Thomas and Mary Of The East Of London Line Of The Pinckney Family

Thomas Pinckney. was born in 1789. For a long time we uncertain where Thomas was born and we found a Thomas born in 1789 in Northumberland and assumed this was our Thomas. Many people still have this Thomas incorrectly listed as our ancestor. However, it turns out that there were two Thomases born in 1789. The second was our Thomas born Southwark, this record only came to light relatively recently. We are now confident we know where Thomas came from.

Thomas married Mary Ann Bataille on the 2nd of December 1809 in St Mary's Parish church in Newington. 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. Thomas was listed as '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 at 9 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) -

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.


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, Wilson Street. 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 -

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.

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) was Mary's daughter, by this time they also had a son William.

It is however probable that the family moved as early as 1839 since Mary Cinthealar married Thomas Spittle on 17th November 1839 and they both gave their address as 11 Elder Street. Or maybe the rest of the family moved in later when things took a turn for the worse.

This then marks the end of this important 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. I think that Mary's family taught Thomas the Silk Weaving trade and was a turning point for the family (albeit shortlived). Prior to this the Pinckney family were in and out of the workhouse.

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