Captain Mathias of Stanhoe Hall

In December 2017 we had an enquiry from Jan Beranek of Dresden in Germany. He and his daughter Maria are interested in their ancestor Captain James Vincent Mathias of His Majesty’s 62nd Regiment of Foot, who owned Stanhoe Hall and died there in December 1814. Mr Beranek wrote:

“Captain Mathias is my great-great-great-great-grandfather. His wife’s name was Sarah, and as far as we know he had a daughter called Catherine (or possibly Katharina, but I think my grandfather might have ‘Germanised’ her name in our family tree).”

“Catherine married Thomas Fielding Baker. According to an article about their son, John Holland Baker, they had ten children and moved to Königswinter in Germany in 1851. One of their children, Maude Baker, married a German and became my great-great-grandmother.”

“As we read the name Mathias we thought about a German origin. Mathias is a pretty common name here, as it is the German version of Matthew. But we found sources that give the impression of a French origin as well. A post on says that James Vincent Mathias bought Stanhoe Hall, and also mentions some of his ancestors. If we can trust this source, James Vincent is the grandson of Jacques Mathias, who was a Huguenot refugee who came over from France in 1685. This is consistent with information we have about the possible father of James, Gabriel Mathias.”

“We think James Vincent married Sarah at Thorpe near Norwich, according to this document. We think it might be possible that James was buried in Stanhoe, though we haven’t yet found any evidence for that.”

The Beraneks sent us a link to the Gentleman’s Magazine showing that James Vincent Mathias died on 15 December 1814. The Stanhoe church records confirm that he was buried on 22 December 1814, and there is a memorial plaque to him in the church.

They also sent a copy of Capt Mathias’s will from the National Archives. The will was proved in April 1815 and confirms that he lived at Stanhoe Hall. The writing is difficult to read, so we would welcome any help in transcribing it.

As the owner of Stanhoe Hall, Capt Mathias would have been an important person locally. It’s therefore not surprising to find the Mathias family mentioned in the diary of local author Fanny Burney, who stayed at the Hall with her sister-in-law Maria Rishton. Volume II of the Early Diaries of Frances Burney refers to Vincent Mathias senior (1711–1782), uncle of James Vincent Mathias, and his son Thomas James Mathias.

From records kept at Stanhoe Hall we believe that James Vincent Matthias bought the Hall and 40 acres of land in 1807 from Edward Hare, paying £3,300. After Capt Mathias died, Frederick Hare bought the property in 1815 for £4,200 and so became the owner of the whole Stanhoe estate.