The Stanyford family were settled at Petersfield as early as the reign of Queen Elizabeth, where, and in the adjoining parish of Harting, they continued to reside until the end of the following century.
Ambrose Stanyford was the first to settle at Portsmouth. He was a house carpenter, and probably the builder of the first Nonconformist Chapel in Portsmouth, which was erected at the corner of Penny-street and Barrack-street, in 1691. He was a prominent member of the Presbyterian congregation at this Chapel, and one of the original trustees. On the failure of John Michell in 1692 to complete his contract for the rebuilding of the nave of St. Thomas's Church,the work was undertaken by Ambrose Stanyford, and completed the following year to the satisfaction and delight of the Vicar and parishioners.
Stanyford died in October, 1694, and a monumental tablet to his memory appears in the north transept of the parish church. His eldest son, Henry Stanyford (born 1664) was admitted a burgess of the Corporation in 1695, and elected an alderman in 1710. He took a prominent part in the religious and political squabbles which were constantly occurring between the members of the Corporation during the reign of Queen Anne. In December, 1710, the following paragraph appeared in a London newspaper called the Post Boy : " We hear from Portsmouth that Mr. Stanyford, Master House Carpenter to the Ordinance, and one of the new made Justices for that town, did in the publick coffee-house with the assistance of one Brown, a Presbyterian parson, not only deny and most unmannerly dispute her Majesty's hereditary title to the Crown, but justifie the Doctrine of Resistence ; and because he was handsomely opposed by a gentleman of good learning, he told the gentleman after a most insolent manner :—That he was not fit to live in a Free Country, but in France, or some other Tyrannical Government " (the gentleman of good learning, mentioned in the paragraph, was William Smith, M.D., the founder of the Portsmouth Grammar School).
About the same time an anonymous letter was sent to Sir John Gibson, the Lieut.-Governor of Portsmouth, charging Mr. Stanyford with disloyalty. In order, therefore, to " vindicate himself from these false and scandalous accusations," Alderman Stanyford published a pamphlet, giving an interesting account of the whole matter.
He was elected Mayor in 1717, and again in 1727 and 1734. During the latter part of his life he became a large timber merchant and contractor to the Government. His timber yard was situate at the upper end of Penny-street, now the site of the Cambridge Barracks, and he resided in a house on the opposite side of the street, where afterwards the gaol was built. He married Mary Ryley, of Portsmouth, by whom he had a large family, most of them dying young. He died during his third Mayoralty, in July, 1735.
His eldest son, Thomas Stanyford (born 1703),was a Sergeant-at LaW. He was made a Burgess in 1726, and on the death of his father in 1735 was elected an Alderman, and afterwards, in 1744 and 1749, Mayor of the Borough. Whether or no he practised his profession, he appears to have carried on the business established by his father in Portsmouth and is referred to in the satirical poem, " The Geese in Disgrace." Apparently he had obtained a large government contract for gun carriages, which excited the envy of his brother Aldermen.
One of the Aldermen 'tis true
Had much of meat and honour too ;
But to his credit be it said,
He laboured for his daily bread ;
He hewed and chopt great oaken blocks
To make the Eagle's pop-gun stocks ;
But 'twas imagined that his gains
At least were equal to his pains.
Be that as 'twill, 'twas plainly such,
As caused his being envied much ;
Some saw no reason why one brother
Should have the preference of another
But honestly to state the case
Each Goose was hankering for a place.
Alderman Thomas Stanyford died in 1765, and was buried in St. Clement Danes Church, London. His younger brother, George Stanyford, had probably been associated with him in the business. He had been made a burgess in 1728 when only 13 years of age, but died in 1754, leaving a son, Thomas Stanyford, who was elected a burgess in 1763, and died in 1773. The family were the proprietors of the site of Frederick-street and the east side of Daniel-street, Portsea, which in the early part of the eighteenth century was known as Stanyford's Rope Walk.
From the "Illustrated History of Portsmouth" by William Gates
The Memorials in the Anglican Cathedral of St. Thomas to:-