Sleuthing the Death of Robin William George Stephens - Anne Margaret Mary Pennycook (also Wilson and Warrener)

Still chipping away at any clue for when Robin William George Stephens passed away. Stephens had served as commandant of MI5's Camp 020 interrogation centre during the Second World War and retired from the military in 1960 at the age of 60. I've investigated several dead ends and keep coming back to his second wife's death as a line of inquiry.

Joan Geraldine Pearson Dowling Stephens passed away in 1992 in Lincoln, Lincolnshire. Robin Stephens was already deceased at that point. The informant for Joan's death was her sister, Audrey Violet (Dowling) Richardson. Audrey passed away in 2005 and, a few years ago, I applied for her probate records (but apparently never blogged about it).

The executors of Audrey's estate were Andrew Francis Wright and Anne Margaret Mary Pennycook, both of Lincoln. Anne was also the chief beneficiary of Audrey's estate. Who were these individuals? Was Anne another sister of Audrey? Or were they cousins?

Anne Margaret Mary PennycookWhat can we discover about Anne Margaret Mary Pennycook? Well... first up, we know when she passed away. A reader of this blog shared a link for her obituary. Anne passed away 19 December 2015 at home in Lincoln. There are a few different obituary notices for her in the Lincolnshire Echo:

Pennycook Anne Margaret Mary Passed away peacefully at home on Saturday 19th December 2015 aged 85 years [born around 1930]. The funeral service will be held at the Lincoln Crematorium on Monday 4th January 2016 at 10.30am. All our thoughts are with you Rob,Caroline,Lucy and Gill, Dave,Nicola, Mark

This doesn't make it clear who the individuals are - whether they submitted the In Memoriam or whether they are individuals to whom the condolences are offered.

PENNYCOOK Anne Passed away peacefully at home on 19th December 2015. Our beautiful Mum and Grandma. Will be loved and missed always. Lesley, Richard and Chris, Grandma to James, Rebecca and Charlotte and Great-Grandma to Katelynn, Owen, Courtney and McKenzie. -xxx-

This is more helpful as it makes it clear that Anne had children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Whether their last names are Pennycook is another matter.

Pennycook Anne Dearly missed, my forever friend. Love Vera, David, Nigel, Dawn & Kim.Rest in peace. 

This one seems to be from friends.

Tracing Anne M.M. Pennycook
Given the title of the newspaper, "Lincolnshire Echo", let's assume that Anne lived in Lincoln. This isn't too big of an assumption as, in 2004, Anne was living in Lincoln when she signed Audrey's will. A bit of searching reveals the following tidbit of information from the site.

Anne Mm Pennycook was living in Lincoln (street address only for paid subscriptions) in the 2002 Electoral Roll. A name associated with her is "Alexandre Pennycook".

That sent me off to Ancestry... where I found this entry in the marriage registrations:

Alexander Pennycook married Anne M. M. Wilson in the last quarter of 1976 in Lincoln.

From Ancestry, we can glean that Alexander appears to have been born about 1925 (location unknown) and married Audrey Kyme in 1954 with whom he had several children (names are private). Audrey passed away in the first quarter of 1976 and Alexander passed away in Lincoln in 2002. This leaves room for Alexander and Anne to have married in the last quarter of 1976, when Anne would have been around 46 years old.

Maiden Name?
So, we have traced Anne M.M. Pennycook, who is likely be Anne Margaret Mary Wilson, but it isn't clear if that is her maiden name or a surname from a previous marriage.

We know that Anne was born around 1930 (+/- one year) based on the obituary. While all of her Christian names are quite common (Anne, Margaret, Mary), in unison they are helpful. I found this entry from the 1939 National Register:

1939 National Register - Anna M.M. Warrener
1939 National Register - Anna M.M. Warrener

This is definitely promising - Anna M.M. Warrener - born 21 November 1930 and residing in Lincolnshire in 1939. A look at the record and it "promising" becomes certainty.
1939 National Register - Anne M.M. Warrner/Wilson/Pennycook
1939 National Register - Anne M.M. Warrner/Wilson/Pennycook

We have a 9 year old Anne M.M. Warrener, living with her parents and an older sibling (closed record). Her surname has been stroked out and replaced with WILSON in ink and then faintly in pencil is written PENNYCOOK. This has to be our girl.
1939 National Register - enlargement of Anne's surnames: Warrener/Wilson/Pennycook
1939 National Register - enlargement of Anne's surnames: Warrener/Wilson/Pennycook

This record confirms that Anne was not a sibling of Audrey and Joan. I did a quick trace of Anne's parents, George R. & Kate Warrener. It appears that they married in 1922 in Lincoln and that Kate's maiden name is Woodley. So, if there is a family connection, it would have to be farther back. This record also means that Anne's children ould likely not be Pennycooks but Wilsons, as Anne was 46 years old when she married Alexander Pennycook. Although... a late 40's pregnancy is not impossible.

A bit more digging and this appears in the marriage indices:

In the second quarter of 1950, A.M.M. Warrener married Albert B. Wilson in Lincoln.

This is likely our couple. I haven't had any luck tracing Albert B. Wilson in Lincoln... far too common a name. But... we might have better luck with their children.

Tracing Anne's Children
If we do a search for individuals with the surname Wilson [children take their father's surname], born within 10 years of 1960 (1950-1970) [20 years after the marriage of Anne and Albert], and whose mother's surname was Warrener, we come up with...
Ancestry - Wilson children with a Warrener mother
Ancestry - Wilson children with a Warrener mother

This matches two of the three names from Anne's obituary: Lesley, Richard and Chris. No luck finding a Chris Wilson (not even from 1970-1976). But we now have Richard W. Wilson and Lesley N. Wilson. But at this point, we run out of leads. There are no spousal names with Lesley and Richard, nor is it clear which children might belong to them, so... even isn't yielding anything definitive. Wilson is far too common a name to trace these two any farther at this point.

I did do a search for Alexander Pennycook and Audrey Kyme's children and came up with Robert A. Pennycook (born 1961) and Gillian A. Pennycook (born 1956). These could be the individuals listed in the first obituary notice: Rob[ert],Caroline,Lucy and Gill[ian], Dave,Nicola, Mark. This suggests that Anne may have been close to her step children and their families.

A bit more digging and the site indicates that a Robert A. Pennycook, Caroline J. Pennycook and Lucy Pennycook are all associated with an address in Lincoln. Ancestry shows a 1987 marriage of Robert A. Pennycook and Caroline J. Frow in Lincoln. Robert appears in the 2003-2004 and 2005-2010 Electoral Registers but living at different addresses. The most recent address was 19, Grange Crescent, Lincoln, LN6 8BT.

As for Gillian A. Pennycook, she apparently married David C. Armstrong in 1976 in Lincoln. Thus, their assumed children, Nicola and Mark, likely have the surname Armstrong. Another visit to and there is an address in Lincoln associated with David C. Armstrong, Gillian A. Armstrong, Nicola C. Armstrong and Mark J. Armstrong. The 2002-2003 Electoral Registers from Ancestry list Gillian A. Armstrong as living at 2 Rivermead Close, Lincoln, LN6 8FD. Whether the family still lives at that address is unknown.

There is always the possibility that this blog post will bring something to the surface. It is quite a limb we have crawled out on, all in the hopes of tracing the death of Robin William George Stephens... whose second wife was Joan Geraldine Pearson Dowling Stephens... whose sister was Audrey Violet Richardson... whose estate went to Anne Margaret Mary Pennycook. One never knows though... perhaps there is a scrap of information out there that will unlock the secret of Robin's death.


Stephen D said…
Giselle, there are two Ancestry subscribers (one of whom is a Charlotte) with relevant public family trees (for Anne M M Warrener and Alexander Pennycook) who you could message and see if they have any info about the apparent relationship with Robin's sister-in-law.
Giselle Jakobs said…
Thanks for the tip! I'll have a go and see what response I get.

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