I’ve been reading Dan Cruikshank’s history of Spitalfields and have been fascinated by the stories of the different groups of people who sought refuge there, on the eastern edge of London: Catholics during the repression under Elizabeth I, the Irish in the eighteenth century, and of course the Huguenots. I was intrigued by the way that French Huguenot names recurred throughout the history of the area, and in the East End more generally. It stirred a faint memory in me, of a family history connection with Spitalfields. Wasn’t there something about one of my Londors ancestors possibly being married in Spitalfields? And what about that unusual surname: I’ve always imagined it was of German or Dutch origin – but what if it was French?
First, a quick recap on my connection to the Londors family. My mother was born Joyce Alma Londors in East Ham in 1933. Her father was George John Londors (1896 – 1961), a gardener at the City of London cemetery and the son of another George Londors (1863 – 1934), a gravedigger. He in turn was the son of John Schofield Londors (1827 – 1915), an agricultural labourer in Barkingside, and the eldest son of another farm worker, John Londors (1785 – 1876), by his second wife Mary Ann Schofield (1802 – 1887).
Christening record for John-Felix Landors or Londors, Woodford, Essex, 1785
According to census records, my 3rdgreat grandfather John Londors was born in Woodford, and I believe he is the John-Felix Landors, son of yet another John Landors or Londors and his wife Hannah, who was baptised there on 7thAugust 1785. There are good reasons for believing that his parents were the John Londors and Hannah Ackerly who were married at the church of Christ Church, Spitalfields, on 7thDecember 1782, despite the fact that in the parish register the spelling of John’s surname has been altered from Londors or Landors to Lundors, which is also how he signed his name, though it was spelt Londors in the record of the banns. It’s also my belief that this is the same John Londors who, nearly ten years later and by now a widower, married Sarah Reeves at the same church 8thApril 1792.
The fact that there are so few people with the surname Londors in the records gives credence to my theory that John Londors of Spitalfields and John Londors of Woodford were one and the same person. According to one online source, there are only 39 people in the world with the surname Londors, all but one of them in England. I’m fairly confident that they can all trace their descent from my 4thgreat grandfather, John Londors of Woodford.
Christ Church, Spitalfields
As for the Huguenot/French connection: is it significant that one of the witnesses at the first wedding was a certain John Rondeau? He is probably the man of that name who made his will in 1789, appointing his wife Margaret as executor. Was he a friend of John Londors, or perhaps his employer or landlord? Then there is the fact that, according to the Woodford parish register, John and Hannah Londors or Landors gave their son the name John-Felix: both the name Felix, and the hyphenation of the two Christian names, suggesting a possible French connection.
Marriage of John Lundors or Londors in the parish register of Christ Church, Spitalfields, 1792
I’ve yet to find any trace of John Londors in Spitalfields before his first marriage, nor are there records of anyone else with the same exact surname. However, there are a number with similar surnames, such as Landors or Landers. For example, the land tax records for Spitalfields refer to a Dennis Landers in a 1756 and a Henry Landers in 1759. A child named Elizabeth Landers, the daughter of George and Elizabeth, was baptised at Christ Church, Spitalfields, on 21stDecember 1766.
As for my ancestor John Londors, if he married for the first time in 1782, then perhaps he was born in about 1760. I haven’t found anyone with a similar name baptised in Spitalfields at that time, but there was a John Landers, son of David and Mary Landers, christened at All Hallows, Barking by the Tower, on 2ndMarch 1759/60, having been born on 21stFebruary in that year.