Category Archives: Rowe

William and Alice Rowe: flaming torches, stinky fish and older years in 19C Cornwall pt4

On 20 June 1837 Queen Victoria became queen after the death of her uncle William IV.  At that time shoemaker William and Alice Rowe were settled with a large family in Street-an-Nowan, Newlyn, Cornwall. You can read the earlier part of their story here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

That year their eldest son John, by then working as a mason, married Sarah Sampson in neighbouring Penzance; her father was a butcher with a shop and home on Market Jew Street.  In 1839 William and Alice became grandparents when Sarah and John had their first of eight children, Elizabeth.

On 6 June 1841 the census recorded shoemaker William and Alice living in Street-an-Nowan.  Grace and Alice were both at home and working as female servants; Patience (11) and Elizabeth (9-10) were still children.  Youngest child James wasn’t with his parents that evening.  I haven’t confirmed a location for eldest son John for that particular night but his family were living in neighbouring Penzance on Market Jew Street where his wife and daughter were living in her butcher father’s house.  Maybe he was away looking for work as a mason.

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Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn

In June 1841 their oldest daughter Mary Ann had been a servant in the Tolcarne Inn over the Combe; on 21 May 1843 she married a fisherman called Thomas Rowe (no relationship known) in Paul Church.

Pigot’s Directory 1841 reported about Newlyn that in addition to fishing pilchards and mackerel “A valuable lead mine is in the parish, as are several chalybeate springs.  There are two annual fairs held here—on the first Tuesday in October and 8th November”.

Early in spring 1844 Alice became ill with Phithesis: ‘pulmonary tuberculosis or a similar progressive wasting disease’.

However there was happiness in summer 1844 when their daughter Alice Daniel Rowe married fisherman Bernard Victor in Trinity Wesleyan Chapel, Newlyn on 10 June. She moved to neighbouring Mousehole where Bernard lived and fished. Their oldest child, Gamaliel ‘Gift of God’ Victor was baptised on 24 November 1844 in Paul Church.  Bernard had an interest in the Cornish language and spoke with local old people to record words for posterity as the language was dying out.

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Mousehole Harbour

Around about this time (c1844) William’s eldest son John and his young family moved to Wales for him to find work as a mason.

On 9 March 1845 Alice, William’s wife of 33 years and mother of his 9 children, died in Newlyn aged 51.  Their youngest son, James Daniel Rowe, was only 10 at that time.

In March 1851 William had his three daughters Grace, Patience and Elizabeth living with him in Foundry Lane, Street-an-Nowan. Grace had become a straw bonnet maker, so perhaps she’d enjoyed working with her father as a girl and/or preferred making bonnets to being a female servant as she had been ten years before. Patience and Elizabeth were still living at home but with no profession recorded.  Youngest son James was working on the Brittania fishing boat in neighbouring Mousehole.

That was the year of the Great Exhibition at Chrystal Palace London.  A local woman, 84-year-old Mary Kelynack of Tolcarne, became famous nationally by walking nearly 300 miles to London to see the Exhibition, carrying a basket on her head.  There she met the Lord Mayor and took tea – preferring that to wine – with the Lady Mayoress; she was presented with a sovereign.   She was also presented to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

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Paul Church

Two years later William’s daughter Patience Daniel Rowe married mariner Thomas Tonkin Tremethick on 23 January 1853 in Paul Church; William’s first Tremethick grand-child Joe was born on 8 December 1853.

A curious midsummer custom went on in Mount’s Bay in June[1]. On 23 and 28 June tar barrels were lit and flaming torches swung in the streets.  Bonfires were lit in Marazion, the Mount, Newlyn and Mousehole so the Bay “glows with a girdle of flame”.  Young people played ‘Thread-the-needle’ along the streets:  “Lads and lasses join hands, and run furiously through the streets, vociferating “An eye – an eye – an eye!” at length they suddenly stop, and the two last of the string, elevating their clasped hands, form an eye to this enormous needed, through which the thread of populace runs, and thus they continue to repeat the game until weariness dissolves the union.” Unsurprisingly the following day was a lot quieter, with people idling with music on the water (called ‘having a pen’orth of sea’).”

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Boase Street, Newlyn, with mid-path drain

Newlyn at the time may have been scenic but smelt rather overwhelming[2]:  “They are a colony of fisherman, with narrow paved lanes, glistening with pilchard scales in the season – with external staircases and picturesque interiors, of which glimpses are obtained through an open doorway or window.”   However they “may call to mind the semi-barbarous habitations of some foreign countries – such as Spain. The perfume of garlic fills the air, and other odours not so sweet hasten the step of the traveller. These arise from little enclosures which front every cottage door. They are neatly bordered with stones or shells, and consist – not of a flower-bed, but of a dunghill, formed chiefly of the refuse of fish, in which the process of decay is hastened by the activity of many unhappy-looking fowls and pigs.”

On 7 October 1859 William’s youngest son James Daniel married Catherine Jaco. She was a Newlyn girl and the daughter of Master Mariner Benjamin Jaco.  They had the first of their 8 children in January 1860, Benjamin Jaco Rowe [my ancestor].

A few weeks later William became a great-grandfather when John’s oldest daughter Elizabeth had a daughter out of wedlock in Wales – she and the baby’s father Phillip Tripp later married in Madron on 20 March 1862.

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Looking up Foundry Lane

On 2 April 1861 William, still working as a shoemaker, was living at 2 Foundry Lane, in the Street-an-Nowan area of what is now Newlyn. His dressmaker daughter Grace was still living at home with him.  Another daughter, Patience D Tremethick, was living next door at number 3 with her merchant mariner husband Thomas and their five young children; the oldest being 7 and the youngest just 10 months old.

Oldest son John had been widowed in the early 1860s and he remarried on 17 December 1865 in Madron; his wife was a widow called Cecilia Paynter Stevens who had children of her own and lived for a few years in New Zealand.  Around 1866 John’s daughter Elizabeth and her husband Philip Tripp moved away; she died, he put two youngest boys in an orphanage where they lived for many years until the family tracked down the surviving son.

In 18 Sep 1867 his grand-daughter Mary Wright Victor [Alice and Bernard’s oldest daughter] married naval carpenter Edward Albert Kelynack in Newlyn St Peter. Mary stayed in Newlyn for the first years of her marriage while Edward was away at sea, living with her aunt, bonnet-maker Grace Daniel Rowe, William’s second daughter.

William saw his grandson Joe Tremethick start with the West Cornwall Railway in Penzance in 1868; Joe ended up working his way round England with the Great Western Railway.

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Paul Cemetery

William died on 15 December 1869 of old age and exhaustion. His caring eldest child Mary Ann Rowe was present at his death and she registered his death the following day.[3]  He was recorded as 81, although on balance of the evidence of baptisms and the 1841 census he was probably only 76.  William was buried on 19 December in Paul Cemetery up above Newlyn.

Words and photos © Lynne Black, 1 October 2016

[1] Murray’s Handbook for Devon and Cornwall 1859, P185

[2] Murray’s Handbook for Devon and Cornwall 1859, P189

[3] Death certificate 1869, Penzance registration district, Cornwall, entry 494.

William and Alice Rowe: shoemaking, family, storms and wrestling in 19C Cornwall pt3

William and Alice, both born c1793, grew up in West Penwith district, just a few miles from Lands End, Cornwall. You can read the story of Williams’ childhood in
William Rowe 1793 pt1: Boyhood in a poor Cornish fishing town and their early married life here in part 2: William Rowe, Cordwainer of Newlyn and Alice Daniel of Sancreed.

Photo of Foundry Lane, Newlyn

Foundry Lane, Street-an-Nowan, Newlyn

William and Alice’s son and fourth child James was baptised on 16 June 1822 but died young. Their daughter Alice was baptised on 31 October 1824 and sixth child Thomas was baptised 19 August 1827. Next came Patience Daniel who was baptised on 15 March 1830, all were baptised in Paul Church.

Times continued to be hard for the ordinary people; the summer of 1823 was a wet one with the rain delaying the gathering in of hay and beating down corn so it would not ripen.  However signs were good for the pilchard harvest.

In April 1827 there was the ‘melancholy circumstance’ when ‘A very fine and fast-sailing-fishing-smack, named the Blucher… manned by six men and a boy’ left Newlyn for Bristol but the weather worsened; they were heading for Padstow but the smack and her crew were lost when the boat ran onto the Dunbar Sands and “Five widows and eighteen children are left to lament the disastrous event that has deprived them of their natural protectors; the unfortunate deceased were all men of excellent character”.[1]

On Monday 24 September 1827 there was local excitement when a wrestling championship was held in a field on the Newlyn-Penzance road with two champion wrestlers “Mr [John] Polkinghorne, the champion of England, and Mr Richard Saundry, in his day the champion of the west, were the well-chosen umpires.”

The very enthusiastic Morning Chronicle reporter wrote that “At twelve o’clock the sight was very imposing – some thousands of the most athletic young men that the world can produce (each of whom would have honoured Leonidas at the Straits of Thermopylae, Bonaparte in passing the Bridge of Lodi, or even Wellington himself in the battle of Waterloo), seated or standing in perfect silence and order, and with intense interest, to witness and participate in a sport for which their ancestors were so justly renowned.  It was impossible for any man, deserving that name, to behold the spectacle of so many manly youths assembled on such an occasion, without emotions of admiration and delight, and without congratulating himself as belonging to the species.  It was a sight and occasion, as connected with the maintenance of strength, courage and agility, among the people, worthy the countenance, presence, encouragement, and support of Majesty itself.”[2]

Another heavy storm in Mounts Bay was reported in November 1828 and the Dove broke its moorings and made for Newlyn: “A boat was launched at Newlyn, but only three persons could be found to venture out; these were Mr Pearce, the agent for Lloyd’s at Penzance; Lieut. Hearle of the Preventive Service at Mousehole, and Mr Nicholas, carpenter of the Dove, who was on shore on duty.  This being the case, the boat could not be got off, and the spectators hastened to the beach, where the crew of the Dove strove to get a line on shore but were unable to do so, in consequence of the offset of the waves.

“The fisherman brought the ropes of their nets, and after great efforts, a rope was thrown on board by Mr Pearce, at the eminent risk of his life.  The connexion once secured, other ropes were got from the vessel to the shore, and in about half an hour the whole of the crew were rescued from their perilous situation.  Lieut. Stocker was the last person who left the vessel.  As it was supposed that one of the crew was missing, Mr Pearce volunteered to go on board to see for him, which hazardous enterprize he effected, having been twice washed from the gunwhale by the tremendous sea that was running.  No person being visible, he returned, and afterwards it was ascertained that all the crew were safe.”[3]

On 26 Jun 1830, in his gilded world, George IV died and his brother became William IV.

Meanwhile back in Newlyn, in December 1830, another storm pounded Newlyn and the Sherborne Mercury reported that “Gwavas Quay, the road of communication between Street-on-Nowan [SIC] and Newlyn Town [the two parts of what’s now Newlyn] is quite beaten down, and the road from Penzance to Tolcarne has been overflowed in such a manner as to be rendered totally impassable.”[4]

William and Alice’s daughter Elizabeth was baptised on 5 December 1832 and their ninth and final child, my ancestor James Daniel Rowe, was baptised on 30 March 1835 in Paul Church.

The final part of William and Alice’s story is written here.

Words and photos © Lynne Black, 14 August 2016

[1] Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle – Sunday 15 April 1827, P1, BNA

[2] Morning Chronicle – Tuesday 02 October 1827, P3, BNA

[3] North Devon Journal – Thursday 27 November 1828, P3, Col 4, BNA

[4] Morning Post – Thursday 09 December 1830, P4, Col 4, BNA

Photo of Newlyn Beach, Cornwall

William Rowe, Cordwainer of Newlyn and Alice Daniel of Sancreed pt2

Shoemaker William Rowe of Street-an-Nowan [Newlyn], Cornwall, married Alice Daniel, a blacksmith’s daughter from neighbouring Sancreed parish, on Saturday 17 October 1812 in Paul Parish Church up above Newlyn.  See Part 1 of his story here.

Alice was expecting the first of their nine known children, Mary Ann Rowe.  They baptised Mary Ann on Sunday 17 January 1813 in Paul Church, and got on with settling in to life as a young family.

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Sancreed Church exterior

On 19 January 1817 a hurricane raged which destroyed some of the foundation stones of neighbouring Penzance’s pier and injured much of its dry dock.  ‘It being a spring tide the water rose an unusual height; the green between Penzance and Newlyn was torn up, and the soil in several places washed away’ and ‘at Newlyn and Mousehole on the west, and at Marazion on the east, the effects were dreadfully felt’[1] [Some things do not change; the green between Penzance and Newlyn was torn up as recently as February 2014.]  ‘The sea rose mountains high and impelled by the wind, went up much further on land than ever remembered. The may-pole at Marazion, which had, for many years, braved the fury of the storm, was washed away, with the cliff whereon it stood.  The back premises of the Commercial Inn were through down, and a fine cow carried out to sea.’

Photo of Newlyn, Old Harbour, at low tide

Newlyn, Old Harbour, low tide

‘The greatest sufferers are the poor fisherman of Newlyn and Mousehole; the boats which were hauled up beyond high water mark, being dashed to pieces.  Many of the boats for the mackerel and ling fishery were fitted up: the loss to the poor fisherman will be almost irreparable, as the season will soon commence and they cannot provide new boats. At Street-Nowan [SIC] near Newlyn, many houses have been washed down.’[2] Street-an-Nowan, the lower part of Newlyn, is likely to have been the area in which William, Alice and baby Mary lived so they must have been terrified.

In 1811 Prince George had become Prince Regent and I’ve found a couple of intriguing references to his domestic situation and the reaction of the people of Newlyn; they seem to have favoured his wife, the colourful and popular Caroline of Brunswick.

On 28 Jan 1817 the Prince Regent was on his way to open Parliament when there was an assassination attempt.[3] On 2 August 1817 the Royal Cornwall Gazette published a letter to him with a long list of names of men across the area, swearing loyalty to him and repeating “assurances of our loyal and unalterable Attachment; and to express our Indignation at, and Abhorrence of, the late treasonable Attack on the Sacred Person of your Royal Highness…..”

However William and Alice’s would have been busy following the birth of their second child: their first son John Rowe was born in Newlyn and baptised 24 August 1817 in Paul Church.

On Tuesday 7 July there was a shocking event in Newlyn reported widely and “witnessed by several hundreds of spectators.  At Newlyn, near Penzance, a swarm of bees suddenly alighted on a boy’s head, and remained there for a considerable time.  The boy, almost terrified to death, was required to smoke tobacco, to preserve him from being injured.  In the mean time a hive was procured and held over his head for some time; when by degrees the bees all entered it, without inflicting the least injury on the boy.”

Later that year, in November 1817, there was mourning in the country when Princess Charlotte, popular only child of the Prince Regent and Princess Caroline died in labour, giving birth to a stillborn son.

William and Alice’s second daughter, Grace Daniel Rowe, was born on Tuesday 7 December 1819 in Newlyn.  She was the only family member to be baptised a Wesleyan Methodist; the baptism took place on 7 January 1821. This was the first time William’s trade was recorded: he was a shoemaker.

At that time the road from Penzance to Newlyn, hurricanes permitting, “was over a level green about a mile in length, passing through the village of Street-an-Nowan, which contains about 300 inhabitants; in it there is a respectable meeting-house belonging to the Methodists, where divine service is regularly performed; there is also in this village a Sunday School for poor children.”[4]

In November 1820 [now] Queen Caroline was found innocent of charges of infidelity brought against her by her husband, [now] King George IV and Newlyn erupted in joy:  “Last night’s mail having announced the joyful tidings of the Queen’s victory over her vile accusers, this morning was ushered in by the display of flags of almost every description at the mast heads of the different vessels in this port, and on poles in many parts of the town and the neighbouring villages of Newlyn and Mousehole.  Subscriptions have been entered into for defraying the expenses of bonfires, tar barrels, &c and at this moment there may be seen on the opposite hill, over Newlyn, a quantity of tar barrels, reflecting their vivid flames in the mirror of water below, whilst on the rocks, near the shore, bonfires innumerable blaze up and enliven the scene.
“Long live Queen Caroline,” – “Queen Caroline for ever,” – may be seen on almost every hat, and in every varied form and colour, whilst parties, preceded by music, parade the streets, and rend the air by their acclamations of “Long live Queen Caroline.”  A requisition has been made to the Mayor, to illuminate the town on Wednesday night, and several large dinner parties have already formed at the hotel, and the respectable Inns, to celebrate the glorious 10th of November, in a manner that may not be unworthy the great victory that day obtained by her most gracious Majesty Queen Caroline.”[5]
Queen Caroline died in August following year; she had been denied entry to Westminster Abbey for the Coronation held the month before on 19 July 1821.

Please see my next post for the next part of William and Alice’s story: William and Alice Rowe: shoemaking, family, storms and wrestling in 19C Cornwall pt3
Words and photos © Lynne Black, 7 August 2016

[1] The History of Mount’s Bay, comprising Saint Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Penzance, Mousehole and &c &cm 1820, pp48-50, Internet Archive

[2] Exeter Flying Post – Thursday 30 January 1817, P4, Col 3, via BNA

[3] Archontology.org  http://www.archontology.org/nations/uk/king_uk/george4.php

[4] The History of Mount’s Bay, comprising Saint Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Penzance, Mousehole and &c &cm 1820, P63, Internet Archive

[5] Morning Chronicle – Friday 17 November 1820, P3, Col 3, Accessed via BNA

 

 

Photo of Newlyn Harbour from Newlyn Beach, Cornwall

William Rowe 1793 pt1: Boyhood in a poor Cornish fishing town

photo of Paul Church

Paul Church

William Rowe was born c1793 in Newlyn, Paul Parish, in the West Penwith area of Cornwall.  He was the second son of labourer James Rowe and his wife Patience (nee Rodda).[1]  William was baptised aged 2-3 on 29 Mar 1795 in Paul Parish Church[2].  His was the first generation to be born in Paul Parish; his parents were from St Buryan parish.

I’ve found two brothers and a sister for William: James was baptised on 3 October 1790 and Ann was baptised on 23 September 1792.  However she died in infancy and was buried on 8 June 1793. Younger brother Thomas Rodda Rowe was baptised on 13 January 1802, all in Paul Parish Church.

William’s childhood years were those of the French Revolution, of war with France and the Regency. During those wars a battery was located on the road between Newlyn and Mousehole “forming a great security to the Bay, from enemy’s ships, or privateers, should any of them be induced to visit any part of it.  Adjoining to this battery stands a furnace for the purpose of making shot red hot.  During the war, this battery was governed by a small party of the royal artillery.”[3]

Times were hard in West Penwith and when he was about 7 in 1801 the family would have been hungry as a result of the high price of wheat.  It was reported in the London Courier and Evening Gazette on 20 April 1801 that in St Austell, 40 miles away, the tinners had tried forcing farmers to sell it at an affordable price by threatening to put nooses round farmers’ necks until they signed a document promising to sell it at an affordable rate; but they were taken into custody at St Mawes. In Helston the Volunteer Cavalry found it hard to keep order until most of the local farmers came forward and promised to sell wheat the following Saturday at ‘two guineas, and barley at one guinea the bushel’.

In Penzance two Newlyn men petitioned the Mayor that he reduce the prices in Newlyn; but when he chose not to listen they ‘assembled on their own authority’.  The constables and military were called out and further ‘mischief was prevented’ but the disturbances kept many country people away from selling their goods at the markets.[4]

In 1806 there was a call for designs for a bridge across the small river Coombe in Newlyn which divided the Paul and Madron parishes. The bridge was to ‘to contain in length about seventy feet and in breadth about eighteen feet ’. Designs were due to be considered at the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace in January 1807 with the target for completion 6 October 1807.

In October 1809 there was a huge gale, and the ‘L’Eole, a French prize to the Surveillante and Medusa frigates, laden with salt, &c, arrived in the Mount’s Bay a few days ago, and being driven by the gale from Gwavas Lake, ran for Newlyn Pier, but got upon the rocks, where she now lies’ and it was doubtful she could be rescued as the gale still continued.

Photo of altar of Paul Parish Church

Paul Parish Church

In August 1812 a good crop of potatoes, was reported, which coupled with a good haul of pilchards and hake, ‘greatly relieved the poor in Cornwall from the pressure occasioned by the high price of corn’.[5]

So it would have been on a slightly fuller stomach that William married Alice Daniel, a blacksmith’s daughter from neighbouring Sancreed parish, on Saturday 17 October 1812 in Paul Parish Church up above Newlyn.

Their story continues here: William Rowe, Cordwainer of Newlyn and Alice Daniel of Sancreed

Words and photos © Lynne Black, 31 July 2016

 

[1] A DOB for William of c1788 DOB is indicated by his death certificate and the 1851 & 1861 censuses. However even though they match, I believe that William was the third child and not the first, given his baptism year 1795 and the fact he was stated on the 1841 census as being 50. Age at marriage isn’t indicated in the record.

[2] Paul Baptism registers accessed via Cornwall OPC website and FindMyPast

[3] The History of Mount’s Bay, comprising Saint Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Penzance, Mousehole and &c &cm 1820, pp75-76, Printed and sold by J Thomas, via Internet Archive http://archive.org/stream/historyofmountsb00penz#page/n0/mode/2up

[4] London Courier and Evening Gazette – Monday 20 April 1801, P3, Col 2, via BNA

[5] Caledonian Mercury – Saturday 09 February 1811, p2, col 1, Lloyds’ Marine List, Feb 5th

Cecilia Paynter Stevens, later Alder later Rowe

Cecilia Paynter Stevens is the second wife of my distant cousin John Rowe, she had a family of her own and the two step families seem to have had close ties over the years.

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St Ives, by Chris, ScubaBeer, Flickr, Creative Commons

Cecilia had been born in Salcombe, Devon, c1817, the daughter of a Cornish master mariner from St Ives, Cornwall, called Henry Pearce Stevens and his wife Cecilia, who happened to be in Salcombe when Cecilia arrived, her brothers were born home in St Ives.  In the second half of the 1830s Henry moved his family to Swansea, Glamorganshire, where they were living on Mariner’s Row in June 1841.

Cecilia was living with her parents at that time, aged 24. A young man named Samuel Alder, aged 21, a Northumberland mariner’s son working as a carver and gilder, was also living in Swansea with his parents. In January 1842, although still living in Swansea, he and Cecilia called banns in Islington, Middlesex, before marrying in St James’ Church, Swansea. Three months later they emigrated to New Zealand.

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Nelson, New Zealand; photo by Phillip Capper, Flickr Creative Commons license

I’ve found information on their life together via Ancestry and FindAGrave to the effect that: On 29 April 1842 the young couple embarked on the Sir John Forbes and after a voyage of 96 days arrived in New Zealand, arriving 23 August 1842.  Together they appear to have had four children in Nelson, New Zealand: Cecilia c1844, James Dees c1845, Sarah who died in infancy in 1846 and Elizabeth  who died in infancy in 1848.

In July 1848 Samuel was working with a plumber called Mr Stallard in Trafalgar Street; together they were advertising in the Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle for an apprentice for their business.

On 9 September 1848, and 21 April 1849 Samuel was one of the many names on a letter published in the Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle campaigning to receive what they perceived as a fairer share of the expenditure paid for by their taxes.

However later in 1849 Samuel became ill and on 30 December 1849 died of consumption [tuberculosis]. Cecilia was pregnant at the time with their fifth child, son Samuel, so at the age of 33 was a widow with three children under the age of 7 and the far side of the world from her family.

It was reported in the Examiner and Chronicle that on 14 May 1851 Cecilia set sail with her young family for Sydney on a brigantine called the Comet.

In don’t know yet how the rest of her journey progressed but by April 1861 she was living in Chapel Street, Penzance, with her parents and three surviving children.

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Madron Parish Church by GrassRootsGroundswell, Flickr

On 17 December 1865 Cecilia married her second husband, John Rowe, in Madron parish.   John was recorded as being a stone cutter at that time. In July 1864 John’s daughter Catharine had married a carpenter called George John Miller.  One of her witnesses has the surname Alder so either John and Cecilia were in touch at that point or maybe met at the wedding.

In 1866 her oldest daughter Cecilia, married.  Her groom, James Flett, was a ship’s carpenter who’d been born in Orkney but grew up in Tynemouth, Northumberland. Cecilia had been working as a corset-maker in 1861.  Cecilia and James moved away to live in Tynemouth but in both the 1871 and 1881 census James wasn’t home with her; Celia was visiting local friends in 71 and had her niece staying in 81.

In April 1871 stone mason John and Cecilia were living in Leskinnick Place, Penzance. Making up their household were John’s son John, his young orphan grandchildren Annie and Samuel Tripp and Cecilia’s son James Dees Alder. They also had a boarder to bring in some extra money.

15 August 1874 saw her son James’ marriage to Elizabeth Reynolds in Penzance St Mary’s church. By 1881 they had settled in Chapel Street, Penzance, where they lived together for several decades.  They had their first daughter, Elizabeth ‘Annie’ c1877 and their second Alice Margaret ‘Hettie’ in summer 1880.

In 1875 Cecilia’s son Samuel married Elizabeth Richards Jones, a Welsh woman from Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire.  They became parents c Feb 1877 with the arrival of Mary Berryman Alder. Samuel and  Elizabeth went on to have three more children: Cecilia ‘Cissie’ Flett c May 1879, Fanny Stevens c August 1882 and Samuel James Dees.

Samuel was a mariner and on 4 May 1883 their three daughters were all baptised together in Penzance St John after Fanny’s birth so perhaps he’d been away at sea, or perhaps they’d just never got round to it.  Samuel James Dees was baptised in 1888, again in St John’s church.

John and Cecilia were in living at 11 Taroveor Terrace, Penzance, in April 1881. That evening two Rowe grand-children – 11-year-old Thomas and 9-year-old Sarah, John’s son Thomas and Phyllis’ oldest children – had run along and up the road from Alma Place to see them and were recorded in both households’ census returns.

That night her step-granddaughter Annie Tripp was visiting James and Elizabeth Alder and Annie and Hettie their baby daughters, so links between the step-families seem to have been strong.

The 3 April 1881 census is the last record I have for John and he had died before the 2 April 1891 census.

In 1882 John’s daughter Annie Blewett and family had moved back to Penzance, where they suffered the deaths of several children in infancy, including twins.  In spring 1884 they had another son, who they named James Dees Alder Blewett, after Cecilia’s son, Annie’s step brother, another link between the two families.

In 1886 Cecilia’s oldest daughter Cecilia Flett died in Tynemouth aged approx 42. Her widower James was living with his brother Alexander there in 1901, I think he was the James Flett who died at sea in January 1904.

In 1891 Cecilia herself was living with her son and daughter-in-law James and Elizabeth Alder, and their daughters Annie and Hettie.  She died in early 1894 aged approx 77.

James Dees Alder lived until 1903 when he died and was buried in Penzance Cemetery. His daughter Elizabeth ‘Annie’ Anne married tailor Joseph Pascoe in 1907 and both the newly-weds and younger sister Alice ‘Hettie’ Margaret were still living with James’ widow Elizabeth in 1911. Hettie married a man called Norman and moved to the USA, not necessarily in that order. Elizabeth Alder lived on until January 1937, leaving her money to daughter Elizabeth Pasco. A few months after the funeral her family auctioned off the contents of her house – named “Crewe Nelson” after the birth places of Elizabeth and James – including a walnut cheffonier, bird in case, much mahogany furniture and a mangle. [Info from the BNA collection on FMP.]

Cecilia’s youngest son Samuel Alder died in 1913.  A wonderful family biography on Find-A-Grave tells me that after being widowed Samuel’s wife Elizabeth moved to the United States for six years; I don’t have access to the passenger lists but I suspect if her children Fanny and Sam didn’t travel with her they would have followed soon afterwards as they both married and lived in the US.

Samuel and Elizabeth’s oldest surviving child Cecilia ‘Cissie’ had married a 5’9″ 120lb Newlyn-born mason called Henry James in 1905 and lived in Tolcarne (now part of Newlyn).  He became a sapper in the war but was invalided out in 1918.  They had two boys and two girls together by 1915. By 1939 Henry was a Master Builder, still living in Newlyn.

Samuel’s widow Elizabeth Alder came back to Penzance/Madron in 1919 and died there in 1936.

Thanks to Marj Hickman and Kate Cunningham of the Ancestry UK group on Facebook for their help with Cecilia’s story.

Text © Lynne Black, 15 May 2016;
Sources, Ancestry, FindMyPast, Cornwall OPCs, Find-A-Grave, Flickr
Nelson photo by Phillip Capper on Flickr, Creative Commons license
Madron Parish Church picture by GrassRootsGroundswell on Flickr, Creative Commons license
St Ives photo by Chris, ScubaBeer, Flickr, Creative Commons license
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/

John Rowe, b1817 and his eventful family life

photo of Paul Church

Paul Church

John was the eldest son of William Rowe, a shoemaker living in Newlyn, Cornwall, nine miles from Lands End, and his wife Alice Daniel, a blacksmiths daughter. He was baptised in Paul Church on 24 August 1817; this is two years after the battle of Waterloo and three years before the death of King George III and the birth of Florence Nightingale.

Of William and Alice’s nine children he was the only one to live in neighbouring (and rival) town Penzance.  This could be because when in 1837, three months after Queen Victoria took the throne, when he was 20 he married a girl from Penzance (Madron parish) called Sarah Sampson. She was a butcher’s daughter who was one of eight children, having six sisters and a brother.

Their first of their own seven children, daughter Elizabeth, was born in 1840; she was followed in 1843 by Catharine Anne Sampson and in 1844 by Sarah.

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Madron Parish Church, by GrassRootsGroundswell on Flickr, Creative Commons

However soon after her birth they headed east to Devonport, [Plymouth] in Devon where their first son Thomas Henry was born in early 1848. I suspect that they left the girls back in Penzance with Sarah’s father rather than taking them along too.

John and Sarah were back in Penzance by 15 November 1849 when Thomas was baptised in Madron Parish Church, Penzance. This is the first occasion where John’s trade is specified: he is a mason which could explain why he was in Devonport, looking for work perhaps, I know from another branch of my family that there were many quarries in the area. John and Sarah had another daughter c1850 called Alice Emma, named for John’s late mother who had died in March 1845.

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The 1851 census found them living centrally in Penzance in Market Jew Street (pictured in a postcard taken c1910), with John again listed as a mason. Market Jew Street led to neighbouring Marazion. One interpretation of the name Marazion is understood to be a blurring out of the name Marghas Yow or Jew (Thursday Market).  A statue of Penzance’s most famous son, Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) gazes down from the top of Market Jew Street. He was a chemist and Chair of the Royal Society during the enlightenment, his most famous legacy was the creation of the Humphry Davy Lamp, a miners’ safety lamp which would change colour if dangerous gases were present and would extinguish if no oxygen was present, saving many, many, miners’ lives.

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St Mary’s Church, Penzance

During John’s time Penzance was a busting market town, and the opening of the railway in 1849 strengthened this position. In 1852 he and Sarah had another daughter there, Anne Sampson Rowe.

It wasn’t long before the family moved again, presumably for John to find work, for their next child, John Daniel was born in summer 1859, in Lower Solva, Whitchurch, Pembrokeshire, in the west of Wales.

At the end of that year John and Sarah became grand-parents when their unmarried oldest daughter Elizabeth gave birth to Annie Tripp Rowe.  The family lived on for a couple of years there, with Elizabeth working as a washerwoman in 1861, and Sarah likely to be looking after both her young children and her first grand-child.  However on 20 March 1862 Elizabeth married a Philip Kemp Tripp back in Penzance, Madron Chapelry and John was one of her witnesses.

John’s first wife Sarah had died at some point after 7 April 1861 and John re-married on 17 December 1865 in Madron parish.  His second wife was a widow called Cecilia Alder (nee Stevens) who had three children of her own living with her after a few years living round the far side of the world.  John was recorded as being a stone cutter at that time. In July 1864 John’s daughter Catharine had married a carpenter called George John Miller.  One of her witnesses has the surname Alder so either John and Cecilia were in touch at that point or maybe met at the wedding.

By the time of John and Cecilia’s marriage in December 1865 his oldest child Elizabeth Tripp had had two more children, boys called Samuel and George. Within two years of the marriage Elizabeth and Philip had moved away.  At some point after the birth of her last child Philip in 1867 in Southsea, Hampshire in or just before 1869, Elizabeth died.  In 1869, while his youngest must only have been about 2 or 3 and motherless, Philip Snr walked out of his children’s lives, never to return.

John’s second child, Catharine Miller, had also moved to Portsmouth, Hampshire where she and George had sons George in summer 1867 and John in spring 1868. A few years later the family moved to Wales where it appears they moved round, probably looking for work for carpenter George.

John’s shoemaker father William Rowe died in December 1869, aged 81, in Newlyn, the next village.

In April 1871 stone mason John and Cecilia were living in Leskinnick Place, Penzance. Making up their household were John’s son John, their young orphan grandchildren Annie and Samuel Tripp and Cecilia’s son James Alder. They also had a boarder to bring in some extra money.

In the early 1870s, news came about Philip Tripp, Elizabeth’s widower.  He’d actually died at Wurdah in the East Indies [India] in January 1870. With effects worth less than £100 Philip’s will, proved on 8 January 1872 “granted at Bodmin under the usual Limitations to John Rowe of Penzance Mason the Grandfather and Guardian of Annie Tripp Spinster and Samuel Tripp Minors and of George Tripp and Philip Tripp Infants the Children and only Next of Kin.”

I’m sure that John and Cecilia would have been horrified and – not knowing where their two youngest Tripp grand-children were – feared they were living in poverty or had died. However they must have set to work looking for them.

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Anvil, by Doctor_Bob

In the 1870s John’s youngest daughter Alice was going through hard times and may have fallen out with her family, or at least become homeless. In April 1871 she was unmarried, several months pregnant and living in Penzance Union workhouse. Her daughter Elizabeth ‘Lily’, named perhaps for Anne’s late sister, was baptised on 30 June 1871 in Madron Church [up above Penzance]. It may be that she had already met and started an affair with widowed Madron blacksmith William Henry Jenkin as on 13 January 1874 the older of her twin sons was baptised William Henry, and on 7 March 1877 her daughter Sarah Jane Jenkin Rowe gave a very obvious indicator of their relationship.

John’s son Thomas Henry married a fisherman’s daughter from Mousehole in 1872 called Phillis Harry Wright. The wedding took place back at Paul Church where John had been baptised over 50 years before.  They went on to have four, possibly five, children together, the last in 1876, but stayed locally in Penzance. However as Thomas wasn’t home for the 1881, 1891 or 1901 census (although Phillis described herself as married rather than widowed for each) either he spent a lot of time working away from home,  or it’s possible that he had disappeared from their lives.

John’s sixth child Annie Sampson married fisherman John Blewett in St Mary’s in May 1873. Within a few years they had moved to Killamarsh [then] in Yorkshire and John Blewett had changed from fishing to working as a sawyer.

In April 1880 John’s youngest daughter Alice married her blacksmith lover and father of her children William Henry Jenkin in Madron Church.

John and Cecilia are in living 11 Taroveor Terrace, Penzance, on 3 April 1881. That evening two Rowe grand-children – 11-year-old Thomas and 9-year-old Sarah, their stone mason son Thomas and Phyllis’ oldest children – had run along and up the road from Alma Place to see them and were recorded in both households’ census returns.  By this time John’s grandson Samuel Tripp was in the navy and away on HMS Invicible.

That same night Annie Tripp was visiting James Dees Alder [Cecilia’s son], his wife Elizabeth and Annie and Hettie their baby daughters, so links between the step-families seem to have been strong.

The 3 April 1881 census is the last record I have for John and he had died before the 2 April 1891 census.

However hopefully he lived on long enough to meet one of his two missing Tripp grand-sons.  They had been  tracked down to North Bristol, Gloucestershire.  By April 1871 6-year-old George and 4-year-old Philip had been placed in The New Orphan Houses at Ashley Down, in the north Bristol area in Gloucestershire, far away from everyone they knew. It appears that George died aged 7 in the orphanage only about 3 months after his father’s probate hearing, in spring 1872.  Philip was still at the orphanage in 1881, listed as a scholar.  So shortly after that his grand-parent(s) must have found him and brought him home to Penzance. Cruelly Philip didn’t have much time with his family as he died in early 1884, when he must have been approx 17 years old.

In 1882 John’s daughter Annie Blewett and family had moved back to Penzance, where they suffered the deaths of several children in infancy, including twins.  In spring 1884 they had another son, who they named James Dees Alder Blewett, after Cecilia’s son, Annie’s step brother.

In April 1891 Cecilia Rowe was living with her son and daughter-in-law James and Elizabeth Alder, and their daughters Annie and Hettie.  She died in early 1894.

Text © Lynne Black, 1 May 2016;
Stone image from MorgueFiles
Madron Parish Church image by GrassRootsGroundswell on Flickr, Creative Commons license
Nelson photo by Phillip Capper on Flickr, Creative Commons license
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/

Alice Rowe, the Workhouse and the Venerable Blacksmith

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Penzance Harbour by Liz Pycock, Flickr, Creative Commons

Alice was the fifth child of mason John Rowe and his wife Sarah Sampson, a butcher’s daughter. Born in late 1859 she grew up in Penzance but when she was about seven the family moved, probably for work, to Whitchurch in Pembrokeshire, South Wales.

She was her parents’ fourth daughter and would have grown up in a largely female household with siblings Elizabeth, Catharine, Sarah, Thomas and Annie. After the family moved to Whichurch a new baby was born: John Daniel.

Then scandal hit the family and that same year [1859] 10-year-old Alice would have seen her oldest sister, 19-year-old Elizabeth, have a baby out of wedlock [she later married the baby’s father].  The family moved back to Penzance when Alice was 12 and her mother Sarah is likely to have died c 1863 when Alice would have been aged 12-13.  Her sister Catharine married in 1864 and their father got re-married, to a widow named Cecilia Alder, in December 1865 when she was 16.

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Madron Church by grassrootsgroundswell, Flickr

By 1867 her oldest sister Elizabeth was located in Southsea, Hampshire with husband Philip Tripp and their four children. It looks like she may have been staying near Catharine who had her two eldest sons in Portsea, Hampshire, in 1866 and 1868.

Catharine had moved on to Alton by 1870 but Elizabeth was back in Penzance where she died in spring 1870. Her two older children Annie and Samuel moved in with their Rowe grandparents, but for some strange and horrible reason her two infant Tripp nephews left with their father Philip, and when he left for India he left them in Ashley Down Orphanage in North Bristol, Gloucestershire.

So all in all Alice had a pretty eventful home family life with loss and illegitimacy a big part of this.

By late 1870 she herself was pregnant outside of marriage, her baby was christened on 30 June 1871, and named Elizabeth ‘Lily’ for Alice’s late older sister.  Shockingly poor Alice had been living for at least the last three months of her pregnancy in the Union Workhouse, Penzance which housed 400 people had had been built in 1838. I think this especially shocked me as sister Elizabeth had had her illegitimate daughter looked after by grandparents, but perhaps Alice had fallen out with John and Cecilia or maybe  their household was full.

I don’t have information about how long Alice was in the workhouse, but I do know that in in 1873 she was pregnant again, this time with twin boys. They were christened William Henry and Thomas Edwin in 13 January 1874 in Madron Church. I believe their father would have been William Henry Jenkin, a blacksmith from Madron Churchtown. When the twins were born Alice was 24 and William a 54-year-old widower who had a previous family of six with his first wife Elizabeth who had died two decades earlier.  Of the twins, only William survived into adulthood, it appears Thomas died young.

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Anvil, by Doctor_Bob

I don’t know how their day-to-day relationship worked, but Alice had another child called Sarah Jane Jenkin Rowe who was baptised in Madron on 7 March 1877 but with no father’s name recorded. However little Sarah had died by early 1878.  Alice would have been pregnant again with Janette Ann who was baptised on 25 July of that year. Janette was followed by Wilfred John who was baptised on 21 August 1879. Again they were baptised in Madron with no father named, again I believe both most have died in infancy.

On 4 April 1880 Alice, pregnant again, and William finally married, in Madron parish church where their children had been baptised.  Their final child, Edgar Nelson Jenkin, was born that summer and was baptised on 25 July 1881.

 

In 1891 William, Alice, and sons William and Edgar were living in Madron with 17-year-old William working with his father as a blacksmith.

In spring 1900 when  Alice was 50 and William 81 their youngest son Edgar married Beatrice Louise Paul, aged just 18. Within a year he was away, with the 1901 census listing his wife home alone at what looks like the Regent Bakery on Rosevean Place, Penzance.

Their older son Henry married sailor’s daughter Martha Jane Dennis on 6 April 1901 in Madron Church.

Two months later the family had tragic news: Edgar had died in Kronstad, South Africa. This explained why he wasn’t home for the census but was an unexpected location, although it was the time of the Boer war so perhaps he was a soldier, although I haven’t found military records for him.

In late 1902 Edgar’s widow Beatrice re-married; her second husband was Stanley Edyvean and he was a motor engineer. They had six children together, moving away for a time to St Austell [Cornwall], but later they moved away to Warwickshire where Beatrice died in 1860 in Bedworth.

Back in Madron, Henry and Martha had also become parents, although by 1911 only one of their three children, Meryyn, born 1908, had survived infancy. His 60-year-old mother Alice Jenkin nee Rowe, who had outlived all but one of her seven children, died in in late 1910 leaving her 91-year-old widower Henry living with Henry and Martha in 1911.  Old Henry died later that year.

When you hear facts like that about people’s life, often grim, it’s hard to get a sense of the person behind the stats.  Was Henry grim and hated his job?  A family man? Annoying? Obsessive and dull? Or jolly? Or something else entirely?

Well apparently Henry was venerable.  When Henry turned 91 in 1910 it was reported in The Cornishman that

“Mr W H Jenkin, the venerable blacksmith, of Madron, celebrated his 91st birthday on Tuesday.  As usual the respected old gentleman was the recipient of a large number of birthday greetingse [SIC]. Considerably over a hundred picture postcards conveyed happy wishes, whilst others showed their appreciation of the veteran by sending birthday presents as a kindly remembrance, some coming from Australia, Africa, America, and different counties to the home country.  Amongst others who called to shake hands and have a chat were Mrs Robins Bolitho and Mrs Fitzgerald, Rev W B Tremenheere, and Rev Darch. Although over ninety Mr Jenkin converses very freely, clearly remembering incidents of 70 and 80 years ago, and highly amused his callers with some interesting reminiscences of when he was a boy.  Mr Jenkin greatly appreciates all the kindness shown him by so many friends which, he says, makes him fell as if he may yet see the century.”

Well although he didn’t make his century, I’m so happy that Alice may have had good company and a social circle to see her through good times and bad.

Text © Lynne Black, 17 April 2016;
Anvil photo by Doctor_Bob on MorgueFiles,
Penzance Harbour photo by Liz Pycock, Flickr, Creative Commons
Photo of St Madron’s Church, by Grassrootsgroundswell Flickr, Creative Commons license
First published: 17 April 2016: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2016/04/17/alice-rowe/