Nunn families in Debenham

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In my attempts to find David Nunn’s family, I looked at the Nunns who lived in Debenham. William Nunn of Shoreditch, who I think could’ve been my David’s brother or cousin (there is definitely a DNA match between his descendants and my immediate family), was born in about 1775, and there’s a William Nunn born in Debenham at the time, whose father was Joshua. And William Nunn of Shoreditch had a son called Joshua, and it was a name that my grandad remembered in connection with the family. My grandad thought there was a Joshua Nunn in his ancestry. Could there be a connection?

Before delving in – the names Leonard and Joshua are popular with Nunns in this are, and several of them took those names to Essex when they moved. When Joshua Nunn of Kenton (a couple of miles north-east of Debenham) wrote his will in 1691, he mentioned his kinsman Leonard Nunn of Eye, and his uncle Leonard Nunn. They may well be related to the Nunns on this page.

Leonard Nunn and Mary Nunn: generation 1

The furthest I’ve gone back on this line are Leonard Nunn and Mary Nunn, who married in Wetheringsett on 24 Sep 1713. Given that they shared the same surname, it’s likely they were cousins of some kind. All their children were baptised in Wetheringsett, apart from John, their eldest, who was baptised in Earl Stonham, and their youngest, Mary, who was baptised in Debenham. Their children were:

  • John, baptised 1714, lived in Bradfield, Essex. Died 1796.
  • Joshua 1, baptised 1716 – possibly moved to Witham, Essex, and died there aged 61 in 1778.
  • Mary, baptised 1718, and buried in Wetheringsett in 1721
  • Elizabeth, baptised 1720, and buried in Wetheringsett in 1721 on the same day as her sister Mary
  • Leonard, baptised 1722, lived in Bradfield and Mile End, Colchester, Essex. Died 1808, aged 86.
  • Mary, baptised 1724

Leonard 1 was buried in Wetheringsett on 2 Feb 1728/9, as Leonard Nunn of Debenham.

Joshua Nunn 1 and Mary Baker: generation 2

Joshua Nunn 1 married Mary Baker in Stonham Aspal on 5 Feb 1743/4, and they had five children, all baptised in Earl Stonham.

  • Joshua 2, baptised 1744 – a yeoman in Bocking, Essex. Died in 1781, with only his son William surviving him.
  • Leonard 3, baptised 1746 – of Chelmondiston, who ran the Red Lion pub there, and died in 1826.
  • Mary, baptised 1748 – married Edward Gowland at St Andrew’s Holborn, 1777
  • John, baptised 1750 – moved to Colchester, worked as wine and brandy merchant on North Hill, and died there in 1807.
  • William, baptised 1753 – moved to Romford where he ran the White Hart Inn
  • James, baptised 1754 – moved to London and worked as a stationer.

At some point after William’s birth, Joshua and his children moved to Essex. Joshua senr died in Witham – he was buried there in 1778, aged 61. A Joshua Nunn, born in about 1791, ran the Spread Eagle in Witham, and he may have been the son of Joshua and Mary’s son Joshua 2. Leonard moved to Chelmondiston, and ran the Red Lion pub. He was married several times, as well as having an illegitimate child by his housekeeper. John moved to Colchester and attended St Peter’s church. He worked as a wine and brandy merchant, and his will names seven children; two became vicars (one of whom was a close friend of Patrick Bronte’s at Cambridge), and one of his daughters wrote hymns. His grandson Samuel Nunn was granted a coat of arms.

Leonard Nunn and Mary Andrews: generation 2

Leonard Nunn married Mary Andrews in Saxtead in 1746. Leonard and Mary were non-conformists, attending the Old Meeting House in Framlingham, a Unitarian chapel, then Debenham Independent chapel, where some of their children were baptised. Leonard left a will, which has helped to identify the rest of his brood, whose baptisms haven’t been found.

  • Leonard Nunn 4, born at Saxtead and baptised at Framlingham, 1748. Likely married Rose Pike, below.
  • Unknown child of Leonard of Debenham, buried 1751
  • Joshua Nunn 3, born about 1752. Likely married Ann Andrews, below.
  • Esther Nunn, born 1754, baptised at Debenham Independent Chapel
  • Moses Nunn, born 1764, baptised at Debenham Independent Chapel: a yeoman, married Maria Johnson, a widow (born Maria Berry), at Debenham in 1797. He died in 1802.
  • Mary Nunn, born unknown

Leonard 2 wrote his will on 17 Oct 1775, not long before his death, describing himself as a yeoman who lived in Debenham. He named his children as Leonard, his eldest son; son Joshua; daughter Esther wife of Thomas Godbold of Sweffling, blacksmith; daughter Mary wife of Joseph Last junior of Debenham, weaver; youngest son Moses, who was under 21 at the time. He made his executors his wife Mary and Daniel Ripper of Debenham. Leonard 2 was buried in Debenham on 7 Nov 1775.

Mary and Joseph Last attended Debenham Independent chapel, where their many children were baptised, as did Esther and Thomas Godbold (apart from the Godbold’s first son, Thomas, who was baptised at Rendham while the couple lived at Sweffling – from about 1790, they were living in Debenham).

Note: I had thought that this Leonard was the son of Leonard Nunn and Mary Nunn, born in about 1722. However, Leonard Nunn who died in Mile End, Colchester, in 1808, aged 86, who would’ve been born in 1722, is more likely to be their son, rather than the Leonard who married Mary Andrews (see above). With the repeating names of Leonard and Joshua, it seems pretty likely that they’re all related somehow.

Leonard Nunn 4 and Rose Pike: generation 3

Leonard Nunn of Debenham and Rose Pike married at Great Glemham in 1775. They had three daughters, all baptised at Debenham Independent chapel:

  • Rose, born 1775
  • Mary, born 1776
  • Mary, born 1778

Then they had several children, baptised at the parish church:

  • Leonard, baptised 1781
  • Robert, baptised 1787
  • Edward, baptised 1790 (died soon after his birth and was buried in Debenham)
  • Rebecca, baptised 1797 (died soon after her birth and was buried in Debenham)

There’s no sign of Leonard and Rose in Debenham after this, and it’s possible they moved to London. A Leonard Nunn died in the workhouse in St Giles-in-the-Fields in 1832, and his age at death would give a rough date of birth of 1748. He was buried in St Luke’s, Finsbury. In 1826, Rose Nunn of St George’s Row was buried at the same place, aged 74 – giving her rough date of birth of 1752, which could be her.

Joshua Nunn 3 and Ann Andrews: generation 3

Joshua Nunn and Ann Andrews were married in Debenham on 31 May 1774. It seems likely that Joshua and Ann were cousins via Joshua’s mother, who had also been an Andrews. They had five children, all baptised at Debenham Independent chapel.

  • Joshua, baptised 1774
  • William, baptised 1775 [this William matches with William Nunn of Shoreditch, who was also born in about 1775, and was non-conformist]
  • Rachel, baptised 1777
  • Mary, baptised 1778
  • Jonathan, baptised 1782: married Susannah Brook in moved to London. His daughter Rachel Nunn (born in St Ann’s, Soho, in 1804, baptised in Hackney in 1818) married Thomas Johnson (her stepfather, who was born in Colchester, and may or may not be related to the first husband of Moses Nunn’s wife Maria Berry). She is often named “Rachel Modlin Nunn” in trees, but the middle name doesn’t appear in documentation such as her baptism or marriage. However, a William Modlin was a witness at her wedding, and in the baptism register, the daughter of a John and Mary Modlin appears immediately after Rachel’s entry – there seems to have been a connection of sorts somewhere. Interestingly, Rachel was baptised on 4 July 1818, and William King, the son of William Nunn of Shoreditch and Sarah (née King), was baptised at the same Wesleyan chapel only a few days later on 12 July 1818. Descendants of Rachel’s have come up in DNA matches with my aunt and my mother.