jean malandain + marie halavant

Jean, the youngest son of Jean Mallandain and Marthe Baudoin, was born in London about 1691. He married Marie Madelaine Halavant on 4 March 1710 at St Dunstan in Stepney and his occupation was listed as Brass Turner on the parish marriage record. Marie was the daughter of Jean Halavant and Marie Tellier and was also born in London.

Although they were not married in the French Church, their intention or promise to marry was noted in the registers of the church on Threadneedle Street:

Annonce et Mariages. Il y a promesse de mariage entre Jean Malandin, (fils de Jean Malandin et Marthe Baudoin, ne a Londre); et Marie Madelaine Halavan (fille de Jean Halavant et Marie Tellier, nee a Londre). Jan 21, 1711.

The first of their five children, Jean, was born on 21 December 1711 and baptised on 1 January 1712 at Threadneedle Street. Pierre was baptised on 26 July 1713 at Threadneedle Street but no birth date was listed. He died before his third birthday and was buried at St Dunstan on 17 May 1716.

Six months after Pierre’s death, Jean and Marie had their third son, Etienne, who was baptised on 5 October 1716 at Threadneedle Street. Etienne is not a common family name so it is possible he was named after his godfather, Etienne L’heureux.

Their only daughter, Suzanne, was born on 25 December 1718 and also baptised at Threadneedle Street where Moyise Ouvry and Sussane de Heule acted as her godparents. Jonas was born on 20 November 1721 and baptised on 10 December at Threadneedle Street.

Other than their children’s baptism, Jean and Marie do not appear in any other records. Two sons, Jean and Etienne, known as Stephen, were mentioned in their grandmother’s will in 1735 so they both survived to adulthood but no further records have been found regarding their two surviving siblings, Suzanne and Jonas.

On 18 November 1732, Stephen married Elizabeth Hobbins in a clandestine marriage ceremony at the Fleet Prison rather than the local parish church — likely because he was only 16 years old and would not have been able to marry in an Anglican church without the consent of his father. A clandestine marriage was one conducted by an ordained clergyman anywhere outside an Anglican church and although recognized in common law, it was not recognized in canonical or church law. The majority of these marriages occurred in or around the Fleet Debtor’s Prison, near the Old Bailey, by imprisoned clergy who would marry anyone for a fee and although most occurred in the prison chapel, many took place in inns and rooms around the prison.

Not all inmates were imprisoned within the prison itself and some were allowed to live in the immediate area but were still bound by the rules or restrictions of the prison. Over time, this authority became known as the ‘Rules of the Fleet’ and clandestine marriages were often referred to as ‘Fleet marriages’ or ‘under the Rules of the Fleet’ as they were conducted with the approval of the prison wardens who received a portion of the fee paid. Most of those who chose a Fleet marriage did so because they were not subject to the same checks or requirements of church marriages. Couples could be married immediately rather than waiting a month for the banns to be called which was handy if the bride was already pregnant and under age couples could marry without the consent of their parents. Lastly, the fee for a Fleet marriage was less than the cost of a licence to marry in a church. Thousands of Fleet marriages took place from the early 17th century until the introduction of the Marriage Act in 1754 which formalized the requirement for a marriage by banns or licence in an Anglican church in common law.

On 21 February 1737, Stephen married a second time to Ruth Bennett in another Fleet marriage. The entry in the marriage register is short but it does note that Stephen was from Stepney and worked as a Mariner. He may have chosen a Fleet marriage as a quick alternative before he returned to sea but later records indicate it was probably more a case of avoiding the usual checks for previous marriages as his first wife Elizabeth was still alive. There is one final Fleet marriage but only the record transcription has been found — a Mollindine, first name transcribed as ‘.Oss’, married Mary Bouchar on 12 June 1744 and it is believed this is related to Stephen as well.

Three weeks after his marriage to Mary, Stephen wrote his final will and testament leaving his entire estate to his ‘loving wife Mary’. His residence is not listed but his occupation is described as ‘Mariner on board His Majesty’s ship’ and although the name of the ship is not clear, it could be the ‘Victory’. Probate on his estate was granted on 6 September 1745 with Mary and his primary creditor in attendance and the probate order notes that Stephen was ‘late of the parish of Saint Mary Whitechapel in the county of Middlesex formerly of His Majesty’s ship Ipswich but late of His Majesty’s ship (Victory?).’

The Loss of Victory
by Peter Monamy

The HMS Victory was built in the Portsmouth dockyard and launched on 23 February 1737. According to the Victory 1744 website:

In late September 1744, HMS Victory and her fleet were returning from a successful mission against the French in Lisbon and Gibraltar. Shortly after entering the English Channel, a severe storm separated Victory from the rest of the fleet and she was lost with all hands on 5 October. Although badly damaged from the storm, all the other 16 fleet warships limped into Spithead during the ensuing week. Reports from Alderney of a large number of guns firing in distress and remains of the Victory washing ashore on the nearby islands led to a solid belief amongst the Admiralty and later historians that the wreck was located off Alderney and had been lost on the Casquets.

It was not until the Victory was discovered more than 100km west of Alderney in 2008 that the truth behind the sinking was revealed. The tragedy was not caused by dangerous rocks or the failure of the Alderney lighthouse keeper to keep the fire burning as believed at the time. The reasons for the Victory’s loss were almost certainly poor ship design, top-heavy weight, instability caused by heavy guns and possibly rotting timbers.

Until the crew lists for the HMS Victory are located, it is impossible to confirm that Stephen was one of mariners lost at sea but regardless of the circumstances of his death, his wife Mary was left widowed less than a year after her marriage. There is no evidence they had any children and Mary disappears from the records after his death. But Stephen’s first wife Elizabeth reappears when she applied for parish relief in Shoreditch on 22 July 1771 and the details provided during her examination were recorded in the register:

The examination of Elizabeth Mollondine 11 Boo[th Street?]. This examinant on her oath saith that about thirty years since to the best of her knowledge and belief she was married to her late husband Stephen Mollondine who never gained (as he hath informed her and she verily belive it to be true) any settlement in his own right but saith that his late father John Mollondine rented and lived in a house in Corbet Court in the parish of Christ Church Middlesex for many years at the yearly rent of fifteen pounds and never gained any subsequent legal settlement to her knowledge or belief.

The register notes that she was delivered as a pauper to one of the church wardens and was presumably admitted to the workhouse as she died there two months later aged 60 years. She was buried at Christ Church on 15 November 1771.