(Last updated - 15 Jan 2008)
Hempnall is the largest of the 21 parishes of Depwade Hundred in south Norfolk - about 10 miles south of Norwich. It's a fertile area of mixed farms with an elongated main village spread along 'The Street'. In times past, this was the scene of much weaving of wool and linen hemp produced by the local Yeoman farmers. Prior to the 16th century, the name of the parish was 'Hemenhale' - derived from 'Home Hall', its original principal manor. Whether its name was transformed to Hempnall with the advent there in the 15th century of much flax-growing and hemp production remains speculation.
The family of Jermyn - with its many variations (as Jermin, Jarmen, Jermine, Jermy, Jermany, etc) - is well represented in the older church registers throughout rural south and east Norfolk. When searching out the ancestry of any of the many branches (the 'diaspora') of this extensive family, the parish of Hempnall usually becomes predominant eventually - as noted for example in their many Wills of the 16th and 17th centuries. The earliest of these discovered thus far, dated 1504, and what exists of the Hempnall's church register begun in 1560, indicates that this was a focal point from which many if not most subsequent Jermyns in Norfolk derive. The Jermyns of Hempnall were mostly Yeomen, Linen Weavers and Tailors although one seems to have been a Clergyman and one only accorded Gent status in the 1680s. In addition, many families given the name Jermy are, in reality, derived from this same early epicentre of Jermyns - their name having been shortened (mainly after the Civil war) by earlier clerics and registrars to a form with which they were probably more familiar. For many of that shorter name (unrelated to the Jermyns) were enrolled at the same colleges and universities as such Norfolk clergymen, at a time when few if any Jermyns were (at least from Norfolk).
Depwade Hundred - organised as such during the later Anglo-saxon period (ca 800) - was named from a deep-waded ford across the small river Tas, at Tasburgh. The more successful Saxon (ie English) thegns/thanes there, as elsewhere, gradually developed their early feudal manors and estates which often over-lapped parish boundaries so that, by the time the Danes arrived (ca 865-920), and took control in their Danelaw areas (most of East Anglia), local administration had become an Anglo-Danish amalgam of parish, manor and Hundred influences. Hemenhall, like most local parishes, was thus held by a Danish nobleman - one Thomas Torn - when the Normans arrived in 1066. Some of the principal English families however had retained control in some East Anglian parishes before that important date - provided they could pay sufficient danegeld. It has been estimated that there were in all England about 4000 English thegns and Danish noblemen prior to 1066 - the latter mainly in the East, including Norfolk and Suffolk.
But William the Conqueror soon imposed his much more comprehensive manorial/feudal system on these families throughout the realm - with all land, initially, held by the King - who then parcelled it out to about 200 of his most loyal Norman Barons and relatives. They would soon sub-divide this further amongst their many more supporters in the knighted class of local gentry. Again, however, while these latter men were often of Norman extraction themselves, control at this local level required loyalty from many of Danish and English origin as well, and sons in these principal families were also encouraged to train to knighted status - regardless of racial origins. The currency of this encouragement towards loyalty was land which, while ostensibly only 'held' of someone higher in the hierarchy, could be passed on through inheritance and marriage. And, from about 1250, it could also be 'bought and sold' in a de facto sense, through the copyhold and leasehold systems.
Depwade Hundred was held by the Crown itself from 1066 until about 1220. Before the Domesday survey (1086), the chief manor of Hempnall (HemenHale) in this Hundred had been granted, along with 43 other Norfolk manors, to Ralph Baynard - 'to hold of the King' - as part of his Barony of Baynard's Castle (the principal seat of which was located then near present day St Paul's Cathedral, London). Other major Norman benefactors to share Norfolk's 400 or so Manors included William de Varrenne (later Earl Warren - of Surrey) and Alan Rufus who, between them were granted over half the county - again to hold 'of the King'. However, they and their heirs generally resided elsewhere and played little or no direct part in Norfolk's history. They likely traded off such holdings over time to more locally-based magnates. Ralph de Waher had also received several manors in 1067 and was appointed 1st Earl of Norfolk and Suffolk. He did reside locally - at Norwich castle - giving him local power and influence. But, he held a seat at Exning, Suffolk as well and, in 1075, he plotted unsuccessfully there with several other Barons to overthrow William and had to flee back to Normandy. His lands and titles were then conferred upon Roger Bigod (the elder) who already held a large number of manors in East Anglia - having fought at the side of William at Hastings. This man and his heirs then retained this local power base for an impressive 230 years or about 8 or 9 generations, extending it when they could (eg by acquiring land from the Warrens). The 'Honour' of their chief holdings, with the Earldom of Norfolk, was centred initially on Norwich Castle and was eventually valued at 120 knight's fees and ran to over 85,000 acres - in 80 Norfolk parishes. Moreover, the Bigods also held 115 manors in Suffolk - including Walton, Framlingham and Bungay castles. They thus ruled the bulk of East Anglia more or less independently in often uneasy alliance or outright conflict with succeeding monarchs throughout the 12th and 13th centuries.
By 1307, however, the last Roger Bigod, the 7th Earl of Norfolk, had died without male heir and while his brother did have a son, the family's titles and property finally reverted to the Crown - by a prior agreement. Edward the First subsequently conferred them upon his 5th son - Thomas Plantagenet de Brotherton - this being finalised by his eldest brother Edward II in 1312. Dying without surviving male heir himself - in 1338 - Thomas's eldest daughter Margaret inherited and was created 1st Duchess of Norfolk. She married Lord Seagrave and their only child, a daughter, married Thomas, Lord Mowbray who, on his wife's death, succeeded to all this power and land in 1397. Once again through a daughter, this title and the former Bigod lands came eventually to the Howard family - long established in west Norfolk - who still retain this, the premier Dukedom in England, although much of the original holdings were gradually sold off or relinquished to the Crown before 1700.
The chief Court for the Duke's 'Liberty' (the totality of his holdings and jurisdiction) was often held at Lopham or at Forncett St Mary in Norfolk. He controlled four complete Hundreds - those of Earsham, Guiltcross, Launditch and South Greenhoe - and 34 other scattered parishes in south-east Norfolk around Loddon. Depwade Hundred itself (including Forncett and Hempnall) had been granted to John de Clavering in 1327. Most of these Hundreds had been the Bigods' for centuries and if the last Roger Bigod had only had a son, they could still have held it today (as do the Howards). One may mention here that at Forncett St Mary, Tharston and Wacton in Depwade Hundred (not that far from Hempnall) part of a Manor there was held from 1305 by members of the Jermy family (whose genealogy is described elsewhere on this website). There appears to be no evidence to support the idea that they and the nearby Germyns of Hempnall were related or have a common origin. However, some may wish to argue the converse, if they know of any evidence.
Sir Ralph's Manor on the other hand remained with the Hemenhales through most of the 14th and 15th centuries before they failed in the male line and it passed to a grandaughter's husband Sir Thomas Brooke. Their son Sir Edward Brooke died seized of it in 1468. According to Blomefield, it somehow then 'came' to one Richard Blomvyle or Blunderville by 1500 - but was then 'held of the Fitzwalters' (to whom it must have reverted) now as part as of their main manor of Hemenhale - at a token rent of one pence per year. One of the Richardson family (later to hold Stanfield Hall) then acquired it before the Civil war (ca 1635) after which it was broken up and sold piecemeal as had the rest of the Hempnall Manor.
The Hemenhales had been a major family for a time - with several knights and Bishops amongst them - owning property and settling mainly far from Hempnall - in both north Norfolk and Suffolk (one of the latter marrying an early Jermy there). But the largest Hearth tax payer in Hempnall by the 1670s was a local Attorney Robert Chettleborough. The parish church guide refers to the former Vicarage as 'The Old Manor' - which adjoins 'Manor Farm' - as the only evidence now (ca 2000+) of Hempnall's manorial past.
Throughout the 15th to 18th centuries, the Yeomen of Hempnall, owners of much of its land, supplied local Linen Weavers with fibre from which they would supply cloth to the Tailors - both locally and in Norwich. The Jermyns would appear to have been a major player in all three elements of this cottage industry. Some were also Tailors in Norwich. In his 'Norfolk Families', Rye refers to one Thomas Germyn, a Tailor admitted a Freeman in Norwich in 1453 - and so born around 1425-30. There was also a William Jermyne of nearby Hellesdon who left a Will in 1433 (details presently misplaced). Because there were also Tailors named Jermyn in Norwich at a later date, who had verified Hempnall connections, one is tempted to assume a relationship between this earlier Tailor and the William Germyn of Hempnall whose Will of 1504 was referred to above. Thus, a William Jermyn, Tailor of Norwich, was buried in St Giles church, Norwich in 1617 and left a Will in which he leaves "..to my son John, my lands in Hempnall..". And a little later, another Norwich Tailor, John Jermyn, left 5 1/2 acres next to Hempnall (in Saxlingham) to his son John Jermyn in 1646 - being land left him by his father Bernard Jermyn - a grandson of Ralph Jermyn of Hempnall who died in 1556. The above William Germyn left land in 1504 to, amongst others, Bernard's father - Thomas Jermyn, who had settled in Gt Plumstead (see section on the Jermyns of Broadland for more on that area).
William and Thomas Germyn, the earlier Tailor of Norwich, could well be descended from the earliest Germyn noted thus far in the area - one Thomas Germyn (born ca 1270, say) - who sold property in Hemenhale in 1305 (as per Feet of Fines records). Any early Manor court records may provide evidence of the probable links between this man and these later members of the family. One may note here that as early as 1174, there were German 'merchants from Cologne' settled in small colonies in many of England's larger towns (eg as Norwich or Yarmouth) - as described in Asa Brigg's 'A Social History of England'. The locals may well have called them such as Johannes or Tomas 'the German' - from which the surname 'Germyn' (for their children) would no doubt readily evolve, as they mostly did during the 1200s for the many occupational names. The surname of the Jermy family, on the other hand, would seem more likely to derive from the early Norman forename Jeremy or Jeremiah (see section on the Genealogy of the Jermy Family for further discussion of this point).
In his Will of 1504, William Germyn of Hempnall referred to 'my Curate', John More...'. This could imply that William was himself a Cleric - in charge of the local church - who had the assistance of such a Curate, or that he was a chief landowner there at the time and use this possessive pronoun as a Lord of the Manor might. [Note reference above to the Vicarage having been The Old Manor.] Any such position - implying some learning or status - was probably difficult to maintain however. Whether as Vicar or Esquire, his son and heir Ralph Jermeyn (d 1556), who was left various pieces of land in Hempnall, wasn't able to maintain this situation. For he had 4 and possibly 6 sons to consider and all but the eldest probably had to go down the Yeoman and/or Artisan routes. The elder two appear to have pre-deceased him - likely being his own and his father's namesakes - Ralph and William. For in his Will, he then names his 4 younger sons Thomas, Robert, Richard and John Jermyn. Of these, Thomas Jermyn would seem to have been the eldest survivor for he would hold land in several local parishes including (besides Hempnall) Saxlingham and Shottesham, as well as in Gt Plumstead some miles to the north (and thus across the natural boundary of the river Yare), as mentioned above. At his death, still unmarried, he left money to the churches in all three of these latter parishes. But the younger sons of Ralph, who remained in or nearer Hempnall, would receive rather less and it was primarily their sons from whom the expanding numbers of later Jermyns of Hempnall and area appear to have derived, including several Edmonds, Ralphs, Johns and Roberts. But some remained at Yeoman level at least.
While many of these later Jermyn descendants maintained their Yeoman and Artisan station in society - often as Linen and Worsted Weavers - and indeed one may have become a Clergymen, others held the posts of parish Steward and Bailiff and another achieving Gent status, it was inevitable that many more would have to disperse to other parishes and fend for themselves in more Husbandman and, eventually, agricultural labouring classes, as the 18th century proceeded. Nevertheless, in Hempnall itself, further Wills and the local church register provide more data on which subsequent pedigrees may be partly constructed. Unfortunately, the latter has two lengthy gaps in it - from 1599 to 1612 and, during the civil war and commonwealth period, from 1642/3 to 1660. Several men born in that earlier period appear to be crucial in unravelling later paternities. During the war, the then Vicar, the Rev William Barwick, was quite outspoken against the Puritans in Parliament and Cromwell's East Anglian overlord, the Earl of Manchester, responded by mutilating the font and removing bells from the tower. Rev Barwick was soon ejected from his living in 1644 and the Army then billetted at Hempnall. The register has an entry in it written in 1660 saying that a local man - Edward Sporle - 'kept away the register book from about 1643 until his death' (in 1658). Presumably some other (Puritan) cleric eventually replaced Rev Barwick and performed baptism, marriage and burial services during this period, but unfortunately did not record same in any book that has survived. However, Edward Sporle Jnr had married a Jermyn girl in 1643 (one of the last events openly recorded in the register) and he or his father seem later to have registered a few such events in the hidden register, for friends and relatives - surreptitiously - including the baptisms of two Robert Jermyns - in 1647 - each born to a different Robert JermynSnr (see discussion also on this point in the section on the 'Spurgeon-Jermy' connection, as well as below regarding Robert Jermyn, Quaker, born about the same time). But there were several other young Jermyn fathers having issue in Hempnall over this same period and sadly these missing facts also prevent us constructing complete and reliable pedigrees for all the subsequent Jermyns of Hempnall. The registers in neighbouring Saxlingham and Shottesham, where others of the Jermyn family now resided, were also incomplete as I recall.
Nevertheless, we can try to deduce some of this missing information from what is available. A major difficulty is the repeated use of the same few christian names over several over-lapping generations - especially 'Ralph, Edmund, Robert and John Jermyns. When age at burial or status at other events (as single, widow, child of..., etc) are also rarely given, it becomes very difficult to establish identities with any confidence. We may first give an overview of a part of the family by reproducing here the outline pedigree as shown in 'The Spurgeon - Jermy' account. This covers mainly those that appeared relevant in that study, as well as touching on those who eventually spread north of the Yare via Kirby Bedon, Surlingham or Langley (as now described in the Jermyns and Jermys of Broadland). Other lines, which spread more easterly and southerly - eventually into north-east Suffolk, will need further analysis - as will those who settled in Norwich.
While so many of the Jermys and Jermyns of Norfolk appear to have derived from this Hempnall family, there were a few others who may have had a different origin. There was for example, a Thomas Germyn at Little Yarmouth (today South Town in Gorleston) in 1325 (as per Patent Rolls) who had sought to obtain landing rights there and from whom other early Jermyns and Jermys in the far east of Norfolk (in Lothingland and Clavering Hundreds) may conceivably have derived and spread westward - towards Thurlton ans Loddon say - by the 15-1600s. Thus, a Henry and a William Jermyn paid subsidy taxes in nearby Mundham and Hellington in 1525, the same year as did Ralph Jermyn in Hempnall. Were they related ? (Or was the Yarmouth Thomas related instead to the landed Jermys of East Suffolk - settled there since ca 1200 ?) There was also a Richard Germyn at North Tuddenham - noted in a 1327 Subsidy Roll (and others of this surname at Snettisham, Moreton-on-the-Hill and/or Attlebridge (details presently mislaid), although there seems to have been no subsequent spread of either name in that general area (ie of north-west Norfolk), near or beyond East Dereham. The latter town was in Mitford Hundred which was long held by a religious order in Ely. Interestingly, the last Abbot in charge of the Abbey at East Dereham was one Roger Jermy at the Dissolution in 1536. He was given a pension of £66 per annum - a very large amount at the time. (NRO) His origins are unknown (born ca 1480, say) but intriguing. Possibly records at Ely Cathedral or Cambridge Record Office might reveal something on him ?
On the Genealogy of the Family of Robert Jermyn, Quaker (c1648-1720)
By the time of the Civil war, with its religious turmoil, one of the non-conformist sects that soon developed quite rapidly (during the 1650s) was that of the Quakers. Interested new members would meet in one of their own homes - called 'Meeting Houses' - where marriages and baptisms were allowed, and recorded in their own register books. Burials also took place in their own burial grounds and similarly recorded. Each of these would serve a wider area of a dozen or more of the nearby civil parishes. There were Quaker Meeting Houses in both Saxlingham and Hempnall, for example, and burial grounds in nearby Tasburgh and Tivetshall, which also had Meeting Houses.
One early Quaker marriage noted in this area was that on 15 Oct 1669 in the Saxlingham Meeting House (at the home of a Thomas Dormere) between Susan Germine, daughter of Edmond Germine and wife Ann of that parish, and Robert Goodwin, also of same. We may assume that both Edmond and his new brother-in-law, Robert's father, had joined this new church a few years before - possibly during the 1650s when local Church of England parish churches had been largely taken over by the Puritans and had often ceased performing and/or adequately recording baptisms, marriages and burials. I believe Susan was born (and probably baptised) in Saxlinghan Nethergate in Jan 1642/3. Witnesses at the marriage included a Mary Germin. It seems quite possible that Robert Jermyn of the present account was another child of Edmond and Ann but, unlike her, did not have his birth and/or baptism properly recorded in a local parish church during the later 1640s, when so many registers were poorly kept. [It was initially thought that Robert was born to Edmond and Ann in Saxlingham Nethergate and baptised there on 19 Nov 1646, but registered in error as 'Roger', a name that was thought to not re-appears locally. But it was later recalled that there was in fact a Roger Jarmine active some miles north in Surlingahm in the 1670s and likely born ca 1645. No other Rogers seem apparent locally at that time. To exemplify the difficulty in establishing such identities, there were also two other Robert Jermyns born in or near Hempnall in 1647.]
Another born in Saxlingham to Edmond and Ann was Thomas (in 1644) who, as Thomas Germine, was probably the witness of that name at another local Quaker marriage, in 1673. It may be significant that Edmond Jermyn of Saxlingham was assessed for 5 Hearths in 1668; this would imply a fairly well-off Yeoman, one whose sons would in time be expected to achieve a similar status locally, as indeed did Robert Jermyn, our future Quaker. In any case, like Susan, Robert was clearly brought up in the new Quaker church in Saxlingham and/or Hempnall and would eventually marry 3 (or 4) times (between ca 1672 and 1712) to partners who, like himself, were all members of that community - in such as Hempnall, Saxlingham, Shottesham, Tasburgh, Brooke and Woodton - all located within a few miles of each other. Their monthly Meetings were often held in Tivetshall, a few miles south.
[It seems quite possible that the aforementioned Edmond (1610-1691 in Saxlingham) may have been the second son of Edmond Jermyn Snr (1566-1625) and wife Prudence (d 1650) also of Saxlingham, with an older brother Robert and sister Temperance also born there in 1596 and 1598, respectively, the latter marrying Robert Beckett in 1620. This elder Edmond appears to be a younger son of the Thomas Jermyn (and wife Agnes) who had settled in Gt Plumstead, but buried back at Saxlingham in 1590, leaving a Will and land. Others sons were Ralph (1562-1649), Richard (c1570-1651) and Barnard (1572-1601). Thomas's father was Ralph Jermyn Snr of Hempnall whose Will was proved in 1556. Some of this line is described further in Part I of the Jermyns of Broadland. Awkwardly, there was also an Edmond Jermyn in nearby Shottesham, with a wife Jane, who had a son Robert c1650, I believe. But they appear not to have been Quakers. It would be most useful to locate any Will left by the Edmond who died in 1691.
At present, the location of the first (or possibly second) marriage of Robert the Quaker (born c1648) - ie to Judith (Judy) Campling in about 1675 - has not yet been found. She was the daughter of a Quaker - Robert Campling (1624-1704), he then of Gt Yarmouth, where Judith was baptised on 5 April 1655. Her father however was born at Stratton Strawless (north of Norwich) - earlier that century (according to Arthur Campling, noted pre-war genealogist) when his family lived also in neighbouring Hainford. There was likely one or more Quaker Meeting Houses in Yarmouth (as there were in Norwich) and, conceivably, this could be where Robert and Judith married. Because this community was initially quite restricted, there would likely be some encouragement for members to meet socially in groups at such larger centres from time to time and by this means, some marriage unions may well have been arranged between couples from quite distant abodes who would otherwise be more likely to have married (as had their ancestors for generations) within their more local 'gene pool'.
As a result, some 'hybrid vigour' might be expected to develop within this community, as well as success in life generally through various inter-family, intra-community help schemes (eg witness the Quaker banking and chocolate families of Gurney, Fry, Cadbury, Barclay, etc). They wanted to 'get on'. [Note: It is possible that Robert had in fact married firstly, as Robert German (or 'Germans'?), in about 1670 or so to a Margaret...... who died in 1674, being buried on 12 Aug that year in Tasburgh, although not necessarily in the Quaker grounds there (this needs confirmation). They had a son Henry baptised that same date in this parish (or Meeting House?). If so, and he lived, he could represent the Henry to be referred to below (who later married a Quaker, Mary Jackson) or he could be a Henry born a year of two later). He and another son, Daniel, may thus have been half-brothers, unless both were born to this Margaret?] It may be mentioned here that another Campling girl of Yarmouth - an Elizabeth - married there (in 1683) - to John Preston (born ca ?1660), a member, I would presume, of Yarmouth Prestons who dominated life there later. I'm not aware that they were ever Quakers, however.]
Robert had at least 4 children in the 1670s although only the last-born's details seem certain. The first with Judy appears to have been a namesake daughter Judith in about 1675, possibly followed by sons Daniel and Henry Jermyn (unless, as suggested, they were born to a first wife Margaret) and then Joseph with Judy in 1678 - born in Woodton. There may have been a final child born before Judy died, she being buried in the Quaker burial ground at Tivetshall on June 31 1682, as Judy Jarmy, wife of Robert Jarmy, now of Shottesham, Yeoman. These name choices do not however provide confidence that his father was necessarily an Edmond. Two of the names (Daniel and Joseph) may conceivably be accounted for by Robert's non-conformist, old testament orientation, although not Henry. While he didn't name a son Edmond (of whom we are aware), nor did he commemorate his own name of Robert, which seems equally unusual. His father may have been another local Jermyn therefore - as Robert Jermyn Snr of Hempnall, whose wife was Alice; they had a son Robert in 1647 and a daughter Alice there in 1749. However, Robert didn't name a daughter Alice.
In any case, Robert must have been of a local Jermyn family of Yeoman farmers, with some property, as he was consistently shown to be of this status himself throughout his adult life - and always of this area. As such, he would in his teens and 20s have acquired from his father or uncles the management skills to rent and run, if not own, larger farms at various locations in the local area. He was later shown successively as being 'of Woodton (1678), Shottisham (1682), Brooke (1692), Woodton again (1701 to 1712), and of Hempnall itself (1710) and finally, 1720, when first he, as 'Robert Jermyn of Hempnall, Yeoman' and 2 years later, his then widow 'Sarah Jermyn of Hempnall', were buried at the Quaker's burial ground at nearby Tasburgh. In 1680, 1692, 1701, 1702 and 1705, he signed his name on different Quaker occasions as: Robert Germin, Robert Germy and Robert Jermyn (on the latter 3 occasions), respectively.
Robert's second (or third?) marriage was at the Quaker Meeting House at Tasburgh on 11 Aug 1692 when, as Robert Germyn, widower of Brooke, Yeoman, he married Ruth Booty, daughter of John Booty, Yeoman, a Quaker of nearby Stratton St Michael. Witnesses included his children by Judy (and/or Margaret) - Daniel, Henry and Judeth 'Germy' (who all signed as such); another witness was an Elizabeth German. Robert and Ruth appear to have had no issue rhemselves although Ruth lived to 1710/11 when she was buried in the Quaker cemetery in Tivetsall - as Ruth Jermyn, wife of Robert Jermyn - on January 21. They resided at that time in Woodton, but formerly at Brooke. Robert, as Robert Jarmyn of Woodton, Yeoman, soon re-married - on 1 Feb 1711/12, again at Tasburgh, to Sarah Pitt (nee Filby), widow of James Pitt (who had died in 1709), a Linen Weaver and Quaker of Alburgh (south of Tivetshall). Witnesses at the marriage included Robert's sons Joseph and Henry and their wives Margaret and Mary, as well as Margaret's father Samuel Pettingell. Again, no issue is apparent from this union (from which the family's later historian Rev George Jermyn wrongly stated the family descended). Robert died in 1720, being buried on 3 June that year in Tasburgh as 'Robert Jermyn of Hempnall' (where, we recall, Margaret was earlier buried). His last wife Sarah followed him there also - on 15 Jun 1722. She left a Will with no references to her deceased husband's progeny from previous marriages, only to married daughters from her own first marriage to James Pitt.
No further information is known about the younger Judith, nor about Daniel. The son Henry, however, became a Woolcomber of Norwich and, as Henrey Jarmin, son of Robert Jarmin of 'Wooton' (as interpreted by some Norwich clerk), married at St Mary Coslany, Norwich on 14 Aug 1701 to Mary Jackson, daughter of Henry Jackson, Worsted Weaver of Norwich who appears to also have been a Quaker. Most of his family remained in the Quaker community there for a time. They had three children: Isaac, Robert and Elizabeth Jermyn, all born in Norwich and later marrying. Isaac, born in 1702 married (as Jermyn) in the Quaker Meeting House in Wells, on the north Norfolk coast, on 15 Nov 1726, to Sarah Bailey, a Quaker (further exemplifing the geographical spread of such unions). They appear to have had 4 daughters named Mary born in Wells - on 29 Oct 1727, 20 July 1728, 23 Nov 1733 and 8 July 1734 who all died only a few days old. I'm unaware if they had further issue. Isaac's wife Sarah Jermyn died 11 May 1772, aged 78, and Isaac himself on 27 Apr 1787, aged 'abt 85' - both recorded as per the monthly 'Norwich Meetings' at the time; where they were buried was not stated.
The next son, Robert, was born in 1704 (baptised 5 April) and married in Norwich in 1730 to Margaret Brand of Royston, Hertfordshire, possibly another Quaker (and thus the rather distant linkage between the two families). Robert had first served an apprenticeship as a Draper in Bungay, Suffolk, in the 1720s, eventually settling in Baldock, Herts as a Master Draper. He and Margaret also had three children: Mary, Robert and Henry Jermyn, born respectively in 1731, 1733 and 1736. References to them are made by their father Robert in his Will of 1770, he dying that year in Baldock. His youger son Henry pre-deceased him - in 1767, when he was described as being himself 'of Baldock', where he had a large family with his wife Ann (nee Barr). One would assume that some of this family continued there for some time. I'm not aware whether they remained with the Quaker church. Henry and Mary's third child, Elizabeth (born 26 Sept 1705) married, as Jarmyn, to Henry Gooch at St Gregory's, Norwich on 16 Aug 1726, he a Woolcomber and Quaker. Henry Jermyn the father, died on 21 Aug 1753, aged 80 and his wife Mary (as Jarmey) some years before, on 9 Jan 1745/6, aged 69, both again as per Norwich Monthly Meeting records. It is possible that Henry left a Will dated 1753 when he was 'of St Augustine', with land in Oulton and Wymondham, possibly gained through his wife.
The Family descended from Joseph Jermyn.
Henry's younger brother Joseph Jermyn also married in St John de Sepulchre, Norwich, on 24 Sept 1706, to Margaret Pettingel, daughter of Samuel Pettingel of Hempnall, Gent. I'm not aware if this was a marriage arranged through the Quaker church (to which both sets of parents seem to have then belonged) but believe they did not continue in same if it was. They had three and possibly four sons back in Woodton during the first two decades of the 18th century. I presume Joseph continued the family farm(s) in Woodton and area, as a Yeoman and/or manager. The first son was James Jermyn born 1707 in Woodton. Like his father, he too married the daughter of a local Gent (and Vicar), namely, Martha Mingay, doing so at both Surlingham and Gt Yarmouth on the same day, 27 Oct 1730 - the services performed by Martha's cousin Rev John Mingay of Gt Yarmouth, Clerk, who had resided in Shottesham and may thereby have been the catalyst for the marriage. (Confusingly, both Martha's father and brother were also Rev John Mingays.) James didn't take over the farm, however, but became a Solicitor who settled eventually in Halesworth, Suffolk. One might discern the influence in this choice of occupation of one of the moderate gentry families into which this Jermyn famlily had married. Otherwise, like all their cousins of the past, they would likely have remained as farmers - either as yeoman or husbandmen - or, more often, join the labouring classes.
A sequence in the other direction - from an active, restless Quaker Yeoman of the late 17th/early 18th centuries, through a marriage with local gentry in 1706, an apprenticeship for son Robert in the 1720s, a further marriage with gentry in 1730 and finally an education to become a Solicitor about that same time - represents a progressive development often aspired to but rarely achieved in such circles at that time. By far, the progeny of most Yeomen and Husbandmen of Hempnall and area, and later in such as Kirby Bedon, Salhouse, Langley, Surlingham, South Walsham, etc moved in the other direction - increasingly becoming uneducated farm labourers for many generations. The mixing of new genes, and later those of the gentry (plus the latter's achievement/motivational/educational ethos) seems to have provided this 'escape route' for our presently considered family. And they were to rise even more over the following generations. (This point is made here as it will be relevant in a discussion regarding later members of this same successful line; see below.) Joseph's first wife Margaret died in about 1728 and he re-married - to Elizabeth, daughter (or first wife?) of Robert Adley of Hempnall, Gent in 1730 in Topcroft. There was no issue. (Some years before, the Hempnall Manor Book records a transaction dated 17 Nov 1714 between Samuel Pettingell of Hempnal, Gent and Robert Adley of same, Gent concerning the lease of a house and land in Hempnall.)
James and Martha had two sons - Robert and Peter Jermyn - both born/baptised in the marshland parish of Surlingham (in 1733 and 1737, respectively) where Martha had lived with her Vicar father. [Note: there were a number of Jermyns of labouring and husbandman classes living in this and neighbouting parishes at that time and later.] But elder son Robert would leave this area to become a Merchant in distant Halesworth and a Customs Officer (at Southwold on the Suffolk coast) while Peter followed in his father's footsteps and became an Attorney in Halesworth, to where the family had moved (from Surlingham) by about 1750. They married there within a year of one another - in 1757 and 1758, respectively - to sisters Mary and Elizabeth Rye, daughters and co-heirs of Dr Samuel Rye of Halesworth and his wife Mary (nee Clarke) of nearby Mellis, Suffolk - where her family were major landowners. Both couples had two sons in the 1760s. The elder, Robert, had sons James (born c1764) and Edward (c1768) - possibly in Southwold. James may have become a Customs Officer there like his father (I'm uncertain if he married or had issue), while Edward became a Priest - becoming the Rev Edward Jermyn, Rector of Carlton Colville (near Lowestoft) from 1806 to 1848, when he died there. He had married Sarah, daughter of the Rev Charles Hill in 1813. His son Thomas (born c1814) had followed him in this profession there but pre-deceased him after a fall from a horse in 1842. The Rev Edward had inherited property (Poultney Hall) in Mellis in 1812 (said to be worth £40,000) from his grandmother's family, including Lordship of the Manor there. He was also an Executor of the Will of his great-uncle Benjamin Jermyn of Fritton, Norfolk (a younger brother of his grandfather James and of his other great-uncle Daniel Jermyn of Lt Plumstead - see the Jermyns of Broadland) in 1808.
The younger son of James Snr and Martha, Peter Jermyn, Attorney of Halesworth, had sons Peter Jnr (c1765) and Henry (1767), also in Halesworth. Both boys maitained the legal interests of the family by becoming a Solicitor and a Barrister, respectively. [The IGI shows Peter born in Yarmouth in 1767.] In any case, he married Sarah Bitton of Uggeshall, Suffolk in about 1788 and before dying quite young in 1797 (aged 32) he had 3 sons and 3 daughters. The eldest son George (born 1789, possibly in Gt Yarmouth also, or Halesworth) also went into the church, becoming the Rev George Bitton Jermyn, later a noted Genealogist/Antiquarian. He married firstly in 1815 to Catherine, daughter of Dr Hugh Rowland, Keeper of the Queen's Privy Purse, from whom there appears to have been no issue, and secondly to Ann (nee Fly) ca 1828, by whom he had a son Hugh W Jermyn in ca 1830, who became a Bishop. He in turn married about 1860 Ellen Scudamore with whom he had a large family, including the Rev Edmund Jermyn who married Constance Carmichael and had issue. Rev George Jermyn died in 1857 in Sardinia. The elder Peter's younger son Henry Jermyn, the Barrister, had settled at Sibton Hall in Yoxford, Suffolk and, like his nephew Rev George B Jermyn, became an Antiquarian also who was a close friend of David Davy, another noted Suffolk historian . I don't believe Henry married or had issue before dying there in 1820. [It may be noted here that Clement Scott, who had extolled the virtues of 'Poppyland' on the north Norfolk coast, and of 'Louie' Jermy there, had similarly encouraged an interest through his newspaper articles about the area around Yoxford, Suffolk - as another rural idyll.]
It can be seen that the line descending from Robert Jermyn, Yeoman of Hempnall, via his son Joseph's eldest son James, certainly continued their upward mobility, producing eventually Vicars, Lawyers, Bishops and Lords of a Manor. But this general trend as suggested earlier had an exception that proves the rule. For the second son of Joseph, Daniel Jermyn, also born in Woodton - in 1713 - was noted by Campling to have "died in poverty near Norwich". This was at Lt Plumstead, in 1777. He had been a Husbandman there from the time of his marriage in 1730 and possibly for a few years before. He and his wife Amy Shortin had a large family there and the general standing of Daniel's family back in Woodton was at least reflected in the fact that unlike most other Jermyn families that would settle in this area north of the Yare, Daniel's at least were mostly able to write and sign there names. And his eldest son, James and family, did make something of their lives further east in the Reedham and Limpenhoe areas, if not at the level of his namesake uncle and cousins in Suffolk. The details of Daniel's family can be seen in Part II of the section on the Jermyns of Broadland elsewhere on this website - by Clicking here:
The Jermyns and Jermys of Broadland.
The third son of Joseph and Margaret was Benjamin Jermyn, born in 1719 in Woodton. He too remained with Farming and in 1754 (aged 35) was married in Norwich to a widow Mary Sherwood (nee Tuttle). They settled in Fritton but had no issue, although Mary had had a son Tuttle Sherwood about 1748. She died in 1782 in Fritton and left a Will. Benjamin(1) re-married soon after, to a Mary Church born c1752?), by whom he had Benjamin(2) and Joseph (in 1785 and 1796, in Fritton). Benjamin Snr died in 1808 and left a Will in which his estate was to be divided into 3 equal parts to go to his wife and two sons, with the interest of Joseph's part to be applied to his education. An executor was their cousin Rev Edward Jermyn of Carlton Colville. Both sons married and had issue: Benjamin Jnr, then 'of Mellis', married a girl from Thornham, Suffolk and had issue Mary, Benjamin(3) and Robert Henry Jermyn in the period 1810-20. They were likely born and/or raised in Mellis Hall which their father seems to have inherited, or partly purchased after selling his part of Fritton. Benjamin's brother Joseph had one son Peter born 1837, possibly in Mellis, after 4 earlier daughters. Any further issue born to those of this or later generations is presently unknown. I believe their property in Mellis was also called Poutney Hall.
It seems quite possible that Joseph Snr and Margaret had a fourth son, Henry, in about 1724 who also married a Mary Church (clearly born too early to be the one of this same name who later married Benjamin about 1784) - in Norwich in 1749. They had a son John Jarminy, born 4 Aug 1750 in Brooke, who died 10 days later, and then a son Henry, born in Brooke in 1751. Later that same year, Henry the father died in that village and left a Will, signing it as Henry Jarminy of Brooke on 2 Dec 1751 (Old style). This was proved 15 Dec that year when he left "all to my wife Mary", with Executors named as John Church, Surgeon of Barton Turf, and the said Mary. Possibly the two Marys were cousins or aunt and niece?
The foregoing provides essentially the 'bare bones' of the family descended from Robert Jermyn, Yeoman of Hempnall, Quaker which is also depicted in the pedigree some paragraphs below (but does not yet include details of the latter Henry of Brooke). It may be appreciated that later members of this family may well have been curious about their origins, as they continued to achieve noteworthy positions in East Suffolk society. As the Victorian era advanced, it was not uncommon for some of the minor gentry to seek or even create evidence of a more worthy and respected ancestry. Thus we find that, as related by the noted Norfolk genealogist, Walter Rye, in his book 'Norfolk Families', "...a Norfolk family settled at Hempnall are supposed to have descended from the important and ennobled family of Jermyn of Rushbrooke, Suffolk..". He describes the Suffolk family as tracing itself from a John Jermyn, Esq, father of Sir Thomas Jermyn of Rushbrooke, ancestor of Sir Henry Jermyn, created Earl of St Albans in 1660, who died unmarried in 1683. They bore Sa, a crescent between three stars, in pale agr. The titles and property descended via a cousin line and eventually through a daughter Mary whose husband Sir Robert Davers assumed the Jermyn name, as I recall. Latterly, descendents as Lord Bristol (of the related ?Hervey family) resided for a time at Ickworth House at Horringer, Suffolk, which is now with the National Trust. (They had gradually squandered their inheritance.)
Rye then sets out the basis for the 'supposed descent' of the Hempnall family in an associated article. In this, subtitled the 'Jermyns of Hempnall and Woodton', he states that "..this latter family 'has been thought' to be an offshoot of the great Suffolk family of Rushbrooke and has used their Arms, afterwords used by the Earl of St Albans..". However, Rye can see no probable ancestor among the Suffolk family (for any of the Hempnall ones) and feels that (at best?) the two families may have some (much) earlier common origin. He then lists several Jermyns of the Hempnall area who had left Wills, including several Edmunds, Ralphs and Roberts, and finally a Robert Jermyn, Yeoman of Hempnall (whom he shows as descending from within this 'network' of inter-related Norfolk Jermyn antecedents) whose Will was dated 1714, and who had a son Robert. Rye was "inclined to think may be the Robert Jermyn, also Yeoman of Hempnall (in 1710), who died in 1720 and with whom the Rev Geo B Jermyn began his family's pedigree".
(One must assume that the above passive phrase 'has been thought' (ie to be an offshoot, etc) refers to the position advanced by the Rev Jermyn himself in his "lengthy and elaborate history of his family in a folio volume of over 700 pages", referred to by Rye.) He then lists this descent basically as shown in our above pedigree - via James Jermyn of Halesworth. Rye describes George Bitton Jermyn (1789-1857) as "..a well known, if not very critical, genealogist - whose 'Suffolk Collections' are now in the British Museum. He has used the Arms of Jermyn of Depden on a quartered coat in which he (also) improperly used the Arms of Rye, which is not justified". [The Depden (Suffolk) family were a junior branch of the Jermyns of Rushbrooke.] I examined these Collections, and those of his uncle (and David Davy) some years ago. George Jermyn believed wrongly that his family descended from Robert and his last wife Sarah - with whom in fact he had no issue (rather than Judith, with whom he had). In any case, they were clearly of a Hempnall/Woodton family of yeomen farmers, not Suffolk gentry or nobility.
A Little on the Jermyns of Rushbrooke, Suffolk
The Jermyns of Rushbrooke, as noted in Harl. 1560, were settled there from at least 1200, and by 1500 had produced 4 members of the knighted class, the last (to that point) being Sir Thomas Jermyn (1480-1552). He married twice - firstly to Anne Spring daughter of a wealthy Suffolk family by whom the senior line at Rushbrooke continued, via their eldest son Sir Ambrose Jermyn, into the early 1700s. By the 15th generation there, a younger son Sir Henry Jermyn, who had become influential in Court circles, was made a Viscount in 1643 and on the restoration, was created Earl of St Albans in 1660. He died with out issue in 1683 and his titles were inherited by his older brother (or ?nephew) Thomas, as 2nd Lord Jermyn, whose daughter Mary married Sir Robert Davers, Bt. Their son adopted the surname Jermyn, there being no other Jermyn son surviving Thomas(d 1702). This family and the Herveys, with whom they inte-married, later lived at Ickworth House (now a National Trust property) and are now extinct, I believe - the last three generations apparently squandering their inheritance. Meanwhile, Sir Thomas Jermyn had married secondly Anne Waldegrave (nee Drury), widow of Sir George Waldegrave, in about 1535 and in his Will of 1552, left his secondary manor and estate at Depden to her and then to their elder son John Jermyn and his male heirs or, failing such issue, to their second son Thomas Jermyn.
It is not easy to accept that a long established line of Yeomen, Tailors and Linen Weavers of Hempnall, Norfolk named Jermyn were somehow descended from an aristocratic Suffolk family of this same name long resident near Bury St Edmonds, or even further south in Depden, when that latter branch at least only began around 1550; the Norfolk family had been in the Hempnall area since ca 1305 and likely before. However, the Rev Jermyn appears to have probed the details of the Suffolk family's genealogy until he found a seemingly plausible origin for his own Hempnall line: It seems that the two younger brothers of the Rushbrooke family, John and Thomas Jermyn, sons of Sir Thomas Jermyn by his second wife Anne nee Drury, settled at Depden in south Suffolk (inherited outright on the death of their mother) in about 1572. The elder son John thus became Esq of the Manor there and the younger Thomas, a Gent - who died there first in 1581, leaving no issue. But John (c1535-1606) had three sons, the eldest being a Thomas Jermyn (c1560-1617), the second Hugo (b 1566) and the third Henry Jermyn (b c1570), who would settle at nearby Gifford's manor, Wickhambrook, seemingly another of Sir Thomas's properties. John's eldest son Thomas married twice and by his first wife I believe, ?Sarah Harris of Essex, had a son Robert Jermyn in about 1581, for whom no subsequent marriage or issue is apparent (nor sadly his baptism details). He also had 4 daughters in that marriage - whose baptisms were however registered - in the Depden register. A second son, John, and a later daughter, Elizabeth, were born ca 1600 in a second marriage (to a Sarah Stephens, also of Essex who is also a possibilty as the mother of Robert ca 1591, say).
One of the earlier daughters, Susanna (born 1587 in Debden), married Thomas Coell of Suffolk, Gent in 1609. The father Thomas died in 1617 and, as eldest son, Robert Jermyn would be expected to receive most of his father's Depden manor and estate, his younger half-brother John apparently dying in his youth. However, as recorded in various Suffolk manuscripts, it was reported that around 1618-20, this Robert 'sold his patrimony to his sister Susanna's husband Thomas Coell'. He in turn left it to his two sons Jermyn Coell, Esq and Sir John Coell, and it was later sold out of that family - when it failed in the male line. No mention is made in any of the many genealogical sources pertaining to this family concerning Robert Jermyn's future, whether he married and had issue and, if so, to whom and where. One would presume that the PRO would hold the relevant Indenture recording the sale of an estate like Depden and possibly any other estate subsequently purchased by Robert. Or did he use the money to go into such as the shipping business in the City, trading in the middle east; this had became quite popular amongst sons of the gentry throughout the 1600s.
Meanwhile, Robert's younger 'half-sister' Elizabeth had married one Henry Shelton of a gentry family of Shelton, in south Norfolk - about this same time (1619). Now, Robert's uncle Henry Jermyn of Gifford's Manor, Esq had a son who, I believe, became the Rev Thomas Jermyn (bapt 1606). Seemingly, through his cousin Elizabeth's influence, he obtained the living as Rector of Shelton (ca 1630) where his son, Rev ?Richard or ?Thomas) Jermyn, was born about 1634. This man may have married (ca 1655) into a local gentry family of Hempnall named Randall (as, in fact, had local Hempnall Jermyns I think) and either had a son David (not a forename found much in south Norfolk, I believe) or one who, in turn, had one so named elsewhere - possibly in Cork in Ireland - where he may have been given land by Charles II (ca late 1670s, say). There were landed Jermyns in Ireland who either pre-dated such events (and were thus unlikely to be unrelated to those of Suffolk) or were only found subsequent to them. It seems that some Silver plate with the Suffolk Jermyn Arms inscribed (originally) but later removed, were purchased or held by a later Jermyn in Ireland and their descent from the Suffolk family thereby later suggested. [This from an Irish website for the ancient Cleary family.] Much plate was of course collected and sold to raise money for arms and horses on both side during the Civil war in the 1640s. Some of this may have made its way to Ireland. There were also Jermyns in both Wales (with its Davids) and in Devon/Cornwall in earlier times. [Note: Elizabeth Jermyn could have married someone with an estate almost anywhere in East Anglia, presumably; there would appear to be no predisposing factors that placed Shelton, nor indeed Norfolk itself, as a more likely location than any others. [We may note here that this union eventually led, through several intermediaries, to the birth of one Horatio Nelson!] The pedigree referred to above is shown here, beginning with the that of the later Rushbrooke and Depden Jermyns, with that for Robert Jermyn the Quaker and his descendents following:
As mentioned earlier, this latter Robert could be the father of the Robert Jermyn whom we've estimated was born about 1648, married 3 (or 4) times - as a Quaker - and died in 1720. But, our latter Robert named no daughter Alice, of whom we are aware (the name of his mother if that Robert), nor did the elder Robert and his wife of this name appear ever to have been Quakers (as were Edmund and Ann Jermyn, for example). It will be interesting to see what the elder Robert's Will reveals about any still-living son (Robert?). And would his suggested father Robert Jermyn of Depden (born ca 1581) not have left a Will himself (ca 1630-60, say) - as would be expected of a Suffolk (or Norfolk) landowner with offspring - ie even if the Topcroft purchase was by some other Robert? There appears to be none proved in local or national courts. Moreover, it would seem most odd that such a man's son would become a Yeoman in a village that was, awkwardly, already well endowed with Robert Jermyns (and others) in that very station of life. Why would the Depden Robert sacrifice being an Esq or even Gent, living off rental income, to move to a village (Topcroft) where there was no major manor to purchase, nor landowner; rather, it had, like Hempnall, many small Yeoman farmers of smallish estates. Nevertheless, the various names and dates concerned and the presence of a sister in the locality still make this interpretation at least plausible. And why did Robert name an early son Henry? More information in respect of Topcroft may well be needed. It is probably significant that while Robert Jermyn the Quaker was shown to be a Yeoman of many parishes around Hempnall, Topcroft is never one of them. There also appears to be no reference in any subsequent Jermyn documentation (Wills, Deeds, Inq PM, etc) to any connection with former property, family or relatives in Suffolk, nor vice versa.
Finally, we may point out one of those odd coincidences that frequently obtrude in genealogy. As touched on in his booklet on the Jermy family, Stewart Valdar cites the case of one 'John Jermy(n)' who was convicted (and later executed) for aiding a smuggler on the Suffolk coast in 1751. He was said to then be 'an industrious farmer in Topcroft, Norfolk (!) and the father of several young but motherless children' there. This would place his birth around 1710, say. But friends of his said that he was born in Bayton or Thurston in Suffolk which, oddly, is not far from Rushbrooke and where he grew up - as John Jermyn. How odd that a Jermyn from near Rushbrooke should (?also) later settle in Topcroft! They have nothing in common geographically. Was his grandfather or gt grandfather (as a Robert) already there - having sojourned near Bayton for a time, say, after a move from Depden ? I very much doubt it (there being many working class, rural Jermyns in that part of Suffolk then), but it certainly exemplifies some of the difficulties in genealogy.
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