The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Descendant's report for William Makepeace Thackeray, son of Richmond Makepeace Thackeray and Anne Thackeray [Becher]

© National Portrait Gallery

William Makepeace Thackeray was born on 18 July 1811 at Calcutta, the only child of Richmond Thackeray and Anne Becher who had married on 13th October 1810. Richard Thackeray had come to India at the age of 16 in 1797 where he worked for the East India Company until his early death in 1815. William returned to England one year later while his mother remained in India and subsequently remarried Major Henry William Carmichael-Smith. They returned to England in 1819.

William's early education was at Southampton and then Chiswick before he entered Charterhouse in 1822 where he remained until 1828. He matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1829 but left one year later without a degree. His early career activities were largely unsuccessful until he met Isabella Gethin Shawe whom he married on 20th August 1836. Three children (Anne Isabel, Jane and Harriet Maria) followed in the next three years but from 1840 onwards until her death Isabella became seriously depressed and mentally ill. William dedicated himself to his writing - Book of Snobs, Vanity Fair and The Virginians - published from 1846 until 1860 established him as one of England's foremost novelists. On 23rd December 1863 William Thackeray died from a stroke which, at the age of fifty-three, was entirely unexpected by his family, friends, and reading public. Some 7,000 people attended his funeral at Kensington Gardens and he was buried on 29th December at Kensal Green cemetery

Wiliiam Makepiece Thackeray's association with Tunbridge Wells commenced in 1823 when as a school boy he spent his summer holidays there and in The Virginians Thackeray uses Tunbridge Wells as the backlcloth to part of the novel. He returned in 1860 to stay at Rock Villa, now known as 'Thackeray's House', where he wrote Tunbridge Toys which he published as part of the Roundabout Papers in the Cornhill Magazine

See also Tunbridge Toys by William Makepeace Thackeray, Society at Tunbridge Wells by Lewis Melville, Peltons Guide to Tunbridge Wells and
Generation No. 1
  1. William Makepeace Thackeray was the son of Richmond Makepeace Thackeray and Anne Thackeray [Becher]. He was born 18th Jul 1811 at Calcutta, India; died 24th Dec 1863 at Palace-green, Kensington, London; buried 29th Dec 1863 at Kensal Green Cemetery
  He married Isabella Gethin Shawe on 20th Aug 1836. She was the daughter of Colonel Matthew Shawe and Isabella Creagh Shawe. She was born 1816; died 1893. They had the following children:
  iAnne Isabell who was born 1837; died 1919
  iiJane who was born 1837; died 1838
2 iiiHarriet Marian (Minnie) who was born 1840; died 1875
Generation No. 2
  2. Harriet Marian (Minnie) Stephen [Thackeray] was the daughter of William Makepeace Thackeray and Isabella Gethin Thackeray [Shawe]. She was born 1840; died 1875
  She married Sir Leslie Stephen on c 1865. He was born c 1840. They had the following children:
  iLaura Makepeace who was born 1870; died 1945

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