The Stephens Family

History of the Stephens family can be traced back to the early 1800s. William Stephens, a Quaker, had three sons, Walter, Isaac and John Pike Stephens. In 1835 they started Asker Mill, a flax spinning mill. In the 1840s, Walter and Isaac moved to Bristol to open another spinning mill at St Philip Marsh, still in partnership with John Pike, Asker Mill then converting to the weaving of sailcloth. John Pike Stephens ran the Bridport business until his death in 1872, when his son, Alfred took over. However, in 1875, Alfred died and the remaining business was transferred to Bristol. Asker Mill was sold to Walter Powell and used as a net making mill.

Walter Stephens also died in 1872 and his share in the Bristol based business was taken by his son, Walter Langrish Stephens, who had been born in 1839. Walter Langrish Stephens married Louisa Pugh in 1867 who died, then Edith Jane Warne in 1883. Edith was the daughter of the publishers, Frederick Warne. We believe that they had a daughter, Mary Langrish Stephens, who married William Fruing Warne in 1898, presumably the son of Frederick Warne and Louisa Fruing. Walter and Edith also had a son, Frederick Warne in 1884 and a second daughter, Jane in 1887. In 1890, Walter sold his share of the Bristol based spinning mill and the family moved to West Bay, at 10 Pier Terrace in 1897, the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee when the pictures were taken. Walter was a keen amateur photographer. In the photographs, Jane is a 10 year old sitting on the step with her 13 year old brother, Frederick to the right (her left). Walter died in 1910 at Thornleigh, St Andrews Road. Frederick went on to work for the publishers 'Frederick Warne'. Jane lived in the area for all of her life and her brother regularly visited her, right through to retirement.

Beatrix Potter is the renowned author of the Peter Rabbit series of books, amongst others. Her publishers were Frederick Warne. Beatrix had always confided in Norman, the youngest of the three sons of Frederick Warne. She had planned to marry Norman Warne, but within weeks of their engagement in 1905, Norman died of Anaemia. Upon Beatrix Potter's death in 1943, all royalties and rights of her books went to Frederick Stephens, being the nephew of Norman Warne. In the 1960s, Frederick and Jane Stephens bought land at Brewery Hill, Eype, for a home after moving from Pier Terrace.

Arthur Nalder Stephens owned or rented Haddon House in around 1935. Records also show that when Haddon House was sold at auction in 1958, Mrs I M Stephens was the outgoing tenant. Walter and Arthur Nalder Stephens were step-brothers. Thompson Stephens of Wanderwell was another member of the large family of relatives.

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