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James Lawless

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panjela Reply with quote

Joined: 02 Jun 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:47 pm    Post subject: James Lawless
I am trying to establish a link between the Lawless family in Exeter and the Dublin Lawless family. So far, I have these facts;-
1. Gravestone in Exeter “James John Lawless died 10. 5. 44 aged 58 and Kitty Lawless wife of the above born 9. 6. 1790 died 30.11 1875”.
2. IGI, a record for the birth of James John Lawless in July 1786 – he was christened at the church of St James’, Piccadilly, London; his parents were James and Mary Lawless.
3.It is this earliest James Lawless who I am seeking to ‘flesh out’. Was he the ‘Irish Connection’?
The Church Ward Watch Rate Records for Piccadilly list the parish streets, rather like a Census, and give the names of the individual house occupier. In 1786 a James Lawless was living in a side street just off Portugal Street – the street, much remodelled, now known as Piccadilly Avenue. Also listed at this address was a William Lawless. Their rent was thirty shillings, their rates 12/6.
The Lawless family lived in the ‘best’ part of London; many of their neighbours were titled. Were they too, part of the Court entourage? Nicholas and Valentine Lawless spent time in London in this period
In order to find out if they had lived there for long I looked back through some older Watch Rate Records. Disappointingly there was no record of the Lawless family living in this area of St James, Westminster in 1785; they were however listed in 1787 and 1788, but again not in 1789. So it appears that their stay in this smart corner of London may have only lasted for some three years. What is also interesting is that a William Lawless was a fellow occupier of the household; could he have been a brother or perhaps a father? The Exeter Lawless family called their boys James, William, Edward and Henry which rather hints at a family connection.

4.A letter dated December 1839 from Lord Lichfield to the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury and I quote,
“My Sirs, I have the honour to state for your lordships information that by the decease on the 9th instant of Mr James Lawless, the retirement allowance of one hundred and twenty pounds per annum, which he received as late Inspector of Mail Coaches, will fall to the Revenue.”

A quick search in the Exeter Flying Post, the local newspaper, in December 1839, revealed the following gem in the obituary column.
“Last week, at Staines, universally regretted, James Lawless Esq, for a long period of years, Senior Deputy Superintendent of Mail Coaches, from which situation he had retired for some length of time.”
Death Certificate stated that he died in Staines, no address, on the ninth of December; his age was 71; his occupation was ‘gentleman’; the cause of death was paralysis.
This roughly establishes James’s date of birth as being in 1768. Bearing in mind that his son James John was born in 1786, he was a very young father – only 18 years old.
5. In March 1807,Valentine Lawless's ex wife gave birth to a son, Charles Browne Lawless. This boy was privately baptised in Devonshire, England, at Dawlish, near Exeter, but sadly died a few days later. The obituary in the Gentleman’s Magazine merely says, “At Dawlish, Devon, the infant son of Lord Cloncurry”. This perhaps, points to the possibility of there being a West Country connection between this Lawless family and our Exeter family.
Any more information about this family, such as a birth of a James Lawless in 1768 in Dublin, or a marriage between a James and Mary just before 1786, would be much appreciated.
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