Jarman Family History

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JAMES JARMAN (1743-1823)


This page covers the life of James Jarman, son of Gregory Jarman (1719-1763), from the 1760s. See Family Tree 1: Main Chart (link above).  For James Jarman’s earlier life and for his father Gregory Jarman, refer to Page 2. James Jarman was, most of his life, an Excise man in London but had lived in Gravesend and Chatham.

     Engraving of Gravesend, 18th Century                     

Gravesend Tidesman

In 1766, James Jarman married a widow called Ann Roy.[1]  Two years later, in May 1768, James left his job as a shipwright at Chatham Royal Dockyard[2] and secured a position as a Tidesman in ‘the Excise,’[3] the government service responsible for collection of Excise Duty on goods.  He was to work from Gravesend, five miles to the west of Chatham along the Thames estuary.   It is not known whether this was a move that was forced upon James or whether he saw it as an opportunity for advancement.  Certainly there was a decline in the workload at the dockyard following the ending of the Seven Years’ War in 1763 and it may be that James was ‘let go’.  The possibility that he had to leave the dockyard is supported by the fact that his initial employment with the Excise was on a part-time basis only (see below).


 Tidesmen were Excise (or Customs) officials who boarded a ship as it came into a port “on the tide” in order to supervise the unloading of the cargo. Since Elizabethan times, all London-bound cargo was required to be unloaded at the “legal quays” between the Tower and London Bridge and forbidden to unload in the other ports in the Thames estuary.[4]  This was primarily to prevent avoidance of payment of duties.  All ships, therefore, had to dock at Gravesend where the Tidesmen boarded and escorted the vessel to the Port of London.  The Tidesmen also escorted ships out of London as far as Gravesend in order to ensure that goods, where rebates on Excise Duty had been claimed, were not re-landed.[5]  There were several classes of Tidesman, and James began as a “Glutman”; that is, he did not have a permanent appointment but was used to supplement the regular staff.[6]


In January 1770 his wife died[7] and less than two months later he married again, to Mary Wilks.[8]



        St George's, Gravesend. James baptised four of his children here, including Robert. The statue 

          is a memorial to Pocahontas, the daughter of a Powhatan Chief from Virginia, who is buried in the churchyard

 In January of the following year, James was promoted to the “Extra List” of Tidesmen.[9]  Although he was not yet on the “Settled” or permanent staff, the Extra Tidesmen were given overflow work before the Glutmen.  Later that year, James and Mary had their first child and named him James.[10]  They established their home in the small village of Milton-next-Gravesend, on the outskirts of Gravesend itself.  In 1773, they had their second child, Gregory[11] and in 1774, James was promoted to the Settled List[12] and shortly afterwards the family moved from Milton to Gravesend.  This may be a reflection of both his growing prosperity and his need to be closer to his work now that he was regularly employed in meeting ships as they arrived at Gravesend.  He was in his early 30s. 


James and Mary lived in Gravesend between 1774 and 1781 and during this time had four[13] further children:  Robert[14] born in 1775, Mary[15] in 1776, Elizabeth[16] in 1778 and Sarah[17] in 1779.



In February 1781 James was promoted to be Tidesman ‘on the Superior List’.[18]  However, four months later he was given a further promotion, which meant that his working day would have to be spent on the quays in London:  he was made Junior Coast Waiter.[19]   The two Coastwaiters were responsible for overseeing the landing of goods in the Port of London.[20]  Because of this, the family would have to move to London.  The week after his new appointment he was given 10 days special leave of absence, probably to allow him to arrange the move.[21]  At this time, it would have been an arduous task to load up the family’s belongings on carts and take them, with six young children, on the 25 miles of track-like road to London. 




The road from Gravesend to Southwark, from a

map of the Thames of 1793 







The family moved to Southwark on the opposite bank of the Thames to the City of London - this would have provided him with inexpensive accommodation close by his work on the quays of the Port of London - and in 1782, their last child, William, was born.[22]  For a map of the London area at the time, see here




                Southwark 'industry' - early Victorian engraving.



Southwark, and neighbouring Bermondsey, were among the most industrialised districts of the London area.

They had, since medieval times, been particularly known for tanneries and leather working.  At this time - on the verge of the industrial revolution - other new manufacturing enterprises were developing rapidly in the area.  There were also docks supporting the new businesses.[23] 


Promotion and prosperity


In May 1785, the Senior Coastwaiter died and James succeeded him.[24]  Later that year, James arranged for his eldest son, James junior, who was then 14, to be apprenticed to Charles Fenn, a master in the City of London Tin Plate Workers' Company.[25]  James junior left home to live and work with Charles Fenn in Bishopsgate, in the City.  At this time (and until the early decades of the nineteenth century) the Guilds, referred to as “Companies”, controlled trade and politics in the City of London.  A man could not practice any trade in the City (and for several miles around) unless he was a 'master' in a City Guild.  Also, only Guild members had the vote in City elections (whether for City councilmen or for the City’s Members of Parliament).  Becoming a member of a Guild was therefore the key to economic prosperity and standing in the City. Membership was usually attained by becoming an apprentice at the age of 14 to a member of a Guild.[26]


Two and a half years later, in 1788, James sen. had his second son, Gregory, apprenticed to another master tin worker, Edward Collinson of Lombard St. in the City at a similar age.[27]   In 1790, James had his third son, Robert, apprenticed to James Benson,[28] although a member of the Weavers' Company, he was actually a carpenter living in Brick Lane, Spitalfields[29] (a poorer area just outside the north eastern boundary of the City).  Increasingly by this time, the relationship between Guild and actual trade was breaking down. It did not matter which Guild a man belonged to (except that some Guilds were wealthier and more powerful than others) as membership of any Guild conferred the necessary political and commercial advantages.


James sen. was in his 40s by the 1780s, and the apprenticeships show that he would have been relatively well-to-do as he had had to pay all three masters significant premiums:  for James junior he paid £20, for Gregory he paid £30 and for Robert he paid £21.  His youngest son, William, followed his father into the Excise Service.[30]


James’s rapid promotion in the Excise Service continued.  In October 1786, the Excise Board took dramatic steps to correct the “enormous frauds and abuses”[31] of the Excise Officers at the Port of London, known as the “Tide Establishment”.

The Customs House and the 'legal quays,' Port of London 1753.                    

Pay in real terms had steadily declined in the eighteenth century and bribery of Excise staff by merchants was rife.  The Excise Board sacked the entire Tide Establishment and completely reorganized it. Some of the better officers were re-employed, including James.  Under the new organization, the administration of the Excise at the Port was put under the control of a new official, the Inspector of the River.  He was assisted by two Assistant Inspectors of the River and James was given a new post as one of them.[32]  He was 43.


James remained in this post for the next 14 years.  He continued to live in the areas south of the river Thames opposite the City: Southwark, Bermondsey and Rotherhithe. 





In 1800, James “at his own request” stepped down as Assistant Inspector of the River and took up a clerical position as a Permit Writer.[33]  The reason for this is not known.  He was 58 and may have wanted to take on a less onerous job as he got older.  In 1806, one of the earliest postal directories for London has him listed as living at 10 Jamaica Row, Bermondsey.[34]  Only a small number of prominent and wealthy residents were listed. By 1808, however, he had moved to the southern part of Bermondsey - well away from the industrial area along the Thames – to a row of substantial houses newly built in the Regency period called Fort Place.  As it was on the edge of the rapidly expanding “Greater London”, Fort Place was surrounded by countryside and market gardens.[35]



Old age


Eventually in 1814, James was discharged from the Excise Service “being through age and infirmities rendered incapable of performing” his duties.[36]  He was 72.


On 26 April 1820, his wife, Mary, died, according to the parish burial register, of “old age”.  She was at least 79.  However, the burial register stated she was 76.  The latter age made her younger than her husband whereas she was, in fact, older.  She was buried in a family vault purchased by James in the parish church of St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey.  A family vault in the church would have had a significant cost attached to it and would have indicated a relatively wealthy status.


                St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey, today

On 13 September 1822, James made his will.[37]  His signature showed that he was very frail and he may have made the will because he knew he was close to death.  He was, at this stage, being looked after by his eldest daughter, Mary, who, in her late 40s, was a widow. She and her two teenage children were living with him.[38] However, he did not die until six months later, and was interred in his family vault at St Mary Magdalen on 4 March 1823 aged 80.  The burial register stated he died of “old age”.[39]


Inland Revenue records show that his possessions at death were worth £3,281 and included Government securities and his leasehold residence at Fort Place.[40]  This would have an equivalent purchasing power in 2010 of approximately £140,000 according to the National Archives' 'money converter' .[41]  This may be a little misleading and an underestimate (there are a number of ways 'equivalent value' could be established) given that £100 would be a substantial annual salary at the time.




James’s children & their descendants


Robert Jarman,  (1775-1858),  Robert’s third surviving son.  See Page History 4.


James Jarman, Jun. (born 1771). 


James’s eldest son, James jun., having completed his apprenticeship, became a “tinman” (that is an iron monger) and conducted his business in the East End.[42]   His wife was called Sarah (surname unknown) and they had at least one son: James Robert, born in 1815 while they were living in Shoreditch.[43]  James is described at that time as a “tinker” implying that he did not operate from premises or have a shop but travelled the neighbourhood trading and repairing tinware. As he was in his mid 40’s and living in relatively poor area, this may indicate that his business had not been a success at this point. 


When his father died in 1823 he was living in Bethnal Green (a slightly better off area). His father left him £710.  It is not known when he died.


His son, James Robert, was a cordwainer (a type of shoe maker) and his descendants lived in London’s East End (to the 20th century).[44]  See Family Tree 2.


Gregory Jarman,  ( 1773-1838). 


James sen.’s second son, Gregory, was a tinman too, and by the time of his father’s death in 1823 he was well established at his shop at 49 Gracechurch St., in the heart of the City of London,[45] where he had been since at least 1805.[46]  He married twice.  Firstly to Sarah Fuller in 1806 with whom he had two children and secondly to Mary Paul with whom he had at least six children.[47]  Gregory became extremely well established and prosperous and was for many years a City Common Councilman.  At the end of his life he retired to his country house in East Dulwich.  He died in 1838, at the age of 65, and left in excess of £6,000 (worth in 2010, £265,000 according to the National Archives' converter).[48]


He had a large number of descendants (including the Eden family who emigrated to Australia later in the century).[49]  See Family Tree 4.


William Jarman, (born 1782). 


Nothing is known of William except that he was serving in the Excise Service at the time of his father’s death, according to his father’s will.


Mary Daniels née Jarman, (born 1776). 


James sen.’s eldest daughter, Mary, married John Daniels (her brother Robert’s brother-in-law) from Bethnal Green in 1801.[50]  They had two children, William and Sarah. As mentioned above, John Daniels died sometime before 1823 and Mary and her children moved in to Fort Place.  William and Sarah were James sen.’s only grandchildren to receive bequests in his will.   


Sarah  Forrest née Jarman. (born 1779). 


James sen.’s other daughter, Sarah, married Thomas Forrest[51] a wealthy coal merchant from Greenhithe in Kent.[52]   They had fourteen children in all, six of whom survived into adulthood.[53]   None appear to have married but continued to live together into old age, living off ‘investment income’ throughout their lives.[54]   See Family Tree 3.


Elizabeth  Jarman. (born 1778). 


Nothing is known of Elizabeth – as she is not mentioned in James’s will, it is to be assumed that she pre-deceased him and quite possibly died in childhood.



The next page covers James’s son, Robert.


History Main Page

History Page 2

History Page 4

Family Tree 1 - Main Chart


[1] 14.1.1766, at St Mary’s Chatham following licence granted pursuant to allegation and bond dated 11.1.1766, at Kent County Record Office (KCRO)

[2] The National Archives (TNA) ADM 42/214 pt.4

[3] Excise Board Minutes for 10.5.1768, TNA CUST 47/263

[4] A History of London, 2000, by Stephen Inwood, p.322

[5] The Ancient and Rightful Customs, 1972, by Edward Carson, p.51-53.

[6] Excise Board Minutes at note 3 and Carson at note 5 supra

[7] Anne Germain’s burial on 19.1.1770 recorded in the burial register of  Milton-next-Gravesend, KCRO

[8] Marriage register of Milton-next-Gravesend 15.3.1770

[9] Excise Board Minutes 4.1.1771 TNA CUST 45/275

[10] Baptised at Milton-next-Gravesend on 10.11.1771

[11] Baptised at Milton-next-Gravesend on 10.7.1773

[12] Excise Board Minutes 3.7.1774 TNA CUST 45/294

[13] The IGI (International Genealogical Index) available at www.familysearch.org indicates six children:  the two additional children George and Richard supposedly are respectively christened on the same day as Gregory and Robert.  The baptism register has no entry for them and the IGI record is therefore in error.

[14] Baptised 10.3.1775

[15] Baptised 20.12.1776

[16] Baptised 5.4.1778

[17] Sarah German baptised 10.1.1780

[18] Excise Board Minutes 15.2.1781 TNA CUST 47/323

[19] Excise Board Minutes 12.6.1781 TNA CUST 47/325

[20] Carson (as above) at p.53

[21] Excise Board Minutes 20.7.1781 TNA CUST 47/325

[22] Baptism register St John Horsleydown for 1.9.1782: William was born on 16.8.1782

[23] Stephen Inwood A History of London, 2000, p.334, 339, 457-460

[24] Excise Board Minutes 4.5.1785 TNA CUST 47/343

[25] Indenture dated 1.11.1785, Corp. of London Record Office (CLRO) ELJL/1153/102

[26] London Livery Companies: History, Law & Customs, 2010, D. Palfreyman

[27] Indenture dated 26.3.1788, CLRO ELJL/1194/65

[28] Indenture dated 4.5.1790, CLRO ELJL/1206/3

[29] Weavers Company, Court of Assistants Minute Book 4.5.1790, Gildhall Library (GL) 4655/18

[30] As stated in James’s will: TNA PROB 10/4666, referred to later.

[31] Excise Board minutes 10.10.1786 TNA CUST 45/351

[32] Excise Board minutes 21.11.1786 THA CUST 45/352

[33] Excise Board minutes 1.12.1800 PRO CUST 45/420

[34] Holden’s Triennial Directory for London, GL

[35] Sun Insurance records show that he insured his house at Fort Place on 27 October 1808 (ms 11936/444/821750 at GL) and his will (see below) in 1822 gives this as his address.

[36] Excise Board minutes 17.1.1814 PRO CUST 45/489

[37] TNA PROB 10/4666

[38] As stated in his will.

[39] London Metropolitan Archives  P71/MMG/105 , X14/22b and X14/23

[40] TNA IR26/957

[41] The National Archives money converter: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency/

[42] As stated in his father’s will – see above.

[43] Baptism record of James Robert ‘Jurman’ St Leonard’s, Shoreditch on 29.10.1815, born 2.10.1815

[44] See Acknowledgements on Home page for source for his descendants

[45] As stated in his father’s will.

[46] Holden’s Trades Directory 1805-7, GL

[47] For source of this information see Acknowledgements on Home page

[48] Using the National Archives money converter: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency/

[49] As for note 46

[50] 19.3.1801, marriage register of St Matthew’s, Bethnal Green

[51] 9 June 1801, marriage register of St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey

[52] See 1851 census

[53] 1841 census HO 107/485/12 f.16

[54] 1851 census HO107/1607 f.577, 1861 census RG9/468 f.117, 1871 census RG10/887 f.11, 1881 census  RG11/1025 f.86, 1891 census RG12/762 f.54, 1901 census RG13/867 f.75