Saturday, 3 August 2013

Who do you think you are?

WDYTYA? this week featured Nigel Havers and his Hamblion ancestors in Colchester, Essex.  No Sussex connection but I was intrigued to know what happened to Jeremiah Hamblion. 

For those who didn't watch the programme Jeremiah was the younger brother of Henry Hamblion, Nigel Havers 3 x great grandfather and from the sounds of it not the most pleasant person. Henry and Jeremiah were running a hackney cab business which was proving very successful and they were able to expand, purchasing some rather smart carriages for their customers.  But WDYTYA found two stories about Jeremiah in local papers; in one he had objected to his own cab being overtaken and whooped at the overtaking horse as it went by, causing it to bolt, whilst in the second he deliberately drove his carriage too close to a market stall injuring the pregnant woman manning it.  Possibly because of Jeremiah's behaviour, Henry and Jeremiah ended their business partnership in 1850.  Having gone it alone Henry moved into the inn keeping business but due to various misfortunes he later became bankrupt and died aged 56 in 1871.  His younger brother was not mentioned again on the programme.

I found that Jeremiah also went into the inn keeping business, running the Bull Inn and from 1856 the Angel Hotel in the Colchester High Street where he described himself as an importer of wines and spirits.  

He had further run-ins with the law including one in 1854 when he brought an action against a policeman whom he claimed had been drunk and falsely accused him of committing a nuisance in the street. The case was dismissed as it was felt that Jeremiah was getting revenge on the policeman who'd given evidence against him in a previous case.  To be fair to Jeremiah many of his appearances in court were the result of him chasing those who owned him money such as a case in 1857 when he took a Lieutenant Bridges to court for failure to pay £1.15s for the hire of a horse.

Although Henry and Jeremiah had ended their business partnership it seems likely they remained on good terms with each other.   They were in the same industry and in 1854 Henry and his wife Elizabeth named their new son after his uncle Jeremiah. Jeremiah and his wife Mary do not appear to have had any children.

Many of Jeremiah's problems may have been the result of alcoholism because on the 19th May 1859 Jeremiah died of delirium tremens; he had become dependent on alcohol and his body could not cope with a sudden withdrawal. He was only 42 years old,

According to the probate index Jeremiah left an estate valued at under £1,000.  This was a good inheritance for his wife; the website Measuring Worth shows that it was worth up to £82,000 (based on the increase in inflation) or nearly £2,000,000 based on the differing  economic power of the £1,000.  However Mary does not appear to have been left very well off.  In 1861 she was running a tobacconist business in Colchester but by 1871 she was a servant, working as a domestic cook at a farm in Tendring.  She died in 1892 aged about 80 years.

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