage of “Thomas Evans of Baschurch P & Mary Atcherly, license.”)
[5] Baschurch parish registers. Hand-written transcripts viewed at Shropshire Archives. (Entry on 25 November 1709 shows marriage of “Peter Basnet of Wykey & Elizabeth Atcherley of Twiford.” Entry on 19 June 1724 shows the baptism of “Mary d. of Mr John Atcherley of St:” Entry on 14 February 1725/26 shows the baptism of “Thomas, s. of Mr Jo Acherley of St: in the fields.” Entry on 25 April 1726 shows the burial of “Mary d. of Mr John Acherley of St:” Entry on 5 May 1729 shows the baptism of “[Sarah] [Elizabeth] d. of John Atcherley of St:” Entry on 16 February 1730/31 shows the baptism of “Mary, d. of John Acherley of St: de flds.” Entry on 28 July 1734 shows baptism of “Sarah, d. of John Acherley.” Entry on 7 May 1766 shows burial of “Mary Atcherley.” Entry on 10 July 1782 shows burial of “John Atcherley Stanw.”)
[6] The National Archives, Documents Online: Will of Thomas Atcherley, Gentleman of Twyford, Shropshire. Catalogue reference PROB 11/588.
[7] Shrewsbury St Julian parish registers. Copies viewed at Shropshire Archives. (Entry on 18 February 1750 shows the marriage of “William Dod of the Parish of Hordley and Elizabeth Atcherley of the Parish of Baschurch by Licence.”)
[8] Baschurch parish burial registers. Copies viewed at Shropshire Archives. (Entry on 28 March 1818 shows Sarah Atcherley, abode Stanwardine in the Fields, age 83.)
[9] Index to death duty registers 1796 – 1903. Entries for testators in 1818 include Sarah Atcherley, executor John Atcherley of Baschurch, Salop; Lichfield (Consistory) Court, volume 1, folio 87.
[10] Will of John Acherley of Stanwardine in the Fields, Salop. Typed transcript viewed at the office of the Society of Genealogists.