Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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STEPNEY (or STEPNETH ) family, of Prendergast, Pembs. The family was founded by Alban Stepney , a Hertfordshire man and son of Thomas Stepney of S. Albans by his wife Dorothy , daughter of John Winde of Ramsey, Hunts. Educated at Cambridge and Clement's Inn , it is said that he came to Wales as a young lawyer in the employ of bishop Richard Davies during the visitation of 1559 . On 31 Dec. 1561 the bishop appointed him receiver-general of the diocese of S. Davids for life. He was also registrar of the diocese . He m. (1), 1565 , Margaret ( c. 1546 - ante 1573 ), daughter and coheiress of Thomas Catharn of Prendergast , who brought him the manor of Prendergast , and (2), before 1573 , Mary , daughter of William Philipps of Picton . In local politics he became prominent within a group of gentry, led by William Philipps , in opposition to Sir John Perrot and his faction. He was a justice of the peace for county Pembroke and Haverfordwest , deputy lieutenant of county Pembroke , sheriff for county Pembroke in 1573 , 1590 , and 1605 , and for county Carmarthen in 1597 , Member of Parliament for Haverfordwest in 1572 , 1584 , and 1586 , for Cardigan borough in 1588 , and for county Pembroke in 1602 . He d. 19 Aug. 1611 . His heir, JOHN STEPNEY (b. 1581 ), was created a baronet in 1621 . He was educated at Oxford and Lincoln's Inn and m., before 1611 , Jane , daughter of Sir Francis Mansel of Muddlescomb , Carms. He was a justice of the peace , sheriff for county Pembroke in 1614 , and mayor of Haverfordwest in 1620 . He d. 21 July 1626 and was succeeded by his son Sir ALBAN STEPNEY ( c. 1607 - 1628 ), whose brother, Sir JOHN STEPNEY (b. c. 1618 ), became the 3rd baronet . He was governor of the town of Haverfordwest during the Civil War and was one of the few Pembrokeshire gentlemen who remained loyal to the king . He was imprisoned by the Parliamentary forces after his capture at Hereford in 1645 . In 1637 he was sheriff for county Pembroke . He was Member of Parliament for Pembroke in 1640 and sat in the Long Parliament for Haverfordwest , 1640-3 . In 1662 he was mayor of Haverfordwest and deputy lieutenant of county Pembroke in 1674 . His wife was Magdalen , daughter of Sir Henry Jones of Abermarlais . He d. before 26 Sept. 1676 . His nephew, Sir JOHN BAPTIST STEPNEY (d. 1681 ), the 4th baronet , m. Justina Marianna , daughter of Sir Anthony Vandyke , the painter . Their son, Sir THOMAS STEPNEY , the 5th baronet , m. Margaret , sister and coheir of Walter Vaughan of Llanelly , about 1691-3 . He was sheriff for county Pembroke in 1697 and Member of Parliament for county Carmarthen in 1717 . He d. before 15 Feb. 1745 . It seems that the Stepneys transferred their interests from Pembrokeshire to Carmarthenshire (where they are still represented by the families of Stepney-Gulston of Derwydd and Howard-Stepney of Cilymaenllwyd ) and in 1772 their Pembrokeshire property was sold. The 8th baronet , Sir JOHN STEPNEY ( 1743 - 1811 ), was Member of Parliament for Monmouth , 1767-83 , minister to Dresden 1775-82 , and to Berlin 1782-4 . With the death of his brother, Sir THOMAS STEPNEY ( 1760 - 1825 ), groom of the bed-chamber to the duke of York , the baronetcy became extinct. His wife was the novelist lady Catherine Stepney (d. 1845 ) (see D.N.B. ).

The D.N.B. deals with another member of this family, namely GEORGE STEPNEY ( 1663 - 1707 ), poet and envoy .

Bibliography:

  • West Wales Historical Records , 1910–29 , vii, 109-42;
  • Burke's Landed Gentry , s.n. , Stepney—Gulston;
  • Heraldic Visitations of Wales and Part of the Marches , 1846 , i, 180;
  • The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1942 (29), 1948 (59);
  • English Historical Review , lxi, 18-27;
  • W. R. Williams , The History of the Parliamentary Representation of Wales , 1895 , 36, 138, 155, 167;
  • Public Record Office, List of Sheriffs for England and Wales…to A.D. 1831 , 1898 (P.R.O.);
  • Alumni Cantabrigienses ;
  • Alumni Oxonienses ;
  • A. L. Leach , History of the Civil War (1642-49) in Pembrokeshire and on its borders , London, 1937 ;
  • Richard Fenton , A Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire , 223-4.

Author:

Dr Bertie George Charles, Ph.D., (1908-2000), Aberystwyth