Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jacksons and the Samuel Pepys connection

Image of Samuel PEPYS from Wikimedia Commons.

About four years ago, I noted a mention of a John Jackson in The Diary of Samuel Pepys. After a quick look at , I set it aside, one of the several thousands of disconnected bits parked in my bags of Jackson-related snippets. Just as in my previous two posts – the one on Original Jackson and the one on Island Hall  -  it was Christopher Vane Percy whose new information prodded me to fill in more of the blanks.

Easy to find on line and in my library were the references to the marriage of John Jackson and Paulina Pepys – sister of Samuel - in Pepys’ diary:
  • Jan 2, 1668: This day I received a letter from my father, and another from my cozen Roger Pepys, who have had a view of Jackson's evidences of his estate, and do mightily like of the man and his condition and estate, and do advise me to accept of the match for my sister and to finish it as soon as I can; and he do it so as, I confess, I am contented to have it done, and so give her her portion.
  • February 7, 1668, Mr. Jackson, who is a plain young man, handsome enough for Pall, [Paulina] one of no education nor discourse, but of few words, and one altogether that I think will please me well enough.
  • March 2, 1668:2nd. This day I have the news that my sister was married on Thursday last to Mr. Jackson; so that work is, I hope, well over.
  • May 24, 1668 Here I saw my brothers and sister Jackson, she growing fat, and since being married I think looks comelier than before: but a mighty pert woman she is, and I think proud, he keeping her mighty handsome, and they say mighty fond, and are going shortly to live at Ellington of themselves, and will keep malting, and grazing of cattle.
Unfortunately, for anyone who may count this John Jackson as an ancestor, he doesn’t seem to have managed the financial side of his life at all well. There will be no hidden inheritances thanks to him.Too bad.
He did receive a dowry of £600 upon marrying Paulina, but before long, she had to take up the financial reins in order to get them out of trouble. It is hard to say what Jackson’s problem was. Certainly, it wasn’t the lack of a decent start in life. After his father’s death in 1652, he farmed the Parsonage farm in Brampton [I believe it was in Brampton] together with a few other fields that he had also inherited in copyhold. He has also inherited the Tiled House in Ellington as well as 20-30 acres of pasture from Robert Ensum who was either a brother-in-law or else a stepbrother – the records are a bit murky when it comes to specifics.

Needless to say, Samuel Pepys was none too thrilled with the financial acumen of his brother-in-law, and had thought of buying him out and leaving Jackson with what might amount to pocket change. That never happened. On September 1680, just before Pepys was able to set up a financial firewall and an annuity for his sister and their two children, John Jackson died. It seems that the best that could be said for John and Paulina’s marriage is that they seemed to have some times of contentment in their early years. Also, in spite of some ratty comments made by Pepys about Paulina when she was his wife’s maidservant, it is heartening how he came to her rescue when help was needed.

But back to John Jackson. There is little known about his parents or where they came from. Just this:

John JACKSON, wife of Paulina Pepys was a son of John Jackson of Buckden Hunt’s. He was a nephew of Lewis Phillips, an attorney of Brampton, mentioned in Pepys’ Diary. John JACKSON, who was mentioned in the will of his father 15 Jan. 1652/3. Died c. Sept. 1680. Administration 4 Oct. 1680 Excerpts from Eight Generations of the Pepys Family 1500-1800 by Edwin Chappell [published 1936] 

Another biographical source describes him as a grazier from Ellington, which would be a fit with the fact that he owned and/or leased several fields for pasturage. 

There may or may not be a familial relationship between him and the Original Jackson of Godmanchester. Geographically, they were in the same neck of the woods. Brampton, the home of John Jackson, is about 2 miles as the crow flies from Godmanchester. That’s all we have to go on at present, and of course such coincidences do not constitute anything like proof.
We do know that John Jackson jr. also had two brothers:

Will [314 Brent] pr. June 29 by sons Richard and James JACKSON, John, of Buckden, Hunts., gent., Jan. 15, 1652-3. Source: Abstracts of Probate Acts in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.

I have posted a tree of this John Jackson and his wife Paulina Pepys
The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Vol. 10: Companion. Samuel Pepys, Robert Latham, William Matthews. University of California Press, 2000.

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