Searching for William Granham

All family historians will hit a brickwall where they can’t find more information on a person. My brickwall is William Crannum who was resident in Barbados in 1735 but I don’t why he was in Barbados, how he got there or where he came from.

The earliest record I have found is the baptism of Andrew to William and Ann Granham on 13 June 1742 in St Thomas parish church, Barbados; they were resident of St James’

Baptism of Andrew Granham, 13 June 1742

13 June 1742, Andrew the son of William and Ann Granham ???h of St James Parish & baptiz’d in St Thomas Church. Barbados archives, RL1/49 p23.

Andrew had a brother William who married and died (as a Grannum) in 1780. I cannot find a baptism for William, or any other children for William and Ann, neither can I find their marriage. However, on 17 April 1735 a William Crannum married Ann Mullins (widow) by licence in St James’ parish church. But are these Andrew’s and William’s parents?

Marriage between William Crannum and Ann Mullins, Widdow, Lycense, 17 April 1735, St James Parish Church

Marriage between William Crannum and Ann Mullins, Widdow, Lycense, 17 April 1735, St James Parish Church

Granham, Grannum, Cranham and Crannum sound very similar and C and G look similar when written. Granham and Grannum are used interchangeably in Barbados until the 1790s when Grannum is the preferred variant. I have not found any Cranhams in Barbados except for William Crannum. There are Garnhams in the 1600s and 1700s but these seem to be individuals and did not leave descendants. Research is complicated because the records are incomplete and because the registers in the archives are copies made from the 1850s from the originals and so clerical and transcription errors arise.

The only other William Crannum I have found for this period is William Crannum or Cranham who was sentenced at St Philip and Jacob at the Gloucester Assizes, Lent 1723, to transportation to America for stealing and cited in Peter Wilson Coldham’s, The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage 1614-1775 (Genealogical Publishing Co Inc, Baltimore, 1988). Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any references to where he was transported – nothing appears to have survived in The National Archives, Gloucestershire Archives or Bristol Record Office. If these William Crannums are the same person then modern day Grannums can trace their surname, although not necessarily their family, to William Crannum from Gloucestershire.

The record of his trial is recorded at The National Archives at the Gloucester Assize – Lent 1722/3 (reference: ASSI 2/7)

ASSI 2_7 William Crannum indictment

Indictment of William Crannum: For burglary in the dwelling house of John Davis the 8th day of February last [1723] at St Philip and Jacob and stealing a loaf of bread value 6d, one pair of brass nutcrackers value 6d, one quart of Geneva value 1s, and a towell value 6d, from him out of his house.

Sentence: Whereas John Latimer alias Larramore, William Edmonds, Thomas Nutt, William Crannum and David Morris were severally convicted at this Assizes and General Gaol Delivery of Grand Larceny for which they are liable to the punishment of burning in the hand and are ordered by this court to be transported to some of his majesty’s colonies and plantations in America for the term or space of seven years as soon as conveniently maybe pursuant to the Acts of Parliament in that case lately made and provided this court doth therefore order that the said John Latimer alias Larramore, William Edmonds, Thomas Nutt, William Crannum and David Morris be severally transported and sent as soon as Conveniently maybe for the term or spate? of seven years to commence from the time of their convictions to some of his majesty’s colonies and plantations in America pursuant to two several acts of Parliament the one made in the fourth and the other in the sixth years of the reign of his present majesty for the further preventing robbery, burglary and other felonies etc. And it is further ordered by this court that Sir John Guise, Sir Edward St John Dutton First Baronetts John Cocks, Kinard Delabore, Edmond Bray esquires and Nathaniel Lye Doctor in Divinity seven of his majesty’s Justices of the peace for the said county of Gloucester or any two of them be and the said seven justices of the peace or any two of them are hereby nominated and appointed to contract with any person or persons for the performance of the transportation of the said John Latimer alias Larramore, William Edmonds, Thomas Nutt, William Crannum and David Morris and to order such and the like sufficient security, as the statutes in that case made and provided direct to be taken by order of court. And also to cause the said John Latimer alias Larramore, William Edmonds, Thomas Nutt, William Crannum and David Morris  pursuant to such contracts to be delivered by the gaoler of the county of Gloucester aforesaid to the person or persons contracting for them  or to their assigns. And to certify such contract and security, to be taken to the next Assize and General Gaol Delivery to be holden for this county in order to have the said certificate and contract filed amongst the records of the said court.

The trial was recorded in the Gloucester Journal, 11 March 1723, p294

“Gloucester, March 9. The Assize for this country beginning this day at the Booth-Hall of this city, the following persons are to be brought upon trial … William Crannum for house-breaking and shoplifting …”

… and continued in the next week’s edition Gloucester Journal, 18 March 1723, p295-6

“Pursuant to the promise made in the last, of obliging our Readers with the proceedings of the sessions of Oyer and Terminer held for the city and county of Gloucester, on the 9th (11th, 12th and 13th) days of this instant March at the Booth-Hall of the said city, before Mr Barton Price and Mr Justice Fortescue Aland …

Gloucester Journal 18 March 1723

Enter a caption


[p296] William Cranham was indicted for breaking open the house of John Davis, on the 8th of February last, and taking from thence one sixpenny loaf, a pair of nut-crackers, a bottle of Geneva, to the value of 1s together with a coarse towel. The goods being found on the prisoner, and he saying little in his defence, the jury found him guilty of felony – transportation …” To be transported for 7 years.

Gloucester Journal 1 April 1723

When you do your research you will often find information which is completed unrelated but interesting. For example, the sheriff of Gloucester’s accounts for 1723 (E 197/32, p3) shows the costs for executing, burning and gibbetting of a prisoner. From the Assize record and newspaper this was Jane Leamouches who was sentenced for petty treason for murdering her husband by stabbing him in the belly near his navel on 13 October 1722; he died on 14 October.

Sheriff's account for costs for the execution of Jane Leamouches.

Sheriff’s account for costs for the execution of Jane Leamouches.

I was surprised to read that they still burned people in the 18th century and was even more surprised that execution by burning at the stake for petty treason was not abolished until 1790.

Sources checked

At The National Archives:

  • Assize indictments and depositions (TNA references ASSI 5/42 and ASSI 5/43) – the right covering dates but none for the 1722/23 Gloucestershire Lent Assize. The dates are mixed up so may need to check other records in ASSI 5.
  • Treasury Money Book (T 53/30-31) – many references to transportation to the Americas as noted in PW Coldham contracted by Jonathan Forward. Forward does not seem to have handled transportation for the West Country and there are no references to contractors or transportation from the West country.
  • E 197 and E 389 sheriff’s cravings. E 197/32 contains accounts from sheriffs for branding, executions and transporting prisoners (but not transportation overseas) including for the 1722/3 Lent Assize but not the details.
  • Coldham, Emigrants in Bondage in the appendix has some lists of transport ships – the only one going to the West Indies in 1723 is the Victory. CO 33/15 is catalogued as shipping returns 1708-1726 but this document contains two lists: a list of ships which imported / exported slaves between these dates, this list includes – 25 May 1723 Victory, master Henry Warner, 17 negroes. The second list is a naval office return listing all ships arriving or department from Barbados for 1711-1721 – so there are for 1723-4 the period when Crannum was transported.
  • SP 44 – Domestic entry books checked all for 1722 to 1724 and while some like SP 44/81 have plenty relating to transportation none refer to Crannum. SP 44/81 criminal entry books contains lots of warrants granting transportation for Gloucester assize but after checking assize cases only cases where prisoner has been reprieved are described. The are recorded as ‘Repr’ in the assize court book and R in Coldham. Rechecking the ASSI 2/7 realise that transportees are referred to into two ways – at the end of the session which lists everyone convicted and sentenced to transportation in that session (Crannum is one of those) and individually where the convict is returned to court to have the reprieved sentenced confirmed. This can be several years later.
  • ASSI 2/7, 8
  • ASSI 4/18 – presentment book
  • ASSI 6 – none survive for the period
  • SP 35/42-47, March to December 1723. Checked the typescript calendars for the period February 1723 to December 1725 (SP 35/42-60) and looked at the most appropriate documents SP 35/43 no 152, SP 35/47 no 71 and SP 35/50 no 105 nothing on Crannum. Lots of references to transportation, correspondence and petitions for pardons, reprieves and reductions of sentences to transportation or less, contains correspondence from Assize justices with lists of those to be transported.

At Bristol Record Office – visited October 2012

  • Bristol Gaol Delivery fiats JQS/GD x start in 1741
    Convictions and presentments JQS/C/1-3 1676-1728
    Philip O’Neill dissertation for University of Bristol, 2002, Birds of Passage, p 24 the sessions records say “prisoners to be delivered to the Keeper of Newgate who is directed and impowr’d to contract with such person or persons for the transportation to whom he is to deliver the prisoners for that purpose on their giving security for the transportation according to law”. The sessions papers do not way who was contracted but some say that John Legg (the keeper) arranged them himself. (checked sessions papers JQS/D/5 for 1723 but nothing stood out). A shipowner or captain about to sail for America would offer to take convicts off the hands of the Bristol authorities for eventual resale in America. O’Neill mentions Naval Office returns for Bristol but doesn’t give source.

Bristol Central Library:

  • Looked for early newspapers such as Gloucester Journal, Bristol Postman, and Bristol Journal – none for 1723

At Gloucestershire Record Office – visited October 2013

  • Q/SR/1728/D: Sessions roll, 1728Q/CB1: transportation bonds, 1727
  • Q/Za: Recognizances, 1723Q/SG/1, gaol calendars, 1728: Lawfords Gate, St Philip & Jacob
  • Q/SO/4: order books, 1714-1724: Benjamin Heming/Hemmings, keeper of the brideswell at Gloucester paid for transporting criminals to Bristol
  • JW Wyatt, “Transportation of Criminals from Gloucestershire 1718-1773”, Gloucester Historical Studies, 3, 1969 p2-16. Statistics on numbers and crimes of transportees but no information on where people were transported to. Sources used included transportation certificates, sessions order books and Gloucester Journal.
  • From the order books – Benjamin Hemings (Hemmings), the keeper of the Bridewell in Gloucester was mentioned in several occasions being responsible for conveying the prisoners for transportation and for their maintenance
  • Gloucester Journal for
    • 11 March 1723 – p294. Notice of the assize for 9 March at Booth-Hall in Gloucester. List of prisoners to be tried including “William Crannum for house-breaking and shoplifting”
    • 18 March 1723 – p296. Summary of indictments and verdicts. “William Cranham was indicted for breaking open the house of John Davis, on the 8th of February last, and taking from thence, one sixpenny loaf, a pair of nut-crackers, a bottle of geneva, to the value of 1s, together with a course towel. The goods being all found on the prisoners, and he saying little in his defence, the jury found him guilty of felony. — Transportation [to be transported for 7 years]
  • Continued checking the journal until 1 July – those sentenced to be executed were executed on 29 March (p 311, April 1) but no further mention of Cranham or the other people sentenced to transportation.

To follow up at TNA

  • T 1/244-251, in particular /244
  • E 389/241
  • E 190/1193/1 & /1193/2 – Bristol Xmas 1722-Xmas 1723
  • E 190/1194/2 & /1194/3 – Bristol Xmas 1723-Xmas 1724
  • E 190/1260/2, 3, 5 – Gloucester Xmas 1722- Xmas 1723

Also, further research is needed to establish where the other transportees (John Latimer alias Larramore, William Edmonds, Thomas Nutt and David Morris) ended up. Did they all end up in Barbados, or were they transported to say Virginia or Maryland and Crannum later migrated to Barbados after his sentence was spent or maybe he travelled with his master to Barbados.

3 responses to “Searching for William Granham

  1. Hi
    I have been researching my grandfather’s family history. He was Joseph Benjamin Hunte. His mother, I am told, was a Sarah Ann Grannum who was married to Benjamin Joseph Hunte. They resided in St Lucy, Barbados.
    One of Sarah’s Grannum relatives, I don’t know if it was a nephew or a cousin, had a store in Swan Street, Bridgetown, Barbados. This would have been around the 1920s to 1930s. My mother, Muriel Hunte – Sarah Ann and Benjamin Joseph’s granddaughter – at the time worked at the store before she was married. One of the daughters of that store owner was a Sybil Grannum who taught Maths at Queen’s College Secondary School. I knew Sybil Grannum because I was a student at Queen’s during the 1950s and my mother had introduced me to her.
    I think Sybil had a brother called William, but I am not sure.
    Is there a Grannum connection here?


    • Maureen, I’ll contact you offline with details of two wills that may be of interest. Was the shop ‘The Balloon Store’, 19 Swan Street, Bridgetown?

      If so Sybil Doris Grannum was the daughter of Marcus Grannum and Frances Jennett Grannum.

      I don’t have any information on the Hunte’s.

      I have abstracts from two wills which refer to Sybil: Frances Jennet GRANNUM of Rockley, Christ Church, Barbados, who died in Barbados 22 December 1956 and Oswald Roderick GRANNUM of ‘Wakefield’, Pinfold Street, Bridgetown, Barbados, who died in Barbados, 12 Jan 1948 – he was Marcus’ brother and part owner of the Balloon Store.

      From Frances’ will Sybil had four brother William Herbert GRANNUM, Arthur Lisle GRANNUM, John Kenneth Charlton GRANNUM and Cyril George GRANNUM.

      This family are descended from a Nathan Grannum and Elizabeth nee Jemmott. It seems from DNA testing that Nathan’s and my family are related somewhere but we haven’t found a common ancestor yet. So if you are related to Sybil through the Grannum line we could be related.

      Do any of these names mean anything to you.

  2. Pingback: Grannum one name study | Caribbean Roots

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