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Standing where they stood

The foundation was laid before the year 1000.

The chancel dates from the 13th century. The main building itself dates from the 15th century.

Once known as the Church of the High Seas, it still flies the Red Ensign, flag of the British Merchant Navy.

St Dunstan's

Its churchyard — now seven acres in size — was enlarged in the 1660s to cope with the deaths from the Great Plague of London.

It is St. Dunstan’s and All Saints, an Anglican Church in Stepney, London, England.1

And it was there, this past week, that The Legal Genealogist walked its grounds, touched its stone and wood, gazed on its organ and stained glass, and listened to its bells strike the hours.

Because it was there, on the 18th of March 1622/3, that my 11th great grandmother Elizabeth (Strondall) Petipoole — later spelled Pettypool by her American descendants — was buried.2


And it was there, on the 19th of September 1627, that my 10th great grandparents Samuell and Alice (Jackson) Pettipoole were married.3


And there, on the 20th of October 1630, that my 9th great grandfather William was baptized.4 (My line continues, for kith and kin following along, from William and his wife Ann, to William and Elizabeth Pettypool, to Seth and Martha Pettypool, to John and Sarah Pettypool, to Elizabeth Pettypool and John Jones, to Elizabeth Jones and William Buchanan, to Elizabeth Buchanan and Martin Baker, to Martha Louisa Baker and George Cottrell, to Martin Gilbert and Mattie (Johnson) Cottrell, to Clay Rex and Opal (Robertson) Cottrell, my mother’s parents.)


And there, on the 20th of August, 1637, that my 10th great grandfather Samuel was buried.5

There is nothing in this world to describe the feeling of walking those grounds, touching that stone and that wood, gazing on that organ and that stained glass, and listening to those bells.

Walking in their footsteps.

Standing where they stood.

Nearly 400 years ago.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “In their footsteps,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 8 June 2019).


  1. See “Welcome to St Dunstan’s,” St Dunstan and All Saints Stepney ( : accessed 7 June 2019). Also, Wikipedia (, “St Dunstan’s, Stepney,” rev. 12 Dec 2018.
  2. Saint Dunstan and All Saints, Register of burials, Jun 1622 – Nov 1644, P93/DUN, Item 277, image 7, Elizabeth Pettipoole, 18 March 1622; digital images, “London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812,” ( : accessed 7 June 2019); citing London Metropolitan Archives, Church of England Parish Registers, 1538-1812.
  3. Ibid., Register of marriages, Jan 1609/10 – Jan 1631/2, P93/DUN, Item 265, image 110, Samuell Pettipoole & Alice Jackson, 19 September 1627.
  4. Ibid., Register of baptisms, Sep 1608 – Jan 1637/38, P93/DUN, Item 256, William Petipoole, 20 October 1630.
  5. Ibid., Register of burials, Jan 1666/7 – Oct 1684, P93/DUN, Item 279, Samuel Pettipole, 20 August 1667.
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