Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Showing posts with label Blackwall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blackwall. Show all posts

Monday, 27 December 2021

John Winnall, Thames Waterman of Blackwall

River Thames at Blackwall
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Nigel Cox -

John Winnall (b. 1642), son of Augustine Wynnall and Elizabeth Knighte, and his wife Alice [maiden name unknown] were the parents of the following children. All baptisms listed were at the church of St Dunstan's, Stepney:

  1. Elizabeth Winnall bap. 2 Jun 1669
  2. Mary Winnall bap. 30 Jul 1671
  3. Jo*** Winnum (sic) bap. 12 Sep 1672 (Transcribed as Joyce Winnum, however, on the original written document, although the first name isn't easily readable, it says SON of John Winnum of Blackwall, Waterman and Alice. So I definitely don't think it's Joyce, but I do think that Winnum is an error and this is a son of the same John Winnall. John for the first name would be the obvious choice, but it doesn't look like that.)
  4. Alyce Winnall bap. 6 Mar 1673
  5. Augustine Winnall bap. 16 Nov 1678
  6. Anne Winnall bap. 16 Mar 1680
  7. Rachel Winnall b. ~1680 (As yet not seen original baptism.)

Most say son or daughter of John Winnall of Blackwall, Waterman and Alice.

So, not only was John Winnall born the same year as the start of the English Civil War, this places him and Alice in the capital at the time of the Great Fire of London. They also lived through the plague (1665-6). Interesting times.

Samuel Pepys, who commuted by water from his home to his job at the Admiralty, refers to the death of his waterman in his diaries of 1665 revealing the particular vulnerability of Thames watermen to infection. 

On Sunday 20 August 1665, he writes, "And I could not get my waterman to go elsewhere for fear of the plague."

Thames watermen and ferries: "Wherries could be hired at many stairs that led down to the Thames. Watermen gathered at each, jostling for custom, crying “oars oars sculls”. Working a passenger wherry, ferry, or barge on the Thames in all weathers and tides required knowledge and skill, with tides used to achieve remarkably quick journeys up and down river. The men who operated such craft, as well as those who transported goods by barge or lighter, were a special breed, whose families undertook the same work for generations."  

Blackwall had a proud maritime tradition and both Raleigh and Nelson are said to have had homes here. The first colonists of Virginia sailed from Blackwall in 1606 and later the East India Docks - a group of docks in Blackwall, east London - brought thriving inter­na­tional trade. 

Blackwall Yard was famous for building East Indiamen, which vessels were often called Blackwallers. Built in 1614, it was the first wet dock in the port of London and was the East India Company's principal shipyard, "... residential development at Blackwall commenced in earnest during the 1620s and 1630s, and it continued throughout the century as both the shipyard and overseas trade prospered and the demand for labour in the area increased." 

Evidence suggests that John Winnall's father had come to London from Gloucestershire between 1627 and 1634. We don't know what his occupation was once he got to the capital, but he had been a labourer. We know he settled in this area, as his children were baptised at St Dunstan's, Stepney, so the area's development would seem to offer the perfect reason for arriving and finding work at that time. Many in this branch of my family settled in this area and made their living in some way related to either the river or the seas as watermen, dock labourers, ships' carpenters, shipwrights, sailors ...

The record of the burial of John Winnall, on 16 Nov 1693 at St Dunstan's, Stepney, also lists him as John Winnall of Blackwall, Waterman at Poplar.

In the records of Thames Watermen & Lightermen 1688-2010, there is a John Winnall listed, in Blackwall, apprenticed to a Master Winnall, in 1707. It would not be a surprise to find this was John Winnall's grandson.

Monday, 9 November 2020

Thomas Travally and Rachel Winnall

St Dunstan & All Saints, Stepney - East end
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon -

Thomas Travally (1685–1744) and Rachel Winnall (1680–1755), daughter of John and Alice Winnall, married at the church of St Dunstan & All Saints, Stepney, on 20 Sep 1704. The record of their marriage lists them as Thomas Trevalle (sic) of RatcliffWaterman and Rachel Winnall of Blackwall

St Dunstan's was known as the "Church of the high seas" because of the great number of sailors who lived there. It's also is known as "The Mother Church of the East End" and has had an important role in my family history, from baptisms in the 1630s, to the baptism of my own grandfather in 1897.

Thomas Travally and Rachel Winnall had six children, all of whom were also baptised at St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney:
  1. Elizabeth Travally bap. 26 Aug 1705
  2. Esther Travally bap. 18 Jul 1709
  3. Mary Travally bap. 30 Jan 1712
  4. Winnall Travally bap. 15 May 1715
  5. Martha Trevally (sic) bap. 17 Feb 1716
  6. Warden Travally bap. 10 Feb 1718
On these baptism records too Thomas Travally is listed as a Waterman

"If watermen were the river’s taxi drivers, then lightermen drove the lorries."

According to the Binding Records of the Thames Watermen & Lightermen, Winnall Travally was apprenticed and therefore bound to his father, Thomas, on 18 Jul 1729. He would then have been around 14 and would be free on 20 Jan 1843, by which time he would have been 28 years old. That seems an inordinately long time. Did Thomas just not trust his son? Apprenticeships are still completed for those wanting to work on the river, offered through the Company of Watermen and Lightermen, lasting 5 years.   

Race for Doggett's Coat and Badge 
The World's Oldest Boat Race

Since 1715 the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge has been passionately rowed by apprentice river workers on the Thames. It is believed to be the oldest continually competed sporting event in the world. Thames Watermen compete to earn a coveted red Waterman's coat and badge. The race therefore dates, coincidentally, to the year of Winnall Travally's birth. Thomas and Winnall must surely have known about it. Could they even have taken part, I wonder? 

(And little did I think I might have been following family tradition when I took part in the Dongola Race at Sunbury Amateur Regatta one year.)
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