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NU N N Family history

Congratulations, Kylie and Michael, on your wedding. We are both


so thrilled and delighted for you both, and wish you every happiness. We decided to give you a wedding present that would be both timeless and unique, and this is it; the first chapters of Kylie’s family history. Genealogy is very big here in the UK thanks to TV programmes such as "Who Do You Think You Are?", so we've unashamedly modelled your family history on the programme's format of picking exciting ancestors with dodgy pasts! So, we've unearthed a convicted forger convicted and transported to Australia (yeah, a convict - status points!), a gold miner, three brave war heroes and two generations of Londoners living through the massive changes of the Victorian era. We have been able to do 90% of this research online, something practically impossible even three years ago. Thanks to the digitalisation of documents such as war records, convict ship lists, old maps, the UK C e n s u s and endless photos, so we can trace the remarkable journeys your ancestors took. And we'll be updating it too with new information and new characters - we're completely hooked now... We hope you both enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it!

JOSEPH JENNINGS Forger to Freemason Page 2 MESSRS DIGBY & CO Strike it Rich Page 12 EDWARD Mc MULLEN No quiet on his Western Front Page 26 WILLIAM EDWARD NUNN Sappers, snipers and sports betting! Page 35 WILLIAM ALBERT NUNN What did you miss in the war, Daddy? Page 46 THE WEBBS AND ORROWS IN ISLINGTON Tarts, Thieves and Prostitutes Page 59 NAME ORIGIN Pol l ock

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NUNN FAMILY ALBUM Pictures Page 76

Nunn Family History • Page 1 of 75

J O S E P H J E N N I NG S: Forger to Freemas o n When Joseph Jennings died at the ripe old age of 77, the Sydney Morning Herald “earnestly requested” all Masonic Bretheren in the colony to join the many friends in his funeral procession, to “lament their loss”. Quite an accolade for a man who arrived in Australia as a convicted forger, facing a 14-year jail sentence.

Early Days in Birmingham Joseph Jennings was born in Birmingham in 1780, a city in the grip of industrialisation and fast becoming a centre for manufacturing. His father was Thomas Jennens, and it was likely his surname was

Joseph Jennings, Birmingham to Sydney The trip of a lifetime for Joseph Jennings, one side of the world to another

spelled this way until his arrival in Australia. (As was common at the time, the spelling of surnames often varied, even on official documents and records.) In 1803, he married Mary Baker and they had a son, Thomas. By 1808, at the age of 28, Joseph was working as a silversmith in Aston Road, Birmingham. Birmingham was famous as a centre for the manufacture of silverware. The Birmingham Assay House was founded by an Act of Parliament in 1773, allowing the city’s silversmiths to add a Birmingham hallmark to their goods. However, this wealth of skilled craftsmen also ensured Birmingham had another less glamorous reputation – for producing forged bank notes. In 1800, seven men were hung in the city for forgery, so when Joseph Jennings was arrested for having ninety-seven forged £1 bank notes in his possession, it was an extremely serious crime. Joseph’s trial was held on 29 March 1813 as part of the Warwick Lent Assizes (Easter-time court sessions), and he was convicted and sentenced to transportation and 14 years penal servitude. At the time, there were only three sentences available: 7 years for petty crimes, 14 years for more serious crimes and life for the most serious A copy of the page in the Register for the ship ‘General Hewitt’. Joseph is listed as Joseph Jennens.


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JOSEPH JENN IN GS To Australia by Sea Joseph wasn’t shipped off immediately though, spending months in Warwick prison before joining the convict ship ‘General Hewitt’ in Portsmouth. Josepeh was one of 300 convicts sailing for Australia via Rio de Janeiro on 26 August 1813. (See right for an account of the voyage b y Pe r c y Earl & Richard Hughes describing the conditions. Not s o m e t h i n g I ’d l i k e t o experience!) What an adventure for a Birmingham boy, born in the city, and now sailing for months on end via South America to an uncertain future on the other side of the world.

“The convict ship ‘General Hewitt’, 690 tons, departed England 26 August 1813 in convoy with the ‘Windham’ and the ‘Wanstead’. The ‘General Hewitt’ arrived at Rio on 17th November and left there 2nd November, arriving in Port Jackson 7th February 1814 with 266 male convicts. Thirty-four prisoners died on the passage out. Forty-four of the prisoners were under the age of 21. Two were only 14 years of age Richard Aris and John Bede.

having been purchased by the master, who had the entire charge and supervision of the convicts, at Rio Janeiro, from a part of the convicts for a certain time; for which he gave them spirits from Rio as well as tea, sugar and tobacco. The prisoners went days and possibly weeks without animal food, which they had bartered to the master for spirits.

Passengers on the ‘General H e w i t t ’ i n c l u d e d In 1819 Captain John Surgeon of the Piper who Almorah and brought with Ocean, Edward h i m a fi n e Foord Bromley thoroughbred g ave ev i d e n c e black horse before a Select n a m e d Committee on the Wellington; and The General Hewitt drawn from conditions on the John Harris, former ‘General Hewitt’. He nature on stone Principal Surgeon attributed the of the 102nd regiment. Captain James sickness and great loss of life on the Wallis  and Lieutenant Thomas Thompson ‘General Hewitt’ to the improper treatment both of the 46th regiment also arrived on the of the prisoners on board the ship. At this ‘General Hewitt’ as did architect Francis time the convicts were not under the Greenway (convict); artist Joseph Lycett superintendence of any person belonging to (convict) and 'Gentleman' John Smith government. (convict 2nd voyage).” In 1814 new regulations took place; Master Percy Earl however, when the ‘General Hewitt’ Surgeon Richard Hughes departed England she sailed under the old regulations. He told of the provisions

Joseph Arrives in Sydney On 7 February 1814, Joseph Jennings finally arrived at the Port Jackson Penal Colony in Sydney. Joseph was now aged 33, described on his arrival notes as being 5ft 4ins tall, with a dark complexion and pale hazel eyes. He was listed on the muster (an early form of census) as working as a Fuller at Lane Cove. (A fuller’s job was to clean woven or knitted wool cloth of impurities and make it thicker, a process known as fulling.) Convicts embarking into Port Jackson, circa 1810 Nunn Family History • Page 3 of 75

JOSEPH JENN IN GS Convicts in Sydney

Joseph’s sons

Convicts at the time had a surprising degree of actual freedom, which Joseph appeared to make the

Two events, however, were to bring his old life back in England into sharper focus. In 1827, the Sydney Morning Herald listed the passengers and cargo on the

most of. On 18 November 1815, less than two years after first arriving in Australia, he married Hannah Fearne in St Phillip’s Church, Sydney. Despite our best efforts, we can’t trace any annulment or death record for his first wife, so he might

ship “The Medway”, bound for Sydney from England via Tasmania. On board was Joseph’s son Thomas, with ‘two cases’ of goods for his father.

well have been a bigamist!

Two Sons, one Tragedy

At the time of his conditional pardon in 1821, Joseph was working as an overseer on the land at half rations, but he quickly

On Thomas’ arrival, Joseph potentially had two sons in Australia, since at some point he

moved into another job as a housekeeper.

adopted a son, Joseph Jennings Walker. Sadly, the only thing we know about JJW was the

By 1828, he had joined the trade he was to follow for much of his life, as a publican. Over the next 20

unfortunate accident that killed him in 1836.

years he would be the licensed publican of at least three Sydney

According to a newspaper report in the Sydney Gazette, young JJW, then aged about 11

pubs: the Bricklayers Arms in Market Street, and two different Freemason’s Arms, one in Market Street and one in Elizabeth Street. Joseph’s Certificate of Freedom,

The Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser Thursday 10th June 1836

granted in April 1833, finally enabled him to rise in society. The name of the pubs also gives a clue to his other passion, and perhaps the secret behind his rising above his convict status, Freemasonry.

years, was playing with other lads in a ball court next to the Cat and Bagpipes pub in York Street, Sydney. One of the side brick walls collapsed, crushing JJW and killing him outright, and seriously injuring another boy. Joseph was called to the scene but could do nothing and was led away by friends “quite distracted”.

For example, in 1834, he was mentioned as a good example of a model citizen when he apprehended two drunken men driving a speeding cart on a Monday afternoon! The Sydney Gazette noted that: “If other respectable persons would follow his example when they see drivers guilty of such behaviour, the practice might soon be checked.” (The speeding driver received 50 lashes – beats a speed camera and fine any day!)

York Street, Sydney 1842

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“The name ‘Australian Social Masonic Lodge’ is an informal variant, occurring almost nowhere else, for the Australian Social Lodge, sometimes also called the Masonic Australian Social Lodge or the Australian Masonic Social Lodge, the term ‘Masonic’ being worked in somewhere from time to time to indicate the general category. A news item of 30 June 1821 notes that there are two Masonic bodies in the colony, that of His Majesty’s 48th Regiment (no. 218 Irish Constitution) and the Australian Social Lodge (no. 260 I.C.), the latter recently granted from Ireland by the Duke of Leinster and approved by the Governor of New South Wales. They celebrated, according to ancient custom, the anniversary of John the Baptist (24 June) with a procession and a meeting at the Lodge Room (Smith’s, Hyde Park), where Rev. Ralph Mansfield delivered a sermon on brotherly love and a collection was taken up for the Benevolent Society.”

The description of the Social lodge came from website:

Masons Just 14 days after young JJW died, the same newspaper reported the opening of the new Masonic Lodge 260, with Joseph Jennings named as a brother, a great honour at what must have been a very difficult time. There are no records of what Joseph’s natural son Thomas did after his arrival in Australia, but we do know that in August 1833, at the age of 29, Thomas was married to Maria Smith by the Rev John McGarvie in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland 2nd Scots Church House in Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Joseph was almost certainly present at Thomas’s wedding, as Joseph’s second wife Hannah was a witness on the marriage certificate. 1833 was quite a year for the family, as just four month earlier, Joseph had been granted his Certificate of Freedom.

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By 1841, Thomas had moved to Queen Street in Melbourne, where he was working as a carpenter, and in 1842, pillar of society Thomas purchased land for a new Wesleyan Chapel. Perhaps this generous gesture was inspired by the idea that they were soon to become very, very wealth. It appears that father and son had their sights set on a greater prize, possibly the greatest prize of the age, and one that involved returning to England. In 1843, as a Port Phillip newspaper reported, father and son were due to set

Great Collins Street, looking east from the Wesleyan Chapel, 1850s

sail together to stake their claim to a vast fortune, the Jennens Inheritance.

The Jennens Inheritance In 1798, William Jennens, a former page to George 1, died with an unsigned will in his pocket, the result, it was claimed by his servant, of Jennens leaving his spectacles behind when the will was drawn up by his solicitor. A notorious miser, Jennens had made his fortune as a moneylender, and when the estate was assessed, banknotes totally £19,000 were found in an iron chest, in addition to £20,000 found in coins and notes elsewhere, plus a considerable amount of plate (silverware) and valuables he inherited from his own mother. In total, the estate was worth around £2million, making Jennens the richest man in England. Jennens had no children and no brothers, so whilst the land and house passed to his first cousin Earl Howe, the rightful heir to the fortune was yet to be established. This lack of a true heir led to a veritable gold rush of claims; as a Sydney newspaper later reported, “Great endeavours are being made to discover the legitimate heir to immense wealth, which is said of right must belong to some person bearing the name of ‘Jennens’ or possibly the corrupted one of ‘Jennings’”. With such a massive amount of money at stake, and a very long journey to claim it, Joseph and Thomas must have still thought they had sufficient grounds to press their claim in person back in Britain. Despite the Port Phillip press report of an ‘imminent departure’ in 1843, it is likely they did not depart until 1845, when Joseph instructed that his household goods and possession be sold by auction, perhaps to pay for the trip. Despite the long journey and the high hopes, father and son eventually returned empty handed, leaving London on Christmas Eve 1846 and arriving back in Sydney in June 1847. In fact, not one claimant ever received money from the estate, which became so famous (or infamous) for dragging on interminably that Charles Dickens probably used it for the inspiration of the endless court case Jarndyce v Jarndyce in his novel Bleak House. Throughout the 19th century, many claimants came forward (thanks to a veritable army of lawyers paid handsomely to pursue their case), only to have their claims refuted. As a result, by the time of the last claim in 1934, 136 years after Jennen’s death, there was literally no money left – the legal processes and lawyer’s fees has consumed the lot. Nunn Family History • Page 6 of 75


Melbourne Argus, Tuesday 5th December 1854

Joseph Jenning’s Death Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 24th May 1856

Once back in Australia, Joseph appears to have lost his passion for

firm of undertakers, and on his return to Melbourne, he continued in the

pubs. Certainly he doesn’t appear to have been granted any more pub

trade, finally setting up his own business in 1854.

licences until his death in 1856, dying a respected member of the colony and much ‘lamented’ by his

His undertaking business carried on very well for the next 30 odd years and at the respectable age of 79 in


1883, Thomas died of heart disease (angina pectoris).

After his father’s death, Thomas continued the family trend of rising in society.

Thomas Jennings Before the trip to England to claim their fortune, Thomas had been working for a

1804 - 1883

He had outlived two of his eight children, although our direct ancestor and his daughter, Maria Harriet Jennings, died just a year after her father, in 1884.

Marriage Schedule for Maria Harriet Jennings and Edward McMullen 25th March 1861 Nunn Family History • Page 7 of 75

K YLI E P O L L OC K t o JOSEPH JENN IN GS Relationship: Kylie Maree POLLOCK to Joseph JENNINGS Joseph JENNINGS is the 5th great grandfather of Kylie Maree POLLOCK 5th great grandfather

Joseph JENNINGS b:

1780 Birmingham, Warwickshire, England


23 May 1856 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

4th great grandfather

Thomas JENNINGS b:

1804 Birmingham, Warwickshire, England


13 Sep 1883 Moonee Ponds, Victoria, Australia

3rd great grandmother

Maria Harriett JENNINGS b:

24 Dec 1842 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


17 Mar 1884 Surry Hills, New South Wales,

2nd great grandfather

William James MCMULLEN b:

4 Jan 1863 Surry Hills, New South Wales,


1947 Granville, New South Wales,

Great grandfather

Edward John MCMULLEN b:

26 Sep 1890 Redfern, Sydney, New South Wales,


5 May 1944 Chatswood, New South Wales,

Maternal grandmother

Dulcie Edina Jean MCMULLEN b:

9 Jan 1920 Wahroonga, New South Wales,


12 Sep 1992 Crescent Head, New South Wales,

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Saturday, 24 September 2011 16:37:42

Nunn Family History • Page 8 of 75


John JENNENS b. 1640 d. 1856


m. 1803

b. 1674 d. 1756


m. 18713

Elizabeth WROXHAM

b. 1721





b. 1754





m. 1776


b. 1780


d. 1856



m. 1743


m. 1803


b. 1804

b. 1754

d. 1883


m. 1833

Mary BAKER b. d.

Nunn Family History • Page 9 of 75


John JENNENS b. 1579 d. 1652/3


m. 1602

b. 1606/07 d. 1672/3 m. 1636

Mary JENNENS b. 1580 d. 1622

Jane AMBROSE b. 1614 d.

Robert JENNENS b. 1500 d. 1575


m. 1534

b. 1525 d. 1602 m. 1558/9

Ellen BEARD b. d.

Johanne ELLIOTT b. d.

Nunn Family History • Page 10 of 75

N AME ORI G I N - JENNIN GS This interesting surname, is from early medieval English origin, although later strongly associated with both Wales and Ireland. Recorded in the spellings of Jennings, Jennins and Jennens, it is a patronymic. It derives from the given name Janyn or Jenyn, a diminutive of the personal name John, and meaning "Little John". John itself derives from the Hebrew name "Yochanan", meaning "Jehovah has favoured (me with a son)". The patronymic surname dates back to the late 13th Century, "John" being a 12th century Crusader introduction. Soldiers of the crusades returning from the Holy Land, gave to their children and specifically sons, Hebrew and Greek names as a reminder of the fathers "pilgrimage". This was recognised by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. These "English" personal names which later became surnames, include such examples as Thomas, Isaac, Abraham, and many others. In this case early recordings include: Walter Jannes and Richard Janyns in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire of 1327, Janyn le Breton of the County of Lancashire in 1332, Jenyn de Fraune of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, Thomas Jenyn, in the charter rolls of 1428 known as "Inquisitions and Assessments relating to Feudal Aids". Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Jennyns, was christened on August 9th 1544, at St. Pancras', Soper Lane, London, and Jeffrey Jennings was christened on August 24th 1561, at St. Dunstans in the East, London, John Jenens, citizen of Oxford, was registered at Oxford University in 1573. Ralph Jenyngs of Chester, was documented in the Wills at Chester in 1610. A notable member of the name was Sarah Jennings, an attendant and a close friend of Queen Anne who had a clandestine marriage in 1677 to John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough. This enhanced his prospects in promotion and prestige with the royal family. In 1702 Sarah was made Groom of the Stole, Mistress of the Robes and Keeper of the Privy Purse. After the Duke’s death, Sarah spent the rest of her life renovating and restoring the palace at Blenheim and editing her own, and her husband’s, papers for publication. Among the namebearers in the "Dictionary of National Biography" is Sir Patrick Alfred Jennings (1831 1896), who was Premier of New South Wales. He was born in Newry, Ireland, and emigrated to the gold fields of Victoria in 1852, before moving to New South Wales in 1863. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Jonyng, which was dated 1296, in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Nunn Family History • Page 11 of 75

Nunn Family History 1  
Nunn Family History 1  

Chapter 1 Thomas Jennings