In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, this family lived at 9 High Street, next door to All Saints Church. Stephen Fay made the wooden pattens that protected ladies’ shoes in muddy weather. Born in about 1736, he was the precentor at Above Bar Independent Chapel. His wife Martha had been a Methodist before coming to Southampton, but there was no established Methodist presence in the town, so she became a member of the Above Bar congregation. However, she continued to provide support to Methodist preachers passing through, receiving post for them, and allowing their house to be registered for Methodist worship in 1780. On the 9 August 1787, John Wesley stayed with the Fays (see “A Little Society in Southampton: John Wesley passes through" in Southampton Local History Forum Journal No. 10 p 26. ) and Mrs Fay introduced her lodger John Morse to him. Wesley made such an impression on Mr Morse that he became determined to form a Methodist society that would be more permanent than earlier attempts had been. At this point the Fays stood back: their connection with the Independent chapel was too strong.
Stephen’s burial was recorded at Above Bar Chapel on 13 January 1790.
His son John married Elizabeth Selfe at All Saints Church Christmas Day 1795, as was the law, but their sons Samuel, born 12 November 1797, and John Goodeve, born 1799, were baptised at the Independent Chapel. When Samuel was baptised, John’s occupation was given as “schoolmaster” (Methodist records speak of “Mr Fay’s schoolroom”) but by 1801 his occupation is “grocer.” Unfortunately, this comes from the Hampshire Chronicle, 10 August, advertising the sale of the High Street property and John’s stock-in-trade to satisfy his creditors. The next advert, 9 November, says he is “late of Southampton.”


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