What happened to Thomas Nagington?


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There’s a family story about my husband’s great grandfather, Thomas Nagington, that says he went into a ‘religious mania’ and committed suicide about 1912. His ‘widow’ then farmed out her children to various relatives and went into service.

The research I’ve done on this family hasn’t yet proved the story but it’s certainly raised more questions.

Thomas Nagington was born abt 1879 at Stoke Heath, Shropshire, England to parents Henry and Emma (nee Reece) Nagington. He is listed with them on the 1881 England census (living in Drayton in Hales), on the 1891 England census (living in Bearstone) and on the 1901 England census (living in Sambrook). Thomas’ father Henry was an agricultural laborer, moving to wherever he could find work.

On 27 May 1905, Thomas Nagington married Fanny Thacker at All Saints Church in Tibberton.

Nagington Thacker marriage

Thomas and Fanny appear with their four children on the 1911 England census.

1911 England census

Thomas is noted as being employed as a ‘shepherd on farm’. The Nagington family address is noted as ‘Dodecote, Child Ercall, Market Drayton, Shropshire’.

The youngest Nagington child, James Peter, died at Lockley Wood, Hinstock, Market Drayton from whooping cough 17 Feb 1913. His mother, Fanny, was the informant for her son’s death and ‘Thomas Nagington, general farm labourer’ is noted as James’ father.

James Peter Nagington death cert

Following young James Nagington’s death, the paper trail for his father goes cold. I’ve been unable to find a burial record or death index for Thomas Nagington in the time period noted by his descendants. We do know, however, that Thomas’ ‘widow’, Fanny Thacker Nagington, gave birth to an illegitimate child in 1916.

Syd Nagington birth

Sydney Nagington was born at 4 The Common Edge, Market Drayton, U.W. The ‘U.W.’ is short for Union Workhouse. A description of this workhouse can be found online.

Marriage details have been found for Thomas and Fanny’s three oldest children and I was able to find death & probate details for Fanny Thacker Nagington. She died 8 Jan 1954 at Childs Ercall, Market Drayton, Shropshire. Her daughter, Gladys Millicent Nagington Pugh, was appointed administrator of her estate.

But what became of Thomas Nagington? I have recently found death information for a Thomas Nagington in 1947.

Thomas Nagington death

Is this my husband’s great grandfather? There’s not enough information on the death certificate (i.e. no parents’ names) to be sure. Is it possible that Thomas abandoned his family, gave up being an agricultural labourer and became a steel works locomotive driver? Who is the S. Nagington mentioned as a surviving wife on this death certificate?

Interestingly, administration of this Thomas Nagington’s estate wasn’t granted until 12 years after his death.

Thomas Nagington estate d 13 Feb 1947

probate date 1 Jun 1959

No one in my husband’s family knows the woman named in the above probate or her husband. The search for answers about Thomas Nagington continues.


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