James Nunn of London

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James was the youngest son of Joshua and Mary, and was born in 25 June 1755. He moved to London and on 8 June 1778 married Sarah Embleton at St Dunstan’s in the East. She was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Embleton, and was born in London on 15 Dec 1754. Her baptised took place at St Mary at Hill on 10 Jan 1755.

James and Sarah had six children:

  • Sarah, born 19 Apr 1779
  • William, born 12 Aug 1784
  • Jane, born 16 July 1786
  • Elizabeth Ann, born about 1791
  • Mary Ann, born about 1795
  • Susannah, born about 1797

James was a bookseller and stationer, and at that period, it meant he was a publisher too. James Nunn of Great Queens Street appears in many newspaper adverts and inside books. His business was located in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, so he presumably sold a great many law books, or at least, lots of pens and paper to people working in the law. It was said that ge “possessed one of the largest collections of old books in the Metropolis.”[1]Lincoln’s Inn fields and the localities adjacent : their historical and topographical associations, by Charles William Heckethorn

According to an article in Baptist periodical “The Sower”, about James’ nephew William, the young man had wanted to be apprenticed to James, but because James required a premium that William’s parents couldn’t afford, the young man’s ambitions were dashed. But he eventually became a famous minister in Manchester, so perhaps it wasn’t all bad.

James wife Sarah died on 23 Dec 1807, and was buried at St Dunstan’s in the East six days later, aged 53. Her death is mentioned in Lincoln’s Inn fields and the localities adjacent : their historical and topographical associations, by Charles William Heckethorn. James son William was apprenticed to a stationer in 1798, but he died on 2 Jan 1809.[2]The European Magazine and London Review Two years later, his daughter Susannah passed away.

In his will, James mentions his four surviving daughters, Mary Ann, Elizabeth Ann, Sarah, and Jane, as well as Miss Sophia Nelson daughter of Mr Nelson of Hyde Street, Bloomsbury, who doesn’t appear to have been related to him, although perhaps she was a relative of his late wife’s. One of his executors was another bookseller, Richard Priestley of Holborn.

Sarah Nunn and Hugh Low

Sarah married Hugh Low on 25 Jan 1812 at St Bride’s, Fleet Street. They had two daughters, Sarah in 1817 and Elizabeth in 1820. Hugh died in 1828, and the three women turned to education to make ends meet. On the 1851 census, both daughters, working as governesses, were living with their mother at 7 Southampton Row in Bloomsbury. They moved to Wiltshire, and in 1861 they were living on the High Street at Cricklade St Sampson, where Sarah is described as a “retired schoolmistress” while her daughters were running a school at their home with another governess and three pupils. Presumably they had day pupils who lived locally. Sarah died on 3 October 1861, aged 82.

Jane Nunn and Thomas Pattrick

Jane married Thomas Pattrick at St Giles in the Fields on 20 Sep 1815. He was a bachelor, a merchant from Thorpe-le-Soken in Essex. Their witnesses were Joshua Nunn – presumably the bride’s first cousin – and two of her sisters, Elizabeth Ann Nunn and Mary Ann Nunn. Another witnesses was Grimwood Foaker, a relative of the groom’s. They had four children who were baptised in Thorpe-le-Soken: Thomas 1818, Lydia 1819, William Nunn 1821, and George 1822. The family emigrated to Australia, where Jane died on 6 June 1850 at Redfern in Sydney. She was 64 years old.

Mary Ann Nunn and John Gowland

Mary Ann married John Gowland on 17 Sep 1831 at St Andrew by the Wardrobe in the City of London. John is presumably related to Edward Gowland, who had married Mary Ann’s paternal aunt Mary Nunn. They had one daughter, Mary, who was born on 29 May 1834 in Newington, Surrey. She died a spinster in Blackheath in 1880. Mary Ann died in 1837. See the entry for John: The Gowlands.

Elizabeth Ann Nunn and George Ralph Gowland

Elizabeth Ann married her brother-in-law George Ralph Gowland, when she was 42, at St Giles in the Fields on 1 June 1833. The witnesses were Joshua Nunn (also her first cousin) and her sister Sarah Low. George died very soon afterwards, in 1834, and Elizabeth Ann died in 1842. The couple didn’t have any children. See more about the Gowlands.

by Helen Barrell

First published 13th March 2024


1 Lincoln’s Inn fields and the localities adjacent : their historical and topographical associations, by Charles William Heckethorn
2 The European Magazine and London Review