James Bull is one of the most enigmatic of our ancestors. He was married to a Mary Ann whose surname is unknown and was the father of James Honeyman BULL baptised in 1831 in St James Piccadilly. What exactly do we know about this elusive ancestor?
What do we actually know?
The first definite reference to him is in 1 May 1831 when his son James Honeyman BULL was baptised as the son of James BULL and Mary Ann. We have suggestions as to earlier references than this, but this is the first confirmed record. At that time their address was given as ‘Eden Lane, Pimlico’ and James was a Leatherdresser. James Honeyman Bull’s age was given as ‘above 1 1/2 years’ meaning he was born around late 1829.
The only other confirmed reference was when James Honeyman Bull got married in 1855. He described his father as James Bull innkeeper. There is no mention that James Bull was ‘deceased’ on the marriage certificate, although it is not clear that that would have necessarily been recorded. This indicates that between 1831 and 1855, James BULL had changed profession from leatherdresser to innkeeper.
What can we reasonably infer?
If James Honeyman Bull was born in 1829, we can infer that James BULL married Mary Ann sometime before say 1828. Since the father was James, and the son was called James, it might be reasonable to assume that James is one of the first children, possibly even the first child. This would make the marriage closer to 1828, rather than, for example, 1818.
By 1831, the family is in ‘Eden Place’ in Pimlico. Strangely Pimlico was not in the parish of St James Piccadilly, where the baptism took place, and we cannot find such an address in Pimlico. However there is an ‘Eaton Place’, which was a key address in Pimlico.
James BULL is not described as ‘deceased’ on his son’s marriage certificate. We cannot incontrovertibly conclude that James Bull was alive in 1855 – this registrar might not have recorded whether a parent were deceased – but it suggests he was. If he were alive, he should therefore be found on the 1841 and 1851 censuses.
The choice of name ‘James Honeyman BULL’ is unusual – there were relatively few double names at this time. Honeyman is a Scots name, particularly strong in Fife, and using a surname as a middle name in this way as a middle name is a particularly Scots tradition. It hints tantalisingly at a Scots heritage, either for him or for his wife Mary Ann. In future years, James Honeyman Bull would call his daughter Harriet Chilwell Honeyman Bull, named after the child’s grandmother Harriet CHILWELL. Following that model, it might mean that Mary Ann’s maiden name was HONEYMAN and/or that James Honeyman BULL’s grandfather was James HONEYMAN. Certainly James BULL was close to, and probably closely related to, someone whose name was Honeyman.
Searching for More Records: The Marriage to Mary Ann
As yet, there is no marriage we can find between a James BULL and a Mary Ann HONEYMAN. If we assume that James BULL and Mary Ann were married around 1825 +/- 5 years, then there are two marriages in the London area that fit the bill:
Mary Ann NEALE 28 Apr 1828 at St Leonard Shoreditch
Mary Ann HOLLOWAY 19 Feb 1827 at St George Hanover Square
The marriage of James Bull to Mary Ann Holloway took place on 19th February 1827 at St. George Hanover Square by Banns. Both parties were from that parish. The latter is the most interesting, since Pimlico lay within this parish – the place we know them to be in 1831. The Witnesses were William Holloway, undoubtedly related to Mary Ann, and Sarah Barrett. The next wedding in the same register on the same day is Frederick Marsh and Sarah Barrett, also of that parish by Banns. The witnesses to that marriage are John Wing and Mary Ann Bull (using her married name for the first time). It could be that this was a double wedding and that Sarah Barrett and Mary Ann Holloway were related. Conversely, it might mean that neither couple had arrived at the church with witnesses and asked others in the same situation to witness for them.
Of course, James Bull and Mary Ann may not have been married but simply lived as such.
Are There Other Siblings of James Honeyman BULL?
Possibly. There is a James BULL with a wife Mary Ann in All Saints, Huntingdon, having children born between 1828 to 1836 at a rate of one every two years, but there is no evidence that this family left Huntingdon. This is not our family.
In 1826, there is a baptism and birth of a Mary Anne BULL, daughter of James and Mary Ann in the Wesleyan registers, for a family in St Clement Danes, just a few miles from Pimlico.
Is this a sister of James Honeyman BULL? It is possible. If Mary Ann were a sister of James Honeyman Bull, we would need to explain why the family is moving between different denominations. If this is James Honeyman Bull’s sister, then neither wedding we have identified is the right one, since Mary Ann BULL is born in 1826 before the earliest marriage we have found.
What if We Assume Mary Ann was Mary Ann HONEYMAN?
If she was Mary Ann HONEYMAN, then she would have been born around say 1805, being say 24 when James Honeyman BULL was born in 1829. There are two possibilities:
1. a baptism in St Olave Bermondsey for a Mary Ann HONEYMAN, daughter of James and Mary HONEYMAN, baker, born 10 Jun 1806 and baptised 29 Jun 1806 and There is a burial entry on 28 Oct 1808 for a Maria HONEYMAN, but it does not state whether this is an infant burial or an adult. A son John HONEYMAN is born in 1810. There follow no more baptisms to James and Mary, but in 1819, there is a daughter Matilda Lucrezia born to James and Elizabeth HONEYMAN, Leather Stainer. James might have married Elizabeth after the death of Mary, or this may be another couple entering the area with older children born elsewhere. There does not appear to be a marriage by Mary Ann HONEYMAN.
2. A baptism at St George the Martyr, Southwark, of Mary Ann Susannah HONEYMAN, daughter of Francis Robert HONEYMAN and Susan born 17 Dec 1803 and baptised 15 Jan 1804, who is a leather dresser. She is alive in 1828 when she witnesses the marriage of her sister Anne Maria to the actor John Baldwin BUCKSTONE.
The key thing is that there are two credible Mary Ann HONEYMANs who could be James BULL’s wife. That would make sense of the use of Honeyman as a middle name in James Honeyman BULL.
James and Mary Ann BULLs from the Census
James BULL of Finsbury
There is a Phoebe Ann BULL born 28 Jan 1836, the child of James and Mary Ann BULL, Oilman of Whitecross Street, St Luke’s Finsbury amongst the Quaker birth registers. On the 1851 Census, the family is at 7 1/2 Coleman Street, Finsbury. By 1851 he is a ‘Housekeeper’, aged 45 of Stock, Essex; Mary Ann is 43, born Purleigh, Essex and they now have a daughter Emma born in 1841.
This family has some attractions. First, our James starts as a leatherdresser and this James is an oilman. Are these equivalent jobs? Leather dressing involved the rendering of hides and the removal of fats, so this is not entirely impossible. This James goes on to become a ‘housekeeper’ whereas our James becomes an ‘Innkeeper’. Clearly both change jobs at the same time. However Emma’s birth certificate (below) shows that the wife Mary Ann is nee RADLEY. We can trace James BULL in the Quaker records. He married Mary Ann RADLEY on 17 May 1832, after James Honeyman BULL was baptised. This is not our man.
2. James BULL of Clarence Hotel, Brighton
A James BULL is an Hotel Keeper owning the Clarence Hotel Brighton in 1851. He is aged 59, born Billericay, Essex with a wife Eliza aged 43, born Brighton and a daughter Eliza F BULL aged 18 born London. This family is attractive because James is an Innkeeper and they were in London around 1833 when the daughter “Eliza F BULL” was born. This James BULL is a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Innkeepers, being made free of the company in 1832. Eliza Frances BULL was baptised 28 May 1832 in St Sepulchre, London while James worked as an innkeeper on Snow Hill, London. The marriage was by licence and the licence survives. It shows the marriage to have taken place in Brighton in 1831. However this date is after James Honeyman BULL was born. It might have been possible that our James BULL married twice, first to Mary Ann, who died, and then to Eliza. However, this James BULL is a bachelor in the marriage to Eliza. Furthermore, the family received bequests in the will of Joseph ENNEVER in 1837 but James Honeyman BULL is not mentioned. This James BULL is not our man.