[ arbor : tree ] + [ borealis : northern ]

Marriage settlement of William Stevenson & Elizabeth Fleming (1716)

Just over three hundred years ago, Capt. James Stevenson of Stewartstown1 and William Fleming of Portadown executed a marriage settlement on behalf of their respective children, William and Elizabeth.2 The resulting deeds of lease and release, dated 19th October 1716, are lengthy and verge on the turgid. Nevertheless, a careful parsing of the document reveals the several conditions and covenants agreed upon. It becomes apparent that Messrs. Stevenson and Fleming ceded control of their leaseholds, houses, tenements, and gardens, with the appurtenances, in order to effect the successful conclusion of the marriage.

William Hogarth's painting of "The Marriage Settlement," c.1743, depicting the several parties thrashing out the details; illustrating the blog article on Arborealis entitled, "Marriage settlement of Wm. Stevenson & Eliz. Fleming (1716)."
William Hogarth (1697–1764). Marriage A-la-Mode: 1, The Marriage Settlement, c.1743. Oil on canvas, 69.9 x 90.8 cm, Bought, 1824, inventory no. NG113. Digital image online at The National Art Gallery (London, UK). Creative Commons Licence: Attribution/Non-Commercial/No-Derivatives CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please visit the Creative Commons Licence site to learn about permissions & restrictions attached to this image.

The trustees appointed to oversee the proper administration of the marriage settlement were Richard Timons of the parish of Seagoe and James Stephenson of Killyfaddy in the parish of Armagh, county Armagh. 3 By the agreements struck in this marriage settlement and in order to effect the several clauses of the marriage contract, the trustees and their heirs and assigns would obtain the rents and profits from the holdings of Capt. James Stevenson and William Fleming. In the case of Capt. James Stevenson, these holdings lay in Stewartstown and the adjoining parks, and the neighbouring townlands of Galvally, Ruskieroe, and part of Tamylennan, all in the parish of Donaghenry, county Tyrone. William Fleming would retain the use of his landholdings in and near Portadown for his own behoofe, while Capt. James Stevenson and William Stevenson agreed to a division of the former’s landholdings—all of these uses to be in effect during their respective natural lives. In addition, Mr. Fleming and Capt. Stevenson agreed to draw up their last wills and testaments in accordance with several additional requirements specified in the contract. Finally, William Stevenson would receive an annual rent charge of £16 per annum.

A lingering question remains—who was this James Stephenson of Killyfaddy? Deducing an answer to this question is yet a work in progress, though by this and other deeds, some degree of familial relationship is suspected. If this suspicion proves correct, by appointing a relative as trustee, Capt. Stevenson was able to retain the use of the lands, tenements, hereditaments, &c. for which he held leaseholds but, from 1716 forward only subject to the clauses of the marriage settlement perfected on behalf of his son, William. Indeed, James Stephenson of Killyfaddy had a stake in the successful conclusion of this marriage contract, as he’d advanced the sum of £300 as a marriage portion to Capt. Stevenson for the use and behoof of William—apparently in exchange for the rents and profits issuing from the Captain’s leaseholds in the county of Tyrone.

Coincidentally, this document also provides the earliest reference found to date for James Stephenson of Killyfaddy. More anon, as I attempt to unravel these relationships through the memorials of the Irish deeds.4

In fine, one does begin to suspect that three hundred years ago—that is to say, then as now—the stalwarts of the legal profession appear to have been paid by the word. This very long document is incontrovertibly confounded by legalese. A précis, or summary, of the memorial has been prepared in an attempt to reduce and simplify the original text. If a reader detects an error in interpretation, or wishes to offer an alternative analysis, please do get in touch.

Surname index:

  • Bagenall of Newry, county Down
  • Fleming of Portadown, county Armagh
  • Houston (of Stewartstown, county Tyrone)
  • Lavery of Magheralin, county Down
  • Mulligan
  • Obins of Portadown
  • Reilly of Lurgan, county Armagh
  • Scott of Stewartstown
  • Semple, parish of Donaghenry, county Tyrone
  • Stephenson of Killyfaddy, parish of Lisnadill, county Armagh
  • Stevenson of Stewartstown
  • Timons or Timmons, parish of Seagoe, county Armagh
  • Wetherby

Place name index:

  • Corcrain, parish of Drumcree, county Armagh
  • Derrybeg, parish of Newry, county Armagh
  • Gallvally, parish of Donaghenry, county Tyrone
  • Portadown, parish of Drumcree
  • Ruskieroe, parish of Donaghenry
  • Stewartstown, parish of Donaghenry
  • Tamylennan, parish of Donaghenry

Source citation for this page: — Kilpatrick, Alison. “Marriage settlement of Wm. Stevenson and Eliz. Fleming (1716).” Blog article originally published to Arborealis on 16 July 2016 (edited 26 May 2021) by Alison Kilpatrick ©2016, online at, accessed [insert date of access].


  1. James Stevenson (c.1665–1747) was the seventh great-grandfather of the writer, through the 1712 marriage of his daughter, Elizabeth (1688–1778), with the Rev. John Kennedy (1683–1761) of Benburb, county Tyrone.
  2. Registry of Deeds, Ireland. Memorial no. 31-342-19418: Indenture of lease and release: Capt. James Stevenson of Stewartstown and William Fleming of Portadown, to Richard Timons of the parish of Seagoe and James Stephenson of Killyfaddy, county Armagh, and the marriage settlement of William, son of Capt. James Stevenson, and Elizabeth, daughter of William Fleming (dated 1716-10-19 & -20; registered 1721-11-10). Digital image online at FamilySearch, Int’l., per FHL film no. 461320. Annotated transcript by Alison Kilpatrick ©2016; index entries and transcript submitted to Nick Reddan’s Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland, 2016-07-16.
  3. Along with other townlands, Killyfaddy would later become part of the newly formed parish of Lisnadill.
  4. Herewith a reminder to our readers that this blog article was published originally in 2016. Much has been learnt about James Stephenson of Killyfaddy since then—a subject for a blog article at a later date.