News from the Jerrems Family

June 2012
Edition 87
Jerrems Family Newsletter
Uncovering Another Link to the Jerrems Past
Dear Donald,
With this edition, Ray, takes us back to the old country - the historic city of Durham in northeast England. Durham is well known for its Norman cathedral and 11th-century castle, both designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Of course, the Jerrems ancestry starts few hundred years later in Ray's storyline.


Ray Jerrems, Our Genealogist, Historian   Introduction 
This article is about John Jerrems, one of Big Bill's children, and his family.

Although I had carried out some research on John and his immediate family some years ago I had lacked the highly desirable ingredient of knowing what had happened to his offspring.

Thanks to a recent email from one of his great great grandchildren, Alan Fitz-Patrick, I now have a significant part of the answer to this puzzle. An extra fillip has been that one of John's children migrated to South Africa, where his descendants still live, making them our first "Jerrems" connections from that country.

John's early life

John was born in 1819 in Gainsborough, the son of William Jerrems ("Big Bill") and Elizabeth Clarke.

Bill and Elizabeth's numerous children (all born in Gainsborough) were Ann b1806, William b&d 1808, Elizabeth b1810, Mary(1) b1812 d1814, William Clarke b&d1813, John(1) b&d1814, Thomas Clarke b1815 (my great great grandfather), Ecclesiastes b1816, John(2) b1819, Mary(2) b1821, William b1823, and Robert b1824. John was baptised at All Saints Church (see photo) on 25/8/1820, and as far as we know, had an uneventful childhood with his seven surviving siblings.

It is likely that the family lived over Big Bill's shop in Bridge Street, one of the main commercial streets in Gainsborough at the time. No doubt John would have left school at about the age of twelve and may have initially helped in his father's shop. However it is likely that he worked for a pharmacist because he later became a pharmacist (see later).

In 1846, at the comparatively late age of 27, he married Mary, who was born in about 1825 in either (a)Elkesley, Nottinghamshire,30 km SW of Gainsborough or (b) in Appley Head near the small town of East Retford (19 km SW of Gainsborough). They were married in East Retford, perhaps indicating that she was actually born in Appley Head.

John and Mary settle in Durham
John and Mary settled in the historic and hilly city of Durham (photo in Header), which is a long way north (200km/125 miles) of Gainsborough, one county south of Scotland. They arrived there by 1848 when their first son was born. The railway reached Durham in 1844, so they may have travelled by rail.

The reason for moving to Durham eludes me. Durham's population was 14,000 in the 1850s, similar to Gainsborough, and Gainsborough had port facilities, unlike Durham which was on the River Were but the river was not navigable as far up as Durham. The normal pattern was for people to shift to bigger cities. Perhaps John thought that his business opportunities would be better in Durham despite its more limited prospects of expansion.

Initially John was a pharmacist and druggist. Perhaps this choice of occupation was the result of an interest in scientific matters, with the added aspect that perhaps his family had already cornered the market on some occupations in Gainsborough. For instance his father Big Bill was an established tea merchant and grocer, his brother Thomas and cousin William Gutteridge were grocers, his brother William was an auctioneer, and his brother Robert was an innkeeper.

In Gainsborough John would very likely have received customers on the recommendation of my great great great grandfather, Surgeon George Jepson.

John the flower enthusiast
The "Newcastle Courant" newspaper reported in April 1848 that John had won first prize for auriculas at the Durham Old Florists Society Show. His flower (a primula) was picturesquely named "Grime's Privateer", a privateer being a pirate ship.

John expands into soft drinks

In the Newcastle Journal of 17th August 1850 J.Schweppe & Co., by Special Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen and all the Royal Family, listed John Jerrems, Druggist, as being an agent for the sale of Soda Water, Lemonade, and other aerated waters.

John the pharmacist

In 1851 John was listed in the Pharmaceutical Journal of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, and in the 1851 Census he described himself as a Master Chemist, but later he branched out into brewing (see later).

Pharmacy was in its infancy at the time, so I will spend a few minutes describing it.

Pharmacy in the mid 1800s

Pharmacists are now required to complete a tertiary degree before they may be registered as a pharmacist, however formal qualifications were not required in England until 1868 when legislation specified that applicants had to sit for exams.

Early this year I saw a documentary about the development of pharmacy in England. From this it was apparent that in the 1830s and 1840s, when John would have trained and commenced practice, the range of pharmaceutical products was very limited, being mainly of herbal origin, supplemented by some patent medicines. Cough mixtures with a hefty dose of alcohol would have been popular.

The Newcastle Guardian of 14th October 1848 listed John as a supplier of powders for "tooth ache and tic doloreux or pain in the face, teeth, cheek, gums, face, head, the eyes, limbs and other parts of the body", with effusive testimonials.

John turns to brewing
When John turned to brewing, I wonder whether sampling his cough mixture had given him a liking for alcohol? In an 1856 directory he was listed in the category of "brewers" as a brewer and porter merchant, and in the 1868 Durham Directory he was listed as Chemist, druggist and wine merchant.

Porter is a very malty brew rather like stout, which was a later development of porter, and is one of my favourite brews. It was very popular for building up the strength of elderly or ill people, so perhaps John felt that he was in fact carrying out a public benefit in brewing it. However, the fact that he was listed as a brewer would indicate that he was doing a lot more than providing a health-giving tipple for little old ladies calling in at his pharmacy. Durham had woollen factories and ironworks, John may have supplied beer to the inns in those areas.

John's listing as a wine merchant is intriguing. It is likely that he would have imported it from France, quite a logistic exercise for a person living in Durham. Perhaps the attraction was that his clientele for wine would have been different, adding to the number of customers.

A customer these days might argue that being a pharmacist and a bottle shop owner could result in a conflict of interest!
John the victualler
Perhaps John had another string to his bow, of being a victualler, or perhaps this was merely an adjunct to his brewing. Victuallers (pronounced "vittlers") furnished food supplies for humans. Although often applied to people supplying the army or navy, the term was applied to supplying for general purposes as well.

John distinguished himself at the Annual Dinner of the Licensed Victuallers Association, held on Wednesday 22nd October 1856 in Newcastle at the Queens Head, as reported in the Newcastle Journal. With 120 people attending it must have been an impressive function.

After the main course toasts were made to Queen Victoria and to the Army and the Navy (the latter no doubt for the strategic reason that the Navy would have had a strong presence in Newcastle) and then a number of toasts were offered to dignitaries absent or present. These were probably organised beforehand, and John distinguished himself by offering two toasts, the second toast being a major toast to the members of the association's committee described in the newspaper as "an able speech where he complimented the committee for their great exertions, and eulogised the Secretary for the excellent manner in which he conducted the affairs of the association".

The large number of toasts would have ensured that everybody was in a convivial mood, not being concerned about being breath tested afterwards.
The 1851 Census shows the family lived at 75 or 135 South Street Durham (perhaps one of the places was his shop). The 1861 Census shows them living at North Road, and in 1867 they still lived there. (current day 135 South Street Durham is pictured above.)

John and Mary had a small family (compared with earlier generations) of three (possibly four) children:
  • John Gyles bc1848 Durham, married Sarah Rebecca Billing in March 1890 at Mile End Old Town, London. They lived in Essex in 1901 and 1911, no children shown.
  • William Henry bc 1849 Durham, died Dec 1888 (aged c39) in Prestwich, Lancashire (NW coast). No reference found to marriage or children.
  • Daughter Ada Sarah born in January1852 in Crossgate, Durham (see later).
I had also found a reference to a possible son Edwin Louis Jerrems, born after 1851, died June 1859 in Durham.

John and Mary die

John died on 25 January 1867 at North Road Durham aged about 48, leaving children aged 19, 18 and 15. At least from an age perspective the children would have been capable of supporting themselves and John in particular (a joiner) would have been able to contribute to household expenses. They may have kept the shop.

Dying at the age of 48 may not have been a good advertisement for John's pharmaceutical skills, but with his brewing expertise he may have arrived at the pearly gates in a merry condition and offered St Peter a glass of porter.

Coincidentally some of John's brothers also died comparatively young. My great great grandfather Thomas died at about 50, his brother Robert died at 38 and his brother William at 48. In all cases they left widows who lived for at least a further 30 years, which was not very considerate of the husbands.

In 1881 Mary lived at Framwellgate, Durham and died in April or June 1887 at the age of about 62, twenty years after John died, and four years after her daughter Ada was married.

From Mary's viewpoint the downside of the original move to Durham could have been that she did not have any nearby extended family to fall back on when John died.

Ada Sarah Jerrems and Bernard Fitz-Patrick
Although Ada's two brothers do not appear to have produced any children, Ada made up for this oversight. She married Bernard Gowran Fitz-Patrick Rev in 1873 in St Giles, Camberwell, London. Bernard was born in 1850 in Chingleput, India and four years after they were married he was ordained as a minister in Chester.

It is very likely that Ada and Bernard met in 1871/72 when he was studying theology at Durham University, which is England's oldest after Cambridge and Oxford (pictured above). Ada's family lived less than a mile from the University, and it is likely that she helped in the shop after her father died. Perhaps Bernard went to the shop for Schweppes lemonade and this was the start of their romance.

Bernard and Ada had the following children:

  • Ada Gertrude Lily Fitz-Patrick born 1873 in Surrey. She died three years later in Cheshire.
  • Bernard John Gowran Fitz-Patrick born 1875 in Little Sutton, Cheshire. He was Alan Fitz Patrick's grandfather.
  • William Ernest Gowran Fitz-Patrick born 1878 in Little Sutton, Cheshire, died 1943 in Bremersdorp, Swaziland.
  • Winifred Constance Fitz-Patrick born born 1880 in Coneys Thorpe, Yorkshire, England.
  • Herbert Arthur Lionel Fitz-Patrick born 1882 in Christchurch, Hampshire, England.
  • Eric Leslie Fitz-Patrick born 1884 in Wallasey, Cheshire.
  • Harold Percy Montague Fitz-Patrick born 1886 in Barberton, South Africa (showing that the family had migrated to South Africa).
  • Aubrey Leonard Fitz-Patrick born 1894 in Barberton, South Africa. He died fighting in WW1 in 1918 in France.
  • Vivian Claude Fitz-Patrick, probably born in South Africa.
This article ticks another box in my quest to cover as many aspects of Jerrems history as possible.

It is exciting that we now have connections in South Africa. Also, Alan is my fourth cousin, the most distant relative I know about except for the Binghams in Willingham, who are my fifth cousins.

It is also interesting that Alan contacted us after googling our website, like a number of relatives who have contacted us. Without this I would not have traced them.

In a later article I will continue my account of the family in South Africa.

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