Thomas Messenger’s mother, Ann Goode (1803-1899), was born in 1803 and baptised on 31st October in Earl Shilton, Leicestershire. Her parents Thomas Goode, a carpenter[1] and Mary Swingler married at Houghton on the Hill on 29th July 1792. Thomas and Mary had at least one other child, Elizabeth Hobill (1805-1884), born on 30th October 1805 and baptised in Earl Shilton on 22nd June 1806.

His father, Thomas Messenger senior, was born in 1796, probably in Sapcote, Leicestershire and was baptised at All Saints Church, Sapcote on 12th June 1796. His parents, Michael (about 1766-1838) and Ann Riley (?) had at least three other children, Michael (1799-), James (1801-1886) and Ann (1803-1838); both Michael and James were baptised at All Saints Church, Sapcote. It appears that the family moved from Sapcote to farm at Gaddesby, Leicestershire, around 1816; because Michael’s son James in a dispute regarding the diversion of a highway in 1864[2] stated he had resided in the parish (Gaddesby) for forty-eight years. In January 1828 a farm, of 120 acres known as Gaddesby Lodge, was conveyed from John Edward King and others to a Michael Messenger[3], presumably Michael Messenger senior, Thomas Goode Messenger’s paternal grandfather. Their daughter Ann died aged 36 in Gaddesby on 1st December 1838[4], followed three weeks later on 21st December by her father, then aged 72[5].

Thomas Messenger senior and Ann Goode married at Earl Shilton on 28th September 1825[6], witnessed by James Messenger (Thomas senior’s brother) and Elizabeth Goode (Ann’s sister). At the time of his marriage, Thomas Messenger seniors’ family home was in Gaddesby[7] but he appears to have been working in Earl Shilton, possibly as a carpenter.

Thomas and Ann had two other children, beside Thomas junior, Mary Ann (1826-1867) and Michael (1830-1869). At the time of Mary Ann’s birth in 1826, Thomas and Ann were living in Sapcote, where Thomas was a butcher[8]. The family moved to Ratcliffe on the Wreake sometime between 1826 and 1828, when Thomas junior was born. Thomas senior also changed occupations from butcher to farmer, most likely as part of the move. The family were still living in Ratcliffe on the Wreake when Thomas, senior died on 13th November 1832, aged 36[9]. His funeral was held three days later[10] at the parish church and he was buried in the churchyard. In his will[11] he left his belongings to his wife Ann, his brother, James Messenger, a farmer at Gaddesby Lodge and Joseph Gains, his brother-in-law; all three were also appointed executors. Thomas senior also left his three children one hundred pounds each payable individually on reaching the age of twenty-one.



  1. Chapel End Meeting House, Hartshill – Baptism Records.
  2. The Leicester Chronicle or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser, 9th April 1864.
  3. Leicestershire Record Office Ref: 44’28/836
  4. The Leicester Chronicle, 29th December 1838.
  5. The Leicester Chronicle, 29th December 1838.
  6. The Leicester Chronicle on 8th October 1825, mistakenly recorded their marriage as 23th (sic) September.
  7. Marriage Records.
  8. Chapel End Meeting House, Hartshill – Baptism Records.
  9. Grave stone in churchyard.
  10. Parish Records
  11. Leicestershire Record Office.