Thomas Goode Messenger was born in 1828, at Ratcliffe on the Wreake, Leicestershire, to parents Thomas Messenger (1796-1832) and Ann Goode (1803-1889) and baptised in St. Botolph’s Church, on 18th May 1828. It is likely that he was born in Cliff or Cliffe House, later known as The Priory and then Priory Farm. Today (2017), the Priory Farm complex now consists of four residential dwellings, Priory House, Priory Farm, The Byre and Priory Lea.
The current Grade II listed 3-storey ex-farmhouse, lies to the south of the main village, off Broome Lane. The listing describes the house as being of “red brick with granite rubble stone plinth and pantile front roof, Swithland slate rear roof, with brick ridge and end stacks”. It dates from 1707, with 19th century, and later alterations and additions. When offered for a sale in 2012 for around £750,000, it was described as having five bedrooms, a vaulted cellar, and grounds extending to 1.5 acres. The accompanying farm buildings that appear contemporary included several barns, stables etc., have been converted into residential accommodation.
Thomas Messenger long association with Loughborough appears to have been more of one of happenstance than one of design. None of his closest family made their home in Loughborough, which is somewhat surprising given the comparative prosperity that he obtained, relatively early in life. This may have been compounded by his brother, Michael, emigrating to Australia and the death of his sister, Mary Ann, which both happened whilst he was still building up his numerous businesses.