Jarman Family History

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ROBERT JARMAN (1775-1858)


This page covers the life of Robert Jarman, son of James Jarman (1743-1823), from the 1790s. (See Family Tree 1 : Main Chart).  For Robert Jarman’s earlier life, refer to Page 3. Robert Jarman was a carpenter and lived in London.



Early years: Spitalfields and Whitechapel


                     Pelham St., Spitalfields, early  19th century - 

                           close to the streets where Robert Jarman was living

 Robert Jarman completed his apprenticeship and became a freeman of the Weavers' Company in May 1797.[1]  This entitled him to become a Freeman of the City of London.  As a journeyman carpenter, he continued to live and work for his old master in Spitalfields for two or three years.[2]   This district had been populated by prosperous tradesmen, particularly silk workers, in the beginning and middle of the 18th century.   However, by the end of the century, Spitalfields had fallen into poverty and, a few years later, would be described by a London newspaper in very bleak terms:


“The low houses are all huddled together in close and dark lanes and alleys, presenting at first sight an appearance of non-habitation, so dilapidated are the doors and windows:- in every room of the houses, whole families, parents, children and aged grandfathers swarm together”.[3]


In 1799, at the age of 24, Robert Jarman married Elizabeth Daniels at his bride’s parish of St Matthew’s, Bethnal Green[4] at the age of 24.  Robert had, the previous day, obtained a licence for the marriage from the Vicar-General’s Office, rather than wait for banns to be read out at the parish church for the requisite number of Sundays.[5]   At this time, marriage licences were often preferred by the middle class and well-to-do tradesmen as a status symbol,[6]   a fee had to be paid for a licence whereas the reading of banns was both public and free. Robert also went to the highest ecclesiastical authority – effectively the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative - to obtain his licence rather than from the relevant diocesan office. On 16 January 1801 Robert Jarman and Elizabeth’s only child was born and was christened Robert Jarman at Christchurch, Spitalfields the following month.[7] 






                                       Christ Church, Spitalfields (built by Nicholas Hawksmoor in the early 18th century) in Robert Jarman's time                                                                                                                                                    

                            and today, and the baptismal font (still in the church) in which Robert Jarman junior was baptized.                                                                                                                                                                  





Shortly afterwards, Robert Jarman and his family moved to the nearby area of Whitechapel and appears to have given up being a carpenter and set up in business as a “victualler”, that is a food and drink shopkeeper.[8]   Britain was at war with Napoleon and the economic situation in London was difficult with high inflation and much instability.[9]   It may be that the economic situation pushed him to try a different trade.


In 1803, Robert Jarman became a “liveryman” in the Weavers' Company[10] by paying a significant fee. This entitled him to the full rights of Guild membership, including the right to vote in City and General Elections.


Robert Jarman and Elizabeth had no more children, but, in March 1804, Elizabeth Jarman died aged 29.  Although they were living in Whitechapel, Robert arranged for his wife to be buried in Spitalfields[11]


Second marriage


On 6 September 1804 Robert Jarman, a widower at 29, married Amelia Dede at St Peter within the Tower.  This was a royal chapel within the Tower of London which had jurisdiction over certain parts of Spitalfields, known as the ‘Tower Liberties’.  Again, Robert obtained a licence from the Vicar-General’s office.[12]  (Note: there are is an evidence issue questioning whether the Robert Jarman who married Amelia Dede is the Robert Jarman of this family – for a detailed discussion see here.)


            The altar in St Peter in the Tower, in front of which

               Anne Boleyn,  Henry VIII's beheaded 2nd wife, is buried  

Amelia Dede was 27 and the daughter of Pierre and Catherine Dede.[13]  The Dede family were Huguenots (French Protestants) and part of the wave of refugees that had come to London from Catholic France following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.  The Revocation had ended the toleration the Huguenots had enjoyed for the previous 90 years.  Spitalfields became one of the main centres of the Huguenot influx and it was estimated in the 18th century that 20,000 Huguenots lived there.[14]   They were mainly engaged in the silk industry and were responsible for Spitalfield’s reputation for silk weaving.[15]  They had, in the second half of the century, still maintained their French identities. For instance, Amelia Dede was christened in a Huguenot Church in 1777 (L'Eglise de l'Artillerie) which had been founded only 11 years before.[16]


Robert Jarman and Amelia’s first child was born in 1806 and christened Elizabeth Jarman.[17]   Unusually for the time, as the first daughter, she was not given her mother’s name but – presumably – was named after Robert Jarman’s first wife. The following year they had their first son, Richard Jarman (born 1807).[18] 




Move to the City


                 Map of 'Greater London', 1819 - the City of London itself is outlined in red

In 1810, Robert Jarman and Amelia moved to Noble Street, (near Cheapside and St Paul’s Cathedral) in the City of London itself, where Robert appears to have re-established himself as a carpenter.[19]


At the time, the house building industry was experiencing a boom and Robert may have benefited from this.[20]   As would normally be the case for tradesmen, he would have lived and worked on the same premises – the family accommodation being on the upper floors and the ground floor serving as a shop or workshop.


Later that year their daughter Amelia Jarman was born.[21]  The move from the poorer East End into the City is an indication of Robert’s growing prosperity.  Rents in the City were significantly higher than Spitalfields or Whitechapel.  He was 35.  Robert Jarman and Amelia had two other children:  Henry Jarman, born in 1812,[22]  and George Jarman, born in 1815[23]






St Martin's-Le-Grand, 1817: Robert's house is on the right towards St Paul


Robert Jarman’s business became well established in the area and he remained in Noble Street or a short walk from it in the Cheapside area for the next thirty years.  From 1817, Robert regularly appears in the new Trades Directories for London.   In that year he described himself as a carpenter and an undertaker.[24]


 In 1819, Robert  Jarmanmoved from Noble Street and rented new premises at nearby 9 St Martin’s-Le-Grand. He remained there until 1829.  St Martin’s-Le-Grand was a broader more prominent street than Noble St., and was possibly a higher rent.  Robert paid £70 per year, which was a significant amount.[25]   In 1823 he inherited £350 from his father.  His father’s burial record notes that “Mr Jarman” was the undertaker.[26] 

Around this time he begins to hold a number of positions in the 'vestry' of the local parish, St.Anne & St Agnes.  The City of London’s government centred around the parish vestry (or council) which was responsible for maintaining law and order, carrying out public works, administering the Poor Law and levying the local taxes (the ‘rates’).   The members of the vestry were the leaders of the local community. In 1824 he was elected ‘Overseer’ (that is administrator of the Poor Rate). [27]





                    Cheapside and Bow Church, 1838: Bow Lane is first on the left before the Church

In 1829, at the age of 54, Robert Jarman moved again, this time to 49 Bow Lane off Cheapside.[28]


Because of the death of William IV and the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837, parliament was dissolved and a General Election called.  Robert and his brother Gregory Jarman, were liverymen and were therefore of the few who were entitled to vote in London. Robert cast his vote for all four of the radical candidates, including a radical Chartist.  These candidates, in varying degrees, supported the extension of the franchise and democracy.  His brother, Gregory Jarman, however, voted for the sole conservative candidate, a former governor of the Bank of England, who believed that the franchise should not be extended.[29]  Gregory Jarman was, by this time, a wealthy member of the City establishment.  Robert’s voting may indicate that he never attained the financial security of his brother.


In 1838 he returned to Noble Street (although different premises to the ones he occupied 20 years before) and remained there until the late-1840s.[30]   In the 1841 census he is shown as living there with his youngest son George Jarman (then aged 25), a servant, and a woman of the same age as Amelia called Jane Jarman (this may be an error by the census taker – and was in fact Amelia Jarman).[31]   An 1841 a trades’ directory describes him as a ‘carpenter and builder’ and Amelia Jarman as running a school from the house.[32]  Other directories list his business as “Robert Jarman & Son”.[33]   The “son” is likely to have been Henry Jarman.[34]


In the 1840s Robert Jarman again holds a number of positions in the St Anne & St Agnes Vestry.[35]



Old age and poverty


In about late 1846, Robert Jarman closed his business and left Noble Street.[36]  At the time he was over 70 years of age, and keeping the business running may not have been feasible.  However, the London building trade had been in a prolonged slump since the late 1820s[37] and he may have gone out of business because of this. (Shortly after this, his eldest son Robert Jarman junior became destitute and his third son, Henry Jarman, emigrated by “assisted passage” to Australia – see next Page. Both were carpenters and the plight of the family may be a reflection of the state of the trade at the time.)


In 1846, at the age of 71 he claimed to be a retired “Gentleman” and to have moved out of London to the village of Tottenham.[38]  Tottenham was at this time populated mainly by professional and other wealthy individuals with some well-to-do tradesmen.  However, at about this time he was forced to apply to the Weavers’ Company to be allocated an almshouse.  He must have been destitute with no income or place to live.  In January 1847, the Weavers’ Company permitted him and Amelia to move into their almshouses in Porter’s Fields, Shoreditch.[39]  Although it would be better than being homeless, the almshouses were said to be in a “dilapidated and dirty condition” at this time and were well over 100 years old.[40]  The area was subject to a compulsory purchase order so that a new road could be built and the Weavers’ Company did not, therefore, want to spend any money renovating the almshouses.


Eventually in 1851, the compulsory purchase was completed[41] and Robert Jarman and Amelia were moved to temporary accommodation in Bethnal Green while new Weavers’ almshouses were built in the Essex village of Wanstead.


Neither Robert Jarman nor Amelia lived to move out to the new Almshouses. Amelia Jarman died in Wellington St. in 1853 aged 76.[42]  Her death certificate stated the cause of death as chronic bronchytis.  Robert Jarman lived on for another 5 years at Wellington St. and died there in 1858, of “natural decay”.[43]  He left no will. 



Robert Jarman’s children & their descendants



Robert Jarman, Jun. (1801-1860). Robert Jarman’s only child with Elizabeth Daniels.  See History Page 6.



Richard Jarman,  (1807-1877).  Robert Jarman’s eldest son with Amelia Dede.  See History Page 5.



Henry Jarman,  (1812-1873).  Robert Jarman’s second son with Amelia Dede.  See History Page 5.


Amelia Lipscomb née Jarman  (1810-1883).  Robert Jarman’s daughter with Amelia Dede.


Amelia Jarman married John Henry Lipscomb in 1840.[44]  John, a clerk, was probably her brother Henry Jarman’s brother-in-law.  Amelia and John Lipscomb gave the same address at the time of their marriage in Islington.  In the 1840s and 1850s they moved frequently in the greater London area, living mainly in Southwark and Hackney.[45]  By 1861 they had moved to Walthamstow in Essex where they appear to have lived out their lives.[46]  John and Amelia Lipscomb had at least 5 children. Their second eldest son, Louis or Lewis Lipscomb, had a building contractor’s business in Walthamstow in the 1890s.[47]   See Family Tree 6.


George Jarman  (1815-1897).  Robert Jarman’s youngest child with Amelia Dede.


George Jarman became an artist and engraver, like his brother Richard Jarman, and was still living with his parents at Noble Street in the early 1840s.[48]  George Jarman married Alice Ann Gossett in 1853 at which time he was living in Tottenham.[49]  Like his brother, Richard Jarman, he drew and engraved maps but also book illustrations[50]



George Jarman's engraving of Liverpool Town Hall, 1853


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    From the 1850s to the late 1860s George Jarman's family lived in Hackney and from there they moved to Leyton where they spent the remainder of their lives.[51]  They had two sons and one daughter 52 George Jarman’s descendants continued to live in London to the present day. See Family Tree 7.



George Jarman's grandson, Henry Jarman (1882-1920)


Elizabeth  Jarman (born 1806).  Robert Jarman’s first child with Amelia Dede.


Nothing is known of Elizabeth Jarman, and she may have died in childhood.



The next page covers Robert Jarman senior’s sons, Richard Jarman and Henry Jarman.


History Main Page

History Page 3

History Page 5

History Page 6


[1] Weavers Company, Court of Assistants Minute Book 30.5.1797,  4655/18 (Guildhall Library, London; referred to as ‘GL’ in later notes)

[2] The Weavers company membership records show his address, Brown’s Lane, as the same as his old master see GL 4661/96-97 cf. the reference in the above note.

[3] The Poor Man's Guardian 18 February 1832

[4] Marriage Register entry for 3.10.1799

[5] Vicar General’s Licence dated 2 Oct.1799, Society of Genealogists Library Collection (‘SoG’ in later notes)

[6] Ancestral Trails 2nd Ed., p.269 by Mark Herber

[7] Baptism register entry for 20.2.1801

[8] Weavers Company Quarterage Records 1802/3 GL 4661/97A

[9] An Economic History of London by M.Ball & D.Sunderland, p.94

[10] Weavers Company, Court of Assistants Minute Book 4.1.1803, GL 4655/19

[11] Christchurch, Spitalfields Burial register 14.3.1804

[12] Vicar-General’s Licence dated 5 Sept. 1804, SoG

[13] Christening 19 Jan. 1777, Register of the Artillery Church, Bishopsgate (born 29 Dec. 1776)

[14] Victoria & Albert Museum website:


[15] London A Social History, 2000 p.159 by Roy Porter

[16] A History of the Huguenots of the Dispersion at the Recall of the Edict of Nantes, 1880 by Reginald Lane Poole, p. 196

[17] St Mary’s, Whitechapel baptism register entry 28.5.1806

[18] St. Mary’s, Whitechapel baptism register entry 4.9.1807

[19] Weavers Company Quarterage Records 1810/11 GL 4661/104. See also occupation in George’s baptism entry in 1812 (below)

[20] The boom began in about 1799 and lasted until 1811: see From Artisans to Paupers: Economic Change and Poverty in London 1790-1870 pp.46-48 by David R. Green published 1995.

[21] born  18.11.1810: St John Zachary baptism register entry 14.12.1810

[22] born  18.8.1812: St John Zachary baptism register entry 18.9.1812

[23] born  1.9.1815: St John Zachary baptism register entry 24.9.1815

[24] Underhill’s Directory 1817-19, GL

[25] St John Zachary settlement records, GL ms 11537/3

[26] St Mary Magdalen Interment Book, 29.10.1823 (P71/MMG/105, London Metropolitan Archive, referred to in later notes as ‘LMA’)

[27] 7.4.1824:  ms 1604/8, GL

[28] Robson’s Directory, 1829

[29] 1837 Poll Book for City of London, British Library. Information on the candidates from Dictionary of National Biography.

[30] Robson’s Directory, 1838, 1839, 1840.  Kelly’s Post Office Directory, 1847

[31] HO 107/719/14 f.4

[32] Robson’s Directory, 1841, GL

[33] Kelly’s Post Office Directory, 1846, GL

[34] Robert and Henry were his only sons to become carpenters. However, Robert at this time is described as a packing-case maker (see later) and perhaps no longer in the building trade.

[35]  Vestry minutes, ms 1604/8, GL:  Under Churchwarden & Overseer, 1843; Trustee of certain Parish land, 1844; Upper Churchwarden & Overseer, 1845.

[36] The 1847 Kelly’s Post Office Directory mentioned above is the last entry for him.

[37] See Green referred to in earlier note.

[38] 17.12.1846: St John Zachary settlement records, GL ms 11537/3

[39] Weavers Company, Court of Assistants Minute Book 13.1.1847, GL 4655/20

[40] Weavers Company, Court of Assistants Minute Book 10.4.1850, GL 4655/20

[41] Weavers Company, Court of Assistants Minute Book 13.[?]. 1851, GL 4655/20

[42] Death certificate12.5.1853

[43] Death Certificate, 4.8.1858

[44] 29.6.1840 at St Mary, Islington, Middlesex.

[45] As shown by the birth places of their children stated in the 1861 census (RG9/1061 f.86).

[46] The 1861 census referred to above and the 1881 census (RG 11/1731 f.109) shows them living in Walthamstow.  The 1871 census (RG10/1373 f.46) shows them living in Hertfordshire.

[47] 1891 census (RG12/1355 f.42).

[48] 1841 census: HO107/719/14 f.4

[49] Married at Edmonton parish church on 10 Nov. 1853. (marriage cert.)

[50] For example, six drawings of Liverpool in Liverpool as it was during the last Quarter of the eighteenth Century by R. Brooke, published in 1853.

[51] 1861 census (RG9/164 f.106), 1871 census (RG10/1634 f.26), 1881 census (RG11/1725 f.p.37) and 1891 census (RG12/1343 f.17)

[52] See above referenced census returns.  The information was confirmed by one of George’s living descendants – see acknowledgements on Home page