The Stanier Family

This information (Feb 2021) comes from a variety of sources, mainly internet based but with some additional family detail provided by Sir Billy (Beville) Stanier.

FRANCIS STANIER: 11 July 1808 – 13 October 1856

Records show that Francis was born in Newcastle under Lyme, and was the son of Thomas Stanier and Ann Stanier (nee Halmarack). 

In 1834 he married Mary Wilkinson (daughter of Frederick Wilkinson and Susannah Sparrow) at Wolstanton, Staffordshire. They had 5 children: Randle Baddeley, Mary Jane, Alice, Francis and Thomas.

He was a practising attorney (Solicitor), a Justice of the Peace (Magistrate) in Staffordshire and an ‘iron master’. He is said to have held the office of Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1851, although this isn’t seemingly recorded in the Council’s available role lists.

Census records show him living in Newcastle under Lyme for most, if not all, of his life; but it seems he also (later on?) owned Madeley Manor, Staffordshire, and Moor House at Biddulph.

He was associated with several companies over time, namely:  Stanier, Knight and Udall (attorneys) The Silverdale Co and Stanier & Company.

Silverdale Co and Stanier & Co

The Stoke area had good supplies of ironstone and coal, and the Silverdale Co was smelting iron at two furnaces at Silverdale in the 1790’s, with evidence of a formal company partnership involving local ‘gentlemen’ being formed/enlarged in April 1792.It seems that later Francis Stanier became involved as in 1851 a dissolution of the partnership between a Ralph Sneyd, of Keele, and Francis Stanier, of Newcastle-under-Lyme (as Coal and Iron Masters) was noted. The business was then carried on by the Francis Stanier alone.

The Silverdale Iron Co. had works in Silverdale, Knutton and Chesterton, covering both collieries and blast furnaces, but the Knutton and Chesterton Works were limited to the manufacture of finished iron. In 1854 Robert Heath, with Francis Stanier, built the Silverdale and Knutton Forges, operating under the name of Stanier and Heath, but at some later point incorporating the Silverdale Co.

After the death of Francis in 1856, it seems one of his sons, also Francis, was involved. In 1866 Thomas Udall, who had his own company (owning collieries and blast furnaces at Apedale joined the concern, but later the two companies were put together as one undertaking – named Stanier & Co.

The company was evidently successful, as by 1875 it had 56 puddling furnaces and 5 rolling mills.

In 1880 the partnership between Francis Philip Stanier and Thomas Udall was dissolved, with Francis carrying on the business alone.

FRANCIS PHILIP STANIER: 30 January 1838 – 7 October 1900.

Francis was a minor when, in 1856, he inherited the estate of his cousin Philip Barns Broade, of Fenton Vivian, Staffs. In 1857 the Queen granted permission to Mary Stanier (now of Madeley Manor, formerly of Newcastle-under-Lyme) on behalf of her eldest son Francis (Randle seeming to have died) that he may, in compliance with a proviso contained in the last will and testament of Philip Barnes Broade (late of the Manor House, Fenton Vivian), take and henceforth use the name of Philip Broade in addition to and after that of Stanier, and also bear the arms of Broade quarterly with those of his own family arms.

In 1860 he married Caroline Judith Justice (daughter of General William Justice 1799-1868). They had 7 children: Frank Justice, Reginald Henry, Beville, William, Lucy, Eleanor and Dorothy.

Francis Stanier-Broade appears on the 1861 Census as staying (with his mother and his wife) at Cowes, Isle of Wight, and describing himself as a ‘merchant’. In 1871, in a further Census, he was living at Betley Hall, Staffordshire, with his wife, family and 13 live in servants; with more servants (gardeners and a farm bailiff) living outside the house. He described himself then as a ‘Landowner and Iron Master’. He was also a Captain in the 3rd King’s Own Staffordshire Militia and a Justice of the Peace (JP).

A ‘Carte de Visite’ photograph of Francis

In 1873 he moved his family to Peplow Hall and, in 1876, changed his surname back to Stanier by Royal Licence.

In 1881 it was recorded that Francis Stanier, ironmaster, was employing 4500 men.

From the painting below, it seems he was also Mayor of Newcastle under Lyme, probably late in life but, like his father, this also isn’t seemingly recorded in the Council’s available role lists. However, those lists may be in error/incomplete as he was clearly held in sufficient regard to be awarded the Freedom of Newcastle in 1898 – Sir Billy Stanier having a silver casket and documents relating to this.

Francis – As Mayor of Newcastle under Lyme. Painted by Herman Herkomer (1863–1935)

FRANK JUSTICE STANIER:    20th Oct 1862 – 2nd February 1910

Frank was born at Silverdale, Staffordshire, in 1862, and later educated at Eton and Darmstadt.

On completion of his studies he joined the Staffordshire Militia, and afterwards served in the Staffordshire Yeomanry.

He was married in 1894 to Beatrice Hood (daughter of Dr. Wharton Hood). They had one child, Frank Adolphus.

Frank may have been a rather unconventional person, and seemingly spent most of his life abroad – residing in Paris for a while and then, after inheriting Peplow Hall in 1900, living on a steam yacht in the Mediterranean. He died in Venice in 1910, and was buried in San Michele cemetery – on an island in the lagoon. His tombstone epitaph, in a possibly humorous double meaning, reads:

“In loving Memory of Frank Justice Stanier of Staffordshire who left us in peace Feb 2nd 1910”.

FRANK ADOLPHUS HOOD STANIER: 1895 – 9th March 1949

Frank (known as ‘Tim’) was educated at Charterhouse School, Godalming.

He later set up home at High Hatton Hall, and married his cousin (Sir Beville Staniers daughter) Dulce Constance Stanier on 9th Sept 1919. They had two children: June Bevilline and Frank Justice.

He held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for Shropshire in 1922, and gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.

Tim and Dulce were divorced in 1936, and he emigrated to Southern Rhodesia where, in 1938, he married Dorothy Hood (daughter of Lt.-Col. F. J. Hood). High Hatton Hall remained the home of Dulce and her children until 1950 when it was sold, with much of the contents then being shipped to Rhodesia – with Dulce moving to a cottage in Marchamley

WILLIAM STANIER:  1871 – 1903

William (who was unmarried) died, and was buried at sea, on his way home from the Boer War in South Africa. A memorial window in Peplow Chapel marks the sad event.

BEVILLE STANIER: 12 June 1867 – 15 December 1921 (Later Sir Beville, 1st Baronet of Peplow Hall)

Beville Stanier was educated privately and then at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.

On December 12th 1894 he married Sarah Constance (known as ‘Connie’) Gibbons (daughter of the Reverend B Gibbons, of Waresley House, Worcester). They had 4 children: Dulce Constance, Alexander Beville Gibbons, Philip Francis and Edward.

Beville was a director (then deputy chairman) of the North Stafford Railway Company, and also a director of the Trent and Mersey Canal.

1906 – The Stanier Family & Friends at Peplow Hall

He took a great interest in the scientific and practical development of Agriculture, was a correspondent for the Board of Agriculture and was one of the Governors of the Harper-Adams Agricultural College, Newport, Salop. He was also a director of the Farmers’ Land Purchase Company, Home Grown Sugar and chairman of the British Sugar Beet Growers’ Society.

He was a Justice of the Peace for Shropshire, represented the Hodnet Division on the Salop County Council (1902 – 1912), and was also a member of the Drayton Rural District Council and Board of Guardians.

Following the death of the incumbent, William Kenyon-Slaney, in 1908 Beville was elected as a Conservative and Unionist Member of Parliament for Newport. He held the seat until the 1918 general election, then replaced (the retiring) Rowland Hunt in Ludlow – remaining as its MP until his death.

He was a Churchman and a Conservative, being at one time Chairman of the Hodnet Conservative Association, and was also a Managing Trustee of the Hodnet Charities (which still exists to this day, in association with Hodnet Parish Council).

During the First World War, Beville held the rank of Captain in the Territorial Reserve, and served as the honorary secretary of the Shropshire Territorial Association – the body that administered military units raised in the county. Until a few years before his death he was proprietor of the Shrewsbury Chronicle.

He was created a baronet (‘Stanier of Peplow Hall’) in the 1917 (16th July) Birthday Honours, for his services in organising sugar beet production during the ‘Great War’.

The Stanier Coat of Arms: updated from the older Stonyer Family’s version in connection with the ‘Stanier of Peplow Hall’ Baronetcy

He was described as a keen sportsman and naturalist and in line with the mores of the time combined those interests in two trips ‘big game’ shooting in various British Colonies! Various animal ‘trophies’ could be seen at Peplow Hall, together with an older ex Hawkstone Hall collection of stuffed birds and animals, including many rare birds – for instance the now extinct Great Auk.

Note. The tea rooms at nearby Hodnet Hall Gardens have a similar ‘period’ display.

His favourite sports were listed as Shooting, Salmon Fishing, Deer Stalking and Otter Hunting. He was a Fellow of the Zoological Society, and a member of the Wyndham and Shropshire County Clubs.

In 1918, wishing to ‘downsize’ Sir Beville and family moved to The Citadel, at nearby Weston under Redcastle. This move had an interesting link with the past insofar as past owners of Peplow Hall, the Rowland Hill family, had their family seat at Hawkstone Hall – whose extensive land holdings once included The Citadel, Hawkstone Park hotel and land that later became a golf course and an area known as The Follies, see https://www.hawkstoneparkfollies.co.uk/explore/history

Sir Beville died in 1921, but the Stanier’s continued to live at The Citadel until 1956.

Hawkstone Otter Hounds

The photo above, taken in 1912, comes from the family albums of the Stanier family and was published in the Shropshire Star. After publication a correspondent got in touch to help identify it, saying:

“It’s a meet of the Hawkstone Otter Hounds. The bearded gentleman smoking a cigarette is Beville Stanier who, together with the gentleman to the right of him, was wearing the hunt uniform. Both have the pads on their caps, which would be red, with the foot of the otter made into a taxidermised brooch. The long stick they are carrying is an otter hunting pole, used to steady them as they walked across rivers and brooks.

Among those in the picture are his children Eddy (who died young in a car accident), Pip and Alexander. I knew these people in the 1950s. On the far right is Alexander Stanier, and he and Pip Stanier used to give me a lift to go otter hunting with the Hawkstone Otter Hounds. When I was a teenager I used to go out and follow the otter hounds, and we used to go up rivers and brooks all over Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Mid Wales and North Shropshire. Pip Stanier went on to become the secretary of the Hawkstone Otter Hounds, and Alex was chairman. The otter hounds packed up in the 1970s, with Sir Alexander Stanier donating the residual otter hunt funds to the hospice in Shropshire in the 1990s – shortly before his death, with some otter hunt uniforms donated to a costume museum in Shropshire.”

ALEXANDER BEVILLE GIBBONS STANIER: 31 January 1899 – 10 January 1995 (2nd Baronet from 1921)

Alexander was best known as a British Army Officer who fought in WWI and WW II; and was particularly distinguished for his actions at Boulogne in 1940, on D Day in 1944 and in the Rhineland in 1944.

After leaving Eton in 1917, he passed through the Royal Military College at Sandhurst as a wartime cadet – being commissioned into the newly raised Welsh Guards in December 1917. In his year with the Welsh Guards on the Western Front, Stanier displayed aptitude for the mobile warfare that followed the crumbling of the German defences. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1919 for his actions during the Second Battle of Cambrai – a month before the Armistice. 

After the war, he decided to pursue a military career rather than manage the family estates, serving with the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards, in Germany, Egypt and Gibraltar.

Upon the death of his father in 1921, he succeeded to the baronetcy.

His father’s career gave Alexander contacts with leading politicians of the day and also with the British Royal Family. He was a close friend of the Duke of Windsor, and also with the Romanian and Greek Royal families – King George II of Greece later becoming godfather to Stanier’s son.

On 21 July 1927 he married Dorothy Gladys Miller (daughter of Brigadier-General Alfred Douglas Miller of Shotover Park, Wheatley, Oxfordshire). They had 2 children: Sylvia Mary Finola and Beville Douglas.

From 1927 to 1930, was Military Secretary to the Governor of Gibraltar. He was promoted to major in 1932 and to lieutenant-colonel in 1939. His subsequent military career was extensive and varied and saw him accrue numerous accolades/medals – for full details see Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Stanier

In brief, his WWII service saw him first involved in evacuating forces from Dunkirk (1940), where he was awarded his first Distinguished Service Order (for bravery and leadership). In 1943 he took command of the 183rd Infantry Brigade deployed in a home defence role, and at one point during related training losing an eye, when a soldier dropped a primed grenade by mistake – but nonetheless still being selected for a key role in the forthcoming Normandy landings.

In 1944, as colonel, he took command of the 231st Infantry Brigade. As part of the D Day landings, they were to capture ‘Jig’ Beach – the westernmost section of Gold Beach.  The beach was heavily defended and Sir Alexander had to improvise to gain the objectives, against considerable odds.

After D-Day, he led his brigade for the rest of 1944 supporting British armoured divisions in their thrust across the River Seine, and then towards the River Somme and the Belgian frontier – helping to liberate Brussels. He was later awarded a Bar to his DSO for his actions during the autumn of 1944 fighting in the Rhine valley.  

General Sir Bernard Montgomery, left, with the U.S. First Army commander, Lieutenant General Omar Bradley (centre), and Brigadier Sir Alexander Stanier at General Montgomery’s HQ in Normandy. Brigadier Stanier had just received the Silver Star from General Bradley.

Sir Alexander was awarded a number of foreign decorations for his wartime service, including the Belgian Order of Leopold II and Belgian Croix de Guerre (with palms), and the US Silver Star.

After commanding the Welsh Guards in the early postwar years, with a remit to prepare for demobilisation and postwar re-organisation, he retired from the Army on 2 May 1948 with the honorary rank of brigadier.

After the war, he was treated as a hero by the liberated people of Asnelles and Arromanches, who named a town square after him. He attended the 40th and 50th D-Day anniversary celebrations, and was a leading instigator of the Arromanches museum.

Memorial to Sir Alexander Stanier at Arromanches.

In 1988, he was awarded the Legion d’Honour for his outstanding services to Anglo-French relations, and in 1995 was awarded the ‘Freedom of Arromanches’.

After retiring from the Army, he took up the family tradition of farming and local politics, moving to his mothers house, The Citadel, at Weston under Redcastle, Shropshire.

He became a county councillor in 1950, serving for eight years, and was High Sheriff of Shropshire and Deputy Lieutenant for the county in 1951. He was county president of St John Ambulance from 1950 to 1960, a Justice of the Peace at Wem and Chairman of Governors for Adams Grammar School, Wem, for a number of years. In 1950 he agreed to lease some land near Weston to the Salop Motor Club – who started the famous Hawkstone Park Motorcross scramble track.

In 1956 the family sold The Citadel and moved to a new family home at Dorsington, Warwickshire. However, Alexander kept a small cottage in Weston under Redcastle as a base from which to continue his Shropshire commitments.

Some years earlier he had bought a small cottage at East Farndon, Northamptonshire, and his wife spent a lot of time there pursuing her interests, which meant the family was hardly ever at Dorsington. Their home there was therefore sold in 1960, the proceeds reinvested in farm land at East Farndon and Maidwell in Northamptonshire – with the East Farndon cottage being extended. Whilst living in Northamptonshire he was a Governor of St Andrews Hospital, Northampton.

Alexander also sold his cottage at Weston and bought one at Ludllow instead – close to Plowden Hall, home of the Plowden Family with whom he enjoyed shooting. This new foothold in Shropshire also helped him fulfil his role as Chairman of Ludlow races.

In 1981 he rented a house at Shotover Park, Wheatley, from his brother in law Alastair Miller, where he lived until his death in 1995 – just short of his 96th Birthday.

In 1994 he had been able to attend the 50th anniversary of D Day in France, flying there and back by helicopter courtesy of Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Moss; a former commanding officer of the Army Air Corps and before that an officer in his old regiment, the Welsh Guards. Once there, as a token of their gratitude, the people of Asnelles presented him with a commemorative stone carved in the shape of the Cross of Lorraine – which was reported at the time to have caused a bit of a headache in getting it back in the helicopter!

Sir Alexander Stanier at Asnelles, France, in 1994

BEVILLE DOUGLAS STANIER: 20th April 1934 – (3rd Baronet from 1995)

Beville (known as ‘Billy’) spent his first 14 years at Virginia Water, Surrey, whilst his father was an active soldier; then moved with the family in 1948 to The Citadel, Weston under Redcastle.

After being educated at Eton he joined his father’s former regiment, the Welsh Guards, in 1952 – becoming a 2nd Lieutenant in 1953 and taking part in the parade at the Queen’s Coronation.

After active service in Egypt, during 1959 – 60 he served as the ADC to the Governor General of Australia, Field Marshal Sir William Slim.

In 1960 he left the Army in order to further an ambition to return to Australia, thereafter becoming a UK stockbroker specialising in Australasian shares – working for Kitcat & Aitken until 1976.

On 23rd Feb 1963 he married Violet Shelagh Sinnott, from Cirencester, Gloucestershire (daughter of Major James Stockley Sinnott and Marjorie Kemble). They had 3 children: Henrietta Claire, Lucinda Katherine and Alexander James Sinnott. In 1965 the family moved from London to King’s Close House, Whaddon, Buckinghamshire.

After leaving the stock broking world in 1976 Billy took over his father’s Northamptonshire farms, but also worked as a part time sales consultant, between 1976 and 1989, for Hales Snails Ltd (food suppliers to quality restaurants including, as implied, ‘delicacies’ such as snails and frogs legs).

In 1981 he sold the family farms and transferred his interests into his uncle’s Shotover Estate at Shotover Park, Oxfordshire – See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotover_Park

Shotover Park is held in trust, and has most recently been occupied by Alexander (known as ‘Alastair’) Miller, then his younger brother Sir John Miller – Crown Equerry and friend of Queen Elizabeth II. In 2006 control of the Estate passed to Sir Billy and his son, Alexander – who now resides there and runs the estate.

Sir Billy Stanier outside Shotover House in 2010

Sir Billy was remarried in 2010 to Nerena Anne Hyde Villiers (daughter of William Nicholas Somers Laurence Hyde Villiers and Mary Cecilia Georgina Weld-Forester); but now, at 86, has been widowed twice. He continues to live in Whaddon, where he has been long involved with local politics – still serving on Buckinghamshire Council, and having previously served for 20 years on Aylesbury Vale District Council. He is currently President of the Buckingham Constituency Conservatives.

ALEXANDER JAMES SINNOTT STANIER: 10 April 1970 – heir apparent to the Baronetcy.

On leaving school, Alexander underwent military training with the Welsh Guards and then at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He later obtained a degree in Molecular Biology at Manchester University followed by Computer Science at City of London University.

Alexander married Camilla Tania Courage (daughter of Maj.-Gen. Walter Courage), on 17 August 2002. They have 2 children, twin girls Ellie and Fleur.

After holding various IT positions in London he moved to Shotover House, although commuting to London for work for a number of years thereafter. Nowadays he manages the Shotover Estate full time.