Research: Thomas Beacock

My 3x great grandfather Thomas Beacock was born on 3rd February 1841 in the Melton Ross area of Lincolnshire, England. He was the illegitimate son of Sarah Beacock. I previously did not know who Thomas’ father was, but I now have more of an idea. My theory will be discussed later in the post. Thomas took on the Beacock name, from his mother Sarah, as it was her maiden name.

I could not seem to find a baptism record for Thomas, which is strange. One possibility of why the record is missing could be because of a mistranscribed record. It could also be because he was an illegitimate child, but that seems unlikely, as the Church had to treat ALL children who were brought to be baptised, equally.

In 1841, Thomas was just 3 months old and was living with his grandparents John and Sarah Beacock, his mother Sarah and his auntie Diana in Barnetby Le Wold in Lincolnshire.

In 1851 Thomas was 10 years old and was living in Winterton, Lincolnshire with his mother Sarah. He was recorded as a scholar.

In 1861, 19-year-old Thomas was living in Winteringham, Lincolnshire, with his mother, his step-father Gilbert Burton Handson, 4 of his half-siblings, 2 of his step-cousins and a servant by the name of Leitita Carline. Leitita was actually the 2nd cousin of Thomas. The term “son-in-law” was used in order to describe the relationship between Thomas and his stepfather Gilbert. In those days, the term was used to describe a stepson. Thomas was recorded as being a butcher, which was an occupation shared by his stepfather.

Thomas was the first ancestor of my Beacock direct line that brought the family over to Hull from Lincolnshire. He would have moved to Hull somewhere between 1861 and 1868, as he was living in Winteringham in 1861, and married in 1868 in Hull. I have found no evidence to prove why Thomas moved to Hull, but it could have been to find work or purely to marry.

On 17th April 1863, Thomas, who would have been 22 years old at the time, featured in the Stamford Mercury newspaper with his stepfather, Gilbert Burton Handson. In the newspaper clipping (which can be seen below) Thomas is referred to as “Thos. Lovett Beacock, the son-in-law of…”. The term “son-in-law” has been used again to describe the relationship between Thomas and Gilbert. “Thos.” is an abbreviation for Thomas. This clipping is the first source that suggests who the real father of Thomas was – a man with the surname Lovett or Lovitt.

thomas to send

There are a few possible ‘suspects’ to who the father of Thomas is. As I previously stated, I have narrowed this down to someone with the surname Lovitt. At the time of the 1841 census (when Thomas is 3 months old), there are a few male “Lovitts” in and around the area. One of them, who I believe is the main ‘suspect’, was a man called Thomas Lovitt. He was born in about 1819. He was living and working in the Melton Ross/Barnetby Le Wold area (his birthplace) at the time Thomas Beacock was born. This is the same place as the Beacock family were living at the time. In 1841, this Thomas Lovitt was 20 years old and was living with his parents William (a farmer) and Sarah. In 1851, Thomas Lovitt was a farmer and his mother, Sarah, was the Inn Keeper of the Stag Inn in Melton Ross. Thomas Lovitt is my main lead to finding out more information. I keep checking to see if my DNA matches inform me of any links to the Lovitt family, which would confirm the link. For now, this is all I have.

25-year-old Thomas married 15-year-old Margaret Gibson on 24th December 1868 in Hull, East Yorkshire. At the time of marriage, Thomas was a Rullyman but he went on to be a Butcher and then an Agricultural Labourer.  It appears that the couple were already living at the same residence, at the time of their marriage. 6 Wood’s Court was the home of Margaret’s parents Martin and Jane. The fact that Martin and Jane allowed Lodgers to live with them, suggests that Thomas had been a lodger in their home when he moved to Hull from Lincolnshire, sometime between 1861 and 1868. Thomas would have most probably crossed the River Humber via ferry. There were a few ferries running at this time, so it difficult to state which one he would have used.

Beacock x Gibson
Marriage Certificate of Thomas Beacock and Margaret Gibson

As you can see on the marriage certificate, above, Thomas’ father is recorded as Gilbert Beacock. There was no such person as Gilbert Beacock which suggests that Thomas gave his stepfather’s first name (Gilbert Burton Handson) as his father’s name. There are a number of reasons why this would have happened. Thomas could have been embarrassed about being born out of wedlock. Another possibility was that Thomas saw Gilbert (his stepfather) as his father and the transcriber just assumed he was a Beacock.

In 1871, 26-year-old Thomas was recorded as a butcher. He was living at 4 Primrose Court in Hull, East Yorkshire, with his wife Margaret and 2 of his children: Thomas and Sarah Frances Beacock.

On 14th May 1875 there was a newspaper article in the Hull Packet about Thomas Beacock. Thomas had failed to have his child vaccinated and so was fined 2 shillings and 6 pence. The child could potentially be my 2x great-grandfather, Frederick Beacock because he was born in 1875.

Thomas Beacock Vaccination Prosecutions - Hull Packet 14 May 1875.PNG
Thomas Beacock in The Hull Packet 1875

In 1881, Thomas was about 39 years old and was living with his wife, 5 children, his mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law and 4 visitors at 198 Bean Street in Hull, East Yorkshire. Thomas was an agricultural labourer at the time of the census.

The image below shows a map of where 198 Bean Street once stood. The arrow points to the house. Similarly to the other houses where Jane and her family once lived, this house has also been demolished and is now part of a car park on Rawling Way. The development of Rawling Way, which connects Anlaby Road (near Hull Royal Infirmary) to the round about at the start of Hessle Road, meant that the majority of Bean Street was demolished.

198 Bean Street
198 Bean Street

In 1891, 50-year-old Thomas was recorded as a general labourer. He was living at 3 King’s Court in Hull, East Yorkshire, with his wife, 7 children and his brother-in-law.

Thomas passed away on 23rd July 1896 in Hull, East Yorkshire at the age of 55 and a half years old. According to the burial records at Northern Cemetery, Thomas died as a result of Diabetes. He was buried on 26th July 1896 (3 days after his death), in Hedon Road Cemetery, Hull. I am yet to visit the cemetery, so I do not know if there is a gravestone or not.

Thomas lived during the reign of Queen Victoria.  Thomas was also just 12 years old at the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1853 and was 15 when it ended in 1856. The war was fought between Russia and an alliance of the British, French and Turkish. Schools were also made compulsory for children under 10 in 1880, which meant that the younger of Thomas’ children were made to go to school.

Sadly there are no known family stories that include Thomas and there are also no family members alive who could potentially know anything about him. Despite this, we as a family should be very thankful for his life and the keeping of the Beacock name, because, without him, I would not be a Beacock.

I have always felt a very strong connection with my 3x great grandfather, Thomas Beacock.

Thank you for reading,

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jon Casbon says:

    Tony, nice job on the blog! re lack of a baptism record, in my experience baptismal records can’t always be found. Some people just never bothered. Also, it’s possible he was baptized in a non-conformist church. Those records, if in existence, can be harder to track down. As far as identifying the father, you could see if there are any bastardy bonds, These required the father to provide some child support. Happy hunting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tony Beacock says:

      Thank you so much for your reply! Yes it certainly has been hard to find these things. I am going to eventually go to the Lincolnshire Archives and have a look there! They apparently hold some of the records that aren’t online for the area and years I need. They also have bastardy bonds too I think! Thanks again, and good luck with your research too!


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