Chivelstone Steers was the subject title used in the dialogue back in 2006
involving a number of people but Philip & Jack Steer in particular.
*William Steer Tolchard & William Steer alias March.*
In 2006 I had a discussion with Jack Steer & Philip Steer (via this
web-site) about the name of the father of William Steer Tolchard (baptised
on 18 January 1795 at Stokenham) the illegitimate son of Elizabeth
Tolchard. Without any bastardy papers this has proved to be a difficult
question to answer.Now-11 years later-I wonder if anyone has any fresh
thoughts on the subject?
In a message sent on the 16 Oct 2006 Jack Steer refers to "...[in
the]Diptford baptisms for 1813 to 1839 is an entry that has alarming
similarities to Ray's Tolchard baptism...John STEER Tozer base child of
Mary Tozer." Well I should now like to add a third example of illegitimacy
in the Steer family (in addition to William Steer Tolchard & John Steer
Tozer)-the oft quoted case of William Steer alias March.In a message posted
on 6 December 2004 Jack Steer wrote"I cannot possibly know, but I have a
gut feeling that William may be the son of one of the STEER farmers of
Stokenham and thus tied in with the Woodleigh tribe".
I believe that Elizabeth March-the mother of William-is connected to my
great grandfather x3 William Steer Tolchard. The evidence (all records are
on Find My Past):
Thomas March married Elizabeth Weeks at South Pool 16 Aug 1727. They had 5
children including ELIZABETH (baptised on 2 May 1739).
ELIZABETH MARCH had 3 illegitimate children:
Ann baptised at South Pool on 5 Aug 1759 & buried the following month on 10
John baptised at South Pool on 13 Sept 1765 and
WILLIAM STEER baptised on 4 March 1767 at Stokenham.
I believe ELIZABETH MARCH then married RICHARD TOLCHER (19 Sept 1769 at
They had 3 children:
ELIZABETH TOLCHER baptised on 2 June 1770 at South Pool.
Mary baptised 25 Jan 1778 at South Pool and
Ann baptised 10 May 1780 at South Pool.
ELIZABETH TOLCHER nee MARCH -the mother-was buried at Stokenham on 3 Sept
1822 aged 82.
Hence she was born c 1740 which fits with her birth in SouthPool. South
Pool is approx. 3 miles from Stokenham and the family could have easily
moved from one to the other.
*My theory/suggestion concerning Elizabeth March contradicts the ancestry
information posted by Barbara Wilson on 21 March 2005 where it is suggested
Elizabeth March was originally from the Gee family. Jack Steer raised the
possibility of some other family outcome in a message dated 22 Nov 2005
where it was suggested that Elizabeth may have been the daughter "of some
other couple".Interestingly, in Barbara's details of William Steer alias
March she mentions a South Pool connection and a brother John.*
This brings me to ELIZABETH TOLCHER baptised on 2 June 1770-the daughter of
Richard & Elizabeth. I believe she is the mother of WILLIAM STEER TOLCHARD.
She was apprenticed to Henry Steer in 1783-she would have been 13 years old
which fits for an apprenticeship. She came from from South Pool which, as
already mentioned, is close by. She would have been 25 when she had
WST-some years after her apprenticeship had ended but she may well have
stayed with the family as some kind of servant.(The Steer family seemed to
be quite well off).
*(It is odd that, if I am correct, that Elizabeth March had an illegitimate
son named William & her*
*daughter did exactly the same 28 years later).*
An Elizabeth Tolchard married Joseph Norman on 5 June 1803 at Stokenham*.*They
had 4 children between 1804 & 1809 eventually moving to the Kingswear
/Brixham area. Elizabeth was buried on 21 July 1820 at Brixham. She was 54
years old-close enough age to Elizabeth Tolcher baptised in 1770?
So now to the thorny question of who was WILLIAM STEER TOLCHARD's father?
Philip Steer in a closely argued message dated 27 Oct 2006 reviewed the
candidates. They all emanate from Henry Steer & Ann Whiteway's marriage of
1 HENRY STURE (1727-1808) himself....very unlikely...he would have been 68
years old in 1795!
2 His eldest son HENRY baptised in 1750 (who married Ann Torring in 1774).
His last child by Ann was born in 1793 .He would have been 45 years old in
3 His second son PHILIP baptised in 1751. He married Mary Paige & was
living in Ashprington at the time of WST's birth in 1795. Very unlikely.
4 His third son GEORGE baptised in 1765. He married Mary Luscombe in 1784.
A very strong candidate as outlined below.
5 and 6 the 2 sons of HENRY (baptised in 1750) who were old enough to
father a child-EDMUND (19 in 1795) & GEORGE (18 in 1795).
Assuming it wasn't a Steer from a different family....Henry (baptised in
1727) had a number of brothers.....then it seem as if there are 4 credible
2 HENRY-his last child by Ann was born in 1793 and he was only 45 in 1795.
He was master of the house and could well have had a liaison with his
servant although, as Jack Steer pointed out, he was "a pillar of a
nonconformist chapel" (Ford).
4 GEORGE-Henry's (bap 1750) brother. Philip Steer has made a good case for
him being the father. In a message sent on the 30th Oct 2006 he wrote:
"George married Mary Luscombe in October 1784, when he was 31 and she
24.Their daughter Harriett was baptised in April 1785 [seven months later -
so maybe George was not one of the "upright" devotees of the Independant
Chapel] - I don't think he was married in the chapel, was he ? When George
died in 1823, he was buried with his parents and shares the same tombstone,
and not buried with his wife Mary, who had died in 1816.Their son Sampson
Luscombe Steer was not baptised until 1798 [three years after the birth of
William Steer Tolchard] - so there is a big gap between Harriett and
Sampson. Maybe there was some estrangement between George and Mary, which
perhaps was not resolved unto 1798, when they both probably needed a
legitimate heir - certainly Sampson did his stuff and kept his line going !
Also between 1798 and 1815 [the year before Mary died] George took eight
poor children as apprentices........perhaps this charity was part
of the deal ?!"
The name George was continued in WILLIAM STEER TOLCHARD's family. His son
William Steer's (1818-1907) fourth son was called George Elliott Steer.
6 GEORGE-son of Henry (Bap 1750) could easily have been the father although
he was 7 years younger that Elizabeth.As mentioned the name George
continued in WST's family...
5 EDMUND is another strong candidate although Jack Steer doubted it as he
was another "pillar" of the nonconformist world.
Has anyone got any NEW THOUGHTS/NEW INFORMATION in relation to this mystery?
I look forward to some response to my comments on both William Steers
(Tolchard & March) .
PS My e-mail address in 2006 was at virgin.net
. This is now defunct.