Another clue – more Davids and Joshuas

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Every so often I go back to looking for the origins of my 3 x gt-grandfather David Nunn. Sometimes looking at the problem sideways can help. Patterns of naming in families often offer excellent clues, and this led me to another David Nunn.

David Nunn was born – or so the 1861 census tells us – in about 1816 in Marylebone, London. When he married Mary Ann Mann on 16th December 1838 at the parish church of St Marylebone, he described himself as a pawnbroker, the son of Joshua Nunn – a tallow chandler, who was deceased.

Seeing both the names David and Joshua and the occupation of tallow chandler (my mysterious David Nunn was a tallow chandler/oilman too) made me curious to find out more.

I should say right away that, once again, I am immediately stumped, because I cannot find a baptisms for a David son of Joshua Nunn at any time around 1816. Maybe the record is out there somewhere but not currently all that accessible?

Mile End?

Let’s be clear here that I mean Mile End Old Town in Stepney, aka Tower Hamlets. The National Archives’ Discovery catalogue pulls in records from other archives, including those of the London Metropolitan Archives. And they include old insurance documents. “My” David Nunn appears in one of these documents, and Joshua Nunn, “oil and colourman” does too – could he be the other David Nunn’s father? On 2nd January 1834, he insured 34 North Side Charles Street, Commercial Road. It took some digging to work exactly where this was in London. I used Robson’s London Directory for 1835, finding Joshua Nunn at 34 Charles Street, where there was also a pub called the Sidney Arms. And this narrowed it down to Mile End. The road is now called Aylward Street.

On 9th September 1821 at St Dunstan’s, which is near Charles Street, a bachelor called Joshua Nunn of Mile End Old Town married Susannah Pullen – I don’t know at the moment if he’s connected to the oil and colourman on Charles Street. Another Joshua Nunn married at St Dunstan’s in 1868 – his bride was Emma Marjoram. Again, I’m not sure of any connection, but I’m just making a note of it anyway!

David Nunn and Mary Ann Mann

The only census I’ve found David and Mary Ann on is one for 1861. They were living at 53 London Street, St Pancras, with their son Jonathan Alexander Nunn. This census tells us that David was a “broker and furniture dealer”, Mary Ann was a straw bonnet maker who had been born in Woodbridge, Suffolk, in about 1816, and Jonathan, aged 11 at the time, was a telegraph messenger boy.

David and Mary Ann appear to have had three children – Charles James was born in the Marylebone registration district (RD) in 1842, but died in 1843. Their daughter Eliza Eleanor was born in the same RD in 1845, and Jonathan was born in the St Pancras RD in 1849. Eliza isn’t with the family on the 1861 census (maybe finding out where she was might be helpful if she was living with relatives). She married Richard William Charrott at the same church as her parents had married at on 13th August 1865.

Mary Ann was baptised at Woodbridge’s Independent Chapel on 10th March 1816, the daughter of Charles and Eleanor Mann (so presumably Mary Ann named her daughter after her mother). It’s possible that Mary Ann was born in Great Bealings rather than Woodbridge though as this is where Charles was living when he married Eleanor Knights in 1815 – three months before Mary Ann’s birth. The chapel’s baptism register doesn’t give any information on where the Manns lived, or what Charles’ occupation was (although Mary Ann’s marriage certificate says that Charles was a carpenter). However, it does tell us that Mary Ann was born on New Year’s Eve 1815. It gets slightly confusing as Mary Ann’s brother Charles was baptised at the same chapel in 1818, and his mother’s name was given as Eleanor Knights, but his father appears to have remarried in 1817! This needs a little more investigation.

David Nunn died in 1870, and didn’t leave a will. I’m yet to finish tracing Mary Ann.

Another Suffolk connection

I’ve mentioned before that William Nunn, “my” David Nunn’s possible brother or cousin, married Sarah King, who was born in Stutton, Suffolk, in about 1782. Stutton is right on the southern border of Suffolk, looking across the Stour to Essex. Some of Sarah’s siblings were born in Bentley (not to be confused with Great or Little Bentley not far away in Essex), which is right next door to Stutton.

Bear this in mind as I take what appears to be a massive digression and tell you about a forgery case from 1848.


In September 1848, a man called Charles Orford got in trouble in Oxfordshire for forgery. Then in March 1849, it turned out that his name was in fact William King, who born in about 1826. He had, from late 1842 to early 1848, lived and worked in Manningtree, Essex, as a master tailor, but in 1848 he got into financial difficulties. This is presumably why he was in Oxfordshire under an assumed name, and how his friend Albert Bidden Allison ended up on trial for forgery in March 1849. Bentley in Suffolk also comes up in the case.[1]Reference: Oxford Chronicle and Reading Mercury 10th March 1849

Among the witnesses is one David Nunn, a broker from Homer’s Place, Paddington. He mentions pawnbrokering, and dealing in furniture. I think he must be David Nunn, the son of Joshua Nunn. Homer’s Place – also known as Homer Place – was in Marylebone, near Homer Street (which still exists). In his evidence, David says that he knew William King.

Now, I think this is either a massive coincidence, or David Nunn the pawnbroker and his father Joshua Nunn were relatives of William Nunn who married Sarah King. The theory needs some more research of course, but think about it this way. “My” David Nunn was an oilman. So was William Nunn who married Sarah King. So was Joshua, father of another David Nunn. Joshua’s son David was born in about 1816, at the same time that William and “my” David were marrying and having children. It could well be that “my” David, William and Joshua were three brothers from Suffolk who moved down to London to work as oilmen.

If this is the case, then David Nunn the broker had cousins who were Kings who lived around Manningtree and Bentley. And the reason why David Nunn the broker gave evidence saying that he knew William King is simply because William was his cousin by marriage.

For anyone wondering, William King confessed to his crimes and was sentenced to ten years’ transportation. However, rather than be transported, he was sent to Portland Prison in Dorset. He was pardoned in 1854 and released.

A little more about William King…

The papers relating to William’s pardon are on Findmypast, and help us to identify his family. He was “in his 30th year” in 1853, when the petition to release him was raised by his father. His father was William King senior, a draper who lived in St Botolph’s, Colchester, and says that William was his eldest son. We’re also told that as well as working as a tailor, William jnr was also a book binder – and that his former employer, Mr W Totham of High Street, Colchester, was willing to take him back on when he was released.

Looking at the 1851 census, there is a William King living in St Botolph’s parish on Botolph Street, working as a “draper and agent”, next door to William Griffin, the founder of Williams and Griffins department store (he’s related to my grandad as well – I’ve written about him before). William King was 53 and had been born in Bury [St Edmunds], Suffolk. His wife Ann was 56 and had been born in Halstead, Essex. They had one servant, and at the time of the census, they had a visitor: William Chapple, 49, a Baptist minister, born in London (Chapple seems an appropriate name for a non-conformist minister!).

In 1861, William and his wife are still in St Botolph’s parish, at number 4 Botolph Street, again, next door to the Griffins. But their son wasn’t living with them.

On the 1841 census, William and his wife were living in St Botolph’s parish, next door to the Griffins. William was a draper. Two of their sons, both born in Essex, were living with them: William King jnr 20, bookbinder, and Thomas aged 5. They had one servant (in fact, the same one who appears in the 1851 and 1861 censuses, Mary Hobrow from Wivenhoe).

However, I think I have found out what happened to William junior. On 11 Feb 1858, William King, bachelor, an outfitter of 17 Seymour Place, son of William King, another outfitter, married Maria Lloyd, spinster, of the same address, daughter of Robert Lloyd a farmer. The ceremony took place at St Mary’s, Marylebone, and the witnesses were Thomas King and Eliza Ames? Sheppard. On the 1861 census, William and Maria are living at 2 Upper Brook Street in Ipswich’s St Mary Le Tower parish. William, aged 39, is a tailor employing 13 men, and the couple have two children, Herbert William and Frederick Maskell, both born in Great Yarmouth. Maria’s brother Henry Wade Lloyd was living with them too – he was a tailor’s foreman, presumably working with William. And William’s place of birth is given as Braintree, Essex. On the 1871 census, there’s a William King, draper’s porter, living in St Botolph’s, Colchester, with his wife Lucy, and with Manningtree as his birthplace. But to confuse things, this is the other William King on the 1841 census, also aged 20, who was working with the Griffins.

In 1871, William King was still in Ipswich, a “manufacturer of clothes”, living with his wife Maria and three children: Frederick M, William L, and Alice M. A nephew (probably his wife’s, as he was born in Norfolk), Herbert Chapman, was also living with them.

I can’t find a baptism for William, but the fact that his parents were being visited by a Baptist minister in 1851 might suggest that they were non-conformist, and that their births weren’t recorded in a surviving register.


1 Reference: Oxford Chronicle and Reading Mercury 10th March 1849