Christopher Till, (1815 -1891) of Suffolk and Hampshire

Christopher Till was the third ancestor by the same name and will be referred to here at Christopher Till III. He was baptised in Badingham, Suffolk, in October 1815 to a father, known here as Christopher Till II and his wife, born Mary Utting. He was their second son, the first being William, baptised on 28 Nov 1813.

Although it was not usual for individuals to travel far in the time of Christopher III, he managed to meet Harriet Simpson in Petersfield, Hampshire. The meeting may have been responsible for Harriet's illegitimate child, George, born in 1841, as Christopher III did go on to marry her. I could not find Harriet in the 1841 census, I thought that this was probably because the sensitivities of the time required her to keep a low profile. However I am grateful to Andy Waters for finding the record: she was with her mother, Sarah in Petersfield with her illegitimate George, age 4 months. Christopher III remains missing - although if anyone finds him, I hope they will let me know.

Christopher III, a drill maker, married Harriet on 21 Feb 1843 at St Mary’s Portsea, when his (or their) address was Ayleward Street, Portsea. Her father was given as James Simpson, waggoner, and her baptismal record of 26 November 1821 shows that her mother was a Sarah. His father was given as Charles Till, butcher, but this is almost certainly a transcription error for Christopher, the reasons being as follows:

  1. There are no census or baptismal records for a convincing Charles Till, a butcher, in the right place at the right time.
  2. The name of Charles was not perpetuated in the family of our Christopher III, who was known in family records as well as public documents
  3. A Christopher, son of Christopher Till, butcher, and Mary, formerly Utting, was baptised in Badingham at about the time of 'our' Christopher's birth.
  4. 'Chs' is a common abbreviation for Charles in the old records, so a badly written abbreviation for Christopher could easily be interpreted as Charles.
  5. Census records suggest that Christopher III was born about 1819 in Badingham, Suffolk, but there are small discrepancies in the date and in the spelling of the village. However, it was common practice for manual workers to lie downwards about their ages to enhance their employment prospects, and Christopher III's death record is in agreement with a birth year of 1815.

By the time of the 1851 census Christopher III and Harriet appear as a married couple at Dragon Street, Petersfield. He is listed as 32 head, labourer, born about 1819 Baddicomb [sic], Suffolk with wife Harriet 29 born Petersfield, Hants, with various children (see below). The George born out of wedlock was listed as Christopher’s son. By 1881 the couple were at Hylton Road, Petersfield, Hampshire. She was a laundress and he still a labourer.

Christopher III died on 17 May 1891 of chronic bladder disease of some years and exhaustion. Sadly his death was in the Union workhouse, Petersfield. His age was given as 76, which is in agreement with a birth year of 1815. His occupation was given as a jobbing gardener.

Christopher and Harriet left the following children:

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