John Watkinson and Mary Ann Ball
My Great Great Great Great Grandparents
John Watkinson was possibly born 1st October 1779 at Sible Heddingham, Essex and
Baptised 29th October, 1779, Independent or Congregation Of Protestant Dissenters, Castle
Hedingham, Essex, England son of John Watkinson and Mary Joslin [NOTE not John
Watkinson baptised 8th February 1782 son of Isaac Watkinson and Mary at Parson Drove
Cambridgshire who died later that year]
Mary Ann Ball was baptised on 2nd November 1787 at Burwell, Cambridgeshire, daughter of
Nathan Ball of Mildenhall, Suffolk and Mary Fitz of St Ives, Cambridgeshire.
Marriage: John and Mary were married 25th July, 1811 at Burwell, Cambridgeshire by
License [g] Witnesses were; Mary Ann ELY, [Johns half sister], Diana HOLMES nee Ball
[Mary's sister] and Ruth [could this be Richard, her husband, abbreviated?] HOLMES.
Edward Ball [ Mary's brother Edward 'Fitzball' the writer] gave surety. Both John and Mary
were said to be of Burwell. [k] John was a farmer [d] and banker. They were probably of the
Independent faith. John died 6th July 1832 St Ives.
Their Children Were: [a&b]
WATKINSON Mary Ann born, 15th June 1812, Hightown, Burwell, Cambridgeshire.
WATKINSON Edward born, 5th October 1814 Hightown, Burwell, Cambridgeshire. Edward
was a draper by trade. The 1841 census shows him in the home of Edgar Foster, a draper,
along with several other assistant drapers at Doddington, March. He married Ann [Smith or
Murfitt] of March, Cambridgeshire in 1841. Their children include: Mary Ann Watkinson,
born 1843, Henry Watkinson born 1845, Caroline Watkinson, born 1848, Elizabeth
Watkinson, born 1850, Edward Watkinson born 1853
WATKINSON Elizabeth, born 1814, died 1815, aged 18months. [c]
WATKINSON John, born 25th September 1816, Hightown, Burwell, Cambridgeshire; died
1822 aged 6 [c]
WATKINSON Elizabeth born, 18th September 1817 Hightown, Burwell, Cambridgeshire.
Married  Nathan Gunnell . Huntingdon, Bedford & Peterborough Gazette dated saturday
14th October 1837 reports: On Monday last at Wisbech, Mr Nathan Gunnell of Milton in this
county, to Miss Elizabeth Watkinson of the former place. Nathan was a school master. Their
Alexander Watkinson Gunnell born June 1841, died Dec Q 1844
Dianna Elizabeth Gunnell born June 1842 ?
Alexander Watkinson Gunnell born Dec Q 1844 died March Q 1847.
Agnes Rebecca Gunnell born June Q 1848.
The 1841 and 1851 census shows Nathan, Elizabeth and daughter Agnes living at
Willingham, Landbeach. Nathan died June 1853. The Samford Mercury dated 10th JJune
1853 reports: Cambridgeshire. At Landsbeach aged 37 Mr Nathan Gunnell for upwards of 15
years a schoolmaster at that village.
 Henry Cooper a widower in Cambridge District in Dec Q 1854 in Chesterton Dist.
Cambridgeshire [vol 3b Pg 1053]. Henry was a publican and later a stationer. Elizabeth was
a Private School Mistress. She and Henry lived at Vine Cottage in Cambridge Road,
Waterbeach. Vine Cottage was a private girls school who had 63 pupils in 1871 and took in
boarders in 1881[f] Their children include:
Harry Watkinson Cooper born March Q 1859, Chesterton Dist. Died 18th February 1864.
Henry also had children from his previous marriage.
Niece Catherine Watkinson, daughter of Henry Watkinson lived and taught with the Coopers
between 1871 and 1891.
WATKINSON Henry born 17th July 1819 at Rookery Farm Burwell and baptised, 25th
November 1820 Hightown Independent Church, Burwell, Cambridgeshire. Dr Williams
Library [a registration index for non-conformist births] records that Thomas Waters, Ann
Cross, Ann Mauden and Mary Ann Ely were present at the birth. My Great Great Great
WATKINSON Diana Ann born 15th January 1821, baptised 8th February 1821 Hightown,
Burwell, Cambridgeshire [i]. Married Robert Thompson.
WATKINSON Thomas born about 1823 in Burwell. Married Mary [Small?] in North
Witchford Reg District, Sept Q 1847. The 1851 census shows Thomas as a grocer and Draper,
living in Wimblington, Cambridgeshire. By 1861, Thomas [chemist and druggist] and family
are residing at East Dean Gloucestershire, and Thomas is a Chemist and Druggist. By 1891
Thomas was a Chemist Herbalist and Baptist Minister, living at Broad March Nottingham. He
died [by murder on 29th September 1894 [Ref Dec Qrtr 1894 Nottingham Vol 7B Page 135].
The Lincolnshire echo dated 1st October 1894 reported:
Murder Mystery at Nottingham. Aged Chemists Terrible Death: Nottingham has been disturbed
by a remarkable murder mystery. An aged chemist named Watkinson carrying on business in
Broad Marsh was discovered on saturday morning lying dead upon the floor at a room at the
back of his shop. No clue could, however, to the perpetrators of the crime be discovered. On
Friday night the shop was locked up securely and nothing was afterwards heard to arouse the
suspicion of the neighbours. Access to the outer part of the premises might however have been
obtained by scaling an iron palisading in the yard. The contents of the room in which the body
lay was completely littered. Nearly 4pounds in cash was found on the deceased and also a
watch presented to him years ago by the members of the Newthorpe Baptist Church with
which he was connected. From the first there was no doubt he was VIOLENTLY DONE TO
DEATH and the result of a postmortem examination confirmed this. Apart from injuries to the
head apparently done with a heavy instrument used with great force there was other evidence
of the murderous intent. A strange element in the case is that no property of importance was
missed from the premises and no one can conceive the old gentleman to have aroused
murderous animosities. It transpired that the deceased on more than one occasion had been
advised by members of his family to have the window at the back of his house barred, but he
had replied there was no necessity as he had never harmed anybody and he did not think
that anybody would harm him. The neighbours saw the gas burning in the room as late as
11.30 on Friday night and from the fact that the body was warm when discovered Saturday
morning it is clear that the murder had not long been committed. That THE STRUGGLE WAS A
DESPERATE ONE is evident, the deceased despite his advanced age, being described as a
man of considerable strength. He was the brother of Mr Henry Watkinson, proprietor of the
Spalding Free Press and retired from the Baptist ministry 14 years ago. His last ministerial
appointment was at Newthorpe and since leaving that place he had carried on the business of
a chemist at Nottingham being a member of the Pharmaceutical Society. Mr Watkinson's son is
an Inspector of the Leicester Police Force.
The following Baptism's are recorded in Dr William's Library Index, a collection of
Non-Conformist Baptisms that was housed in London. It included Baptist, Presbyterian and
Congregationalist churches. [b]
1822 WATKINSON Diana 1 ----- of John & Mary Dr. Wms' Library *
1822 WATKINSON Edward 7 ----- of John & Mary Dr. Wms' Library *
1822 WATKINSON Elizabeth 4 ----- of John & Mary Dr. Wms' Library *
1822 WATKINSON Henry 2 ----- of John & Mary Dr. Wms' Library *
1822 WATKINSON John 5 ----- of John & Mary Dr. Wms' Library *
1822 WATKINSON Mary A. 9 ----- of John & Mary Dr. Wms' Library *
Death: John died and was buried 10th July 1832 at St Ives Huntingdonshire
[Cambridgeshire] aged 52 [confirmed by St Ives Burials Lookup request]
Huntingdon, Bedford and Peterborough Gazette dated 27th October 1832 requests any
persons having any demand on the of John Watkinson late of St Ives in the County of
Huntingdonshire, Innkeeper, to send their account.
The same newpaper also runs an add on 28th July 1832 advising the White Hart Inn, St Ives
occupied by the late Mr John Watkinson is to let. Enquiries to Mrs Watkinson.
1841 census: Mary, a shopkeeper aged 50 living with daughter Diana aged 20 at Old House
Fair, Wisbech, St Peter.
Second Marriage: Mary remarried on 7th September 1841 to John Clarke at Isleham,
Cambridgeshire. John was a Landowner born about 1786 in Isleham, Cambridgeshire.
1851 census: John Clarke aged 65, a landowner and Mary aged 61 residing Pond Lane
Islesham, also daughter Diana aged 28, a dressmaker.
1861 Census: Mary is residing in the home of now married daughter Diana and her husband
Robert Thompson at Wimblington, Cambridgeshire.
Death: Mary may have died before 1871 census.
References for John Watkinson and Mary Ball:
[a] Cambridgeshire Baptism Index,1801-1837 Online
[b] Dr William's Library Index - Online - Ancestry
[c] Cambridgeshire Burial Index 1801-1837 Online
[d] Marriage Henry Watkinson, St Mary and St Nicholas, Spalding
[e] Free BMD Online
[f[ British History Online Website
[h] Aspects of Spalding
[i] 1841 census - ancestry
[j] Private researcher - online
[k] Allegations for Marriage Licenses in the Archdeaconry of Sudbury, in the county of
Suffolk, Volume 3
Last Update: 11th January 2013