Hannah James

In his book on Warren James and the Dean Forest Riots, Ralph Anstis states that Warren’s sister Hannah moved to London where she became a nobleman’s mistress.

On Monday 13 June 1831, a few days after the 1831 uprising started, the following sentence appears in the Globe under the heading: TUMULTUOUS ASSEMBLAGES IN THE FOREST OF DEAN.

“A sister of James it is said lives with a nobleman, who the foresters expect will be in the Forest shortly.”

On 14 June other London newspapers including the London Evening Standard, English Chronicle and Whitehall Evening Post and Morning Chronicle repeat the account almost word for word.

However, although the wording is identical, and is from this point onwards often repeated, there is no reference to its source and therefore must be treated with caution.

(Could have the Home Office, Ducarel or Machen issued a press release?)

It is unclear where Hannah was living up to the age of 24 so the nobleman story may be true, but unlikely. However, by the age of 24, she was back in the Forest where she married Roger Jenkins and appears to have remained in the Forest for the rest of her life.

Hannah James was baptised on 2 March 1788 in the parish of Newland, the daughter of Warren and Anne James (nee Kear). Her younger brother also called Warren was born four years later.

On 31 December 1823, Hannah James, who was living in Lydney, married Roger Jenkins, an agricultural labourer from Woolaston. The witnesses to the wedding were Peter Kear and her father, Warren James (Snr). Hannah used a cross to sign her name and therefore was illiterate. Roger Jenkins died in 1833.

On 18 March 1838, Hannah Jenkins, a widow, married John Powell a widower and a mariner from Tidenham but living in Woolaston. The records list Hannah’s father as Warren James (Snr), a labourer and John’s father as Philip Powell, a labourer. The witnesses were John James and Thomas James.

The 1841 census lists Hannah Powell, age 50, living in Woolaston with John Powell, age 50 and a mariner, George Powell, age 15 and George James, age 10. George Powell was John Powell’s son from a previous marriage to Mary who died in 1837. (The 1841 census ages were rounded down to the nearest 5 as in 15,20,25, etc). It is unclear if George James is Hannah’s son.

The 1851 census lists Hannah Powell, age 62, as an agricultural labourer living in Woolaston with John Powell, age 62, agricultural labour, George Powell, age 24, son, born in Woolaston and an agricultural labourer and William Evans, age 12, grandson and born in Woolaston.

The 1861 census lists Hannah Powell, age 73, as an agricultural labourer living in the Slad, Woolaston with John Powell, age 72, agricultural labour, Charles Jones age 10 and James Price, a lodger age 37.

The 1871 census lists Hannah Powell, age 83, living at Woolaston Common with the Simmonds family as a lodger and house helper.

Hannah Powell died on 25 May 1875 in Woolaston at the age of 87.

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