Two portraits of Joshua Nunn, b Wetheringsett, Suffolk, c 1716, died Witham, Essex, 1778
Joshua Nunn was one of six children of Leonard Nunn and Mary Nunn, who married in Wetheringsett on 24 September 1713. The couple’s three sons John, Joshua and Leonard, all moved to Essex. Two of their daughters died in childhood, while their youngest, Mary, hasn’t been traced further than her baptism in Debenham in 1734.
John was baptised in Earl Stonham in 1714 and had moved to Bradfield in Essex by 1738 – he married his first wife, Anne Ridgen there, in that year. He died in Bradfield in 1796. Leonard, baptised in Wetheringsett in 1722, had moved to Essex by 1750, as he married Elizabeth Church at Mile End, Colchester, that year. His abode was St Botolph’s in Colchester at the time. By 1754, the couple had moved to Bradfield where their four children were born, then Leonard moved to Mile End, just outside Colchester. He died there in 1808, having written his will.Leonard’s memorial at Mile End St Michael’s tells us he was 86, which matches up with him being born in about 1722.
Joshua Nunn moved to Essex after his brothers. He married Mary Baker in Stonham Aspall on 5 Feb 1743, and their six children were all born in neighbouring Earl Stonham between 1744 and 1755. In 1785, Joshua and Mary’s son William wrote down a list of his and his siblings dates of birth:
- Joshua, born 1 Dec 1744
- Leonard, born 8 April 1746
- Mary, born 8 June 1748
- John, born 23 Oct 1750
- William, born 25 April 1753
- James, born 24 June 1755
Some time after James’ birth, the family moved to Essex; Joshua and Mary living in Witham. Joshua moved to Bocking, where he became a yeoman. Leonard moved back to Suffolk, living in Chelmondiston, where he ran the Red Lion pub. Mary married a tobacconist called Edward Gowland in London. John moved to Colchester. He ran the Three Cups Inn and lived on North Hill, and in later life described himself as a wine and brandy merchant. James moved to London and worked as a bookseller. William moved to Romford, where he ran the White Hart Inn.
You can see in the note of the baptisms that an SL points out that James was their grandfather – this is likely to have been Sarah Low, born in about 1817, the daughter of James’ daughter Sarah and her husband Hugh Low.
Joshua senior wrote a letter to his son James in London on 29 Nov 1777, telling him that he was “poorly”:
Novr 29th 1777. Loving son I am but porly I have a sour breed jest blow the calf of my leg, it is not broke & I am in a deel of payn but not so much as I was your mother have left a pair of stockens & a Hankershef at home give my love to your Brothers & Sisters & tell them I hope they will Excuse me for not writing for I have bin so porly I did not know how to keep from the fire, tell your Brother Wm that Mr Blyfield ordred I should not send her any more letters but lave them a the white harte I cannot write more now but rmain your loving Father, Joshua Nunn Witham.
Sadly, Joshua’s health didn’t improve. He died only a couple of months later, and was buried in Witham on 29 Jan 1778. He didn’t leave a will, at least, not one that I have been able to find.
His wife Mary survived him, though, as we can see from the fact that she witnessed her son William writing the list of his sibling’s birthdays in 1785. William died in 1792, leaving a wife and two children, and he named his mother in his will, leaving her five guineas for mourning. I have not yet identified her burial, and she didn’t leave a will.
In 1786, the George Inn in Witham was advertised to let. Particulars could be obtained from William Nunn of the White Hart Inn, Romford and from John Nunn of the Three Cups Inn, Colchester [Ipswich Journal, 25 Feb 1786]. These are of course Joshua and Mary’s sons. The inn had been fitted up by Leonard Nunn of Chelmondiston, another of their sons, in 1783. It’s possible Joshua and Mary had been running it.
Many thanks to Lucas Henderson for sending me the images included on this page.
Published 9 Jan 2024
|Leonard’s memorial at Mile End St Michael’s tells us he was 86, which matches up with him being born in about 1722.