The Poll family

The earliest appearance of one of my Poll family ancestors was in 1741, when my paternal 6x Great Grandparents Simon Poll and his wife Ann take my 5x Great Grandfather James Poll to be baptised at the parish church at Wymondham, Norfolk, England.

The Poll family in Norfolk

The Poll family have lived in the Norfolk village of Wymondham for generations, and from at least the 1841 census, they have lived in an area called 'The Lizard', including during the World War Two years when the Poll family remember bombs being dropped on it.

Unusual names

In contrast to the rest of my family tree, the Poll family provide me with two unusual names that appear to survive for two generations.

These are both biblical names, and perhaps reflects their religious beliefs - as the family sometimes appear in non-conformist church records.

The names are Ishmael Poll and the often mis-spelt, Kerunhappuck Poll.

A family of silk weavers

Many of the Poll family worked within the weaving industry during the 1840's and 1850's. This was an industry that was booming in the area during the 1830's when White's Trade Directory states that there had been 600 looms in Wymondham alone, falling to just 150 by 1854.

Census returns show occupations of cotton weaver and silk weaver are noted for various Poll relatives, including my 5x Great Grandfather Ishmael, and his daughter Karunhappuck.

The hours would have been arduous, and likely involving family members to operate the intricate and dangerous looms. This would earn themselves very little money for the effort, and therefore it's no surprise to find an Ishmael Poll implicated in riots in nearby Ashwellthorpe in 1827, when the weavers of Wymondham learnt that the weavers of Ashwellthorpe had under-cut their prices and were working at a cheaper rate. The Wymondham weavers were furious, and travelled the 10 miles to Ashwellthorpe, and were accused of destroying their silk weaving machinery, and assaulting residents.

In the book The Annual Register, Or, A View of the History, Politics, and Literature for the Year, Volume 46; Volume 69 (J. Dodsley, 1828) there's a tantalising glimpse of the hard life for weavers, and their criminal charge for rioting, which was also covered by various newspapers in England, including the Norwich Chronicle and The Kentish Weekly Post.

I shall continue to dig for more information to ascertain which Ishmael it was, and what the outcome of his court appearance was, as most were bailed. Four rioters escaped execution simply because the prosecution did not have enough evidence to convict them. Thankfully, Ishmael was not amongst these four.

Poll family connections

The Poll family are linked to a number of my ancestral families including: