Lilley / Lilly

We know that James Lilly, who married Mary Dixon Gunning was, in her own words, a Dorsetman born 24th June 1792. When he married Mary he was a servant to Lord Kinnaird (Charles Kinnaird 8th Baron Kinnaird (born 12.4.1780, died 12.12.1826) at Rossie Priory in the parish of Inchture in Scotland.


On his son's marriage certificate he is described as an office clerk. In 1851 he is an officer at the House of Lords. From the archives at Windsor we know that he was promoted in August 1859 from 3rd to 2nd class doorkeeper. He was buried in the family grave at Highgate in 1862.


It seems highly probable that he is the same James Lilly as that christened 7th January 1794 at East Stour, in Dorset. This would mean that his parents were John Lilly born 1760 died 1843 at Motcombe, and Frances Smith from Long Crichel whom he married in 1784 in Maiden Bradley.


This conclusion is supported by the documented evidence that Eliza Mansfield, nee Bown, was a relative of the celebrated Mrs Lilly. Eliza was the daughter of Nancy (Ann) Lilly and Samuel Bown. Nancy was the daughter of Matthew Lilly and Elizabeth Parsons.


Matthew and Elizabeth were the parents of John Lilly and the grandparents of our James Lilly. This would have made Eliza Mansfield the first cousin of James Lilly and his wife Mary Dixon Lilly. Eliza was born in 1808 in Motcombe and lived until 1911, dying at Zeals in Wiltshire.


For that reason, we can reasonably confidently trace the Lilly family back to the late 17th century in the same area of Dorset.

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