Thomas Critchley

Thomas Critchley (1834-1902) son of William Critchley (1795-1881)

Thomas Critchley was born 28 March 1834 in Sutton, St Helens and was baptised at Ebenezer New Road Independent Chapel, Prescot on 25 May 1834. His father, William was a butcher and he was a glass grinder, probably in the watch making trade. We found that he had 3 wives and the last ‘wife’ was, in fact, his step daughter!  In total he fathered 16 children.

   Chart: Thomas Critchley & Family 

His first wife only came to light after we sent for his marriage certificate and found his status was widower. He was married in 1864 to Catherine Hurst, a spinster aged 24 and he was then a bachelor aged 30. She died two years later from TB. We had to ‘trawl’ in the records quite a lot for this information.

His second wife, Ann Saggarson (sometimes spelt Saggerson), from whom we are descended, married Thomas in 1869 in West Derby (which took some finding!) The witnesses to the wedding were the owners of the lodging house where they were staying in Liverpool and we wondered why they would choose to marry away from the family environment of Prescot/St Helens.

Ann had had an illegitimate child Jane when she was 21 before she married Thomas – they were both 35. (We have Jane’s birth certificate b 4 Sept 1855 with mother Ann Saggerson and father unknown) Thomas was from a Methodist family and Ann was brought up a Catholic in a Beer House in what was later called St Helens Road, Prescot.

John W Critchley young 300
John William Critchley

They then had 4 children in 7 years of marriage and Ann died of pneumonia in 1876 when she was 42. Their children were –

Annie (aka Polly) (1870- ), Mary (1871- ), John William (1873-1933 & pictured below) (our ancestor) & Thomas (1874-1954)

Her illegitimate daughter Jane (father unknown) was 14 when Ann married Thomas.

We found Jane on the 1881 census living at 24 St Helens Road, Prescot (see transcript below).

Transcript of Census 1881
Head of house Thomas Critchley (widower) age 46
Daughter Annie Critchley age 11
Daughter Mary Critchley age 10
Son John W Critchley age 8 (our ancestor)
Son Thomas Critchley age 6
Step daughter Jane Saggerson (unmarried) – general domestic servant age 26
Daughter: Ann Saggerson age 5 (born 1875)
Son Robert Saggerson age 1 (born 1879)

A further son, Joseph Saggerson was born in 1881. We cannot be sure who fathered these children but on the 1891 census all the children were named as Critchley and we recently found that when the girls married they all named Thomas as their father.  We only have the birth certificate for one of Jane’s children, Ann b 19 Oct 1875 born to Jane Saggerson with father unknown.

We believe that Thomas and Jane were able to live as husband and wife (despite not actually being married) when they moved away from St Helens Road to 59 Cyril Street, Eccleston at sometime between 1881 and 1891.

Their other children were Sarah (1884- ), James Edward (1887- ), Margaret (1890- ), Henry (1892- ), Lillian (1894- ), Beatrice (1896- ), Lucy (1899- ), Elizabeth (1900- ), May (1902 the year her father Thomas died, aged 67)

We can’t find a marriage certificate for Thomas and Jane, but that’s not surprising because Church of England Kindred and Affinity laws didn’t allow marriage between a man and his wife’s daughter at that time.

Interestingly, we do know from research of other lines that if you were rich enough you could marry by special licence, and if you were even richer a ‘backhander’ to the vicar could bend church regulations and enable ‘banned kindred’ to marry – although this was before 1837 when registration began.

Thomas seems to have been a late starter in the marriage stakes (for those days), marrying at the age of 30 but he seems to have followed his heart in marrying our direct ancestor Ann, obviously against family opposition and his liaison with Jane was certainly long lasting and productive to the end in 1902 when Jane was 47 and Thomas was 67.

Children of Thomas Critchley

Name Place(s) of Residence Life Dates Married
Annie Critchley Wavertree & WestDerby & Liverpool 1870- Joseph Critchley
Mary Critchley St Helens 1871-
John William Critchley St Helens 1873-1933 Edith Elizabeth Woodward
Thomas Critchley St Helens 1874-1954
Ann Critchley St Helens 1875-  Joseph Pickervance
Robert Critchley Haydock 1879-  Jane Mitchell
Joseph Critchley St Helens 1881-1960 Ann Unknown
Sarah Critchley St Helens 1884-  Peter Holden & John William Lucas
James Edward Critchley St Helens 1887-  May Chadwick
Margaret Critchley St Helens 1890-  Thomas Large
Henry Critchley St Helens 1892-
Lilian Critchley St Helens 1894-
Beatrice Critchley St Helens 1896-  Arthur Harcombe
Lucy Critchley St Helens 1899-
Elizabeth Critchley St Helens 1900-
May Critchley St Helens 1902-1992 Albert Greenall

John William Critchley…