The History Of The East Of London Line Of The Pinckney Family

There are a number of distinct lines of the Pinckney family which I hope one day to be able to join up. The Wiltshire line is the best documented and can be traced all the way back to 1066. It is this line that we must therefore try to join to. However, at the moment by far the biggest line of the family is the East Of London line of which I am a member, so I thought it about time that this line of the family was properly documented, so here is my attempt.

Joseph and Hannah

The line can be traced back to Joseph Pinckney. He was born in about 1765, this is a guess at the moment based on the date of his marriage to Hannah Brees in 1784 and the birth date of his eldest child Elizabeth in 1785. I have so far been unable to establish where or exactly when Joseph was born. I would like to thank Janice Undrell for uncovering all the information about Joseph and his family.

Although there is no concrete evidence when going back this far I am convinced that Joseph is the father of Thomas (see below) for a number of reasons.

  • Joseph is a name which runs through this family line
  • Joseph and Hannah had a son called Thomas whose date of birth (16 Feb 1789) exactly fits for our known ancestor Thomas
  • The names of Joseph's other children (apart from his eldest Elizabeth) are also repeated for Thomas's children in particular the very specific William Henry
  • The locations of the births of Joseph's children is very close to where Thomas and Mary Bataille were married in particular his last two children were born in Southwark, only a mile or so away.

For me there are just too many coincidences for Joseph not to be the father of Thomas. At the moment that is all we know about Joseph so there is nothing else to tell.

So what we need to do now is to find out where Joseph came from. Can anyone out there help ??

We have so far discovered 5 children for Joseph and Hannah but I have only found further information about one of them, Thomas, he is the ancestor for all the known branches of the East Of London line.

Thomas and Mary

Thomas Pinckney was born in 1789, this date was originally arrived at from his death registry in 1833 which gives his age as 44, more of that later.

Thomas married Mary Ann Bataille on the 2nd of December 1809 in St Mary's Parish church in Newington. Click here to see a copy of the retistry. You can clearly see that his name is spelt Pinckney with the 'c'. St Mary's Church is in what is now called The Elephant and Castle and is a few miles south of the Thames.

It has been suggested that Newington is not necessarily where Thomas came from as it was often the custom in those days for a marriage to take place in the parish of the bride and even though the registration states Thomas was 'of this parish', it was also a custom for the groom to live in the parish only shortly before the marriage in order to satisfy the reading of the Banns. However, following the discovery of Thomas's birth and his parents I am now convinced that Thomas was indeed 'of this parish'.

The Huguenots

I have visited a number of Pinckneys in my research and I was quite surprised when more than one of them said that they had been told that we were descended from the Huguenots. This did not sound right to me because by that time I had already been given the Wiltshire Pinckney Family Tree which shows the line being traced back to 1066 and William The Conqueror. The Huguenots did not start to come to England until about the mid 1500s.

However, the link did eventually come to light. Mary Ann Bataille was of Huguenot descent. Thomas and Mary's son John was very poor when he was in his 70s. On 22nd June 1883 he wrote a letter to the French Hospital which was run by the Huguenots. Only people of Huguenot descent could apply for admission to the Hospital. In his letter John states that his Grandfather Peter (Pierre) Bataille had previously been an inmate at the hospital. Despite this proof John was refused admission. Their response merely states 'not being considered eligible' but does not say why.

This is interesting not only because it proves the link between our family and the Hugenots but the absence of any reference to the Pinckney family in John's request to my mind shows that the Hugenot link was purely on the maternal side and there was no relationship prior to this in the Pinckney line.

For more information about the Huguenots please refer to The Huguenot Society

Early Married Life

Thomas and Mary first lived in Peter Street. Peter Street was just off Bishopsgate (Street) very close to St Botolph's Church in Bishopsgate. The church is still there today, if you come out of the Bishopsgate entrance to Liverpool Street station and turn right it is a few hundred yards down on the right hand side. Between October 1810 and November 1822 Thomas and Mary had 10 children and the baptisms for all of them were held in St Botolph's Church. They were as follows (with exact spellings as per the registry) -

NameBornAddressBaptismOccupation
Mary Ann Pinckney18th October 1810 7th November 1810 
Ann Pinckney29th June 1812 29th July 1812 
Thomas Pinckney11th September 18139 Peter Street3rd October 1813Trimming Maker
John Pinckney16th October 18149 Peter Street6th November 1814Trimming Manufacturer
Mary Cinthealar Pinckneylate 1815Peter Street24th December 1815Weaver
Sarah Pinkneymid 1817Peter Street1st June 1817Trimming Maker
William Pinckneymid 1819Peter Street9th May 1819Weaver
Joseph Pinckneyearly 1820Peter Street23rd February 1820Trimming Maker
William Henry Pinckneyearly 1821Peter Street18th May 1821Weaver
James Pinckneylate 1822Peter Street3rd November 1822Trimming Manufacturer

Notice that Thomas and Mary's marriage and the baptisms of all their children at St Botolph's with the exception of Sarah list their name as Pinckney. This confirms to me that the correct spelling is being used at this time.

Moving

At around this time, between 1822 and 1824, the family moved, but they did not move very far. They moved from 9 Peter Street to 7 Horse Shoe Alley. This move meant that they also changed the church where they had their children baptised. All subsequent baptisms were in St Leonards Church in Shoreditch. When I first saw this change in church I was interested to find out why they had to move. I found some old maps and found both Peter Street and Horse Shoe Alley and they are very close together. Below is a small section of the map, I have highlighted both streets in Red. What I also noticed was a dotted line running between the two streets, I have highlighted that in Green. This turned out to be a church parish boundary. I contacted the Vicar at St Botolph's Church and he confirmed that in those days the boundary was very important and having crossed the boundary they would not have been allowed to have subsequent children baptised in St Botolph's.

A bigger version of the map will show that although St Leonard's is quite a bit north of St Botolph's for some reason a thin strip of it's boundary extends right the way down adjacent to St Botolph's.

The Two Addresses

There is some minor confusion over the two addresses but maybe they can easily be explained away. Firstly, the detail held by the Huguenot Society regarding the application by John to be admitted to the French Hospital show that John gave his place of birth as 7 Horse Shoe Alley on 16th October 1814. I am assuming that this is just an oversite by John. The family would have moved from Peter Street to Horse Shoe Alley when John was only about 8. By the time he was in his 70s it's possible that he mainly remembers living in Horse Shoe Alley and forgot about Peter Street.

Secondly, Thomas appears in the records of the Old Bailey. He was not a criminal, he was there because someone stole some fancy trimming from him. This case was brought to court in May 1812. In his statement Thomas gives his address as No 7 Horse Shoe Alley. My only explaination for this is that Thomas had a shop in Horse Shoe Alley where he made and sold his goods and since the theft took place from there that was where he gave as his address. I have no proof for this but since he describes the felon as 'my servant, to carry out goods to my customers' I am assuming that the premises were a shop of some kind.

The dates clearly don't match up with the baptisms which state their address up until 1822 as Peter Street. However, this earlier link with Horse Shoe Alley may explain why they later moved there.

More Children

Up until 1822 Thomas and Mary had 10 children. After their move to Horse Shoe Alley they had another 5 making a grand total of 15 children. Listed below are the baptisms of their last 5 children, all at St Leonard's Church in Shoreditch -

NameBornAddressBaptismOccupation
Caroline Pinkney27th January 1825Horse Shoe Alley25th March 1825Weaver
Louisa Pinckney17th August 1825Horse Shoe Alley19th June 1826Weaver
Caroline Martha Pinckney29th December 1927Horse Shoe Alley27th January 1828Weaver
Louisa Pinkney15th June 1830Horse Shoe Alley8th August 1830Weaver
James Pinkney27th February 1833Horse Shoe Alley28th April 1833Weaver


Of the 15 children 4 are incorrectly listed as Pinkney in the church registries.

  • Sarah, has the correct spelling on her marriage certificate
  • Caroline, no further evidence of her, I have assumed that she died young since another Caroline was christened a few years later.
  • Louisa, has the correct spelling on her marriage registry entry
  • James, no further evidence of him

James was the last child that Thomas and Mary had, making 15 in total. The reason why there were no more is that Thomas died shortly after James was born. James was born in February 1833, Thomas died in March and James was christened in April.

Thomas' burial was registered at St Leonard's Church on 24th March 1833. His name was incorrectly listed as Pinkney but it did give Horse Shoe Alley as his address. His age was given as 44 which means that he was born in 1789 (assuming that his age was correct).

Mary lived until 27th December 1843. Her death was also mis-recorded as Pinkney. I have a copy of the death certificate which shows her as the widow of Thomas Pinkney (Trimming Maker). The witness was Thomas Spittle who was her son-in-law, he married Mary's daughter Mary Cinthealar in 1839.

At some time between 1833 and 1841 Mary and the family left Horse Shoe Alley and moved to 11 Elder Street, Norton Folgate. In the 1841 census Mary and the family were living at 11 Elder Street and this is where Mary eventually died. She was aged 53. At the time of the census the head of the household was William Moody. His wife was Sarah (nee Pinckney) Mary's daughter, by this time they also had a son William.

It is however probable that the family moved as early as 1939 since Mary Cinthealar married Thomas Spittle on 17th November 1839 and they both gave their address as 11 Elder Street.

This then marks the end of the first generation of the East Of London Line.

Silk Weavers

Thomas was a silk weaver and so were many of his family for a number of generations. Silk Weaving was a trade very much associated with the Huguenots and the Spitalfields area of East London. Initially this was a very prosperous business. This is possibly born out by the fact that Thomas had a shop where he sold his silks and he employed at least one assistant. However, in the early 1800's a law was passed which allowed cheap foreign silk to flood into England and the silk weaving trade was decimated. It looks very much like our family suffered greatly during this period. Thomas himself died when he was only 44 years old. His son John was so poor that he requested to be admitted to the French Hospital and he eventually died in the Bethnal Green workhouse. Mary ended up living in Norton Folgate with her sons Thomas, John and William.

There is now a fantastic silk weaver house museum in London called Dennis Severs' House. It featured in the "Who Do You Think You Are" program on the BBC when tracing Julia Sawalha's family. I plan to visit there some day.

The Second Generation

Of the 15 children 8 were girls and 7 were boys. The girls would not have carried on the family name since they would have taken their husband's name if they were married. That leaves 7 boys. Of the 7 I can only find evidence that 3 of them went on to be married and continue the family line.

  • Thomas was married and had 5 children
  • John was married and had 7 children
  • William I have assumed died very young, no further trace can be found of him
  • Joseph was married and had 13 children. Joseph is my Great Great Grandfather
  • William Henry was married but I can find no children for him
  • James I have assumed died very young, no further trace can be found of him
  • James I have assumed died very young, no further trace can be found of him