The Howell family of Albrighton SAL

albrightonIt was claimed by Ann's father, John Howell that his family descended from the Plantagenet monarchs. This seems very unlikely and no attempt has been made to confirm this claim. The Howells lived in Albrighton Shropshire and were previously in Longford near Newport. Records show that Howells were resident in the district back to the 1580s and it is a very common name in the region.

How Ann Howell got to meet François Marie Jaunay in London is not known although people by the name of Howell were prominent in the liquor trade at the start of the eighteenth century and this could be the link although it is known that her father, John Howell, was a tailor in Wolverhampton.

Pictured: St Mary Albrighton ca1955

Albrighton near Shifnall recorded as Albricston in the Domesday Book is in the far east of the county of Shropshire and due to the distance from the county town of Shrewsbury it gained borough status in 1303. Such status meant that there was a Justice of the Peace who could order the arrest of criminals. A small jail and stocks stood somewhere near the Crown Inn, whilst a room in an upper floor was used for various village meetings and transactions. There was also a Toll House nearby.

The present parish church, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene was completed in around 1181. The mace confirming borough status is on display in the Church.

The High Street has altered little from the time of Ann Howell and her family. The village green, a rare feature in the county, half timbered inns, Georgian facades and lime trees still feature.

We may know little about François Jaunay, her husband, before he arrived in England in 1801, but we know nothing of Ann Howell prior to her marriage to François! We do know she was baptised in the Albrighton parish church, St Mary Magdalene, on 14 March 1781 the daughter of John and Hannah Howell née Tunnicliff.

Hannah Tunniciff variously spelt Tunnycliff or TunnicliÌ makes an appearance at her wedding to John Howell. There is no certainty about her origins but the best match to date is for a Hannah Tunnycliff baptised on 16 May 1756 at Gnosall St Lawrence parish church in Staffordshire, the daughter of James and Elizabeth. This woman is the right age according to her burial record and Gnosall is not far from Albrighton being just fifteen miles away by road. Unfortunately no hard evidence has been uncovered to prove she became the Mrs Howell although it could be a simple matter to resolve if the banns register for Albrighton could be located.


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