Chapter 1

The Early Years


The Nixey family are first found in Buckinghamshire in 1765 with the marriage of John Nixey and Elizabeth Hissey on 14th May at St Lawrence’s Church, Upton-Cum-Chalvey. A note on the Buckinghamshire Family History Society’s transcription of their marriage states that Elizabeth signed her surname as Hessey rather than Hissey. The witnesses to their wedding were Thomas and Mosia Druce. John had been born in 1737 at Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire, the son of John and Mary née Saunders. In 1753, he was apprenticed for seven years to a Wheelwright named Richard Worth of Milton, Oxfordshire. Evidently his apprenticeship didn’t last for some reason, as he is next found in 1754 being apprenticed for seven years to another Wheelwright, William Cox, at Brightwell, Berkshire. When his grandfather John Nixey died in January 1759, he and his only surviving sibling William discovered they had each been left £5 [£380] in his will.

John and Elizabeth née Hissey raised their family at Slough, all seven of their children being baptised at the church of St Lawrence:

Name  |  Approx. Birth Year  |  Mother’s Maiden Name

  • Elizabeth Nixey  1766  Hissey
  • Mary Nixey  1768  Hissey
  • Sarah Nixey  1771  Hissey
  • John Nixey  1773  Hissey
  • Anne Nixey*  1777  Hissey
  • Ann Nixey  1778  Hissey
  • Thomas Nixey  1781  Hissey
  • Note: * died during childhood

There was also a James Nixey who was born at Slough around 1787, but no baptism has been found for him. As every other child of John and Elizabeth was baptised, this leads me to the conclusion that James was most likely an illegitimate son of one of their older daughters.

During 1778, John began his own business as a Wheelwright at Ivy Parade, Slough, and expanded the business some years later by opening a branch at Winkfield in Berkshire. Both of John’s sons, John and Thomas, were involved in the wheelwright business at Winkfield, as were two of his grandsons, John and Edward.

The first of John and Elizabeth’s children to be married was Elizabeth who became the wife of James Burrows on 9th January 1791 at St Anne’s, Soho, London, in the presence of John Hill and Joseph Radford. Apprenticeship registers show that later that year, John Nixey was recognised as a Master Wheelwright. On Saturday 23rd July, the appropriate premium was paid and Richard Spurling was taken on as an apprentice.

John and Elizabeth’s daughter, Mary, died unmarried in 1793, and was buried at St Lawrence’s on 2nd March. The first of their two sons to be married was John, who became the husband of Elizabeth Randell when they married at St Bride’s, Fleet Street, London on 13th September 1794. John was one of the witnesses to his son’s marriage, the second witness was Jonathan Gilder. This was the same church where Elizabeth Randell had been baptised on 27th May 1773, her parents being Thomas and Ann née Burnell.

In total, John and Elizabeth née Randell had eight children, five of whom were born at Slough and the remainder at Winkfield in Berkshire:

Name  |  Approx. Birth Year  |  Mother’s Maiden Name

  • John Nixey  1795  Randell
  • Edmund Nixey*  1798  Randell
  • Emma Randell Nixey*  1800  Randell
  • Edward Nixey  1803  Randell
  • <Note: * died during childhood
  • Thomas Nixey  1808  Randell
  • Mary Nixey  1810  Randell
  • William George Nixey  1812  Randell
  • Joseph Nixey  1814  Randell

Almost two and a half years after their first child was born, John’s sister Sarah died unmarried, and was buried at St Lawrence’s churchyard on 23rd December 1797. Very sadly, over the next few years, two of John and Elizabeth’s children died at a very young age, Edmund in 1800 and Emma Randell in 1801, both of them also being buried at St Lawrence’s churchyard.

When William George was a little over six months old, his grandmother Elizabeth née Hissey died on 3rd March 1813. She was seventy-three years old, and was buried at St Lawrence’s on 10th March. Soon after her death, John and Elizabeth moved their family back to Slough, where their youngest child Joseph was baptised on 16th October 1814. A little over two years later, on 26th December 1816, John Nixey passed away at the age of seventy-nine, and was interred with his wife Elizabeth on 2nd January 1817. Unfortunately, it appears that the stone mason made an error by inscribing the year of John’s death as 1817 rather than 1816.

To the memory of Mrs Elizabeth Nixey, wife of Mr John Nixey of this parish
died 3rd March 1813 aged 73 years

Also the above Mr John Nixey Dec 26th 1817 in the 79th year of his age

A few weeks after John’s burial, the Windsor and Eton Express in its issue of Sunday 26th January published the following:

Winkfield, Berks.
TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, by Mr. Stephenson On Wednesday Next, Feb. 5, on the Premises, At One o’clock, The Erection of a WHEELER’s SHOP, &c. standing on the Waste Land in Hatchet-Lane, the Property of Mr. John Nixey, wheelwright.
LOT I – A Timber-built Workshop, 28 feet long, and 19 feet wide, thatched, on a brick foundation, adapted for a Barn, or might be converted into two Cottages.
LOT II – The Lean-to to ditto, with 500 Pantiles, more or less.
LOT III – A Sawpit with four plats, and a thatched shed over.
May be viewed till the Sale, and Particulars had on the Premises; at the neighbouring Inns; and of Mr. Stephenson, Auctioneer and Appraiser, Eton, Bucks.

William George Nixey was nearing his eighth birthday when his eldest brother John married Mary Ann Parke Franklin on 27th June 1820 at St James’ Westminster, London, the witnesses being Mary Ann’s parents, Isaac and Mary Franklin. Then when he was nine years old, he became an uncle for the first time with the birth of John and Mary Ann’s daughter, Mary, who was baptised on 1st May 1822 at the All Saints church in West Ham, Essex. In fact, between 1822 and 1863, he became uncle to fifteen nieces and twenty-two nephews, six of whom died in infancy:

Name  |  Approx. Birth Year  |  Mother’s Maiden Name

  • Mary Nixey  1822  Franklin
  • John Isaac Nixey  1824  Franklin
  • Edwin Nixey*  1825  Franklin
  • Alfred Nixey*  1826  Franklin
    (Name changed to William)
  • Eliza Nixey  1828  Silver
  • Jane Elizabeth Nixey  1830  Franklin
  • Thomas Hart Nixey  1835  Hart
  • William Baxter Deverill  1836  Nixey
  • Elizabeth Nixey  1837  Hart
  • Edward Deverill  1838  Nixey
  • George Nixey  1839  Hart
  • Emily Emma Nixey  1840  Hart
  • Fanny Deverill  1840  Nixey
  • Betsey Nixey  1842  Blinco
  • Charlotte Deverill  1842  Nixey
  • Walter John Nixey  1842  Hart
  • Henry Edward Nixey*  1843  Blinco
  • Arthur Deverill  1843  Nixey
  • Louisa Lucy Nixey  1844  Hart
  • John Deverill  1845  Nixey
  • William Nixey  1845  Blinco
  • Edward Nixey  1846  Hart
  • Thomas Deverill*  1846  Nixey
  • Mary Ann Nixey  1847  Blinco
  • Edward Williams  1848  Pitt
  • William Henry Nixey*  1848  Hart
  • Mary Ann Eleanor Deverill  1849  Nixey
  • Charlotte Elizabeth Williams  1850  Pitt
  • James George Deverill  1851  Nixey
  • Alfred Nixey  1852  Blinco
  • Arthur Nixey  1854  Blinco
  • Emily Williams  1854  Pitt
  • Emma Randell Nixey  1856  Blinco
  • Joseph Nixey  1858  Blinco
  • John Nixey  1860  Blinco
  • Fanny Nixey*  1862  Blinco
  • Edward James Nixey  1863  Blinco
  • Note: * died during childhood

All Persons having any Claim or Demand on the Estate of Mr. John Barnes, of Slough, Shoemaker, deceased, are requested to deliver the particulars thereof (and all Persons Indebted to the said John Barnes are desired to pay their respective Debts) to Mr. John NIXEY, Executor, Slough, Bucks.
Jan. 16, 1819.”–Windsor & Eton Express, Sunday 10th January 1819

“FOUNTAIN BOREING.–Mr. John Nixey, of Slough, has succeeded in obtaining a fine spring of water at Mr. Wm. Norton’s, at Uxbridge, of from 12 to 15 gallons a minute.”–Windsor and Eton Express, Saturday 17th May 1823

William George’s next oldest brother Edward married Eliza Silver at St Marylebone, London on 15th March 1827, in the presence of their cousin Joseph Oulds and his wife Letitia. A few weeks later in the Windsor & Eton Express of Saturday 7th April, the following announcement was printed:

Begs leave to inform the Gentry, Farmers, and others, that he has commenced business as WHEELWRIGHT, in all its branches, at Clewer Village, where he hopes by strict attention to business (of which he has a thorough knowledge), to merit their favours and support.

The following year, their eldest brother John had an announcement published in the Windsor & Eton Express of Saturday 9th February 1828:

Coach and Cart Wheelwright, Hatchett Lane, Winkfield, Berks.
Returns his most grateful thanks for the very kind support he has hitherto received, and at the same time begs to inform his friends he has OPENED a smith’s shop, in addition to the above.
J. N. having selected good workmen, solicits a continuance of this favour and support, and to assure those who may honour him with their commands in any of the above branches that they shall be executed in the best manner, and on the most reasonable terms.
N.B. Two wheelwrights wanted IMMEDIATELY.

Edward and Eliza’s only child, Eliza, was baptised on 20th April 1828 at Langley Marish, where Edward’s occupation as a Wheelwright was recorded for the last time. For around six years beginning in 1829, Edward can be found in insurance documents at 46 Monmouth Street, London, where he was registered as an “Oil and Colourman and Tallow Chandler.” Meanwhile at Slough, his father John appeared as a Wheelwright in the Pigot’s directory for 1830. The youngest of John and Mary Ann’s children was Jane Franklin who was baptised at Winkfield on 4th March 1830. Thereafter, her name always appeared as Jane Elizabeth. Soon afterwards, John and Mary Ann left Winkfield, as can be seen from an announcement printed in the Windsor & Eton Express of Saturday 23rd April 1831:

JOHN NIXEY, Wheelwright, Smith, etc. returns his grateful acknowledgments to his friends and the inhabitants of Winkfield and its vicinity, for the favours they have conferred upon him and solicits a continuance of the same on behalf of his successor, Mr. Henry Smith. HENRY SMITH, in entering on the above concern, hopes to be favoured with the same kind patronage and support which his predecessor, Mr. Nixey, has enjoyed, and assures his friends, the inhabitants of Winkfield and its vicinity, that no effort shall be wanting on his part, to give satisfaction in the execution of their commands.
Hatchet Lane, Winkfield
April 18, 1831

From Winkfield, John and Mary Ann moved their family back to Essex, where their son Alfred (by then known as William) died aged five years. He was buried at All Saints church, West Ham, on 7th October 1831.

“At a petty session, held at the Christopher Inn, on the 27th ult., present, W. Hexter, Esq., C. Clowes, Esq., Maurice Swabey, Esq., The Hon. and Rev. S. G. Osborne, and the Rev. T. Carter – John Rogers, a horsekeeper at the Dolphin, at Langley, was convicted in the penalty of £1 and costs for assaulting John Nixey, a wheelwright, at Slough, on the 13th ult.”–The Bucks Herald, Saturday 6th February 1836

John Nixey (senior) next appears in the 1832 Poll Book at Slough, where his occupation remained a Wheelwright. It wasn’t long before two more of his grandchildren were married in London. Firstly, Thomas married Louisa Lucy Hart at St Stephen’s, Coleman Street on 11th January 1834, the witnesses to their marriage being John Heath and Marian Hart. Then his only surviving grand daughter, Mary Ann, married John Deverill at St Paul’s, Covent Garden on 12th August 1835, the witnesses being her brother Edward Nixey and their mother’s sister Frances Oulds. Both couples returned to Slough where they began raising their families.

It’s apparent that William George Nixey had moved to London by the time he was in his early twenties, because Electoral Rolls show that in 1835 he was living at 26 Keppel Mews South, Finsbury, Holborn. His brother, Edward, is next found at 6 Glasshouse Street, London, a property which was destroyed by fire. This is how it was reported on in The Times of Saturday 18th November 1837:

The damages which were yesterday ascertained to have been caused by the fire which broke out on Thursday night, shortly after midnight, in the house of Mr. Nixey, oilman and grocer, 6, Glasshouse-street, Regent-street, prove to be more extensive than was at first supposed. All the accounts of the firemen concur in attributing much of the mischief to the want of a supply of water for some time after they had brought the engines to the spot. The first engine was brought from the King-street station, by Rose, the foreman of the London Western fire brigade, and it was 20 minutes after its arrival before any water could be obtained. Two engines of the county-office were next brought up, and six large engines from different of the fire brigade stations had also arrived, with one of the West of England, before a supply could be obtained. After the last of the engines had arrived, nearly a quarter of an hour elapsed before a good supply was got. Of the London Fire Establishment men alone there were 38 assembled, who were compelled to fight the fire for some time at every possible disadvantage. By means of their ladders, crow-bars, axes, and other implements, much was done in preventing damage; and as soon as water could be obtained a great number of auxiliaries were hired from among the crowd, and the supply, when obtained, proving abundant, all the engines were got into full play, and within two hours after its outbreak the flames were completely subdued. The water mains which supply this district of the metropolis belong to the Grand Junction Company. There is no rival company supplying the same spot, and it will be for the Grand Junction Company to explain to the public what at present appears to be great and serious neglect of duty in some of their servants. The premises are insured.

In Bell’s Weekly Messenger of Sunday 19th November, the fire was reported on as follows:

Between twelve and one o’clock on Thursday morning a destructive fire broke out at the shop of Mr. Nixey, oil and colourman, Glasshouse-street, Regent-street, Westminster. At one o’clock the whole building was in flames, but a good supply of water having by this time been obtained, and more assistance having arrived, the fire was fortunately extinguished by two o’clock, and the adjoining houses were saved from that destruction which was at one time considered inevitable. Only one person was in the house at the time, but he fortunately escaped. The fury of the devouring element was so great that the shutters of the houses on the opposite side of the street were very much scorched. The house had not been opened in the above line many weeks, having previously been a fishmonger’s. The cause of the fire is not known.

In the insurance documentation regarding the fire, Edward Nixey was described as being a “Grocer and Italian Warehouseman and Oilman.” Following that fire, the 22 Moore Street address makes its first appearance, when in the Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser dated Wednesday 31st January 1838, “Mr. Nixey, 22 Moore-street, Soho” is listed amongst around forty suppliers of a “liquid and paste blacking” that was manufactured by “Way and Collings” and “sold in bottles of 6d. 12d. and 18d.”

The 1837 and 1838 Poll Books for Slough give a specific address for John Nixey of Regent Place, and the nature of qualification is given as “Copyhold houses and land.” Then in Robson’s 1839 directory for Buckinghamshire, his sons Thomas and Joseph were recorded at both Slough and Salthill as “Grocer” and “Tailor” respectively.

William George Nixey’s youngest sibling, Joseph, married Martha Blincoe on 12th April 1841 at St Andrew’s, Holborn, London, in the presence of Henry Lovegrove and Elizabeth Heavingham. Just like his siblings Thomas and Mary Ann, Joseph returned to Slough where he and Martha began raising their family.


Unless otherwise stated, all newspaper articles can be found at the British Newspaper Archive.


The photograph of St Lawrence’s churchyard and church is a Flickr photo by Diamond Geezer.