Rev Watson Hagger

Vicar of Canvey Island 1901-1909

1901 census, Vicarage, Canvey Island

Watson Hagger was the Vicar of Canvey from 1901 – 1909. We have not come across any photos of him so far but this page will be updated if we do. Watson was born in 1855 in Great Chesterford which is just north of Saffron Walden. The son of Thomas and Hannah Hagger, Thomas was a Builder employing 12 men (1871 census) and his family can be traced back generations in Great Chesterfield.

Watson entered St Johns, Cambridge on the 9 Oct 1875 graduating with a B.A. 1879; M.A. 1882. After University his life was a mixture of teaching Maths at schools and being a vicar. From 1879-1884 he was a Maths Master at Portsmouth Grammar School. He was a Curate of St George’s Portsea  in 1883 becoming a priest in 1884 and went on to be the Head Master of Boys High School, Sunderland 1884 – 1892.

It is likely when Watson was in Sunderland that he met his wife-to-be Mary Ann Elizabeth Fenner as she was born in North Hylton, Sunderland in 1874. They were married in St Nicholas of Myra, Strood in 1893 during the time Watson was the Vicar of Tolleshunt Major (1892 – 1901).

Watson, with his wife and two sons Stanley and Harold, arrived on Canvey in 1901 taking up the position of Vicar of Canvey after the death of Rev Henry Hayes. His two daughters Gwendoline and Kathleen were born during his stay on Canvey. So far we have not discover anything about his service to the Island, Henry Hayes must have been a difficult act to follow. But it has been noted that when Rev Joseph Brown took over in 1909 the church was in a very bad state. Even Fred McCave does not mention Rev Watson Hagger in his book.

The Hagger family left the island in 1909, Watson becoming Vicar of St. John the Evangelist, North Woolwich until his death in 1916.

If anyone can add please comment below.

Comments about this page

  • Hi – Great article on Watson Hagger however I think you may have his parentage wrong. I was always under the impression Watson was the younger brother of my Great Grandfather Abel Jesse Hagger and their parents were Jeremiah and Sarah Hagger – as far as I can make out Jeremiah was the first Hagger to settle in Great Chesterford. Jeremiah was a wheel wright and carpenter.

    By David Lee (19/02/2012)
  • David I think you will find that Jeremiah was Watson’s grandfather. Although I have not researched very far back from what I have seen shows Haggers were in the area back in the 1600’s.

    By Janet Penn (20/02/2012)
  • Thanks Janet – you are right I was out one generation. Watson and my Great-grandfather were brothers and Thomas and Hannah their parents. Are there any photographs of Watson in existence?

    By David Lee (25/02/2012)
  • We do not have any. If you come across one let us know we would love a copy

    By Janet Penn (25/02/2012)
  • Jeremiah 1789-1876. Thomas 1821-.children Austin Bryanbell my great great grandfather, brothers Owen, aldrich, alderman , watson, paul and abel, sisters kate, annie and sarah. I also have names …algernon and alvin, any clues ????. Dennis.

    By DENNIS HAGGER (25/02/2012)
  • I think you will find that Aldrich and alderman is in fact Alvin T and Algernon

    By Janet Penn (26/02/2012)
  • It is agreed that alderman is in fact algenon. Alvin was 11yrs in the 1861 census. Thus: Austin B 19/20, Kate 16, Watson 15, Algenon 14, Owen 12, Alvin 11, Abel 8, Annie 4, Paul 2 and Sarah 6months old.They lived at Law Street. Austin married Elizabeth Dawkins,their children Albert Thomas born 1875, siblings unknown to me. Albert married Nellie Dyer in 1896, childen Albert, William, Harold,Austin Bryanbell, Francis May and Betty.

    By DENNIS Hagger (26/02/2012)
  • HI. My brother just sent me this. I am the granddaughter of Watson Hagger, whom I never met, since he died of pneumonia when my mother, Kathleen Hagger was only nine. ‘Watson’ is a family name, and Stanley’s middle name was Watson – he was always known as Watson. I could write a book about the deliriously happy times I had staying with my beloved uncle and his family when he was rector of St Giles Church in Chalfont St. Giles.
    So if anyone out there is interested in further family history I can probably supply some information. As it happens I am in the process of writing my memoirs!
    Maybe some of you are related to me? David Lee, I think you must be my cousin?

    By Rose Shearer (17/01/2020)
  • Hi Rose. Thank you for commenting. Do you have a photo of Watson. We would love to have one to add to this page. You can contact me direct at

    By Janet Penn (17/01/2020)
  • Dear Janet, I was interested in your article on Watson Hagger which I first read some years ago. I have a couple of corrections. First, Watson had a third son, Norman Watson Hagger (my grandfather). He was the eldest (1893 – 1972) and presumably was away at school when the 1901 census was undertaken. He was educated at Forest School and St John’s College, Cambridge. He also took Holy Orders and most of his ministry was as Priest Vicar (sic) at Lincoln Cathedral followed by incumbencies of Coningsby & Tatershall and finally Witham-on-the-Hill. Secondly, Watson was Maths Master at Portsmouth Grammar School (PGS) which was all boys until 1976. I have seen an illustrated history of PGS which contains an early photograph of the staff including Watson (the edition I saw misdated the photograph incidentally). My grandfather had a photograph of his father which I have not seen since the 1970s. I expect it is still extant but locating it is another matter. If it comes to light I shall let you know.

    By Edward Hagger (22/08/2020)
  • Rose Shearer and Edward Hagger must be related to me and David Lee, I have an extensive tree on Ancestry. My father was Harold, G/F Albert T Hagger, and G/G/Grandfather Austin Bryanbell Hagger.

    By Dennis Hagger. (29/09/2021)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.