THE THOMPSON FAMILY
- Returning to England after almost thirty years abroad, the only relatives left were:
- Brother Herbert, eleven years older, and Willie eleven years younger than I, both parents having died about twenty-five years earlier. The wife of Willie than began accusing me of being just like the rest of the Thompson's, my brothers and also my own sons. I inferred that this consisted in an indifference to public opinion and convention to a degree considered by her as eccentric, but could never obtain specific charges.
- Nathanial Thompson (1695-1763)
The 1695 to 1763 dates are form the burial register of Christ Church, Stepney. Nathaniel Thompson, from Wentworth Street, buried on November 11, 1763, aged 68, which makes him as born between November 12, 1694 and November 10, 1695.
Baptismal records are in St. Leonard’s, Shoreditch of children of Nathaniel and Rebecca.
- 1717 August 14, William
- 1719 December 30, Ambrose
- And at St. Botolphs, Bishopsgate
- 1735 January 4, Esther
- 1739 August 10, NATHANIEL
- 1741 June 7, Elizabeth
- NATHANIEL THOMPSON (1739-1817)
- NATHANIEL THOMPSON, bachelor, and ANN SANDCROFT, spinster, both of this parish, married by banns. F.K. Maxwell, curate. Instead of signature there are two half-inch squares, one containing the words “Nathaniel Thompson, his mark” and the other “Ann Sandcraft, her mark” in each a St. Andrews cross.
No evidence appears of his life except the baptism of his ten children, but he was probably thrifty and was able to give them more schooling than he had himself, and of his sons one only died before 1818 and the next one in that year; in 1821, his eldest son in his will mentioned four as still alive then. Considering the then rate of infant mortality, he did very well. Of his sons, the Philip born in 1776 is probably the one who appears in later directories as in the lighterage business later, and Robert is the one appointed as executor of the will of his elder brother, Nathaniel, and also of Peter Thompson, a wealthy tailor in Soho who died in 1839. Esther is probably the one who made a sampler dated 1786 marked “Esther Thompson, her work” then she would have been eleven years old, which at that time was the age that young girls were encouraged to work on these things. This sampler is in the possession of Herbert Thompson (1906). Son James, who died in 1818, was a timber broker who lived in Islington, next door to his elder brother, Nathaniel.
- A list of his children follows:
- Baptized Age Name Born at
- 1761 December 27 20 days Nathaniel Deacons Court, Quaker St.
- 1795 November 17 10 days Mary Wheeler Street
- 1767 November 22 16 days Ann Fleur De Lies Court
- 1769 October 15 13 days William Flower De Luce Court
- 1771 December 25 7 days John Wheeler Street
- And at St. Dunstan’s Church, Stepney
- 1774 May 15 14 days Philip Mile End New Town
- 1776 April 18 14 days Easter Mile End New Town
- 1780 August 2 18 days Benjamin Mile End New Town
- 1783 April 6 ----- Mile End Old Town
- 1785 April 3 28 days James Mile End Old Town
The eldest son mentioned above had a son Theophilus, who had a son Edmond; he, in turn, had a daughter born in 1878 and still alive in 1964. I was able to contact her a few years ago (as Mrs. Lewis, with a son a High Court Judge) They had a rough sketch and this Nathaniel (1739) was marked in pencil as living to old age and dying probably around 1817, but I was unable to find any records of his death as this was before the national registers had been established, at Somerset House. So the date quoted as 1817 is not authenticated. He was likely a man of good character, honest and thrifty, deriving satisfaction from his family and their success in life; his eldest son becoming the wealthy stockbroker, raising himself a large family equally successful in various professional and philanthropic activities professional and philanthropic activities.
- NATHANIEL THOMPSON (1761-1825)- Eldest Son of Nathaniel (1739)
His father was still living in Stepney as his youngest son was born in Mile End. Old Town, but the eldest son had probably been working for some years and then settled in the City itself as his first son, although we can find no record of his baptism, is mentioned in a biography as having been born in “London”, and his second son, Nathaniel, although baptized in St. Sepulchres, is recorded as born in the parish of St. Mary the Bow, which is on Cheapside, inside the city limits, and the one whose bells were heard by Dick Whittington and anyone born within sound of Bow Bells can claim to be a real Cockney. He had several children baptized at St. Sepulchres at various addresses there. He had likely worked in a financial office and begun to prosper and from 1799 to 1825 appears on the lists of members of the Stock exchange.
- A list of his children is now given:
- Born Baptized Name Parish
- 1785 August 19 Thomas: No record of baptism
- 1787 -- Ann: No record of baptism
- 1788 -- Margaret: No record of baptism
- 1791 (11-16) December 11 Nathaniel St. Mary Le Bow (Baptism at St. Sepulchres}
- 1795 --- William No record of baptism
- 1796(2-22) March 20 James St. Sepulchres
- 1797 (10-12) October 29 Frederic and Elijah St Sepulchres
- 1799(1-13) February 17 Sophia St. Sepulchres
- 1800 (10-16) February 17 Sophia St. Sepulchres
- 1804 (5-21) June 16 James St. Sepulchres (died age 15 months)
- 1805 (5-19) June 11 Henry St. Mary, Islington
- 1807 Sept. 20 Theophilus St. Mary, Islington
- 1814 (3-28) April 13 Emily St Mary, Islington
- 1818(3-16) April 19 Mary St. Mary, Islington
From his will made in 1821, we get some indications of his character. The customary initial words at the time were “In The Name of God, Amen” followed by a leaving his soul to God’s mercy, his body to be buried at some designated place and his worldly goods go the persons nominated in his will. The religious phraseology he had eliminated, possibly his wife had dissuaded him form having his first three children baptized and had been unable to make him leave his own Nathaniel without baptism. All of the girls who were baptized were left till well after the 30-day period, which was enjoined by the Church of England. When he died he was not buried from Islington parish but from St. Mary Le Bow and even then not by the parish clergy but by Mr. T. Shepherd, Minister of St. James, Clerkenwell.
- NATHANIEL THOMPSON (1791-1850) Second Son of Nathaniel (1761-1825)
- William March 9, 1820
- Alfred Robert February 9, 1822
- Jane March 26, 1824
Thompson, House Agent, Crown Court, Aldersgate Street. This may not have been he; it is somewhat out of the district but the absence of initial or Christian name suggests the possibility: he evidently did not wish to display his real name. The 1841 census compelled the giving of this name and we find for Newcastle Place, Borough of Tower Hamlets, Mile End Old Town, and Parish of Stepney:
- Nathaniel Thompson age 35 painter Ind. Middlesex
- Mary “ age 30"
- Mary “ age 8"
- Sarah “age 7"
- Maria “ age 3"
- The 1851 census after his death shows:
- Mary Elizabeth Thompson age 41 born in Shoreditch
- Sarah “17" Stepney
- Margaret “10" Stepney
- Elizabeth Ann “ 7" Stepney
- Benjamin “5" Stepney
- Eliza “ 2" Stepney
We do not know when Nathaniel first lived in Stepney or if he found any uncles still alive: his first child by the second wife was born in 1833, so he was likely married in 183 but no record of the marriage found in Shoreditch or Stepney. As a child I remember seeing her once, taken there by my father and she was in bed, probably her deathbed. She was gentle and I did not shrink from her as being very old; it was about 1833 and she died, I think, in that year and I afterward saw a photograph of her, which showed a fine face. The aunts Mary, Sarah, Maria and Margaret lived to the late 1890’s, all spinsters expect Margaret, who had about 55 years of age married a watchmaker and jeweler from Stansted, Essex. They were married from our house in Manor Park where he left his leather hatbox containing his silk hat. This constituted the evidence of his living in the parish where the banns were called.
- NATHANIEL THOMPSON 1761 (Careers of some of his children)
- THOMAS: 1785 He was the eldest son and because of his philanthropic activities he became a public figure and books were written about his life. The best on is “Thomas Thompson, a treatise on his life and character,” which can be found in the British Museum Reading room, listed under Thomas Thompson in the catalogues. Briefly it shows him to be a bright and independent boy, who made a large fortune in a few years, retired from business, married into the aristocracy, devoted himself to religion and philanthropy, particularly as a lay Congregationalist worker.
- ANN THOMPSON: Born AROUND 1787
- Uncertain because not baptized. When her father made his will in 1821, she was already married to John V. Broughton and he was then already preparing for his retirement from business. She was already a widow in 1855 and died at Cliff House, near Wakefield, in 1856, leaving five children.
- NATHANIEL THOMPSON: 1791 being in the direct line his story has already been given.
- WILLIAM THOMPSON: 1795 third son
- Eliza wife of Rev. Thompson M.A. born 3rd May 1799, died 5th Jan. 1838
- Rev. William Thompson M.A Died April 28, 1843 in his 49th year.
- Edward son of Rev. William Thompson. Died 1844.
- James 1796 He must have died in infancy as the name was used in 1800.
- Frederic Elijah 1797 He became a barrister and died in 1849 as the result of an accident. He fell from his horse while riding, probably while fox hunting. He married a Miss Springhall and named his first son Springhall. The son took up the chase and is reputed to be the hero in a book by Surtees called "Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man" although under a changed name. Frederic Elijah had three daughters; on a spinster; the next known as the Prioress, the Superior of a Church of England religious community; and the other married Reverend T.M. Crocker of Lavenham.
- Sophia- The next of Nathaniel's children; all the news in one item- she married the Reverend Crackett.
- James? 1800- This is the second James and he died January 4, 1802, aged fifteen months and was buried at St. Mary Le Bow. Why there? Father was already living in Islington. P.S. Perhaps the above line is in error and he may still have been in London.
- Edward 1804-1869 His first wife died in 1864 leaving five children. He remarried and after his death his widow remarried the Reverend Valentine Williams.
- Henry 1805 Had four children
- Theophilus 1807 His life is the only one recognized by being included in the Dictionary of National Biography. He became a celebrated surgeon living in Russell Square. He had a son Edmond, to whom a friend SYMES left an estate but with the condition that the name Symes be prefixed to Thompson. Later, seeing an "In Memoriam" notice of a Symes-Thompson, the remnants of these were discovered,two old widows who put me in touch with a daughter of Edmund who had married a Mr. Lewis and now a widow, born in 1878. She is the source of nearly all this family data on these children of the younger generation; the seniors had been found mostly in parish registers.
- There is a life of Theophilus in the British Museum and also a book called "Bridge Building" by one of his sons, the Reverend A.P. Thompson. The other son became a doctor, a very successful one.
- Caroline, Emily, Mary: These born in 1814, 1816, an 1818 are the last three children; the only ones by his second wife; all spinsters an known as the The Colebrook Aunties.
- BENJAMIN THOMPSON (1864-1901) Son of Nathaniel (1791)
Like many of the Thompson's he had a pronounced interest in religion. Of the sects, he seemed to favor the "Primitive Methodists" and sent us to the Sunday School there in Tottenham. It was without ornament or any attempt at beauty, but the congregation were interested and used to discuss the sermon afterward on the pavement outside. I think it was mostly "the bible and the bible only" with, of course, each man his only interpreter.
- On my ninth birthday he gave me a copy of Fox's Book of Martyrs; at the time with the Pilgrim's Progress the only books allowed us for Sunday reading.
- His children were:
- Herbert Harry 1868 October 4 Died 1948
- Emily 1877 July 5 Died 1918
- Edward 1879 July 17 The writer of this story
- Grace Maria 1884 April 17 Died 1929
- Arthur Frederick 1886 October 13 Died 1916
- Willie Benjamin 1890 Died 1928
Emily became a nurse, never married and worked herself to death nursing the wounded in First World War and died in 1918 just before it ended. She was a loyal member of the Church of England.
Grace Maria - 1884 She was a school teacher and around 1910 was engaged to a man in Romford,England who went to New Zealand to prepare a home, arranging for her to follow when all was ready and to marry out there. When on her way she traveled via New York and had arranged to stop there for a month or so with her brother Edward who was living there. She found that he had become a Catholic and so investigated and became one also. Writing this to her future husband, she was surprised to receive a cable from him giving her the choice of renouncing her new religion or breaking the engagement. So she cancelled the reservation for New Zealand and after a few months returned to England and then marred another - the son of a Romford farmer. She had no children and died of cancer.
Arthur Frederick- 1886 School teacher and organist; contracted T.B.; was cured; went to Canada to complete the cure then came down to New York and lived awhile with brother Edward; than marred Beatrice Hewetson; also became a Catholic; and later the T.B. returned and he died in 1915.
Willie Benjamin- The youngest son- He had more brains than any of us, had a B.A. from Clare College, Cambs (or was it Catharines?) Was in the Hawke Battalion in the Gallipoli expedition and contracted Yellow Jaundice; was invalided out; returned to be a headmaster of a technical school; and there was taken with T.B.
- EDWARD THOMPSON (1879- Still alive in 1964) The author of this story- son of Benjamin - 1846
Being born in Stepney in July 1879, always hated the crowed areas and for the first few years never saw the country or sea. Can remember seeing the horse being led by his owner with harness loose and no cart attached, and so hurrying in to mother crying "horse and cart broke to pieces" because I had never seen a horse without a cart and thought they were born together. The bright boy at school but not much physically. At the end of 1893, left Tottenham Grammar School as I did not want to continue for the sake of what was offered in sixth form. Had two good years in Latin, three in French, and one in German, which now seems pretty good for a boy of fourteen. Had first class honors, first division and second in all England in arithmetic in the Junior Cambridge Local exams, and wanted to be out into the world. Answered an advertisement and became a junior in an insurance office. Joined Mudies Library and read two hundred books a year from there plus many others. Result was unlimited faith in the printed word and Socialism and Agnosticism with the desire to teach the rest of the word as much as I knew myself and so benefit them.
Was already booked to go to Paraguay to join a Socialist colony in September 1897 when brother Herbert (who had been in the U.S.A. since 1885) wrote me that he was going to Alaska where gold had just been discovered- would I join him? So the Socialist plan was postponed; I could always go later, possibly with plenty of cash to ease the settling down. By the end of May 1898 when the snow had begun to melt and we had our outfit (2000 pounds of it) sledded and carried over Chilkoot pass and the worst labor over; Herbert was exhausted (he was thirty and I was eighteen) and he was ill and said "I want to die in the States" and left. We had been sleeping in a tent, on the snow, and working hard in moving along in six mile stages and only had to make a boat and drift down the river a few hundred miles to Dawson City. After the other member of the party had also left, I had qualms and plodded back to Skagway and took a steamer for Seattle (one thousand miles), fare five dollars but it was not deluxe. In the state of Washington it was then easy to get an unskilled job at manual labor and I spent all summer in saw mills and logging camps and was much benefited by the outdoor work. It lacked music and literature and intellectual society which I missed and had to consider the future. Planned to go East later and see Herbert in New York; then heard that a railroad rate war then on was to end on Saturday, so I borrowed two dollars from an Australian chum and left the next day for New York; cost 24 dollars instead of the regular 80 dollars.
At Herbert's address when I arrived no one was home, but I could see in the letter box one in his writing post marked Sioux Falls, S.D. So I had to hunt for a job and found one in an insurance office at 25 dollars a month, not much to save on but I waited for Herbert's return which took several weeks. Instead of planning for return to England, I remained because in a few months the office salary had been increased to 40 dollars and it looked like a good chance for promotion. Result: I remained in New York until 1927, ending with an annual salary of five figures. Father died in 1901 and I took a trip over to London. Mother was seriously ill in 1904 and so another visit and I was able to see her before she died a few days after arrival.
That led to my meeting Ruby Alice Side of Hammersmith, Socialist and Agnostic like myself, and we liked each other, so it was Au-Revoir- but not goodbye. Out of a job later in 1904, I decided to take a few months to see Europe before taking another when it might be more difficult to spare the time; so England once more; borrowed a bicycle; rode to Dover, Ostend, across Belgium, Germany, south to Luxemburg, west to Paris, north to Dieppe and then to Romford. Cost next to nothing and saw a lot.
Asked Ruby Alice to come to U.S.A. to marry but to wait for time to get a job and settle. Married and we are looking forward to our diamond wedding in eight months.
Around 1900 I was walking with a friend and he wanted to go for a couple of minutes into a church to collect some music. He was an organist and I asked him to show me the organ, although as a boy I had a few piano lessons, I had never seen an organ keyboard. I tried it and he said "you have the touch, let me have a key made and you, with a little practice, will be able to get the position here when I accept a better place where they want me in Jersey City. So it turned out and when Ruby Alice arrived, we were married there, May 3, 1905. After that I had been an organist there and at other places. This was St. Johns Episcopal Church of Bayonne, N.J. At the time neither of us had any religion but soon the question of conduct and ethics began to arise. She liked to use an expression "I myself am the center of the universe" and apart from this giving, to my Euclidian mind, too many centers. It certainly gave no guidance in conduct and morals. The ethical societies which I had attended talked of everything but ethics and none of the codes seemed valid except they came from some form of religion and a man could choose which religion he liked; i.e. a man who liked wine would not choose Mohammedans but leave it to those who preferred women. All religions were based on the existence of God whose existence to me was unbelievable. Sermons I occasionally listened to in church did not impress, they were usually too much exhortation; but the Vicar considered himself a Catholic because he used their ritual and music occasionally referred to the beliefs of the Middle Ages. It was the first time I had ever heard the Reformation referred to without respect.
Now comes the curious sequence. In 1907 I was in Philadelphia on a business trip and found it necessary to remain there until the next day. The hotels were all crowded because of an Elks convention, but I remembered the address where I would surely be invited to spend the evening and night. They were out when I called but expected back later, and I had an hour or so to fritter away. Crossing a bridge, I saw and heard a blind negro playing a violin and playing it very well. He was begging, but I passed him, my Socialist principles were not to give because it alleviated the distress of the capitalistic system and so delayed the social revolution. Somehow or someway I yielded and returned to give him a dime. A mental conflict at once arose: Intellectual conviction had surrendered to human sympathy and I felt like a split personality but with a feeling that right had won, although I felt it almost a case of outside interference.
In Philadelphia it seemed advisable to do more reading and this was done for months: Result, none of the others had any center, one was as good as another sort of thing, private judgement the key. One day I came across Macauley's essays. As a Protestant he had written a review of Ranke's History of the Popes and had stressed its remarkable survival over four periods but could give no explanation of it; during its life, kingdoms and dynasties had come and gone and it had outlived them all and seemed most likely to continue. I thought of additional reasons why its survival seemed so inexplicable- the Pope appoints the Cardinals and the Cardinals elect the Pope. What human society could survive under such a system? To accept a thing because you can not explain it seems unreasonable, and I was still tied to reason but the Church explains it by saying that an organization of Divine origin cannot be destroyed and this makes sense as also it is not an organization but an organism.
Time was running without decision, but in 1909 Ruby wanted to see her parents and I arranged a six months holiday for her with the two children to stay in London and resolved to decide in that time. So at last it came "to refrain is the equivalent to refusal" and so somehow I believed God because I believed in the Church, which is perhaps not so bad as it sounds, and I believe lots of material things because of my belief in the people who tell me them. I have never had a single doubt since.
When Ruby returned, five more boys were born and made it necessary to earn more. This was achieved by seeking new positions when salary was not increased sufficiently; the increased expense caused demands for increased salary which were usually met.
The mental strain was being felt and in 1927 I decided to return to live in frugal comfort, leaving about ten acres of land ripe for building development. This was delayed by the financial slump and I could not keep sending money for the rates. (Land is ratable in the U.S.A. even if unoccupied) and so returned to work and accumulate a new estate and retired in 1957.
This is probably an egotistical story but does not have to be read, although I wish my father had written his.
The sons were and are:
- EDWARD AUGUSTINE THOMPSON 1906
- HAROLD FRANCIS 1908
- JOHN HENRY 1910
- STEPHEN GIRARD 1912
- CHARLES HILARY 1914
- ALFRED CUTHBERT 1919
- ARTHUR FREDERICK 1919 TWINS
PETER THOMPSON (1765-1839) Son of Edward Thompson (1737-1818)
No record has been found of his baptism, but as his age was stated as 73 3/4 (the only time such a fraction has been quoted on a death certificate), if this age was correct he was born around April 1765.
The first record found is of his having his children baptized at St. Anne's Church, Soho, where he had a large tailoring business. He most likely had army contracts for officers' uniforms for the wars with France and is described in current dictionaries as "tailors" and "army clothiers" and "military tailors." He lived at 12 First Street, Soho.
His children were:
Peter- January 24, 1786 St. Anne's Soho
Henry Edward- No Record Died at St. Paul's, Covent GArden, July 31, 1788
Mary Ann Rigden- February 17, 1788 St. Paul's Covent Garden
Elizabeth- August 6, 1789 St. Paul's Covent Garden
Mary Ann- August 11, 1792 St. Anne's, Soho
Francis- October 5, 1790 St. Anne's, Soho Died St. Paul's May 1, 1793
Grizelle Ann Rachel- April 17, 1994
All of these by his first wife, Elizabeth, and the ones below by his second wife, Nanny.
Nanny No record of birth Died Apil 26, 1806, Covent Garden
Edward May 18, 1806 Died Covent Garden November 1806
Ann January 10, 1808 St. Anne's Soho
The St. Anne's and St. Paul's are the churches where they were baptized and do not indicate that any of them were born away from his home; the churches are very close together and I think sometimes that St. Anne's was temporarily closed or the parson not available. All the burials were at Covent Garden.
From the number of his children who died before they were three years old, it seems that he was not as successful in combating high mortality rate of his period as Nathaniel (1761) had been or that the parents were not as efficient in caring for the health of their children or that Soho was not as healthy a place for children.
There is, however, one curious feature in the fact that Peter was apparently desirous of appearing to claim as old as possible by claiming the fraction 3/4 years on his age.
One explanation could be that possibly he was a few years younger than 21 when he married and to avoid the necessity of obtaining the consent of unwilling parents he might have obtained a Bishops License, easily secured if he had alleged on the application that he was 21 and could then marry in any church in the London diocese without any publicity and married in some small parish away from his residence.
He called his first daughter Mary Ann Rigden and people frequently gave the maiden name of their mother as Christian mane of their children in the same way that Herbert Thompson (1868) called his son Herbert Lampard Thompson-- Lampard being his mother's maiden name.
Now Peter's father was Edward, as was shown in the will of the latter, and an Edward Thompson married a Mary Ann Rigden on May 7, 1766 at St. Paul's, Covent Garden (adjoining Soho) and could easily had a son by February 1767. We do not know the name of Peter's mother, but suspect it to be Mary Rigden from the fact that Peter used this name for his eldest daughter. Also, there are records of a Rigden family in Mile End New Town, near Stepney, in 1720-- a weaver. In 1730, a Richard Rigden had a daughter baptized at St. George's, Stepney, and in 1815, a Richard Rigden died in Islington, aged 55, therefor born in 1760. If this really was the father of Peter, it could explain that Peter was not born until 1767, was under 21 when he married, but wished to add a couple of years to his age.
After the marriage of his eldest son, Peter, who became a partner in the firm of Peter Thompson and son, he moved to Enfield and lived on a main country road where each house had a few acres of lawn and garden and even as late at 1950 was lived in by prosperous families and must have been a delightful place if one kept horses and carriages, with plenty of servants. There is still a quaint terrace nearby called "Gentleman's Row." We do not know when he moved as the library in Islington only has the rate sheets back to 1860.
He must have been a person of importance. In the Gentleman's magazine he is referred to as "Esquire" or "Gentleman" and the deaths of himself and also his widow are mentioned as news.
Two years before his death he made his will which included many items of real estate and in different towns and counties. They were usually business buildings-- in Croydon, London, Greenwich, Watford, etc.. a small cottage in Malham, Yorks which he left to his son, the Reverend Edward and who, in turn, left it to his sister. One important item was a 65 acre tenanted farm in Keyworth, Notts, the title to which carried the advowson of the parish church of Keyworth that is the right to appoint the successor of any rector there who had died, resigned, or created a vacancy. To this parish, the son, Reverend Edward, became rector in 1834, two years after he had obtained his B.A. and before his M.A. One item of 15,000 pounds was left in trust, income apportioned between some of the heirs and the capitol then to go to sons or widow.
His executors were sons Peter and Edward and a Robert, who was probably the brother of Nathaniel.(1761)
His first wife died after the birth of Grizelle Ann in 1794, and he must have married Nanny inside of ten years as his next daughter Nanny died April 26, 1806. His widow Nanny ceases to appear in the Enfield directory of 1840. She made a will in Hampstead in 1851 but died at Crockham Hall, Edenbridge, Kent at the age of 86 on March 1, 1856, surviving him by 15 years.
The will also included his library, paintings, works of art, and his horses and carriages. There is no evidence found on his character. He may have been interested in art--an item of historical interest was found by him in Enfield and he gave it to a London museum.
The cause of death stated on his death certificate reads "Gout of the Heart"--not an indication of frugal living.
- REVEREND EDWARD THOMPSON (1810-1860) Son of Peter (1765)
The wedding differed from the usual in several ways-- none of the family were present, the ceremony was not performed by any of the parish clergy but by the Reverend William Thompson, M.A. as officiating minister (son of Nathaniel 1761). The only Thompson was Sophia, the sister of William. No details of age, residence, names of parents, their rank or occupation were given in the register. It was made by Bishops License, which obviated the necessity of "calling the banns" and on the allegation necessary for obtaining this license the question of age had been answered "of full age." This application was signed by the Reverend William.
He occupied the house at Barnsbury Terrace for some years and appears there on the 1841 census as independent with his wife and children:
A daughter 1842 announced in Gentleman's Magazine born at Mymms Park
A daughter June 1844 announced in Gentleman's Magazine born at Mymms Park
Then later by his second wife (Mary died in 1849)
Janny Gwalter 1852 Baptized October 18
George Cooley 1854 Baptized April 5
A daughter 1855 Born in Harley Street. Announced in Gentleman's Magazine.
There is a marble plaque on the south transept wall of All Saints Church reading "sacred to the memory of Mary Ann Thompson wife of Reverend Edward Thompson, Vicar of this parish. Died March 1849, age 34." A little mental arithmetic shows that married in 1827 she married young, and that we remember that her husband according to Cantabridgiensis Alumni was admitted to Clare College immediately the marriage. The following data help in following his career:
1830 Degree B.A.
1833 Minor Orders. Deacon
1834 Holy Orders. Priest.
1834 to 1840 Rector of Keyworth, Notts
1835 Degree M.A.
1840 to 1845 Minister of Charlotte Chapel, Pimlico
1845 to 1840 Vicar, All Saints, St John's Wood
1847 Degree D.D.
1849 Wife Mary died
1850 Vicar, Kingston, Herefordshire (until he died)
1851 Married Jane Gwalter (under 21)
His first clerical position was at Keyworth, although the Cambs. record has him being at Aspasia a year or so earlier, and that was before he was ordained. The careers of their graduates made much later are not always reliable as they are apt to confuse those of one with similar name. On the other hand, the Reverend William himself had served in that territory, Aspasia being in Cumberland or Westmorland. When he left Keyworth, his father had already died and he was the owner of the advowson to his own parish.
He became minister of the Charlotte Chapel, Pimlico which may have been the place which Thackeray was ridiculing in the Newcombes describing the Reverend Honeybun in conversation with the owner of the premises (a shop and warehouse used for church purposes) and referring to the Sunday offerings as "receipts from the Box Office."Charlotte Chapel was named by Lady Charlotte, one of the feminine patrons so useful to Thomas (1785). While there he must have heard of plans for the new parish of St. John's Wood, and he took an active part in the erection of the building and had dealings with some presented by a Peter Thompson, who was no relative but an enterprising adventurer who died years later in extreme poverty.
As soon as the church was opened, he had a vicarage built for his family and moved from Barnsbury Terrace. In 1946 the parish issued a centenary number of their parish magazine, a copy of which I was able to obtain. Surprise was expressed at the expensive staff required even when they were in the first temporary building, and it was only used on Sunday. As soon as the place was completed, the Reverend Edward engaged two curates and appointed churchwardens and the General Particulars Book contains reference to his sarcastic remarks when any of them were late or absent.
He appears to have been industrious, he was for many years editor of the Church of England Quarterly. The catalogue of the reading room of the British Museum shows 22 volumes written by him, including one on "Errors of the Church of Rome." His writings were clear and intelligible but were mostly sermons.
In the Act Books of the Archbishop of Canterbury, there is a reference to charges being made against him by parishioners of conduct unbecoming to a clergyman, "in that for two years he had harbored in the vicarage on Harriet Sophia Augustine Maria Binckes, being then and having theretofore been a notoriously lewd and unchaste woman." Hearings before the Bishop of Hereford decided that there was a prima facie case and later it was referred to Canterbury. The issue ending in 1859 of the Acts (page 370) shows only notices of hearings and committees and apparently the case was dropped. Some record is in the County Library at Maidstone and some at Lambeth Palace Library. Guilty or Not Guilty? Who knows. The two years would have included a period containing his early residence there, this courtship of his second wife, his marriage some months thereafter. It seem incredible to think a D.D. in a new parish would carry on like that, and easier to think that he treated the affair with disdain, but-- his first marriage was a queerly arranged affair suggesting a shrinking from publicity and there was a reluctance to publish true ages. I have given the record because there the matter ends.
A difficult character to sum up. His picture which gave rise to this family story (although it transpires that he was no relation) shows him as quite naturally dignified, judicial and recollected and his writings likewise.
Two years before he died he built another vicarage, there is a stone there inscribed "laid by Jane, wife of the Reverend Edward Thompson, April 22, 1858."
He provided for his widow and also for the three daughters by his first wife and the little house in Yorkshire which his father gave him and he left to his sister Ann.
THE THOMPSON FAMILY FALSE CLUES
For the benefit of any doing research further back , a few Nathaniel's are listed here who appeared to be possible ancestors but must be disregarded.
Nathaniel Thompson D.C.L. born in 1682 was a son of William Thompson who was a "paynter and stayner" and when he died in 1710 was doing work in St. Paul's Cathedral. He had sent his son to Pembroke College, St. John's, Oxford where he received D.C.L. which he wrote as L.L.D." At one and the same time he had three livings-- Radley, Berks., Sunningwell, Berks., and also Duns Tew, Oxford, Co. He married in 1731 and died in 1746.
This man appeared to qualify for our Stepney ancestry because he received under his father's will two houses in Stepney, one on Stewart Street and one on the old artillery grounds. Both of these very close to the houses where Nathaniel brought up his family (i.e. Nathaniel 1739). I had to visit the parishes there before deciding that he was surely not the one.
Nathaniel Thompson, married Jane in February 1708 at Trinity, Minories. He was a mariner and died a few years later and has nothing in connection with our line.
One other Nathaniel was a member of the Dyers Guild, was married in 1766 and had sons William, 1769, Nathaniel, 1776; Nathaniel 1779. He died in 1798 and these sons were already dead.
THE THOMPSON'S-Ultimate Reflections
This inquiry was largely influenced by the remark "you are just like the rest of the Thompson's."It seemed strange that there could be any unusual similarity, seeing that we had been so split up, living away from home so much. It did not seem likely that heredity could affect us much as the resemblance was not to physical features, but rather to the mental and moral, which I always thought were matters of choice and free will, except for a few things like the hopeful or sanguine temperamental depending somewhat on the bloodstream.
A few features appeared somewhat frequently, which after all may be largely coincidence:
Firstly: the preponderance of male children in the Thompson's
Nathaniel (1739) had seven boys and three girls
Nathaniel (1761) had nine boys and six girls
Nathaniel (1791) had four boys and eight girls
Benjamin (1846) had four boys and two girls
Edward (1879) had seven boys and no girls
Edward (1806) had three boys and no girls
Making a total of 34 against 19. If we exclude the "black sheep", the result would be 30 against 11, and I think the grandchildren are predominantly males.
Secondly: the large percentage of spinsters among the daughters; of Nathaniel's six girls, the last three never married and were known as "The Colebrook Auntie's." Benjamin's two daughters - one never married; Of Nathaniel's (1791) girls, only two married.
Thirdly: None of the male Thompson's died as widowers; if the wife died first, they remarried-- Nathaniel (1761), Nathaniel (1791), Thomas (1785), Herbert Harry (1868), Peter (1765) and Reverend Edward (1811).
Fourthly: their last child was usually born when the father was well over forty: Nathaniel (1739) was 46; Nathaniel (1761) was 55 when his last daughter arrived and 5 years later when he made his will he provided for any children yet to be born; Nathaniel (1791) was 58 when his youngest was born; Benjamin (1846) was 44; and Harold (1908) over 50.
Another feature is that the men seem to carry their years lightly and to appear younger than they really are. This of course, cannot be proved, but seems to be the current opinion.
The above are physical characteristics: the mental ones are hard to define even if they are actually there. To me, most seemed to be perhaps justly called eccentric, that is, away from the regular conventional type. They do not so much oppose the majority but refrain from accepting it merely because it is a majority: i.e. to be sceptical rather than credulous, and perhaps through pride refraining from bothering much about public opinion and not anxious to dress well. One of the next generation once took off his shoes on Fifth Avenue because they were annoying him on a very hot day. When the Bishop of London criticized the Reverend William (1795) for not living in his parish, the Reverend William said, 'I am not dependent on the Church of England for my livelihood, and if I cannot do as I please I will resign and join the Dissenters." Not very loyal or even courteous but certainly not overanxious to please.
Another feature seems that so many of them changed their residence so frequently. Nathaniel (1739), a poor weaver, had several addresses when his children were born and son Nathaniel (1761) also from Stepney to St. Mary Le Bow then St. Sepulchres, several addresses when in that parish, and finally to Islington. His son Nathaniel was at two places in Islington and when he reappeared in Stepney had several different addresses. His son Benjamin moved frequently, as also his son Edward (1879). Thomas (1785), the philanthropist, was frequently moving, and lived in at least 10 different towns. Whether this is due to a disposition restless and enterprising, who can tell?
And to add to the difficulty , we must reckon with coincidence.