Family history of the Jollans family

The Jollans / Jollands family in Lincolnshire

My father, my grandfather and my great-grandfather were all born in Lincolnshire, and so far as I know, previous generations were as well.   The family roots seem to have been in the area around Kirton in Lindsey, but the surname Jollans or Jollands has been quite widespread in Lincolnshire for several centuries.  The more usual spelling seems to be Jollands and it is likely that this was the main spelling in our family too in previous generations.  My great-grandfather's generation seems to have used both spellings more or less interchangeably, before later generations settled on Jollans.

The furthest we have yet traced the family back is to John Jollands, probably born towards the end of the 18th century.  He is recorded as the father of James Jollands, who married Betsey Mitchell in Northorpe in 1842.  Both father and son are recorded as labourers on the marriage certificate.  Other than that I know little about either John Jollands or James Jollands.  James and Betsey Jollands had at least one child, William Jollans, born in 1858.  It seems unlikely that he was their only child, but I know nothing of any others.  At some point between 1858 and 1875 James Jollands must have died, as in 1875 Betsey was re-married in Grayingham to William Clayton, and she is described on the marriage certificate as a widow.

William Jollans and Sarah Grundy

William Jollans was born in Northorpe in 1858, where his parents had been married.  At some stage though the family moved from Northorpe to Grayingham, just a few miles away.  The family bible then records that William Jollans  moved from Kirton in Lindsey to Horncastle, joined the Lincolnshire Constabulary on 17th October 1879 and moved from Horncastle to Appleby, back to Horncastle, then to Holland Fen, to Gosberton and to Scamblesby.  It also records that he married Sarah Grundy although the date is not entirely clear.  The Births, Marriages, Deaths index suggests the marriage took place in 1878.  He is recorded in the 1881 census as living in Appleby at that time, 22 years old and born in Northorpe.

Their first child, Ada Maria Jollans, was born on 31 December 1878 at Grayingham in Lincolnshire, apparently only 2 months after her parents' marriage, although this may be a result of the doubt over the marriage date.    In the 1881 census records, Ada Maria is recorded as living with her grandmother, Mary Clayton (previously Betsey Mary Jollans) and step-grandfather, WIlliam Clayton, at Grayingham Cliff.    By 1891 though she was living with her parents in Gosberton, near Spalding. She was married in Spilsby in July 1905 and at this time was living in Skegness, but in the 1911 census she and her husband James Watson were living in Spalding, with no other members of the household. As far as I know she had no children.  By 1940 she seems to be a widow, living in Scotter.

Their second child, Jim Jollans was born at Cleatham in Lincolnshire in 1880, and married Agnes James in 1905 in the Grimsby district.  They had one daughter, Lily Jollans, born in 1906, who married Albert Richards and they had a son, called Jim Richards.  I know nothing more of this branch of the family.


(photo on left): William Jollans with granddaughter, Peggy.   (photo on right): Ada Watson, née Jollans.  Both photos taken in Scotter in 1939.

My grandfather William Jollans was the third child of William and Sarah Jollans, born in 1887 or 1889 (see box below).

Their fourth child, Sidney Jollans (or possibly Sydney?) was born in 1891.  He fought in the Fisrt World War as a Lance Corporal in the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment and died in action on 9th May 1915.  He received the Distinguished Service Medal and the Cross of St George 4th class (Russia).  He is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, on the Kirton-in-Lindsey War Memorial and on the memorial at St. Peter's Church in St. Peter's Avenue, Cleethorpes.

I have never seen a photo of Sarah Jollans.  She had presumably died before 1939, when photos were taken of William Jollans in Scotter.

William Jollans (born 1887 or 1889)

William Jollans, the second son of William and Sarah Jollans, was born in Donnington-on-Baine in Lincolnshire in 1887 (this needs checking).  According to his own account in later life, he left school at the age of 12, although his wife, whose account may be more reliable, insisted that he was 14.  Certainly he had little education at school and started work young as a farm boy.  However by his mid twenties he had become an ordained minister in the Methodist church.  Quite how he made the transition is not clear, but he must have been both bright and hard-working.


He also appears from photos to have been a very handsome young man, and in 1916 he married Rachel Baron, who seems to have come from a very different background, having a university degree.   In the First World War he enlisted, as a padre rather than a fighting soldier, but nevertheless won the Military Cross for bravery. He married in 1916 and his first child, Margaret (later known as Peggy), was born in 1917.  He went on to have 4 children, two girls (Peggy and Christine) and two boys (Bill and Lewis).

Three letters sent home to his wife from the war have survived, one of them written at the time of the incident for which he won the Military Cross in 1918 and telling of a desperate situation.  It was delivered with a covering note from headquarters, reporting that he was missing and that the servant who had brought back the letter ‘did not see your husband taken prisoner’.  Even now it is difficult to read the letter without a rush of emotion and it’s hard to imagine what the effect on his young bride must have been.

The family lived initially at Scotter in Lincolnshire, but later at a time of difficulty in the family, moved to Great Harwood in Lancashire, to live with Rachel’s parents, and in around 1935 moved again to Birmingham.  William seems to have done a variety of jobs after leaving the army and the church, and for a time he and Rachel ran a business supplying cotton goods, such as sheets and pillowcases, to hospitals, sourced presumably from the Boardman & Baron cotton mills.  He was also for a time a Special Policeman.

In retirement they moved to Kendal on the edge of the Lake District, where they lived in part of a large house on a hill called Prizet.  Everyone remembers him as always remarkably cheerful and sociable.

Rachel Jollans

Rachel Jollans was born as Rachel Baron in Great Harwood in Lancashire in 1891. She seems to have had a comfortable upbringing for the time, her father being one of the partners in the Boardman and Baron cotton mill business.  The Barons were a long established Great Harwood family that can be traced back to at least the 16th century there.

Rachel had an education that must have been quite exceptional for a girl at the time, going on to study Latin and earn a B.A. degree at Royal Holloway College in London.  She married William Jollans in 1916 in a ceremony in Great Harwood

She had four children, Peggy (born in 1917), Christine (1921), Bill (1924) and Lewis (1925) and together with William ran a cotton goods business in which she seems to have been the more reliable partner.