St. Mary Castlegate, City of York

William Staveley b. November 20, 1764 was the son of Francis Staveley and Catherine OVEREND of Beverley, Yorkshire.  William married Martha CLAYTON August 12, 1790 in Pocklington, Yorkshire.  William and Martha had six children in York as follows:

Mary Elizabeth Staveley b. February 29, 1794 St. Mary Castlegate, York  
Walter Clayton Staveley b. January 15, 1797 St. Mary Castlegate, York d. Dec 20 1797*
Francis Clayton Staveley b. March 7, 1798 St. Mary Castlegate, York  
William Staveley b. August 26, 1799 St. Mary Castlegate, York  
Martha Staveley b. September 18, 1800 St. Mary Castlegate, York  
Harry Overend Staveley b. April 1, 1803 St. Mary Castlegate, York  


*The notation in the parish register for Walter Clayton Staveley's death is as follows:


December 22, 1797 St. Mary Castlegate, York

Walter-Clayton Staveley son of William Staveley Gent by Martha his wife, died December 20, age 9 months, Smallpox.


There is some four years between William and Martha's marriage, and their first child born in York, but it is unknown at this time if other children may have been born in Pocklington between 1790-1794.  William became the Governor of York Castle debtors prison, and in fact had worked for his father in law, Martha's father, who had also been Governor and William had been his deputy.  There is an entry regarding William Staveley, Deputy Gaoler at York Castle dated January 20, 1797 that reads as follows:

"...Report of Thomas Ewbank, Deputy Clerk of the Peace for Yorkshire North Riding, on 1 individual petition (prisoner) on behalf of William Bennison/William Benneson, convicted at the Easter Yorkshire North Riding Quarter Sessions at Northallerton in 1796, for stealing a goose, value 10d, and a peck of wheat (with another unnamed man sentenced to hard labour for 6 months and to be whipped). There is a covering letter from William Staveley, the Deputy Gaoler at York Castle who states that ' they have long wished to quit him [Benneson] from his neighbourhood and that he was Certainly a Reputed Thief'. Grounds for clemency: age (60 years), previous good character, is lame and has become blind during his imprisonment, has a wife and 3 small children to support and stole from want. Initial sentence: transportation. Recommendation: speaks in favour of mercy; annotated 'let this be done, pardon')."

A copy of the original record, and the cover letter from William Staveley can be obtained from PRO via reference: HO 47/21/2

William's first wife Martha died in 1804.  The parish register entry regarding her death reads as follows:


March 3, 1804 St. Mary Castlegate, York

Martha Staveley wife of William Staveley Governor of York Castle, died February 29 & buried in the Cross IIe in the Church.  Age 35 years, Mortification in the Bowels.


Just nine months after Martha's death, William married Sarah BEAL on December 31, 1804 at Holy Trinity Micklegate, York.  William and Sarah proceeded to have eight additional children as follows:

Thomas Beal Staveley b. June 24, 1806 St. Mary Castlegate, York  
Sarah Staveley b. May 13, 1807 St. Mary Castlegate, York  
Mark Staveley b. July 13, 1808 St. Mary Castlegate, York  
Isabella Staveley b. August 28 1809 St. Mary Castlegate, York  
Catherine Staveley b. October 10, 1810 St. Mary Castlegate, York Buried February 12, 1819, age 8 years
Ann Staveley b. December 9, 1811 St. Mary Castlegate, York  
Richard Staveley b. July 14, 1814 St. Mary Castlegate, York  
George Staveley b. February 25, 1816 St. Mary Castlegate, York Buried August 1, 1817, age 17 months


William's daughter Mary Elizabeth Staveley (b. 1794) married William WHITWELL of St. Martin Coney St on November 7, 1816 at St. Mary Castlegate.  Witnesses were Jane Morley and Thomas Beal.

William Staveley (b. 1764), of Newington Place, was buried at St. Mary Castlegate on August 11, 1828 aged 63 years.

Sons Thomas Beal and Mark Staveley appear to have relocated to Leeds by the mid 1830's. 

A few entries regarding William's occupation as Governor of York have been found.

A Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire For the year 1822, by Thomas Langdale

City of York:

"...In the right wing is a prison for Debtors, which reflects honour on the County. --In the left wing is an handsome convenient Chapel, ascended to by a flight of steps uniform with the right wing, and ornamented with suitable furniture. --The Women Felons are confined in the New Buildings, opposite the County Hall. --Mr. Staveley is the present Governor."


A History of York from Baine's Gazetteer (1823)

Part 10 MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS OF YORK: Prisons and Courts of Justice

The buildings, which form three sides of a square, consist of the County Gaol, in front, the Record Office, &c. to the East; and the County Hall, to the West of the Castle yard; the wall to the North, which, with the lodge, completes the square, is built at the foot of
the mound, formed by the ruins of Clifford's tower. The County Gaol occupies the site on which the towers of the Castle anciently stood. These towers having sunk into a ruinous state during a lapse of six centuries, they were taken down in the year 1701, and the present structure was raised in their stead. The funds for this public work were obtained by a tax of three-pence in the pound on all lands, &c. within the County; and, at the time of its erection, was considered an edifice "so noble and complete, as to exceed all others of the kind in Britain, perhaps in Europe." This building consists of two wings, divided by the felons' court yard. The right wing is a prison for debtors, ascended by a large double series of steps, and contains twenty-two rooms, sixteen feet square, and nearly twelve feet high, with apartments for the use of the governor; which office is at present, and has been for many years filled, much to the public satisfaction, by Mr. Wm. Staveley.

(Note: This is considered a situation of great trust and responsibility, and the Governor has a salary of £700 a year, besides the prison fees, which amount to a considerable sum annually.)

Francis Clayton Staveley, the second son of William and Martha above, married and relocated his family to Hull.

Son William married Amelia ABRAHAM in 1825 and moved to Eltisley, Cambridgeshire by 1826, then to Thornton Curtis, Lincolnshire by 1828.

Note that William (b. 1764) had a younger brother, Hugh (b. 1770), who was buried at St. Mary Castlegate, and his burial entry reads as follows:


November 3, 1805 St. Mary Castlegate, York

Hugh Staveley son of the late Francis Staveley, Little Stonegate by Catharine his wife, died October 31 & buried in the Church age 35 years, Decline.


Text and Images Copyright © 1999-2006