STEPHENS, Sir William (c.1641-97), of Barton, I.o.W.
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Family and Education
b. c.1641, 1st s. of William Stephens† of Barton by Anne Redman, wid. of Edward Harbert, yeoman, of Birchmore, Arreton, I.o.W. educ. M. Temple 1656; New Coll. Oxf. 1658. m. 1665, Elizabeth (d. 12 Jan. 1695), da. of Henry Hillary of Meerhay, Dorset, 2s. 5da. (4 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1658; kntd. 1684.1
Freeman, Newtown 1658–96; lt. gov. I.o.W. c.1689–93.
Stephens, a colonel in the Isle of Wight militia, had been a Tory in the reign of James II and had replied affirmatively to the questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. After 1689 his support for the new regime was secured by the governor of the Isle of Wight, Sir Robert Holmes*, who appointed him lieutenant governor. Returned again for Newport in 1690, he was classed as a Tory by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) in a list of the new Parliament, while in December 1690 he was noted as a probable supporter of Carmarthen in the event of a Commons attack upon him. The following April Robert Harley* saw grounds to list Stephens as a Country supporter. He was included on several lists of placemen drawn up in 1692 and 1693. On 14 Dec. 1691 he was given leave of absence fo