Magson family

Please note: Family pages are organised by surname; however, this does not mean that all those people featured are related to each other. Where possible we will try to be clear about any connections there may be.

Magson family (and Glebe Cottage).

Through the 1800s there is only one Magson family in census records (John and Elizabeth Magson and their children); the brothers John (b.1820) and Thomas (b.1826) and John’s daughter, Emma (b.1852) are linked to Glebe Cottage. John and Thomas are both tailors throughout their working lives and their father was an agricultural labourer.

John Magson (baptised 1819) and Thomas Magson (baptised 1826) were the sons of John (born Little Dalby) and Elizabeth (nee Worthington, born Cropwell Bishop) Magson.

W0972a Main St 1904
W0972a Main St 1904

The earliest reference to the Magson family and Glebe Cottage is in correspondence in 1885 in relation to enlarging the neighbouring graveyard and it is the unmarried Thomas who is named. It is unclear when Glebe Cottage came into his possession but the correspondence surrounding a lawsuit in the 1820s/1830s potentially places him and his parents as tenants of the Glebe Cottage property (possibly as early as 1814).

  • John Magson (of Little Dalby) married Elizabeth Worthington (of Cropwell Bishop) in Hickling on 6th June 1814. Marriage records state they were both resident in Headon-cum-Upton near Retford in North Notts) at the time of their Banns being read; witnesses at the wedding were Samuel Pitts and Sarah Grice. Although neither were resident in or native to Hickling they married here and settled until their deaths in 1870 and 1872 respectively.
  • It is possible that they took up residence at Glebe Cottage at the time of their marriage in 1814 (unconfirmed). They appear to have been there at some point between 1820 and 1841 because of the lawsuit – details to be confirmed.
  • John Magson (senior) was buried in Hickling on 31st January 1870 age 81yrs and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Worthington) Magson was buried in Hickling on 13th June 1872 aged 81yrs.

It is likely that the Magson family occupied Glebe Cottage continuously; possibly from the time of John & Elizabeth’s marriage in 1814 until their granddaughter left the property in th 1890s; whilst it is likely to be John, Elizabeth and their son, Thomas, in residence for most of this period, there is too little specific detail in public records to explain which part of the family was resident at which time.

Thomas Magson:

  • Census records indicate that Thomas never got married.
  • Apart from the census of 1841 (when there is no listing for Thomas in Hickling), Thomas is listed in the parental household each decade until 1871. In 1881 he is listed living alone (in what seems likely to be Glebe Cottage) but in 1891 he is listed as a lodger in the Brewin household (referenced in the Wadkin archives on Chapel Lane/Bridegate Lane). He is consistently referred to as a tailor or a journeyman tailor.
  • Thomas Magson appears in a photograph of the Hickling cricket team in 1863.
  • In the census of 1871 Thomas is living with his widowed mother who is head of household at ‘Brewhouse Yard’; this is listed between Burnetts and Long Lane which probably places them at the south end of the village and not at Glebe Cottage.
  • In the census of 1881 census Thomas Magson is listed (still as a journeyman tailor) as sole occupant in a house between the Rector and farmer Collishaw (Waterlane Farm) – one unoccupied house is listed between them, too. This is a probable reference to him at Glebe Cottage.
  • In 1885 correspondence between Canon Skelton (Rector) and Queens’ College includes a plan of the land owned by the College and the land owned by the Magson family; Thomas Magson has offered to sell his portion of the plot (280sq yds) to the Church for £15.
  • However, in the census of 1891, Thomas is recorded as a lodger in the Brewin household (in other words, he is unlikely to be at Glebe Cottage). The Wadkin Archives refer to the Brewin household on Chapel Lane (now Bridegate Lane).
W0417a Cricket team 1863
W0417a Cricket team 1863

Thomas Magson died at the age of 67 and was buried in Hickling on 2nd December 1893; no Will or probate records have been found for him.

John Magson (son):

At some point land ownership (plus occupancy and/or tenancy?) passed to Thomas’s brother, John; in 1895 the parcel of land was described as belonging to him. John Magson was buried in Hickling on 14th July 1896; there are two probate records. He leaves his effects to his daughter Emma and after her death to his grandson (& Emma’s nephew) George Wright:

  • Probate Nottingham 23rd April to Emma Magson spinster effects £90. Further grant November 1897.
  • Magson John of Hickling Nottinghamshire tailor and draper died 11th July 1896 Administration (with Will) (Limited) Nottingham 10th November to George Wright ironworker Effects £90. Former grant April 1897.

Emma Magson:

In September 1896 (two months after her father’s death) Emma Magson is reported to have gifted the Glebe Cottage land and property to Queens’ College, Cambridge to be held for the benefit of the incumbent Rector. It isn’t entirely clear that the gift is reflected in changes to the value of John Magson’s Estate as it transfers from him to Emma and then Emma to George Wright; unless the drop from £90 to £45 includes the c.£15 gift of the land?

Emma did not marry. After her father died she gives all the appearance of being dependant on her relatives.  She went to live with an aunt in Bingham but then, aged 45, came back to Hickling in April 1897 and stayed with various people in Hickling over the next few days.  She stayed for a few days with an Elizabeth Price, widow, then left to visit relations in various places, saying she would be back in a few days.  Price had apparently taken Emma in because Emma had tried several other places and no one would take her in (although these accounts are slightly contradictory).  She is reported to have met Alwyn Frank Shelton, blacksmith, in the morning that she left and told him she was going for a train.  George Faulks, grazier, found her body in Clawson Lane the following morning, she had drunk carbolic acid.

Wnews1 02021895to10081901 (25)
Wnews1 02021895to10081901 (25)

“Distressing Case of Suicide – At the Wheel Inn, Hickling, on Wednesday, Mr E Williams, Deputy-coroner, held an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the decease of Emma Magson, aged forty-five, a single woman, residing at Hickling, whose body was found in a lane in the neighbourhood on Tuesday about ten o’clock in the morning. Supt Joseph Hall, of Bingham, watched the proceedings on behalf of the police. Thomas Magson, a tailor, of Orston, was the first witness called. He was able to identify the deceased woman as his cousin. She had lived up to a week ago with witness’s mother, at Bingham, and since then had resided with several persons at Hickling. She had not done any work since her father died, about eight months ago. She did not do anything for a living being dependent on her relations, and although she appeared depressed at times, witness could not say that she had ever threatened to do away with herself. She had seemed to lay to heart very much the death of her father and had not been herself since. Elizabeth price, widow, Hickling deposed that the woman Magson had stayed with her for five nights and left on Monday last ostensibly to visit her relations in various places. She said she was coming back in a few days. Witness received her into the house on the Wednesday previous, through a neighbour asking her to do so, as she, (deceased) had tried several places and no one could take her in. She slept soundly and well, but seemed dull on leaving on Monday. She took away a bag with her, but witness did not know what it contained. Alwyne Frank Shelton, blacksmith, of Hickling stated that he saw the deceased at Melton about half-past nine on Monday night last. He spoke to her and she said she was going by the 9.40 train to Widmerpool. He could not say whether she did so or not. She seemed peculiar in her manner. George Arthur Faulks, of Hickling, grazier spoke to finding the body of the woman in a lane leading to Skelton’s allotments, in the Parish of Hickling, at a quarter to ten on Tuesday morning. The bottle produced, containing carbolic acid, lay at her feet, and another bottle, which contained only a few drops of the same mixture was also found near her. The body was removed to the house where it now lay by Mr Skelton’s man, with a cart. By the Foreman of the Jury: Her umbrella was in her right hand and was opened, and there did not appear to be any signs of a struggle. In reply to the Coroner: She might have come from Melton to Long Clawson on the Great Northern Railway, and in that case she would have gone past the place where the witness found her. Charles Christopher Hume Cadge, chemist, of Bingham, deposed that he supplied the bottle (produced) containing carbolic acid to the deceased between two and three weeks ago. She said she wanted it for disinfecting purposes. The small bottle, which was full of laudanum, had also been supplied from his shop; the third bottle contained a liniment, which might contain laudanum, but which would certainly contain an irritant poison. An ounce of carbolic acid would be fatal. About three and a half ounces had been taken out of the bottle. The Coroner having briefly reviewed the evidence, the jury found that the deceased committed suicide by taking carbolic acid while in an unsound state of mind.”

(Grantham Journal April 24th 1897)

Emma Magson was buried in Hickling churchyard on 22nd April 1897; probate was issued on 22nd May 1897:

  • Magson Emma of Hickling Nottinghamshire spinster died 20th April 1897 Administration (Limited) Nottingham 22nd May to George Wright ironworker Effects £45.19s.


  • There is some confusion over Thomas Magson’s residence in the census records around and following the death of his parents; it would be useful to confirm what happened in these years.
  • More research is needed into Emma’s gifting of the property to the Church in September 1896. The gift appears to have left her homeless and without any means of supporting herself; sadly, she committed suicide just a few months after making the gift.
  • Where did John (son) Magson and his family live in Hickling?

From the Records:

Census 1841:

  • John Magson – age 50, b.1791 – ag lab
  • Elizabeth Magson – age 50, b.1791
  • William Magson – age 12, b.1829
  • Sarah Magson – age 9, b.1832
    • John Magson (son) is listed separately, possibly in Hickling, in the Wright household (farmer) – occupation, tailor.
    • Thomas Magson is not listed in Hickling.
    • Note: no further records for William Magson in Hickling
      • in 1851 he is an apprentice tailor in the Askew household in Hawksworth, Notts. After this there are two possible sequences of records:
      • He married Rebecca Kirk in Orston, Notts in 1857 (this village neighbours, Hawksworth) and appears as a tailor, draper in census records for Orston in 1871, 1881 and 1891.

Census 1851:

  • John Magson – head – age 63, b.1788, Little Dalby – labourer
  • Elizabeth Magson – wife – age 60, b.1791, Cropwell Bishop
  • Thomas Magson – son – unmarried – age 25, b.1826, Hickling – journeyman tailor
  • Sarah Magson – daughter – unmarried – age 19, b.1832, Hickling
  • Thomas Magson – visitor – unmarried – age 67, b.1784, Little Dalby – journeyman tailor (possibly brother to John Magson?)
    • (John Magson (son) not listed in Hickling)

Census 1861:

  • John Magson – head – age 73, b.1788, Little Dalby – labourer
  •  Elizabeth Magson – wife – age 70, b.1791, Cropwell Bishop
  • Thomas Magson – son – unmarried – age 35, b.1826, Hickling – tailor
  • Sarah Magson – daughter – unmarried – age 29, b.1832, Hickling – tambourer (burial record, Hickling 17th January 1868)

Census 1861:

  • John Magson – head – age 41, b.1820, Hickling – tailor and draper
  • Ann Magson – wife – age 38, b.1823, Long Clawson
  • Emma Magson – daughter – age 9, b.1852, Hickling
  • Martha Magson – daughter – age 3 b.1858, Hickling
  • Sarah Ann Magson – daughter – age 0, b.1861, Hickling (burial record 9th October 1861 age 7months, Hickling)
  • Sarah Weston – nurse – unmarried – age 45, b.1816 – Clawson

Census 1871:

  • Elizabeth Magson – head – (widow?) – age 80, b.1791, Cropwell Bishop – tambourer
  • Thomas Magson – son – age 45, b.1826, Hickling – tailor
    • Brewhouse Yard; possibly around Long Lane?

Census 1871: John Magson & family – as 1881 – ‘Street’.

Census 1881: Thomas Magson is listed in a sole household – Head – age 55, b.1826, Hickling – tailor

Census 1881:

  • John Magson – head – age 61, b.1820, Hickling – tailor, draper & grocer
  • Ann Magson – wife – age 57, b. 1824, Long Clawson
  • Emma Magson – daughter – single – age 29, b.1852, Hickling
  • Martha Magson – daughter – single – age 23, b.1858, Hickling
    • (note: Martha Magson married George Wright in Hickling on 27th December 1883; see 1891, below)

Census 1891:

  • John Magson – widower – age 71, b.1820, Hickling – tailor and draper and grocer
  • Emma Magson – daughter – single – age 39, b.1852, Hickling – housekeeper
  • Arthur Wright – grandson – age 6, b. 1885, Sheffield

Census 1891: Thomas Magson (in the household of Thomas Brewin) – lodger – single – age 65, b.1826, Hickling – tailor.

Census 1901: no records for Magson in Hickling.

Following the death of Emma Magson in 1896, there don’t appear to be any further members of the family resident in Hickling. However, A.Magson plays for the Hickling cricket team in 1906/1907 and a Mrs and Miss Magson are guests at the wedding in Hickling of Annie Harriman and George Lakin on December 26th 1906. These are likely to be members of William Magson’s Orston/Bingham family.

This gallery is from the Wadkin Archives