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Stanwell, Mary (1838 - 1893)


1838 Boston, Lincs.
1841 Brelsford Place, Boston (census)
1842 (about) Gainsborough, Lincs
1851 Bridge Street, Gainsborough, Lincs (census)
1861 Bridge Street (next door to "The Windmill"), Gainsborough (census)
1891 19 Bridge Road, Gainsborough (census)

Additional links

Family tree of the Stanwells of Gainsborough link
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Biographical notes

Little is known of Mary Stanwell as a naturalist. She was the youngest of the four children of William Stanwell, a collector of customs, and was born in Boston, Lincolnshire. When she was a very small child the family moved to Bridge street, Gainsborough, where Mary lived, unmarried, for the rest of her life. Her main achievement in botany seems to have been the bronze medal (second place) that she was awarded for a collection of Lincolnshire plants in the Royal Horticultural Society's 1864 botanical competition. Her elder brother, Rev Charles Stanwell, was a Cambridge graduate and a fellow of St John's College (1862 - 1872) and it may be this connection which stimulated her to enter the competition - Prof Charles C. Babington was a prominent member of the college and one of its early objectors.

There are various references to Mary's herbarium and it seems that Lees, F. A., may have been familiar with its contents (Gibbons, E. J., 1975. The Flora of Lincolnshire, Lincoln), although it is not yet clear whether it was any more extensive than the 1864 competition entry.

1838 : Birth Her exact date of birth has not been established but parish records show that Mary, daughter of William and Sarah, was baptised at St Botolph's, Boston, Lincolnshire on October 18.
1842 : Family move to Gainsborough 11842 October 7: Lincolnshire Chronicle
GAINSBOROUGH. - Smuggling. - ... - The next witness was - Mr Stanwell, who deposed as follows: I am comptroller of the customs at Gainsboro; ..."
1864 : Discovery of Stachys x ambigua In Woodruffe-Peacock E. A. 1909. Checklist of Lincolnshire plants Transactions of the Lincolnshire Naturalists' Union, 2. 1-66. Mary is credited with discovering this plant. The date suggests that it may have formed part of her collection for the RHS Botanical Competition.
1893 December 27 : Death The Probate Register provides her death date. It also records that the main Executor of her will was her brother, the Rev Charles Stanwell of Ipsden, Oxfordshire.

1 Transcription reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive

Managed by Richard Middleton; last updated 2016 February 18