The "Tunalli"-Tunaley Name Change and Potential Links to Sir Thomas Lombe e
No doubt there would have been a combinationn of reasons for Thomas's name-change. However, amongst the various possibilities there is a significant contributing factor of
In 1716 John Lombe brought back to Derby his own secretively copied designs of a successful Italian silk throwing operation in Piedmont where Lombe had taken employment about 1715.
This spying operation was arguably a first-ever case of international industrial espionage. Indeed, had Lombe been caught on Italian soil carrying out his illegal activity he could
well have faced capital punsihment by order of the King of Sardinia.
the detriment of the Italian silk industry.
being that Italian agents had been sent over from Italy to exact retribution. Whilst it seems such assassination was never proven due to lack of evidence with at least one
Italian having already fled back to Italy, this account nevertheless took a firm hold in Derby as being the true and correct one.
shadow of what took place in 1722 lingered on. To the extent that an Italian, such as Thomas, subsequently arriving to take on work at the mill may have been viewed by some as a
potential spy/agent for the King of Sardinia. More importantly, Thomas may have considered himself a possible second target for the King of Sardinia, however remote that possibility.
Additionally, the evident hysteria surronding John Lombe's death may have generated an anti-Italian sentiment amongst a small impressionable section of the community.
And this scenario may have provided at least one reason for Thomas "Tunalli" to consider changing and anglicising his surname prior to or on arrival in Derby.
In the event, information enabling the recent uncovering of Thomas's origins appeared in Francis Boott Jnr.'s publication of his memoirs entitled "Recollections of Francis Boott: for
his grandson F.B.D." (click here for further details).
N.B. From National Archives: "Contrary to popular belief, it has always been possible to change your name without having to register the change with any official body. It is still perfectly legal for anyone over the age of 16 to start using a new name at any time, as long as they are not doing so for a fraudulent or illegal reason."
The History of Derby
by William Hutton (1723 – 1815), historian of Derby and Birmingham. This book first published in 1791.
Short extract from events of 1722:
by George Savage White (1784-1850) Published 1836.
Potential Links to (Sir) Thomas Lombe (1693-1739)
Records show that Thomas Tunaley ("Tunalli") and third son John Hezekiah had strong links with the London area with the additional likelihood of Thomas having formerly been a merchant
working for either the East India Company or the Levant Comapny.
Evidence below also suggests links between Thomas Tunaley ("Tunalli") and Thomas Lombe (later Sir Thomas Lombe) who took over the running of the Old Silk Mill after
half-brother John Lombe died 1722 (see above).
Thomas Lombe's business and family background.
Thomas Lombe came from a a wealthy Cawston, Norfolk family and inherited a successful worsted weaving/merchant business based in Norwich. This worsted business continued to prosper
and expand under Thomas's leadership .
The following is from the article "Key Figures-Thomas, John and Henry Lombe" on the Derwent Valley Mills website (click here),"He was apprenticed to a London Mercer, Samuel Totton,
and in 1707, aged 22, he was admitted to the Mercers’ Company and made a Freeman of the City of London. He became an Alderman for Brassishaw Ward in the City of London, becoming
sheriff and giving a congratulatory address to George II on his accession to the throne in 1727".
Thomas had earlier been interested in developing machinery for creating British-produced organzine, a name given to both the strong raw-silk thread made up of finely-twisted
silk strands and the textile that was subsequently produced . Up to then, organzine had been an expensive import from Italy with England not having the knowhow to design and
manufacture the appropriate spinning machinery.
It was Thomas Lombe who persuaded and financially backed half-brother John in his operation of industrial espionage at the Italian mill in Piedmont.
The placing of John at Piedmont may not have been quite as complicated as it would first appear because according to The Derwent Mills account merchants were frequently sent abroad
to obtain training and, in adition, the Lombes had family links with Europe.
Moreover, there was also a family connection with George Sorocold who according to the Derwent Valley Mills article had previously laid pipes in Norwich. Hardly surprising,
therefore, that it was George Sorocold, the brilliant civil engineer, who was subsequently chosen to design and oversee the building of the Old Silk Mill at Derby.
The connection with Thomas Tunalli (Tunaley)
It is known that in 1755 Thomas Tunaley was working as a master feltmaker. Additionally, John Hezekiah Tunaley, one of Thomas's three sons had
strong connections with London, ultimately by marriage but possibly through previous work as a wool merchant. It is known that John Hezekiah was in later life and semi-retirement
the landlord of the public house, The Old Crown, situated very close to the wool centre in Leeds. Overall information (click here) suggests he'd formerly been a wool trader and
his son, Thomas Nelson Tunaley, was certainly both a tailor and a wool merchant.
Returning to the early 1700's, Italy, like England, had a thriving wool trade and Italian textile craftspeople and merchants were able to transfer their skills, relatively easily,
from wool to silk and vice versa.
In that sense, Thomas Tunalli, had he been originally both a wool and silk merchant as suggested above, this would have provided a common link with Thomas Lombe, who, self-evidently,
was a silk and wool expert of some stature.
If, as it later seems, Italy created difficulties with the import of raw silk to Derby following John Lombe's espionage and later success with the operation of the Old Silk Mill,
Thomas Lombe would have been forced to examine other international outlets for silk including what we know from William Hutton's book to have been Turkey and China.
Lombe was a member of the Mercer's Company and Freeman of the City of London. He was therefore in an ideal position to recruit merchants from the Levant or East India company
with regard to raw silk imports from the East.
It is suggested that, over a period of time, Thomas Tunalli was one of these merchants with whom Thomas Lombe may already have been acquainted through the Mercer's
Company and his own wool trading.
Thomas Lombe (by then Sir Thomas Lombe) died 1739 with the Old Silk Mill subsequently undergoing a succession of changes in management.
One might suppose it was around this time that Thomas Tunalli (now Tunaley) set up his own business closeby the Old Silk Mill.