"Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

On Wedding Wednesday: Matthew Hall and Kate Birchall Geoghegan

As I noted on Twitter earlier, today is the 138th anniversary of the marriage of Matt Hall and Kate Birchall Geoghegan. As this happens to fall on Wedding Wednesday I thought I might just write what will be a very brief post about it.
The wedding took place on 11 July 1874, a Saturday, at St Peter’s Church in Bolton, Lancashire. The couples were married by banns by John Stott, Lecturer & Curate. The present church had been completed and consecrated just three years earlier.
Matthew Hall was aged 24 and a ‘Boiler Maker’, a bachelor of 20 Velvet Walks. His bride to be was Kathleen Birchall Geoghegan, aged 20, a spinster of 19 Portugal St. The clerk misspelt the bride's surname as 'Geoghean'.
The groom's father was John Hall, ‘Cloth Milliner’, and the bride’s father Joseph Bryan Geoghegan, ‘Musician’. Joseph Bryan Geoghegan is also given as witness to the marriage, as is Kate’s sister, Ann Birchall Geoghegan. This is unsurprising as the wedding took place in Kate’s hometown, while Matt’s family were far away in Middlesbrough and in Batley. I wonder whether any of them were present?
I tried, for fun, to find out what the weather might have been like (perhaps inspired by our rather changeable summer weather at the moment). I couldn’t find much for the Bolton area, but there was a huge thunderstorm in Tunbridge Wells that day and three inches of rain fell in two hours. In light of this, and given that Bolton is practically Manchester, I suspect it was most likely raining!
The couple went on to have five children together, between 1879 and 1891. But the marriage didn’t last - perhaps because, as the old rhyme says, 'Saturday brides will have no luck at all'.

Matthew Hall divorced his wife on the grounds of adultery in 1896. He then moved from Lincoln, where the couple had been living for at least five years to take up a post at the Gaiety in Hanley, where he remained until at least 1812. He died in Barnsley in 1922. I have found no trace of Kate following their divorce – a mystery yet to be solved.
L x

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