Saturday, December 10, 2011

Goldsmiths, Jacksons, London, Ireland & some ongoing mysteries

I wasn’t going to write about Alexander Jackson, at least not for a while - mostly because I don’t really know enough about him – but he got under my skin. He was a goldsmith based in London who invested money in Cromwell’s campaign in Ireland and was rewarded when Cromwell won. This means that there are records of him as one of the Irish Adventurers. I kept wondering if he might be connected to the long line of Jacksons who were living in Co. Meath by the early-1700s, moved to Monaghan in the mid 1700s and lived in Ballybay. Many of them were prominent actors in the United Irishmen.

This particular Alexander Jackson had advanced money to finance Cromwell’s war, and was allocated property in the South-East corner of the Barony of Navan, Co. Meath. He was also granted land in the Barony of Morgallion. The townland of Lisnaboe – where the Jacksons of Monaghan and United Irishmen fame came from - is in the Barony of Kells, County Meath. These three baronies adjoin each other.

On  April 4th, 1670 a letter from the King to the Chief Governor of Ireland mentioned that a Mr. Palmer had purchased the land allotments of various Adventurers situated in the Baronies of Navan and Maghergallen (Morgallion), County Meath. It was a lot of land – 1,800 acres, Plantation Measure. The acreage was subsequently reduced to 1,004 acres because some of the lands were restored to innocents, papists and others. The names of the Adventurers recorded in this letter include the name of Alexander Jackson. This makes it unlikely that his descendants settled on this land immediately. It is probably significant that this letter was dated the same year that Alexander died.

What else do we know about him? The entry in The Rulers of London 1660-1689 contains the following:

Co Co Aldersgate Within, 1652, 1660 St John Zachary, 1624-64, ChW, 1637, St Andrew Holborn, 1667 (1) GOLD, appr, 1605, to John West, fr, 1615 (2) d 1670, bur ? St John Zachary (3) Will PCC 177 Penn, 19 Dec 1670 f Robert Jackson of Stone, Staff (4) Goldsmith, 1643, Assay Master of the Mint, 1624, Deputy Assayer of GOLD, 1626 (5) City property (£100 p a) (3) Presbyterian Elder of 5th Classis* of London Province (6) Da Sarah mar Lawrence DYER (7)
(1) McMurray, pp 422a, 438b, will (2) Will, GOLD, Appr Reg, I, f 165, Index of Appr (3) Will (4) GOLD, Appr Reg, I, f 165 (5) Heal, London Goldsmiths, p 181, McMurray, p 456, GOLD, Index of Appr (6) Sion College, MS Acc L40 2/E17 (7) Will, Boyd 25284
NOTE: Classis was the name for the organization of pastors and elders that governed a group of Presbyterian churches.

His will was proved 15 December 1670, and in it we learn that his daughter Sarah married a Lawrence Dakins Dyer, a pewterer of St. Lawrence, Jewry, London. This connection between pewtering and goldsmithing may provide other leads. After all, there was a Thomas Jackson,pewterer of London, who was granted land in the same baronies of Co. Meath. 

Alexander Jackson was supposedly buried at St. John Zachary and his will was probated December 19, 1670. There was an Alexander Jackson who was sworn Assay-Master at Goldsmith’s Hall in 1667 which may have been him, but if so, it would have been at a time when he already felt himself to be weak and infirm in body but of perfect mind and memory praise the Almighty God

As a result of a court case, we also know that this Alexander Jackson was a brother-in-law of the London merchant, William Drax. The Drax conection is intriguing because the name Drax is sometimes rendered as Drakes, and there is such a family with pre-Cromwellian roots in Co. Meath. This may be simply a coincidence and nothing more.

In 1663 there was a claim that two of Alexander’s servants, who by then had been an assayer for 34 years, had committed a fraud. They had illegally taken the official date letter and lion passant punches and then marked items belonging to friends, including Joseph Fabian. Their purpose was to make substandard plate pass as certified gold - 22 carat, I believe. Poor old Alexander may have traded in gold, but as a result of this, his reputation was as tarnished as silver.

He was ordered to dismiss his servants who were involved in the fraud, but he only dismissed one of them. Eight months after the first offence, there was a repeat of it. This resulted in the immediate dismissal of Alexander and his sons as assay masters. One of these sons, Abraham, was probably in cahoots with the servants and Joseph Fabian. Abraham had worked for his father in the Assay Office since 1645, and had, due to his father’s advancing years, been assuming on a major part of the duties. One of the servants involved in the fraud, Daniel Joslin, was still Alexander’s servant when Alexander’s will was witnessed in 1667.

Alexander was not the first Jackson to practice as a goldsmith in London. On October 31st, 1574 a Francis Jackson, known as Citizen and goldsmith of London wrote a will that was probated a couple of months later on December 7, 1574. From this will, it is clear that his wife, Anne, was still alive, as were two of his brothers – Richard and John – as well as his sister Elizabeth who had married someone with the last name of LEEKE. There are no slam dunks here, but it’s a place to start when trying to determine whether these various goldsmiths might be related.

There was also a goldsmith named Christopher Jackson (1668-1730), of the Duddington,Northamptonshire line of Jacksons whose brother Francis Jackson (1670-abt 1740) settled at Fanningstown, Co. Limerick. It is curious that there are so many convergences of names and profession happening here. It is hard to believe that it is nothing more than coincidence. 

There is something like a thirty year gap between the death of Alexander Jackson and the first sightings of Jacksons at Lisnaboe, and as they say in the London Underground – mind the gap. There is however one little bit that has hooked my curiosity as a possible lead.

 In St. Mary’s Church, Crumlin, in Dublin there is a gravestone inscription referring to a goldsmithing family who were in Dublin a generation after Alexander’s goldsmithing son, Abraham, had died in London. Abraham had no surviving children, but his brother Isaac Jackson did.

JACKSON: This stone belongs to | Joseph Jackson of the City of Dublin | Gold Smith | Here lieth the body of his father Henry Jackson who departed this life April ye 11th| 1782 aged 64 years also the body of Ann Jackson wife of  said Joseph Jackson who departed this | life April y 25th  1782 aged 28 years | [245] Vol V Memorials of the Dead p.360

It is intriguing that the Henry Jackson mentioned in the inscription above died in 1782 while the Henry Jackson of Lisbanoe supposedly died sometime 1778-1796. The text can be a little confusing, but Henry JACKSON (1718-1782) was the father of Joseph Jackson who was the husband of Anne JACKSON (1754-1782).

In 1761, Joseph was serving his apprenticeship in goldsmithing in Dublin. By 1780, he employed several goldsmith apprentices in Dublin, presumably having inherited the business from his father. He worked at Hoey’s Court in Dublin, and was recorded as a freeman from 1775-1807. He also served as a warden of the Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin from 1791-1793.  

His work in silver was of the highest quality. It is collectable today. SEE:  Weldons.

One generation before Henry JACKSON in Dublin, there was also a Christopher JACKSON who was practicing as a goldsmith in 1718 in Dublin.  The questions that all this raises for me are:

  • Was the Christopher JACKSON who was a goldsmith in Dublin in 1718 related to Henry Jackson (1718-1782)?
  • Was this Christopher Jackson the same person as the Christopher Jackson  (1668-1730), goldsmith of the Duddington, Northamptonshire line of Jacksons whose brother Francis Jackson (1670-abt 1740)settled at Fanningstown, Co. Limerick
  • Did Alexander Jackson goldsmith who invested and received land in Co. Meath have descendants who settled in Ireland? His son Abraham had no children who survived him, but his brother Isaac Jackson had a son named Abraham. This younger Abraham may have lived to adulthood, inherited the goldsmithing trade and also may have descendant..
  • Since the names Alexander, Joseph, Thomas and Henry are first names that are frequently used in naming sons of the Jacksons of Lisnaboe Co. Meath and Ballybay, Co. Monaghan were they related to any of the goldsmithing Jacksons?
  • UPDATE December 30, 2012: Thanks to Jan Waugh, I can now add that in 1577-78 there was also a William JACKSON goldsmith in the Calendar of Ancient Records of Dublin who was admitted for a fine of 40 shillings to be paid in work. These goldsmiths also issued coinage.

I have much more to learn, and will post more information and supporting documentation as I learn more.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Henry Jackson of Dublin - a 1690 will

Occasionally, I order a will with the highest of hopes, and then when it arrives, I start thinking of the childhood ditty:

Here I sit broken hearted
Paid my dime and only farted.

I recently ordered a will transcript for a Henry Jackson of St. Peters Parish Dublin. It wasn't my most thrilling find since it turned out to be only one paragraph long, and didn’t even name a single relation. After I declaimed the aforementioned ditty, I did however realize that it wasn’t entirely useless.In fact, it may be that someone else will find it quite useful.

It would seem that poor Henry had to make his will quite quickly, as he was preparing to go to war in the service of King William to fight in the upcoming battles. He bequeathed everything to a friend, whose name I can’t quite decipher but which may be John Horst of Kinsale, Co. Cork. Sometime in the next seven months, knowing the frailty of all mankind and being shortly by God’s grace to enter into a battle in the service of their Majesties of Great Britain against our ffrench Enemies, he died. So, I guess I forgive him for not taking the time to name his mother and father, and any siblings, nephews and cousins and such.

The rest of the digging is now up to us. There are a number of Jacksons in Co. Cork in the 1600s which will be worth tracking in relation to him. One of them is a Lodowicke Jackson, a grandson of the Rev. Thomas Jackson who was the prebendary of Canterbury. I will do a post on him and his family in the next few weeks after I do more digging.

In the meantime, some of the Jacksons of interest are mentioned in passing in the footnotes that I have appended to the will. Over and above that, there are a number of Henry Jacksons in other counties in Ireland in this time frame. Given that families used first names as frequently as birds are usually recycled in heraldic arms, it makes sense to give these other Henry Jacksons a good solid sideways glance.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thomas and Samuel Jackson -Pewterers of London

I started pursuing these particular Jacksons pretty much by accident. I had long been curious about the pewterer Thomas Jackson (1600-1680) who had received lands in Ireland as part of the major land grants that followed in the wake of Cromwell’s conquest. This Thomas had fronted some money for the war, which was how war was financed back then. He was rewarded with the grant of lands in Co. Meath. These lands, of course, came from those on the losing side.

Some of the questions that I had about this particular Thomas Jackson were:

  • Did he settle in Ireland?
  • Was he related to the Jacksons of Lisbanoe, Co. Meath? They were there as early as 1712. A generation later, many of them moved to Ballybay, Co. Monaghan. Some of these men and their families then moved to America after being convicted of insurrection in the 1798 uprising. They were supposedly descended from a 1649 officer, who was granted land at Lisnabo in Co.Meath, near Kingscourt.
  • Was he related to Alexander Jackson, a goldsmith in London? NOTE: This latter question, I will address in a piece that will follow this one. For now, let’s say: Maybe.

A William and Mary pewter Charger made by John Jackson circa 1700 and sold at Christies in 2009.

Once I dug into some of the available on-line records, I found much more than I expected. There is likely a good deal more. Bear in mind that I conduct all my research from the vantage point of my home in Roberts Creek BC, in Canada - either in my pyjamas at the start of the day, or accompanied with a glass of wine in the evening. It is hardly what would count for full blown scholarship, although maybe those who have that skill set can take what I have learned so far and run with it.

As for: Did he settle in Ireland – apparently not. One reference says that he served in Colonel Fairfax’s Regiment, in the Parliamentary Army. Later, he was referred to as a Colonel himself. This is intriguing since a Col. Thomas Jackson is often mentioned in connection to lands granted in Co. Kildare. How many Colonel Thomas Jacksons could there be? Since this Thomas served under a Colonel and then was known as a Colonel himself, it would seem to indicate that he was promoted up through the ranks at some point in the conflict. Either that, or there are two different Thomas Jacksons who have been conflated by the Historical Gazetteer of London before the Great Fire.

After the war was over, our pewterer Thomas seems to have retired from the military since he returned to his old trade in London. Going by what he owned at the end of his life, he was definitely a successful businessman. He was also lucky enough to live to the ripe old age of eighty, and to have his wife only predecease him by a month. As far as his professional life went, he was made a Warden of the Pewterers Guild in 1647, and a Master in 1660.

Members of various Jackson families had a significant, long-term, inter-generational presence in pewtering in London at this time. There are close to a couple of dozen of them who were either Masters or Wardens mentioned from the mid-1400s to the early 1800s in the History of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers of the City of London. They thrived in the heyday of pewter – when the yeoman and gentry class moved from using treen – wooden tableware - to using pewter for their usual table settings. Later pewterers did not fare so well. Innovations in ceramic and glass cut deeply into their customer base. Still, the Pewterer’s Hall gives some idea of the wealth that the trade generated in the 1600s, as do the bequests in several wills left by pewterers of the day. 

Thankfully, both Thomas and his son Samuel left wills, transcripts of which have survived. I have typed, annotated and posted both of them, and links will be at the end of this piece, along with links to other source material.

At present, I can’t prove that this Thomas was related to the Jacksons of Lisbanoe, but he did have other relations who definitely settled in Ireland in the mid to late 1600s. These wills did solve a few other mysteries for me. For example, I had always wondered what might have lead the young Daniel Jackson, who later became the Rev Daniel Jackson of Santry, Dublin, born in Staffordshire, to study at Trinity, Dublin. Now we know that there was an earlier foothold in Ireland thanks to his uncle Thomas the pewterer. Daniel’s father, Rev. John Jackson (1604-1691) was a younger brother of this Thomas. This goes with my birds of a feather approach to research. If you see one bird of a particular sort, look for others.

One other connection that would be of interest to those descended from Jacksons in America is the Samuel Jackson (1702-1760) who was a first cousin of Thomas the pewterer. He was a successful merchant in Philadelphia. Since pewter was one of the goods that this Jackson family traded internationally, it makes sense that for them to have family members placed wherever it served the advancement of their trade.

I suspect that further investigation will reveal other sightings of members of this family in both Ireland and America. Back to the birds of a feather notion. There is much more on this American line of Jacksons, but I did not follow it too far along since my main interest lies in Ireland.

I should mention that I could never have even begun to put this together were it not for my undisciplined method of thrashing about in the digital bushes with no plan in mind. I Google-stumbled on a site that was new to me: Clan Jackson . Like many such sites, mine included – I hasten to add - some of the information is solidly referenced, and authenticated, while other bits are not as reliable. In this instance, it seemed to me that the Rev. Daniel Jackson material was a little off with respect to some of its dates, so I went with my own data for that part. Still, there were lots of other missing pieces that were new to me, and that looked good enough to trust. With them, I was able to assemble a line of Jacksons that was totally new to me, but which also absorbed stubs of trees that I had assembled before. The link to the tree is below.

The recently added facts include amongst other things the name of Thomas’s only known surviving son, Samuel (1634-1716) who had a son, also named Samuel who followed his father into the trade. Unfortunately, Samuel jr. predeceased his father leaving no issue. Since Samuel sr.’s other two children died in infancy that was the end of the pewtering line in this particular branch of the Jackson family. I am not sure what happened next. A Robert Jackson and a John Jackson carried on the pewtering trade in the 1700s and into the 1800s, and were likely related to Thomas and Samuel. It is likely that the end of this line did not mean the end of Jacksons in Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland who had other family ties to these pewterers. This is still to be explored.

Thankfully, Samuel senior’s will included the mentions of more than a hundred other family members – including the names of dozens of women whose names are often like the bits left on the cutting room floor when movies are made. For these surviving bits in this particular will, I am particularly grateful and delighted to share.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude is a salad.

Today is American Thanksgiving, a month or so later than the Canadian version. I actually like the way that the two are on separate dates. Today, I am really enjoying celebrating my gratitude for my American friends and family. Our son-in-law, Micah, and his family always come to mind on this day, as well as they do on many other days. They don’t make people any better than this. Actually this year, in some ways, I celebrated American Thanksgiving early.

On September 18th I visited Micah’s parents, Trudy & Joel, in their home outside New Salem. In the clearing in the woods, that surrounds their home, they have a half dozen or so raised beds where they grow much of what they eat during the growing season. The salad in the picture above was one that Trudy made from the mix of vegetables that she and Joel had grown. She also baked bread for us, and made an amazing cake. In fact, the lunch spread was more than generous, more than beautiful, and more than delicious. Some of the left-over bagel, salmon and cream cheese fueled me the following evening when I flew off to Ireland.

Food such as this is a blessing. Grown with love; prepared with love; served with love. There are reasons that food features in the sacramental rituals of so many faiths.

Yesterday, Andreas set out crab traps and thankfully the crabs obliged. Our plan was to score enough to be able to make crab cakes with whiskey sauce with Sabrina and Micah when they visit here over the Christmas break. They will be here in a matter of weeks. Now, there is a pound or more of shelled crab in the freezer awaiting their arrival.

When I visited them recently in Boston, Micah made my coffee for me every morning, a perfect Americano served in a Crown Derby cup. After coffee, and brunch on the deck - made by Sabrina – she and I often walked, and talked, and listened for hours. It was my first real chance to get to know a bit about their neighbourhood. Some evenings, we went out to local restaurants that I have been meaning to write about - there are so many places in Boston with such amazing food for easy-on-the-wallet prices. One day, the two of them tried to see if they could get me into a clothing store and have me walk out with something that I would wear. They even succeeded. That is harder than many people might think.

Oh my, oh my. Profound gratitude. Thanks-giving.

Today in Roberts Creek, we are in the midst of an early winter storm with the surf loosening the snags that have been dug in to the sand for some years at the edge of the shore. There will be no crabbing today, but the pounding of the surf has been booming like fat chords played on a pipe organ. The biggest snag that had been at the bottom of our stairs for the past few years was moved west by one of the larger surges. Perhaps over Christmas, when we have more hands on deck, we can chainsaw up the rest of it, and open up a new passage for easier egress for all the friends who join us for Twelfth Night.

Gratitude in so many forms. I could go on forever, but it is time to baste the Chinese Honey-Ginger Duck that I am cooking for tonight's dinner with Vietnamese black rice. For American Thanksgiving. In Canada.

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.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Island Hall in Godmanchester

As a mentioned in my previous post, Island Hall was built by Original Jackson  for his son, John. 

Island Hall is an elegant riverside mansion built in the late 1740s. The house is situated in 3 acres of gardens including an ornamental Saxon island in the river Great Ouse.
For the purposes of history alone – and other reasons no doubt as well – we are fortunate that the house and grounds are now owned by Christopher Vane Percy who lives there with his family. It is worth checking out theirgallery of photos. Obviously, the Original Jackson who built this Georgian house was blessed with a considerable dab of good taste, as is the current owner.

[Mr Vane Percy] has completed the house's restoration: not only has it been redecorated but the 18th century cupola over the stables has been rebuilt, the island bought back and the Chinese bridge reconstructed. The long task of returning to the garden to the vision of the 'stillest repose' which Octavia Hill enjoyed is now well advanced. She saw the house as a reminder 'of what that deep attachment is to an inherited spot of old earth, rich with memories of days long ago.' By some miracle, that attachment has endured.
Michael Hall, Country Life, February 26, 1998, with photographs by June Buck

I silvered the columns, then stippled them with the blues of lapis. I gilded the woodwork, then gave it a grain finish. For that, the school of safe good taste would probably have taken me out and shot," says Christopher Vane Percy, "but my house needed something bold. Island Hall may be mid-eighteenth century, but the architecture looks back to the seventeenth century, a gutsier era when all the great Baroque houses were over the top.
Elizabeth Lambert, Architectural Digest, 1996

Although Christopher does not have a direct link with Original Jackson, his family’s connection to the house does go back to the early 1800s:

After Original’s death, his son John’s financial situation  went from bad to worse, and his Son, John Junior’s situation was no better. By 1804 the house had to be sold, and was subsequently bought by my ancestor. In 1958, my grandfather’s cousin sold the house and I bought it back in 1983 It was my family who named the house Island Hall – before that there was no name.  

For those interested in all aspects Jackson, the house and grounds are well worth a tour and the family welcome guests:

Island Hall is a family run private home and all tours are given by a member of the family. You can also stay for tea, dinner or attend one of our evening concerts. Visiting is easy by road or rail: drive a short distance from the A14 or A1(M) or alight at Huntingdon station.

As always, when it comes to what I know about Jacksons, I continue to stand on the shoulders of others. Thanks to my new vantage point - standing on the work of Christopher Vane Percy - I can see just that much further. As always, gratitude.

Original Jackson

The story of Original Jackson may turn out to have absolutely nothing to do with the Jacksons I am researching, still, I decided to figure out more about who he was for three reasons:

  • Birds of a feather fly together. It may be a clue that the birds on his grave-memorial appear to be the same shovellers used by a line of Coleraine Jacksons in their family crest. This is also the same bird seen in the crest of Sir Thomas Jackson (1841-1915).
  • Secondly, Original Jackson lived at Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire not far from the JACKSONs of Duddington. Some of these Duddington Jacksons settled in Fanningstown, Co. Limerick in the mid-1600s. One of their crests includes three eagles, which may seem like a bird of a different feather, but these heraldic elements do tend to morph from one generation to another.
  • Finally, there is a family story that Sir Thomas Jackson’s people came to Ireland from Northamptonshire in the time of Elizabeth I, and also that they came and went in the decades that followed, including in the time of Cromwell.

This crest is in the uppermost corner of a painting of John Jackson (b c. 1630)
of Kirby Lonsdale, later of Coleraine..

My first solid piece of information on Original Jackson came last August when Les Swinburne sent me photos from St. Mary’s and St. Regius Church. With his permission, I posted them on my website.  The ones from St. Mary’s were a slam dunk fit with the Jacksons of Duddington. Since St. Regius and St. Mary’s are quite close - about 6 miles apart – the first one in the town of Duddington, the second in Water Newton, I started to wonder about a connection between these various Jacksons. My curiosity about this increased when I noted that a later generation of one of the Duddington Jacksons – Charles William Jackson (1797-1819) – married a Rachel Bromhead who came from Connington,  near Godmanchester. Who knows? There may be a connection.

Last week, the current owner of Island HallChristopher Vane Percy, sent me six pages of new-to-me material. It included stabs at a couple of Jackson family trees as well as notes from a genealogist he had once employed to learn more about the Jackson connection to both Island Hall and the diarist Samuel Pepys. (The Pepys part, I will address in a future post.) Christopher’s interest in Jacksons is because the historic Georgian House he lives in – now called Island Hall - was built by Original Jackson in celebration of his son’s 21st birthday. The question that Christopher was pursuing was: Who was this Original Jackson?

The name is rare, but not unique. Notes and Queries suggests that the name Original was a derivation of Reginald. If you say both names quickly with a regional accent, it is easy to believe that this is possible. But maybe not. Some suggest that the name Original was mostly used by Pilgrims. The author of Curiositiesof Puritan Nomenclature  disagrees with this. He claims that the name was a way of tagging the first born, the original heir. Another respondent in the same set of queries claims that Original Jackson, Original Upsall, and Original Marshall were all of Rampton, Nottinghamshire, and that in the same rough time frame there were also men named: Original Bellamy, Original Lowis, Original Babington as well as an Original Hall mentioned in Subsidy Roll, Notts; and an Original Pearl of Lincoln. Since Rampton, Nottinghamshire is also where an Alexander JACKSON was the assistant churchwarden in 1596, clearly, it would be worth learning more about this line of Jacksons.

The Puritan connection to Original Jackson may not be farfetched. Many of the early Puritans were from families of literate yeoman farmers. They were successful financially, but were irked at the state control over religion. Many of them were educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The Archbishop there was more set on persecuting Roman Catholics, and pretty much let the Puritans be.

The genealogist who did a wonderful bit of spade work for Christopher wondered it there might be two Original Jackson’s: one at Water Newton and one at Godmanchester. I can see why he (or she) thought that, but am pretty certain that they are one and the same:

  • Original Jackson’s daughter Elizabeth lived at Water Newton after she married a George Palmer of Water Newton – probably about 1760, since she was born in 1733.
  • Secondly, there is a lease and release which states: Jackson now of Water Newton, Esq; to Rev. Horace Hamond of Harpley, Norfolk, DD. £6,000 as in R4/2/11. SOURCE: National Archives R4/2/13 31st October-1st November 1768 

It seems reasonable that in 1678, three years before his death, that Original Jackson might be living with his daughter.  He would have been sixty-eight years old. In terms of possible connections between the Duddington and Godmanchester Jacksons, I also note that several of the Duddington Jacksons owned land at Castor. This is less than two miles from Water Newton.

From here, I want to share a little thinking out loud. There is a third tantalizing bit that begs to be understood:

Notes and Queries, March 21, 1885: St. Nicholas's Church, Whitehaven: April 9, 1787, Isabella Jackson, wife of Original Jackson, buried

The Original JACKSON (1697-1771) of Godmanchester was married and had children, but his wife was Sarah Dowsing, not Isabel. Also, St. Nicholas' Church is in Cumbria, nowhere near either Godmanchester or Water Newton.

So who was this other Original Jackson? In the 1700s, Whitehaven was a large port - second only to London. Interestingly, just down the coast is the town of St. Bees, another place that was thick with JACKSONs in the early 1600s. Of particular interest to me is Rev. Richard Jackson (1650-1738) who was schoolmaster at St. Bees for 52 years. SOURCE: The Ejected of Cumberland.

This Richard Jackson lived not too far distant from the Rev. Richard Jackson (1602-1680) of Kirby Lonsdale, the earliest known ancestor of the Jacksons of Coleraine – the ones who had a shoveller in their crest. As I said earlier: birds of a feather.

Other resources: