Three Weddings and Two Funerals

Over the next few weeks I will focus on a family of Tickles who lived in the Manchester area of Lancashire. A member of this family, Peter Tickle, emigrated to Australia in the 19th century. One of Peter’s descendants has done a lot of research into her ancestors and her input has been very helpful.

The image at the top of the post is of the interior of Manchester Cathedral, where several Tickle baptisms and marriages took place.

Wedding No.1

My starting point is the marriage of Peter Tickle and Eliza Pierson on 20 October 1850. The original entry in the marriage certificate is available online through Ancestry but the quality is poor. I’ve made a reproduction of the entry below.

From the entry we can see that the couple were both 23 years old, making their birth year around 1827. Peter’s father was Thomas Tickle, a glass-cutter and Eliza’s father was William Pierson, a servant.

I’ve been unable to find a baptism record for Peter so far but his descendant has an entry from a family bible giving his date of birth as 29 October 1827 and that of Eliza as 1 March 1827. An Eliza Pearson, father, William Pearson, mother, Mary, was baptised on 21 Dec 1828 at Manchester Cathedral, St Mary, St Denys and St George. This might be our Eliza.

In the 1851 census, Peter and Eliza are to be found living in Milton Street, Manchester. Peter’s occupation is listed as a joiner, and Eliza is a silk winder.

Silk Mills and Winding

Manchester was a major centre of the textile industry. It’s particularly known for its cotton mills, but also had silk mills. These were smaller than the cotton mills and had better working conditions. The temperature was cooler, they had a purer atmosphere, and the machinery was quieter. As a teenager I remember meeting old people who had worked in the Lancashire cotton mills all their lives and they were usually quite deaf – caused by years of exposure to clattering machinery.

The silk mills mainly employed young women and children. Silk winders, such as Eliza, wound the silk from the silkworm cocoons onto bobbins, making it easier to handle. The winding operation was driven by steam power and the bobbins and wheels were arranged on long frames. A female winder, usually with a child assistant, looked after the frames, replacing the bobbins when they were full and piecing together any fibres that might break.

Although their pay was not high, silk winders benefitted from regular employment. In 1850 all mill employees worked a 10 hour day and a 6 day week.

Peter and Eliza’s Children

Peter and Eliza had 5 children, The four oldest were baptised in Manchester Cathedral. Their oldest son was named Thomas. It was a common custom in England to call the first son after the father’s father. (this is still the custom in many countries). In 1858, when Mary Emily was born, the family was living at 19 Bradford Street.

  1. Elizabeth, born October 4 1851
  2. Eliza Ann, born March 9, 1853
  3. Thomas born September 13, 1854
  4. John, born July 7 1856
  5. Mary Emily, born 15 July 1858

The Funerals

Mary Emily Tickle, the youngest child, was baptised at St Jude, Ancoats on 15 July but died in infancy. The Ardwick Cemetery records show a burial for Mary Tickle 12 days later, on 27 July 1858. Her mother, Eliza, died four months later, on 9 November 1858, at the age of 32. In the 19th century almost a quarter of all babies died before their first birthday and one in 200 pregnancies ended in the death of the mother. There were also epidemics of tuberculosis and other diseases, which may have been responsible for the deaths.

Like her baby daughter, Eliza Tickle was buried in Ardwick Cemetery. This cemetery is no longer there, as it was converted into sports fields in the 1960s. 

Wedding No.2 

Peter Tickle was left a widower with four children, between 2 and 7 years old. Six months after losing his first wife he remarried. His second wife, Mary Hughes (née Clough), was also widowed. This time the online image is clearer and is shown below. The marriage took place on 28 May 1859 in the parish church in Prestwich. On the certificate, Mary Hughes is shown as living in Manchester but Peter is shown as living in Prestwich. Throughout his life, Peter appears to have been peripatetic. He possibly worked on different sites and went to live near where he was working.

Mary had two children from her previous marriage, William and Ellen Hughes. The 1861 UK census shows Peter and Mary Tickle living at 11 Bradford Street with Peter’s children, Eliza, Thomas and John, Mary’s children, William and Ellen Hughes, and Peter and Mary’s 2-month old son, Peter. There is also a house servant, Elizabeth Johnson.

The witnesses at Peter’s second wedding were his older sister, Ann, and her husband, William Ainley. I’ve added their marriage as number 3, although it actually took place twenty years earlier.

Wedding No.3

Ann Tickle was eight years older than her brother, Peter. She married William Ainley in Manchester Cathedral on 21 Jul 1839. The marriage entry is shown below. William Ainley’s address is 1 Bradford Road; he was possibly a neighbour of the Tickles.

It’s interesting to note that, in all these cases, the grooms were able to sign their name but the brides ‘made their mark’ with a cross as none could write.

I was initially surprised to find ordinary working folk being married in a cathedral, but my research turned up the fact that, prior to 1850, a ceremony at one of the chapels elsewhere in Manchester was liable to a double fee – one to the chapel, and one to the mother or collegiate church at the centre of the town. At the time of Ann’s wedding, the church was known as St Mary, St Denys and St George; it did not become a Cathedral until 1847. I believe the place shown on the certificate is an abbreviation for ‘the collegiate church’.

In the 1861 census, Peter’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, can be found living with her Aunt Ann and Uncle William at 152 Bradford Road.  Also in the household was John Tickle, Peter and Ann’s younger brother. Like Peter, he was a joiner.

I’ll write more about the family and attempts to identify their ancestors in my next post. If you believe you are descended from any of these Tickles do please get in touch with me and / or leave a comment below.

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