William Avis, the Pear Tree publican for almost 50 years
By Warren Nunn
When newspapers record details of a funeral, it greatly helps family researchers to identify more than one generation.
Pear Tree Inn, circa 1880. William Avis was publican from 1893 to his death in 1941. Source: historyofsuffolk.co.uk.
When a publican named William Avis died in Whepstead, Suffolk, England in 1941, it ended his 50-year association with the same brewery, all but two of them at the same pub, the Pear Tree Inn.
Newspaper article about
William Avis' funeral.
William had more than one connection to the Nunn family in Suffolk, making us third half-cousins, twice removed and fifth cousins, twice removed.
Along with many others in the Nunn family, William was born at Chevington, just four miles (6 km) from Whepstead.
My own great-great-grandfather, David Nunn, was born there in 1827 and came to Australia in 1858.
But back to William Avis. He wasn't the first Chevington Nunn descendant to be the Pear Tree Inn's landlord.
The family of John Nunn (1790-1848) are found at the Pear Tree on the 1851 census. As yet, I have found no direct connection between this John Nunn and my Nunn line, but it's almost certain given the multiple distant cousin marriages already discovered.
Because the newspaper mentioned children, grandchildren and other relatives, it helps confirm, for example, which surname to follow when daughters marry.
What follows are transcripts the newspaper reports referred to above, and with the images at right.
Bury Free Press, 4 Oct 1941:
LATE MR AVIS.--The funeral took place on Saturday at the parish church of Mr William Avis, of the Pear Tree Inn, whose death was reported last week.
The service was conducted by the Rector (Rev J.D.Sayer), and the hymns, "Jesu, Lover of my Soul" and "Rock of Ages" were sung. Miss Hardwicke being at the organ.
The immediate mourners were:
Mrs Alfred Avis, Mrs Jack Avis and Mrs Leonard Avis (daughters-in-law),
Miss P. (Margaret, aka Peggy) Shaw (Bury St Edmunds), Mrs S.Gooch (parentage not yet identified) (Hargrave, nieces), Mr G.Wallace (parentage not yet identified) (Hargrave, nephew).
(Others mentioned as well but no family connection noted.)
The beautiful floral tokens were inscribed:
In loving memory of our dear father, from George, Fred and Lil.
In loving memory of our dear father, from Alfred and Alice and love from Violet and Tony (grandchildren).
In loving memory of our dear dad, from Kate and Bill and Reg.
With deepest sympathy and in loving memory of dear father, from Jack and Ethel (Great Baddow).
In loving memory of our dear father, from Marjorie, Will and grand-daughter Kathleen (London).
In loving memory of our dear dad, from Jeanie and Fred.
In ever-loving memory of dear grand-dad, from Daphne.
In token of love and regret to our dear dad, Leonard and Barbara.
In loving memory of dear grandfather, from Ken, Audrey, Ron and Derrick (Great Baddow).
In loving memory of a dear brother and uncle from Kit (Ipswich and Brighton).
Other tributes mentioned as well.
Newspaper article about William Avis' long association with the Pear Tree Inn.
50 years a Licensee
Bury Free Press 27 September 1941, p6
Death of Mr Wm. Avis.
The death occurred on Tuesday of Mr William Avis, the licensee of The Pear Tree, Whepstead, who had the record of being the oldest tenant of Messrs Green, King and Sons, Ltd, he having served the firm for just over half a century. He was 81 years of age.
It was in January, 1891, when Mr Avis, who was then a thatcher, became the landlord of The Stag Inn, Whepstead.
He remained there until April, 1893, when he became mine host of The Pear Tree, and it is interesting to record that during the whole of that time Mr Avis never missed attending the annual Licensing Session for the Thingoe Division at Bury St Edmunds to obtain his license.
Mr Avis, who was born at Chevington, belonged to a family of thatchers.
His father, the late Mr George Avis, was a thatcher on the Bristol estates, he himself was employed in a similar capacity for many years, while two of his sons, Alfred and George, became employed on the estates as thatchers.
Another son, Leonard, was a thatcher before being called up in H.M.Forces.
Mr Avis' brother, the late Mr Edward Avis, was also a thatcher, and for some years was a licensee of the Golden Lion at Rickinghall.
The funeral of Mr Avis takes place at Whepstead church to-morrow (Saturday)* at 3pm.
*Note that 27 Sep 1941 was a Saturday, so this may be a typo.