Harry Stoe Man (1783 – 1848)

Harry Stoe Man was born on 28 October 1783 on Fenchurch Street, London, the second son of Henry and Eleanor (Thompson) Man, and was baptized on 17 February 1784 at St. Gabriel Fenchurch, London.

harry stoe man baptism
Harry’s Baptism

He married Louisa Caroline Fowle on 6 May 1819 at All Saints, Maidstone, Kent. Harry died on 2 January 1848, aged 63, at Halstead Hall, Halstead, Kent, and was buried on 11 January at St. Margaret’s, Halstead.

Harry’s Death Certificate

Louisa Caroline was born and baptized on 4 June 1795 at Cobtree Farm, Boxley, Kent, the daughter of Edward and Ann (Pattenden) Fowle, and publicly baptized on 21 June at St. Mary the Virgin & All Saints, Boxley. Caroline died on 21 July 1878, aged 83, at Halstead Lodge, Carshalton, Surrey, and was buried at St. Mary the Virgin & All Saints, Boxley.

Louisa Caroline (Fowle) Man's Death Certificate
Louisa Caroline (Fowle) Man’s Death Certificate

Harry and Louisa Caroline (Fowle) Man belong to Man Generation Seven; their children belong to Man Generation Eight and are:

Harry Stoe Man
Harry Stoe Man
  3. PETER

[References: Harry’s birth and baptism – FHL Film # 0394830; marriage – FHL Film # 1835447; his death – from copy of his death certificate; burial – copy of record from film viewed at Kent RO. Caroline’s birth, baptism and burial from family bible. Her death from copy of her death certificate.]

St. Peter’s, Walworth

Six of Harry and Louisa’s children were born in the Apollo buildings which lay to the east of Richmond Place and to the west of Prior Place in Walworth. The church above is St. Peter’s, Walworth, where the first six children were baptized.

At some point a little after 1828 Harry Stoe Man used a six hundred pound legacy made available to his wife Caroline Louisa Fowle by her mother Ann (Pattenden) Fowle to purchase Halstead Hall in Halstead, Kent. Later on, he was responsible for filling in the village pond which resulted in a court case details of which can be found below.

After the last of the Man family had left ‘Halstead Hall’ it was rented out to the family of E. Nesbitt the author of ‘The Railway Children’ who also recalls Septimus Man. The black and white postcard of Halstead Hall below is from the 1920’s and was sent by Dorothy Man  in December 1926 to her brother Hubert thanking him for a cheque that he had sent her.

Halstead Hall Postcard
Halstead Hall Postcard

Harry was naval man and saw action during the Napoleonic wars, being both wounded, captured, and held prisoner in France, or so it is said. His description of the capture of the naval vessel The Highland Chief can be read toward the end of this page along with accounts by two others.

Below the 1841 census on which Harry and family appear. Note that ‘Sarah’ is a mistranscription of Louisa. Harry’s sister Emma is stated as being 45 but she was in fact over 60! Then follow the children: Eleanor, Emma, William, Edward, and Septimus.

Harry Stoe Man and Family on the 1841 Census
Harry Stoe Man and Family on the 1841 Census
Halstead Hall
Halstead Hall

Harry declared bankruptcy twice. The first time in 1818 led to his being confined in the Fleet Prison and his petition for release was published in the London Gazette on 14 April 1818, Issue number 17349, as follows:

BY order of the Court for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors the petition of Harry Stoe Man, late of Salisbury-Street, Strand, in the County of Middlesex, Merchant, and Purser in His Majesty’s Royal Navy, but now a prisoner for debt confined in the Fleet prison, in the City of London, will be heard at The Guildhall, Westminster, on the 7th of May next, at Nine in the Morning; and that a schedule, containing a list of all the creditors of the said prisoner, annexed to the said petition, is filed in the Office of the said Court, No. 9, Essex-Street, in the Strand, in the County of Middlesex, to which any creditor may refer; and in case any creditor intends to oppose the discharge of the said prisoner, it is further ordered that such creditor shall-give notice in writing of such his intention to be left, at the office of the said Court two days at the least before the said 7th of May, together with the grounds or objections to such discharge, and in default thereof, such Creditor shall be precluded from opposing the said prisoner; and he doth, hereby declare, that he is ready and willing to submit to be fully examined touching the justice of his conduct towards his Creditors.

Under a List of Bankrupts in The European Magazine for the Jan – June months of 1818 (Vol. 73, p.455) is the following entry: Man, Harry Stoe, Calcutta, but now in the Fleet Prison, dealer, June 13 [Drake, Old Fish-street, Doctor’s-commons.] May 2.

Harry Stoe Man's discharge from the Fleet Prison
Harry Stoe Man’s discharge from the Fleet Prison

Harry married Louisa Caroline Fowle on 6 May 1819 so he did not languish too long in prison.

Louisa Caroline Man
Louisa Caroline Man

The second of Harry’s bankruptcies occurred in 1843 and is announced below in the London Gazette.

Harry Man's Bankruptcy Announcement in the London Gazette
Harry Man’s Bankruptcy Announcement in the London Gazette

Harry’s financial difficulties were no doubt due to the fact that he was dismissed from the Royal Navy following a court martial. In 1824 Harry was arrested and accused of falsely distributing seven blankets to seven members of the crew of the ship in which he was the Purser and reclaiming the expense from the Navy when in fact no such distribution had taken place. He was found guilty and discharged from the Navy. Harry then spent the rest of his life trying to clear his name and restore his honor. More practically, he made various attempts to have his Navy pension restored to him, although he never succeeded. Details of the court case can be found below.

Harry was of a litigious bent of mind and willing to challenge any perceived encroachment on his rights. For example, in the Reports to Parliament ,November,1838 is the following entry:

‘MISCELLANEOUS PETITIONS. The following Petitions were severally presented; namely: Register of Voters, Harry Stoe Man, of Halstead, complaining of being struck off the register of voters for the western division of the county of Kent, on the ground that Halstead Hall was the property of his wife.’

Harry’s bankruptcies and various other exploits appeared on occasion in the London Gazette and these can be read HERE. (<—PDF).

He was renowned for his cantankerousness and often quarreled with neighbours, resulting in law suits. Among other things, he walled in the village pond and demolished the piers to the gates of his local church at Halstead because the opening was not wide enough for his wife’s carriage.

harry stoe man grave stone

Although Harry’s gravestone has not been found at the old graveyard of St. Margaret’s Halstead, an early photograph was taken of it (above). On it the following rather odd inscription appears:

JOB 17C. 14V.

Given Harry’s court martial trial, and his endless and useless appeals against his conviction, the choice of Job is appropriate. The word between ‘RN’ and ‘Janry’ cannot be identified. Harry’s grave  is located at Halstead’s old church graveyard but all that remains of the earlier graveyard is this rather strange place of tangled roots and broken headstones.

The Abandoned Graveyard of Halstead old church today

Some effort has been put into looking for Harry’s headstone but it has not been located, so far. The picture of Harry’s gravestone was probably taken in the mid twentieth century. See the article in Kent Family History Society Journal, June 1990, pages 89-91, for the location of Harry’s grave.

There are a number of other sources concerning Harry. Below are two reports from The Times (June 4, 1841 and May 31,1842) regarding Harry’s appeal to have his naval pension restored.

Halstead Old Church

Harry Stoe Man’s father, Henry Man, was deputy secretary to the South Sea House. He is said to have named his children after his business partners so for example the Secretary of the South Sea House was Harry Stoe. This practice was continued by Harry who named his son Morrice King after a good friend and colleague.

There are a number of other sources concerning Harry. Below are two reports from The Times (June 4, 1841 and May 31,1842) regarding Harry’s appeal to have his naval pension restored.

There are two portraits that were in the possession of Hubert Man and that maybe of Harry and his wife Louisa Caroline or they may be of Holbertons (Hubert’s wife’s family); further investigation will need to be undertaken. We have assumed on this page that the portrait that appears above is of Harry although we have no way of confirming this.

In the ‘Biographical Index of East India Company Maritime Service Officers, 1600-1834‘ (London: British Library, 1999) there is an entry for ‘MAN, Henry S.’, who served as a purser on the East Indiaman Comet; on a voyage to Madras & Bengal between August 1805 – April 1807; this is the only mention of him.

He was Royal Navy Purser 13th May 1813 to HMS Shark and on the Perseus until his dismissal.  Harry liked to refer to himself as ‘Captain’ although all records show that he was a Royal Naval Purser. He appears to have also served in the navy of the East India Company and he might have been a Captain in that navy but not the Royal Navy. He also claimed to have retired from the Navy.

The Capture of The Highland Chief

The following is extracted from the, “Government Gazette” (of India) of Thursday, March 25th, 1802

A description of the Engagement between LA SUBTILE and THE HIGHLAND CHIEF, taken by Mr. Harry Stowe Man, fourth Officer.

In Latitude 2.9 South & Longitude 93.30 East, at I0 a.m. Tuesday, February 9, 1802. A vessel was discovered steering to windward, steering S.W. & right down upon us. We being then close-hauled and steering N.N.E. She (the enemy) being hull down, we could not ascertain her size, but having two masts, we supposed her to be a brig; the arm mast, which was in the after hold, was got up, and every preparation taken for action.

At 11 a.m. we could discover her to be a small brig with studding sails, stay sails, and colours flying, but she was at so great a distance, that we could not discover whether she was friend or foe. However Captain Greenway had his suspicions; she being very low in the water, and making all sail she could carry towards us.

At half past 11. a.m. we hoisted our pendant and colours loaded our great guns, took in our royals and stay sails.

At noon. We hauled up our main sail and we could by this time discern she had American colours flying, and we were by this circumstance put off our guard, and all hands were going from their quarters; but Captain Greenway perceiving a number of men upon her decks, gave him reason again to suspect that she was a French Corvette.

At half past one p.m. she came within hail, & we accosted her thus: “Ahoy! From whence came you?” answer, “From Ceylon, bound to some port in America.” We then ordered her to come under our stern, and send her boat on board, when she immediately gave us a complete broadside, which compliment we returned, and at it went warmly. Most of our people being foreigners they went below and we then had nineteen Europeans on deck, besides the First Officer Mr. Thompson, Second Officer Mr. Lee, Third Officer Mr. Greenway, Fourth Officer Mr. Harry Stowe [sic] Man, which as soon as they perceived, they ran their brig alongside, and after a little skirmish, boarded; we, being so few, were obliged to surrender. Our colours were then down. When the officer of the boarding party perceiving our Captain, went up and shot him dead.

At two p.m. Monsieur Penaud had possession of the Highland Chief, after a conflict of 15 minutes, our second officer and three seamen were wounded.

The French had 14 killed and 7 wounded, three of the latter died shortly afterwards. The Subtile had been out fifteen days, and saw not a sail. Before the commencement of the action she had 190 men on board, The Highland Chief had been 47 days from the Cape of Good Hope having sailed thence on the 23rd December.”

The following is a further extract, from, Government Gazette (of India), of Thursday, March 25, 1802.

REMARKS by a Gentleman on board the American brig ‘Roebuck’. February 10. in Latitude 2.15 S. Longitude 93. 37. E.

“At 6 a.m. steering about W.N.W. wind northerly, two sail were seen right ahead of us, at 8 we discovered the ship Highland Chief and a brig with her jib-boom gone; knowing the Highland Chief was bound to Madras & having a passenger on board for that place, we hesitated not to close with them, when we were within pistol-shot of them & our broadside to them (our colours at the mizen peck (sic)) the Highland Chief opened her fire upon us under French colours, she continued firing for the space of 5 minutes, both round grape & small arms, the people were ordered to lay close to the deck, & luckily no man was hurt, they cut away our main-stay, & did us a good deal of damage in our sails & rigging.

An officer & a boats crew armed then boarded us, sent the Captain officers on board the Highland Chief: they then began to plunder us, they broke open drawers, chests, bales etc, etc & took away everything at pleased their fancy, even the table & tea spoons they could find put of one bale they stole 17 pieces of muslin, also a necklace & earrings from a black girl, passenger, in short they committed every outrage & insult.

They made us hoist out our boats: our long boat they employed shifting the guns from the Highland Chief into the brig & vice versa, which business & shifting their men took up twenty eight hours of our time, they sent 46 of the Highland Chief’s passengers, officers & crew on board of us, against our consent, with only sixty gallons of water, four bags & one barrel of biscuit. At 2 p.m. the captain & officers obtained leave to go on board the brig, but could not obtain our logbook & some of our papers.

IIth, At noon the First officer was sent on board the Privateer to endeavour to get our log book & some more provisions & water, but the Captain told him he might think himself well off with what he had got, that if the cask of water had not been in our boat, he would not have en us any: luckily we had nine butts of water on board, which ended us to make out very well. They were told by the Chief Officer the Highland Chief that we were Americans, & that we left the Cape the same day with them that we were not armed they could plainly perceive, therefore to what we are to attribute their inhuman conduct by firing into us we are at a loss we conjecture their wishes & hopes to destroy the Captain & Officers, hoping thereby to be enabled, by making our people to swear what they pleased to make a prize of us: what leads us to this conjecture is, that they drew up a paper, purporting that the Cape of Good Hope, we were under English colours, which they requested Mr. Cooke, Surgeon on the Bengal Establishment to sign, which he declined, they then called the Captain down from the where he had been under a guard three hours, & allowed him & his officers to proceed on board the brig.

The Privateer’s name is the SUBTILE, Captain Penaud, the same man who seized & carried the Prince into Mauritius, she is no doubt gone to the Pedler Coast, she is a low black brig with new sails and a white […].

The Capture of the Highland Chief
A letter from Mr Thompson, late 1st Officer of the Highland Chief
Brig ROEBUCK, off Vizagapatam, March 5 1802

SIR, I am sorry to inform you of the capture of the HIGHLAND CHIEF by the French privateer LA SUBTILITE of 5 guns, 116 men, commanded by Captain Pineau, in Lat. 2:12 S. and Long. 93:36 E. on 9 February at 2 P.M. after an action of about half an hour, when they got possession by boarding us with 75 men, the greatest part being intoxicated. The Portuguese and Lascars having run from their quarters, we had only twenty-one English in all for the defence of the ship. They boarded us on the weather side, having everything in readiness for that purpose – the men being in the tops and rigging, and the back of the sails towards us, we were prevented from seeing their intention – I am sorry to add that Captain Greenway was killed on the poop after the action. The greater part of the letters have been lost and Mr Haldane is gone in the HIGHLAND CHIEF to the Isle of France (Mauritius).

When the privateer was first seen she was to windward, with American colours flying, and supposed to be the American brig ROEBUCK, which vessel the HIGHLAND CHIEF sailed in company from the Cape of Good Hope, and had been seen twice during the passage; she continued edging down on the HIGHLAND CHIEF, carefully concealing her guns and her people, (as only three Europeans and a few black faces were seen) until she came within hail, when an answer was given in tolerable English to a question that had been asked – it was then discovered that she had guns, and that they were shifting over to the side next the HIGHLAND CHIEF, which first occasioned suspicion of her being an enemy; and after three or four rounds from the great guns, the contest was terminated by boarding as above stated.

Some of the crew of the HIGHLAND CHIEF were wounded by cutlasses in boarding but no other life was lost than Captain Greenway`s, which probably may be attributed to the general state of intoxication of the crew of the privateer, for he was shot from a blunderbuss, out of one of the tops, after the ship had struck. The loss of the enemy was one officer and seven men killed, and nineteen wounded.

The day after the capture of the HIGHLAND CHIEF, the privateer fell in with the ROEBUCK and fired into her, notwithstanding she had American colours flying, by which some of her stays and other inconsiderable damage was sustained; and Monsieur Pineau made no ceremony afterwards of plundering her of such articles as he wanted; he then ordered the boats of the ROEBUCK to be hoisted out to receive the prisoners aboard; but they were first employed carrying the guns and various articles from the HIGHLAND CHIEF to the privateer, previous to her dispatch to the Mauritius, after which the prisoners were put on board the ROEBUCK with the promise of a sufficient supply of water and provisions, &c. but the quantity of both was very scant, and the want of the former article obliged the ROEBUCK to put into Vizagapatum.

The ROEBUCK arrived with the crew of the HIGHLAND CHIEF at Calcutta on 14 March. The cargo of the prize was worth 40,000 pounds sterling.

I am &c.
– Thompson


Extracts from ‘Halstead in Kent: An Historical guide‘ by G. D. Kitchener, M.A. of Crown Villa, Ottford Lane, Halstead, 1978.

In the Hall garden, by the Village Green, is a depression bounded by low flint walls where formerly lay the village pond. The pond was in earlier days the villagers’ main supply of water and was never dry, even in a hot August, because it was lined with clay puddling.  In 1835, however, the owner of the Hall, Harry Stoe Man, took steps to annex the pond site to his garden, removing the clay lining so that the pond no longer held water properly, and driving a hurdle fence across it. Mr. Man was argumentative to the point of eccentricity, particularly over money matters, and spent the last twenty-three years of his life in a running battle with the Admiralty after he had been cashiered from the Navy with the loss of his pension rights. The distress of the villagers, deprived of water, was a matter of indifference to him and, indeed, five year later he was to increase his unpopularity by opposing before the magistrates an application by the parish vestry to exempt the poorest cottagers from, payment of rates.  He was prosecuted for nuisance, namely obstructing the pond with boards and wooden material. His defence was temporarily successful and utterly without merit: it was not, he said, an obstruction of wooden material for he had now replaced the hurdles with a wall of flint and brick.

Halstead Hall - The Old House - Emma C Man
The earliest known photograph of Halstead Hall

From session to session he prolonged the proceedings, ‘crying and weeping bitterly, pretending great penitence’. He even attempted to obtain fraudulently a medical certificate, intending to be taken ill immediately before a court hearing in March 1838.  The medical practitioner was, however, too conscientious to provide a certificate and went indignantly to Maidstone to swear that Man was in perfect health.  Eventually he was arrested for non-payment of the sum of £100 forfeited to the court and it is said that, to use the officer’s own words who took him to Gaol, ‘his expressions were horrible’. No doubt the horror was increased by Man’s habit, when angry, of whistling through the holes in his cheeks left by the passage of a pistol ball during a naval engagement with the French in 1802. The presence of this formidable character at the Hall did not cease upon his death, so his family believed.

As a result of the proceedings the pond was saved for the villagers, although negotiations were continued intermittently for many years with the Man family, whose privacy suffered by reason of the pond jutting into their garden.

Halstead Hall
Halstead Hall

By the end of the century the water was quite unsuitable for domestic purposes and one of the first acts of the newly formed Parish Council was to fill it in (1897). As the site was bounded by a wall only three feet high, the tenant of Halstead Hall protested vehemently about the activities which would be likely to take place overlooking his garden: ‘How can order be maintained by the police who are totally unable to prevent the stand-up fights which I have seen over and over again from my own gate and how can drunkenness be prevented there which is allowed to people lying along the public road in front of my house?’ Halstead was certainly a rough village, for the gipsy fruit pickers of whom the tenant complained lay drinking in the hedgerows throughout the 150 yards which separated the Cock from the Rose and Crown.

The pond site, however, was more likely to be the haunt of children, the adjoining road and Village Green being their playground. Overflow from a nearby drainage tank occasionally lay in the dip, but the pond had to all intents disappeared. In the early 1930’s the site was taken into the garden of the Hall in exchange for a piece of land in Station Road given for road widening purposes.

Kitchener’s more detailed description of Harry Stoe Man’s actions while at Halstead can be found HERE (<—- PDF). Harry’s description of the capture of The Highland Chief can be read at the end of this page along with accounts by two others. Details on his court martial can be found toward the end of this pag

HALSTEAD HALL. Abstract of Title and Statutory Declaration dated 26.3.1824 (KAO.U746/T14). Mrs. Nesbit insures 1827-5 according to Warlow’s notes of records (now lost) of local agent for Kent Fire & Life Office. Girls Own Paper, Sept. 1897. Case to Counsel: Statement of the shameful and oppressive conduct of Harry Stoe Man (KAO.U969/03). Court minutes, Kent Assizes, 1836-8 (PRO.ASSI.31.28). Letters of H. S. Man (KAO.U1515/C13). VC, 13.2.1840, 31.5.1881. Parish Council Minutes, 1895-7 (HPC).

During the course of the trial the following statement was read:

Statement of the conduct of Man sent to Mr. Children to  read:  Statement of the shameful and repressive behavior of Harry Stoe Man to the people of Halstead Kent.

Harry Stoe Man ruined a pond in the centre of the village.  This pond had hardly every been known to run dry and had been made by clay puddling.  Man stole the clay and the pond dried out in 1835. Soon after he fenced it in.  He was indicted at the 1836 Assizes to remove the fence and mend the pond, but his recognizance had to be respited because before the case came up, he had actually removed the fence referred to in the indictment and built a wall instead. He was again indicted to remove the wall and pleaded guilty at the 1837 Lent Assizes, but even so was still free in 1838, having evaded the law by all sorts of machinations.

Source: Kent Archives Office U969.  Deeds of Halstead Place and elsewhere in Kent. Deposited by Messers. Pennington and Son. per the London Count Council . 17 October 1962. Catalogued by Anne M. Oakley, 27 Feb -3 Mar 1967.

The only record from this period,1835-1836, is one from 1835 where Harry is charged for fraud and found not guilty and acquitted:

Harry Stoe Man Fraud Charge 1835

Harry Stoe Mann
Date of Trial:6 Jan 1835
Trial Year:1835
Location of Trial:Kent, England


As noted above, in 1824 Harry was arrested, tried, and discharged from the navy. Harry then spent the rest of his life trying to clear his name and restore his honor. More practically, he made various attempts to have his Navy pension restored to him, although he never succeeded.  The most detailed account of Harry’s court martial is his own contained in his pamphlet or ‘letter’ on ‘Martial, Military, and Civil Law and on the word “Crime” …’   This has been digitized and can be read here (<— PDF, 70 pages). This ‘letter’ would certainly convince most people of Harry’s innocence, however he never managed to clear his name, and the family succeeded in drawing a veil across the whole affair.

Long after Harry died the family remained at Halstead and various censuses over the years show the family continuing to occupy the Halstead Hall.

The Man Family at Halstead Hall 1851 census:

Louisa Caroline Fowle Man and Family on the 1851 census

The 1871 Census
Man Family on 1871 Census at Halstead Halll

SOURCES used by Kitchener: The tithe maps of Halstead (1840) and, Shoreham (1843) and rating assessments (e.g. in the churchwarden’s accounts). The accounts of listed buildings prepared by the Ministry of Town and Country Planning (now the Department of the Environment) have been consulted, but these should be regarded with caution. Oral sources are not mentioned. BM British Museum; CA Halstead Churchwarden’s accounts (KAO.P166/1,2);  GW Dr. G. Ward: Sevenoaks Essays (1931); HMA Auction catalogue (annotated), Halstead Manor E5tates sale, 1791(i~); HPA Auction catalogue, Halstead Place Estates sale, Feb.1920(po); HPC Halstead Parish Council papers; KAO Kent County Archives Office;LP Lambeth Palace Library ; OA Halstead Overseers’ Accounts (KAO.P166/12); (po) privately owned; PP Parliamentary papers (House of Commons); PRO Public Records Office ; VK Halstead Vestry Minutes, 1821-35 (KAO.P166/Q2); VC Halstead Vestry Minutes, continuation (Church papers); VVK Advalorem of the Parish of Halstead taken in Nov.1832 (VK); W   G.H. Warlow: History of Halstead (1934).

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