Rev. George Hunn Nobbs

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About Rev. George Hunn Nobbs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (October 2015)

“George Hunn Nobbs (16 October 1799 – 5 November 1884) was an English (he claimed Irish) missionary on Pitcairn Island and later Norfolk Island, where his many descendants still live today.

He claimed he was born in Moira, County Down, the illegitimate son of Francis Rawdon-Hastings 1st Marquis of Hastings (1754–1826) and Jemima Ffrench, and that the marquis did not acknowledge him, and also that he was fostered by the elderly Nobbs family who lived near Yarmouth. However, evidence from parish registers discovered in July 2000 by Macquarie University researcher Alexandra Starling[1] suggest it was more likely that George was the illegitimate son of Jemima Hunn [registered as Jaminia in parish records] who later married John Nobbs, schoolmaster of St Nicholas Yarmouth Norfolk England. Jemima Hunn and John Nobbs had two daughters after their marriage on 13 June 1800 in Greater Yarmouth Norfolk, [namely Charlotte baptised 1801 and Jemima baptised 1802].

According to this evidence, 'George Nobbs Hunn' was baptised in the parish church of Runham, Norfolk on 27 October 1799. Nobbs may have invented such a story of his youth to impress the Islanders, alternatively he may not have been told the truth regarding his birth, and the details embellished by relatives at a later date...”

This claim, by being repeated over many years in print (at least since 1875), online and in family trees, has gained a high level of “accepted fact”. In reality, George Hunn was the son of Jemima Hunn of Runham, Norfolk, England and of James Smith of Filby, Norfolk, England. His baptism was recorded in the parish register of the small village of Runham, less than 2 miles from Filby: "George Hunn Son (illegitimate) of Jemima Hunn bapd: Octr: 27th: 1799." His mother had herself been baptised in Runham: "Jemima D[aughter] of Edward & Jemima Hunn 2d July Bap: 1779" and, as a young pregnant woman, made a claim on James Smith in bastardy. This was James' second bastardy claim of 1799 and he agreed to pay £30 to settle both.

George Hunn was 8 months old when his mother married John Nobbs. The marriage licence, taken out at Ormesby, Norfolk, England and dated 30 June 1800, stated that John Nobbs was a bachelor of Great Yarmouth, occupation Mariner, and Jemima Hunn was a single woman of Runham. They married at Runham on 3 July 1800 with five witnesses signing the register.

In confirmation of the above, George's maternal grandmother, Jemima Hunn, was a widow of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England on 30 April 1811 when she made her Will. In it, she bequeathed her property in Lobster Row, Great Yarmouth, to her grandson, George Nobbs Hunn, son of her daughter, Jemima Nobbs, wife of John Nobbs of Great Yarmouth.

Although the truth is, perhaps, not as interesting as the aristocratic heritage claimed, I do hope it will assist the many researchers of George Hunn Nobbs.

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Rev. George Hunn Nobbs's Timeline

October 16, 1799
Moira, Northern Ireland
September 19, 1830
Age 30
Pitcairn Island
August 30, 1832
Age 32
Pitcairn Islands, British Overseas Territory
September 1, 1833
Age 33
Pitcairn Island
September 7, 1835
Age 35
Pitcairn Island
October 6, 1836
Age 36
Pitcairn Island
July 4, 1838
Age 38
Pitcairn Island
September 22, 1839
Age 39
Pitcairn Island
May 5, 1843
Age 43
Pitcairn Island