In Could John Stacy who lived/married at London and later lived at Exmouth (Devon) have been baptized in 1759 at North Petherton (Somerset)? I have been trying to identify the parents of John Stacy (1759-1831).

Today I was reading "Colonial Cameos and Genetic Gambits - the Stacy Brown Story" compiled by Albert E. Stacy (my 1st cousin twice removed) in 1986. In it he writes on page 12:

Reliable record also has it that John Stacy's father was a nautical assessor on the London Docks and was killed by a fall in the hold of a merchant ship in the course of his duty.

He does not elaborate on what reliable record that came from but later, on page 18, he writes:

My dear cousin Elfreda of Buckhurst Hill, London, recalls:

"When I was about thirteen years old (1904) we spent a holiday in Exmouth and great-aunt Agnes Leatt joined us for a week. She was an old lady then in her eighties and one day when we were walking dorn The Strand she pointed out an old-fashioned, double fronted shop with slightly bowed windows of smallish panes as the one she remembered John Stacy occupied."

Consequently, I am assuming that he may have had access to some oral history that possibly reached him intact.

I gather that a nautical assessor was someone who worked for an insurance company and assessed the damages on any ruined cargo that arrived at the docks.

Does anyone know of a record source that might help me learn more about a nautical assessor named Stacy who worked (and died) on the London Docks and presumably died in about the last quarter of the 18th century?

1 Answer 1


In the same book, "Colonial Cameos and Genetic Gambits - the Stacy Brown Story", Albert E. Stacy writes on page 14:

John Stacy was a boy chorister in St Paul's Cathedral Choir. He was later apprenticed to a vintner in Leadenhall Street and when so employed, his portrait was painted and presented to him by the customers of his master. The occasion coincided with his attendance at a function hosted by the then Lord Mayor of London.

John Stacy was allegedly proud of the fact that he wore his own hair and not a wig. Consequently, he had it carefully dressed for the Lord Mayor's party and so that it might not be ruffled before he sat down for the portrait on the following day, he would not lie down that night.

I think the portrait below is the portrait being discussed above but I know nothing of its provenance other than it being labelled as John Stacy in the same book.

enter image description here

Albert does not provide any source for the above information, but in FindMyPast I have found a London Apprenticeship Abstracts, 1442-1850 Transcription that may relate to John Stacy, as a vintner apprentice:

Stacy John son of Henry, Bermondsey, Surrey, perukemaker, deceased, to John Bates, 7 Dec 1774, Vintners' Company

This seems to be him, which contradicts the story of John Stacy's father being a nautical assessor but may corroborate that his father died young. My understanding is that a peruke maker is a wig maker and it is interesting that one of the few early stories about John Stacy seems to relate to the non-wearing of a wig. Also, John Stacy named his eldest son Henry so a father of the same name seems reasonable.

The most compelling evidence that this is the right John Stacy and father comes from:

Aldermen of the City of London: Queenhithe ward at British History Online which lists a term served by a vintner named John Bates:

January 15, 1784            John Bates, Vintner S. 1784–5.
[Sworn Jan. 27] (fn. 84)    Elected by 87 votes to 49 for George Mackenzie Macauley (Bowyer).
Died May 13, 1785.

This helps tie John Stacy's master to an office close to the Lord Mayor (whose function/party is mentioned in the wig story) and to the electorate in/near Shoreditch where John Stacy lived from about 1780-1791. Leadenhall Street where John Bates was a vintner is also in/near Shoreditch.

There is an obituary to John Bates in the Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle, Part 1 on page 406

enter image description here

It is interesting to note that John Bates acquired his fortune at the Queen's Arms Tavern, St Paul's Churchyard which would seem to be very close to where John Stacy was reported to be a boy chorister.

I am still trying to uncover the sources that Albert E. Stacy used to write his brief account of John Stacy's early life but, with the exception of the story of John Stacy's father being a nautical assessor, it seems to now be corroborated. I suspect that the nautical assessor may have been the father of John Stacy's father-in-law John Smyth but at the moment that is little more than conjecture.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.