The Jennings family

by Liane Fenimore

The Winslow Charity List for 1897 includes Edmund Jennings and a second person who must have been his wife Catherine Elliott [ 1838, perhaps Swanbourne, poss d/o John Elliott of Winslow].   Edmund was the son of GEORGE JENNINGS [1799-1854] and Mary (Baldwin) Jennings [1805-bef 1846] and was baptized in East Claydon 25 Jan 1824.  His army record says he was born in Winslow.
An army pensioner, Edmund served almost 21 years.  He enlisted in the 95th Foot and fought in the First Anglo-Sikh War [India] in the mid-1840s and later went to the Crimea where he received the Crimea Medal with the Sevastopol clasp, amongst others.  In February 1858, he joined the Royal Artillery as a gunner and served with them for 5 years, mostly in Gibraltar.  In 1863, he was declared medically unfit as he had chronic hepatitis thought to date from his time in India and had been 'frequently' wounded.
He married Catherine Elliott in 1867; they had no known children, and lived at Tinkers End, Winslow.  On the 1901 census the widowed Edmund was enumerated at the asylum at Aylesbury [Stone], aged 78, and described as a lunatic.  He probably had dementia since he had functioned well in society for most of his life.  He died in 1905.

The first documented evidence of this JENNINGS family occurred 1 Oct 1703 when ROBERT JENNINGS married Ann Pipkin/Pitkin in East Claydon.  They had a daughter ANNE baptized 15 July 1705 but no marriage record has been found for her.  She was buried at East Claydon in 1772. However, she had three children, all JENNINGS:  William, bap 26 Jun 1731, nothing further; RICHARD, bap 21 Nov 1734, and Catherine bap 12 Nov 1739, nothing further.  All were called illegitimate.  A bastardy bond was filed against Richard Southam, the local miller, who was perhaps the father of all three children who would in that case be Southams.  Neither Southam nor Anne Jennings ever married.

Son RICHARD JENNINGS married Hannah Tyrrel from Cottisford, OXF at Chetwode in 1761.  The couple had eleven children: John, Richard, William, Charles, GEORGE [1771-1843], Tobias, Sarah, Thomas, Anne, James [1783-1864; see below] and Maria.  Two of these sons, John born 1763 and Thomas born 1777 are very likely the same men as John Jennings, laborer, and Thomas Jennings, collar maker, in the 1798 Posse Comitatus in Winslow.  They are not in the East Claydon list. 

Edmund Jennings’ grandfather was GEORGE JENNINGS [1771-1843] who married Catherine Robertson in 1791.  They had Lucy, Matthias, GEORGE [1799-1854], Charles and Jacob.  Edmund’s father GEORGE died in 12 January 1854 of softening of the brain and paralysis at the Northampton Infirmary.

GEORGE JENNINGS' [1799-1854] first marriage was 30 Apr 1820 at Steeple Claydon to Mary Baldwin and this produced Edward [1821-aft 1881] and Edmund [1824-1905]. A second marriage for GEORGE JENNINGS on 13 Nov 1846 at East Claydon to Sophia Daniels produced Frederick [1847 Winslow-1883 Egypt], GEORGE [1849 Winslow-1899] and Catherine Sophia [1853-aft 1909, md a Valentine NTH].

However, the first Jennings who was a Chelsea ‘Out Pensioner’ and who served in the army was the above-mentioned James [1783-1864], son of Richard and Hannah, who was ‘credited’ with 39 years’ service in the 14th Foot in the East Indies & Java but mostly in India.  The next was GEORGE JENNINGS who enlisted the year his son Edmund was born – 1824 – in the 98th Foot [spelled Gennings].  He spent 10 years at the Cape of Good Hope, a year in China during the Opium War, a year in Ireland and the rest in England, totaling 21 years service towards his pension.
Three of GEORGE JENNINGS’ sons joined up. Edmund is described above.  Frederick [1847-1883] joined the Royal Horse Artillery as a driver and was serving in Egypt when mortally stricken with cholera.  GEORGE JENNINGS [1849-1899], born in Winslow and baptized at East Claydon, joined under age in 1866.  He was a driver, gunner and bomber in the RHA until his retirement due to ill health in 1888.  He spent thirteen years in India and fought in the Second Afghan War at Ali Musjid and Jowaki.  Besides surviving Afghanistan, he survived dengue fever, cholera and the ague whilst in India. After retiring, this GEORGE JENNINGS stayed in London as a cadet servant at Woolwich.  His wife was from Whittlesey, Cambs., so she eventually took her children to Peterborough which ended the family connections to the East Claydon and Winslow roots of this family. 

On visits to London, my mother searched at St. Catherine’s House for the origins of this last GEORGE JENNINGS – her grandfather – but it was not until the 1990s when a friend located the RHA military records for George and his brother Frederick that I was able to trace them to Bucks.  Although we lived in Peterborough until 1964, my father was American and we moved to the United States.  Ironically, my American husband traces his family – the Fenimores – to Tingewick.

In light of current events: after my great-grandfather George Jennings fought in Afghanistan in the 1880s his son and my grandfather John Jennings joined the Royal Artillery during WWI and fought in Iraq.  They marched (or, as he put it, they walked) from Basra to Baghdad.   I have George Jennings’ medals for Ali Musjid and Jowaki along with John Jennings’ two medals from WWI.

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