"Oh, what a tangled web....."


I had no idea when I started all this that it would be so complicated. This family and the Attenborough family intermarried countless times, making research a very frustrating business. It is impossible to tell the story of one without the other creeping in somewhere, so I dedicate the following page to both families.

Associated Pages

Attenborough Pages


Stapleford Parish Records


Researching Twins


My Smedley Ancestors


I have a vast amount of information about the Smedley family of Stapleford, probably enough to write several web pages on this name alone!

I have several lines that I know of (and probably some that I don't), and I will try and explain these as best I can.

If you are researching any Stapleford families, I have recorded some of the births, marriages and deaths from St Helen's Church, Stapleford - See link above.

Click on the link to view my gallery of photographs of Stapleford.

I will change these regularly, so keep checking in!

Also - coming soon - My Ancestor Gallery!


All locations are Stapleford unless otherwise indicated.


The earliest Smedley that I can trace is William Smedley b.1676 married on 4 Jan 1701 to Elizabeth Tebould (Theobald) b c. 1680-1683, daughter of William Theobald.

Her will is dated 12 Jul 1761 and proven 12 Dec 1761, listing her surviving children. I have lines of descent from 2 of her sons:

1) John b. 20 Feb 1708; and 2) George b.c.1712.

This is where it all starts to get complicated!

        1. John married on 1 Jan 1731 to Sarah Barrowcliffe.
        2. John and Sarah's daughter Mary Smedley b. 4 Jan 1748 married 16 Oct 1767 William Attenborough.

          (See Attenborough pages)

        3. George is a bit of a mystery. His only mention anywhere is on his mother's will, where he is clearly described as her son - no trace of a baptism has yet been found, nor any trace of his marriage to Sarah. I think he was born c.1712.

However, that did not prevent them having 12 children, 7 boys and 5 girls.

Their son William Smedley b. 3 Jul 1743 married on 2 Jul 1770 to Ruth Attenborough (I have not tracked her down yet, so I don't know where she fits in to this mess!). She died 17 May 1798.

They had 8 children, 3 boys and 5 girls.

Their youngest son Thomas b. 29 Oct 1772 married twice. First to Mary Lithgow, who bore him 4 children between 1793 and 1796, none of whom survived for very long. Poor Mary died in 1796, but before the year was out, Thomas had remarried on 8 Dec 1796 to Elizabeth Kirkham, aged 21.

They appear to have had only one child.

Samuel Smedley b. 15 Nov 1797 married on 2 Oct 1825 to Martha Purdy of Mapperley, nr. Ilkeston, b. c. 1807, d. 8 Jul 1860 (55). Samuel was a Higgler (pedler).

They had 9 children, 8 boys and 1 girl.

Their 4th son, Samuel b. 6 Sep 1835 married on 30 Jun 1860 to Hannah Al(l)cock of Stoke (?Bardolph?), Notts. Samuel was a railway labourer.

They had 8 children, including, incredibly, 2 sets of boy-girl twins.

(See page on researching twins)

Their daughter Caroline(one of the twins - brother George) b.14 Dec 1876, d. 1963, married in 1894 William Joseph Blackwell b.1864.

Their eldest son, James Wlliam Blackwell b. 13 Dec 1900, was my grandfather.

Confused? So am I!

If you have any Smedleys amongst your ancestors, and particularly if they are from Stapleford, I have a vast database and will gladly search this for you if you send me an

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