Jarman Family History

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ROBERT JARMAN (1801-1860)


This page covers Robert Jarman, son of Robert Jarman, senior. (1775-1858).  See Family Tree 1 - Main Chart.  For Robert Jarman senior - and Robert Jarman junior's early life - see Page 4. Robert Jarman junior was a carpenter and lived in London. 


For two of Robert Jarman's brothers, Henry Jarman and Richard Jarman, see Page 5.


Robert Jarman became a carpenter and appears to have worked for his father until at least the early 1830s.[1]  He lived with his father and his step-mother Amelia at 9 St Martin’s Le Grand until 1829[2] and presumably worked in his father’s business. As he was growing up, he would have been seven years older than his oldest step-brother, Richard Jarman.   


In 1833, Robert Jarman jun. married Maria Sorkings.[3]  He was 32 and she was 22.  Maria was originally from Shelley,[4] a small village in rural Essex and had presumably recently come to London to find work in domestic service.  Her signature (unlike Robert’s) indicated that she was poorly educated, or at least she was not used to writing.


Robert Jarman and Maria had six children between 1834 and 1845:  Maria,[5]  Robert James,[6]  Joseph,[7]  Fanny,[8] Alfred John,[9] and Clara[10].


            Field Lane, near Smithfield, 1840

From their marriage until the late 1830’s they appeared to have lived in the river-side City parish of St Mary Somerset. In 1835 they had rooms (probably a single room) in a building, 205 Upper Thames St, which they shared with a number of other families.  One of the couples in the building was Emmanuel and Rhoda Heath, who had been the witnesses at their wedding.  Emmanuel was also a carpenter.[11]


However, from the late 1830s they appear to have moved to the warren of streets around St Barts. hospital and Smithfield market, and lived there for the next ten years.  This was one of the areas with the cheapest rents in the City of London.


At about this time, there appears to have been a decline in his standing as a carpenter.  He never appears in the trade directories of the time: indicating that he was not able to establish himself in business as his father had done.  At various times after the late 1830s he describes himself as a box or packing case maker rather than a carpenter.[12]   As mentioned earlier (History Page 4), the building trades were experiencing a period of depression in the 1830s and 1840s.  This may have driven Robert to take the less lucrative cheap furniture and box making work.  However, with the introduction of “sweated” manufacturing and the de-regulation of artisan crafts in the 1820s and 1830s, skilled journeyman like Robert found the wages they could command and the available work rapidly diminishing.[13]  Unemployment amongst cabinet makers reached 35% in 1846, whereas it had normally been well below 10% in previous decades.[14]


In August 1846, Robert’s situation had so deteriorated that he and Maria and their six children were receiving ‘poor relief’: money and food from the local parish authorities.[15]   Under the Poor Law of the time this would have only happened if they were in fact destitute and in danger of starvation. 


After four months of giving poor relief to the family, the local parish officials decided to have them expelled from the area so that the family could be relocated to their parish of “settlement”.[16]   A parish (or latterly a group of parishes called a Union) had an obligation to support paupers but only those who had a legal right of “settlement” in the parish. A parish would therefore “deport” to their parish of settlement any “strangers” who had become destitute and needed poor relief. Residing in a parish was not normally enough to give a right of settlement and an additional condition had to be fulfilled to show a ssubstantial connection (such as renting a property of a value of at least £10). Often, a pauper never gained a settlement in his own right and therefore his father’s place of settlement was treated as his.[17] Robert found himself in this situation.


Family in poverty: Victorian engraving                

To have the family removed, the Parish had to obtain an order from a City of London Alderman’s Court, composed of two magistrates.  On 17 December 1846, Robert, Maria and their six children, aged from one to twelve, all attended the court to be examined by the magistrates.  Robert stated that he had never acquired a right of settlement in his own right (indicating that he had always lacked a reliable income).  Robert’s father had therefore to travel from Tottenham to testify before the magistrates where his place of legal settlement was. Based on his father’s statements,  the Court ordered that the family be removed from where they were currently living, St Bartholmew’s Close, and sent to the City parish[18] where his father last had a right of settlement, St Anne & St Agnes. It is not known whether they were then sent into a workhouse or continued to receive “outdoor relief”.

Through the 1850s, the family’s position appears not to have improved.  By 1851 the family was living in a tenement building just north of the City in Goswell Road and Robert was described as a “labourer” rather than a skilled carpenter.[19]  In 1859, their second son, Joseph, died of TB.[20]   Joseph had been working as a cabinet maker.  By the end of the decade Robert was in the City of London Union Workhouse, Bromley-by-Bow, where he died in September 1860.[21]   The death certificate gives the cause of death as “paralysis”.  It may be that whatever caused his death and forced him into the workhouse had affected his ability to carry out skilled work, and forced him to become a labourer. He was 59 when he died




                                              The former City of London Workhouse today:  now a closed-down former hospital 







His wife Maria does not appear to have been in the workhouse with him.  In 1861 she and her youngest son Alfred had lodgings in Shoreditch with a cabinet maker and his family.[22]   She was working as a washerwoman.  In 1875, she died of bronchitis aged 62.[23]
















Robert’s children & their descendants



Alfred John Jarman. (1843-1904).  See History Page 7.



Joseph Jarman, Jun. (1839-1858).


Joseph became a cabinet maker and died at the age of 19[24]



Maria Gardner née  Jarman (born 1833)


Robert and Maria’s eldest daughter, Maria, married a cabinet maker called David Gardner[25] who was originally from Northamptonshire.[26]  David and Maria had at least two children: David and Charlotte.[27]



Robert James Jarman (1837-1869)


Robert and Maria’s eldest son, Robert James, became a cabinet maker and married Sarah Ann Woodward (who was illiterate) in 1858.[28]   They lived in impoverished slums around Shoreditch[29] which was the centre of the cheap furniture trade at the time.[30]   They had four children between 1859 and 1869.[31]  Robert James died of TB, like his brother Joseph, in 1869 aged 32[32], leaving Sarah, also 32, to bring up their four children. They were aged from one to nine at his time of death.


The following year, Sarah, became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter.[33]   It is not known who the father was; however, a few months later she and her children were living with a widower called James Hesketh.[34]   James and Sarah got married in 1872[35] and had one further child.[36]


Two of Robert and Sarah’s daughters – Sarah and Amelia – married and had children.  It is not known what became of their two remaining children, Robert and Emily.


See Family Tree 9 for Robert James's descendants.


Fanny Howard née Jarman (1840-1909)



Two years after her father’s death, Fanny married Edwin Howard.  They had fourteen children and a number of descendants in London to the present day.[37]


See Family Tree 10 for Fanny's descendants.


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[1] The earliest statement of his occupation (the baptism record of his eldest child, Maria, in 1835 – see below) has him as a carpenter.

[2] See Poor Law records of 1846 referred to below: Guildhall library (GL) ms 11537/3.

[3] On 28 July 1833 in the City at St Mary Somerset, a parish close to the river.

[4] 1851 census HO107/15/5  f.549

[5] born 22 June 1834; christened on 26 January 1835, St Mary Somerset baptism register

[6] born 28 February 1837; christened 19 April 1840, St Barts the Great baptism register

[7] born 20 January 1839; christened 13 February 1839, St Barts. Baptism register

[8] christened 20 December 1840, St Andrew’s Holborn baptism register

[9] born  3 June 1843 (birth cert.)

[10] Born 1845 (1851 census, as above)

[11] From the St Mary Somerset marriage register and baptismal register for their daughter, Maria.

[12] For example the baptism records of his children, Joseph in 1839 and Clara in 1845.

[13] A History of London, pp 147-148 and 450, by Stephen Inwood, published 2000.

[14] From Artisans to Paupers: Economic Change and Poverty in London 1790-1870 p. 72 by David R. Green published 1995.

[15] London Settlement Records ms 11537/3 (GL)

[16] London Settlement Records ms 11537/3 (GL)

[17] Ancestral Trails p.345-356 by Mark Herber, second edition

[18] They were residing at 33 St Bartholomews Close in the parish of St Bartholomew the Great.  9 St Martins le Grand, where Robert had lived with his father until 1829, was located in the parish of St Anne & St Agnes.  See GL ms 11537/3.

[19] 1851 census  HO107/15/5 f.549

[20] On 26 May 1858 (Death cert.)

[21] 18 Sept. 1860 (Death cert.)

[22] 1861 census RG9/237 f.74

[23] 22 October 1875 (Death cert.)

[24] 26 May, 1858, Death Cert.

[25] 5 October 1856

[26] Bugbrooke – see 1861 census RG9/239 f.32

[27] 1861 census supra:  born about 1860 and 1858 respectively

[28] 25 December 1858, St John the Baptist, Shoreditch

[29] See 1861 census RG9/244 f.140 Robert’s death certificate

[30] A History of London, p 450, by Stephen Inwood, published 2000

[31] Sarah Fanny, christened 21 Aug. 1859, St Leonards, Shoreditch; Emily Clara, christened 5 May 1862, St John the Baptist, Shoreditch; Robert, born about 1863, based on 1871 census (RG10/462 f.75); Amelia Matilda Q3 1867, Shoreditch.

[32] 23 January 1869.

[33] Alice, born Q3 1870, Holborn

[34] 1871 census RG 10/462 f.75

[35] 27 May 1872, St James the Gt., Bethnal Green

[36] 1891 census RG12/249 f.99

[37] See Acknowledgements on Home page