THE HORDERNS OF SAREDON AND OXLEY MANOR. INCLUDING THE STAVELEY-HILLS
In 1793 Oxley Manor was sold by William Huskisson to James Hordern, a member of a family which in less than fifty years had risen from yeoman farmers to be bankers and financiers to the Shropshire iron industry.
On April 15th 1751 Joseph Hordern, yeoman of Bushbury, aged 26, married Margaret Eggington of Featherstone by licence at Bushbury church. They lived first at Essington and afterwards at Saredon Hall in Shareshill parish. Six sons and three daughters were born. Joseph was a church warden at Bushbury for many years. He died in March 1807 and his wife in October 1812. Their eldest son, William, died before he was thirty, leaving two daughters Elizabeth and Margaret. The next son, John, had died in infancy and it was the third and fourth sons James and Joseph who founded the banking business. We first hear of them in Newport, Salop, in 1791, partners with Benjamin Hill of Wolverhampton in the banking company of Hordern and Hill. This company was later to amalgamate with Darby and Company of Coalbrookdale as partners in the Shropshire Banking Company, which ultimately became part of Lloyd's Bank Limited in 1889.
At first James lived at Oxley with his wife Jane and two sons, Alexander (born 30.9.1786), Henry (born 1796) and four daughters. He later moved to the Old Deanery at Wolverhampton, where he died on April 3rd 1825. He is buried a few yards from the south door of Bushbury church.
Little is known about his brother Joseph, although he seems to have been active in the early years of the partnership. He built a new Regency home "Saredon House" at Edgbaston. It still stands as No.103 Bristol Road. He married Mary Egginton at Pattingham on April 23rd 1792 and they had three daughters. He died at "Saredon House' on January 29th 1838 and is buried with his family at Shareshill.
Alexander married Jane Hickman Hill at St. Peter's Wolverhampton on February 20th 1827. She was the daughter of Benjamin Hill (partner of James and Joseph) who had married Elizabeth Bowker on June 1st 1783 at St. Peter's. Alexander, a barrister by profession, later became a magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant of the county. With his brother Henry he expanded the family business in Wolverhampton with another partner, Charles Henry Molineux. Their father had founded Hordern, Molineux and Co. early in the new century. Their Dudley branch became part of the Dudley and West Bromwich Banking Company in 1834. So in just over eighty years this relatively humble farming family had become bankers involved in financing the tremendous expansion of industry in both Shropshire and the Black Country which started in the Napoleonic Wars and continued throughout the nineteenth century.
Henry Hordern married Frances Elizabeth Holyoake at Tettenhall on October 16th 1828. They made their home at Dunstall Hall. He was a J.P. and Deputy Lieutenant of the county. The marriage was childless and he died in 1844.
Alexander's only son James was born on August 18th 1828. He was educated at Eton and University College Oxford, but died in 1848 before his twentieth birthday. His parents donated the stained glass window in the south aisle at Bushbury church in his memory and contributed a considerable proportion of the cost of rebuilding the church in 1853. Oxley Manor was almost entirely reconstructed in 1854. Jane died on October 31st 1864 and, following Alexander's death on December 9th 1870, the family estates passed to his wife's brother Henry Hill, a banker like his father.
He had married Anne Staveley on April 26th 1821 at Halifax Parish Church. She was the daughter of Luke Staveley, a London textile merchant, who in later life had set up business in Halifax. Luke Staveley died on January 18th 1835 and is buried with most of his family in Holy Trinity churchyard at Halifax.
Henry Hill's son Alexander was born on May 21st 1825, and was known as Alexander Staveley Hill. He entered politics and was Conservative M.P. for Coventry from 1868-1874, and for the local division of Staffordshire from 1874-1900. On August 6th 1864 he married Katherine Cumpstone Florence Ponsonby, and a son Henry was born on May 22nd 1865, but Katherine lived only until May 14th 1868.
Following his father's death in 1872, Alexander went to live at Oxley Manor, where he took an active part in local life as well as his parliamentary duties. He was a J.P. and Deputy lieutenant of the county. On November 20th 1876 he married again; his bride was Mary Florence Baird, daughter of Francis Baird of St. Petersburg. In 1879-80 they built the combined school and Anglican chapel in Bushbury Lane to serve the community of railway workers families which was growing at "the Junction".
During the years 1881-1884 Alexander paid annual visits to western Canada, and in 1885 published his book "From Home to Home, Autumn Wanderings in the Northwest of Canada 1881-1884". On page 188 he describes founding a new settlement:-
"The place had hitherto been called 'The Leavings', a name common to many other similar places where the trail leaves the water, as indicating by its name to those travelling along the trail that they must take water and wood from this place, as it might be some time before they came across either of these useful articles again. I christened it there and then 'New Oxley Ranche', a name which it will doubtless continue to be known for many and many a long year to come."
The village is situated in Alberta, on the road south from Calgary to Fort McCleod. It became a town in 1912 when the name was changed to Stavely in honour of Alexander.
In the "Bushbury Bother" of 1897-8 Alexander supported Francis Burton and ensured that he remained headmaster of the school near the church. The second Mrs. Staveley-Hill died at Oxley on August 2nd 1897 and was buried at Kensal Green. Alexander died on June 25th 1905 and was buried at Bushbury with his first wife.