Francis Rathill Thomas

Author: Christine Gambles
Date published: 04/07/2021

Francis Thomas


Francis Rathill Thomas was born in Berkshire he was baptised on the 3rd December 1815 in Cholsey Berkshire the son of Jesse and Elizabeth Thomas (nee Rathill) who were married on the 23rd September 1815 in Cholsey.

Francis married Caroline Johnson (born c1821 in London) in 1840.

Marriage details:

Place: St Mary Cholsey Berkshire

Date: 23rd May 1840 in Cholsey

Groom: Francis Thomas, aged 25, bachelor, abode: Cholsey, occupation: Baker

Bride: Caroline Johnson, aged 19, spinster, abode: Cholsey

Groom’s Father: Jesse Thomas (no bride’s father recorded)

Witnesses: James Goodchild, Eliza Mills and Ann Thomas


Francis and Caroline had the following children:

Francis Coles born 1841 in Cholsey

George Alexander born 1842 in Cholsey

Caroline born c1843 in Cholsey

Julia born 1844 in Cholsey

Emily Ellen born 1846 in Cholsey

Eliza Jane born 1848 in Newbury (died aged 3 in 1851 buried on the 22nd November in the NRC)

Alice born c1850 in Newbury (died in 1856 buried in the NRC on the 25th August)

William Henry born 1851 in Newbury

Edwin born 1852 in Newbury (died aged 60 in 1913 buried in the NRC on the 5th February)

Louisa Jane born c1856 in Newbury

Alice Matilda born 1857 in Newbury

Clara Henrietta born 1860 in Newbury

Rosa born c1862 in Newbury (died aged 4 in 1866 buried on the 2nd October in the NRC)



In 1841 Francis (25) was working as a Baker, living at Forty, Cholsey with Caroline (20) and their son Francis Coles aged 2 months.

By 1848 the family had moved to Newbury. The 1851 census records them living at 6 Montague Place. Francis (36) was recorded as a Sheriff’s Officer.  Caroline’s mother Susan Johnson (63), an Annuitant, was also recorded in the household.

Caroline’s mother died aged 72 in 1859 she was laid to rest in the Newtown Road Cemetery on the 2nd April (as Susannah)

In 1856 Francis was involved in a serious accident. The following newspaper report appeared in the Reading Mercury dated 13th September 1856:

SERIOUS ACCIDENT – On Friday night last, an accident of a serious nature occurred to Mr Francis Thomas, auctioneer, Newbury. He was returning towards home from Eastbury, and about twelve o’clock, when he reached the corner of the road by Donnington Grove, intending to get into the Speen road by the Hare and Hounds public-house, he was driven into by a four-wheel carriage, which came from the opposite direction. The effect of the collision was to throw him violently from his gig, severely fracture his head, and otherwise injure him. He lay insensible on the ground for more than an hour, and when consciousness returned, he raised himself, and with great difficultly contrived to reach his home, where he now lies in a very precarious state. Immediately after the accident, Mr Thomas’s horse proceeded into Newbury, and stopped at its master’s residence. Some of the family, of course, went to the door as usual, but great was their surprise to find no one in the gig. As the cushion was missing, they supposed that he had been robbed and ill-treated, and some of them at once drove back in the direction of Eastbury in search of him, but, owing to the darkness of the night, were unable to discover him, though from the distance they travelled, they must have passed him as he lay insensible on the ground. Mr Thomas was on the right side of the road when the collision occurred, and the driver of the carriage must have been conscious that injury was done to someone. It was therefore exceedingly strange and showed a want of feeling that he did not pull up to render assistance.   Steps and being taken to endeavour to discover the party, and we hope they will be successful.

In the 1861 census Francis (47), was recorded as an Auctioneer, living in Cheap Street Newbury with Caroline (40) and their children, Emily (14), William (9), Edwin (7), Louisa Jane (5), Alice Matilda (3) and Clara Henrietta (11 months)

Francis died 46 on the 4th July 1861 he was laid to rest in the Newtown Road Cemetery on the 8th July (MI has his age recorded as 44, GRO records aged at death as 46 and Berkshire Chronicle records his age as 47)

Caroline was pregnant when Francis died she gave birth to a daughter, registering the birth in the March Q 1862). She worked as a Furniture Dealer and continued to live in Cheap Street until at least 1881 but by 1891 she was living in West Field Newbury.

She died aged 71 on the 23rd May 1892 she was laid to rest in the Newtown Road Cemetery on the 26th May.


Probate:   1861   Thomas Francis    Effects: under £100       5th August     Letters of Administration of the Personal estate and effects of Francis Thomas late of Newbury in the County of Berks Auctioneer and Upholsterer deceased who died 4th July 1861 at Newbury aforesaid were granted at Oxford to Caroline Thomas of Newbury aforesaid Widow the Relict of the said Deceased she having been first sworn


Sources:as above and

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