Some researchers regard Peter Tickner (bap. 20 April 1713, son of Walter Tickner and Patience Haffenden) as the same Peter Tickner (also known as Peter Rough or Rough Tickner) who was involved with the Hawkhurst Gang and was twice transported to America. However others do not agree. At present there is insufficient information available to determine which view is correct but the pages of his trials have been included on this site because of the possibility they were the same person and they make fascinating reading.
Researcher Tom Browning (who holds the view that the two Peters are seperate individuals) notes :
WHICH PETER TICKNER?
This is my latest and, hopefully, last stab at finding out which Peter Tickner was the smuggler and, by the by, whether or not he is your ancestor! So ....
The accompanying Tickner tree
(Reproduced in the Descendant Charts below)
is an expanded version of one first drawn up in 2000 (give or take a coconut). Data has been taken from, or checked against, parish register entries from records held at the Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone and the East Sussex Record Office, Lewes.
I have also used some of Angie Ray's formidable listings taken from John Owen's equally formidable web site - particularly for the date of Peter Tickner and Elizabeth Martin's marriage in 1776 which helped to fill what might have been an otherwise unbridgeable gap.
I have included what, as far as I can make out, are the first parish register entries for Tickners in Goudhurst and Hawkhurst. Although some of these entries may be unrelated, one thing is certain: there are no earlier entries for Tickners in Goudhurst or Hawkhurst parish records and perhaps they may be of help in making links in the future: for example, could there be any connection between Peter Tickner's nickname, Rough, and the early 17th century Rafe? Perhaps not! I have used the following notations: n. date of birth (but rarely), c. baptism or christening normally a few days, weeks, years even later than the date of birth; m. marriage and b. burial - like c. usually a bit later than the actual death. (Because these are different to standard abbreviations, the actual words Baptism, Burial, etc have been substituted in the Charts and elsewhere in this discourse)
Finally, by way of introduction, my interest in finding out Which Peter Tickner. I eventually realised that there was more to Peter Tickner the smuggler than just the entries relating to him and his children in the Hawkhurst parish registers. I had seen the Wadhurst records of a marriage between what I took to be another Peter Tickner and Sarah Blunt - incidentally, where and when is she called Sarah Ann?
(John O's mistake and now corrected to just Sarah)
- but I had assumed that they must be another couple until, thanks to meeting Paulene Warrington and Bob Tickner, I took a closer look at the Ticehurst Tickners and other connections. And now, a year further on, the results.
First, what do we really know about Peter Tickner the smuggler?
- He was living in a farm at Sandhurst (at the time commonly called Saunders or even Sanders) to the east of Hawkhurst when taken up on a charge of smuggling in June 1747 and eventually committed to Newgate to await trial.
- Sandhurst parish chest records show that the rates for Peter Tickner's farm were the third highest in the parish and that he paid them from May 1742 until October 1747 when, for reasons we all know, he had to leave. The exact location of his farm, though, has not yet been traced.
- He was tried twice at the Old Bailey. First in October 1747 when he was acquitted but held in custody until his second trial in December 1747 at which he was found guilty of smuggling and sentenced to seven years transportation.
- He was put aboard the St George which began its voyage to Virginia in January 1747/8 but, according to Lloyds records, did not leave the Downs until 2 Feb 47/8.
- He was arrested on Blackheath on 20 Feb 1753, held in Newgate, sentenced to death in June 1753 for having returned early from transportation. Reprieved for transportation for life in September, in December 1753 he sailed once more for Virginia - this time in the Whiteing - and this seems to be the last we hear of Peter Tickner the smuggler.
So who was he?
Since he was one of many local smugglers who were alleged to have been a leader of the
Hawkhurst Gang it seemed reasonable to assume that he came from Hawkhurst and that he was the son of Hawkhurst farmer Walter Tickner - who originally came from Goudhurst. Peter was baptised on 26 Apr 1713. Hawkhurst parish registers also record three children of a Peter and Ann Tickner. Two, Thomas and Elizabeth, were baptised on 16 Dec 1750 aged 18 and 12 respectively, and a third, Samuel, was baptised on 1 Apr 1753.There were, though, no records of the marriage of a Peter and Ann.
Another Peter Tickner from Hawkhurst is recorded as having married a Sarah Blunt at Wadhurst on 4 Nov 1740. Subsequently the Ticehurst parish registers record the baptism of nine of Peter and Sarah's children: beginning with Walter (baptised : 26 Apr 1741) and ending with Thomas (baptised : 12 Mar 1758). If this man was the smuggler he leaves a number of questions to be answered. For example:
- It was customary for children to be baptised in the parishes in which they and their parents lived. How, then, could all of Peter and Sarah's children be baptised in Ticehurst unless they were resident there?
- Peter the smuggler's absences in gaol awaiting trial, time spent at sea en route to and from the Americas as well as such time spent abroad serving his sentences make it difficult to reconcile these events with the births of several of his children: particularly Philadelphia (baptised : 25 Dec 1749); John (baptised : 22 Apr 1753 and buried : 7 Sep 1753 - where Peter is described as a labourer); Edward (baptised : 9 Mar 1755) and Thomas (baptised : 12 Mar 1758)
- Would his wife and some of her children have been accepted as a charge against the parishioners of Sandhurst unless they had a residential qualification - which, with their Ticehurst registrations can be readily discounted?
So who was Peter Tickner the smuggler?
We know that Walter Tickner's son, Peter, was born in 1713 and, in his mid to late twenties, was about the right age to have married Sarah Blunt in 1740. But, it could be argued, he was probably too young to have been the father of Ann's son Thomas who was born in or around 1732. Of the several Peter Tickners that the 'Tickner Tree' shows to have been living in and around Goudhurst in the early 1700s only one other Peter (baptised : 2 Feb 1706/7 and son of Stephen and Mary Tickner) seems to have lived long enough to marry and become the father of the Thomas, Elizabeth and Samuel recorded in the Hawkhurst registers and, taking account of the intervals between the birth of Elizabeth (ca. 1738) and his arrest in 1747, could well have been the father of the Francis and Mary Tickner referred to in the records of Sandhurst's Poor Book .
So, whilst the evidence is not incontrovertible, it seems reasonable to assume that, although the Peter who married Sarah Blunt and whose children were all baptised in Ticehurst was probably the son of Walter Tickner, he was not the notorious Hawkhurst Gang smuggler who was arrested at his farm in Sandhurst in 1747. That dubious accolade must go to Peter, the son of Goudhurst residents Stephen and Mary Tickner. Added strength to this claim has been given by the recent discovery of a Peter Tickner's marriage to an Ann Austin at Cranbrook (where both are described as being 'of ys parish') on 2 Apr 1727. Additionally, a reference to the burial of an unbaptised child of Peter Tickner on 30 Mar 1730 at Cranbrook has been found as well as the late baptism, also at Cranbrook, on 24 Feb 1752 of Mary Tickner 'Daughter of Peter & Anne Tickner - an Adult between 17 & 18 years' and, at Benenden on 13 Mar 1751, of another late baptism, this time of 'Susannah Tickner Adult Dr of Peter and Anne Tickner'. Two years later Susannah's 'baseborn' daughter, Thirza, is baptised at Benenden. Although the anticipated late baptism of Francis remains to be found, the recently discovered information about a Peter and Ann(e) Tickner seems to give added credibility to the supposition that this man was Peter the smuggler.
HHJB 31 May 2007