Hadleigh Nunns: Samuel Nunn (1791-1842) and Ann Maria Claxson

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The Ipswich Record Office holds a mortgage document from 1847,[1]Ipswich Record Office reference FK3508/8/1/12 which mentions several Nunns, some of whom were living in Hadleigh:

Maria Ann Nunn of Ipswich; Samuel Nunn of Hadleigh, millwright; William Cooper of Hadleigh, tailor, and wife Elizabeth (née Nunn); Edward Nunn of Ipswich, millwright; Maria Nunn of Hadleigh, spinster; Joshua Nunn, mariner; Thomas Nunn of Ipswich, millwright; Mary Ann Nunn of Hadleigh, spinster; John Nunn of Hadleigh, turner.

Wondering if they might shed some light on my family’s supposed link with Hadleigh, I decided to investigate. But thread led back from Hadleigh to Needham Market and Battisford.

Wattisham Baptists

Samuel Nunn, son of Samuel and Elizabeth of Battisford, was born on 14 September 1791. His parents were Baptists, and his birth was recorded in the register of the Baptist chapel in Wattisham. Samuel’s parents had married in Battisford in 1788; his mother’s maiden name was Baker. It might be significant that a Joshua Nunn married a Mary Baker at Stonham Aspal on 5 Feb 1743/4.

Hadleigh’s Baptist chapel on George Street was established in 1815, when twelve members were sent to the town from Wattisham to set it up. It’s possible that Samuel or his parents were among those sent, as Samuel junior was deacon of the Hadleigh chapel for seventeen years.

Nunns in Needham Market

In 1815, Samuel Nunn married Maria Claxson in Barking, Suffolk. Needham Market is in the parish of Barking, and it’s where the bride’s family lived. Samuel’s wife goes by several versions of her name – Maria, Ann, Maria Ann or Ann Maria!

Samuel and Ann Maria’s first child, another Samuel, was born in 1818 in Needham Market, but the rest of their eight children were born on Duke Street in Hadleigh. Their children were:

  • Samuel, born 10 May 1818
  • Elizabeth, born 27 Aug 1820
  • Edward, born 28 Sep 1822
  • Maria, born 31 Aug 1825
  • Joshua, born 17 Sep 1827 (Joshua is a name which often comes up in relation to the Hadleigh Nunns)
  • Thomas, born 16 June 1829
  • Mary Ann, born 10 Feb 1831
  • John, born 26 Nov 1832

As you can see, the children’s names are those that appear in the mortgage document, and “Maria Ann Nunn of Ipswich” must be their mother.

Samuel senior – that is, the father of Ann Maria’s husband – died on 15 Nov 1832. I haven’t been able to find a burial for him. It could be that he was buried in a Baptist burial ground whose records haven’t survived. Before his death, Samuel senior wrote a will,[2]Ipswich Record Office reference: IC/AA1/268/9 where he’s described as a yeoman living in Needham Market. He named his wife Elizabeth and his grandson Samuel, who was under 24 at the time. He mentions his “son” but not by name, and he mentions that he has other grandchildren besides Samuel, but doesn’t name them. He made his wife his executor, but she died before administering the will (I haven’t found her burial yet either!), and on 12 Feb 1848, the grandson, Samuel, swore to administer the will.

I had hoped that Samuel of Hadleigh would turn out to be David Nunn (my ancestor’s) brother. It would’ve made things nice and neat! But the 1832 will of Samuel Nunn of Needham Market suggests that Samuel of Hadleigh didn’t have any siblings. Perhaps they were cousins?

Samuel Nunn in Hadleigh

Samuel Nunn junior (son of Samuel who died in 1832) and his family appear on the 1841 census, living on Duke Street. Ann Maria is named as Maria on the census, and they’re at home with six of their children: their daughter Elizabeth had married William Cooper in 1840, and she and her husband are living on Woodbridge Road in Ipswich when the 1841 census was taken. Edward doesn’t appear on the census in Hadleigh either.

Sadly, Samuel died only a year later, aged 50. He was buried in the Baptist burial ground in Hadleigh, where his headstone tells us that he had been the deacon of the chapel for many years.


1 Ipswich Record Office reference FK3508/8/1/12
2 Ipswich Record Office reference: IC/AA1/268/9