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John Palmer

John William Palmer is my great great great grandfather.

St Nicholas Church Deptford 1799

He was baptised in the Parish Church of St. Nicholas, Deptford, Kent (pictured right in 1799) on 03 February 1788, the third of seven children. His parents were Benjamin Palmer, a baker, and Ann Holt, who married at St. Paul, Deptford on 09 November 1784. The family lived in Butcher Row, Deptford.

John's place of birth is confirmed in the 1851 Census (the first to record birthplaces) as "Depford, Kent"

John next appears in Stoke Damerell (Devonport) in 1817, and by 1820 he was running a bakery in Church Street, Modbury, a few miles east of Plymouth.

How he came to move from Deptford to Devon and then to Cornwall is, as yet, unknown. However, the chief suspect is, once again in the family's history, the Royal Navy.

Devonport was one of the largest Naval ports in Europe, and Deptford was a major Royal Naval dockyard until 1869, with a history stretching back to the time of Henry VIII. Penryn is only two miles from Falmouth, another bustling Royal Navy port due to it's harbour, the third deepest in the world, and because it was the first major port encountered by vessels returning to England from the western and southern oceans.

It is probable that John signed on to, or was impressed into, the Royal Navy at Deptford, served in Devonport and was finally paid off at Falmouth or Devonport, and settled locally in Cornwall with his wife.

When John was only ten years old Nelson was fighting the French at the Battle of the Nile. The Royal Navy was short of men, and the order was given by the Admiralty to "press from all protections". This meant that anyone was liable to be taken from the streets, particularly in a Naval port.

However, this is speculation at the moment.

John married Ann Unknown, probably in Stoke Damerel (now called Devonport) in the county of Devon.

The couple had six children, Elizabeth (born in Stoke Damarell in 1817) and five born in Modbury, Devon: John (bap 1820), John (bap 1822), Edwin (bap 1824), Benjamin (born 1826) and Joseph (bap 1831). (The online Modbury records show that Joseph was born to Margaret Palmer, although FindMyPast.co.uk states that his mother was Ann Palmer. The Modbury Heritage site has not responded to my e-mail.)

His sons, Edwin and Joseph, emigrated to Austraila in 1849.

John moved his bakery to Budock, Cornwall, near to Penryn. His wife, Ann, was buried on 15 September 1833 at St Gluvias, Penryn and he married Alice Rowe on 04 Jan 1835. He finally moved to 31 Coinagehall Street, Helston, where he was described as a "Master Baker" in the 1851 Census. (Coinagehall street is pictured below).

John and his new wife had at least three children: Mary, Ellen and Richard. He died some time between 1851 and 1861.

After over two hundred years, the Palmer Family has come full circle ......

John Palmer went from Deptford, Kent in the early 1800s, to Cornwall, and from there his grandson, Benjamin, went to Ireland about 1853. From Wexford or Dublin his descendants went to Belfast (1900), and onward to Derry about 1903. From Derry they came back to London (1936), and settled in Hammersmith. In 1959 they moved to Deptford (now part of the London Borough of Lewisham), where members of the family can still be found.

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  • Parents

    • Benjamin Palmer
    • Ann Holt
  • Siblings

    • Eliza
    • Benjamin
    • Mary Elizabeth
    • Ann
    • Benjamin Sampson
    • Jane Maria
  • Spouses

    • Ann Unknown
    • Alice Rowe
  • Children

    • Elizabeth Ann
    • John
    • John
    • Edwin
    • Benjamin
    • Joseph

    • Mary
    • Ellen
    • Richard