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Twiggs Family Topics
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© David Hallam - 2019

The Twiggs Family Origins in Leicestershire -

William Twiggs, as we will see on these pages, became a well-known figure in Beeston as a public servant and a family man. He and his wife Mary Ann (née Bywater) were to become the centre of a wide family network, particularly after the death of Mary Ann's sister Elizabeth at an early age, leaving a young family, the five children of her first husband, Frederick Thornhill. We will also explore how several of that family went to America and made a new life while continuing to maintain their connections with the wider Twiggs family and to Beeston.

William Twiggs was born in Ullesthorpe, Leicestershire in or around August 1850 1, the fourth of six children born to James Twiggs and his wife Mary. Like many of his siblings he was baptised at the local parish church at Claybrooke, on 1 December 1850 2. This ancient Leicestershire community was situated, on the border with Warwickshire, just off the Fosse Way, between Lutterworth and Hinkley. It had a railway station on the Midland Counties Line, that opened in 1840, which may have been the inspiration for an alternative career for one of William's brothers and, for a while, two of his sons. It would also provide a direct link to Nottingham - and Beeston - allowing relatively easy access within the family over the years.

His father, James Twiggs, was born in Leicester about 1820, the son of Sophia Twiggs (c1799-1879), the daughter of William & Keziah Twiggs of Broughton Astley, Leicestershire 3. James was baptised at Broughton Astley on 25 February 1821 4. Sophia went on the marry William Bottrill (c1777-1863) in 1823 4 and to have at least seven children together.

In October 1839, James Twiggs married Mary Grant, the daughter of Thomas and Matilda Grant, at nearby Monks Kirby, Warwickshire 6. Mary had been born at Claybrooke, Leicestershire on 10 January 1821 and was baptised there on 18 February 1821 7. James and Mary Twiggs had seven children, all born in Ullesthorpe 8:
Mary Ann Twiggs - born c1840. Baptised 23 January 1842 at Claybrooke, Leicestershire. She worked as a nursemaid before her marriage to James Wells, a framework knitter, on 2 April 1861 at St Mary de Castro Church, Leicester.
Harriett Twiggs - born Q2/1843. Baptised 31 December 1843 at Claybrooke, Leicestershire. She worked as a domestic servant as a young woman
Edward Twiggs - born 10 April 1846. Married Catherine Farnsworth in January 1870. He worked on the railways and became a railway policeman in Derbyshire. In April 1921, as a retired widower, he emigrated to Canada to live with a nephew and niece (a Mr & Mrs S H Smith) in Fort William, Ontario, and died in Thunder Bay on 7 July 1927.
William Twiggs - born about August 1850. Baptised 1 December 1850 at Claybrooke, Leicestershire. (the focus of these pages)
Thomas Twiggs - born c1855. Baptised 1 July 1855 at Claybrooke, Leicestershire. Married Eliza Bacon in Derbyshire in 1874 and worked as a foundry labourer in the Alfreton area and later as a woodsman on the Hardwick Hall Estate.
Martha Twiggs - born c1860. She worked in domestic service as a young woman and married George Cave, a labourer in 1880.
Sarah Twiggs - born c1863. Married William Grant in 1898
James Twiggs laboured on farms all his working life. He would have started a boy and, by 1851 after his marriage, he had become a waggoner, and was living in the hamlet of Ullesthorpe in the parish of Claybrooke, with his wife and four children 9, including William, then aged seven months. By 1861, he was working as a shepherd, still in Ullesthorpe 10 and was to continue there and largely in that roll up to his death on 31 December 1890 11. His wife Mary, who had kept contact with the wider Grant family continued to find a role in farming in Cotesbach, Leicestershire 12 before living out her final days in an almshouse in Ashby Parva, Leicestershire. She died towards the end of 1904, aged 84 13.

In about 1870, William Twiggs, then aged about 20, keen to branch out into the wider world, moved to Nottingham to join the City Police. The following pages describe his life and those of his wider family. It was to include over fifty years of service to Beeston and a key role, alongside his wife, within a wider family, including several members who found new lives in America after early tragedy.

Use the side menu or click here to explore this fascinating story.

We are extremely grateful to Christine Smedley who kindly made her Twiggs family album and other family information available
to help to tell and illustrate this story.

Footnotes - (Note: the respective footnote text may now be viewed in a pop-up window by clicking on any blue, underscored note number within the main text)
Where reference is made to the Probate Calender (Index giving brief details of grant of Probate/Administration), unless specifically stated, the full will and probate documentation has not been seen.
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© David Hallam - 2019

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