Well, it seems I was wrong to judge her, and Naughty Nancy was not really as naughty as I thought. Well, at least partly. It is true that she married in January 1776, when she was a widow of almost 43 years of age; and it is true that she was pregnant at the time, which I imagine would have meant quite a scandal for the time, bearing in mind she lived in the same place she had been brought up. But since writing my latest post the day before yesterday I have learnt some very interesting facts about her which have completed the picture. And it’s not pretty.
Nancy Davis, as was, was born in the Gloucestershire village of Dymock. I had not realised that Dymock is located smack in the Forest of Dean, a beautiful slice of England where nature prevails over man’s might and power up to the present today. There is an interesting website called Forest of Dean Family History Trust, which includes some very useful sources. If your relatives came from the area, I bet you find some useful pieces of information. The website is free – although it requires registration- and is packed with data, much of which you won’t find on professional pages like Ancestry or FamilySearch.
Using the search engine of Parish Records I managed to trace Nancy’s death in 1806. It appears she died in her 70’s, not in Manchester as I had fantasized in my last blog post, but in good old Dymock, where she had been born, where she married and where she had most of her children.
You will remember that Nancy married John Jones in 1758, and that the couple had three children, of whom the middle child, Lancelot, died in 1771 aged only 8. What had become on the other two children remained a mystery until a fellow user on Rootschat pointed out that there were three interesting entries on the Forest of Dean website. One was for Nancy Jones, who died in 1769. As I know “my” Nancy remarried in 1776, this person can only be her daughter, who therefore died aged only 9.
Tragedy had already struck mother Nancy before, since in 1766 she had the misfortune to lose her husband John (July) and her youngest son James (August). This meant that by 1771 Nancy had lost her husband and all three children, all within 5 years! Somehow, the fact that she got pregnant and decided to marry and give it another go doesn’t seem to naughty of her now…
Whatever the facts, Nancy did remarry, to Henry Webster, in 1776. Their first son, Francis, was born a few months later, after which I found the couple in nearby Coddington. I had suspected that the family had taken refuge there due to Nancy’s “indiscretion”, but then again, the fact that she married the baby’s father before the child had been born means the boy was always going to be legitimate anyway. Maybe the trip to Coddington was nothing more than a family holiday…?
In any case, Nancy had a fifth child in 1778, but unfortunately the boy died soon thereafter. Nancy passed away in 1806, in her early 70’s, in Dymock, having survived most if not all of her family.
I have found nothing yet on husband Henry or son Francis Webster. Hmm… To be continued, I wonder?