Martha Stageldoir (About 1770-1840), her family and ancestors


Martha Stageldoir was born in about 1770.  Her parents were both involved in the stage and at a young age she, with her two sisters Mary and Jane, became dancers, singers and actresses on the London and provincial stage.  Their stage career was between 1780 and 1795. 

In the late 1780s, Martha must have met and become involved with Andrew Gammell, who was then living in London, and in 1889 they had their first child.  Whether they ever married is not known.  No record of a marriage has been found, and when Andrew died in 1815, he left an annual allowance for life “to my dear friend Martha Stageldoir, named Mrs Gammell”. This is surely not phrasing he would have used to write a bequest to his lawful wife?  Whatever the situation, she was clearly living with him as his wife from the late 1780s onwards.


Together Andrew and Martha had 8 children;

Name (married name)



William Gammell

30 September 1789

21 February 1853

Martha Gammell (Morton)

21 February 1853

8 February 1871

Janet Gammell (Peile)

26 May 1792

4 June 1828

James Gammell

3 January 1797

23 September 1893

Mary Gammell (Stewart)


23 March 1872

Margaret Gammell (Jacobs)

3 January 1801

14 March 1861

Andrew Gammell

12 October 1803

18 March 1883

Ernest Gammell

27 January 1808

23 February 1855


Martha died at Harrow Lodge, Hampstead on 29 December 1840, and is buried in St Luke's, Chelsea, which also has a memorial plaque in her memory. That plaque and her death certificate both record her name as Martha Gammell.


James or Joseph, and Mary Stageldoir (Martha’s father and mother)

We really know very little about the Stageldoir family.  Their name is very unusual and may suggest that or their forebears were immigrants from what is now Germany or Austria?


We don’t know when James (sometimes also called Joseph) was born, but Mary was born in about 1730.  The first records of James and Mary show that they were dancers on the stage in Dublin and Cork in the late 1750s and early 1760s.  But then they disappear, maybe because they were bringing up their children? They reappear in 1775 as minor characters on the London stage and remain active until the 1790s, though they never got as high a billing (or pay) as their daughters.


James and Mary had four children:


Name (married name)



Sarah Stageldoir (Peile)

About 1758

17 May 1826

Martha Stageldoir (Gammell)

About 1769

29 December 1840

Jane Eleanor Stageldoir (Underwood)

15 March 1770

15 February 1865

Charles Stageldoir


April 1773


Mary died in January 1795 in London and James/Joseph on 1 or 2 September 1806.