Ann Kinning – who is she?

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June 2, 2013 by auntkatefirmin

Who was the woman present at the marriage of Sarah Kenning to John Firmin in 1816?  All we know at this point is that Ann Kinning was there and made her mark.  I can’t get a really compelling set of documents that would lead me to believe that an Ann Kenning had a daughter Sarah in or near London.  At this point, I can’t prove anything but it’s interesting to investigate the possibility that Ann was Sarah’s aunt by marriage – it seems less likely that Ann was a spinster sister of Sarah’s father.

I have made a short list of women named Ann Kinning/Kenning who might have been alive and close enough to attend the marriage.  I’m not even certain that they are all different women as opposed to the same woman in a different location at a later time. To determine whether or not one of these women is the Ann who was a witness, we’ll have to hope for more information to be uncovered.

St Dunstan and All Saints, about 1804.

St Dunstan and All Saints, about 1804.
© Trustees of the British Museum

This is the short list so far:

1.  Ann Kenning (1769-1851), wife of Michael Kenning & mother of William James (~1803-?) and Margaret Jane (1811-?).  This Ann was 2-3 miles west of St. Dunstan’s around 1816 in Bishopsgate Without or Cripplegate Without.

*buried 12 October 1851, age 82 (therefore born about 1769) from Elizabeth Place, Shoreditch

*1841 census, age 70, living on Essex Street, Shoreditch.  This appears to be the modern Shenfield Street, around the corner from the Geffrye Museum.  The museum is located in the building that would have been the Ironmonger’s Almshouses in Ann’s day.  (Do take a look at the museum’s online tour of the period rooms and gardens).

*1851 census, age 82, living at 6 Elizabeth Place, St Leonard Shoreditch, seamstress born in Cripplegate. Household consists of daughter Jane, 39, tailoress born Bishopsgate; grandson David, 15, apprentice carver born Lambeth, Surrey; grandson Henry, 9, scholar born Shoreditch.  David and Henry are two of the five sons of Ann’s son William James Kenning who was born about 1803 in Shoreditch.

*1861 census, Ann’s daughter is found as Margaret Jane, born about 1811 and living at 2 White Horse Court in Whitechapel.

*Based on the baptism of Margaret Jane Kenning in 1813, Ann’s husband was Michael Kenning, a warehouseman, and the couple was living at 5 Still Alley, in the parish of St. Botolph without Bishopsgate.  Margaret Jane was born 20 August, 1811 when Ann was about 41.  Still Alley is gone now; according to Lockie it was about “six doors north of the church.”

*There are tax records for Michael Kenning in Cripplegate Without, from 1817-1822 in Willis Court.  This vanished court was on the north side of Brackley Street which still exists as a side street off Golden Lane.  Willis Cout was about a mile west of Still Alley; the address could be a business or a residence.

2. Ann, the wife of Michael Kenning, laborer of Marigold Street Bermondsey & mother of Henry (1804-1871)  & Mary (~1804-?).  From Marigold Street to St Dunstan’s would have been a about a three mile journey crossing the Thames by boat, or closer to four and a half miles going by way of London Bridge.

Marigold Street.

Modern view of Marigold Street.
Photo: Steve Daniels via

* Henry Harford Kanning, son of Michael Kanning, laborer living in Marygold Street & his wife Ann, was born 26 January 1804 and baptized in April 1806 at St Mary Magdalene, Southwark

* Mary Kenning, daughter of Michael Kenning, laborer living in Marygold Street & his wife Ann baptized in May 1804 at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey.  Her birth date is difficult to work out from the digitized image.  There’s a mystery waiting to be solved with the birth dates of Mary & Henry.

3.  Ann the wife of James Kenning, mother of Catherine born in Lambeth in 1810

* Catherine baptized  28 September1810, St Mary at Lambeth, born 25 March.  Lambeth is about three miles from St. Dunstan’s.

4. Anna Maria Boyall (~1752-1823), wife of George Kenning (?-1806) of Rotherhithe.  Kenning Street, Rotherhithe is about two miles from St. Dunstan’s if crossing the river by boat or four and a half if crossing at London Bridge.  The family had property in Neptune Street, Kenning Street and other places in Rotherhithe.

Anna Maria is George’s second wife and did not marry him until after the death of his first wife, Elizabeth.  In 1792, she would have been about 40.  She was listed as a spinster at the time of her marriage.

This couple is especially interesting because our Sarah’s husband, John Firmin, would later own property in Rotherhithe and they named one of their children George.  Because of the coincidence, I purchased a copy of the will of George Kenning.  George’s property was about a mile north of John Firmin’s property in Rotherhithe.  In George’s will he lists his wife as Mariah and his children as Elizabeth, George and David. I can’t find any other record of David. I may post a transcript of the will in the future.

However, since Anna Maria Kenning was known as Mariah she is not really likely to be the woman at Sarah Kenning’s marriage.

The following Ann Kennings were in more upscale neighborhoods, but Ann #4 could be the same person as Ann #1 or Ann #2

4. Ann Guyver married Michael Kenning in 1799 in Westminster from Pallott’s marriage index.   (Pallotts)

5. Ann Sullivan married Jno Kenning in 1796 in St. Anne, Soho from Pallott’s marriage index.

Of course it doesn’t help that Ann was one of the more common names in this era, even though Kinning/Kenning is much less common.  Still it’s interesting looking for clues about other Kenning families.

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