Settlement Examination: John Nunn by Ellen Maki, Ph.D.

John Nunn was one of my great-great-great-grandfathers. He was called to a settlement examination in Diss, Norfolk, England on 13 January 1798 before John Frere, Justice of the Peace. He was living in Diss at the time, and must have found himself in financial need, otherwise there would likely not have been an inquiry into his place of settlement.

Thanks to John Frere, the examination record is a small trove of genealogically useful information. He starts by telling us that John Nunn was a linen weaver. The settlement examination record also states that John was 21 years of age and up, and that he was born in Palgrave, Suffolk. The note also provides his father’s name, which was also John Nunn, and indicates that he, too, was a settled inhabitant of Palgrave.

Quote from John Nunn Settlement Examination with captionAlthough the record does not explicitly state that John was not entitled to claim settlement in Diss, the evidence recorded by John Frere makes it seem likely that John Nunn was not entitled to settlement in any parish other than Palgrave. The record states that John Nunn had not let himself out for a year or done anything else that would give him the right to claim such settlement.

Interestingly, John had married in Diss on 11 January 1798, just two days before his settlement examination. The young couple had their first child born seven months after their marriage. I have wondered whether John had been able to eke out a living for himself, but found his finances stretched when he became responsible for a wife who was already expecting their first child. Or perhaps the parish overseers had such a concern and acted proactively to ensure that the parish of Diss would not become responsible for the family’s maintenance.


  1. Church of England. Parish Records of Diss, Norfolk. Overseers of the Poor. Settlement Examination. 13 January 1798. Nunn, John. Norfolk Record Office. PD 100/113/105.
  2. Church of England. Archdeacon’s transcripts for Diss. Marriage. Norfolk. 11 January 1798. Nunn, John and Woodward, Sarah. Norfolk Record Office. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints microform publication 1516814. : accessed 02 May 2016.


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