John Joseph Tickle, Freemason

While researching the descendants of William Tickle and Mary Ashall, who were featured in an earlier post, I came across the rather distinguished gentleman in the image above, who was one of their grandsons. His name was John Joseph Tickle and this post tells something of him and his family line..

James Tickle & Family

John Joseph’s father, James, was one of the glassmakers in my last post. James married Alice Hill in 1845 and they had 9 children that I know of. John Joseph was their second son.

Children of James Tickle and Alice Hill
Children of James Tickle and Alice Hill

John Joseph’s Early Life

I don’t have John Joseph’s birth date but he was baptised on 5 November 1848 at St Thomas’s Church, Eccleston. The 1841 and 1851 censuses show him with his parents and siblings living in Liverpool Road, Eccleston. In 1851 they were at 68 No.2 Court and Henry, James’s brother, and his family lived in the same court. You’ll find Liverpool Road on the map below. It was very close to Pilkingtons, where James and Henry possibly worked.

St. Helens c.1850

St Helens was a town formed during the industrial revolution. This led to rapid urbanisation and a lot of poor-quality housing, which I’ll probably cover in a later post. As skilled glassmakers, James and his brother, Henry, would have been in steady employment earning relatively high wages, but their famillies may still have been obliged to live in poor conditions.

Adult Life & Occupation

At the time of the 1871 census, John Joseph was 23 years old. We find him in Appleton, near Runcorn, Cheshire, where he is listed as a visitor in the house of John Knowles. At the same address, also listed as a visitor, is 24-year old Emma Ford, his future wife.. John Joseph’s older brother, William, married Elizabeth Ford on Christmas Day 1870. Emma was Elizabeth’s younger sister, born in Appleton, and a witness at her wedding. Just over a year later, on 12 February 1872, she and John Joseph tied the knot in Eccleston. There are two young men also called Ford working as farm servants, but I’ve been unable to establish if they were related to Emma in any way.

John Joseph didn’t follow either his father or grandfather’s occupation. Censuses and other records record that he was a land and mine surveyor and then became a mining engineer, a profession he followed for the rest of his life.

The profession of mining engineer came into being in the 19th century. From the time of the industrial revolution, mining involved complex machinery. All mines contain water, which must be pumped out. They also require ventilation to provide fresh air to the miners. Mining engineers were important to keep the equipment working, to ensure the health and safety of the miners. If the drainage or pumping system broke down, the mine could flood. The ventilating furnace could ignite timbers deep in the mine, leading to a fire that could consume the mine’s entire oxygen supply and suffocate the miners.


John Joseph Tickle was a Freemason and, in the photograph that heads this post (reproduced with thanks to his great great grand-daughter), he is shown in the regalia of Provincial Grand Master.

Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest charitable organisations. Membership is open to any man over 21 who can afford the modest cost of membership and who shares the organisation’s values. Members come from all walks of life and meet as equals whatever their race, religion or socio-economic position in society. Today there are 6 million Freemasons worldwide, including 250,000 in England and Wales, belonging to 8,000 lodges.

John Joseph Tickle was a member of the St Helen’s Lodge of Loyalty, which held its first meeting on 9 December 1861. He was initiated on 25 Nov 1879, when he was 31 years old, and remained a member until his death in 1916. As a member ascends through the ranks of Freemasonry, they go through 33 ‘degrees’, each of which has a medal, known as a jewel. John Joseph had a number of jewels, marking his career in the Freemasons. To become a Provincial Grand Master, he would first have progressed through the degrees and would then have been appointed by the Grand Lodge..

I have identified five children of John Joseph and Emma, shown above and will do more research on them. His died on 15 September 1916, leaving £628 0s 6d to his widow, Emma. (about £38,000 in today’s value).

Probate Notice

I’ve applied for a copy of John Joseph’s will, and I’ll continue the story of his descendants at a later date.

4 thoughts on “John Joseph Tickle, Freemason”

  1. It’ll be interesting to see the contents of my great great grandfather’s will – my dad is also interested.

    From what I can see, the kids of William Tickle didn’t move too far away from where they were born. William Tickle‘s ancestors & their descendants went further afield by crossing the Mersey and living in Cheshire.

  2. Hi Melody,
    Thanks for discovering all the extra info on my great great grandfather, John Joseph Tickle.
    It appears that several of the family were all Freemasons so I’m assuming that their connections helped their application/nominations to this exclusive “club”.
    As to the question you raised about the two servants named Ford in the 1871 Census data at Appleton, I do not believe they were related to my great great grandmother, Emma Tickle (nee Ford) as I have found no connections to Ireland in that branch of the family tree.

    1. Thanks Heather. Yes, I think you are correct and it was just co-incidence that the servants were also called Ford. I only checked Emma’s closest relatives but couldn’t see a connection.

      I’m going to write about where various Tickles lived in St Helens soon, so that may also be of interest to you, and I’ll let you know if anything interesting comes up in John Joseph’s will but there is quite a long delay in getting these at present.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enjoy this website? Please spread the word :)