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 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 Dormer) 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 thought possible 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-appear locally. But it was later recalled that there was in fact a Roger Jarmine active in Surlingahm in the 1670s who was believed to have been born ca 1645. To exemplify the difficulty in establishing such identities, there were also two other Robert Jermyns born locally in 1647.] Others born in Saxlingham to Edmond and Ann were a Thomas Jermyn (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 son would in time be expected to achieve a similar status locally, as indeed did Robert. 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 a 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 of 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 Edmond (d. 1691).]

       At present, the location of the first (or possibly second) marriage of Robert the Quaker (born c1646) - 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) and 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 and Barclay, etc). They were disciplined and wanted to 'get on'. [Note: It is possible that Robert had in fact married firstly, as Robert 'Germans', in about 1670 or so to a Margaret who died in 1674, being buried on 12 Aug that year in Tasburgh, although apparently not in the Quaker grounds there (this needs confirmation). They had a son Henry baptised that same date in this same parish (or Meeting House?). If so, and he lived, he could well represent the Henry to be referred to below (who later married, as a Quaker, a Mary Jackson; see 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 that influential Yarmouth family. I'm not aware that they were or became Quakers, however. I rather doubt it.]

       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 1676, possibly followed by sons Daniel and Henry Jermyn (unless, as suggested, they were born to 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 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. 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. Thus, 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 Germy, 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); another witness was an Elizabeth German. (Was she the Elizabeth 'Jermy' 'of Woodton' who married Edward Ufford in Beccles in 1695?) Robert and Ruth appear to have had no issue 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 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.

       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. Most of his family seem to have 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.

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The Family descended from Joseph Jermyn.

       Henry's younger brother Joseph Jermyn, son of Robert Jermyn the Quaker, 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.

       This sequence - 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 several more generations. The mixing of new genes, and later those of the gentry (plus the latter's achievement/motivational/educational culture) seems to have provided this 'escape route' for our presently considered Jermyn family. And they were to rise even more over the following generation. (This point is made here as it will be relevant in a discussion regarding later members of this same successful line; see below.) Joseph 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 Surlingham (in 1733 and 1737, respectively) where Martha had lived with her Vicar father. But Robert became a Merchant in Halesworth and 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 the 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 like his father (I'm uncertain if he married or had issue but a James Jermyn 'of Mettingham' (b ca 1770)married a Sophie Bobbitt in Southwold and another James Jermyn (possibly the latter James' son?) was married in 1822 in neighbouring Reydon to one Emily..... (of that village) with whom he had at least 2 daughters in Southwold). The son 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) 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) 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/baptised in Gt Yarmouth in 1767.] In any case, he married Sarah Bitton of Uggeshall, Suffolk on 12 March 1789 (in Uggleshall) 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 went into the church, becoming the Rev George Bitton Jermyn, later a noted genealogist and 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 1818, by whom he had a son Hugh W Jermyn in ca 1820, who became a Bishop. He in turn married about 1850 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, the noted Suffolk historian . I don't believe Henry married or had issue before dying there in 1820.

       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 in fact 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 the other Jermyn families that would settle in this area north of the Yare, Daniel's were at least mostly able to write and sign their names. And his eldest son, James and family, did make something of their lives 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 of Broadland.

       The third son of Joseph and Margaret was Benjamin Jermyn, born in 1719 in Woodton. He too remained in 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.

       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?

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       The foregoing provides essentially the 'bare bones' of the family descended from Robert Jermyn, Quaker and Yeoman of Hempnall, which is also depicted in the pedigree some paragraphs below (but not 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.

       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 antecedents) whose Will was dated 1714, and who had a son Robert who he is "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 begins 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". I would myself favour the phrase 'suspiciously claims...'.] Rye then lists this descent basically as shown in our above pedigree - via James Jermyn of Halesworth. He then describes the Rev 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 was not justified". [The Depden (Suffolk) family were a junior branch of the Jermyns of Rushbrooke.] I examined the Collections, and those of his uncle (and David Davy) some years ago. Rev 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 did) But in neither case could a descent from the Suffolk family be reasonably justified.

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 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 brother 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 inter-married, later lived at Ickworth House (now a National Trust property) and are now extinct, I believe - the last three, notably eccentric, 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 Germyn/Jermyn were somehow descended from an aristocratic Suffolk family of this name near Bury St Edmonds, or even further south in Depden, when that latter branch at least only began around 1550; the Hempnall family had been there 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) ca 1575. The elder son John became Esq of the Manor there and the younger son 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 Gifford's manor, Wickhambrook, another of Sir Thomas's properties. John's eldest son Thomas married twice and by his first wife, ?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 are 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, I believe, also of Essex).

       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 of present interest 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, if any, subsequently purchased by Robert. Or did he use the money to go into such as the shipping business trading in the middle east; this had became quite popular amongst 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, had a son who became the Rev Thomas Jermyn (born 1606 in Depden). Seemingly, through his cousin Elizabeth's influence(?), he obtained the living as Rector of Shelton (ca 1630) where his son, also a later Rev Thomas Jermyn, was born in 1634. [Note: Elizabeth 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 led, through several intermediaries, to the birth of one Horatio Nelson!] The pedigree referred to above is now shown here, beginning with the that of the later Rushbrooke and Depden Jermyns, with that for Robert Jermyn the Quaker and his descendents following:



       Having spotted the reference in Suffolk archives to Robert Jermyn of Depden, the Rev George Jermyn (a descendent of Robert of Hempnall) appears to have come up with the idea that a Robert Jermyn who apparently purchased property in Topcroft, Norfolk in the early 17th century was, rather conveniently, this same Robert Jermyn from distant Depden, the property allegedly purchased by means of the capital raised through the sale of his 'patrimony'. Usefully, Topcroft is not that far from both Hempnall and Shelton. Such a choice might not therefore be seen as too improbable. Indeed, we must consider the possibility at least that his sister Elizabeth may have also been a factor in pointing out to Robert the availability of such a property in Topcroft which had some kind of merit. If Robert ever married, it could well have been around 1610-17, say, and any son, eg a 'Robert Jermyn Jnr', that he may have had - ca 1614-18, could thus have grown up around Topcroft ca 1620-40. We also then conveniently find that a Robert Jermyn, eventually a Yeoman of neighbouring Hempnall (albeit an unlikely choice for the son of a landed family we may suggest), was born in 1618 (but in Hempnall or Depden?). He married an Alice about 1644 (when registers were poorly kept in Hempnall during the civil war) and lived there to the goodly age of 96, dying in 1714, when he apparently left a Will. Besides having a daughter Alice, he had another named Audrey. After whom was she named we may wonder?

       As mentioned earlier, this latter Robert could be the father of the Yeoman Robert Jermyn whom we've estimated was born about 1646-48, 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 he were 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 Gentleman's son would become a Yeoman in a village that was, rather 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 distant village (Topcroft) where there was no major manor to purchase, nor landowner; rather, it had, like Hempnall, only 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 just plausible. 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 in fact 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 (but not Depden) 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. The frequent confusion over the name's spelling is further exemplified in the Will left in (?dated) 1684 by one Edmund 'Jermy', Farmer of Pakenham, Suffolk, (Archd Sudbury). Pakenham was next to Bayton and Thurston, which area was for generations the centre of a large population of rural Jermyns. Thus, there were Edmund and Edward Jermyns in Thurston at that time, one of whom was buried there in 1684 and another in 1694. There were, however, no landed Jermys in that immediate area whatsoever and, in any case, none were Farmers elsewhere. Moreover, the family in Suffolk had largely died out by then.

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