He was born Francis Henry Coldwell, son of William Edward Coldwell, Prebendary of Lichfield and Rector of Stafford. He changed his name by royal licence to Thicknesse when he married Ann Thicknesse, daughter and sole heir of Ralph Anthony Thicknesse (MP for Wigan), in Clitheroe on 3 July 1855. The marriage yielded five sons and two daughters. One son, Philip Coldwell Thicknesse, became an architect in Liverpool.
He was educated at Bridgnorth Grammar School and Brasenose College, Oxford. He was ordained in 1853 and two years later was made Vicar of Deane, Lancashire. Appointed Rural Dean of Bolton le Moors in 1857 he was later Archdeacon of Northampton before his appointment to the episcopate. His last post before retirement was as Rector of Oxendon, Northamptonshire. At his death he was the oldest Anglican Bishop. There is a memorial to him in Wigan Parish Church.
- National Archives
- Consecration details
- The General Armory of England,Scotland, Ireland, Wales Volume 3. 1878.
- “Who was Who” 1897-1990 London, A & C Black, 1991 ISBN 0-7136-3457-X
- British History On-line
- The Times, Thursday, Jun 21, 1888; pg. 9; Issue 32418; col F The new Suffragan Bishop of Leicester
- "The Clergy List" London, Kelly's, 1913
- Oldest English Bishop. Death Of Dr. Thicknesse The Times Thursday, Nov 03, 1921; pg. 13; Issue 42868; col C
- Church web site
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