The Family History of The Kray Twins Part 2: Georgian Goldsmith, Jeweller, Dealer, and Chapman


frederickkrayfamily Click to see tree

The first Kray we come across in the direct line is Frederick Kray born around 1773 in the City of London or nearby. Frederick is the Kray twins’ Great Great Great Grandgather. He worked as a Goldsmith, Jeweller , Dealer and Chapman, the first two occupations indicate an upmarket trade, but Dealer and Chapman indicate a trader of a lower level, working in the markets and Dealers Shops. A Chapman, indicates someone who barters and strikes deals (Ceap in old English being the root of “cheap” meanng a bargain or a deal). It seems likely that Frederick served his apprenticeship as a Goldsmith, then went into business on his own selling the goods rather than making them for sale. He is never described as a Journeyman or Master of his craft, so he may never have finished his apprenticeship.

In any case he makes some risky decisions in his life, getting young Mary, pregnant at fourteen in 1795 when he was twenty two; not a crime at the time, but showing a lack of judgement. The pair stay together and have three sons between 1796 and 1800; Fredeerick Joseph, John (the Kray twins’ Great Great Great Grandfather), and Richard.

For a while Frederick gets by, managing to bring in enough money to take out a lease on a house, in Stanhope Street, Clare Market. This was an area wdeged in between theatres and divided into “Ladyships” owing to the Madams who ran the brothels and lorded over the area. The rest of the streets and lanes were mainly inhabited by Butchers who ran herds of animals through the narrow lanes for slaughter in the shambles, cheap grocery shops, and stalls selling other goods.

Frederick most likely bought and sold jewellry, a precarious living and by 1806 Fredeick finds that he can’t sustain his business, and is taken into Bankruptcy by his creditors. His debts are eventually discharged by the sale of all his worldly goods at a public auction from his home, strangers, and neighbours, picking through the Krray’s belongings, and buying them amidst cat-calls and jears from the people routing through their belongings, whilst Frederick, Mary and the children can just look on in despair.

Frederick never recovers from the blow, and the family struggles to survive, until in 1815 at the age of fortytwo he dies. What caused his financial ruin and early death is not certain, but relations had not been all they could be between Fredericka nd Mary for some years as no children are born after 1800, despite them both being in their prime. Perhaps the proximity of the whore houses and drinking dens of the Clare Market had proved to be too much of a temptation for Frederick, a man with ready cash in his pocket.

Fortunately for the family the boys had managed to get trades, the eldest Frederick and youngest Richard following their father’s trade as Goldsmiths, the middle son John becoming a less glamourous Brass Founder. This indicates that Frederick may still had had friends amonget the Goldsmiths, getting two of his boys into apprenticeships with them, perhaps John the middle son was less well disposed and therefore went into an allied metal working trade as a Brass founder, requiring less skill but more brawn. Mary and her eldest son Frederick crossed the Thames back to the Surrey side where she was born, and no doubt where her family still lived.

The two elder sons married at the end of their apprenticeships both in 1818, Frederick staying on the Surrey side of the river, and John staying in the City and Whitechapel. The youngest son Richard stayed north of the river and married in 1822.

Carol McGiffin and Mr Bumble the Workhouse Master


Having worked on various lines of Carol McGiffin’s Family Tree (Carol is probably best known for ITV’s award winning “Loose Women” programme) I recently was lucky enough to turn up a new twist to her ancestry when I found her Great Great Grandfather McGiffin’s wedding certificate, naming (and shaming) his father as “The Master of a Workhouse” or Mr Bumble as Carol likes to call him.

Normally this fact on its own would be interesting but not mysterious, the difference here is that the McGiffins when we first find them living in the slums of Lambeth are on the breadline, not where you would expect to find the family of a well to do Workhouse Master.

The Masters of Irish Workhouses were often ex-Army or ex-Constabulary NCOs. It was a very good solid middle class position to hold in an area, providing a good wage, lodgings, food, employment for members of their family, a place on the Parish Council, local power and respect, and ample opportunity to make money on the side from embezzlement of the pauper’s allowances (by cutting the quality/quantity of their rations), the hiring out of paupers as “free” (effectively slave) labour to your friends on the Parish Committee, and of course the opportunity to take advantage of any young women unfortunate enough to be an inmate.

Not all Masters of Workhouses were this vile, but you only have to read Oliver Twist to see how they were viewed by the public at the time. So it seems that he was a Master of a Workhouse before the Great Famine in Ireland (as the three McGiffin boys were born between 1834 and 1840) Margaret was probably not legally his wife, for if she was it is very unlikely that she would have ended up in a slum in Lambeth with three children in the 1850s.

It is much more likely that she was an inmate of the Workhouse in the 1830s who became pregnant by the Master of the Workhouse bearing him three sons at a time when the workhouses were not overloaded, and a girl would be prepared to be quiet about the situation in return for better treatment for her and her children. However, at the end of the 1840s the Potato Famine hit Ireland, and the workhouses were flooded with several times the number of starving inmates that they were built to hold, the system broke down, and it seems that it was in this period that Margaret came to London with her three boys. Perhaps the Workhouse Master was worried that his indiscretions would be exposed, perhaps Margaret forced his hand?

London as a destination is odd for people from Northern Ireland during the famine, as by far the majority of refugees from the famine who fled to the mainland UK from Northern Ireland went either to Liverpool, Glasgow, or Bristol (in that order), London was just about the farthest part of England that someone from NI could travel to (for example, the McGiffin name is not uncommon in NI, but during the whole of the 19th century there were only one or two families with the name in London who weren’t direct relatives). This implies that Carol’s ancestors were sent as far away as was possible, reinforcing the idea that the Workhouse Master may have paid for a passage to London, rather than one of the nearer UK ports. London was far enough away to ensure that an inconvenient woman and three children would not be coming back in a hurry, but was far cheaper than the fare to Canada or the USA.

So a small family mystery from the early 19th century was revealed by a diligent piece of research. Carol seemed thrilled by the revelation as it brings yet another piece of the jigsaw of her family history past into place. Thanks to http://www.timedetectives.co.uk.

Fred Dinenage Family Tree


Fred levelled his eyes at me across my dining room table and said:

“You’ve shattered my illusions!  I thought I was a Brummie, but now you say I’m a Man of Kent, and a Man of Sussex!”

All I could say was that, he was also a descended from a Soldier who served at the Woolwich Arsenal, so he was also a Gooner, and he cameraman chipped in with the worst accusation of all, calling him a Southampton Scummer, what could be worse for a man who had been a director of Portsmouth Football Club, Pompey fans would be shocked and horrified.  I was tempted to use some cockney rhyming slang as one of his ancestors was born in Bristol City, but thought that he had probably suffered enough by then.

So how did we happen to be sitting in my dinning room insulting the good name of ITV’s Meridian Tonight anchorman Fred Dinenage?  The story starts with Fred appearing in my living room every evening covering stories across the South of England for Meridian,  as all regular viewers do I felt like I knew him without really knowing him at all, and whereas some men just can’t resist a pretty face, I just can’t resist the challenge of an unusual name

Out came the etymological dictionaries, the surname records, and Victorian encyclopedias, and I tracked the name back to its early roots, which lay in the word Dunnage, meaning the contents and covering of a boat’s hold.  This word doesn’t appear in English before 1620, so was of foreign origin, and low and behold, as with many nautical words, it has its roots in Dutch and Low German from the North sea coastline.  The term was variously written Dunnage, Donnage, and most tellingly Dinnage, probably from the Dutch word “Denne” for the deck of a boat via  “Dennen” to load a boat.  The word was taken into English by the sailors from the Southern and Eastern ports that traded with the North Sea ports of the Low Countries and Germany, and given that it appears in writing in the 16oos, it had probably existed in colloquial speech for at least a few hundred years before, back to Mediaeval times, when sea trade boomed via the innovations of the North Sea Cogge Boats, which were sturdy enough to survive the North Sea, broad enough to take large cargoes, and flat-bottomed to allow access to the shallow coastal waters and river estuaries from France to Denmark, taking their cargoes of English broad cloth from the downlands of Southern and Eastern England.

This fitted well, as the most common form of the Dinenage name “Dinnage” was almost entirely found in Sussex, which after the Black Death had reduced the population turned to less labour intensive sheep rearing and broadcloth weaving on the downs, which was then exported via the local ports.  A man who was skilled in loading a Cogge Boat to its maximum capacity without endangering the stability of the boat, or causing it to sit badly on the sea and lose speed by a bad distribution of weight in the hold, was a very valuable and sought after commodity.  So the name, and the Family, will have originated from Boat Hands, and Dock Labourers in Mediaeval Sussex, where most of the “Dinnages” stayed until the present day.

But Fred’s branch of the family was more adventurous than that.  They had moved up from the Sussex coast to Canterbury in Kent, and were living there in the Georgian period during the 1700s.  And whilst  Fred’s Great Great Grandfather Samuel was a boy the Napoleonic wars were raging across Europe and the rest of the world, and a new innovation in the British Army was developed; The 95th Rifle Regiment.  So successful had early experiments with these Green Coated troops proved on the battlefield, that a second Battalion was raised at Canterbury in 1805,  and local men flocked to join this elite unit and were duly shipped to Spain and Portugal under Lord Wellington to liberate those countries from the tyranny of Napoleon.  These were the originals brought to life in fiction as Sharpe’s Rifles.

Once Samuel “Dinnage” (this was how the army spelled his name) was old enough he enlisted in the 2nd Battalion 95th Rifle Regiment,  and we next see him taking part in the last battle of the Peninsular War, the storming of Toulouse in 1814, which was to finally destroy Napoleon’s armies in Southern France , guarantee the freedom of Spain and Portugal, and force Napoleon to step down as Emperor of France, and allow himself to be deported to Elba.  The battle  of Toulouse was a bloody one with over 8,000 men dieing in the taking of the city.

Samuel was shipped back to Canterbury once Napoleon was gone, and the Royalist Bourbons reinstated in France, but the peace was short lived.  In 1815 Napoleon broke his parole, returned to France, and aided by the public hatred for the excesses of the “White Terror” carried out by the Royalists in revenge for their years of subjugation under Napoleon (more French citizens died during this than in the “Red Terror” of the French revolution) the country rose up in support of him.  So the 2nd Battalion of the 95th Rifles were embarked again, this time for Belgium.  They would face their last battle of the Napoleonic Wars, and it would be the ultimate battle of that conflict:  Waterloo!

1815samueldinnagewaterloomedalyellow

Napoleon had managed to split the allied forces, separating Blucher and his Prussians, from Wellington and his Allied British, Germans, Dutch and Belgians.  After forcing Blucher and the Prussians to retreat, Napoleon faced Wellington, but on ground of Wellington’s choosing near the village of Waterloo.  The battle would, in Wellington’s words, be “A damned near run thing.”  The British units were spread across the field to bolster the morale of the rather skittish Dutch and Belgian troops, and much tooing and throwing took place over the two fortified positions which dominated key positions on the field, the French Heavy Cavalry dominated the field breaking like a wave against the solid allied squares, who holding their nerve, cut them down in swathes, as Wellington said when asked if he thought that the French Cavalry came up well, he dryly replied “..and they went down well also.” during this time Samuel Dinenage and the 2nd 95th Rifles were held in reserve, being finally moved up to support the crucial left flank of the Allied lines alongside the Foot Guards and the 52nd rgt.  This was to prove crucial, as the French overran the strongpoint on the allied left centre, and Napoleon then ordered his never beaten elite Imperial Guard to advance in column and break the allied Foot Guards on the left flank.  With drums beating and flags flying, the Battle hardened Imperial Guard surged forward muskets at the ready.  But Napoleon had not reckoned on Wellington’s cunning, he had ordered the Foot Guards to lay down in the corn field they occupied to conceal their position and protect them from French artillery fire, now he gave the order, “Up Guards and at ’em!” the British Guards sprang up in a perfect line, just 50 yards from the advancing Imperial Guard and unleashed a withering fire that stopped them in their tracks.  Surprised, shocked and bloodied, the Guard hesitated, and in this pause the Commander of the 52nd regiment wheeled his troops and the 2nd 95th with Corporal Samuel Dinenage, round the flank of the Imperial Guard column, unleashed a massive volley to their open flank, and then charged them as the British Guards hit them in the front, putting them to flight.  This had never happened before, the whole French army gasped in amazement, to see their finest troops in full rout from the shouting red coats and the green jacketed rifleman with Corporal Dinenage amongst them.  This was the beginning of the end, as the French wavered, Blucher and his Prussians arrived riding full pelt bare-headed at the French, pursuing them across country and wrecking havoc.  The Battle was over, the carnage had been massive, one in three of the Rifle regiment had fallen, the rest were exhausted.

soldierstrain2yellow

The war was over, Napoleon was sent to St Helena  in the South Atlantic to while away the rest of his days, and Samuel Dinenage’s Rifle Battalion settled down to occupy France and make sure there was no further chance of Napoleon or his followers rising again to throw Europe into chaos.  The life for the occupying army was good, billeted with French Families friendly relations and fraternisation was common, especially as British soldiers, unlike those of most other nations, including the French, had been subject to heavy penalties including the death penalty, under Lord Wellington not to pillage, rape, or rob the local populace, so British Gold paid for food and lodgings, making them quite welcome guests, and any household containing British Soldiers was sure to be safe from any vigilantes looking for revenge at the end of the War.  It was in this situation that Samuel Dinenage, now Sergeant Dinenage met his wife to be Felicite Amable Pinnin from Versailles.  Samuel was tall, literate, brave, and earning a reasonable living, a good catch for a young woman prepared to travel, and on 9th December 1815 the pair were married by The Reverend Charles Dayman, the occupying force’s Chaplain at Versailles.

soldiers1yellow

Life for an army wife was an itinerant one, and their progress can be traced by the births of their children, Florence in Rosult France (between Versailles and Waterloo) in 1816, followed by Hannagh, Sophia, and Samuel between 1819 and 1824, all born in Ireland, where Samuel had been transferred with the Rifle Brigade.  Samuel was now a Recruiting Sergeant, travelling in a small team signing up young men to serve the colours, and earning a very lucrative income with the bounties for each man recruited.

recruitingsergeant2

However Samuel was posted back to England in 1829 and living there until about 1834 when he was discharged from the army after about 20 years of service.  He received a pension from the army, moved back to his home town of Canterbury, and being able to read and write, rare among working men at the time. found employment as a Merchant’s Clerk.  This move spelled the break up of the family, the children going their own ways; Samuel the eldest son had died in infancy, the older girls married Butchers and a Fisherman settling initially in the East of London before they all moved to Gravesend where they raised their families.

By the 1850s Samuel and Felicite had moved to Woolwich Barracks where Samuel had been re-employed by the Army as a Barracks “Serjeant”, a Chelsea Pensioner in a more or less administrative and training role, where he may help with the new recruits, but would not see any combat in the field, given that he was in his 50s this was a good position to hold.  By 1855 he had died of the dreaded “White Plague” (TB) leaving Felicite to be taken care of as a seamstress living with her daughters and their families.

Present at Samuel death was his remaining son William Henry Dinenage.  He had left home at the tender age of 17 to join the newly formed Ordnance Survey in Southampton.  Impetuous and adventurous as his father had been, William Henry married a young girl from Liverpool, Jane Breeze.  he was employed as a “Computer” by the Ordnance Survey, calculating distances and heights of landscape features, and was paid 6 shillings a day, a very good wage, even if he wasn’t needed every day, by comparision a labourer received about 9 shillings a weekat this time.  He had obviously inherited his Father’s charm and persuasiveness, as he joined the Ancient Order of Forresters, and took to selling their life Assurance policies to the mariners’ families who lived in Southampton, rising to be secretary of the local branch, where he made his name after being sued by the wife of dead mariner, to whom he had refused assurance payments because of irregularities in the membership of her husband, this case lead to a change in law regarding Assurance Societies, bringing in better arbitration for dependants of the deceased.  William and Jane also had tradgedies of their own to deal with as both a son and a daughter died in infancy in the 1860s.

But overall William Henry was  sucessful, and well connected, making his living between the Ordnance Survey, Accountancy, and the Order of Forresters, in the early 1870s he decided to take over an Inn in Southampton which would prove his undoing; the business failed, and he was declared bankrupt.  This was the beginning of a difficult period for the family, the family broke apart, William Henry moving to the Industrial Midlands in the mid 1870s to become a Clerk at a Colliery, they struggled, and a son born in 1876 died shortly after birth, but they survived.  The younger children went with them, most of the elder children married and stayed in Southampton except for one of the boys who moved to Lincoln.  The other boys were a mixture of charm, brawn, and brains, like their father and grandfather; he two sons who stayed in Southampton went to sea working as 1st Class Stewards, the boys who went to the Midlands with their parents went into accountancy and Electrical Engineering, a New Technology, that offered great opportunities to the talented, whilst one son became a Railway Goods Guard.  The girls married men in good solid working class jobs, such as house painters and Railway guards.  But the stigma and shame of their Father’s Bankruptcy still haunted the family, the children commenting on their background in Southampton.

William Henry Dinenage and his wife Jane’s story ends in Walsall.  Both lived well into their 80s, Jane bore William 14 children the eldest William Edward being 30 years old when the youngest, Edgar Breeze Dinenage (Fred Dinenage’s Grandfather)  was born in 1881.  Their life had been eventful and full of ups and downs, but what we can say is that William Henry never gave up, he pursued any opportunity that life through onto his path, and despite failure and tragedy he always pushed on and did the best for his children.

Meanwhile back in Southampton as the new century came in, James Richard Dinenage (Fred Dinenage’s Grand or as we would say Great Uncle) had a stroke of luck, so well regarded as a Ship’s Steward, he managed to get a place on the ultimate Passenger Liner; The Titanic.  His family must have been overjoyed when they got the news, this was a major achievement, how tragic then, when news reached the family that the ship had gone down after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic.  They would have waited anxiously for news, but after several days when all the survivors had been accounted for, and the recovered bodies had been identified, there was still no news of James.  Eventually there was no possibility of his having survived, despite the lack of a body, and he was declared dead, lost at sea.  He left a young son and a widow who had already seen one child die in infancy, their plight was made worse by the ship’s owners, who immediately stopped the wages of their crew from the point that the ship went down, leaving the family destitute.  No doubt some help came from the Forresters and the family in Walsall, as James’s young son Richard John survived until the ripe old age of 83 living in Romsey Hampshire.

Back in Walsall Fred’s Grandfather Edgar Breeze Dinenage married Emma Louisa Smith, and rose from an Electrical Apprentice, through a qualified Journeyman Electrical Engineer and Armature Winder, to end up as a Company Director of an Electrical Engineering Company.

His son (Fred’s Father) Aubrey Dennis Dinenage) lived in Erdington in the Midlands, before eventually retiring to the Portsmouth area, which is how Fred Dinenage came to be back in Hampshire 100 years after his Great Grandfather had left under a cloud of Bankruptcy for the Midlands, and nearly 150 years after his Great Great Grandfather fought at Waterloo.FredDinenage2

Time Detectives


Personalised, Individual, Family History 

tankgroup4

Family History is a series of silk slippers progressing downstairs, and hob nailed boots progressing upstairs.”  Voltaire

Why should your family story be allowed to disappear forever?  Let Timedetectives do the time travelling to bring their stories back to life for you!

Every family has a story to tell, and now you can have yours told, history is not just for the famous.   Hear the stories of families who had their own adventures in life, and if you like what you see contact www.timedetectives.co.uk to find out your own Family Story.  You will be able to hang your family tree on the wall and point to each ancestor with pride knowing what they did in life, where they came from and went to.   Your ancestors   brought you here, wouldn’t you like to listen to the story of their journey?

Published in: on July 14, 2008 at 10:43 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: