Henry NICKOLS (1831/2–1895)
His wife Mrs Ann NICKOLS, née Jones (c.1832–1916)
Their son Frederick Thomas NICKOLS (c.1816–1890)
Their infant sons Alfred William NICKOLS (1859–1861), not buried here
and Edward Ernest NICKOLS (born and died 1864)
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 32, Grave L57

Henry Nickols


In Loving Memory of


Also of


Also of ANN,




This stone is made of Carrara marble

Henry Nickols was born in Oxford in 1831/2, the son of William and Ann Nickols. For more about his parents and siblings, see separate grave. At the time of the 1851 census Henry (19) was living with his parents at the Star & Garter in at 20 Cornmarket, where his father was landlord.

Ann Jones was born in Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire in 1831/2. In 1851 she was a house servant of 19 in the home of a Buckingham linen draper.

In the fourth quarter of 1855 in Oxford, Henry Nickols married Ann Jones. They had the following children:

  • Eliza Ann Nickols (born in Oxford 1856/7, reg. first quarter 1857)
  • Alfred William Henry Nickols (born at St Ebbe's Street, Oxford in 1859 and baptised at St Ebbe's Church on 11 September)
  • Frederick Thomas Nickols (born at St Ebbe's Street, Oxford in 1861 amd baptised at St Ebbe's Church on 19 June)
  • Edward Ernest Nickols (born at Red Lion Square, Oxford in January 1864 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 30 January); died aged eleven days
  • Mary Jane Nickols (born at Red Lion Square, Oxford in 1865 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 26 February)
  • Walter George Nickols (born in Oxford in 1867, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Herbert Frank Nickols (born in Oxford in 1870, reg. third quarter)

When Alfred was baptised in 1858 Henry Nickols was described as a broker, but by the time of the 1861 census he was a saddler & harness maker, living at 44 St Ebbe’s Street with his wife Ann and their son Alfred (1), as well as Ann’s nephew Thomas Jones (12), who was Henry’s apprentice. Their daughter Eliza Ann (4) appears to have been omitted from the census. Just after that census their infant son Alfred died, and the following notice appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 13 April 1861: “April 10, aged 1 year and 9 months, Alfred William Henry, only son of Mr. Henry Nickols, saddler and harness maker, St. Ebbe’s.” He would probably have been buried in Osney Cemetery.

By 1864 Henry was a publican at Red Lion Square, probably at the Red Lion pub. His son Edward Ernest Nickols died at the age of eleven days in early 1864 and was buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery (probably in a section for babies and infants) on 2 February 1864.

By 1871 Henry was still at Red Lion Square and he and his wife had four more children: Frederick Thomas (9), Mary Jane (6), Walter (3), and Herbert (ten months).

In 1881 he was described as the licensed victualler at the Red Lion in Gloucester Green, living with his wife and five of his children: Eliza (24), who was a dressmaker; Frederick (18), who was a coachman; Mary (16), who was a dressmaker; and Walter (13) and Herbert (10), who were at school.

Their son Frederick was hit by a train near Kennington on 15 July 1890, when he was 29 years old. Suicide was suspected, but the jury returned an open verdict. The following report appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 19 July 1890:


At an early hour on Tuesday morning last the body of Frederick Nickols, son of Mr. Henry Nickols, cab proprietor, of Red Lion-square, in this city, was discovered in a mutilated condition on the Great Western Railway near the crossing at Kennington. The body was first noticed by the driver of the 1.10 a.m. goods train from Paddington, who drew the attention of the signalman at Kennington to what he had seen. P.C. Curl was afterwards informed of the finding of the body, from which the head had been severed, and it was laying [sic] between 50 and 60 yards from the trunk. The deceased’s left leg had also been completely cut off, and his right arm smashed, and his clothes were torn to pieces. The body was removed to an outhouse on the premises of the “Tandem” public-house.

Mr. Bromley Challenor (Coroner for Berkshire) held an inquiry into the circumstances of the unfortunate occurrence at the “Tandem” on Tuesday evening. Mr. Derrick (District Inspector of the G.W.R.) watched the case on behalf of he company, and Inspector Hawtin, of the Oxfordshire County Constabulary, was also present.

Henry Nickols, publican and cab proprietor, of 2, Red Lion-square, Oxford, identified the body as that of his eldest son. Deceased was about 29 years of age, his general occupation being that of a cab driver, but he had been principally engaged by Dr. Gray, of Beaumont-street. He lived with witness, who last saw him alive about 9.30 on Monday night, at the Plough Inn, Cornmarket-street. His son said that he was going on the Continent for a little while. Deceased asked another cabman to have a drink with him, and he did so. Deceased paid for the drink. His son then left the house, and witness saw no more of him until that day.

By the Coroner — Deceased was sober then, and witness had never known him to have been the worse for drink in his life. He was not with his son for more than ten minutes. The deceased had been to Swindon that day. His son was in pretty good spirits when witness saw him. He had never known him to have been better. He had never known him depressed in spirits. He did not understand what the deceased meant by saying that he was going on the Continent. Deceased had never been there, only at the seaside for a few days.

The Coroner — Didn’t that strike you as being rather a peculiar thing to say? — No, he has said so often.

The witness added that his son was always very jocular. He had been making arrangements with two or three other people to go to Goodwood Races.

The Coroner Was there anything to trouble him? I don’t think so — anything more than the letter about the child.

Did you know there was an order out against him for bastardy? — I knew from what Insp. Hawtin told me. I never told him that there was a warrant out for his apprehension.

The Coroner observed that a bastardy order had been made against the deceased, who was 2l. 10s. 6d. in arrears.

The witness went on to say that the deceased was not short of money. Witness kept him and lodged him, and “what he made over” he had for himself. Deceased drove a cab for witness sometimes. He had never complained to witness of shortness of money, and had never asked him for any cash. Witness did not know there was a warrant out for his son’s apprehension until he was Insp. Hawtin on Monday night, when witness told the deceased about it. Witness would have paid the money for his son if he had asked him to do so. When his son came home witness told him that “so and so” was the case, and he had “better go down to pay it,” and offered to accompany him down to the County Police Station, New-road, Oxford. He had previously told the deceased that Insp. Hawtin wanted to see him. Deceased refused to go down to the station, and said he should go on the Continent for a bit. It was supposed that his son intended to have come back from Kennington by the Oxford City Police excursion boat, which had been to Nuneham on Monday.

By the Jury — He should not think there was anything else to have worried his son excepting the 2l. arrears.

A Juror — That is not enough to worry anybody very much.

Witness — I am sure there was nothing in that to have worried him.

The Coroner — You have never head of his having anything else to worry him? — Nothing, Sir. He was always jolly good company let him go wherever he would. The witness added that his son was engaged to be married. There was only one bastardy order against him.

Thomas Mazey, cabdriver, living at 49, James-street, Iffley-road, Oxford, deposed that he had known the deceased, whom he picked up on All Saints’ cabstand close to the Mitre Hotel about 8.45 on Monday evening.

The Coroner — There is a little discrepancy about the time.

Mazey (continuing) said that the deceased came up to him and asked him if was engaged. Witness replied in the negative, and Nickols inquired if he would drive him to Kennington, and he told him that he would. Witness was driving a hansom cab. They stopped at the Berkshire publichouse, New Hincksey, where they each had some drink. Deceased at “two of Irish,” and witness had a glass of ale. They stopped in that house about four minutes. Deceased got out of the cab, and having had his drink got into his conveyance again. Witness noticed that the deceased had not got his watch and chain with him, and he remarked upon it, but deceased “turned it off” by saying how cold it was, as it was raining at the time.

Mr. Nickols (recalled) said that he had found his son’s watch and chain in his bedroom that morning. Deceased had not been in the habit of being out of doors all night.

The Coroner — Were you not rather surprised that he did not come home? — Yes, I was rather surprised. I have never known him to be out before in my life. My wife and two daughters sat up till four o’clock, as my other son was going by an excursion to Bournemouth.

The witness Mazey said that he left the deceased at the Tandem publichouse about ten minutes past nine o’clock. He left Nickols in the years, and wished him good night. Nickols told witness that he was going back to Oxford by the police excursion boat.

The Coroner — Did you notice which way he went? — I left him standing in the yard.

Did he seem at all moody? — No, Sir: he seemed just the same as usual. He went away “with a cigar in his mouth just as merry as ever.”

The witness further said that the deceased paid him his fare at New Hincksey. He had always been very good to witness, who he treated as a brother.

By the Jury — Deceased had two-pennyworth of Irish whiskey at the Tandem Inn, where witness also had a glass of ale. Deceased had made no remark to witness about a bastardy order. Nickols came outside with witness, and shook hands with him under the porchway.

Harold Hughes, cabman, living at 30, Penson’s-gardens, Oxford, stated that he had known the deceased and worked in his father’s yard. He last saw Nickols about 7.30 on Monday evening, when the deceased asked him where he was going with the cab, and how long he should be before he fetched another one. He told the deceased that he should not be long, and then Nickols asked him not to forget to put his horse in the cab for him in the morning. That was witness’s work. Nickols seemed in good spirits on Monday.

By the Coroner — I had no reason to suspect that he would make away with himself.

Replying to a Juror, the witness said that the deceased was quite sober when he last saw him alive.

At this point one of the Jurors (a young man who was employed at the Tandem Inn on the previous evening) intimated that the deceased told him that he was going over the island to get on the police boat.

The Coroner observed that he could not accept a Juror as a witness….

The Coroner, in summing up the evidence, said there could not be a shadow of a doubt as to what the cause of death which resulted from injuries received by the deceased having been run over by a train. As to whether those injuries had been caused accidentally or intentionally was a matter which the Jury would have to decide, and a matter which he thought must give them some considerable difficulty, because there was little or no evidence that Nickols had contemplated suicide. All the witnesses had spoken of the deceased having been in very good spirits, and not in a moody way, and he had not expressed himself as though he had meant to make away with himself; and the young fellow Hughes had informed them that the deceased had told him to get his horse ready for him in the morning. The deceased did not seem to have contemplated taking away his life, and the fact that the father had told him that the police wanted him about an affiliation order would hardly have been sufficient to induce a man to go and make away with himself for the sake of the non-payment of about fifty shillings; and the deceased’s father had told him that if he could not pay the money he would. There was no reason for any anxiety on the part of the deceased, and it seemed to him (the Coroner) that the excuse which he gave, that he wanted to go down and join the police boat in order to go back to Oxford, was a reasonable one. The only curious part of the matter was that the deceased should have got so far up the line. Nickols had walked nearly 200 yards from where he ought to have crossed the rails to have got to the river, and was knocked down and killed. He should think from the spot at which the body was found, that the deceased was either walking or standing still at the time he was struck by the train. He should think it was very likely that the engine knocked him down, and went over Nickols and “broke him up” in the way it had done, It was quite a matter of guesswork, and it would be for the Jury to say whether the deceased committed suicide or whether he was accidentally killed.

The verdict of the Jury was that the deceased was found dead on the railway.

† Frederick Thomas Nickols died at Red Lion Square at the age of 29 on 15 July 1890 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 17 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

By the time of the 1891 census Henry was operating as a cab proprietor at the Red Lion, living with his wife and their four surviving children: Eliza (34) and Mary (16) were both dressmakers; Walter (23) was a farrier; and Herbert (20) was a cabman.

Two of their children were married in the early 1890s;

  • On 6 April 1891 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Mary Jane Nickols married Christopher Robinson, and the marriage was announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal.
  • In early 1894 at Bradford Abbas, Dorset, Herbert Frank Nickols married Bessie Ella Parsons.

Henry Nickols died in 1895:

Henry Nickols died at Red Lion Square at the age of 64 on 19 August 1895 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 20 August (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

At the time of the 1901 census Ann Nickols (69) was the licensed victualler at the Red Lion, and her two unmarried children still lived with her: Eliza (44) was still a dressmaker, and Walter (33) a cab proprietor.

By 1911 Mr Nickols (79) had retired and was living at School House, Victoria Court, George Street with her two middle-aged children. Her son Walter died at that address at the age of 47 in May 1915 (see separate grave).

Mrs Nickols herself died in September the next year.

† Mrs Ann Nickols, née Jones died at School House, Victoria Court, George street at the age of 84 on 28 September 1916 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 2 October (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

The three surviving children of Henry & Ann Nickols
  • Eliza Ann Nickols (born in Oxford 1856/7) never married. She was living at 15 Walton Street when she died at Cold Arbour in Oxford (probably at her sister's house) at the age of 76 on 8 July 1933. Her effects came to £2,659 19s. 8d., and her executor was her sister Mary Jane and her husband.
  • Mary Jane Nickols, Mrs Robinson (born 1864/5) and her husband Christopher Robinson, who was Secretary to a Brewer’s Company, had no children. In 1901 and 1911 they were living at Cold Arbour House, St Aldate’s. Mary Jane was a widow when she died at Cold Arbour House on 19 October 1946. Her effects came to £10,094 3s. 3d.
  • Herbert Frank Nickols (born 1870): see separate grave



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