The History of the line of the Pinckney Family, known here as the East Of London Line.

This is where we stand as of March 2022.

Yorkshire Origins to St Clement Danes in London

The farthest we have managed to go back so far is to Joseph Pin(c)kney, born about 1719, and Mary Barlow, born about 1724, who moved from Yorkshire to London in 1746.

The reason for the brackets is that in the few documents that we have relating to Joseph he is recorded as Pinkney. However, his wife Mary signed herself Pinckney and their children were recorded as Pinckney in their marriages and the line has been Pinckney ever since. I have in the past seen evidence for families dropping the 'c' but in many cases for people spelling with the 'c' early records record them without it.

Joseph married Mary Barlow on 26th December 1746 at St Nicholas Church, Bawtry, Yorkshire. We know this because both Joseph and Mary were recorded in the Westminster Poor Law Records for the parish of St Clement Danes over a period from 1747 to 1769. Several of these records are very specific in the details about their marriage and we also have the actual marriage record.

We have so far found evidence in the Poor Law Records that they had 7 children; Ann (1747), John (1750), William (1751), George (1753), Elizabeth (1755), Joseph (1759) and Frances (1764). It can be inferred from the sequence of records (by ommission) that the three younger boys; John , William and George, died between 1751 and 1761. There are some candidate deaths for them in Westminster at the right time but they do not state St Clement Danes specifically. Elizabeth's death is recorded in St Clement Danes in 1778. Mary also died in St Clement Danes in 1782. I have so far not found the death of Joseph. I have also found nothing further for Ann.

So we have very consistent information around Joseph and Mary's family in St Clement Danes. Joseph is mentioned in various documents and he starts off in Ship Yard, then Little Shire Lane and finally at Vere Street. There is a Map of St Clement Danes which clearly shows Vere Street running parallel to Drury Lane. There is also a survey of St Clement Danes which mentions Ship Yard and Little Shear(Shire) Lane, near Temple Bar but I have not yet spotted them on any map. Also worth a read is a Historical Background of St Clement Danes which include a mention of Vere Street.

From St Clement Danes to St Martin In The Field

We have found the marriage for Joseph. He was married to Hannah Brees in 1784 in St Martin In The Field which, if you read the Location entry in the Historical Background document above, is one of the parishes adjacent to St Clement Danes, so literally a few streets away from where we last heard of him.

We had for some time been looking for Joseph but the nearest we came was one born at the wrong time and of the wrong social standing. For him to be the right one he would have had to have been married when he was only 14 or 15 and have gone from being relatively wealthy to the poor house in a very short space of time. All of which meant that we were uncomfortable with that assumption but at the time, with no other candidate around, we incorrectly made that connection. The recent finding of the Poor Law Records changed everything.

This Joseph is in the right place at the right time and of the right age so I am convinced he is the right Joseph.

From St Martin In The Field to St George The Martyr

Joseph and Hannah were married in the parish of St Martin In The Fields in 1784. They moved to Southwark and like Joseph's parents, were a very poor family. If you look on a map Southwark is just across the river from St Clement Danes. However, since the Waterloo Bridge had not yet been built their journey to Southwark can only be imagined.

Their first two children were born North of the river but by the time their third child was born they were in St George The Martyr, Southwark. They lived in the Workhouse in Mint Street, supposedly the inspiration for the Workhouse in Oliver Twist since Dickens passed it regularly on his way to work. Hannah and one of their sons, Charles, died in the Workhouse. Others probably died in the workhouse. John was recorded as living in Mint Street so there is every likelihood that was actually the Workhouse. Joseph also died in St Saviour's parish in 1798, which is where the workhouse was, again, very likely to have been from the Workhouse.

Joseph and Hannah had 6 children. Elizabeth (1785), Sarah (1787), Thomas (1798), John (1790), Charles (1792) and William Henry (1794). Hannah and Charles definitely died in the workhouse and Joseph died in St Saviour's so probably also in the workhouse. Apart from the first two children who were born during their travels to Southwark, most of the children were born in St Saviour's. Their children were baptised and luckily the registers state "of Joseph and Hannah Pinckney" so we can be happy that they are correct.

Joseph's sister Frances was quite likely with them around this time as well. She was married in St George The Martyr to James Woodman in 1798. Frances Pinckney is a very unusual name and this is the only record I can find of her so I am convinced this is the same person. This is another strong indication that we have the right family.

Breaking out of poverty

My direct descendant from this family is Thomas. I have dedicated a whole page to Thomas, his wife Mary and their family. For quite some time this was as far back as we could go. As it turns out I think this was a turning point in the fortunes of the family. Mary's family were Hugenots and I think that Thomas learned the art of Silk Weaving from them and in the end did very well for himself and his family.

Once we get past the early 1800s then things get easier. Civil Registration was introduced from 1 July 1837 which meant that all births, marriages and deaths had to be reported to the register office in the district where the event took place. This coupled with the 1841 census which started to include people's names not just counts of people meant that for us, with such an unusual name, things become relatively easy.

I have listed in reverse order the details of my ancestors on this separate page.

So our family ultimately comes from Yorkshire. However, going back this far we are in a period when records become scarce. We know that Joseph was born in about 1720 but it is likely that the reason they immediately relocated to London following their marriage was to look for the proverbial "Gold that lines the Streets of London". Sadly, we know they didn't find it.

If the family was poor even then, it is possible that the births we are looking for were not recorded so we are a bit stumped in trying to go back any further. There are a few possibilities all Joseph Pinkney born in Yorkshire;

  • 1719 in West Tanfield, Joseph Pinkney & Ann his wife their son Joseph baptised December 29th
  • 1721 in West Tanfield, Joseph Pinkney, Father Joseph Pinkney, Mother Ann, Date 27 Dec 1721
  • 1721 in Marske, Joseph son of Joseph Pinkney a stranger Baptised Dec 21st
None of them fill me with confidence.

When you are dealing with wealthy families there is always the possibility of finding a will which is a good way to verify family members but poor people had no need of wills so I think that avenue is also closed off to us.

We'll keep looking.