The best account of Stordy's life is found in 'EARLY CUMBERLAND AND WESTMORLAND FRIENDS' by R.S. Ferguson (1871). This is transcribed in full below. It is largely based on the entries in "SUFFERINGS OF THE PEOPLE CALLED QUAKERS" by Joseph Besse (1753). I have not transcribed the duplicate entries in Besse, which are quoted almost verbatim but, I have included any details omitted by Ferguson . I have also noted his family's Ostle connections.
FERGUSON : Page 109
Thomas Stordy of Moorhouse was born to the inheritance of a handsome estate, and, at an early age, joined the Society of Friends. In 1662, he was at Carlisle during the Assizes, and went to visit some of his friends and acquaintances who were in prison there. He was illegally detained in custody by the gaoler, and on the following morning brought up before JUDGE TURNER. Nothing could be proved against him; indeed nothing was laid to his charge; but the common trap for all members of the Society of Friends was set for him – he was tendered the oath of allegiance and, on his effusing, from conscientious objections, to swear at all, he was subjected to the penalty of a premunire.
Under the premunire, the Sheriff of Cumberland, JOHN LOWTHER, seized and sold, at prices far below their value, all Stordy's real and personal estate; and Stordy himself was detained a prisoner in Carlisle Gaol for ten years, at the expiration of which time he was set at liberty. His real estate was restored to him, at the intercession of the Earl of Carlisle.
A few years after his release, he was prosecuted under an obsolete Act of Parliament, and fined twenty pounds a month, for absenting himself from public worship. He was thrown into prison, and died there in 1684 after a second confinement of several years.
Sewell, in his History of the Friends, describes his death thus:-
Not long before his decease, he exhorted those that were come to visit him to faithfulness. 'For,' said he, 'if ye continue faithful to the Lord whilst ye live in this world, he will reward you, as he now rewardeth me, with his sweet peace.' Thus piously, Thomas Stordy departed this life, showing forth that he was really a gentleman, whose chiefest nobility consisted in virtue.
During his life, he released, by deed to the landowners and their heirs for ever, an impropriation of ten pounds per annum for hay-tithes, which had descended to him from his grandfather and father 'making conscience as well of receiving as of paying tithes.'
No exact record of his family is to be found, but descendants of his are now living in and near Carlisle . He was uncle to DAVID HODGSON whom we mention next; and a daughter of his married GEORGE BEWLEY, son of MUNGO BEWLEY of Carlisle. (Please note correct family details below.)
BESSE, page 128
Footnote: Thomas Stordy and Stephen Pearson were set at Liberty after about ten Years Imprisonment by King's Letters Patent in 1672.
BESSE also mentions a MATTHEW STORDY being imprisoned in November, 1682 after excommunication at the suit of JEREMY NELSON, priest.
Thomas Stordy's Connections to the Ostle family.
As Ferguson says ‘no exact record of his family is to be found.’
The Stordy family are first mentioned at Moorhouse in the first half of the 14th Century and, by the 1600s, there were at least six different Stordy families living in the area. The parish records of Burgh-by-Sands for the period covering Thomas Stordy’s birth have been destroyed. The Stordys don't feature at all in the early Holm Cultram registers. The Quaker records are better but don't begin until Stordy was a young man. There are several duplicate and misleading entries on the IGI.
The information below has been gleaned from what records do exist and the excellent recent research by Charles Wood and Bruce Jones. Insert the words "it seems likely" or "probably" wherever you wish! If anyone would like full information on my sources, please email me.
Thomas Stordy was born sometime between 1610 and 1620, his father was another Thomas. He first married Elizabeth Skelton and they had three daughters: Jaen, Ann and Elizabeth. Jaen married George Bewley of Ivegill and Ann wed another George Bewley; the two boys were first cousins.
Thomas’s first wife, Elizabeth, died in 1663. In 1679/80 he was remarried to Mary Skelton at Burgh Meeting. They had two children, Ruth, born in December 1680 and Thomas in November 1682.
Stordy died in Carlisle Jail during 1684. On his earlier imprisonment, in 1663, the crown had held an inquest on Thomas, assessing his assets and property which must have made him one of the wealthiest commoners in Cumberland. These assets were later put in trust for his family. So when his only son, Thomas, died in 1702, at the age of twenty-one, this left his sister, Ruth, a very considerable heiress. On December 6, 1705, she married Jonathan Ostell but she herself lived for only two years after the wedding, dying aged 27, in November 1707, leaving Jonathan a very wealthy man.
On December 10th 1691 Mary, Thomas Stordy’s widow, was remarried to George Mark at Moorhouse Meeting. Mark came from a large and prosperous Quaker family who lived at Blackwell (Bleckell) Hall in Carlisle. This marriage seems to be confirmed by the curious lintel on the cottage next to Lowmoor House in Moorhouse:
Some years after Ruth’s death, Jonathan Ostell also remarried. However, he had no children by either of his marriages and, on his death in 1752, his estate and considerable personal fortune passed to his nephew, Thomas Ostle of Newtown, who had married another Mary Stordy in 1726. This Mary's father was a John Stordy of Thurstonfield. She was not a close relative of the Moorhouse family but may have been a cousin. The story of this couple and their children is told on the Moorhouse Ostells page.
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