|Ray Jerrems, Our Genealogist, Historian||
Continuing the Saga
This article talks about William Jepson and his son George Jepson (Snr). William was my great great great great great grandfather (quite a mouthful!), the same as for our editor Donald and a lot of our other readers.
I have designated George as "Senior" to differentiate him from his son George Jepson, whose story appeared in the July 2009 edition of the Journal (George was the father of Elizabeth Jepson, who married Thomas Clarke Jerrems in Gainsborough and they and their family migrated to Australia in the 1850s to form the basis of the current Australian and US Jerrems families).
In simple terms William and George (Senior) are on the "maternal" side of the Jerrems families.
The exciting part about William and George (Snr) is that they lived in the 18th Century, which takes us back to the same era as William Jerom, our earliest known ancestor on the "Jerrems" side. The difference is, of course, that we now know quite a lot about the Jepson side and virtually nothing about the Jerrems side.
William Jerom and William Jepson were of course our direct ancestors and have equal status from a genealogical viewpoint. It is possible that this will be the only article which I will be able to write about our ancestors in this period, so I have gone into some detail.
Both William and his son George had distinguished careers in the Church of England. I will deal with them in chronological order (ie William then George).
Recently I googled references to memorials for a William and a George Jepson at Lincoln Cathedral. The Verger of the Cathedral (which is 20 miles/32km south east of Gainsborough) kindly gave me the texts of the memorials, leading me to research these men further.
My research from various sources (combined with the information shown on his memorial) shows that William was born on 5/6/1718 (according to a genealogical website) or 20/2/1718 (the latter being the date on his memorial, which I prefer) at Broxholme (8 miles/13km north west of Lincoln) and died 31/12/1792 at Sixhill (20 miles/32km north east of Lincoln) and married Rebecca (I do not know her surname). They had 8 other children in addition to George (Rebecca bc 1740, William bc 1748, Thomas bc 1751, Charles bc 1753, Hannah Maria bc 1755, James bc 1756, Catherine bc 1758 and Ann).
Turning to William's memorial, it is located in the Cathedral's Shop, which used to be St. Giles' Chapel. Unfortunately the memorial stone is not visible because a floor has been placed over it. However, a record has been kept of what is on the memorial (the slashes show the places where new lines start on the memorial): "Near/ Here lieth the body of/ William Jepson One of the Procurators General/ of the Ecclesiastical Court/ Receiver General/ To The Bishop and Dean and Chapter Of This Diocese/ And Clerk Of The Fabrick/ Upwards of 40 Years/ He was born at Broxholme/ In this County/ The 20th day of February 1718/ And died the 31st day of December 1792."
A procurator general was a chief law officer, a receiver general was probably responsible for collection of church income (for instance from property rental) and possibly the "Clerk of the Fabrick" looked after the buildings.
Initially William was a school master in a school near the Cathedral until he took up his post at the Cathedral at the age of 31 in 1749. He would presumably have received his legal training while working at the Ecclesiastical Court's office.
If William's legal training came from a genetic leaning in that direction then it took a long time to resurface in the Jerrems family. It took 7 generations because (to my knowledge) the next people with legal training were Len Jerrems from Melbourne and myself (solicitors) and Doug Jerrems, who obtained a law degree.
William was chief legal adviser to the diocese's Ecclesiastical Court, which had jurisdiction over a wide range of subjects. This would have occupied much of William's time because these courts had wide jurisdictions. The Encyclopaedia Brittanica says (in rather technical terms which I will not attempt to explain) that these Courts were set up by religious authorities to deal with disputes among clerics or with spiritual matters involving either clerics or laymen.
The Encyclopaedia then goes on to say that the range of spiritual matters dealt with often extended into the secular area. The ecclesiastical courts had jurisdiction over sacramental matters that included anything having to do with marriage, such as separation and legitimacy. They also had exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving wills; in England the ecclesiastical courts, which became Anglican in the 16th century, had complete jurisdiction in matters of succession to personal property until the 16th century and then, in competition with the Courts of Chancery (administered by the Government), until 1857. The Courts also claimed jurisdiction over clergy accused of most types of crimes.
The Courts drew upon a complicated collection of Roman Law and Canon (i.e. Church) Law.
Right: St Botolph's Church
Left: Interior of St Botolph's Church
Looking Upward to Those Who Served
Editor's Note: In February's edition we were unable to include the image below due to technical issues, since overcome.
We have reprinted the context as well.
"The second Jerrems connection -my grandfather Coming back to the Battle of Villers Bretonneux, my grandfather (Edward Smith) was a stretcher bearer in the 13th Field Ambulance. He was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry occurring on the 21st April (when the night attack commenced) so he must have been just behind the first wave of Australia infantry attacking along the northern side of the town. The stretcher bearers would have had no shelter from natural features or from the usual shell holes and remains of old trenches left over from previous battles, so they would have risked being hit by the machine gun fire aimed at the Australian troops ahead of them, while attempting to tend the casualties out in the open.
"My grandfather told me that his companions refused to move from a shelter they had found, waiting for the fighting to move further on, out of machine gun range. But he went out by himself simply because the cries of the wounded "would have sent me mad if I had stayed behind", he said. Probably wearing a great coat in the cold, he said that he later found bullet holes in his clothes!
Pictured: My grandfather Edward Smith (sitting) and Alf, his brother (killed in France).
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