Surname First name(s) Dates (if known) Shortcut
Bouverie Louisa Mary Yeames 1826 - 1913 Click here
Gowlland Alfred   1839 - after 1911 Click here
Gowlland Alice Maud 1901  - 1998 Click here
Gowlland Amy Mary (Peggy) 1911 - 1985 Click here
Gowlland Arthur 1832 - 1904 Click here
Gowlland Arthur 1862 - 1883 Click here
Gowlland Charles 1827 - 1894 Click here
Gowlland Charles Septimus 1878 - 1968 Click here
Gowlland Edward Sydney 1875 - 1895 Click here


Edward Lake

1876 - 1942

Click here

Gowlland Egbert 1872 - 1952 Click here
Gowlland Elizabeth Lyon (or Lion)   1827 - 1860? Click here
Gowlland Francis Edward  1839 - 1901 Click here
Gowlland Geoffrey Cathcart 1885 - 1980 Click here
Gowlland Geoffrey Price 1908 - 1974 Click here
Gowlland George 1838 - 1911 Click here
Gowlland George Castle 1804 - 1890 Click here
Gowlland George (Castle) 1867 - 1927 Click here
Gowlland Gertrude (Jane Orford) 1880 - 1910 Click here
Gowlland Helen Unwin 1829 - ?        Click here
Gowlland Henry Orford 1865 - 1928 Click here
Gowlland James 1843 - 1860 Click here
Gowlland James Carter 1833 - 1915 Click here
Gowl[l]and John George Blantyre 1867? -  1908  Click here
Gowlland John Thomas Ewing (Jack) 1838 - 1874 Click here
Gowlland Joseph ?1714 -1788    Click here
Gowlland Joseph Honey 1875 - 1941 Click here
Gowlland Josiah 1781 -   ?      Click here



1903 - 2003

Click here

Gowlland Margaret 1860 - 1934 Click here
Gowlland Mary Louisa 1834 - 1923 Click here
Gowlland Norman James Leversha 1881 - 1942 Click here
Gowlland Peter Yeames 1825 - 1896 Click here
Gowlland Richard 1795 - 1865 Click here
Gowlland Richard  1815 - 1871 Click here
Gowlland Richard 1823 - 1863 Click here



1877 - 1944

Click here

Gowlland Richard Archie 1892  - 1968 Click here
Gowlland Richard Sankey 1845 - 1886 Click here
Gowlland Richard Symons 1771 - 1807 Click here
Gowlland Richard Symonds c1819 - 1871 Click here
Gowlland Stephen 1747 MC - 1802  Click here
Gowlland Stephen 1775  - 1843 Click here
Gowlland Thomas 1749 - 1814 Click here
Gowlland Thomas Sankey 1805 - 1872 Click here
Gowlland William 1870 - 1950 Click here
Gowlland William c 1806 - 1873 Click here
Mathieson Peter John Riber 1871 - 1954 Click here
Whitcombe Sarah Maria (Trot) 1841 - 1922 Click here
Yeames Peter 1759 - 1814 Click here


Bouverie, Louisa Mary Yeames  -  1826 - 1913

Louisa was born in Deptford, Kent, on 13 June 1826 (click here for her baptism record from St Paul, Deptford, Lewisham) and was the only daughter and youngest child of Richard Gowlland (click here for his biography) and Louisa Mary, née Yeames.  She married Charles Bouverie on 28 July 1845 at St Bride’s, Fleet Street, London (click here for the marriage certificate).  Charles died a few days short of their first wedding anniversary (click here for his death certificate, which stated that he had been suffering from phthisis, nowadays known as tuberculosis, for nine months prior to his death) and there were no children of that marriage; and Louisa did not re-marry.  The record of his death indicates that he and Louisa were living at 22 Noel Street, Islington, at the time. 

Charles was born on 2 March 1824, probably in Marlow, Bucks, and baptised on 10 July 1825 at St Mary’s, Marylebone, London.  The Bouverie family was wealthy and aristocratic (the paternal grandfather of Charles' father was the Earl of Radnor and the maternal grandfather the Earl of Moreton).

Both Charles and his, probably older, sister Charlotte Julia were illegitimate.  Their father was Charles Henry Bouverie and their mother Maria Julia Rodgers (spelling?).  Charles Henry died in 1836 and in his will (click here) of 1834 he refers to Maria as “commonly called Maria Julia Bouverie”.  They were unmarried at the time of Charles Henry’s death.  One can only surmise that a marriage was considered unsuitable by the Bouverie family, perhaps because Maria was not of suitable birth, though there could have been other reasons, and that the family was able to prevent a marriage taking place.

What little is now known of Charles’ family has been derived from the will of Charles Henry and, more importantly, from that of Charles Henry’s unmarried sister, Emma Bridget Bouverie, who died in 1827.  The will of their mother, Lady Bridget Bouverie, who died in 1841 or 1842, thus outliving both Charles Henry and Emma, has been found but adds nothing more to the two other wills. 

Emma’s will is long and not easy to understand.  (The easy bit is the provisions she made for the well-being of her dog, Bluet.)  She was obviously wealthy though whether she had inherited all the family (her father’s) wealth or whether it had been shared between Emma, Charles Henry and their two sisters is not known.  It may well be that, because of his liaison with Maria, Charles Henry had been cut off from the family money, even though he did own a house in his own right in Marlow, Bucks, at the time of his death which would indicate that he had resources of his own.  The use of the house was bequeathed to Maria but all of his (unknown) other property was to be shared between Charles and Charlotte. 

Essentially, Emma left the major part of her estate in trust to Charles Henry but with the very important proviso that he could not touch the capital during his life and could only enjoy the income.  She also went to great lengths to prevent Maria benefiting from her money.  In the event of Charles Henry’s death, his inheritance passed to his legitimate children or, if there were none, to all his (illegitimate) children.  From this it would seem that Charles and his sister, if she survived, must have been reasonably comfortably off and that the same was probably true of Louisa following her husband’s death. The death certificate of Charles shows his occupation as “independent”, but that does not necessarily mean very much.

The surprise, however, of Emma’s will is a codicil she added not long before her death and which reads:

 “I leave to Mary Atkins twenty guineas a year for her life Mary Atkins the daughter of C.H. Bouverie and to Mary Scot I leave thirteen guineas for life to be paid to her from the time of my death or if she lived on with my mother till after her death or upon quitting her service signed by me Dec. 10 1826 Emma B. Bouverie.”

Since both are named in the same short codicil and both received annuities, it seems probable that Mary Scot, who must have been one of Bridget’s servants, was the mother of Mary Atkins. The family was obviously very concerned about the provisions of this codicil since, before probate was granted, two affidavits were sworn that the codicil was in Emma’s handwriting. The affidavits were sworn in respect to the complete codicil, which tends to confirm the suggested relationship between the two Marys. 

The provisions mentioned above in Emma’s will relating to the illegitimate children of Charles Henry would normally have applied to Mary Atkins but, presumably, her mother was bought off with the two annuities (it is very unlikely that she would have known of the provisions of the will and doubtless the family had no intention of telling her). 

There was another, very small connection between the Gowlland and Bouverie families.  A letter dated 19 July 1830 to William Henry Fox Talbot, the famous early photographer, from his sister Horatia describes a rather aristocratic water-party that took place “on board the Vigilant cutter, which belongs to Mr H Bouverie as commissioner of the customs”.  Louisa’s father, Richard, was commander of the “Vigilant” at the time.  Perhaps Richard was later introduced into the Bouverie family, resulting in the marriage of Louisa and Charles sixteen years after that letter was written.  Who knows?  

Returning to Louisa, she is recorded as living with her parents at the time of both the 1851 (click here) and 1861 census (click here).  In the 1871 census (here) she is recorded as "Widow", living at 5 Belsize Terrace, St Johns, Hampstead.  In 1881 she was still living at 5 Belsize Terrace, and in 1901 at 27 Fairfax Road, also in Hampstead.  No trace of her has yet been found in the 1891 census  Presumably Charles left her sufficient money to live on and employ one or two servants but, in Richard Joscelyne's words, it was probably no more than a “modest sufficiency”.

Interestingly, there is a reference to a “Mrs Bouverie” living in Belsize Park in a letter written on 17 February 1875 by Richard Sankey Gowlland, which is in Richard Joscelyne’s possession.  “Mrs Bouverie” seems a rather cold manner of referring to a close cousin.  Perhaps Louisa was something of a snob.  Or maybe she was just bitter – life had not been particularly kind to her [I assume she was not a Mme. Bovary].

Louisa died on 13th January 1913.  The two executors of her Will were Arthur Gowlland (presumably the fourth child and second son of Richard (1857-1926 - her nephew) and Elizabeth Rosina Susan Gowlland (her sister-in-law, who herself died a couple of years later)

[Contributed by Neil Gowlland – Spring 2006 – with many thanks to Richard Josceleyne who transcribed the wills (not an easy task) and provided invaluable inputs concerning the interpretation of Emma’s will]

Gowlland, Alfred    -   1839 - after 1911

Born 1839, the youngest of five children of George Castle Gowlland, and the third son  -  click here for his birth certificate.

At the time of the 1861 census (click here) he was living in Mitford Road West, Islington East, described as "lodger - age 21 - unmarried - optician microscope maker - born Wapping Middlesex", in the house of Charles Dawson (head - 39 - married - optician microscope maker), his wife and five children.  Evidently this occupation did not last long - see below.

He married Harriet Skelton (born 1840) in late 1863 (click here for the marriage certificate). 

In 2009 we were given details of Harriet's ancestry.  Her father was George Skelton (1796 - 1876) born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, son of Edward (1772 - 1847) and Mary (1772 - 1846) [maiden name unknown],  both of whom died in Salisbury.  Edward's parents were Edward Skilton [sic] (born c1740 in Wiltshire) and Sarah née Coster (born c1744). 

Harriet's mother was Keturah née Coles (1802 - 1881), born in Alderholt, Dorset, daughter of John (born c1768) and Mary née Colebourne (c1765 - 1849).  John's father John Coles was born c1740 in Wiltshire, and his mother was Elizabeth née Target (born c1740).

In December 2012 we were given the following background information provided originally to a descendant of Dora May Gowlland (1908 - 1995), incorporating errors as is usual in these cases, and which I have not attempted to correct - in particular, the obsession with the spelling of "Welsh/Welch" where, despite what was written, we find all the official documents show the "Welch" spelling:

Mary Welch, Margaret's sister and thus Alfred's aunt, helped to bring him up after his mother Margaret died in 1856.  Mary's husband was a Mr Glanville: he was a Congregational minister, and also the warden of a "Home for Fallen Women" in South London. Their name was "Welsh" (not the common form "Welch") and they were cousins of the famous Jane Welsh who married Thomas Carlyle.  They also claimed descent from John Knox.  The Glanvilles had a lot of papers etc referring to this, but apparently they were lost or destroyed when Bessie (the last one) died.  The family consisted of John, Henry (who married Katie and was rather well-off), Elizabeth (Bessie, unmarried, lived to be past 90), Louisa (unmarried, lived in Lewisham with Bessie),  Alice (who married a Mr Gilbertson) and Edith (who died young). Prior to his marriage, Alfred was a lodger in Holloway.  He used to spend every Sunday with Arthur's family in Enfield; and it was there that he met Harriet Skelton: she had been sent from Salisbury to stay with an aunt in London (to get her away from a lover of whom the family disapproved!) and he caught her "on the rebound".

Alfred and Harriet are recorded as having five children, Alfred (1863-1867), Florence (1864-1878), Ernest (1870-1878), Francis Edward (Frank) (1871-1947) and Edith Emma (1876-1942).  However, in July 1867, we discovered that after the death of Alfred in 1867 they had another child, Alfred Charles (click here): sadly, he died at the age of eight weeks in August of the same year (here).

There is a baptism record from St Mark, Tollington Park, Islington, dated 24th February 1884 (here) for Edith Emma and Francis Edward: their ages would have been twelve and seven respectively and we at present know of no reason why they should have been baptised at such an age.

Latterly he was Manager of Messrs Strands, telegraph instrument makers in Holloway: the firm was subsequently taken over by the G.P.O: he described his profession as Telegraph Engineer - electrical".

At the time of the 1871 census (click here), Alfred and Harriet were living at 25 Ashburton Grove, Finsbury, together with daughter Florence (6) and son Ernest (1); and also "Skellon Habat" (sic), [described as a lodger, with occupation "vellum binder", but presumably one of Harriet's relations].  Alfred described his occupation as "Optician - Frames".  Incidentally, the surname on this census was wrongly transcribed as "Goulland".

Florence died in 1878 at the age of fourteen (click here for her death certificate).  The cause of death was "malignant scarlet fever", and Harriet was the informant.

Alfred is recorded in the 1878 UK Poll Book and Electoral Register (Gowlland incorrectly spelled with one 'L') (here), adjoining his elder brother George.

At the time of the 1881 census (click here and here), Alfred and Harriet (both aged 42) were living at 11 Spenser Road, Highbury, with daughters Frances (9) and Edith (5).  Alfred described his occupation as "Mathematical instrument maker".

At the time of the 1891 census (click here), they were still living at 11 Spenser Road, Highbury, together with  Frances (19) "clerk in insurance", Edith (15) "scholar", Charles A Skelton (62) "army pensioner - widower - boarder - born in Salisbury, Wilts - presumably Harriet's older brother, living with them" and Alice Gowland (sic) (18) "milliner dress - niece - born in Enfield, Middlesex" (she was the fourth daughter of Arthur, Alfred's brother, and Charlotte Sarah).  Alfred on this occasion described his occupation as "Telegraph engineer -  electrical".

We had believed he died about 1901; but the 1911 Census (click here) shows him, and his wife Harriet, both aged seventy-one, living at Stroud Green (?) in North London. Harriet is shown as having given birth to five children, two of whom had died: this is curious since, as the third paragraph above indicates, there was a sixth child born, who died at the age of eight weeks.

In 1901 Frank was living at 17 Wollaston Road, Harringay - occupation "insurance inspector".

On 28th July 1900, at Saint Paul's, Harringay, Edith Emma married Aubrey Culley, age 26, occupation "civil servant": click here for the marriage certificate, on which Alfred described himself as "Electrician".

On 24th April 1906 Frank married Emma Francis Dennis at Parish Church, St Marylebone, London (here).  They had a daughter Dora May Gowlland, born 12th May 1908: she subsequently married Thomas Fane Tierney, and they had four children.    From 1907 they lived at 20 Cunningham Court, Maida Vale, London W9.

Frank died in 1947 at the age of seventy-five.

In April 2013 our new correspondent in China added these interesting notes on the family:-

You seem to know about Dora, so I will leave those details. I knew her very well when I was growing up in Taunton. She led an interesting life. I believe my Grandfather - whom I never knew - was a difficult sort of character. His father Thomas Tierney was a doctor, and his grandfather was a warehouseman from Stockport, so very much a story of Victorian social aspiration in the background. His mother (Gertrude Holme) was the daughter of a small scale industrialist who made shoes, and the sewing machines with which to make shoes. He was clearly quite wealthy, and the combination of a bit of family money and a successful doctor meant a pretty good life in London, living in Belsize park and working in Harley Street. Thomas Fane Tierney went to Westminster School and then trained at St Bart's before setting up in Harley Street. He was a radiologist for London Zoo (or the London Zoological Society I think), and my mother remembers snakes and penguins arriving and departing his clinic in Harley Street from time to time. His work with x-rays was fairly pioneering I believe, and at least one article he wrote went into the first serious textbook for radiology.

At the beginning of the war, Thomas Fane Tierney joined the RAMC and his experiences during the war seem to have left an impact on him. There are stories, but no confirmation, that he ended the war helping to deal with the after-effects of the holocaust, treating the survivors and such like. In any event, he was not the same man after the war as before it. He moved with his family (my mother and her two brothers) to Rhodesia, but things were not settled, and he eventually ended up in Singapore, with his family trickling back to England. Eventually he died in Singapore in 1959 while suffering from a variety of health problems. He was clearly a broken man.


[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941 and JGG May 2006 and Paul Griffin October 2006 and D B April 2013]

Gowlland, Alice Maud  -  1901 - 1998


Records of arrivals in Canada on http://members.shaw.ca/nanaimo.fhs/#mozTocId46239 indicated the arrival of a W Gowlland (aged twelve) and Alice Gowlland (aged seven) on the "Corsican", on 28th May 1909, both born in England.


Investigating the ship on which they sailed revealed a very interesting story.  The "Corsican" was one of a half-dozen vessels which were heavily involved in the Home Children project (for more details, click here) and the 28th May 1909 arrival is documented in several records (click here and here) - note that on the 28/5/09 arrival there were four parties, two from Dr Barnados, one comprising "waifs and strays" and one un-named. There is an ongoing project to list every child brought into Canada under this scheme, and fortunately this enabled us to confirm that the surname for both children was indeed spelt with two L’s, and, despite the list being damaged at the crucial point, it appeared to show:


            Gowlland, Alice Maud                             born 5 July 1901  

            Gowlland, Winifred Maud                        born 19 October 1895


Subsequently confirmation was received from a very kind source in Canada that these two little girls were indeed part of the Dr Barnados party which, comprising ninety-two girls, was destined for the Dr Barnardo's Home in Peterborough, which is about fifty miles north-east of Toronto.


Subsequently we located the emigration record (click here) covering the sailing of SS "Corsican" on 20th May 1909.  Alice and Winifred are both shown as "Gowland", not "Gowlland"; but there is no doubt they are the same children.  Winifred is considered an adult, whereas Alice is shown as a child.   The ship was carrying a total of 1,346 passengers, of whom the overwhelming majority were children - the four parties recorded in the Dr Barnardo's archives.


On the immigration record, for both girls the country of birth is stated as "England".  However, going through the complete English birth records for the years 1895 to 1897, and 1901 to 1903, there are no Gowlland births of which we do not already know. 


The Dr Barnardo's Home (Girls Village) in Barkingside, Ilford, Essex, very generously provided such additional information as is permitted under the regulations, and we are very grateful to them. 


For those interested in learning more about this subject, in February 2008 a new book was published entitled "New Lives for Old", by Roger Kershaw and Janet Sacks.  Published by The National Archives, it is priced at £18.99 and the ISBN number is 9781905615179.


Summarised, the position is:-


The children’s births were registered in the name of the “Putative Father” whose name was Arthur Cunningham. 


There were siblings, who were recorded on the files but did not enter the Home, presumably because they were adopted: their details are:


            Gowlland, Arthur                                    born c1892

            Gowlland, Elsie                                      born c1898         


Winifred and Alice entered the home in January 1904.


The mother’s name proved very elusive but was finally located, and is Alice Maud Gowlland, who is the sixth child and fourth daughter of Richard Gowlland (1823 – 1863) and Louisa Ann née Mayes: she was born at 13 Fulford Place, Southgate Road, West Hackney on 30th October 1861 - click here for the certificate.   Richard was the son of Richard Gowlland (1795 - 1865) who married Louisa Mary Yeames (1798 - 1867).  Richard was the son of Richard Symons Gowlland (1771 – 1807) who married Sarah Sankey (1771 – 1847).  Richard Symons was the oldest son of Stephen Gowlland (1747 – 1802 who married Sarah Symons (1752 - ?).   And Stephen was the son of Joseph Gowlland (c1709 – 1788) who married Susannah Maple (1709 – 1782).


The 1901 birth certificate of Alice Maud (daughter) has been obtained – click here.  So far it has not proved possible to locate the other three birth certificates, although attempts continue.  It is looking very much as if these three births were not registered.  As if that were not irritating enough, the Barnardo's files record that the couple in fact had a total of eight (8) children together, of whom presumably four died shortly after birth  -  but none of these four appears to have been registered either.


In the 1891 census (click here), we think we have found Arthur Cunningham now living at No 22, Cambridge Place, Paddington, London, with Alice Maud Gowlland .  Arthur's occupation is now shown as "Clerk" and Alice's the same (perhaps  -  there was evidently an error on the entry and it's not entirely clear to which of them the "Clerk" belongs). 


In the 1901 census (click here) they are living at No 55 Queen Street, Marylebone: Arthur's occupation is now shown as "Accountant" and Alice's as "Book-keeper".  The Dr Barnardo's records state that Arthur was fifty-six when the children entered the home, which corresponds with the age of fifty-three declared in this census.


In both the 1891 and 1901 censuses, Arthur and Alice are described as "Married" although no marriage certificate has been traced, and in fact the Dr Barnardo's records state that they never married, possibly for the reason that Arthur was already married.  Alice’s denomination was later shown as "protestant", whereas Arthur's was "unknown".


However, in the 1901 census none of the three living children appears.   We know that in 1908 all four were living, so where were they at census time?  It's strange.


There is an entry in the 1901 census (click here) for an "Elsie Cunningham -  age 4 - boarder - born in Southsea, Hants", living at No 27 Junction Road, Islington, in the house of a Mr James Bolton, a Bottle Washer Seller (!).  The place of birth looks at first sight to be unlikely; but Alice Maud's older sister Florence, when she was giving birth to her illegitimate daughter Irene in 1889, did so in Portsea. which is a suburb of Southsea, presumably because older brother Richard (born 1856) was living there (in the 1891 census Florence and baby Irene were living with him, as was Ellen, Alice Maud's younger sister).   Also, for another Southsea/Portsmouth connection, see four paragraphs below.


Finally, it has to be reiterated that it has not been possible, so far, to find any definite record of all but one of the children in the 1901 census, nor, apart from that of Alice, any of the seven other birth certificates.  It is beginning to look very much as if none of these births were registered, but why no census records?


It is understood that the couple had been together for fourteen years, and that they had never married.  With Alice dying in 1903, this implies that it was in 1889 that the relationship began.


We know that Alice Maud (mother) died, after twelve months suffering from "aortic valvular disease" (no doubt an even more serious condition then than it would be nowadays) on 17th April 1903 (for the death certificate, in the name of Cunningham, although it looks as if a marriage ceremony never took place, click here): clearly that was the reason why the family had to be split up nine months later.   Most interestingly, the Dr Barnardo's records state that the children were handed over to their Portsmouth Home.  The information implies that Arthur asked for help from the family, particularly the maternal grandmother Louisa Ann; but, whether because she did not like him, or because of inability to cope, she was either unable or unwilling to accept them. 


The "Admissions History" on the Barnardo's files confirms that the procedure in those days was that an application for assistance had to be made to Dr Barnardo's, and then enquiries were made; and it was only after completion of these enquiries that a decision was made whether to admit or not.  In this case, the files state that Arthur and the children, after being refused help by the maternal grandmother, were referred to the workhouse while enquiries, usually lasting two or three weeks, were made as to the validity of their application; and so we are attempting to trace their entry into a Portsmouth workhouse in the last weeks of 1903.  As a result of a favourable decision, Winifred and Alice entered the Dr Barnardo's home, and, as mentioned earlier, Arthur and Elsie seem to have left their sisters by this time.  Given the choice between Dr Barnardo's and the Workhouse, of course, Winifred and Alice were very fortunate that the former accepted them.


The Dr Barnardo's records also mention the names of the siblings of the mother (Louisa, Florence and Ellen), and also the grandmother Louisa Ann Remy (after Richard’s death, his widow married Hermann Wilhelm Remy – click here for the marriage certificate), all of whom have been recorded on our family tree since the early 1940s, at least.  Interestingly the records also state that at the time of Alice Maud's death Arthur's occupation was "canvasser  -  of no fixed abode".  This seems a very rapid come-down from his census declaration of “accountant” of just three years earlier.  And in the 1911 Census there is no trace of Arthur, which would imply that he might well have died by then.


The procedure in those days (and, we believe, to date) was that children entering the Home were given their mother’s surname, and thus their immigration documents for Canada were in the name of Gowlland.


The Dr Barnardo's archives mentioned also that Alice Maud (daughter) had been in touch with them in 1993, seeking information about her background, in order “to set her mind at rest”.  She must have been about ninety-two at the time.  It is very sad that it is now almost certainly too late to give her a great deal of information about her extended family.  Interestingly, both Alice Maud and the daughter who wrote on her behalf still lived in the Ottawa area.


In mid-September 2006 we learnt that Alice Maud (CD #16 - Pin #928824) had married Abraham (Abe) Ecker (CD #16 - Pin #928757) in Ontario in 1924 - click here for the licence and here for the certificate.  She used the surname of her putative father and the certificate is in the name of "Alice Cunningham".   It is extremely interesting that Alice Maud gave the bride's father's name correctly as "Arthur Cunningham", but was wide of the mark with the bride's mother shown as "Alice Dowlands".


The couple subsequently had four children, the oldest of whom, John Everett Ecker, was born on 6th December 1925 and died on 17th February 1956: he married Jean Helen Shepherd on 3rd March 1951 and they had two sons.  Alice and Abraham's other three children were born between 1927 and 1931: all are still alive in 2007 and all have children themselves. 


Ecker is an unusual name, and using the I.G.I. it is possible to trace the line back through Abe's father Moses Tobias Ecker (father - CD #16 Pin #928150) and his wife Louisa Adelaide née Stoler (CD #16 Pin #928753), to his grandfather Benjamin Ecker (1866 - 1917 - CD #16 Pin #928113), to his great-grandfather Jacob Ecker (1832 - 1897 - CD #16 - Pin #927780) and thence to an un-named great-great-grandfather ??? Ecker (CD #16 Pin #927779).  The birth of this last gentleman occurred in Pennsylvania, USA, but otherwise it seems that every entry was in Ontario.


From Canada we have obtained the 1891 marriage certificate of Abe's father Moses Tobias Ecker, and Louisa Stotley  -  click here and here


Elayne Lockhart, the Canadian researcher who obtained these two marriage certificates, made the following interesting comments:-


Enclosed are two of the three marriage certificate requested, as follows:

Abraham Ecker and Alice Maud Cunningham marriage, Registration # 005351, 1924, Archives of Ontario, Microfilm MS 932, Reel 674.   This marriage took place in Toronto on 12 November, 1924.

Moses Tobias Ecker and Louisa Stotley marriage, Registration # 004530, 1891, Archives of Ontario, Microfilm MS 932, Reel 71.  This marriage took place 17 June, 1891 in Dunnville, county of Haldimand.  

On the latter registration Louisa’s last name has been corrected and then seems to say Staller or Stalley, but in the 1924 marriage above the name reads more clearly as Stotley. Moses’ place of birth was given as Canboro. 

The latter details were helpful clues with which to search for the marriage of Benjamin Ecker (and also any Jacob Ecker).  A Benjamin Ecker and wife Elizabeth had been identified in the 1881 census in Canborough, Monck, Ontario.  Monck was not a county but a geographic entity created for a short period of time for political reasons.  However, Canborough (or Canboro) is in Haldimand County, so the Benjamin in this census entry could have been the father of Moses.  The eldest child living with the family in the 1881 census was 15 years old, so this marriage would have occurred before 1866.  

The Civil Registration of Marriages began only in 1869, so it was necessary to search a different set of records – earlier church records from various denominations which were sent to local government Registrars.  The indexes to the County Marriage Registers of Haldimand, Wentworth and Lincoln County (surrounding Counties) (1858-1869) were searched without success.  The earlier District Marriage Registers of Brock, Huron, Simcoe, Niagara and Home were also searched, again without success.  In all of these searches a variety of alternative spellings such as Ecker, Eker, Ekhart were utilized. 

Regretfully, therefore, the marriage of Benjamin Ecker has not been located, nor that of any earlier Jacob Ecker. In the early years of life in Upper Canada not all church records survived.  Also, not all were sent in to the Registrars, particularly if the family was Roman Catholic or Church of England.  There are therefore many reasons why early records cannot be located.

In April 2007, seeking further information on the Ecker family, we managed to obtain the Canadian Censuses for 1901 and 1911 (a start has been made on indexing that for 1906, but in the three provinces so far covered there are no names of interest.


For 1901, (click here) there is an entry for the sub-district Canborough, Haldimand and Monck, Ontario, showing Moses Ecker (Head - 35 -  b 14th Dec 1865 ), Louise Ecker (Wife - 25 - b 24th Feb 1876), Henry Ecker (Son - 7 - b 8th April 1893), Benjamin Ecker (Son - 5 - b 25th May 1895), Florence Ecker (Daughter - 3 - b 25th Aug 1897) and Abram Ecker (Son - 1 - b 15th Dec 1899).


For 1911, (click here) the entry shows Moses Ecker (Head - 43 - b Jul 1867) and Lana A Ecker (Wife - 36 - b July 1867).  As will be seen, none of these correspond exactly with the entries for ten years before; and it would be easy to conclude that they are not the same individuals.  However, the entry then goes on to name children with dates that do more or less correspond, namely Henry Ecker (Son - 18 - b April 1893), Benjamen [sic] Ecker (Son - 16 - b May 1895), Hanna (Daughter - 14 - b Aug 1897), Abrahm (Son - 13 - b Dec 1898), Rossana Ecker (Daughter - 8 - b Jan 1902), Edith Ruth Ecker (Daughter - 7 - b Aug 1904), Melindy Ecker (Daughter - 4 - b Oct 1906) and Sarah Ecker (Daughter - 1 month - b April 1911).


It would be easy to conclude that Florence (b 1897) had died, but it appears there are two explanations.


Firstly, the month and year of birth of Hanna in the 1911 census corresponds to that of Florence in the 1901 census: maybe in the intervening period she changed the name by which she was known?  There is no Hanna nor Hannah in the 1901 census.


The second alternative is more complicated.  The 1901 and 1911 censuses are interlinked so that there is a link from Florence Ecker (born 25th Aug 1897 and aged three in the 1901 census) to a different Florence (click here) in that of 1911.  This Florence appears in a different district (St Catherine's, Lincoln, Ontario) with a family named Dwyer, comprising Eugene Dwyer (Head - 60 - b Nov 1850), Anna Dwyer (Wife - 53 - b Jan 1858), Percy M Dwyer (Son - 33 - b July 1878), Anna B Dwyer (Daughter - 31 - b Dec 1879) and Leslie R Dwyer (Son - 26 - b Aug 1884).  After Leslie there follows Florence Ecker (Adopted Daughter - 11 - b Aug 1899).


The simplest explanation of this puzzle is that Florence decided that henceforth she wanted to be known as Hanna; and thus the adoption was of a different Florence.  But probably we shall never know.



(Source  -  J G Gowlland October 2006)


Gowlland, Amy Mary (Peggy)   -   1911 - 1985.

Amy Mary Gowlland (also known as Peggy) was born on 16th October 1911 to George Leonard Raymond and Amy Mary (née Rush).  She had an older and a younger brother.

The family lived in Croydon where her father had a butcher's shop in Surrey Street (where there is still a street market).

She attended the Old Palace School for some years.  Between 1921 and 1929 she attended Croydon High School for Girls (GPDST), then on the east side of Wellesley Road.  During her last year there she was a prefect, also Captain of Hockey and also Cricket.  She represented Surrey Juniors in both sports and played for the South at hockey.  She had happy memories of her school days and her contemporaries there.  She met with some of them regularly and various of these friends attended her cremation service.

For a scarcely fictionalized picture of the school at that time, a book entitled "Evelyn finds herself", by Josephine Elder, is to be republished end-November 2006.  For details of the book, which was always considered to be one of the leading examples of the genre, click here; and for details of the initiators of this project, Girls Gone By Publishers, click on their website here.

After she left school, she took a secretarial course in London and then had several jobs there, commuting daily from Croydon.

In about 1932 her father sold the business in Surrey Street and moved to Brocas Farm, Hever; and she was married from there on 5th June 1934 to Geoffrey Price Gowlland.

Peggy and Geoff Gowlland on their wedding day

They then returned to live in Croydon, initially in a flat in South Park Hill Road:  in 1937 they moved to the house where the family would stay until August 1960.  This house was called "Squerrys", after the stately home of that name in Westerham, Kent, where much of their courting had been done.

Her daughter Rosemary was born in 1937 in Nuffield House (part of Guys Hospital), but her two sons (John 1939, and Mark 1944) were both born at home.

In 1960 they moved to a house on the outskirts of Westerham. from which Geoffrey commuted daily to the factory in Croydon.

When the move to Westerham was made, she enjoyed the countryside and also took the chance to study at Bromley School of Art for her City and Guilds examinations in hand embroidery, which she passed.  She was also secretary to the Westerham Society for some years.

After her husband died, she moved to another house in Westerham.  Her health failed and she died there on 25 April 1985.

[Source  -  Rosemary Milton-Thompson, née Gowlland  - 2005]


Gowlland, Arthur   -   1832 - 1904.

Born 1832 in Wapping, he was said to be a nautical instrument maker who moved to Enfield and specialised in ship's chronometry.  He opened a retail shop and was a genuine watchmaker. 

(In 1941 a Mrs. Goodwin of Penshurst, Kent, told of a Mr Gowlland who called down from London often on her father at Chiddingstone.  He was a clockmaker and supplied a gold watch to him:  he was said to have been a big dark man and to have built the Tower Clock in the stable at South Park, Penshurst, Viscount Hardinge's seat).

(In November 2017 we were given details of a watch of his manufacture, shown below.  The inscription on the back reads  "A. GOWLLAND  -  BAKER STREET  -  ENFIELD" and is dated 1880.  A trade directory of 1904-05 shows "Gowllands, Arthur and Son, watchmaker and jeweller, working at Taysaam Place, off Baker Street.


On 30th December 1854, at All Saints, Battle Bridge, he married Charlotte Sarah Brooks, who was two years older than he (click here for marriage certificate) .  They had a son, Tom, born 1875, (click here for his birth certificate) who was allegedly mentally lacking; and four older daughters, Charlotte Elizabeth (1864), Minnie Ellen (1865), Hannah Brooks (1867 - click here for her birth certificate) and Alice Jessy (1872) . There are several female grandchildren. 

The son, full name Thomas Arthur, despite his alleged mental problem(s), married Annie Casson in Huddersfield on 17th March 1903 (click here for the marriage certificate): he was twenty-seven years of age.  His profession, and that of his father, was stated to be "watchmaker and jeweller".  In true Gowlland tradition, the wedding took place at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel - its location being Longwood, Huddersfield.  No Gowlland witness appears on the certificate.

Charlotte Elizabeth, the first daughter, born in 1864, appears in the 1881 census (see below), aged 17, and with occupation "Teacher of pianoforte".

Minnie Ellen, the second daughter, was born on 24th September 1865 in Enfield (click here for the birth certificate), and at that time Arthur described his occupation as "Lock filer at a gun manufactory" [presumably the world-famous Lee-Enfield company] - which would perhaps imply that at that time watch-making was not his only profession.   In the 1881 census (see below) Minnie Ellen's occupation is given as "Help in the house".  She married Arthur Beaton on 4th September 1894 - click here for the marriage certificate - and at that time Arthur's profession was stated as "Jeweller - Master".  [In December 2007 Minnie Ellen's descendant Philip Beaton kindly contacted us and gave us death dates for Minnie Ellen and Arthur of 1956 and 1938 respectively.  And in February 2009 Lesley Beaton, from Australia, explained in connection with the 1911 census entry (click here) that "Arthur was the fifth son of Thomas Rowland Beaton and Julia Lee (click here for their marriage certificate from 1853).  In the 1911 census his occupation is a Clerk for the Heart of Oak Benefit Society.  Julia had been widowed 24 years earlier.  Her youngest daughter, Annie Agnes, is also in the household, as well as Arthur and Minnie's two children, Edgar Arthur (15) and Grace Minnie (13), and also two cousins, May Hart (35 - Pick Nurse] and Arthur William Hart (5 - was he really a cousin to the 46-year old Arthur?].

Hannah Brook, the third daughter, is recorded as having visited the United States in 1912 on the S S "Minnehaha" (click here), described as "Maid", and accompanying an American couple, Eldon and Mary Ross, and their nine-year old daughter Maude Olive - click here and here: she states her place of birth as "Enfield",  her destination as "New York"  and gives her next-of-kin as "Brother-in-law, Warner Burrage, Manor Road, London N".  The SS "Minnehaha" had left London on 25th April (click here): note from column 7 that she claimed US citizenship and in column 9 she seems to have had the intention at that time of moving to the USA for at least one year.

Alice Jessy (or Jessie), the fourth daughter, appears in the 1891 census, aged eighteen, at the house of Alfred Gowlland, her father's elder brother - click here; and in the 1901 census, in the name of Alice Jersey, she appears as "visitor" at the house of a seventy-year old widow Emmeline (?) Gray and her family, at 48 The Grove, Ealing, occupation "assistant confectionary" - click here.  We have her 1902 marriage certificate (here) from St Andrew's, Stoke Newington, spelling her second name "Jessie" showing her as a 29-year old spinster marrying 42-year old Sydney Gray, of profession "Agent", the son of William Gray (deceased), a baker: Sydney gives as his address 48 The Grove, Ealing  -  the same as that of the 1901 census.

We were told in 2012 that Alice had two sons, Sidney and Jack  -  the latter was killed in the Great War.

In the 1871 census (click here) Arthur ('Gowland' spelt with one L) and Charlotte are living at Baker Street, Enfield, together with their three oldest daughters.  Arthur's place of birth was given as Wapping, and Charlotte Sarah's as Bloomsbury.  His occupation is given as "Gun Lock Filer".  Also living with them is twenty-year old Jessie M A Ansell, described as "Niece - unmarried": we have not yet identified her  -  there is only one "Jessie Ansell" in the 1861 census and her details do not correspond at all.

In the 1881 census (click here) Arthur ('Gowland' again spelt with one L) and Charlotte are still living at Baker Street, Enfield, together with the four daughters and son Thomas.    His occupation is given as "Watchmaker and Optician".

Charlotte Sarah died  at Baker Street, Enfield, on 8th March 1888 (click here): Arthur, the widower, was the informant, and the cause of death was shown as "Paralysis and Bronchitis".

In the 1891 census (click here), Arthur (this time the 'Gowlland' spelt is with two L's) is still living at the same address, described as "Widower - 59 - Watch and Clock Maker - b Wapping", together with three children, Minnie (26 - U - Dressmaker - b Enfield), Hannah (23 - U - Ladies' Help - b Epping) and Tom (18 - ?? Assistant - b Enfield).

And in the 1901 census (click here) Arthur, now a widower, is still living at the same address, together with Hannah Brook and Tom: his occupation is now described as "Watchmaker and Jeweller, working at home".

So we have "lock filer", "jeweller", "optician" and "watch maker".   Clearly a man of great versatility.

"In 2012 we were provided with many interesting details of this line of the family.  Of Arthur it was written that::  

The brothers Arthur and Alfred were great friends. Prior to his marriage, Alfred was a lodger in Holloway.  He used to spend every Sunday with Arthur's family in Enfield; and it was there that he met Harriet Skelton: she had been sent from Salisbury to stay with an aunt in London (to get her away from a lover of whom the family disapproved!) and he caught her "on the rebound".

In the 1911 Census (click here) Thomas Arthur and Annie are recorded as living in Longwood with her widowed mother ("56 - Baker - born Huddersfield") and two of Annie's (unmarried) siblings (both "Assisting in business").  Thomas Arthur's occupation is shown as "Watch and Clock Repairer - working on own account from home".   The only Longwood appears to be near Kirkcudbright in Scotland, but as the 1911 Census covers only England Wales this cannot be the correct one.  Presumably it is a location near Huddersfield.

[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941 and JGG May 2006]


Gowlland, Arthur   -   1862 - 1883

The second child, and oldest son, of George and Jane, he was of school age during his father's more affluent days and had the best education of any of the brothers  -  click here for this birth certificate.

After school he worked at Henry Crouch with his father, and then went to Spottesworth the Printers, as a printer's reader.

Whilst at Crouch's he made a model gun which he fired with a good deal of result down the garden of Romilly Road, and the neighbours complained.

He served as a volunteer in the "Devil's Own".

Following a long walk on the South Downs when he got soaked in a storm, he caught a severe chill. He became very ill and developed pleurisy, which turned into T.B. 

He died, in the family home at Romilly Road, in January 1883 - click here for his death certificate.

[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941]


Gowlland, Charles  -  c1827 - 1894    

Charles Gowlland first came to our attention through his Australian marriage certificate (click here), and in the first half of 2006 we have managed to piece together a reasonable outline of his life.  Conceivably more may emerge.

We are certain that he is a second son and fourth child, hitherto unknown, of Josiah (born 1781) Gowlland and Peggy née Thornton (click here for Josiah's biography), the youngest of the six children of Stephen Gowlland and Sarah née Symons.

We have as yet no birth certificate for Charles, but his second marriage certificate states that he was born in Hendon, Middlesex, England.

In the 1841 census (click here) there is a record of a fourteen-year old "Chas Gylland"  -  in other words, born in 1826 or early in 1827.  The spelling of the surname looks very suspect  -  there is no such name recorded in any of the other six censuses, nor are there any BMD records in that name.  The writing for the street is impossible to read - it might be "Grey   . . . . " or "Guy   . . . . " : the district is St Andrew's, Holborn, Middlesex.  Charles' entry confirms he was born in the same country, i.e. Middlesex, and from his second marriage certificate we know that Charles was born in Hendon, Middlesex.  No occupation is given on the form; but on this earliest census the people completing the return were not as scrupulous about writing "scholar" as was the case subsequently.   The household in which he is living comprises four labourers, Mary Riley (50 - laundress) and Frances Foster (48 - F.S - unclear what this denotes] ).   So  . . . .  this is possibly the first appearance of Charles, but is certainly not definite.

Our first hard information on him relates to his first marriage in Hobart, Tasmania, "in the house of Mr C S Thomas, 66 ??? Street, according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Presbyterian Church by licence" on 24th December 1855 (click here for the certificate, in which, infuriatingly, his age is illegible) to Jesse Grace Wilkinson (aged nineteen).   Charles is described as "single - mariner" and Jesse as "spinster" - she was illiterate.  The witnesses are the aforementioned Mr C S Thomas, and a Caroline Thomas.

We know that Jesse Grace died in Victoria in 1860, aged twenty-three (click here for her death certificate).

The most informative document we posses relating to Charles is the certificate of his second marriage (click here).  Dated 20th August 1861, it refers to  Charles Gowlland, widower, widowed on 3rd January 1859 in Melbourne, born Hendon, Middlesex, England, a sail maker aged 37, residing in Melbourne.  The bride is Mrs Susan Burley, aged 36, widow, milliner, born in Lambeth, Surrey, widowed on 20th May 1858 in London, residing in Melbourne.  Susan was illiterate and signed with her mark.

Note that the certificate requires the bridegroom's mother's maiden name, but the clerk, conveniently for us, has inserted her first name.  And of extreme interest is the entry for Charles' parents, stated as "Josiah and Margret [sic] Gowlland  -  music master".  [You have to magnify the PDF image very greatly to read the spelling of her name].  This marriage certificate provides the definitive proof of Charles' parentage. 

Incidentally, one wonders whether this idiosyncratic spelling of Margaret was a feature of the Gowllands, because in the 1918 Canadian marriage certificate of Richard Archie Gowlland (see Loose Ends No 5 here) the same omission of the middle "a" occurs.

The ceremony took place "At the house of Mr J W White, Castle (?)"  -  apparently the house of his new father-in-law.   Remembering the early Gowllands' aversion to established religion, it is noteworthy that the ceremony was carried out "under the rites and ceremonies of the Baptist denomination".

Susan gave her age as thirty-six and had been widowed in 1858; and Charles, stating his age as thirty-seven although he was in fact only thirty-four (did he add on these years to this second marriage certificate so as to appear older than his new bride?), had been widowed in 1860.  Both gave their country of origin as England, in Charles' case Hendon, and in Susan's Lambeth.

Susan's 1886 death certificate (click here) describes her as "Susan Gowlland, housewife, aged 66 years, father unknown white, upholsterer, mother unknown, occupation unknown, informant Charles Gowlland, husband, born London, England, resident 25 years in Victoria, married in Melbourne at age 42 to Charles Gowlland".  And, in the final column, "no issue".  Charles was obviously not very well informed about his late wife's antecedents.  At what point one wonders, had she informed him that at their marriage, instead of the age of thirty-seven she had declared, she had in fact been five years older?   So she had taken five years of her age, and he had added three to his!

Charles died in Melbourne on 25th April 1894 (click here), aged sixty-seven.  His occupation was shown as "tinsmith" and his country of birth was "England".  His parents were shown as "Josiah Gowlland (musician), and Margaret Gowlland, formerly Thornton".  The informant was named as J R Goatham, brother-in-law: we know that he was married to Selina, Charles' sister, with whom he had emigrated to Victoria in 1880, as a Steward on the SS Chimborazo.

Charles had no children by either marriage.

[Source – John Gowlland - Summer 2006]



Gowlland, Charles Septimus   -   1878 - 1968

The seventh son, and eighth child, of George and Jane.

About 1897 he joined his older brothers William (1870 - 1950) and Egbert Gowlland (1872 - 1957) in William Gowlland Ltd, which then moved to Croydon.  Charles lived first at 95 Stretton Road, Addiscombe (2002 photo below); and then moved to "The Maples", Cheyne Walk, Croydon.

Charles Septimus Gowlland's first Croydon house, pictured in 2002

William moved to Seaford in Sussex about 1906, and thereafter visited Croydon, and the factory, only infrequently.  He was bought out by his younger brothers for £7,000 in about 1912. 

Charles became “erratic”, probably as a result of an accident in which a counterweight from an automatic machine fell on his head.  Unable to reason with him, Egbert left the company.   Charles borrowed large sums of money and started building up production and manufacturing vast quantities of spherical lenses regardless of cost.  The inevitable happened, and the company was saved from bankruptcy only by Charles being bought out for £17,000.  The liquidators re-installed Egbert who, assisted by his son Geoffrey (who had just obtained his degree from the Royal College of Science), then ran the business.  [Two of the three directors appointed at that time were still on the Board in the early 1960s when Geoff’s son John became a director].

Charles was very dissatisfied with the agreement and sued the Company for damages for wrongful dismissal as a director.  After a very expensive High Court action, which he lost, he moved to Bournemouth, where he lived at "The Maples", 46 Elgin Road North, Talbot Woods. 

On 4th October 1902 he married Eveline Rosalie Stevenson at St Saviour's, Upper Holloway, Islington; and they had three daughters, Eveline Mary, Elsie Alberta (1906 - 1987) and Dorothy Margaret (1910 - 2002).  Click here for the marriage certificate.


His wife died comparatively young (click here for her death certificate), and he was a widower for very many years.  None of his three daughters married, and they all remained living at home with him. 


In the 1911 Census (click here) he and Eveline are listed, together with their three daughters (aged 7, 4 and 1), at "The Gables, Cheyne Walk, Croydon".  He is listed as "32 - married - Optical Instrument mnfr - Ophthalmic Instruments - Employer - born Islington, Middlesex", and Eveline as "32 - married for eight years - three children born to the marriage, all still living - born Islington, Middlesex".  Also in the household is a housemaid, Helen Cornish "24 - single - born Dalston, Middlesex".

He was said to be a very domineering type and extremely acquisitive.   He had in his possession the Family Bible, silver trophies, crested spoons and many other family treasures, all of which unfortunately, with the death of his remaining daughter in 2002, seem to have disappeared without trace.

Gladys, Melissa and Geoffrey Gowlland all tried very hard to obtain family history from him and to record the documentation which he possessed but, as can be seen from their increasingly irritated letters, he proved to be an extremely difficult man to talk to.   Gladys in particular was disappointed with the paucity of the information she obtained from him, which she passed on to Geoff Gowlland, whose notes (transcribed from his appalling handwriting) read:

Bible  -  Present to Jane Orford by her father on her 21st birthday 27.6.1857, signed Henry Orford


Copy of Register [of Marriage, presumably] of Jane and Henry Orford of Greenwich.  Henry Orford born 26.10.1814, Jane wife of above born 3.5.1816, married in parish of St Leonard's, Shoreditch.


Children of the above:-


Jane        born 27.5.1837

Henry        born 27.5.1839 [odd that they should share a birthday, albeit two years apart]


Last (?) died 13.5.1888 – interred at Shooter Hill [?] Cemetery


Henry Orford,  son of above               2.5.1882  Interred at Shooter Hill Cemetery  Grave No 3885


Jane Orford, wife and mother of above     died 19.5.188?  [off edge of page]  Interred in same grave



Copy of family register (?)


George Castle Gowlland         born 20.4.1804


Margaret Welch (?)                 born 19.9.1799


                                             Married 28.5.1826 at Shoreditch Church, London


Children of above;


            Elizabeth Ly?? Gowlland                    Born 26.7.1827           at Princess (?) St   Gray (?)  E.1


            Helen U??? Gowlland                         Born 29.1.1929 (surely 1829?)     at same as above ??


            Arthur Gowlland                                  Born 7.??.1832           at King Edward Street  Wapping  E.1


            George G                                            Born 14.12.1837         at same


            Alfred (?) Gowlland                             Born 30.9.1939 [presumably 1839]    at same


Signed by my hand  George Castle Gowlland  26.12.1866.


            George Gowlland                                Born 14.12.1827? [shown as 1837 above]    died 11.12.1911  ?Interred Finchley Cemetery?


            Jane Orford, owner of the bible, wife of the above b 27.7.1837, died 30.6.1897, married 27.4.188?


            Margaret Gowlland, died 2.10.1928, married ?William? died 1927


Arthur              Born 21.4.1862, died January 1881


Henry Orford    Born 7.2.1865 died ?Canada? 1928


George            Born 29.9.1865  died ?Toronto? 1926


William            Born 30.1.1870  died 16.7.1950 at Brighton ?Bent Seafront?




Edward Sydney           Born 15.1.1885, died 12.5.1891


Charles Septimus       Born 9.1.1878 


Gertrude Jane            


Burial Cent??              In t??               Mrs Marie Le Beau  died 18.3.1861 aged 40  (Huguenot branch)


Barnstable, Devon, has some Gowllands.


In retirement he was said to indulge in house building (his last house, "The Maples", in Bournemouth, is shown below (His Croydon house had been given the same name).

"The Maples" - Charles Septimus Gowlland's last house in Bournemouth

At various times in his life he lodged patents for different inventions.  The last, from 1943, was for "Improvements connected with cloche clips (for full specification click here).

According to Egbert Gowlland, he was the least mechanical of that generation.

He died in 1968 at the age of ninety - click here for his death certificate.

[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941]


Gowlland, Edward Lake   -   1876 - 1942

Born in Kent 14th December 1876. His father was Richard Gowlland (click here for his biography).   Richard's mother's maiden name was Jessie Katherine (click here for her 1856 birth certificate). 

Educated at Christ's Hospital ('The Bluecoat School').

Studied Medicine in London, M./B (London) 1902.  Married Dorothy Mary Thornhill on 10th February 1902 (click here for the marriage certificate)

He was a G.P. in Faversham 1902-1914 (?).   Here is his entry in The Medical Register for 1913.

Twin sons, Geoffrey and Langton, were born on 3rd March 1903.  For Langton's biography, click here.  Geoffrey, when a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy serving on HMS Furious, married Dorothy Ellen Procter on 24th November 1928 - click here for the marriage certificate.  In late 2007 a new website appeared with details of naval officer's service records  -  for those of both Langton and his twin brother Geoffrey, click here

The 1911 Census (click here) records the family living in Faversham in what was clearly a prosperous manner  -  three live-in maids and a governess.

Edward Lake Gowlland served in the Territorial Army and preferred to start his war-time service as a gunner rather than a doctor. As a Major he commanded the Kent Heavy Battery and Ammunition Column in 1915. Transferred to the R.A.M.C. in 1915.

He commanded the County of London Field Ambulance, and during this time he was twice mentioned in despatches, was awarded the D.S.O., and promoted Lieutenant-Colonel (click here).  For his two medal cards from WW1, click here and here.  Unfortunately his service record was amongst the 60% that were destroyed in bombing in WW2, and consequently nothing further can be obtained.

In 1916 he and Dorothy separated and were divorced a year later. He then married Mary (Molly) Florence Alexander, originally thought to have been the widow of Lt-Commander William Hughie (?) Alexander: click here for the marriage certificate, which shows that the 37-year old bride was in fact divorced from her first husband, not widowed.  Molly, whose maiden name is shown on the certificate as "Mary Reifenstein" was allegedly a (minor) baroness of Austrian extraction.  No Reifensteins appear in the 1901 census (hardly surprising if their origin was Austria), and the name is unusual.  There are two "Reiffensteins" in the census but neither seems applicable to Molly.  However there are one or two entries of similar spelling prefaced with "von"; and, given the date of the marriage, it would be wholly understandable if the "von" had been quietly suppressed.  Returning to the marriage certificate, the 40-year old groom is shown with the rank "Lt. Col. R.A.M.C", residing at No 4 Grafton Street, his father being "Richard Sankey Gowlland (deceased)" of profession "C.S(?). Retired" [presumably Civil Service].  The bride's father is named as "Edward Reifenstein - of independent means".

The "Exeter and Plymouth Gazette" had a report on the divorce case, dated 8th February  - see below:-



There is no clear record of his career following the end of the war, although there is one suggestion that he was working at the Ministry of Pensions.

In 1924 he won against what must have been very strong competition a brilliant new appointment as the first Commandant of The Royal Star and Garter Home at Richmond [see below].  His very distinguished service at the Home is briefly described in the obituary notice.






The Star and Garter Home in Richmond in February 2006

His time at the Home enabled him to specialise in war-related conditions, and amongst a number of publications are a reference to his findings of the likelihood of addiction resulting from long-term morphia use (click here  -  page 4), and a letter to The British Medical Journal (click here) advocating the treatment of disseminated sclerosis with liver  -  initially  ". . .  by means of partially cooked liver . . . . , but the patients, after six or seven months of this diet, became so nauseated that this was given up and liver extract substituted, the dose being the equivalent of half a pound of fresh liver daily. . . . ", for which the unfortunate patients must have been extremely grateful.

For his entry in the 1926 "Directory of Medical Practitioners in the Provinces", click here.

Ill health (paraplegia) finally forced his retirement in 1941; but he stayed on as a patient at the Home, where he died on 1st November 1942.

His hobbies were said to include sailing and Napoleonic literature.

His obituary in "The Times" read:

And an obituary also appeared in The British Medical Journal - click here

[Source - Wendy Mountford née Gowlland - July 2004]



Gowlland, Edward Sydney  -   1875 - 1895

The sixth son, and seventh child, of George and Jane  -  for his birth certificate, click here.

He was drowned on 12th May 1895 at the age of twenty, after a long walk, at 3 Guineas Water at Chingford [?].     The death certificate (click here), showing the place of death as "Chingford", gave the cause of death as "Accidentally drowned whilst bathing in the Mill Stream there", resulting from the inquest held on 15th May.

He was a microscope objective maker, an out-of-time apprentice at James Swift & Co.  Some of his personal tools were at Egbert Gowlland’s house in Northampton Road, Croydon in the 1920s.

[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941]

Gowlland, Egbert    -   1872 - 1952

The fifth son and sixth child of George and Jane Gowlland (click here for this birth certificate).  Educated at Highbury Wesleyan School.

His first job was at Dallmeyers, manufacturers of optical instruments, as a turner of lens cells [for trial frames] using a treadle lathe with wooden [illegible].   

[In his eighties, Egbert worked a full eight-hour day, at least half of which was spent, standing and scorning the use of a chair, spinning glass lenses into their mounts for head lamps.  The only concession to advancing age was that his lathe by this time was driven by an electric motor, not a foot treadle.  In order to provide sufficient lenses to keep him thus occupied, at least half a full-time man’s productive day was devoted to grinding and polishing these lenses.  Sufficient stock was built up to ensure that even thirty years later no more were needed.  An unspoken conspiracy maintained this arrangement.  Without it, he had too much time on his hands and was inclined, to the despair of his son, the joint managing director, to get hold of the incoming post before anyone else and, on going through it, consign to the shredding machine anything, including cheques, from companies and people whom he didn’t like!]

He lived then with his parents and siblings: in the 1881 census their home was at 19 Alwynne Villas, Islington, Middlesex (2002 photo below)

19 Alwynne Villas, Islington - the home of Egbert Gowlland's family - photographed in 2000

And in the 1891 census their home was in Islington - see below.

192, Highbury Hill, Islington, Middlesex  -  photo from 2002

 About 1897 he, together with his younger brother Charles Septimus, joined older brother William (1870 - 1950) in William Gowlland Ltd, which then moved to Croydon.  The first factory was built on land located behind five of the terrace houses in Morland Road, Addiscombe: he occupied one of these and his elder brother William occupied another.  This land was owned by a Mr Wareham, his father-in-law: it had been used as a market garden. [The original building in which plants were raised was still being used by the company for storage in the year 2000].   

In 1908 we have a record of Egbert arriving in the United States on February 29th (here and here).  It is interesting that on the particular page of the manifest, his is the only entry endorsed "Non immigrant alien", and "visitor".  Until a few years ago, there was in existence a single flimsy quarto sheet headed "List of Optical Companies in New York  -  1908), prepared by the British Embassy in Washington.  So obviously he had obtained details of possible contacts prior to departure.  For the emigration record of his outward voyage on 21st February 1908 click here.

Interestingly, it would appear from both records that he was travelling with a fellow-optician six years older than he, named Edward Culver.  In Charles Booth's On-Line Archive there is a reference to a Notebook Reference Booth A10, page 35, in which is mentioned a wage summary for October to December 1892 of Edward Culver Company, Spenser Works, Clerkenwell Road, London.  This was the centre of instrument-making in London at that time, and it seems very probable that it was he who was the companion.  Note also that this was a very poor area of London  -  for the relevant section of the Booth's Poverty Map, click here.

William moved to Seaford in Sussex about 1906, and thereafter visited Croydon, and the factory, only infrequently.  He was bought out by his younger brothers for £7,000 in about 1912. 

Charles became “erratic”, probably as a result of an accident in which a counterweight from an automatic machine fell on his head.  Unable to reason with him, Egbert left the company.   Charles then started building up production and manufacturing vast quantities of spherical lenses regardless of cost.  The inevitable happened, and the company was saved from bankruptcy only by Charles being bought out for £17,000, an arrangement about which he remained very bitter to the end of his life.  The liquidators re-installed Egbert who, assisted by his son Geoffrey (who had just obtained his degree from the Royal College of Science), then ran the business.  [Two of the three directors appointed at that time were still on the Board in the early 1960s when Geoff’s son John became a director].

In 1902 he married Beatriz Louise Price, a Croydon girl whom he met on the beach at Seaford whilst he was visiting his brother William.   Their marriage took place in Saint Matthew's Church in Croydon, pictured below in about 1905.

The couple's first matrimonial home was “Sunnyside” in Morland Road, one of the houses behind which the Gowllands factory was situated.  Later, as the factory expanded, this was one of the houses which were demolished to permit the erection of the main office and administration building.   By that time, they had moved to "Clifton", 68 Northampton Road, where they lived for more than thirty years (see photo below). 

68 Northampton Road, photographed in 2002

In the 1911 Census (click here), he and Beatrice (aged thirty-eight and thirty-three respectively) are listed, together with two year old Geoffrey.  With them was living Constance King "Servant - 21 - single - Domestic Servant - born Carlisle". 

A puzzle  -  for Beatrice he has written "Beatric", and for Geoffrey "Goeffrey":  could he have been dyslexic?   His successors had no knowledge of this, but it certainly appears possible.

Whilst at Northumberland Road, and presumably on behalf of his twelve-year old son Geoffrey, Egbert received an individual letter from the General Post Office giving him interim permission to install a radio tuner and aerial  -  see below.


In the late 1930s they moved to the Elgin Court Hotel, in Addiscombe, Croydon; and, when that was destroyed by bombing, they moved to the Shirley Park Hotel, also in Croydon, where they remained until his death.  They had a suite comprising a sitting room, a (tiny) bathroom, and a (very small) bedroom.  All meals were taken in the hotel dining-room.  It was not a life which would have suited everybody.  Egbert worked long hours, and otherwise growled at the newspapers and walked around the hotel grounds.  Beatrice devoted herself to bridge and the crossword from The Daily Telegraph.


Shirley Park Hotel c 1935

They had one son, Geoffrey Gowlland, born in 1908.  When he in due course attended the Royal College of Science, by chance there was another Geoffrey Gowlland there; and he adopted his mother's maiden name of Price as a second Christian name.

Egbert was still working up to about ten days before his death.  He was a typical Victorian husband and employer, teetotal, of the very highest integrity, completely unyielding, stubborn and unpersuadable; and both family and employees, however grudgingly, respected and admired him.

[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941 and John Gowlland - May 2005]


Gowlland, Elizabeth Lion (or Lyon)   -  1827 – 1860 or later

Born 1827, the oldest daughter of George Castle Gowlland - click here for her baptism record.  The spelling of her second name is variable.  Her baptism also appears in "Docklands Ancestors" for 1827.

She married Frederick Albert Henry Stephenson on 12th November 1860 (click here for the marriage certificate) in the magnificent Nicholas Hawksmoor church of St George in the East (see below). 

St George in the East  -  Wapping  -  photographed 2005

GPG believed Frederick was a coppersmith [unfortunately the occupation shown on the marriage certificate is illegible  -  the groom's father is described as a shipwright] and understood that they emigrated, the destination being stated variously as Ontario, Canada; or California, U.S.A; or Rochester, N Y State, U.S.A. 

Her husband was said to have worked for a famous optical firm: this would have been either Imperial Optical Company in Canada, or Bausch & Lomb Inc in N Y State, U.S.A. – no appropriate company known in California.

[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941]


Gowlland, Francis Edward (Frank) -  1871 - 1947

He was born in 1871, a son of Alfred Gowlland (1839  -  c.1901). 

On 24th April 1906 he married Emma Frances Dennis (click here for her birth certificate) at the Parish Church of St Marylebone (click here), Alfred describing himself as "electrical engineer".   Emma died in The Hospital, Coulsdon, Surrey in 1960 (click here) at the age of eighty-seven.


Emma Frances Dennis  -  second from right in back row

Francis and Emma had one daughter, Dora May, born 12th May 1908 in Edmonton.  

Dora May Gowlland aged five

In the 1911 Census (click here), living at 190 Stapleton Hall Road, Stroud Green, North London, are Francis Edward Gowlland "39 - married - Department Manager - Fire Insurance Co - born Islington, London", Emma Frances Gowlland "36 - married - one child living - born Marylebone, London" and Dora May Gowlland (2 - born Hornsey, Middlesex", together with Edith Maud Stevens "20 - single - Servant - born Kentish Town, London".

Dora May married Thomas Fane Tierney in 1932 in All Souls' Church, Langham Place, Marylebone, and they had four children born in 1938, 1940, 1941 and 1944, the first of whom died within the first few weeks of life.  She died in 1995 at the age of eighty-six in Somerset.

Frank was Fire manager to the Atlas Insurance Co., retiring in 1930.    He died on 19th November 1947 and was cremated at Golders Green.

[Sources -  Paul Griffin October 2006 and Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941]


Gowlland, Geoffrey Cathcart   -   1885 - 1980 


On September 7 1885, Richard Sankey Gowlland wrote from the family home at 8 Churchfield Road, Ealing to his sister Celia Oliver in Australia to tell her of the birth of his youngest child: 

‘Since then we have had another little son added to our flock. He is a perfect beauty and we have never felt so proud of any of our infants before. Jessie looks five years younger only from laughing at him and he is altogether the greatest joy of the house. If we were not in a chronic state of impecuniosity we should get his photograph taken in order that you might rejoice over his big blue eyes and frank open face and broad shoulders and fat legs!’ 

He was born on May 27 1885, the fifth child and second son of Richard Sankey Gowlland and Jessie Katherine Gowlland nee Lake (a third son, Leonard, had died as a young child in the previous year) - click here for his birth certificate.  Sadly, his father, Richard, died less than a year later. 



He went to school at Fettes College in Edinburgh where he captained the Rugby XV and studied in the ‘Army Class’: he is listed there in the 1901 Scotland census, aged 15, and named as "Geoffrey Cattscart Gowlland".  For the entry in the School Record of 1923 for 1896 entrants, click here.


From there he went to the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich.  He was gazetted as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers on 20 December 1905.  Promotion to Lieutenant followed in 1908. 


We have a record (click here) of his sailing from Liverpool to Port Said on the SS "Crosby Hall" in December 1910.


In 1912 he married Vera Rosa Marriott Smith (click here), the 25-year old daughter of Walter William Marriott Smith, a retired colonel in the Royal Artillery.; they had one daughter, Jean, who married Cnut (‘Canute’) Larsen in Simla, India (see below), on 1 December 1936; they had two daughters Janet and Anne. 

He was posted as an assistant instructor at the School of Military Engineering in 1913.  He served on the Western Front in the early years of the First World War.  For example, on 11th November 1914 his unit was involved in action at Polygon Wood - click here.  However, perhaps suffering from a war wound, he was posted again to the School of Military Engineering with the rank of Captain on 28 January 1915. 


He was posted as Assistant Director at the Military Works Department of the Egyptian Army where on 31 August 1917 he was appointed to the Fourth Class of the Order of the Nile (click here).  It seems he was joined there by his wife Vera for we have a record (click here) of the March 1916 sailing of a "Mrs Gowlland, aged 28, disembarking at Port Said, final destination Sudan", on the SS "Warwickshire"


He was mentioned in Dispatches three times for his service during the war.   For his two medal cards from WW1, click here and here.   His service record survived the WW2 bombing: however, it has been retained by the Ministry of Defence and not released.  An approach has been made to the Army Personnel Centre, Historic Disclosures, in Glasgow to ascertain what are the chances of it being released in the foreseeable future, but this appears improbable.


After a period of sick leave ‘on account of ill-health caused by wounds’ (27 April to 27 August 1920) he was made an Adjutant on 20 December 1920 and in the following April was attached for service to the Tank Corps.  He held this appointment until 15 December 1922 with the temporary rank of Major, being substantively promoted to Major on his appointment as Chief Instructor in Workshops at the School of Military Engineering on 6 January 1923.  



With the temporary rank of Colonel, he spent three years as Chief Engineer Iraq from August 1926 to August 1929.  A year later he was promoted to Lt. Colonel and to Brevet Colonel in 1932 and to Colonel in 1934.   For his entry in the 1934 Army List, click here.

He went to India as Chief Inspector RE stores 1932-33 and 1934-1937 was Deputy Engineer in Chief (click here).  He became Chief Engineer, the British Troops in China (in Hong Kong) in 1937.  In 1838 he was promoted to be the commander of the Engineers in the British Forces there, and was appointed to the Hong Kong Legislative Council on 1st June 1938 (click here).    In 1939 he was listed in the Order of Battle - here.


Vera is recorded (here) sailing from Port Said to London in 1928 ("Country of permanent residence - Iraq"), and (here) from Hong Kong to Southampton in 1937 ("Country of permanent residence - Hong Kong").


He retired in 1940 with the honorary rank of Brigadier but after his retirement became Chief Engineer, British troops in Northern Ireland 1940-42.  He is listed there in the 1941 Belfast telephone directory, living at 117A Malone Road.


There are two mentions of him in the London Gazette  -   6th December 1941.   Regular Army.   Col. G. C. Gowlland, M. I. Mech. E (3400), ret. pay, (Res. of Offc) reverts to ret. pay, and is granted the hon.rank of Brig.  17th Dec. 1941; and 28th May 1943.  Regular Army Reserve of Officers.  General List.  Col. (hon. Brig.) G. C. Gowlland, M. I. Mech. E (3400), having attained the age limit of liability to recall ceases to belong to the Res. of Offrs.  27th May 1943.


In Autumn 2010 his service record turned up on a website - click here.


He retired to Bournemouth, being, during the remainder of the Second World War, Lt. Colonel Commanding the Wimborne District Home Guard.  

In 1917 he wrote a monograph / pamphlet entitled "Construction of bridges to take heavy motor transport",  published by The Royal Engineers' Institute under their reference ASIN: B0008ACVYK .   It has been out of print for very many years; but fortunately one had been deposited in the British Library, from whom a copy has been obtained. 



It comprises twenty-five pages of text and ten pages of diagrams.  The cover and the first two introductory pages may be accessed by clicking here, here and here: the later pages become more and more mathematical (for an indication, click here for page 10).  For one of the pages of diagrams, click here  -  it would be tempting to think that the handwriting therein is that of Geoffrey Cathcart, but probably we shall never know.  


He was an outstanding sportsman.  He played rugby football 6 times for Scotland in 1908, 1909 and 1910 as a forward; and for London Scottish, the United Services and the Army.    For the London Scottish, he stated that he was born in Scotland, although in fact this was not the case - he had only been educated there.



This Scotch postcard is the Scotland XV that lost 14-0 to Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on 5th February 1910.  The postcard was probably by A & G Taylor of Cardiff.  Welsh programmes and newspapers of the time invariably referred to the "Scotch" teams.  Geoffrey Cathcart Gowlland is third from the right in the back row.


He was as a young man a Whip for the (?) Bodesham Foot Harriers in Kent. 

He died on 9 October 1980; remarkably, three of the six children of Richard and Jessie, Geoffrey, Mildred and Effie lived well into their 90s.  For his obituary in "The Times", click here.

Family Connections. At the age of seventeen on 2 October 1902 Geoffrey attended the wedding of his sister Effie to their cousin Willy Whitcombe at Hardwicke, Bucks, giving them a present of silver buttons. He met some of his Oliver cousins early in life on their visits to England. He was at the wedding of his niece Rosalind Whitcombe to Patrick, the son of his first cousin Edward Joscelyne; it must have been just before his departure for India in 1932. His mother Jessie (grandmother of the bride) and his siblings Effie (mother of the bride), Edward and Mildred were also there. Kitty must have been in India. 


As mentioned above, he was present at the wedding in India of his daughter Jean who, seventy years later, has a clear memory of the day:-

I was married on my 21st birthday 1st December 1936 at the Parish church in Simla.  My parents, who were in India at the time, are seated at either end of the photograph [see below]. 

Canute’s parents were in England so were not able to be there.  The two bridesmaids were called Barbara Gabbett and Toli Christopher – their dresses were garnet coloured velvet.  It may seem strange for them to be wearing velvet but at that time of year it was very cold.  The best man was called Tim Adie – he was in the British Army. 

We had the reception at the Davico Restaurant to where we were transported by rickshaw [see below], as there were not many cars.  This was because in cold weather the only people allowed to have cars were the Viceroy & C.-in-C.

We had a finger buffet, a three-tier cake and champagne.  For our honeymoon we came back to England for six months' leave.  Janet was well on the way at the end of six months, so I stayed in Winchester with my mother’s parents.  Canute returned to India and I went back when Janet was six weeks old.  We moved to Quetta just after the earthquake which happened in early 1937.


Source  -  Richard Joscelyne October 2006, who cites the following sources:

    The letters of Richard Sankey Gowlland, 1885.

    The London Gazette.

    Obituary in the London Times 1980

    Press cuttings of family weddings.

    The letters of G P Gowlland, March and April 1951.


Gowlland, Geoffrey Price  -  1908 - 1974

Geoffrey was born on 5th June 1908 to Egbert Gowlland and Beatriz Louise (née Price)  -  click here for his birth certificate

They lived in Croydon, and he attended St Anselm’s, then a private school at the northwest junction of Park Lane and Coombe Road.  It was badly damaged by bombs during the war. 

He later attended Whitgift School, situated at that time on the west side of Wellesley Road [these buildings were subsequently used by Whitgift Middle School, before it was renamed the Trinity School of John Whitgift, attended by Geoffrey’s grandson Christopher].  This school later moved to the site previously occupied by Shirley Park Hotel [in which Geoffrey’s parent lived after their earlier residence, the Elgin Court Hotel, was destroyed by bombs].  The Wellesley Road buildings were demolished prior to the building of that part of the Whitgift Shopping Centre.

After completing his schooling, he attended that part of the Imperial Institute known as the Royal College of Science, for three years, and obtained his degree as a Bachelor of Science in Physics [B.Sc (Hons)]; and also, by virtue of having obtained a degree with second-class honours, became entitled to use after his name the letters A.R.C.S. [Associate of the Royal College of Science – often confused with the Royal College of Surgeons]. 

Eventually he joined his father in the family business, Gowllands Limited, in Morland Road, Croydon.  As explained elsewhere, his father Egbert’s younger brother Charles Septimus had become the sole director, there having originally been three brothers (William, Egbert and Charles) as co-directors.  Geoffrey’s father Egbert had disagreed with Charles’s policy of building up production of spherical lenses regardless of production costs.  Liquidators were appointed to administer the almost-bankrupt Company, and their stipulation was that Egbert (and the newly-qualified Geoffrey) would take over management of the business.  The four professionals involved in the rescue were still on the Board long after the War. 

He was married at Hever Church in Kent on 5th June 1934 (the idea was that marrying on his birthday would ensure that he never subsequently forgot his wedding anniversary) to Amy Mary Raymond, daughter of George Leonard and Amy Mary (née Rush), both from families established in Croydon for more than fifty years  -  click here for the marriage certificate

They started their married life in a flat in Park Hill Rise, but eventually moved to a new house on the Whitgift Estate, namely 34 Grimwade Avenue [for pictures of this house, both in the 1930s and in 2005, click here].  It is said that they stood on the scaffolding whilst the house was being built, and saw the Crystal Palace burn down, after it had been moved from Hyde Park to its final site at Sydenham. 

Just as they were due to move in, he caught typhoid in what became known as “The Croydon Epidemic”.  He recovered but was never completely fit thereafter. [For information about this epidemic, and the full story as recounted in Lord Goodman’s autobiography, click here].  An article dated 25th January 1938 from "The Times" is shown below -  unfortunately nothing is now known of the fate of the writ for damages mentioned as having been issued against Croydon Corporation.


In early 2012 we acquired a letter written by Geoff to his college friend (and best man at his wedding) - click here.  It was written some days after his name was taken off the Danger List; but it is clear that he was very fortunate to have survived.  Note it was written in pencil  -  presumably ink was not allowed for fear of spilling it on the sheets.

Geoffrey and his father were joint managing directors of the family business and were involved with producing medical instruments for both UK and overseas buyers, and fulfilling Government contracts for the Army and the Admiralty.  Geoffrey in consequence found himself in a reserved occupation during the War. 

They had three children;  Rosemary (born 1937), John ( born 1939) and George Mark (born 1943  - died 1994). 

For most of his adult life, Geoffrey took both cine and still films: his cine films, lodged by Rosemary with an archive for safe keeping, came to the attention of the BBC and featured in programmes about D-Day, and, indirectly, led to the creation of this website. 

Geoff with his cine camera and tripod on his lawn in Croydon

It was the realisation that these films, and the individuals featured in them, might be of wider interest that resulted indirectly in the creation of this website, and the publishing of his letters to family members, primarily during the 1940s, seeking to establish information about the Gowlland family back to the beginning of the eighteenth century.

In 1960 the family moved to Westerham, Kent, whence he commuted to Morland Road for the next fifteen years. 

Geoffrey Gowlland in 1965

He died at his house in Westerham on 8th March 1975, and was cremated at the crematorium in Crawley.

[Source -  Rosemary Milton-Thompson and John Gowlland - June 2005]

Gowlland, George    -  1838 - 1911

George Gowlland 1883

He was born on 1st December 1838 (for his birth certificate click here) in Ratcliffe Highway, Deptford. This was north of the Thames in the district now called Wapping. A century ago, it was at the extreme eastern edge of London, only a few hundred yards from the fields.  

The district deteriorated very much and about 1860 the famous French artist Doré produced a series of paintings of gambling halls and opium dens in the Ratcliffe Highway.  Even in the 1950s it was still one of London's more unsavoury parts.  It was renamed Ratcliffe Road by the L.C.C. [London Country Council] and later St. George's Street.  By 1945 it has again been renamed The Highway. 

He remembered, when a boy, walking down to Wapping old stairs and swimming across the river to Rotherhithe, and back. 

By his father he was brought up as a maker of nautical instruments (e.g. sextants) but specialised in microscopes later on.

As a boy (according to Egbert Gowlland in 1948) he took part in the annual 'beating of the bounds' in Wapping. Originally choirboys, but later most of the boys of the parish, were led in procession in May each year, provided with willow wands with which the boundary stones of each parish were belaboured.  A special song was sung for the occasion.

He worked for R & J Beck [probably the best-known of all British microscope makers] at Holloway, North London.  He was an assembler and fitter and best at mechanical as opposed to glass work.  He does not seem to have done any lens working.  Egbert Gowlland thought that he was amongst the most outstanding craftsman of his time as far as optical instruments were concerned.

He subsequently went to Henry Crouch of Barbican E.  At that period (the 1880's) there were no longer import duties in America, and many American dealers subsidised a maker of instruments in England, where traditions of good craftsmanship and glamour of name produced readily saleable instruments for the new world market.  Henry Crouch was connected in this way with Goldbacker [?] of New York.

Later he had a workshop of his own at Wollaston House in St. Thomas' Street, North London.  He made microscopes for the trade.

He was a fine singer, but very intolerant and bigoted, a Wesleyan.

He married Jane Orford of Greenwich [for information about Jane's family, the Orfords, click here] at St. Alphege's Church, Greenwich on 2 July 1859  -  see below. 


St Alphege's, Greenwich, photographed in 2006

He described himself as an optician in the marriage register (click here for the marriage certificate) and as living with the Orford's in Ravensbourne Street. 

In the 1861 census George is living as a lodger at 14 Upper Bride Street, Finsbury (click here), and Jane and baby Margaret are living in Greenwich with her parents (click here).

In the 1871 census they are listed as living at 31 Ashburton Grove N.7 (where most of their nine children were born) with their five oldest children - click here and here.  The four younger ones were born between 1872 and 1880

In 1878 he was recorded at this address in UK Poll Book and Electoral Register (here) and his younger brother Alfred was nearby, in number 25.

In 1897 they moved to a better house at 23 Romilly Road, Finsbury Park, N.4. 

23 Romilly Road,  Finsbury Park.

Here on the big kitchen dresser were some of the plates with the family crest.  A large dish formed the centrepiece, and there were one or two smaller plates, and there were one or two spoons with a solid crest as well.  The crest on the plates had some words under the crest.  (The other Gowland crest does not seem to have these).  The boys (who were never allowed to touch the plates) called the wording "the dead language" and it was said to be either Norman French or Celtic [however, the only remaining picture of the crest shows the motto to be in Latin] .

Egbert Gowlland, his son, (1872 - 1957)  considered him in many ways a typical Victorian parent, very narrow minded, strict and severe.  He turned his son George out of the house on learning that this son had lent his name to the board of a rather shady gold mining company.

He was a good cricketer - some caps he won belonged in 1942 to Charles S. Gowlland. 

The vogue of the microscope spread a certain glamour and respect to their makers.  This lasted for the heyday of microscope clubs.

In his middle life he dressed very well and carefully, and moved as a person of substance. He led a steady and abstemious life. 

Geoffrey Gowlland's cousin Melissa, in a letter to him in 1942, wrote: "I have an oil and water colour of our grandfather George you might care to view, looking like the King of the Cannibals - sports an outsize in black whiskers and beard - very fierce altogether".  Quite unexpectedly, this reappeared in 2010 (it is the portrait heading this biography).  It was evidently originally a photograph which had been coloured.  On the right-hand side it is initialled in red "JG 1883" which implies that it was Jane who did the colouring  -  the restorer commented in September 2010 that it had originally "been very carefully and artistically done".  In view of what we know of Jane's (lost) diary (click here), this would seem to confirm her as the colourist.

His later years, however, were marred by excessive drinking and hastened his death from bladder trouble. 

His sons Henry Orford and Arthur Gowlland were also at Crouch, the former doing some of the [lens] computing. The advent of import duties on machinery stopped the American business.

In 1896 his children Charles, Gertie, Egbert, William, Jane and Margaret Gowlland all lived at 192 Highbury Hill. They were all listed in the "The Star" of Monday 10 February 1896, amongst 20 winners sharing a £50 award for a Bovril competition (for details, click here).

Geoffrey Gowlland recorded that:

1.    He left his wife and family and went to live in Rochester, U.S.A. with his sister Helen and her husband, where he worked with [illegible].  

2.    Possibly worked for a while (about 1895 or 1905) with his son Harry at The Poplars, Selsey, Sussex making [illegible - but probably "microscopes]

3.    After Jane's death in January 1897 and he was said to have gone to live with his Aunt Lizzie [Elizabeth Lion or Lyon] who had married a coppersmith at Greenwich, and with her went to [illegible] at Rochester, N Y State, U.S.A.  

4.  He died in John Street, Deptford, East London, in very poor circumstances. 

This information probably came from Geoff's father, Egbert; and now, one hundred years later, we have no way of knowing whether it is all accurate; but see below.

In 1898 we find (click here) that he passed through Ellis Island on a trip to New York.  He travelled on the SS "St Louis" arriving on 22nd January.  He is recorded as being of age fifty-seven (he was in fact in his sixtieth year - did the Americans bar visitors aged sixty and over?), and described as "Widower - Optician".  On departure from Southampton (click here), travelling third class, he had given the same age, but had also described himself as "Foreigner - Married" - neither English nor Scotch nor Welsh.  probably the nationality was a slip-up by the clerk completing the entry, and, there being no column for "widower/widow", such persons were described as "married".  Note that this entry was transcribed as "Gawlland", but there is no doubt that it is "our" George.

The purpose of the voyage was stated as "visiting sister and children", whose address was given as "129 East Avenue, Rochester, New York State", for which destination he already possessed a ticket, as well as $50 in cash.  He had two older sisters, Elizabeth Lyon born 1827, and Helen (Ellen) Unwin, born 1829.   Helen (Ellen) Lyon died in 1892; and it must therefore indeed have been Elizabeth Lyon whom he was visiting - she would have been seventy-one at the time of his visit.  Regrettably we have no information regarding her marriage nor her place of residence, and in fact this is the first indication that she appears to have emigrated to the USA.

Jane died at the age of fifty-nine in 1897, from "apoplexy 1 day, convulsions and paralysis" - click here for the death certificate.  Two years later on 5th August 1899 he married Amelia Susannah Turnbull, his next-door neighbour in Johnson Street, Wapping, described as "44 - spinster - daughter of John Turnbull, blacksmith" (click here for the marriage certificate).  The ceremony took place at St George in the East (below), where his daughter Elizabeth had previously been married.  None of George's relatives witnessed the certificate, and it is questionable whether any of them attended.  The impression is that in his later years he had no contact with any of his children and their families.


St George in the East in 2005

In the 1901 census (click here) he is recorded as living at No 45 Johnson Street, St George in the East, Stepney (married - 62 - optician / microscope maker - working on own account at home - born Wapping), together with Amelia (wife - 46 - tailoress, waistcoat maker, at home - born St George in the East - click here for her 1854 birth certificate).  With them is living Noah ditto (brother - S - 41 - no occupation - born St George in the East - epileptic.  The census record clearly indicates "Ditto" for the surname, but evidently Noah is the brother of Amelia, not George.  Did he change his surname from Turnbull to Gowlland on the occasion of his sister's marriage to George, or was this an error on the part of the census enumerator?

And there's another puzzle  -  Noah Turnbull does not appear in any of the 1871, 1881 or 1891 censuses; nor do any other London-born Noahs of the correct age. 

In the 1911 Census (click here) he appears as "Head - 73 - Microscope Maker - part work [presumably this means he was working on a piecework basis] - born Wapping, London" together with Amelia "Wife - 55 - born 45 Johnson Street, St George in the East".                   ."

And in the same year he died at the age of seventy-three in Johnson Street, St George in the East, London - click here for his death certificate.  The informant was "A Gowlland, widow".  The cause of death was "Cancer of the pancreas  -  exhaustion".  So GPG's information was approximately correct - for "John" read "Johnson", and for "bladder trouble" read "pancreatic cancer"

[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941]


Gowlland, George Castle  -  1804 - 1890

Born 26 April 1804 in Mile End Road, London, the third son of Stephen and Jane Gowlland.

His birth was registered at Dr. Williams' Library, Redcross Street, Cripplegate, the document being in his father Stephen's handwriting.  Stephen’s wife Jane Gowlland (née West) was an ardent non-conformist and special facilities were available at only a few places to register births for children who were not baptised in the Church of England. 

George Castle Gowlland's birth certificate

He married firstly a Margaret Welch, who was born (click here for the birth certificate) on 19th September 1799: her parents were John Welch (a lighterman) and Margaret née Ring  (for whose marriage certificate, dated eleven days after Margaret's birth, click here).  The wedding took place in St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch on 18th May 1826 (click here for the marriage certificate).   Margaret's sister married a Glanville; and Frank Gowlland of Bournemouth was executor for the estate in 1942. 

George Castle and Margaret had five (or perhaps six) children. 

He subsequently married Martha Agnes Mustart née Helwidge, a widow and the daughter of a Master Mariner Jacob Helweg and his wife Sarah née Trewick, in Parish Church, Stepney, on 27th September 1857 (click here for the marriage certificate), Margaret having died on 28th August 1856 (click here for Margaret's death certificate, and here for Martha's).  This 1957 marriage certificate shows the same address for them both, namely 26 Heath Street, Stepney; and in February 2009 it was explained to us that after Jacob's death Sarah had married again, her husband being George John Purvis (like George Castle, a maker of nautical instruments).   Two of their children, George Purvis (b 1820) and Louisa Purvis (b c1822), were the witnesses at the 1857 marriage.

In the 1841 census he is shown living in Mile End Old Town Lower, Stepney, with Margaret and a total of six children - the oldest, William, born about 1826, was unknown to us until May 2006 and for the moment we can only assume he belongs to this family [see below].  The other children's names and years of birth are Elizabeth Lion (or Lyon) (1827), Ellen (1829), Arthur (1832), George (1838) and Alfred (1839).  For the original 1841 census record click here.

Regarding William, we have a rather puzzling death certificate from Christmas Day 1844 (click here) for a William Gowland, male, eighteen years of age, "occupation - surgeon" [something wrong here - even in the 1840s an eighteen-year old couldn't be a surgeon!], "cause of death - pneumonia".  The death was registered in Kennington, Lambeth, Surrey - in other words, south of the Thames - indicating that the death occurred in Horleyford Road, which was in 1830 the southern approach road to Vauxhall Bridge.  However, the informant, George Walker, came from Islington, which implies a North London connection; and Islington is relatively close to the northern side of Vauxhall bridge.  Could William have been visiting friends in Lambeth over the Christmas period and died very suddenly?  Accepting that some of this family used just one L (see Ellen's marriage certificate below), this might conceivably be the William above, in which case it would explain his non-appearance on censuses from 1851 onwards.  On the other hand, it might as well not be him.

We have marriage certificates for Elizabeth Lion (here), Ellen, from St Botolph's, Bishopsgate (here) [note that she signed her name with one L], Arthur (here) and George (here).

His oldest daughter Elizabeth Lion, incidentally, was married in the magnificent Nicholas Hawksmoor church of St George in the East - see her biography.

George Castle Gowlland was a nautical instrument maker specialising in sextants: in censuses he was inclined to describe himself as "mathematical instrument maker": on his son George's wedding register he described himself as an optician.

He lived and carried on his business at The Ratcliffe Highway, E.C.1.  In 1942 this was known as St.George's Street and High Street, Wapping, London, Parish of St. George of the East.  In 2005 the name is The Highway.  George Castle’s great-great-grandson has used an estate agent in that same road.  No-one now could say that it is an unsavoury location. 

For further information regarding The Ratcliffe Highway, click here.

In December 2012 we were given the following background information provided originally to a descendant of Dora May Gowlland (1908 - 1995), incorporating errors as is usual in these cases, and which I have not attempted to correct:

George was a maker of ships' instruments and lived in Wapping.  He had three sons George, Arthur and Alfred (I think there was a daughter "Lizzie" but Grandpa never spoke of her so I suppose she died very young).  He was a very bad tempered man and all three sons feared him: I think they had a rather unhappy childhood.  Her mother Margaret died when Alfred was a young boy and his happiest memories were of his aunt, Mary Grenville.  After the sons were grown up, he married a lady named Ellen Mustard and I fancy she tamed him.  Anyhow all the sons liked her!

All three sons became metal-workers - George Junior married Ann and lived in Holloway near Alfred and Harriet; but I fancy the two sisters-in-law didn't get on too well.  Ann was a very big woman and Harriet was always known as "Little Mrs Gowlland" to distinguish her.  There were no contacts in my lifetime.

The descendents of his elder brother have a tradition that he fell on very hard times and was exceedingly bitter that he could get no help from the rest of his family when in need.  Even in the early nineteenth century Ratcliffe Highway had a bad reputation and this may explain their unwillingness to assist. 

An indication of his decline is the 1861 census which shows him lodging at 26 Heath Street, Stepney (Wapping) with his second wife Martha and her two youngest children, Alexandra aged sixteen "employed at provision warehouse", and George aged fourteen, a waiter.  She had also two older children, Janet born about 1835 and Sarah, born about 1838.

In this 1861 census, the very small terraced house was owned by George John Purvis, the head of the household, describing himself, as did George Castle, as a "Nautical Instrument Manufacturer" - we now know (see above) that he was the son of George John Purvis (whom we shall for ease call The First), the second husband of Martha's mother Sarah; and with him and his wife Mary is their five-month old son called, inevitably, George J [presumably John] Purvis - thus The Third.  For an image of the relevant census page, click here.  George Purvis and his sister Laura were the two witnesses at George and Martha's wedding four years earlier, which would imply that no Gowlland family members were asked to be witnesses, or conceivably did not even attend. 

In the 1871 census (click here) he and Martha are still at the same address and, as before, occupying only a very small part of the (small) house.  Also living in the house is Martha's son Alexander with his wife Eliza  (whom he married in 1868) in Stepney Parish Church) and their two eldest daughters Elizabeth and Rosina (they subsequently had three more daughters, Edith Alice, Ellen Agnes and Louisa  -  all eventually became domestic servants).

Martha died in 1875 at the age of sixty-two  -  click here.`

Presumably as a consequence of her death, by the time of the 1881 census (click here) he has sunk even lower  -  he is now an inmate in the Whitechapel Union Workhouse, South Grove, Mile End Old Town, described as "widower - age 76 - male - inmate - opticians [sic] - born Mile End Old Town".  

In November 2010 an attempt was made to find out more regarding this time in his life by consulting the records in the London Metropolitan Archives.   The starting point should have been the date at which he was admitted to Mile End Workhouse.  Regrettably the relevant registers (entitled "Settlement and Relief") run from 1860 only up to mid-1875 (his wife Martha died in March 1875); and the "Admission and Discharge Book of Mile End Workhouse" begins only in August 1888: in neither was there any trace of him - so he would appear to have been admitted between late-1875 and mid-1888. 

Registers coving "Orders for Reception of Lunatics into Asylum" for the relevant period were searched without result.

At last a positive record of him emerged, in the "[Religious] Creed Register - Mile End Workhouse - 1882-1885".  The entries for him are:-

Establishment  -  Workhouse of Hamlet of Mile End Old Town

Date of Admission - 19th February 1880

Date of Discharge  -  15th May 1980  [see * below]

Name and DOB  -  George Gowland,  born 1805

From whence admitted  -  Blank - no entry

Religious Creed  -  Protestant

Whether Removable or Irremovable  -  IRRE  (see ** below)

Discharged or Dead  -  Blank  -  no entry

Folio Settlement Book  -  1435

Place of Settlement  -  St George in the East


  This is probably wrong


**   "Removable" implied the pauper could be returned to his original place of settlement and thus not represent a charge on the parish where the workhouse was located: however, in this case the Mile End Workhouse was in his parish of St George in the East and thus it was not possible to shrug off their responsibility for him.


The register incorporates running totals of patients: at this time there were 166 Males, 240 Females and 19 Children.

In the "Mile End Infirmary: Admission and Discharge Book" for 1889-1890, the following entries appear:-

Establishment  -  Mile End Infirmary



Date of Admission  -  2nd April 1889

Name and particulars  -   George Gowland, age 84, optician, Church of England

Nearest relation  -  Friend, Geo Purvis, 46 Heath Street, Stepney [see # below]

By whose Order admitted  -  Illegible, possible E Fox (?)



Date and Nature of Discharge  -  8th March 1890  -  Dead


#    At least five of his children were still alive in 1890.  His having given his next-of-kin as George Purvis (see above - "The Third" - the grandson (presumably) of the second marriage of his second wife's mother) gives vivid confirmation of the family belief, reinforced by the apparent absence of any of his children from his second marriage ceremony, that relationships between him and the rest of the family had completely broken down, and there was little or no contact.


In the "Mile End Infirmary: Admission and Discharge Register" appears:


Name -  Geo Gowland

Reason for Admission - Senility

Unheaded Column, presumably the ward location - W. House

Admitted - 2nd April 1889

Discharged - 8th March 1890  -  Dead

William Gowlland  (1870 – 1950) claimed to have remembered him as a big man, with an immaculate frock coat, a large top hat and an invariable flower in his buttonhole: but, given his circumstances towards the end of his life, is this possible?.  Melissa Gowlland, William's daughter, in a letter to Geoff Gowlland in July 1942, quotes  "He remembers his grandfather [George Castle Gowlland] calling periodically in a four-wheeler, looking very dapper in a silk top hat, beaver cloth coat, and buttonhole.  My father was quite small, and would stand holding the old bloke’s hand overcome with awe".

[A final word about his second name, "Castle".  As a rule, it has been possible to trace the origin of second names amongst Gowlland antecedents but there is no obvious explanation for "Castle".  The only speculation we have, admittedly somewhat far-fetched, goes back to his great-aunt, Anne Norris (baptised April 1740 at St Anthony's, Alkham), the wife of George Gowlland (b 1740): her mother was Alice Castle, who married her father, Stephen Norris, in 1739, at St Anthony's, Alkham.   There is, at the same church, a baptism of an Alice Castle, daughter of Robert and Alice Castle; but unfortunately its date, 29th January 1728, is too late.  So far we have no other information, and this may well prove a red herring].

He died in 1890 in Mile End Infirmary - click here for his death certificate, and here for the entry in the Infirmary Register of Deaths, showing the cause of death as "Acute Pneumonia": note that in both document his name was incorrectly spelt with one L.


[Source -  mainly Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941]


Gowlland, George (L - Castle – see below)  -  1867 - 1927

The third son, and fourth child, of George and Jane (née Orford) Gowlland, born 29th September 1867 (click here for his birth certificate) he was, according to Egbert Gowlland,  the most outstanding of that generation in a dilatory way.  He took part in the pioneering of several of the technical innovations of Edwardian days (e.g.  arc lighting and the amalgamation gold extraction process). 

He was known in the family as “Pac” or “The Amalgamator”. 

He was very religious, being one of the foundation members [?] of the Y.M.C.A: he was publicly baptised, taking the middle name of “Castle" [after his grandfather].  In October 2009 we obtained a copy of the baptism record (here), dated 29th June 1882, at which time he was nearly fifteen years  -  note the record is endorsed "Ad B", presumably standing for Adult Baptism. 

He was, as a young man, a prominent member of the bell ringing association, The Famous Society of College Youths.  He was a big heavy man: he rang tenor, and kept the time of the changes.  He went round the London churches ringing, and Egbert remembered going with him to Stoke Newington Church and listening to him lead Bob Major. 

He volunteered to take one of the first T.B.D. (or gunboats) from Thorneycrofts, the makers on the Thames at Chiswick, out to Brazil.  He was supposed to have been unable to get the buyers to take delivery of it, and took it up to the U.S.A. 

He was always on to something new and constantly developing something else: he did a lot in connection with early electric lighting, being responsible for illuminating with arc lights the Keep [presumably the White Tower] of the Tower of London, and later the Suez Canal. 

In 1891, in his mid-twenties, he formed a company called The Gowlland Light Syndicate Limited top manufacture and market a cycle lamp - see below: nothing further was heard of it.


"The Shields Daily Gazette"



"The Pall Mall Gazette"

He worked for Falgrave Murphy and Co., owners of the Castle Line.  He was befriended by Mr. Falgrave and he introduced him into a number of other activities, amongst them a number of semi-bogus gold mining companies.  He invented an amalgamating machine for which Mr. Falgrave floated a special company of which George was a director.  It was a failure; and George's father was very annoyed at having a name the same as his own on the board of directors of such a company, and turned his son George out of the house.  William Gowlland (1870 - 1950)  remembers the sacks of ore standing in the narrow passage of Wollaston House, while George conducted his experiments. 

There is a record (click here) of the departure from Liverpool of the SS "Vancouver", ultimate destination Portland, USA, on 20th February 1890, of "Mr Gowlland  -  Adult  -  Single  -  Gentleman  -  destination Halifax": this is most probably him, true to type travelling in some comfort in a cabin.  He travelled with the Dominion Line, not the Castle Line.

From Falgrave Murphy, he went to the Waveley Copper Mine in Novia Scotia, Eastern Canada.   A load of rich ore was sent out to him to salt the mine prior to a survey, but George decamped with this ore over the border to the U.S.A. and sold it there. 

Next he was heard of as a trusted American member of the United States Arsenal at Maryland.  However, a named signet ring which he accidentally left in a cloakroom after working late one night lead to the discovery that he was not an American, and he had to flee to Canada.  . 

In Canada he seems to have settled in Charlotte Street, Peterborough, Ontario Province, and from that address in 1902 he took out nine patents on Electric Meters, the first (here) for improvements to prepayment meters.  These patents are numbered 50 to 58 on the Espace listing - click http://worldwide.espacenet.com/searchResults?compact=false&ST=singleline&query=gowlland&locale=en_EP&DB=worldwide.espacenet.com

[Note - if only 25 listings show up, go to the bottom LH and click on "Load more results for exporting" for numbers 26 to 50, and again for 51 to 58]

For these he used a middle name "Lewis" - we have no idea where this came from.  One of the patents was for France, and two of them for Austria (why?).

Evidently these failed to make his fortune, and from there he is thought to have gone to the Yukon after gold, and was amongst the earliest enthusiasts for the development of this rich territory.

A microscope bearing the name of "George L Gowlland" which turned up in a California museum in 2006 (click here  -  about five pages from the end) is thought to have been of his manufacture.  It is unclear what the purposes are of the special fittings, although conceivably there could be some connection with assaying of ore.  It is hoped to have more information at a later date.  The indication of a place of manufacture of "Cambridge, Boston, Massachusetts" was also unexplained, but see next paragraph.    And in 2009 another microscope bearing the same name also came to light, also in America - click here for details of both these.  What the "L" in his name was meant to stand for is unknown. 

In the 1896 Cambridge (Massachusetts) Directory (below) he is listed as "Gowlland, George, instrument maker, rms [presumably Rooms] 37, Erie [Street]".



Egbert Gowlland met him by chance in a Toronto, Canada, hotel in 1912, very rich, in fur lined overcoat, and looking fit and well.  He walked up and down looking at Egbert and then consulted the visitor's book.  He came up and asked bluntly: "Which are you - Egbert or Charles?".  He begged that his prosperity and address should be kept from Henry [Orford Gowlland] of whom he disapproved. 

There is a mention in the journal “Nature” - http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v119/n2993/abs/119389a0.html - of an experiment in the 1920s carried out by “Mr G Gowlland” (thought to be he), in collaboration with a Mr L G Vedy, on the rotation of bodies with dielectric surfaces in electrostatic fields.  If indeed he had shown this experiment at The Physical Society (presumably the American one) it must have been within a few months of his death.

He died in Canada in 1927, apparently very poor, if not in actual want.  His effects were handled by the Public Trustee and consisted mainly of a grandfather clock, which he claimed was of his own making.    Subsequent research makes this claim quite possible.. Gladys Gowlland eventually bought it some eight years later.  The Trustees Office of Canada had advertised for heirs, but there were considerable fees due before anything could be claimed.  [Click here for more information on this clock, and the various theories that surrounded it]. 

He was a very bigoted low-churchman and a rabid teetotaller.  He would not enter any room when drink was about.  He was a non-smoker and left any table where the company smoked.  His social outlook was intensely narrow. 

He left his house to an old girl friend Miss Frances of Nova Scotia (who had never married).   He took a keen interest in a neighbouring girls' school, the pupils of which were given a holiday on the occasion of his funeral and followed the coffin. He would not ever allow any woman into his house in his later days, even for cleaning.

[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941]


Gowlland, Gertrude (Jane Orford)    -   1880 - 1910

The second daughter and ninth child of George and Jane Gowlland. 

She married, in 1901, a Samuel James Gosland (1878 - c.1940), at that time on the Admiralty Staff (click here for a copy of his birth certificate).  Samuel's grandfather Robert Gosland was a Cabman living in Clerkenwell - click here for the family's entry in the 1851 census, including Samuel's father Henry aged eight, and here, after Robert's death, for the 1861 entry showing widowed Sarah and sons Henry and John.  By the time of the 1871 census (click here)  Henry (described as "Lithographic Printer") and his wife Emily are living in Albert Street, Islington, with children Henry (6) Elizabeth (4) and John (2); and in the 1881 census (click here) the family has grown to six children, including the three-year old Samuel.

The marriage produced two children, a girl who died in 1932, and Leslie Gosland (1905 - 2000) [pictured below] who was a research engineer with the Electrical Industries Research Association engaged in H.T. switchgear  -  he had a son and a daughter (click here for his birth certificate and here for his marriage certificate).

Leslie Gosland in 1975, at the age of seventy

Gertrude became ill with tuberculosis (TB).  The family believed that she was not well treated, nor well looked after by her husband; and she was then taken to her brother Egbert's house in Croydon where she was nursed until she died in 1910 (click here for her death certificate).   Egbert's wife Beatrice Louise must have found it very difficult to attend to both her dying (and greatly loved) sister-in-law, and her own newborn son Geoffrey Price.

Samuel Gosland was, the family thought, too much addicted to billiards and club life.  According to Egbert, an outstanding example of the Ungodly flourishing undeservedly.

[Source - Geoffrey Price Gowlland  -  Sept 1941]


Gowlland, Helen Unwin   -  1829 - ?

Born 1829,  the second daughter and second child of George Castle Gowlland.

She was Matron of an Infirmary down Ratcliffe Way in Wapping, East London; and she died a spinster [?].

In 1942 Frank Gowlland described her as “a charming old lady”

[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941]


Gowlland, James E   -  1843 - 1860

James Gowlland, the second son of Thomas Sankey Gowlland and his wife Mary (nee Ewing), was born in Tresco in the Scilly Islands in 1843, and baptized there on 19 April 1843. The 1851 census shows him living with his family, aged 8, in Leigh on Sea, Essex.  

He appears to have followed his elder brother John (Jack) to the Upper School of the Royal Hospital Schools at Greenwich (for more information on these Schools, click here), and seems to have gone to sea aged about thirteen.

These schools were exclusively for the sons of sailors, which suggests that Thomas Sankey Gowlland was a sailor before becoming a coast guard. 

[An extremely interesting book entitled "The Royal Hospital School, Greenwich" by H. D. T. Turner (Published by Phillimore, ISBN 0 85033 372 5) deals with a cadet's experiences in the early 1920s: probably many of the procedures and formalities were substantially the same fifty or sixty years earlier]

He served on H.M.S. "Zolla" in the Baltic where a younger shipmate was H.R.H. Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria’s second son (later Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe Coburg).  In 1858 James was serving on H.M.S. "Racer" and again met Prince Albert, in Gibraltar, writing a charming letter to his mother, which has survived [click here for the letter].

His Royal Navy record has recently been released and is shown below.  In the penultimate line is a reference to  " . . . . reports impediment better . . .": it is not clear what was the nature of this impediment.

He died of yellow fever in October or November 1860. A memorial in the Parish Church of Port Royal, Jamaica reads:



 Among the 21 names inscribed on the monument is:  "MR. JAS. GOWLLAND, ASST. CLERK"

The above details are under monument 15 in the Port Royal Parish Church records - see http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/Barche15.htm[

Source -  Richard Joscelyne  -  2005]


Gowlland, James Carter   -  1833 - 1915


James Carter Gowlland was the oldest of six sons and one daughter born to James West Gowlland (1802 - 1874)  and Jane Gowlland, née Carter (c1809 - 1873) in England on 13th July 1833.   He was the grandson of Stephen Gowlland (born 1775), who was himself the grandson of Joseph Gowlland.  He was baptised on 17th November 1833 at a time when the family was living at 5 Holme Street, in the parish of St Dunstan, Stepney.

On 4th July 1865 in Lambeth Registry Office he married Jane Honey (click here for the marriage certificate).  GPG's researches confirmed they had a son, called John Gowlland (see below),

However, in May 2006 we discovered that in fact James Carter and Jane had two earlier children of whom we had known nothing, James Honey born 4th May 1866 (click here for his birth certificate) and Alice Jane born 20th July 1867 (click here).   In the 1871 census (click here) Alice Jane is living with her grandfather James West Gowlland and his wife Jane, and two of their sons, Joseph (born 1844) and Stephen (born 1851 - click here for this birth certificate).  Neither James Carter nor his wife appear, and we believe they had by then already emigrated to the United States.  Apparently little Alice Jane was left with her grandparents.  There is no trace of little James Honey Gowlland, and we now know he died in the third quarter of 1866, a few months after his birth. . 

We thought that Alice Jane did not appear in subsequent censuses; but we are now confident that she is the "Alice J Goulland, aged 14, visitor" who in the 1871 census turns up in Hove (Brighton) Sussex - click here.  The establishment to which she is a visitor comprises an unmarried Stepney-born lady Elizabeth C Holmes, and eight unmarried young ladies aged between twenty-two and fourteen.  They are all described as "dressmaker".  Could this be a euphemism?  Could Alice Jane be staying in a house of ill repute?.

The third child, John Gowlland was said to have been born in America: up to early 2008 all we knew was that he apparently subsequently married, but the wife's name was unknown; and that they had two children, Margaret (who married Ted Rideout, and had two children, Kenneth and June), and Gladys (who married Walter Sherman, and had no children).  

However, in 2008 we found an En glish 1881 census entry (confusingly, in the name of "John Henry Cawlland" which we believe should be "John Honey Gowlland".  He appears as a boarder, aged eleven, at 201 Clapham Road, Stockwell (here), living in the house of a family named "Goodchild" (here), the father's occupation being given as "schoolmaster".  Note that John Honey's place of birth is shown as "America".  There is an annotation in the final column which looks as if it might be "Foreign" - in which case it appears that John Honey acquired American citizenship by virtue of his birth.

In 2012 an I.G.I transcription (here) mentioned a John H Gorrland Or Gowlland [sic] born in Canada, but in 1905 living at Zumbrota, Goodhue, Minnesota, USA; and it would appear therefore that he was sent from Canada to board in England for some at least of his education, and thence emigrated tp the Unitred States.

Jane Honey Gowlland, James Carter Gowlland's first wife, is alleged to have later died.  However, throughout 2007 strenuous efforts were made to trace her death, her remarriage, her location on subsequent censuses and/or emigration, all without success.  There is consequently a possibility that she was alive at the time of his second marriage, which might in consequence have been bigamous.

At all events, whatever did or did not happen, James Carter Gowlland, with his son John, travelled to America.  It now appears that he had gone to and from America several times, before finally settling there.


In America he married Emma Smith (1852 - 1929), and they had three children, all born in Chatfield, Minnesota   -    Edgar Blackburn (1891), Grace Westerveldt (1886) and Pansy Dot (born 1892, but died two weeks later).   

In the 1885 Census (click here), spelt as "Gowland", he appears "age 50 - born in England" together with Emma "age 33 - born in New York" and daughter Aliss [sic] "age 18 - born in England": clearly this latter is Alice Jane Gowlland, his daughter by Jane née Honey, born 20th July 1867.  The return correctly shows Alice as having both parents as being " of foreign birth".

In the 1895 Census (click here), this time indexed as "Jimes Gowland" [!] he appears (aged 60) with Emma (43), and children Grace (9) and Edgar (4), these two latter recorded as having been born in Minnesota: most unfortunately, his occupation is impossible to read.

In the 1900 Census (for which he was the Enumerator for his district, Elmeria Township, Chatfield City, Olmsted County, Minnesota) he appears (click here) aged 67 with wife Emma (47) and children Grace (14) and Edgar (9): his occupation, once again, is difficult to read.  The first word looks like "Missionary", but the second is unclear.  His country of origin is shown as "England" and Emma is shown as coming from New York.  Near the RH side of the entry is a column showing the letter "R" which indicates that he rents, rather than owns, his house.  This seems to tally with Bob Gowlland's information (see below).

In the 1905 Census (click here) he and Emma (aged 71 and 52 respectively) are listed, together with Edgar Blackburn (14).

In the 1910 Census (click here) he and Emma (aged 76 and 57 respectively) are now living with Grace (23): note their house is still rented.

James Carter Gowlland died five years after, on 29th March 1915.

His son John Gowlland by his first wife Jane appears in the 1900 census (click here) aged 30, His birthplace is indicated as "Canada Eng", presumably "Canada English" as opposed to "Canada French" which corresponds with what had been thought; but there can be no explanation for "Italy" being shown as his father's birthplace  -  a mistake, presumably.  His occupation is given as "Day Labourer" and he had been fifteen years in the United States.

In the 1905 census (click here) John appears aged 34, described as "Mason".  His return indicates that he had been in the United States for nineteen years.    Also listed are wife Cora (30 - born in Wisconsin) and children Gladys (6) and Margareta (2), both born in Minnesota.

They also (click here) appear in the 1920 Census: John's occupation is very difficult to read, unfortunately  -  the second word appears to be "Mason" and the industry in which he works is "Building".  Gladys (21) works as a Comptometer Operator, and Margareta has no occupation shown.

Edgar Blackburn registered for service in the U S Army during World War 1 (click here and here); but was not called upon for service.  He appears in the 1920 Census (click here), described as "Farmer",  together with his wife Ethel, son James W, and widowed mother Emma.  He died in 1970, and Ethel died in 1990.

Grace later lived in North Dakota: she had no children.

In August 2007 Dr Bob Gowlland, Edgar's son James Munson Gowlland's younger son, explained that James Carter Gowlland had been a very serious, puritanical man; and had scarcely managed to make a very meagre living by selling bibles and other religious books.   Also that the family had always understood that Emma Smith (although she herself was, according to her census returns, was born in New York) came from a French Canadian background, and that she was related to Joseph Smith, the founder and prophet of the Mormon Church (for a brief biography of Joseph Smith, click here)

Edgar Blackburn and Grace Westervelt Gowlland in about 1891

Minnesota Naturalization Records Index, 1854-1957 Record

Name Jas. C Gowlland
County Olmsted
Reel 3
Code 10
Volume A(2)
Page 504
Document Type Final Papers
Years 1896 - 1903
Numbers 1 - 569


For more photographs of  Grace Westerveldt Gowlland and Edgar Blackburn Gowlland with his wife Ethel née Munson (1889 - 1990), click here.

James Carter Gowlland died on 15th March 1915.

James Munson Gowlland, son of Edgar and Ethel, died in 2010 - see http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56978832


Gowlland, Joseph   -  ?1714 – 1788

Joseph is the first name on our Family Tree, and from him all the other individuals are descended.

His birth has not yet been traced.  

In late May 2006 Rosemary discovered at The Society of Genealogists the transcription below of eighteenth century apprenticeships. 

[For more information on apprenticeships, and on the three in the name of "Gowland" in Kent in the first half of the 18th century, click here].

We are convinced that the third Gowland (sic) listed above is "our" Joseph.  Apprenticeships at that time usually lasted for between three and seven years, commencing when the apprentice was about fourteen years old. 

In 2009 a further index was found, as shown below (Joseph is the eighth name): this index recorded the payment of stamp duty on the premiums payable.  This clearly shows both the beginning of the apprenticeship, and the payment of the premium, as taking place in 1728; and on that basis we now provisionally believe 1714 to be the year of Joseph's birth.  Of course, this may be superseded by further research.

[At one stage we had thought that as the entry for Joseph in the first (typewritten) index shows three dashes where the parent's name normally appears, the most likely explanation for this was that the premium was paid when Joseph was an adult, in other words after the end of his term (the premium, paid in 1728 in Joseph's case, was payable up to a year after the apprenticeship finished).  This would imply that the apprenticeship (assuming his lasted for seven years and he was fourteen when it began) would have started about 1720.  On that basis, Joseph would have been born in about 1706, with a possible spread of one or two years either way.  As explained above, we now believe this hypothesis was incorrect]

Notice the location of the apprenticeship  - Hougham (see map below).   Both Joseph and his wife Susannah were buried at Hougham.  It is situated mid-way between Dover and Folkestone.

The fact that his apprentice master John Sutton was a carpenter is also revealing: many of the eighteenth century Gowl(l)ands were carpenters or coopers

We have seen a microfilm of the original document; but regrettably it provides no additional information.   The microfilm was too poor to yield an acceptable copy.  However, it clearly indicated three dashes precisely the same as the typed transcription: no other such dashes were visible on the section of the microfilm which we examined.  And consequently we do not know precisely what the original writer intended..

Some notes on John Sutton have been added - click here.

Joseph married Susanna Maple in February 1735 MC [for explanation of "MC" click here] at St Andrew’s church in Buckland by Dover, Kent:  if our guess that he was born in 1714 is correct, at the time of his marriage he would have been twenty or twenty-one.

[A list of Maple baptisms for the 16th - 18th centuries, most of them in Bridge (a village a short distance from Canterbury, on the road to Dover), is available - click here].

Susanna was born in Ickham, Kent, on 28 October 1709 (click here).  Assuming Joseph was living in Hougham, where there is a perfectly respectable church (see below), this would imply that at the time of the marriage Susannah, or at least her family, was living in Buckland by Dover. 


St Lawrence Church, Hougham, in 1807

St Lawrence Church, Hougham, in 2002

We have traced Susanna's father -  his name was Stephen Maple, and we believe he was born about 1685.  Susanna had a sister, Elizabeth, who was baptised at the same time as her - it is unclear whether this means they were twins or not.  A Stephen Maple declared his Protestation in 1641 (for more information about the 1641 Protestation click here) in Ickham, Susannah's parish of birth, and he was presumably therefore an ancestor.  There is a burial record of an Alicia Maple in 1559 in Barham, the next-but-one parish to Ickham.

The children of Joseph and Susannah were

Thomas (b 1735 - here)  -  died 1737 (here - see note below)

Ann (1736 - here)  -  died 1736 (here - see note below)

Joseph ? (1737 - apparently no baptism record and possibly stillborn - died 1737 (here - see note below)

George (1738 MC - here),

Susannah (1741 - here),

Rejoice (1742 - here  -  note the certificate gives her name as "Joyce", 

Joseph (1744 - here)  -   the father is incorrectly shown as "Thomas",

Stephen (1747 MC - here), and

Thomas (1749 - here).  

All were born in Buckland by Dover.

[In CCA in April 2009 a page from the Hougham register (here) was found showing the deaths of three "Golder" children, Ann Golder  on 7/12/1736, Thomas Golder on 6/5/1737 and Joseph Golder on 28/10/1737.  Hougham was a tiny parish, with fewer than a dozen entries for each year; and our strong belief is that the above three children are in fact Gowllands (all three were described as "son/daughter of Joseph and Susanna".)  It is not the first time that "Golder" or "Goulder" has appeared in the registers.  But why this name should have been used instead of Gowl(l)and is, at the moment, a complete mystery.  The absence of a baptism record for Joseph the First implies that he was stillborn].

Nothing was known of his occupation until Rosemary's discovery: now we may assume he was a carpenter.  Interestingly, his co-signatory on the 1747 appraisal (here) , Simon Starr, was a joiner  -  a very similar trade to carpentry - as evidenced by a grant of probate dated 31/12/1755 and found in the KFHS (Kent Family History Society) site. 

In the autumn of 2009, research was commissioned to try to find Joseph's antecedents.  Geoff Gowlland had been unsuccessful in this search in the 1940s.  But we felt confident that with the increased material which had become available in the interim, together with the wealth of documentation available on-line, as well as improved facilities at the archives in Canterbury, Maidstone, Dover and Lewes, there was a far better chance now.  Regrettably, however, so far the searches have yielded nothing that was not already known.  Some more research is in hand; but the prospects are far from bright.

It may be of interest to include here the researcher's summary from early December 2009:

Taking stock of what we know about Joseph to see if I could deduce what sort of family he might have come from   . . . .  when he was apprenticed in 1728 the £10 fee was paid. He wrote his name well in 1747 [here]. Around 1754 Joseph had a house in Buckland in his own occupation [here - But note there remains considerable uncertainty as to whether this Buckland was Buckland-by-Dover, or Buckland-by-Faversham; and, if the latter, whether this was the correct Joseph].

All this suggests to me that he came from a good family, had some education and was not a pauper though of course it is also possible that he might have had a benefactor or been a boy from a poor family who 'made good'. The former being the case, it would seem unlikely that Joseph appeared in Hougham on his own, without any family in the vicinity. He was apprenticed to a carpenter - not an unusual occupation such as might have led to him being sent to his Master from a greater distance. I therefore deduced that he may have come from nearby.

If Joseph was a non-conformist his parents may have married by licence, not wanting banns read in the parish church, so my final search was in the printed indexes to Diocese of Canterbury Marriage Licences  . . but found no entry for him.

He appears in the 1754 "Poll for Knights of the Shire to represent the County of Kent" (see below - LH column).  The "!Buckland" might be thought to refer to the Buckland close to Rochester (North Kent) since the fourth Buckland entry specifically points to Buckland-by-Dover; but  it is inconceivable that there was a second Joseph Gowl(l)and in the North Kent Buckland of whom we have otherwise no trace.  Clearly Joseph has progressed  - he owns and lives at his own house and land.




He was buried in Hougham, near Dover, Kent, on 9 November 1788: if he were indeed born in 1714 (see above), this means he was seventy-four years of age at his death, quite a good life span for those days. 

Susanna was also buried in Hougham, on 3 March 1782, at seventy-three years of age.

[Source - Rosemary Milton-Thompson née Gowlland, ex-GPG, and Neil Gowlland]



Gowlland, Joseph Honey  -  1875 - 1941


Joseph Honey Gowlland is a good example of Gowllands about whom we have accumulated as much knowledge as we think is achievable in the 21st century: he has therefore been transferred from Loose Ends to Biographies.

Click here for his birth certificate and here for his 1907 marriage certificate. 

We have traced his descent back to Joseph and Susanna.  He was the great-grandson of Stephen and Jane Gowlland, Stephen being the grandson of Joseph and Susannah.

Prior to Joseph Honey's appearance, we have census records, all from the Lambeth/Stockwell/Camberwell area of South London, as follows:-

1841    John Honey, coachman, his wife Martha, and three children  -  click here

1851    John Honey, coachman, Martha, and seven children  -  click here

1861    John Honey, coachman, Martha and six children (Ann is missing)  -  click here.

Intriguingly, there was a great deal of intermarriage between the Honey and Gowlland families, viz:

1.    Jane (born 1838), the oldest child of John Honey (born c 1805), Joseph's father, married James Carter Gowlland (born 1833, the oldest of James West Gowlland's children), on 4th July 1865 (click here for the marriage certificate);

2    John Frederick Honey (born c 1841) married Jane Gowlland (born c 1838, the third of James West Gowlland's children) on 4th September 1866 (click here for the marriage certificate from St John the Evangelist, Brixton); and

3    Joseph Gowlland (born 1844, James West Gowlland's fourth child) married John Frederick's younger sister Annie Aline (born 1842) in 1873 (click here for the wedding certificate from St John the Evangelist, Brixton).   Five children were born to them, Joseph Honey (1875), Jane Annie (1876), Esther Georgiana (1878) , Elizabeth Darling (26th October 1880) and William John  (1882 - see below - here), and all but William appear (with one L) in the 1881 census, in Stockwell - click here.   For all of them the place of birth was stated as Lambeth. 

Jane Annie, aged 24, was married on 29th April 1901 to Henry Pain Moody at the Church of the Ascension, Balham Hill - click here for the certificate.  She was widowed and subsequently married George Francis Lewis, "Insurance Official" on 1st November 1917 at Saint Saviour's, Hampstead - the ceremony was performed by "Arthur Segger, C.F., Rector of Eastwell [?], Molton Mowbray".

Esther Georgiana, aged 55, was married on 28th October 1933 - click here for the certificate. 

Elizabeth Darling, aged 24, was married to Walter Edward Shrimpton at the Church of the Ascension, Balham Hill, on 1st August 1904 - click here

And William John, aged 27, was married to Caroline Elizabeth Smith on 8th August 1909 at the Parish Church of St Michael, Stockwell - click here.

In parenthesis, The London Gazette has a number of references to Joseph - (a) the March 19th 1878 liquidation of the partnership of Joseph and his younger brother Stephen Gowlland under the name Gowlland Brothers, Grocers and Provision Merchants - here; (b) the March 26th 1878 dissolution of the partnership with Stephen - here; (c) the September 26th 1882 notice of bankruptcy of Joseph Gowlland - here; (d) the February 16th 1894 Receiving Order (note that his profession has now changed to "traveller", presumably because he has had to give up the shop premises)- here; and finally (e) the March 13th 1894 First Meeting of Creditors - here.

Returning to Joseph Honey Gowlland   . . . .

For the 1891 Census, in Hackney, click here,  Note the name is again spelt with only one L.

For the 1901 Census, in Streatham, click here: yet again, in this census the name is spelt with only one L. 

In the 1911 Census (click here), Joseph Honey is living with his parents Joseph and Annie at Southcroft Road, Mitcham Lane, South London: he is described as "Son - 36 - Married - Commercial Traveller - ?Turps?".  Also present are his son Dennis (aged two - born in Streatham Hill - click here) and his sister Esther (32 - Single - no occupation).


Also in the 1911 Census (click here), is Ethel, Joseph Honey's wife, in Streatham Hill, at her parent's house.  Ethel is described as "32 - married - born Bayswater, London" - for her birth certificate, click here and their 1907 marriage certificate from Christ Church, Streatham Hill (here).  The house belonged to her parents,  George John Bowden (62), a Building Manager, and Louisa May (also 62).  Ethel was their only child.  Presumably she was visiting her parents on the night of the census.


And also in the 1911 Census (click here), at 5 Sudbourne Road, Brixton, London, we find William [John] Gowlland "Head - 28 - married - Shop Assistant - Furniture - Worker -born  Balham, London" and Elizabeth Gowlland "Wife - 26 - married - born Brighton, Sussex".  Also with them were Harry Smith "Father-in-law - 50 - Widower - Plasterer - Worker - born Brighton, Susssex" and Harry Smith "Boarder - 26 - Single - Shop Assistant - Fishmonger - Worker - born Brighton, Sussex".  Presumably Harry was William's brother-in-law, although this relationship is not specifically shown on the page.


All three 1911 entries show the correct spelling of "Gowlland". .


We have his Joseph Honey's World War 1 medal card (click here).  His service record was not amongst the 60% destroyed by bombing in WW2 and survives on microfilm, but unfortunately the few remaining documents are barely legible.   They comprise the following:-


1      Cover (here).    This was evidently the inscription on the envelope containing the other documents.


2      Attestation (here).    This shows his 6th October 1915 Short Service attestation for service in the Army Service Corps (details of which

        may be found by clicking here).  His age is given as 41 years exactly [he was born in fact in the second quarter of 1875 and thus had

        overstated his age by one year].  His address is given as Brixton, he is married, he has not served in H M Forces, he is willing to be vaccinated,

        he has received a Notice [of Conscription, presumably], he is willing to serve for the duration of the war, and he is "willing to fulfil the

        engagements made".


3      Enlistment Report (here).    This is the most informative document.  It states that on enlistment he was 5 feet 7 inches tall: his expanded chest

        girth was 37 inches, with a range of expansion of 3 inches. His next-of-kin is shown as his wife.  On enlistment his rank was a Private.  The

        next entry indicates laconically, on 27th April 1916, "Discharged - no longer physically fit for War Service" - unfortunately there is no indication

        what was his disability; but the form states "Character good".   One can also read "Disability" but infuriatingly the following word is illegible:

        it might perhaps be DAH or DOH  -  if the latter, conceivably the abbreviation could mean "decline of health".  His address on discharge was

        4 Stockwell Avenue in Brixton.  The form records his total military service as comprising 205 days.


4      Medical History (here, here and here)  This shows his medical condition three months after enlistment, and indicates that he was considered fit

        only for labouring tasks.  On the second page the second of the three entries under "Station or Troopship" reads "M.E.F": this might be "Middle

        East Force" [see second page of 5 below], thereby confirming the details below regarding possible service in Anzio and/or Egypt? The third

        page implies he was awarded the Military Medal - we have no record of this elsewhere.


5      Proceedings on Discharge (here, here and here).  This is the documentation for his discharge which states on the first page  "The above man

        is discharged in consequence of being no longer physically fit for war duties".   On page 2, listing his theatres of service, "Exforce Medt"

        [presumably Expeditionary Force Mediterranean] again seems to confirm what he wrote in his letter described below.  Note that he appended

         on the third page the comment "Back pay due to me".


6      Medal Application (here).    This is a letter dated 22nd September 1916 from Joseph Honey to the officer in charge of A.S.C records, written

        from 35 Dahlia Street, Plumstead, text as follows "Having seen in the daily press that upon application to his last unit a discharged soldier

        may obtain one of the new medals for overseas service in the present war, I should esteem it a personal favour if you [illegible] one of

        these".   He then lists his dates of discharges and enlistment.  Intriguingly he then adds "Services rendered at Anzio [?], Gallipoli".  His medal

        card stated "Theatre of War first served in - Egypt.   Date of entry therein  -  21-10-15".  [If the dates are correct, and a newly enlisted

        conscript found himself in Egypt two weeks after joining the Army, and then found himself in Gallipoli (where the first landings had taken

        place eight months earlier and where the final withdrawal would occur in just a few weeks, it is scarcely surprising that the operation was

        militarily such a disaster].


7      Discharge Certificate Claim (here).      This is a form letter [the copy is of very poor quality, unfortunately] dated some time in 1917, where the

        Ministry of Pensions, Royal Hospital S W, is asked, for the purpose of an investigation of a claim for the King's Discharge Certificate, to

        "kindly state below whether the disability of the discharged soldier named in the margin  , , , , was aggravated by active service overseas

        with an Expeditionary Force".  To this, a reply was sent to the Officer i/c A.S.C. records at Woolwich Dockyard stating "this disability was

        not attributable to or aggravated by active service overseas".



The medal card also exists (click here)  of a "Bombardier William J Gowlland R A [Royal Artillery]" who is presumably his younger brother (born 1882); but his service record was amongst those destroyed in bombing during WW2.  However, in 2014, John bought a British War Medal inscribed "Bmbr W J Gowlland R A" (below); and so we know that both father and son were conscripted.


The description of the medal reads "WW1.  The British War Medal.  The uncrowned left-facing profile of King George V by Sir Bertram Mackennel.  Reverse St George on horsse back trampling underfoot the eagle, and a skull and cross bones.  Named to 140269 Bmbr W J Gowlland  R A".




For Joseph Honey Gowlland we also have the newspaper report below from 1925. 


We have the death certificate of his wife Ethel Warren Gowlland from 18th July 1930 (click here), and also the marriage certificate of his son Dennis Geoffrey Warren Gowlland to Elsie Grace Wenham from 8th September 1934 (click here).   Elizabeth Darling (Dolly) Shrimpton née Gowllands died in Teddington on 15th March 1965 -

We have his death certificate from 14th January 1941 (below).  It is a melancholy thought that this is the fourth known suicide in the Gowlland ancestors.  No record of the Coroner's Inquest has been found in the London Metropolitan Archives.


[Source  -  GPG 1944, Rosemary Milton-Thompson and John Gowlland 2006]

Gowlland, Josiah   -  1781 - ?




Josiah Gowlland was born on 23rd December 1781 (click here for his birth certificate), the sixth and last child of Stephen Gowlland (1747 - 1802) and Sarah née Symons, and thus a grandson of Joseph Gowlland (c1709 - 1788) and Susannah née Maple.  


The IGI gives a first name of "John" (click here) but this is clearly a transcription error.


He was a schoolmaster and a musician: presumably therefore music was amongst the subjects he taught.   Until recently he has been rather a shadowy figure. 


Josiah married Peggy THORNTON at St Mary’s, Dover, on 8/2/1807 by licence.  Both were of the parish of St Mary.  He signed his name Josiah GOWLLAND. The marriage record gives his name as Josiah GOWLLAND.   Mary GOWLLAND (his older sister) signed as a witness. 


Interestingly, it seems the Thornton and Gowlland families had been friendly for some time.  A Mary Thornton (not one of Peggy's parents, who were called Lazarus and Elizabeth) was a witness to the births of four of Stephen and Sarah Gowlland's children; and in 2009 we believe the connection has been traced.


Specifically (and all events occurring at St Mary the Virgin, Dover, unless otherwise stated) Peggy's parents were Lazarus Thornton (b 15.6.1761) and Elizabeth Brewer (b 6.10.1764 - St Margaret, Womenswold), who married on 22nd December 1782.   Lazarus' parents were Eleazar Thornton (b 11.9.1737) and Mary Pascall (b c1738, parents Allen Pascall b c1706, baptism 23/08/1706, and Mary Archer) who married on 4th February 1760.


Eleazar's parents were Eleazar Thornton (b 28.11.1708) and Mary Fleming (b 28.7.1710, parents Robert Fleming and Mary Howton, married 26/08/1707), who married on 9th October 1735.  Eleazar Sr's parents were William (baptism 18/05/1680) and Susanna Sharnell (married 1704); and they had another son, an older brother to Eleazar, named Lazarus (b. 1701) who married (by licence) Mary Despaigne on 24th December 1726. They had a daughter, Mary (b 24.9.1729, St Alphege, Canterbury). We believe this is the Mary Thornton who witnessed the births.


Interestingly, the Lazarus Thornton born in 1701 appears to be the Freeholder named in "The Poll for Knights of the Shire, to represent the County of Kent, 1754" [click here - right hand column, a few lines above Joseph Gowland in the LH column]: he is shown as both owning and occupying a house in Canterbury, in the parish of St Mildred.


By virtue of his marriage to Peggy Thornton, three months later "Josiah Gowlland of Dover, Schoolmaster, the first day of May 1807 came before the Mayor and Jurats of Dover and claimed the freedom of the said Corporation by marriage of Peggy, daughter of Lazarus Thornton, an ancient Freeman thereof, and was admitted and sworn" (click here).   And we have the 1808 entry for him in the UK Poll Books and Electoral Register (here).


Incidentally, Peggy must have been at least four months pregnant at the time of the marriage in 1807 (on 8th February, with Eliza being born on 22nd June).  Neil Gowlland points out that as Stephen was a Nonconformist Minister the irregularity of this must have been anathema to him, and this might well be the source of the legend of a family quarrel.


Peggy was born on 4/12/1785 and baptised at St Mary’s, Dover, on 28/12/1785 - here.


The discoveries of baptism certificates for seven children of this marriage necessitate a re-writing of most of this biography - this is therefore only an interim version.


We now believe the children of Josiah and Peggy/Margaret (she appeared to use the two alternatives quite indiscriminately) may be summarised as follows:-


    Eliza  (born 22/6/1807) -  click here


    Selina   (born 1/9/1808)  -  click here


    Richard    (born about 1815)  -  click here


    Josiah  (birth date unknown)  -  click here


    William    (birth date unknown)  -  click here


    Thomas   (birth date unknown)  -  click here


    Maria    (born about 1823)  -  click here


    Sarah  (born about 1823)  -  click here


    Charles  (born 10th June 1827)  -  click here  



We had for very many years known that Josiah and Peggy had two children, the first of whom was:-


    Eliza (born 22/6/1807) (click here for her baptism certificate - Peggy was more than four months pregnant when she married)


The one certain thing we know about her was that Eliza went on to marry George Norwood in Dover in 1828 (click here for the certificate).   This is curious because we know (see below) that Josiah and Peggy had moved to London by 1817.  Neil Gowlland speculates whether Eliza had been left in Dover with the Harnett family, one of whom was a witness at the marriage of Josiah and Peggy; and Eliza, who was baptised plain Eliza, used Harnett as her second name on her marriage certificate.  An intriguing puzzle.


In 2015 we became aware that Josiah had been Mr Harnett's tenant in 1798, assessed for Land Tax at £1.12.0d per annum: the property (click here - middle of RH page) was located in the parish of St Alphage, Canterbury.  This connection was presumably why Eliza had taken the name Harnett.


We had also known of a second daughter, of whose birth we had a record, but of whom we knew nothing more:-


    Selina (born 1/9/1808) (click here for her baptism certificate). In late 2009 we obtained details (here) of her marriage on 6th November 1848 at St Mary's, Paddington Green, to John Goatham, a mariner and son of a cooper.


In 2010 we learnt that John and Selina emigrated to Victoria, Australia, on the SS Chimborazo, arriving 5th April 1880.  They both gave their ages as sixty-one but Selina was born in 1808 and thus was actually seventy-one.  John was shown as a Mariner at the marriage, and a Steward on the ship's manifest.


That that was effectively the sum of our knowledge  -  what happened to these two daughters?  Were there any other children?  When did Josiah and Peggy die?  And so on.


However, in 2006 many of these questions had been answered, and in late 2009 we obtained a baptism certificate from St Mary's, Hendon, Middlesex, listing six children (click here) and from this we discovered that there were more children, possibly as many as five, some of whose successors we were able to track through to the mid-twentieth century.  Unfortunately the baptisms of the six children all took place on the same day (10th August 1823), at which time several of them were clearly not babies, and thus we don't know their exact dates of birth.   [Incidentally, on both certificates the father's name is shown as "JOSIAS"]


    Richard (born about 1815)


A Richard Gowlland married Susannah Simpson at St Pancras Church, St Pancras, London, on 5/2/1849 (click here for the certificate) and a Maria Gowlland was a witness. The certificate gives Richard’s father as “Josiah” and his rank or profession as “dead”.   All information on the certificate seems to have been written by the registrar, and this includes the “signatures”.  This certificate enabled us to trace, initially through census records, Richard's successors.


Maria, the witness, was, we now know, Richard’s sister, and thus another child of Josiah and Peggy  -  see below.


Although the census records indicate that Richard was born about 1815-1817 in London, none specifies exactly where.  But the 2009 discovery of the multiple baptism informs us that it was in the parish of Hendon  


For an interim biography of Richard and the known information about his children and grandchildren, click here.


And, following shortly after this discovery, we obtained some documents from Australia which reveal that a  further child was born to Josiah, namely . . . .  


    Charles (born in 1827):  and in October 2009 we found the baptism record (click here) dated 10th June from Saint Mary's, Hendon, Barnet.  Note the address.   Why was the family in the Workhouse at this time?   We assume that Josiah was schoolmastering there (had the family fallen on hard times it is extremely unlikely that his profession of schoolmaster would be shown on the record); and the mass baptism on 10th August 1827 of his other children would tend to confirm this supposition, on the grounds that it would be expected of him that all his children were baptised. 


From his second marriage certificate, incidentally, it is confirmed that Charles was born in Hendon, Middlesex.


Charles Gowlland, widower, married Mrs Susan Burley, widow, in Melbourne on 20th August 1861.  The wedding certificate (click here) named his parents as "Josiah - music master - Gowlland and Margaret". 


In those days, and indeed nowadays, Peggy was a much-used informal variant of Margaret, and the two were more or less interchangeable; and henceforth she will therefore, in her Australian days, be known inelegantly as Peggy/Margaret.


We have managed to accumulate more information about Charles, for which click here; and we hope for more to follow.


Josiah and Peggy/Margaret had other children, namely:-


    Maria (born about 1823)


Her name appears as a witness on the 1849 marriage certificate of Richard and Susannah.  A "Maria Goulland" married in Tasmania (click here for the certificate) on 8th October 1856.  She was thirty-three years of age, described as "spinster - schoolmistress".  She married William McCormack, a 36-year old unmarried draper.  The ceremony took place "in the house of Miss Maria Goulland, according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Presbyterian Church by licence".  The name "Goulland" with that spelling occurs five times on the certificate.  The second witness is "S Annal", the name of Sarah's husband - see below.


The writing of the name on the 1849 certificate is, apart from the spelling, very similar indeed to that on the 1854 and 1856 certificates:


    Sarah (born about 1823)


She was married on 14th August 1854 (click here) to Magnus Annal, described as "age thirty, single, mariner" [Charles Gowlland's 1855 marriage certificate gives his occupation as "mariner"].  Sarah was "age thirty, single, dress-maker".  Identically to Maria, the ceremony took place "in the house of Miss [or it might conceivably be "Mrs"]  Goulland, according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Presbyterian Church by licence".  In the column headed "signature and description of parties", Sarah's signature looks as if it is written "Gowlland" rather than "Goulland".  The second witness is Maria Goulland.


Three male children appear in the 1823 baptism record, of two of whom nothing further is known, and we surmise they died in infancy.

    Josiah (birth date unknown)


    William (birth date unknown)


And finally    . . . .


    Thomas (birth date about 1821)


In the records of The Old Bailey, there appears a Thomas Gowlland age 23, the defendant in a case of larceny in 1845 (here and here). The case reads


THOMAS GOWLLAND, 23, defendant name in trial of THOMAS GOWLLAND, Theft > simple larceny, 12th May 1845.

Case No 1080. THOMAS GOWLLAND was indicted for stealing 1 pair of boots, value 7s., the goods of Charles Batten.


We assume that this is Josiah's son, born about 1821 and included in the 1823 baptism record.


This tally brings the number of children so far identified to nine: who know if there are more?


It was mentioned at the beginning of this biography, and again in the reference to Charles' 1861 marriage certificate, that Josiah was a music master.  In June 2007 we managed to obtain from The British Library a facsimile of a piece of music (click here and here) entitled "Shall Rosa Laugh?".  It is described as "A favorite [sic] Rustic Song for the Flute or Pianoforte, composed by J. Gowlland" (but note carefully that the "w" in Gowlland is, by 21st century practice, wrongly formed  -  it would be interesting to know if this form was found elsewhere). 


As to the spelling of "favorite", this form, with the "u" omitted, can be ascribed to both Milton and Macauley, and there are numerous other entries in 19th century writing.  But it is unclear how many of these are simply misspellings.


The dating, of course, is critical.  The British Library catalogue states "c 1820".  Neither front nor back covers bear any date.


Rosa was a not uncommon name, but "Luban"?   It is a town in Poland, and the surname of a Quantum Physicist; but I can find no record of its use as a first name.


Finding the dates of founding of "J Lawson - Music Seller - 198 Tottenham Court Road" would be useful in resolving the date question, but unfortunately there appears to be no trace of him.  Intriguingly, there is however a mention of a James Lawson, in connection with flutes - for which instrument we know from this song that Josiah composed.   For this mention, click here for the Proceedings of the Old Bailey, then click on "Edit" and insert "James Lawson".  The Lawson named however was an employee of a pawnbroker, and appears not to be the music publisher.


After the Lawson mention on the music, there is an additional line "NB. Quadrille Parties. Attended on the Shortest Notice".  Does this imply that Josiah was a jobbing musician, as well as or instead of schoolmastering?


For those who wish to add this Magnum Opus to their repertoire, you may download it as a PDF file by clicking here and here: in all honesty, one has to admit that this is not the most unforgettable piece of music ever to have been heard!. 


The mass baptism of 1827 of their children and the realisation that Josiah's address at that time was in Edmonton Workhouse was borne out by a Settlement record for Josiah (click here - page 18 - entry number 399) showing that he (and presumably Peggy and the then-born children) arrived in Edmonton in August 1821.


Peggy/Margaret died on 8th December 1861 (click here for the certificate)  in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, at the age of seventy-six, from "apoplexy and paralysis".  Intriguingly, her occupation was given as "servant"  -  rather a come-down for the widow of a schoolmaster and the daughter of a Freeman of Dover!.

We do not know when and where Josiah died.   There is a record of the death in 1841 of a Josiah Gowland in a workhouse in Wareham, Dorset; but regrettably there is a twenty year disparity in the age recorded.


Gowlland, Langton  -  1903 – 2002.

Born in Faversham Kent on 3rd March 1903, one of identical boy twins, his brother, Geoffrey, being a few minutes older. Went to prep school at Westgate in 1911.

In 1916 his father and mother separated and divorced a year later, making a very difficult time for the twins.  At first, both boys went with their mother to live with their grandmother at Bedford Park, Chiswick.  Evidently Geoffrey did not enjoy the somewhat Victorian ambiance, and seems to have gone to live with his father and stepmother.

However, both boys were destined for the Royal Navy and so trained together at the Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth – 1916 to 1920

Royal Naval College, Greenwich  -  Langton front right (seated) and Geoffrey sixth from front on extreme left

We have a record (here) of the arrival of the twins in Liverpool from Montreal on 5th August 1922.  Earlier we had believed he was serving on HMS "Raleigh" on the Bermuda Station when she grounded in thick fog off the coast of Labrador in August 1922; but this date appears wrong.

Promoted to lieutenant, he married, on 1st June 1929, Monica Reilly Collins ("Mon"), whose brother Ted he had met in 1928 on a torpedo course at Greenwich. He and Mon lived at Southsea, near his in-laws, who were a great help when first Jill, and then Wendy, were born in 1930 and 1931 respectively, whilst Langton was serving on HMS "Emerald" on the West Indies Station.

From 1935 to 1937 he was posted to join HMS "Dunedin" in New Zealand as a Lieutenant Commander, and the whole family was able to sail out together. They settled in Auckland: during this period, however, Langton was constantly worried about Mon’s health. They returned in 1937 to the UK  -  there is a record (here) of Monica's arrival in London from New Zealand, aged 32, in April 1937, with Jill (6) and Wendy (5),

They stayed only briefly in Southsea, as Langton was soon sent up to Birkenhead for the commissioning of the "Ark Royal". She was ready by the outbreak of war, and was soon sent to the South Atlantic where, to Langton’s dismay, they missed the Graf Spee incident..

There was on his return a brief spell in the Admiralty as a Commander. Then to Cape Town as Second-in-Command of HMS "Frobisher"; but he did not get on with his Captain and this was not a happy ship.


In 1942 he was posted to HMS "Birmingham"; but she was torpedoed in the Mediterranean and had to be sailed to Norfolk, Virginia, for a re-build. He came home in the "Queen Mary" to take command of the 42nd Minesweeping Flotilla. This was his first experience of small boats and he was disastrously seasick, with the result that in 1945 he returned to the Admiralty in Bath.

In 1947 he was appointed C.O. of the naval dockyard HMS "Tamar" in Hong Kong, but in the following year he was invalided home with serious skin problems.   For Monica's return in 1948, with the two girls, click here.

In late 2007 a new website appeared with details of naval officer's service records  -  for those of both Langton and his twin brother Geoffrey, click here

[And, in connection with Geoffrey, in 2010 a biography of Lt Cdr Roy Baker Falkner by Graham Roy Drucker entitled "Wings over the Waves"  [ISBN 978 1848843059] was published in which Geoffrey Gowlland is mentioned in several places].

Until his retirement in 1953, he served in the Admiralty in London and lived at Elstead and Farnham [both in Surrey]. He then joined London & Overseas Freighters as Assistant Marine Superintendent, where he remained until 1968.

He moved home to 10 Garrick Close, Walton on Thames; and it was during this time that both Wendy and Jill got married, Wendy in 1953 in Aldershot and Jill in 1963 in Teheran. In 1966 he moved to Grayshot where he enjoyed being a Losely House guide.

From 1974, Mon’s health started to deteriorate seriously (emphysema) and he was quite shattered when she died in the year of their Golden Wedding on November 6th 1978. In 1979 Wendy helped him to move to a flat in Godalming. In 1980 he married Audrey Walter, a widow from Grayshot.

On his death he merited an obituary in "The Daily Telegraph".

Langton Gowlland's obituary in "The Daily Telegraph" 20th December 2002

[Source - Wendy Mountford née Gowlland - July 2004]


Gowlland, Louisa Mary Yeames  -  1826 - after 1901

The youngest child, Louisa Mary Yeames Gowlland, was born on 13th June 1826: she married Charles Bouverie, born 1824, on 28 July 1846 at St Bride’s Fleet Street.  However, he died a year later and it seems there was no child from the short marriage.  At the time of both the 1851 and 1861 censuses she was living with her parents at the addresses mentioned towards the end of this biography.  Neil Gowlland has not been able to find her in the 1871 census but by the time of the 1881 census, she was living at 5 Belsize Terrace in Hampstead, London.  Interestingly, there is a reference to a “Mrs Bouverie” living in Belsize Park in a letter written on 17 February 1875 by Richard Sankey Gowlland, which is in Richard Joscelyne’s possession.  Again, Neil  has not been able to trace her in the next census (1891) but in 1901 she was living at 27 Fairfax Road, Hampstead.  Presumably Charles left her sufficient money to live on and employ one or two servants but, in Richard Joscelyne’s words, it was probably no more than a “modest sufficiency”.   Click here for her biography


Gowlland, Margaret    -   1860 - 1934

The oldest of George and Jane Gowlland’s eight children (click here for her birth certificate): she was baptised on 25th April 1860 at St Alphege, Greenwich.

She resembled her mother in being typically French in appearance; and was said to be somewhat small, very lively and thrifty. 

She eloped and married a William James Jones (c.1863 - 1926) at the Parish Church of Saint Mary, Islington on 1st January 1887 (click here for the marriage certificate  -  note that no Gowlland appears amongst the witnesses), a jeweller, and had what was thought to be a rather unsatisfactory married life, no children being born to them.    She and William are found in the censuses for 1891 (here), 1901 (here) and 1911 (here)  -  William is described as "Jeweller - Gold", and evidently worked from home on his own account.  

William was the son of William Jones and Susan née Strevens (b c1837), married Q1 1859.   Susan was one of five children born to William Beale Strevens (b c1804), a shoemaker from Kent, and Louisa née Hodges (b c1816).

William Gowlland (1870 – 1950) described her as a "proper madame".  In later years she was both short sighted and deaf.  

She remembers the business of her father as being near the docks, probably Ratcliffe Highway, according to Charles Septimus Gowlland. 

She possessed an oil painting of her father George, apparently owned by Geoffrey Price Gowlland in February 1955.  [No trace remains in 2005, unfortunately]. 

Died 2 October 1934, without issue.

[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941]


Gowlland, Mary Louisa  -  1834 - 1923

Mary Louisa Gowlland was baptized (click here for the certificate) in the Parish Church of Leysdown, Kent on 18 November 1834 while her family was residing at Shellness.  Her father, Thomas Sankey Gowlland, had shortly before been posted as head of the coastguard station at Shellness from nearby Beresford.  When Mary Louisa was 4 years of age, the family moved to Tresco, in the Scilly Isles.  There the 1841 census (click here) records her, aged 6, living with her parents, Thomas and Mary, her elder sister Anne, and her younger siblings John and Sarah. Two younger brothers, James and Richard were born in Tresco.  After a brief spell in Prussia Cove near Penzance, the family in February 1848 to Leigh on Sea in Essex where they remained until Thomas’s retirement nearly 10 years later.

The 1851 census (click here) shows Louisa, a scholar aged 16, in the family home at 57 Leigh Street, together with her younger brother, Frederick, (born in Leigh), and her mother Mary who must then have been expecting Eliza Celia.  

Her elder sister Annie as well as her brother John (Jack) had already left home.  "Anne Gowland" [sic] aged twenty appears (click here) in an Educational Establishment apparently linked to the "New Zealand Company" in Camberwell, South London, described as "Scholar" but presumably, given her age, more of a teaching assistant.   "John Gowland" [sic] aged twelve appears correctly (click here) in the Greenwich Hospital Schools with birthplace shown as Leysdown, Isle of Shiffers [sic - evidently this should be "Sheppey"]

It was in Leigh on Sea a small picturesque fishing village on the Thames estuary that Louisa met Henry Joscelyne.  Henry came from an old Essex family who had owned the Bell Inn and a blacksmith's shop on Leigh Hill since the mid-18th century.  The 1841 census (click here) shows him aged 15 living with his newly-widowed mother in the Bell Inn.  His mother continued to run the inn until 1862.  Henry’s grandfather had made large sums of money during the Napoleonic wars, probably from smuggling.  Much of this was dissipated by Henry’s father.

It is a curiosity that the marriage of Henry and Louisa, in Leigh on 30 August 1855 (click here for the marriage certificate), brought together the grandson of a smuggler and the daughter of a coastguard.  However by that time Henry had already embarked on a career as a schoolmaster, and had probably started studying for his ordination.  Henry was employed by the family of the Marquises of Bath at their school in the village of Horningsham in Wiltshire (where at the time of the 1851 census, he was living with his nephew and a servant - click here) and it was to Horningsham that Henry and Louisa went after their wedding and it was there that their eldest child Lily was born in 1887.  The family almost immediately left for Oxford where Henry was ordained deacon in the same year.  He supported his family while an undergraduate at New Hall, as Headmaster of the Oxford Middle School and then as chaplain of the Oxford Gaol combining the latter appointment with the curacy of Stoke Lyne.   He appears here, living in Iffley Road, on the 1861 census - click here.

The family left Oxford in 1865.  They lived at Fewcott in Oxfordshire where Henry was curate-in -charge for the following 13 years.  It was a time of much frustration and illness: Henry’s lack of preferment put strains on the marriage.  A bad drain under the house caused a long series of ill health for the whole family.  Somehow they survived and in March 1879 Henry was presented by Merton College Oxford to the twin parishes of Fingest and Ibstone in Oxfordshire, with charming small Norman churches in unmatched settings in the Chiltern Hills: he and his family appear here in the 1881 census - click here and here

Henry retired in 1906.  They went to live in Christchurch, Hampshire with their second daughter Mary, who ran a school there.  Henry died in 1909, and Mary Louisa in 1923. 

Henry and Mary had nine children: Louisa Elizabeth (Lily) (born 1857), Henry Maurice (1860-1949), Mary Ewing (1862-1933), Herbert Cathcart (1863-1947), Alice Emma 1865-1951), Arthur Edwin (1867-1950), Ethel (born 1869), Edward Walter (1871-1953), Frederick Percy (1874-1950). Henry became a senior meteorologist in Australia; the three younger sons all became medical practitioners. Only Lily and Ethel of the girls married.

For a vivid picture of the family's life, click here for extracts of Richard Sankey Gowlland's letters to his sister Celia.

[Source - Richard Josecelyne - June 2005]





Gowlland, Norman James Leversha  -  1881-1942



Norman James' main attraction for us is the archive of the excellent records of his WW1 service in the Canadian Army, which are admirable.




Norman James Leversha Gowlland in about 1908


His father was Stephen Gowlland, born 15th December 1851 (click here for the birth certificate), the youngest of the seven children of James West Gowlland (1802 - 1874) and Jane née Carter.   Three of these children had died in childhood.    There is a minor mystery over Stephen's place of birth  -  the certificate states "Queen's Road, Stockwell", whereas the 1881 census states "21 Spital Street, Stockwell".


On 12th August 1875 Stephen married Laura Augusta Leversha (born 1849) (click here for the marriage certificate): Laura was one of eight children of John Leversha and Elizabeth née Ridler (click here for the family's entry in the 1881 census).  John's father was James Leversha, whose brother Peter was the great-great-grandfather of Peter Leversha now (2006) living in Hampshire (email - p.leversha@btinternet.com).  Peter in October 2006 contributed these very interesting details of the family's origins:-


The Leversha/Leveisher are said to be Flemish stock brought over to work as plasterers on the Luttrell Family estates in Somerset,   I have a letter from the present Col.Sir Walter Luttrell saying that two Leversha brothers were there circa 1620.    I hope to go back that far but for now we must start about 100 years later.


    John Vecerry/Leveisher MARRIED Charity Harcombe   Stogursey.Soms 1708

    Their eldest son John b. 1708 MARRIED Joan Moor   Kilton Soms 1737

    Their eldest son Peter b.1738 MARRIED  [1] Sarah Shepard Kilton 1766  d.1768

                                                                [2[ Elizabeth Perring        1772

    Their fourth son James b.1781 MARRIED  Izott Ewins Kilve 1811

    Their second son John b. 1814 MARRIED Elizabeth Ridler Old Kleeve date?

    John & Elizabeth had 8 children    1 Fredrick William b.1847 d.1858

                                                      2 LAURA AUGUSTA b1849

                                                      3 Sarah Anne b.1851

                                                      4 Thomas Henry b.1853

                                                      5 William James b. 1856

                                                      6 Clara Anna b. 1858

                                                      7 Florence Emma b. 1862

                                                      8 Herbert Ridler b. 1865


    Laura's brother Thomas Henry  MARRIED Florence Everard 1888 Withycombe and their kin are living in Somerset. 


    My connection with Laura is James b.1781 had a younger brother Peter b.1790 MARRIED Sarah Howe 1824 and this couple are my  great-great-grandparents


    James and Izott are buried in Withycombe churchyard. Clara Anna and Fredrick William are buried in Carhampton chuchyard.


Stephen and Laura went on to have seven children, Stephen Leversha (1876) (click here for his birth certificate), Florence Jane (1877), John Leversha (1879), Norman James Leversha (1881) (here), Laura Elizabeth (1883), Thomas Leversha (1884) and Madeline Izott(1885).


Interestingly, Stephen Leversha, born in Stockwell Road, Brixton, South London in 1876, was baptised in Withycombe (see above) [click here - page 77].  This does not appear to have happened with the other children.


Norman James was born in Guildford, Surrey, in the first half of 1881 - click here for his birth certificate.  The 1881 census, taken shortly before his birth, shows Stephen and Laura with the three oldest children (Stephen L 4, Florence J 3 and John L 1): Stephen is described as "Grocer Master employing three men".   Unfortunately the actual image is off-line at present, but for an extract of its contents click here.


In the 1891 census (click here)  four of the children are listed as "scholar" (Stephen L 14, Florence J 13, John L 11 and Norman J 9), together with their mother Laura (described as "wife - M - 41 - occupation "husband a traveller").  Apart from Norman, the other three children were born in Stockwell.   Stephen is conspicuous by his absence, and this is because he was in Wandsworth Prison (click here).  We do not at present know how long he was there, nor for what reason.


In 2017 we found a reference to Stephen having been a freemason  -  https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-90100-46510493/ars-quatuor-coronatorumfreemasons-being-the-transactions-of-the-lodge-quatuor - this is the only known case of freemasonry in the Gowlland history.


By the time of the 1901 census Stephen had been released and the family was living at 58 Defoe Road, Tooting (click here).  Stephen is now described as "commercial traveller grocery", and four of the five children are in employment.  Norman James' occupation, at the age of nineteen, is stated as "solicitor's clerk" and, added in a different hand, "? law".  And the 1911 census, at 11 Franciscan Road, Tooting, lists Stephen Gowlland "59 - married - Traveller (Grocery) - born Stockwell", :Laura Augusta Gowlland "61 - married - bore seven children, of whom five survive and two died - born Carhampton Somerset", together with two of their children, Florence Jane Gowlland "33 - single - Teacher L.C.C. - born Stockwell" and Norman James Leversha Gowlland "29 - single - Traveller (Drapery)  - born Guildford, Surrey".


Interestingly Florence Jane, who would have been aged twenty-three, does not appear in this census: perhaps she was abroad?  However, we have found her 1918 Teacher's Registration (here) which chronicles her professional career from 1902 to to 1924, three years before her death in 1927.  It is interesting that her address is shown as East Grinstead, Sussex, although she was born, worked in and died in South London.


John Leversha, incidentally, in the 1911 census (click here)  appears "31 - married - Silk Traveller - worker - born Guildford, Surrey", together with his wife Evelyn Beatrice "22 - married - born Balham, London", living at 45 Nevis Road, Upper Tooting, London.   Stephen and Laura Augusta also appear in the 1911 Census (click here) together with their unmarried children Florence (33 - single - Teacher L.C.C. - born Stockwell) and Norman James (29 - single - Traveller (drapery) - born Guildford Surrey), living in Tooting. 


In the 1891 census (click here) Madeline, aged five, is in the Somerset house of her maternal aunt Florence née Leversha (age shown as twenty-six), her mother's youngest sister:Florence Emma was the youngest of the eight children of John Leversha and Elizabeth (click here for the 1881 census return for the family - note her age at this time was shown as nineteen - either the 1881 or the 1891 or both censuses were wrong), who by then had married Robert Ford, a Timber Merchant.   In this 1891 census Madeline's surname has been misspelt as "Goweland", the only time this has appeared. 

For Robert Ford's family's returns in the two preceding censuses click here and here.


Madeline also appears in the 1911 Census (click here) in St Peter's, Thanet, described as "Companion - 25 - single - Useful Companion [sic] - born Guildford, Surrey", in the household of Caroline Wallis, a 75-year old widow.


Reverting to Norman James, he was living in Vancouver, Canada by 1915 when he had volunteered for military service: he had arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the SS "Tunisian" in April 1912. His 1915 application was rejected on medical grounds,  but in late 1917 he was enlisted (presumably the criteria had been relaxed by then) and was passed as "Fit A2" which meant that he was fit in every way but was without military training. 


Below are the front and back of the Attestation Paper which all recruits had to complete - note that his mother Laura was named as next-of-kin, his father Stephen having died in 1913 (click on the images for an enlarged copy)





Norman James Leversha Gowlland's Attestation Paper



At the end of his brief service, having attained the rank of Sergeant, the Discharge Certificate confirmed his conduct had been "Very good" and that he was free to return to his old Vancouver address..




 Norman James Leversha Gowlland's Discharge Certificate.



In between these two events he appears to have had an exemplary military career.  The first three entries on his record (click here) are all crossed through, namely "Embarked", "Disembarked" and "Embarked for France"  -  no doubt he was not the last soldier to have been subjected to repeated movement orders and counter-orders.


It seems his peacetime abilities were recognised early because, less than three months after enlistment in December 1917, he was appointed "Acting Corporal while employed in Battalion ?? Room" on 21st January 1918.  On 15th March, less than two months later, he was "Promoted to Rank of Sergeant", and then on 6th July his record reads "Appointed Orderly Room Clerk".  He appears to have remained in this position until discharge in January 1919.


The only interruption occurred in October 1918 when he was admitted to hospital suffering from influenza (the world-wide pandemic, with young fit soldiers suffering the highest mortality, did not strike in earnest until the following year): his case was obviously not serious  (click here), and was treated with aspirin and quinine.  On discharge the medical officer stated "condition good - practically free from cough  -  other systems negative  -  recommend one week's leave".


The documents received from the Canadian Army are summarised below.


Where there is a button marked "here", the relevant page has been published and  may be viewed through a hyperlink.  Where no button is shown, kindly ask John Gowlland to email it to you.



Here   Master File Cover
Here   Attestation Paper  -  front
Here   Attestation Paper  -  back
Here   Casualty Form  -  front
Here   Casualty Form  -  back
    Family Particulars on enrolment  -  front
    Family Particulars on enrolment  -  back
    Hospital Record Card  -  front and back
    Medical History Sheet  -  cover  - front
    Medical History Sheet  -  cover  -  back
Here   Case History Sheet (14 - 21 October 1918)
    Classification of Categories
    Medical Examination upon leaving  -  front
    Medical Examination upon leaving  -  back
    Dental History Sheet
    Last Pay Certificate  -  1
    Last Pay Certificate  -  2
    Last Pay Certificate  -  3
    Proceedings on Discharge  -  1
    Proceedings on Discharge  -  2
    Proceedings on Discharge  -  3
Here   Discharge Certificate  -  front
Here   Discharge Certificate  -  back



He was discharged in January 1919 and left Canada via Seattle in America in May of the same year.   He returned to England (Liverpool) on 10th February 1922 (click here), having sailed from St John, New Brunswick, Canada: his age is shown as 40, his occupation as "Manager", and the address to which he was returning was 56, Valley Road, Streatham, London.


We then lose sight of him, until 9th July 1937 (here) when he is mentioned in the London Gazette as "Established Civilian Employé" at the War Office, employed "Under Clause 3 of the General Regulations".


His death is recorded on 1st May 1942 at the Military Depot, Deepdale Road, Preston Lancashire.  Often the Department of Veterans Affairs in Ottawa appends a page to the file to the effect that "The Department has received information from DIST ARM, DVA London, England, dated so-and-so, giving the following particulars of death of the above mentioned veteran"  -  but unfortunately there is no such form in this case.


There is a reference (click here) to his brother John Leversha Gowlland in the 11th January 1924 edition of The London Gazette, in connection with the dissolution of a partnership in East London with Charles Turnbull, their business being described as "Manufacturers' Agents and Merchants".  John had married Evelyn Beatrice Burtt on 9th April 1910 at St Mary's, Balham.   Their son, Peter Gowlland, born 1922, was killed on active service on 9th September 1942 and his gravestone is in St Mary's Church, Ewell Village, Surrey - see below.



Gravestone of Peter Gowlland at St Mary's, Ewell Village, Surrey.


[Source  -  John Gowlland  -  August 2006]



Gowlland, Peter Yeames  -  1825 - 1896


Peter Yeames Gowlland was born on 3rd April 1825 - click here for his 1825 baptism record from St Paul, Deptford, Lewisham.  

The son of Captain Richard Gowlland, R.N., whose father Richard Symons Gowlland was a merchant of Canterbury and had married Sarah Sankey (click here for their marriage licence).

Peter Yeames Gowlland’s second name was the maiden name of his mother Louisa Mary, the daughter of Peter and Elizabeth Yeames.

He was educated privately at Merchant Taylor's School (click here for the record) and entered the London Hospital in 1845.   He served as House Surgeon and became Senior Demonstrator of Anatomy.  

In 1849 he was called upon to give evidence at the Old Bailey in a case of a knifing (here) and a death (here), at which time he described himself as "House-Surgeon at the London Hospital".  In the 1856 "Commercial Directory" (here) he is listed at 34 Finsbury Square as "Surgeon".

He was elected Assistant Surgeon on 25 March 1858 and was appointed Lecturer on Anatomy.   He proved to be a successful teacher and was a good draughtsman.   Some of his diagrams were long used by succeeded teachers and survive in the Archives of the Royal College of Surgeons.

In addition to his work at the London Hospital he was for ten years Surgeon to the Islington Dispensary and was for some time Surgeon to St. Mark’s Hospital for Fistula and Diseases of the Rectum.   He was one of the most well known specialists in London at the time  -  click here.

Having acquired a large private practice in the treatment of rectal diseases, he resigned his post at the London Hospital on reaching the position of Senior Assistant Surgeon in April 1862.   He practised for forty years at 40 Finsbury Square in London.   He moved to 163 Gloucester Terrace, Regent’s Park in 1893, where he died on 11 August 1896.  He was buried at Highgate Cemetery.  

He married Elizabeth Rosina Susan Wilkinson, daughter of John [occupation on Rosina's marriage certificate - "gentleman"!] and Mary Anne (click here for the marriage certificate); and by her had a son Peter Yeames (click here for his 1863 baptism record, from St Margaret, Lothbury)  and a daughter Rose Grace (click here for her 1861 baptism certificate, also from St Margaret Lothbury). 

In the 1861 census "Rose Gowlland" (evidently she considered the full panoply of her first names somewhat onerous) aged 26 is described as "Wife's sister  -  birthplace Gloucester" and visiting her 30-year old sister Grace Greene who lived with her husband William, a railway engineer born in the Isle of Wight, and their three daughters Rose (7), Nina (3) and Adele (7 months), together with a housemaid and a cook.  Their first two children were born in Spain, in Bilbao and Los Corrales respectively.  Grace's birthplace was Newbridge, Kildare, Ireland; and we know that Mary Anne Wilkinson, mother to Grace and Rose, was of Irish origin.  But we had not hitherto known of Grace.  The relevant two pages of the census may be viewed by clicking here and here, but unfortunately the quality is very poor.

In this same 1861 census, Peter Yeames Gowlland is living with two servants at Finsbury Place - click here.

The 12th February 1869 edition of "The Daily News", reporting on the proceedings of the annual meeting of the supervisory board of St Mark's Hospital, contained a very graceful tribute to Rosa:



In the 1871 census (click here) he is shown living at the Royal Horse Infirmary and Military Camp Huts and Remount Establishment, Chatham, Kent, together with Rosa, in the establishment of his father-in-law John Wilkinson (described as "Head - married - 66 - principal veterinary surgeon to the forces ?notice? list - born Ribchester Lancashire) and his wife Mary Anna Wilkinson (62 - b Ireland): with them are Peter and Rosa's children Rose Grace (9) and Peter Yeames (7), their governess, and two servants.

In the 1881 census (click here)  he is shown living with Rosena, Peter Yeames jnr and Rose, at Reeves House in Chipstead, near Reigate, in Surrey. It is a large household, comprising in addition a companion, a married couple (man servant and cook), a housemaid, a kitchenmaid, and a groom.

In the 1891 census, he, with wife and son, is recorded as living at St George's Street, Canterbury - click here.

His son, Peter Yeames Gowlland was a barrister but died at the age of twenty-eight, some years before his father: his name is included in "Alumni Oxoniensis 1880 - 1892" - click here.  

In 1931 Keith Prowse in their series "Golden Hours of Easy Piano Pieces - second selection" included "Helston Floral Dance - Arr. by Peter Gowlland" (see below).  The arrangement dates from before 1931 but we know no more precise date.  The probability is that it is the work of Peter Yeames Gowlland either father or son, but we cannot at this time be certain.  As usual, click on the image for an enlarged version.


His daughter Rose Grace married Douglas Herron Barry in 1884 [click here for link to the Peerage.com  -  scroll about half-way down the page].  An announcement of the marriage appeared in "The Reading Mercury and Oxford Gazette" - below:


.  Douglas was the second son of Sir Francis Tress Barry, first Baronet.  Sir Francis seems to have made a fortune in Spain and Portugal before returning to become an MP and Lord Lieutenant.  Rose and Douglas had three children, and there are children of their marriages; but that line seems now to be extinct.  The Baronetcy is still extant.

Peter Yeames Gowlland was Brigade Surgeon to the Honourable Artillery Company and acted as Honorary Surgeon to the Artists’ Annuity Fund.   He was a member of the Fitzroy Lodge of Freemasons, no.569, which is attached to the H.A.C. 

When he was admitted to the Honourable Artillery Company on 16 July 1863 he was then aged 36 and five feet eight and a half inches tall.   He became Surgeon-Major in 1873. 

He was an initiate of the HAC’s Fitzroy Lodge (Freemasons) on 28 October 1864 and W. Master of the Lodge from 1870 to 1871.   He was also a member of the Court of Assistants in 1873.   He transferred to the Veteran Company in 1888.   

He was also a good shot, and the heads of many deer were hung as trophies in his dining-room.

A portrait by his daughter Mrs Rose Grace Barry originally hung in the London Hospital Medical School.

At his death in 1896 (click here for his death certificate) he held the military rank of Brigade-Surgeon: he was aged seventy-one.  

He was buried in Highgate Cemetery.  Photographs from November 2006 of the tomb of his son, also called Peter Yeames Gowlland, who predeceased him by four years, and that of his father-in-law John Wilkinson, and of the chapel at the cemetery, appear below - as usual, click for enlarged images.  Note that some of the lead inset into the lettering on his obelisk is missing.




An admirable obituary, below, appeared in Volume XXII No 2 of "The London Hospital Gazette" together with a reproduction of the missing painting.

In 1898 she commissioned a stained glass window (see below) in memory of her husband and her son, for the parish church in Chartham, a few miles SW of Canterbury.



Finally Rosa, his widow, appears in the 1911 Census (click here) as "Boarder - 76 - widow - Private Means - born Gloucester, Gloucestershire", living with a 57-year old unmarried French lady, and a London-born unmarried Maid. 

She died in 1915 at the age of eighty (click here)

Source  -  Plarr’s “Lives of the Fellows”



Gowlland, Richard   -   1795 - 1865


Richard was born at Mercery Lane, Canterbury, on 15 September 1795 and baptised, in the family’s Protestant Non-Conformist tradition, at the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion Chapel nine days later.  He was the oldest of the seven surviving children (two sons and five daughters) of Richard Symons Gowlland and his wife Sarah, née Sankey.  Click here for the biography of Richard’s brother, Thomas Sankey Gowlland.


The family tree prepared by Neil Gowlland’s great-grandmother, Mabel, refers to Richard as “Richard Sankey Gowlland” and that form has crept into use elsewhere.  However, it seems that Richard adopted the Sankey form for only a short time during his youth and then only in his career.  The Sankey form may very well date from the time he joined the Navy in 1812 and it is likely that it is that form that continued to be used in official records of his career until 1824.  That he was plain Richard is proved by a large number of references, including his baptismal record, his signature on his marriage record and his will.  In short, he was a member of the great and confusing tradition of being just plain Richard Gowlland.


Richard married Louisa Mary Yeames in the Chapel of the British Ambassador in Paris on 7 June 1821 (click here). These photos of them may have been taken in the early 1860’s.





Louisa Mary was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk on 24 February 1798.  (Click here for a short biographical note of her parents).  It is not known why they married in Paris but, since the marriage was at the Embassy and in view of Richard’s career in the Coastguard (see later), it would seem plausible that Richard was on a mission to the Embassy in a professional capacity, since much of the work of the Coastguard had to do with smuggling from France to England.


Richard and Louisa Mary had four children of whom three survived (their first child, Richard, died the day after his birth in 1822). 


    Richard Gowlland (1823 - 1863)


The oldest surviving child, also Richard, was born on 15 May 1823 (click here for his baptism record from Minster, Isle of Sheppey and died on 19th December 1863: for his biography, click here.


    Peter Yeames Gowlland (1825 - 1896)


The middle child, Peter Yeames Gowlland, was born on 3rd April 1825 (click here for his baptism record from St Paul's, Deptford).  He became a distinguished surgeon: click here for his biography.


    Louisa Mary Yeames Gowlland  (1826 - after 1901)


The youngest child, Louisa Mary Yeames Gowlland, was born on 13th June 1826 (click here for her baptism record): she married Charles Bouverie, born 1824, on 28 July 1846 at St Bride’s Fleet Street.  However, he died a year later and it seems there was no child from the short marriage.   Click here for her biography and here for her marriage certificate.


Richard was obviously destined for a career in the Royal Navy (he may have attended the Upper School of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich) where he spent 4½  years.  However, in 1817 he transferred to the Preventive Boat Service and was appointed Chief Boatman to the "Jacobus" with an annual salary of ₤10 (roughly £510 in today’s terms) and three shillings per diem “when employed” (roughly £7.65 today).   By way of background, the Preventive Boat Service was one of three preventive services which, in 1822, were amalgamated under the control of the Board of Customs to form the Coastguard, though control was later (1856) transferred to the Admiralty.


From 1817 until at least 1865, when he made his will and described himself as “commander revenue cutter”, his career was with the Coastguard.  In 1818 he became Chief Officer of the “Rattlesnake”, based in Cuckmere Haven near Seaford in Sussex and later in Bradwell Coastguard Station in Essex.  In 1820 he transferred to the “New Charter”, still based in Bradwell, initially as Chief Officer and later as Commander (for a mention of him during this period, click here)  Finally, he was appointed Commander of the “Vigilant”, based in Greenhithe near Dartford, Kent, in 1824, a position that he held for the rest of his career, remaining captain until into his sixties (for a mention of him based at Gravesend in 1848, click here


Richard seems to have been very successful in his career. In 1826, at the time that he was commander, the “Vigilant” convincingly won a race on the Solent in Hampshire against the three or four fastest yachts of the time.  In 1828, the “Vigilant” captured the barge “Alfred” off Margate in Kent and the event was celebrated by a fairly well-known maritime artist, H Rolfe, who was also in the Revenue Service, in this painting:




The painting was recently sold, presumably to a private collector, for $57,000 by a Californian gallery specialising in maritime art. According to that gallery’s site, a lithograph was made of the painting in 1845 and is in the Macpherson Collection, which began the Print and Drawing Archives of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. This lithograph was, presumably, commissioned by Richard since the dedication reads:To R.B.Dean, Esq.re & The Hon.ble Commissioners of Her Majesty's Customs. This print of H.M.Revenue Cutter "Vigilant" towing the Barge "Alfred" of London, a valuable Prize, captured 17th Decr. 1828 having on board 1010 half-Ankers of Contraband Spirits concealed under a Coasting Cargo, is respectfully dedicated by their very obedient humble servant, Richard Gowlland, Commander. August 1845.” [1010 half-ankers convert to roughly 6,000 UK gallons or 19,000 litres, if my calculations are correct.]  It would be interesting to know what prompted Richard to dedicate the lithograph to the Customs 17 years after the event. His fiftieth birthday, perhaps?

A far better painting is the lithograph of one by John Christian Schetky, a very well-known maritime artist [see below].





It records the “Vigilant” after she had captured the barge “Charlotte”, which was trying to smuggle 14,400 lbs (7,000 kilos) of tobacco, in 1849. In its report of this capture, the Times said that this was probably the largest seizure on the Thames of tobacco in 30 years. The lithograph is also in the Archives of the National Maritime Museum. 


A later report on the episode from The National Maritime Museum:-



Coastguard News from England

 Smuggling. 1849.

Smuggling – Her Majesty’s revenue cutter, Vigilant, Captain Richard Gowlland, captured on Friday night last, in Sea reach, in the Thames a spritsail barge, about 60 ton burden, having on board a crew of five persons, and a contraband cargo of 280 bales of tobacco almost 50 lbs. each, concealed under straw stacked on her deck. The barge was proceeding up the river in the usual manner as a coaster with straw for the London market; and had the smugglers been successful in escaping the protective force, between 6 and 7 tons of tobacco would have been run, and the Exchequer thereby lose the amount of duty. We believe this to be the largest seizure of tobacco that has been made in the Thames for the past 30 years.


Smuggling on the Thames – At the county magistrate’s-office, Rochester, on Friday, William Woolf, John Stanley, William Warren, and two boys named French and Howe, were brought up in custody of Bines, at the instance of the board of Customs, having on the 18th inst. Been found at Cliff on board a certain vessel liable to forfeiture, having on board 14,402 lbs. of contraband tobacco. From the evidence of Captain Gowlland, Commander of the “Vigilant” revenue cutter, and James Clarke, the gunner, it appeared that about nine o’clock on the night of the 13th inst, while cruising off Sea Reach, in the lower Hope, near Gravesend, they observed a vessel coming up the river on the Kent side, and on hailing her were told she was the Charlotte, of Maldon, from the Burnham river. On boarding her they found straw loosely laid about abaft the mast, and on removing it and opening the hatches, they discovered in the hold of the vessel 20 casks containing no less than 278 bales of tobacco packed in canvass and along with cords ready for running, averaging about 50 lb. weight each. The crew were then made prisoners and put on board the cutter for safety, and with the vessel and cargo were afterwards brought to Rochester. The court convicted the whole of them in the penalty of £100 each. Recommending the two boys to the mercy of the Crown, but the penalties were not paid, and the prisoners were accordingly committed to Maidstone Gaol.

Ref: The Times, London  6 February 1832.


National Maritime Museum London.

Print, Her Majesty’s revenue Cutter Vigilant, towing her Prize the barge CHARLOTTE captured 1849, having on board nearly 7 tons of Contraband Tobacco, concealed under straw.  Reference; The Times. December 17, 1849.
Item kindly sent to us by Rosemary Milton-Thompson.


The fact two artists, especially one so famous as Schetky, considered these events as worthy of documentation must be an indication of their importance and, thus, of Richard’s success.

In the "Kentish Gazette" of 1st November 1842 there is a record of another successful capture by him -


In August 2006 Robin Blantyre Gowlland met a friend of his, the Reverend Canon Maurice Friggens of Wales, who told him of the existence of a sextant bearing the name of Gowlland - see below.

The "Gowlland" Sextant

The instrument is made by the well known company Nathaniel Worthington Mathematical Instrument Maker of Piccadilly London, listed in Gloria Clifton's The Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550 - 1881.  He was in partnership as Worthington and Allen 1835 - 1850.  He inherited Ramsden's dividing engine, the means by which the very fine scales were produced with great accuracy.

It is inscribed as follows:-

"Presented by the Duke of Rutland"    -    click here

"to Captain Gowlland"   -   click here

"In Remembrance of happy Days passed on board the Vigilant Cutter and with hearty wishes for her Success.  November 1832"  -  click here.

The sextant was supplied in a purpose-made shaped wooden case - click here.   This has two surviving box labels:-

1    H Hughes and Son Limited, 59 Fenchurch Street  [It is thought that this ws put on the box when it was in their hands for cleaning or adjustment.

2    Printed: From Miller, Rasyner and Haysom Ltd.  Naval Outfitters, Tilbury Dock and at Albert Dock, London & Southampton.  Inscription: G Dendrino [not v. legible, poss. Denarino] s/o [perhaps c/o] P & O S N Co [Peninsular and Orient Steamship Navigation].

As to the provenance, it belonged to A R Friggins who was invalided out of the navy in 1943 and then continued his involvement with radar working with Sir Arthur and Francis Hughes (later Kelvin Hughes) in Fenchurch Street.  He used to tell the story that he was walking through the Hughes shop front in Fenchurch Street one day and saw an old woman who was trying to persuade them to buy a sextant.  They explained that they did not buy sextants, they sold them.  Mr Friggens stepped in and made her an offer which she accepted at once.  This was probably between 1943 and 1945.

For the vendor's complete technical description of the sextant, click here and here.

The sextant was bought by John Gowlland on behalf of the Gowlland Family archives, and was collected from the home of Canon Friggins in Rhiw, Wales, on 17th May  -  see below.

Canon Friggens states "I believe the donor must be the 5th Duke.   I had picked up some tale, which must be wrong, that he was returning from India in 1832.  As C C Greville's journal tells me he was in the House of Lords presenting a petition against reform on the 3rd of February that year, this cannot be so".  Rosemary points out that the "Vigilant" may have acted as a semi-official boat and hosted important visitors, and this may have been how and why the 5th Duke was visiting.

One fact about Richard is not clear: the use of the title "Captain".  Whilst he, in various documents, described himself as “C(c)ommander revenue cutter” there are three third-party references to "Captain".  Two of these are in The Times, firstly in a report of the capture of the “Charlotte” on 13 December 1849 and, secondly, in a report of the trial of the smugglers ten days later.  The third reference is in Pigot’s Directory of 1840.  Both of these sources can be considered reliable.  Perhaps Richard had earned the honorific title of “Captain” or perhaps all Revenue Cutter Commanders had the right to that title.  At the moment, however, the answer is not known.


In September 2010, in a bound volume entitled "Revenue Cruisers 1671 - 1928", held at the National Archives, Kew, within their Customs records, was found a mention of him as former commander of the Vigilant - click here.


Looking back on his career, Richard must have reflected with satisfaction that his lifelong pursuit of smugglers may have compensated for, according to Graham Smith in "Kings Cutters  -  The Revenue Service and the war against smuggling", the brutal murder of his cousin Stephen Gowlland (1763 - 1790) by smugglers in 1790.  Unfortunately it has not been possible to trace the origin of this report.


The family lived in a number of places.  So far as the children were concerned, the first Richard was born in Littlehampton, Sussex, and the second at “Mr. John Stoddard’s Lodging House” in Minster, Kent.  Both Peter Yeames and Louisa Mary Yeames were born at 18 Broomfields Lower Road, Deptford, also in Kent.


The family is also recorded as living at 34 Finsbury Square, London, at the time of the 1851 census (click here), at 10 Saint Georges Villas, Compton Road, Canonbury, at the time of the 1861 census and, later, at 2 Dudley Villas, Clapham Road, Surrey.  They owned a freehold house and premises at 2 Alfred Place, Dover, which was occupied by Louisa Mary and the children at the time of the 1841 census (Richard is not mentioned - presumably he was at sea) and was still owned at Richard’s death.  This 1841 census is in the name of "Gowland" with one L (click here).   A curiosity of this entry is that all the ages are understated, Louisa as 35 instead of 42, and the three children as 15, 15, and 14, instead of 17,16 and 14.  There appears to be no reason for this anomaly.


In the autumn of 2006 we have obtained a document (click here) described as:


Dated 14th October 1850


Miss Colyer and others




Richard Gowlland



and Assignment of

real and personal Estate

previous to Marriage

of Miss Colyer.


As will be seen, it mentions his Finsbury Square address, and deals with property in Greenwich, Blackheath and Ilford.


Despite his professional obligations, Richard was active in public life, at least for a time, since he was elected a Member of the Dover Paving Board in 1839.


He died before 28 August 1865 (click here for his death certificate), when probate was granted to Louisa Mary, and his effects were valued at less than ₤300.  Louisa Mary died in 1867 (click here)


[Source – Neil Gowlland [ngowlland@bluewin.ch] and Richard Joscelyne  - Autumn 2005]



Gowlland, Richard (1815 - 1871)


During the first half of 2006 investigations into a line of hitherto unknown Gowllands, starting with a Coachpainter, lead to the realisation that Josiah Gowlland (1781 - ?)  (click here for his biography) had had a son Richard, of whom we had known nothing.  This biography accordingly summarises the facts so far known.


Richard was born in 1815, the third child and first son of Josiah and Peggy née Thornton: Josiah was the grandson of Joseph Gowlland (c1709 - 1788) and Susannah née Maple.


Our first information about Richard comes from this marriage certificate of 5th February 1849.

It shows the marriage at the Parish Church of St Pancras in the parish of St Pancras in Middlesex between Richard Gowlland and Susannah née Simpson, both described as of "full age".   Richard's profession is shown as "Coach Painter" and Susannah appears to have no occupation.  The address for both is "Mansfield Place".  Click here for an enlarged image.

Richard's father is shown as "Josiah Gowlland - Dead".   This is the Josiah who appears on the family tree, born 23rd December 1781, the son of Stephen Gowlland (b. 1747) and Sarah Symons (b. 1752), and we are now confident that Richard is Josiah's child.   Josiah would have been sixty-eight years of age at the date of his son's marriage, so, even allowing for the longevity of the Gowlland family, it is not altogether surprising that he was by then deceased.

The two witnesses are Samuel Carter (illiterate) and Maria Gowlland. 

In the records of criminal trials at The Old Bailey there is an entry for 25th April 1870 (here) from the Assizes in Clerkenwell showing the conviction of a Richard Gowlland for "attempt to steal in dwelling house" for which he was sentenced to six months' imprisonment.  Regrettably no additional details are available, specifically no reference appearing as to his age (which would have identified him positively): if this is the correct Richard, he would have been in his fifties, and he died the following year, the death certificate stating "Violent strangulation self hanging". 

There is a possiblity however that it was his son Richard who was the convicted thief (he would have been just eighteen at the time of his arrest) (click here).

We have a death certificate (click here) of 3rd June 1871 in the name of Richard Gowland (one L), occupation "sign painter".  Originally there was some doubt as to whether this was the same Richard, because of the spelling and also the different occupation.  However, the occupation declared in the 1903 marriage certificate of his daughter Esther was "sign writer", and the address shown of 57 Ossulston Street is the same as that on the 1871 census (click here) and on Esther's birth certificate (see below), so we are now certain this is the correct Richard.   The age of fifty-six on the death certificate also enables us to deduce a more reliable year of birth, namely 1815 (previously we had estimated 1817).  Regrettably no record can be found in The London Metropolitan Archives of the Coroner's Inquest held on 10th August.

Richard and Susannah had many children, as follows:-

    Eliza Jane (born 25th August 1847)

This birth predated the marriage, as is clear from the birth certificate - click here.   In October 2009 we obtained the baptism certificate (here) dated 26th September 1847: interestingly, (a) although the parents' abode is shown as "Pimlico" [South London], the ceremony took place in St Michael's, Highgate [North London], and (b) the name in the baptism record is spelt with one L - "Gowland".

On both documents the mother was shown as "Susannah Gowlland, formerly Simpson" even though we know they did not in fact marry until 5th February 1849.   Eliza appears in the 1851 census ("daughter of Richard Gowland, 4, born Middlesex") but not that of 1861.  In 1871 she appears at the Swann Inn, Harrow Road, Harrow, London, as "servant, unmarried, 23, general servant".  Some time in the next few years she married a Mr Davies (born about 1845, died before 1891), and they had a child, Louisa Davies, born 1880. 

By the time of the 1891 census, Eliza Davies is recorded at 5 The Avenue, Hornsey, Middlesex, as "housekeeper to Arthur N[ewman] Flack, widow, 42, housekeeper, born Pimlico, London"; and later in that year she and Arthur (who was born on 24th December 1837 at Richmond in Surrey) married at St Pauls Church, Station Road, Wood Green Common, Edmonton.  Sadly, she died in 1896, whereas Arthur lived on, dying only in January 1921.

    Maria (born c 1848)

This birth also predated the marriage.  We have not so far been able to obtain a birth certificate.  One was ordered in the name of Simpson but it proved to be no connection with our family.  There appears to be no birth certificate for the relevant period in the name of "Maria" with surname "Gowlland", "Gowland" or "Simpson".  However Maria appears on later censuses, and her marriage certificate of 1870 confirmed her "full age" and parentage.  But there are only twenty-three months between the births of Eliza and Selina  -  assuming both Maria's and Selna's pregnancies went to full term, the only possible birth dates for Maria between June 1848 and August 1848.  Something of a puzzle   . . . . .

    Selina  (born 24th July 1849 - click here for her birth certificate)

The birth occurred at 24 Upper York Street, Marylebone, about five months after the marriage.  Evidently Selina died, as this name was given to a subsequent daughter - see below

    Richard (born 4th February 1852 - click here)

The birth occurred at 10 Bell Court, Grays Inn Lane, Holborn.  Richard, the father, was the informant, giving his occupation as "coach painter".  In 2007 we demonstrated that Richard emigrated to Nova Scotia, Canada where in 1878, as a resident of Halifax, he married Catherine McInnis (click here) and fathered three children (click here).

It is explained above that there is a record of the arrest and conviction, in Clerkenwell, of a Richard Gowlland in 1870 (here): it seems most probable that, if it were not his father, it was this Richard.

    Sarah (born 1854)

It has not been possible to obtain a birth certificate for this daughter; but her identity and date of birth has been reconstructed from her being seventeen at the time of the 1871 census.

    William (born 22nd February 1857 - click here

The address where the birth took place is very difficult to read.  The certificate looks as if Richard did not sign it, as all the handwriting seems to be that of the registrar.  William died on 15th February 1860 (click here) from Variola (smallpox) [Why?  Inoculation had been introduced in the early 1700s, and it seems extraordinary that 1.1/2 centuries later it should have been the cause of little William's death  -  and furthermore there was another Gowlland fatality, six year later, from smallpox - click here].   At this time the family was living to the south of the Thames, close to Blackfriars Bridge, at No 26 Broadwall [shown as Broad Wall on Greenwood's 1830 map of London].

    Charles (born 14th September 1861 - click here)

The birth occurred in St George, Bloomsbury.  Susannah signed the certificate with her mark.

    Florence (born c1866)

The only appearance of Florence is in the 1881 census, described as "daughter  -  15  -  scholar  -  born St Pauls [?]": there is no mention of her in the 1871 census, nor is there a birth recorded in 1865 or 1866.

    Selina (born 24th May 1867 - click here)

The birth occurred in Pancras, London.  As before, Susannah signed with her mark.  Selina was baptised on 17th June 1867 at St Panrcas Parish Church, Camden.

    Esther (born 15th January 1871 - click here, and then look very carefully at the name!)

Unprecedentedly, it seems the name of Selina on the certificate was written in wrongly.   The 1871 census shows a three-year old Selina and a three-month old Esther, and in the 1881 census there is a ten-year old Esther.    The only possible explanation one can think of is that the birth certificate showed the name "Selina" instead of "Esther".  An 1871 birth for Esther corresponds with all the other data we have, to within one year (her death certificate overstates her age at death by one year).   And, of course, Susan(nah) was at that time, judging by her signing with her mark, more or less illiterate, and thus wouldn't have noticed this mistake, particularly as this certificate appears to carry neither mark nor signature - in other words, she didn't verify its contents.  The address shown of 57 Ossulston Street is where the family was living at the time of the 1871 census, and also where Richard died in the same year.  But it's certainly an oddity and, I suspect, almost unprecedented that such a major error occurred in the official record.  Is there a possibility  -  Richard died later in the same year from "softening of the brain" and a haemorrhagic stroke  -  possibly Susan(nah) was so preoccupied with concern about his deteriorating health that her illiteracy meant she did not realise she had given the registrar an incorrect name?.  

At all events, we shall assume that this birth relates to Esther, unless evidence appears to the contrary.

Richard was described as a Coach Painter on both his marriage certificate and Richard's birth certificate, but on Selina's birth certificate the word "Journeyman" is added.  On this certificate, Susannah had shortened her name to Susan.

There may yet be more children appear: this tally is all we know about at present.

Collating five years of censuses (1851, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901) has provided much information , summarised on a separate page  -  for which, click here

An amusing by-product of the censuses is Susannah's age.  1891, age 70, birth year 1821.   1881, age 57, birth year 1824.  1871, age 44, birth year 1827.  1851, age 28, birth year 1823.  With Esther having been born at the beginning of 1871, the birth year of 1821, at least, is surely impossible.

We have additional information on some of these children, tabulated below:

     Maria (born c1848)

Maria was married at the age of twenty-two to Thomas Standing, a bootmaking son of a lastmaker, on 11th December 1870 at St Peter's Regent Square  -  click here for the marriage certificate. 

The 1891 census (click here) shows her age as forty, which would imply having been born after the 1849 marriage of her parents Richard and Susannah  -  was this minor adjustment made in deference to the children's upbringing?  In this census appear seven children, Thomas (19), Amy Esther (14 - click here for her birth certificate), James (12), George (9), Hester (6), Charles (4) and Louisa (1).

Furthermore, a Standing grand-daughter appears in the 1891 census return (click here) for Susan (70) and Charles (29), aged eighteen and of occupation "domestic servant": the name is not easy to read  -  it might be "Mimi" but probably it isn't.  At all events, this makes it clear that Thomas and Maria had at least eight children.

An interesting point  -  on Amy Esther's 1877 birth certificate the Informant is shown as "X The Mark of Maria Standing, Mother".  It was unusual at this time for a Gowlland child to be illiterate

    Sarah (born 1854)

Sarah was aged seventeen on the 1871 census.  There is a record of a Sarah Gowlland arriving in New York on the SS "Abyssinia" on 25th April 1877 (click here for the relevant page (number 6 of six) of the manifest bearing her name, and here for the first page bearing all the ship's details.  The ports of departure given were Liverpool, England, and Queenstown, Ireland.  Her age is given as 23, which implies a birth year of about 1854.  Her occupation is given as "Maid".  She travelled in a cabin (the majority of the passengers travelled in steerage class).

In the column headed "The Country to which they normally belong" the word "England" is written; and in the next column headed "The Country of which they intend to become Inhabitants" the letters "U.S.A" is written.

The quality of both the microfilm, and the handwriting, leave much to be desired.  But there has to be an explanation as to why a young maid was travelling in a cabin.  Presumably her duties required her to be in close attendance on, one imagines, her mistress.  But who was she?   

Sarah evidently returned from America, for she was married two years later at St John's Hornsey on 28th September 1879 to James Collier, a paper-hanging widower son of a paper hanger, and we have the marriage certificate (click here).

    Charles (born 1861)

Charles was living with his mother Susan(nah) at the time of the 1891 census.    In 1895 in St Matthew's, Rugby (click here) he married Emily Wale (29 - spinster resident in Rugby, Warwickshire, father James Wales, coachman): Charles was described as "34 - bachelor - labourer - resident Islington - father Richard Gowlland, coach writer".

We have a birth certificate from Upper Holloway (click here) dated 15th August 1897 in the name of Olive Emily Gowlland, father Charles Gowlland (labourer in a tinfoil factory - the same occupation he included in the 1891 census) and mother Emily Gowlland, formerly Wale.   Olive died from "convulsions" at the beginning of 1899 at the age of sixteen months - click here for the death certificate.

And we now have a birth certificate from Upper Holloway (click here) dated 14th December 1900 in the name of Hilda Winifred Gowlland, same father and mother details as above.  But this time he has been promoted - his occupation is "foreman in a tinfoil factory".  

A burial record from 1903 (here) has come to light, in the name of "Emma Gowland [sic]  - two days old" at St Pancras Old Church, showing the address of the death as 290 Britannia Street.  This is a few minutes' walk from St Johns Street (the family's address in 1901), and Parallel Street (in 1911).  It seems possible therefore that Emma was a child of Charles and Emily, who died almost immediately after birth; but, without confirmation, there is no certainty of this.  Note, incidentally, how many of the entries are marked "P" - presumably "pauper"?

In the 1911 Census (click here) Charles and Emily are shown. together with Hilda Winifred, aged ten, at school, born in Upper Holloway, London.  Charles is listed as "49 - married - Foreman Foil Factory - Batavia [?] Mills, worker, born St Pancras, London"; and Emily as "43 - married for fourteen years - 2 children born to marriage, one surviving and one dead - born Rugby, Warwickshire".  Also in the household is Elizabeth Belchamber, a 29-year old unmarried lodger, working as daily domestic servant, born in Lewisham.

    Selina (born 1867)

Selina appears in the 1871 census.  She also appears in the 1901 census, and then she evidently emigrated to Australia: we have a record (click here) of her sailing from Liverpool on 23rd October 1915 and (from the Victoria State Archives) of her arrival in December, on the SS "Athenic", both records mentioning a Selina Gowlland aged forty-two, unmarried, occupation governess; and it seems most likely this was she if, for whatever reason, she were understating her age.

In the 1891 census (click here) there is an entry for a Selina Gowlland, aged twenty-two, "servant", living alone in a house in Brighton - perhaps acting as caretaker?   Certainly this was similar to the occupation described as "Home Duties" she followed in later life - see below. This Selina in the census is probably she, but her place of birth is stated as Canterbury, not Pancras.  Her birth took place at 3 Mabledon Place WC1, a street which is still there; and the district can alternatively be called St Pancras, Somers Town, Islington, Bloomsbury or, stretching the geography somewhat, Canonbury; and therefore it is possible she gave Canonbury as her place of birth, and the census taker misheard it as Canterbury, and added "Kent" on his/her own initiative.  There is also a one-year age discrepancy but probably this can be overlooked.  On present evidence, we believe there is a chance that this is the 1867 Selina but this may prove to be a false assumption.

Selina's death occurred in Victoria in 1935 (click here for the certificate).  The wording is "Selina Gowlland, daughter of Richard Gowlland, Coach-painter, and Susannah formerly Simpson, aged 68, unmarried, occupation Home Duties, born in England,. twenty years resident in Victoria". 

Interestingly, Selina is still listed in the 1936 Electoral Register for the district of Brighton in Victoria (click here): evidently up-dating of electoral registers was not carried out at regular intervals.

    Esther (born 1871)

Esther Gowlland (b 1871), similarly to her sister Selina, also died in Victoria, Australia, on 17th July 1925, at the age of fifty-three  -  click here for the death certificate in her married name of Hummerstone.

This Australian death certificate certificate confirms she was born in London, and that her parents were Richard and Susan Gowlland, and stated she had moved to Victoria in about 1912.   We have located her on the 1881 and 1901 English censuses, but cannot find her on that of 1891.   In 1901, in the house of Charles Gowlland (born 1861), she was described as "Esther Gowlland - sister - single - aged 29 - born London Kings Cross".   We think she emigrated to Australia shortly after 1910.

There is an Australian immigration record of a Miss --- Gowlland (no first name given), aged twenty-five in October 1895, arriving on the SS "Damascus".  And there is an emigration record from London (click here) dated 29th August 1895 of, again, a Miss --- Gowlland, on the SS "Damascus",  aged 25, destination Sydney.  So it seems certain that this was Esther (subject to an error on one year in the age) although at this point we cannot be 100% sure.  We know that she subsequently returned to England

She married Henry Hummerstone on 28th February 1903 at The Congregational Church, Junction Road, Upper Holloway, London, "according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Independents" - click here for the marriage certificate.  His occupation is given as "house decorator".  His father is named as "Samuel Hummerstone (deceased) - domestic gardener" and her father as "Richard Gowlland (deceased) - sign writer".  Of the two witnesses, one was "C Gowlland", presumably her brother Charles; and the other was "Esther Standing"  -  Esther's sister Maria having married Thomas Standing in 1870, this is presumably either one of her in-laws or a daughter.

At the time of her death,  the Authorized Agent completing the death certificate included an incorrect length of time (twenty-nine years) for the marriage, whereas it should  have been about twenty-two years.  The death certificate also claimed she had married in Highgate, whereas in fact it was in Upper Holloway.,

There were three children from the marriage, twin boys Ernest Henry and Bertram Albert, and a daughter Hilda Lily, aged twenty-one and fifteen respectively at the time of Esther's death, implying birth years of 1904 and 1910.

We know of the emigration of the Hummerstone family on the SS "Demosthenes" to Brisbane, Australia on 26th June 1912.  The departure record (spread over two pages - click here and here) details "Henry 35, Esther 40, Ernest 8, Bertram 8 and Hilda 1" - Henry's occupation is transcribed as "printer" but this looks to be an incorrect reading and it should be "painter".   It specifically states that they are emigrating permanently.

The record of their arrival in August in Melbourne Australia details the family (comprising Harry 35, Mrs E 40, Master E 8, Master B 8 and Miss H 1) on the SS "Demosthenes" [Victoria unassisted inward passenger list 1912 fiche 853 page 012] .  This passenger list tells us Harry was born in about 1877. 

There are two possible candidates for Harry in the BMD index.  The first was born on 28th April 1877 click here; but this Henry/Harry is shown as having been born in Great Munden, Standon, Hertfordshire to Eliza Ann and Elias Hummerstone (note "Samuel" is given on the 1903 marriage certificate but, frankly, who would want to carry around the name of "Elias", especially if they were deceased?), and the father's occupation is shown as "Farm Labourer".  The second, named Edward Henry Hummerstone, was born on 19th April 1876 (click here) but, again, the details don't match, especially the father's occupation of coal miner.    On present evidence, neither of these is the correct person.

As to Henry/Harry Hummerstone in the censuses prior to Henry and Esther emigrating to Australia, we can find no trace of him in 1881.   There is a census record of a Henry Hummerstone "pauper" on the training ship SS "Exmouth"; but he would be ten years too old, according to the death certificate.

In the 1891 census we have found a George Hummerstone and his wife Sarah, with eight (!) children between the ages of 16 and eight months, and a son named Harry with a birth year of about 1877/78, living in Epping (for census page click here); and in the 1901 census (click here) there is a Thomas Hummerstone, occupation described as "gardener domestic" and his wife Mary, with five children, none of them a Harry (but see below).  However, realistically, neither of these seem very likely candidates for the "Samuel Hummerstone, deceased - domestic gardener" mentioned on the 1903 marriage certificate.

In the 1901 census Harry (we believe) turns up in the Army (click here), posted to the District Garrison, Colchester, Essex.  At the age of twenty-three he was a lance-corporal.  He must have been discharged shortly thereafter, although under what circumstances we do not know.

Henry/Harry died at the age of fifty in 1926, in Victoria.  His father's first name is shown as "Saml", which corresponds with neither George (1891 census) nor Thomas (1901 census).  Maybe the two census entries relate to an entirely different Henry Hummerstone.

As to Esther's children, we know that Ernest Henry died at the age of sixty-five in 1969, and Bertram Albert died at the end of  in 1927, both in Victoria.   And we have a record of a marriage, also in Victoria, in 1932 of Hilda Lily Gowlland Hummerstone to Sydney Victor Sketcher.

Incidentally, there were three other Hummerstone passages to Victoria, Australia, a Miss J L aged nineteen in September 1901 per the SS "Ortiz", and a Miss Amy aged twenty-two and a Miss Jessie aged thirty-four (click here) in November 1911 on the SS "Moravian": we do not know what, if any, relationship they had with Harry.

Clearly there is a great deal more information still to be gleaned in respect of Richard and Susannah and their children.

[Source – John Gowlland - Summer 2006]




Gowlland, Richard (1823 - 1863)


The oldest surviving child of Richard Gowlland (1795 - 1865), also called Richard, was born on 15 May 1823 (click here for his baptism certificate) in Mile Town, Minster, Isle of Sheppey, Kent, his father being described as "Commander of H. M's Revenue Cutter "New Charter". 


He died on 19th December 1863: he is buried in Abney Park Cemetery, Burial number 032196, section G07, IS12 (click here).  Click here for his death certificate.  


We have a birth certificate (click here) dated 5th February 1848 showing the birth of a girl named "Louisa Gowlland Gowlland", according to the clerk who prepared the quarterly returns - click here.  It may be fanciful to imagine that the writing of "Louisa Gowlland" in column number 2, thereby reinforcing the parentage, was at the instigation of the mother, Louisa Matthews.   Note that the father's occupation was shown as "Clerk in the Customs", and we believe this to be Richard Gowlland, born in 1823, not least because in the 1851 census three years later his occupation is described more or less identically, namely "Clerk in HM Customs". 


There is no trace of either Louisa in 1851, nor in subsequent censuses; and attempts to find a marriage or death certificate in either name have been fruitless  -  she seems to have disappeared without trace.


The 1851 census (click here) shows his father's family living in Finsbury Square, with Richard, Peter Yeames and the widowed Louisa M Bouverie, age 24, "Commander's daughter". 


Evidently Richard liked the name Louisa, for four years after the birth detailed above he married Louisa Ann Mayes on 15th April 1852 (click here for the marriage certificate), the daughter of a substantial Essex farmer John Mayes (for whose 1861 census entry click here and for the 1871 entry click here).  They had a total of seven children:


Louisa Mayes (1853) (click here for her birth certificate) - baptised 25th February 1853 at St Mary, Islington


Alma Mayes (1854) - baptised "Feast of St Luke" [sic] 1854 at St Philip, Dalston


Richard (1856) (here)


Arthur (1857) (here) - baptised 6th June 1858 at St Peter, Hackney


Florence (1859) - baptised 18th March 1860 at St Philip, Hackney


Alice Maude (1861) - baptised more than one year after, on 8th February 1863 at St Peter, Hackney (click here)


Ellen (1863) (here) - baptised 21st August 1864 at St Peter, Hackney


All survived to adulthood.  


The 1851 census (click here) shows the family living in Finsbury Square, with the widowed Lisa M Bouverie, age 24, "Commander's daughter".    In the same census, John Mayes, Louisa's father, is living with his family (click here) in Stanford Le Hope in Essex; whilst Louisa (transcribed as "Lucy Ann" in the return), described as "niece", is visiting the Eastwood family in Lambourne - click here.


In 1858 Richard's name appears in a listing of the Customs' Establishment at London Docks - click here.


A report of 14th January 1865 in "The Reading Mercury and Oxford Gazette" (below) mentions, at the end, Louisa having been on of ten children out of forty-three who were successful in an election - what for?  Entry into the British Orphan Asylum, presumably.  She would have been twelve years old at the time.



At the time of the 1871 census (click here), Louisa Ann (described as "head - widow - age 39") was living at 59 Doughty Street, St Pancras, London, together with daughters Louisa Mayes (18) and Alice Maude (9).   [For the location of Doughty Street, click here for the Greenwood 1830 Map of London, and click on "Doughty Street" in the Name Index].   

In the photograph below, No 59 is the right-hand door, and No 57, which features in the family's peregrinations later, is the left-hand door.






Presumably providing for so many children after her husband's premature death proved too much for Louisa Ann, for, in addition to Louisa Mayes mentioned in the cutting above, five more children were elsewhere, namely   . . . . .


Alma Mayes (16) turns up under the name of "Alma Gaullant" at a school in London Street, Andover - click here for her, and here for her employer.  Despite her youth, was she acting as an unpaid teacher's assistant, in return for her keep, perhaps?


Richard (15) was lodging at 30 Fore Street, St Giles, Cripplegate, London, occupation "general shopman" - click here.


Florence (11) and Ellen (7) are found in the Snaresbrook District Infant Orphan Asylum in Wanstead, Essex - click here and here.  They would certainly have had plenty of company there  -  647 inmates, aged fourteen and below (one was aged two, and two were aged three) shared the premises with more than fifty staff.  


Arthur (13) was in the Hackney St John District London Orphanage - click here.  Interestingly, Arthur's place of birth is shown as "Beauvoir Town, Middlesex".  De Beauvoir Town is located in London district N1.  Why did Louisa give an incorrect place of birth?  Was it to enable him to enter this particular orphanage?   .  


On 6th March 1877 the son Richard, then described as "Clerk in Merchant's office",  married Mabel Agnes Blanche Ella Louisa Cope, aged nineteen, (click here for the marriage certificate).  They had just one child, Richard (1877 - 1944) - click here for his 1877 birth certificate, here for this 1878 baptism record and here for his biography.


In 1884 a Receiving Order (here) was issued against Richard and his partner Albert George Abraham, then trading as Gowlland Abraham and Company, giving the family address of 59 Doughty Street and showing their occupation as "Wharfingers".  In July 1885 (here) they were able to make a payment of 2/6d in the Pound (12.1/2 pence) to their Creditors.  In January 1899 (here) Albert George Abraham applied for Debtor's Discharge, but it appears Richard was not in a position to do so.


Richard died at the age of fifty-one in Fareham, Southampton, in 1907 (click here for the death certificate), the cause of death being stated as "Fibroid Phthisis [tuberculosis] 1.1/2 years  -  syncope".  His occupation at that time was "florist", and the informant was "L M Amsden, sister", namely Louisa Mayes née Gowlland, then stated to be living at 85 Norfolk House, Streatham, South London.


His widow Mabel Agnes Louise appears in the 1911 Census (click here) living in Ramsgate, Kent, described as "53 - Widow - mother of one child still living [Richard - born 1877] - possessing private means - born in Austria - English nationality".


Mabel died at 279 Leigham Court Road, Streatham on 26th June 1936, and was buried on 1st July at All Saints, Harrow Weald [Streatham is in South London, whereas Harrow Weald is in North London] - for the burial record with her surname incorrectly spelt with one-L, click here.


On 15th April 1878 Alma Mayes married Charles Count Pocklington, described as "Farmer" - click here for the marriage certificate: he farmed in Vange in Essex.   Her brother Arthur, and sister-in-law Mabel Agnes Blanche Ella Louisa, were the witnesses to the marriage.  At the time of the 1881 census (click here) the couple were still living in Vange, accompanied by the older two children, John and Percy.  In the same 1881 census the Mayes family were continuing to live in Stanford-le-Hope - click here.


In "The Chelmsford Chronicle" of 25th December [yes, really!] 1885 there is a mention of a "Miss Gowlland" participating in a concert at Vange - see below: it is unclear to which Miss Gowlland this refers. [Were this report to have been written nowadays, the penultimate line would no doubt have been worded differently!]




"The Chelmsford Chronicle" 25 December 1885


Charles died in 1888, leaving his widow with eight children, the youngest of whom was born after Charles' death. The first seven children, and possibly the eighth, were born in Vange.  


At the time of the 1891 census (click here) widowed Alma Mayes was living in No 7 Cromwell Road, Kensington, with the three younger children, and also her brother Arthur Gowl(l)and, described as "single - 36 - company secretary"  -  Arthur was three years younger than Alma Mayes, but on the census return they are both shown with the same age of thirty-six - at the previous 1881 census he had been living with Alma Mayes' mother Louisa .  A domestic servant was also employed. 


Evidently things subsequently became more difficult because, by the time of the 1901 census, the two youngest girls, Florence and Dorothy, were in the Wanstead Infant Orphans' Asylum (click here and here): ironically, this was the same asylum in which two of their aunts had been recorded thirty years earlier in the 1871 census (see above).   And yet in this same 1901 census (click here), Alma Mayes was living at 29, Beresford Road, Islington, London, with four of her children (sons Percy 20, Clement Charles 19 and Thomas 18, and also daughter Mabel 16). together with (still) her brother Arthur, a lodger Hannah W Tipple (Single - 83 - own means - b Shoreditch) and Florence Sophia (Servant - single - 26 - b Islington).  Why, if she could afford a servant, were the two youngest daughters in an orphanage?  Certainly there appears to have been a tradition in this family of off-loading the younger children to orphanages.


For pictures of Alma Mayes and of Mabel (the fifth child), click here and here.


Reverting to the time of the 1881 census, Louisa Mayes (28), was a "boarding housekeeper", responsible for seven boarders, at 57 Doughty Street (click here), and the children, Arthur (23 - merchant's clerk), Alice (19 - cashier's clerk) and Ellen (17 - wood engraver) were still in No 59 with five boarders (click here).


At that same 1881 census (click here) Florence (21) was a governess in the establishment of the Vicar of Claverley in Shropshire.   She subsequently, in 1889, gave birth in Landport, Southampton to an illegitimate girl named Irene (click here for the birth certificate) At the 1891 census (click here) Florence and her baby daughter were living in Portsmouth with her elder brother Richard and younger sister Ellen.  Both she and Ellen were described as "single - living on own means".   


By the time of the 1901 census (click here), Florence described herself as “married” and had taken the surname “Milton”, as had baby Irene.  She was still living with Richard, in Cosham, Southampton; but there was no husband included in the return.


After Richard Senior's death, his widow Louisa Ann re-married at St Bartholomew's Church, St Pancras, on 26th November 1872, her second husband being Hermann Wilhelm Remy, an unmarried commercial traveller, whose late father Friedrich Wilhelm Remy had been a merchant  -  for this marriage certificate, click here.   Neither father nor son Remy appear in the 1851 or 1861 censuses; but in the 1871 census there is an entry for "H W Remy, 38 years of age, clerk, born in Birmingham, Warwickshire" which is probably Herman.


In the 1881 census Louisa Ann Remy was living with Richard and Mabel and young Richard (click here) and in the 1891 census she was visiting friends in West Ham (click here).  She cannot be located in the 1901 census.  But in the 1911 census (click here) she is shown living at Fareham in Hampshire, accompanied by her son Arthur, "54 - single -  nursery man [?] - own account [?] - at home - born Islington, London".   Presumably Arthur was a jobbing gardener.  Louisa indicates her surname as "Remy", of course; and correctly states "children born to present marriage - none".


Louisa Mayes married Robert Lyle Amsden, described as "clerk - widower", on 29th September 1886 at Holy Trinity, Grays Inn Road, London - click here for the marriage certificate.


Alice Maud and her children merit their own biography, for which click here.


Gowlland, Richard   -   1877 – 1944

Richard was born in 1877, the only son of Richard Gowlland (b 1856) and Mabel Agnes Blanche Ella Louise, née Cope (click here for his birth certificate and here for his baptism certificate).   We have the 1871 census (click here) showing fifteen-year old Richard Senior, prior to his marriage to Mabel, living at the house in Cripplegate, London, of Stanford Botting, described as a grocer: Richard was one of three visitors, all described as "general salesman".

We have a record from the Old Bailey of a conviction (here) on 25th April 1870 of a Richard Gowlland for "attempt to steal in dwelling house" for which a sentence of three months imprisonment was imposed.    Richard's father (b 1856) is one of three possible candidates for this individual - for details of the other two, click here

Richard junior's place of birth in 1877 was 59 Doughty Street, Pancras, Grays Inn Lane, the residence of several members of his immediate family.

On 7th June 1902, at Saint Nicholas, Tooting Graveney, Richard married Ethel Eliza Pottinger Fulton (click here for the marriage certificate): note that one of the witnesses was Louisa Mayes Amsden.  Their only child was Eric Fulton Gowlland, Neil’s father (click here for his birth certificate and here for his wartime military service).  He died in 1944.

To place Richard in the history of our broad family, there was a tradition that the eldest son was named Richard.  The tradition started with Stephen whose eldest son was Richard Symons Gowlland, born 1771; and continued with Richard Sankey Gowlland, and three generations of plain Richards. 

The 1881 census finds Richard's father and Mabel, with young Richard, living at 47 Marques Grove, Canonbury, Islington.  Richard, described as "Commercial Clerk Corn Trade - born in Hackney" and Mabel "born in Austria, British subject" are listed on the bottom of page 19 (click here), and at the top of page 20 (click here) are three-year old Richard, and also Louisa Remy, Richard's mother who had remarried in 1872, described as "Married - aged 50 - born in Stanlehope, Essex".   And in the 1901 census (click here) Mabel and Richard are living in Wandsworth, he described as "shipping clerk" and she living on "own means".

The marriage between Richard's parents was not successful and, perhaps in 1887, Mabel (who had private means) and her son moved to Solothum in Switzerland, where they lived for around four years.  Richard learnt to swim in the Aar, a strong flowing river, and was a very good swimmer, playing water polo for the South-East England team.

Richard started his working life in 1886 as a junior factory clerk with Mansell Hunt Catty, manufacturers of high quality Christmas crackers and paper doilies.  [See below for the letter offering him employment].   He subsequently rose to become Sales Director. 


During his business career, the family moved to Toronto, Canada (where Ethel was born) soon after Eric's birth, where they lived for six years.  There is an immigration record from the Nanaimo Family History Society of the arrival of "Gowlland, R", aged thirty, in Canada on 19th October 1908 on the SS "Virginian", which had sailed from Liverpool on 9th October (click here) and this seems likely to be he.  Also there is an emigration record (click here) dated four months later (26th February 1909) of the sailing from Liverpool to St Johns, New Brunswick, Canada on SS "Empress of Ireland" of "Mrs E Gowlland and Master E Gowlland".  Their ages are shown as 30 and 4 respectively. On both Richard's and Ethel's records their marital status is shown as "Single", but this denotes either being unmarried, or being married but unaccompanied by one's spouse.  More curious is that Richard's occupation is shown as "Labourer".  But this occurs quite frequently and seems to have been used to describe what nowadays we might call "employee".



Richard, Ethel and Eric in the Rockies, c1909


At some unknown time, Richard made a sales trip to South America, crossing the Andes on the back of a mule. 


Richard (on the left) and friend at the Zoological Gardens in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1910

There is a record (here) of his return to Southampton from Buenos Aires in 1910 on the SS "Aragon": he is now correctly described as "Agent", is travelling second class, and had embarked in Rio de Janeiro.

He returned to Canada in 1933, whence he sailed back from Montreal to Greenock on the SS "Duchess of York" (click here): his occupation is shown as "Sales Manager", his age as "55", and the address to which he was returning as "4 West Drive, Harrow Weald, London"

He was an accomplished water colourist (his grand-daughter Janet still has three or four of his paintings) and was also a good pianist.  Together with his son Eric, he built two or three working model locomotives, as well as a large model of a ship.


Richard Gowlland with his two grandchildren shortly before his death - Neil and his sister.

[Source - Neil Gowlland [ngowlland@bluewin.ch]- May 2005]

[Click here to return to Richard's letters]




Gowlland, Richard    -   1845 - 1886


Richard Gowlland was the third son and sixth child of Thomas Sankey Gowlland [for an extract from the Sankey family Pedigree, showing his grandmother Sarah, click here] and his wife Mary who was from the prominent Scottish/Irish family of Ewing.  He was the nephew of the Richard Gowlland (1795 - 1865) whose biography appears above.

He was born on 26 October 1845 in Tresco in the Scilly Islands where his father was chief of the coastguard station. After a short posting to Prussia Cove near Penzance in Cornwall, the family moved to Leigh on Sea in Essex in 1848 where they remained until Thomas retired nearly ten years later. The 1851 census shows Richard living with his family there.

The 1861 census shows that he had already left the family home, which was then at No.2 Grooms Hill Grove, West Greenwich. It is possible that Richard, like his brothers, was studying at the Royal Hospital Schools at Greenwich, at which his eldest brother John had had a very distinguished career seven years before.  If that were so, Richard soon branched out on his own.  He studied in Berlin, perhaps going to university there and at Tours in France.  He spoke fluent German and French.

He was present at the death of his mother on 1st November 1862 and of his father on 6th February 1872 both in Crayford, Kent.

The family story is that he began his career as an assistant to the secretary of the Viceroy of India. If that were so, it was probably at the India Office as Richard does not appear to have been to India. He may have taken the examination for the Indian Civil Service.  However by 1874 he was working at H.M. Office of Works and there he remained until his early death. He rose to be Private Secretary to the Commissioner (Minister) for Public Works and deputy head of the department. He was one of the earliest Civil Servants to have entered the Civil Service by competitive examination – a matter of considerable pride for Richard, coupled with mild disdain for those who had reached their position through political patronage. 

In early 1874 his younger sister Eliza Celia and his eldest brother John, ‘Jack’, left England for Australia. Richard had taken Celia under his wing after the death of their mother, and she had traveled with him to Germany and France. They were exceptionally devoted siblings and their parting caused much distress. The letters which he wrote to her over the following 11 years, most of which have survived, give a vivid picture of the domestic life of Richard and his family.  These letters are being published to the website, in chronological order  -  as of mid August, 1874 to 1877 have been published - click here.

Soon after the departure of Jack and Celia, Richard fell in love with Jessica Katherine (Jessie), the youngest of the three children of John Lake of Gravesend and his first wife Eliza Neame of Selling Court, Kent (for their 1850 wedding certificate, click here.   Eliza died in 1858 and John remarried, this second marriage producing six more children, five girls and a boy.   Jessie's two older sisters had left home by the time she and Richard were engaged, and she was closer to her half-siblings.  An illustration of this is Richard's letter to "Birdie" regarding Christmas 1874  - 

And now for an account of my proceedings. On Christmas Eve Jessie and I and Mary and two or three of the Lake children went to Trots to spend the evening. We made a Christmas evening of it with the old round games for nuts, which you remember so well. We came home about 11. I spent half an hour at the Lakes, during which they were all engaged in giving the finishing touches to all the preparations for Xmas the house being in that general bustle and confusion up to the last moment of going to bed which seem inseparable from a Christmas Eve in an English household.

We were much disappointed to find it thawing all Christmas day, for we had hoped for some skating and another days frost wd have made the ice strong. We all went to Matins to Holy Trinity and I took a walk afterwards with Grant my old fellow lodger at 11 Williams Rd. At 3 we had dinner. We were twelve. Mr. and Mrs. Bradley (Mrs. Lakes parents), Mr. and Mrs. Lake, Maude, Mary, Jessie, Kathleen, Amy, Bessie, Nelly and myself. The two youngest and the baby came in to Dessert. We had, of course, a grand dinner which, with the subsequent smoking and pulling of crackers, lasted till 7 when Trot and her 4 boys came in for the Christmas tree. The tree was quite a secret from the children and therefore a great surprise. It was splendidly done. The three elder girls had done it all. (I shd have mentioned that at Breakfast everyones plate was filled with presents, and when the post came there were about 30 letters with Xmas cards and good wishes for everyone. I recd a silver mounted pipe from Mrs. Lake, a watch and cigar stand, very pretty, from Jessie and Xmas cards from all the family. Jessie had a set of coral ear-rings and pendant from me, a silver Egyptian necklace and ear-rings from Cooper and a turquoise ring from Annie). Well there was much excitement during the distribution of Xmas tree presents. I had no end of things from everyone, quite a Portmanteau full! and the whole thing was the greatest success. Then we went to the Drawing room and danced till nearly 11 when there was supper and after that Trot departed and we were all in bed before one oclock.

In the 1861 census (click here) Jessie aged four is living in Milton, Gravesend, with her widowed father and sister Mary and brother Harry, as well as a governess and two servants; and in the 1871 census (click here) she is living at No 7 St John's Wood Park, Hampstead, in a girls' school run by Miss Charlotte Hillan (? or is it "Hilton"?).  In both of these her second name was spelt Catherine, but later this changed to Katharine.

And in the 1871 census (here) she is recorded in Hampstead, aged fifteen, living in the establishment of a school mistress Charlotte Hilton.

Richard and Jessie were married in the autumn of 1875 at Holy Trinity Church, Milton by Gravesend (click here for the marriage certificate) and had their honeymoon in Ilfracombe, Somerset.

There were six children of the marriage, Edward Lake (1876 – 1942), Katherine Mary (Kitty) (1878 -1913), Josephine Miriam (Effie) (1880 – 1977), Mildred Mary (1881 - 1974 - click here for her birth certificate), Leonard (1883 -1885), and Geoffrey Cathcart (1885 -1980 - click here).  

The three daughters appear in the photo below, dating from 1906, taken in the garden at Aldermaston of Willie Whitcombe, whose mother was R.S.G's sister "Trot" Gowlland, who married Phillip Whitcombe.  [Identifications from Richard Joscelyne, whose mother is baby Rosalind being held by one of the nursemaids]

Front - Josephine with Marjorie and Robert..  Back - Kitty, Jessie, two nursemaids (one with baby Rosalind) and Mildred.

All but Kitty and Leonard married and had children; but there are sadly now no males bearing the name Gowlland in this branch of the family.

At the time of his courtship with Jessie, Richard had rooms in Gravesend and was commuting daily to his office in London. In late 1874, in order to save the money spent on commuting, he moved to rooms in Gloucester Terrace W1.  After their marriage, they leased 2, The Cedars, Thornton Heath, Surrey.

Finally, in 1879, Richard purchased Lakeside, Churchfield Road, Ealing, (see below) where at the time of the 1881 census (click here) the household comprised Richard (head - 35 - Private Secretary in Office of Works - born Tresco, Cornwall), Jessie K (wife - 25 - born Chalk, Kent), Edward L (4 - born Thornton Heath, Surrey),  Katharine M (2 - born Thornton Heath, Surrey) and Josephine M (1 - born Ealing, Middlesex), and Jessie's elder sister Mary Lake, and a couple of servants.

"Lakeside", Churchfield Road, Ealing in 2006

The family lived there for some time after Richard's death in 1885 (see below) before moving to a cottage in Hardwicke where Richard’s nephew Robert Henry Whitcombe was Vicar.

Richard Gowlland was a man of wide intellectual and musical interests. He was an ardent Anglican with conservative views on the contemporary Darwinian controversy. The family, possibly through the Ewings (Mary’s father and brother were both clergymen in the Church of Ireland), had an ongoing connection with the Sisters of St. John the Baptist, an order of Anglican Nuns who ran Houses of Mercy for ‘fallen women’ and a school where some of  Richard’s sisters and nieces were educated. Richard attended the inauguration of their chapel at Hewer near Windsor. He was by his own account an accomplished ice-skater. He was a heavy smoker.

As a civil servant at the Office of Works he was at the centre of a major building programme: the creation of Northumberland Avenue, the South Kensington museums and the new Law Courts in the Strand are all mentioned in his letters to Celia. Richard’s friendship with Bertram Freeman-Mitford appointed Permanent Secretary of the Office of Works by Disraeli in 1874, did no harm to his career. Freeman-Mitford, later Lord Redesdale, was grandfather of the Mitford sisters.

Most of all, Richard was a family man, adored by his wife and children and adoring them. A flavour of this is given by this extract of a letter to Celia dated 7 September 1885, for which click here.

Tragically, Richard Sankey Gowlland died of lung cancer fewer than 5 months later  -  click here for his death certificate, and here for the 1886 burial record (note - Richard is on the RH page and the infant Leonard Lake Gowlland is on the LH page).

His widow, Jessie, lived to the age of seventy-nine, dying on the 25th February 1935 at Vineyard Hill in Wimbledon Park, South London.    One of the executors of her Will (click here) was Horace Mervyn Whitcombe, the second son and fourth child of her daughter Josephine Miriam (Effie) - see below.

The 1891 census (click here) records her as aged thirty-four and "living on own means" at No 8, Churchfield Road, Ealing, with her four younger children Katherine (12), Josephine (11), Mildred (9), and Geoffrey Cathcart (5), together with Bertha N Lake (16 - sister) [half-sister, actually] and Annie Gowlland (58 - sister-in-law).   The Annie Gowlland mentioned is Richard's sister, the oldest child of Thomas Sankey Gowlland and Mary née Ewing  -  in the 1881 census she is recorded as living in Brunswick House, Graham Road, Great Malvern, Worcs, aged 48, born in Donegal Ireland,, described as "Companion - unmarried - funded proprietress" - click here..

In the 1901 census (click here) Jessie is living at "Bolingbroke", Hengist Road [confusion of two historical periods!] in Bournemouth, with Katherine (22), Josephine (20 and Mildred (19), plus a cook and a housemaid. 

And in the 1911 Census (click here), Jessie appears, aged 54, "widow", and "of private means" living at Hardwicke, near Aylesbury, Bucks.  With her is a 14-year old domestic servant born in Paddington, London.  Jessie's entry correctly shows that she had six children, one of whom (Leonard) was no longer living.

On 15th October 1902 Josephine married William Sandford Whitcombe, described as "38 - bachelor - physician", the third son of Philip Whitcombe and Sarah Maria (Trot) née Gowlland- click here for the marriage certificate.  And on 19th October 1910 Mildred Mary (click here for a photo of her) married Walter Simeon Hunt, described as "30 - bachelor - engineer" - click here for the marriage certificate.

Kitty, we discovered in 2007, had four years earlier sailed to Calcutta India (click here) on the SS "City of Calcutta". [A curiosity is that on the emigration document she was described as "Scotch" whereas we know she was born in Thornton Heath, Surrey.  Her younger brother Geoffrey went to school at Fettes and subsequently played for Scotland at Rugby; and he also claimed to have been born in Scotland, which we know was also not the case.  He also, incidentally, played for the London Scottish Club - click here].

In regard  to Kitty's travelling to India, Richard Joscelyne explains that "she went as Governess/Companion to a family known to the Gowllands, and probably travelled to India with them.  The preceding names (very difficult to read) might be "Sir & Mrs Macan, and infant".  They treated her, according to family legend, rather badly.  She contracted tuberculosis there, and returned to England to die".   

And we have located an incoming passenger list dated 17th April 1912 (click here) in the name of "Miss Gowlland", no age nor marital status shown, for the voyage from Calcutta to London: this is unquestionably Kitty.

She died in 1913 from tuberculosis at the young age of thirty-four - click here for her death certificate.

 Richard Joscelyne subsequently added to this biography:-

I came across these photos on a CD the other day.  As you will see, Richard (click here), Jessie (here) and Leonard (here) lie in the abandoned churchyard of St Mary's, Perivale.(here).  When Richard and his family lived at Ealing, Perivale has a population of ninety: it must have been idyllic.,  However, that had largely changed by the time Jessie was buried in 1935.  My mother when young used to go with her grandmother Jessie to keep the grave of Richard and poor little Leonard neat and tidy.  Nobody seems to have done anything since Jessie joined them in 1935, to keep the grave tidy and in good repair.  The cross is missing and the charming little church is ‘desaffectée’.  It has a 16th century weather-boarded tower. It lies just behind a ‘roadhouse’ on Western Avenue.   It can however be more charmingly approached from 8 Churchfield Road through a park and a golf course whence the family came for both Leonard and Richard’s funeral.  Annie, who also died in Churchfield Road may be buried there too, but there was no sign of her resting place.  Poor old Annie!

[Source - Richard Joscelyne - June 2005]


Gowlland, Richard Symons   -  1771 - 1807


Richard Symons Gowlland was the eldest of six children and three sons of Stephen Gowlland, the seventh child of Joseph and Susanna Gowlland, who married Sarah Symons of Sandwich in 1770 (click here for the marriage certificate).

He was a Mercer (or weaver, or haberdasher), living at Mercery Lane in Canterbury, and was a Freeman of the City by marriage (click here for "The Roll of the Freemen of the City of Canterbury", by Joseph Meadows Cowper, published in 1903).   He appears to have been a man of some substance and his name appears on a list of citizens appointed to enquire into electoral irregularities. 


Mercery Lane, Canterbury

Mercery Lane in May 2006

On 31 August 1792 he married ( by licence) Sarah Woodruff Sankey, a minor, both being of the parish of St. Andrew's, Canterbury.  The Sankey family was said wrongly to be Huguenots.   [For an extract from the Sankey Pedigree, click here]

Sarah's father Thomas Sankey (1739-1801) married three times, and we were told that he had thirty children [of whom, we were told, eleven lived].  This seemed quite impossible but by 2010, through the efforts of a very helpful descendant of Samuel Sankey, brother of Thomas, [who may be contacted at sue.slater11@btinternet.com],  we were forced to conclude that perhaps this was not one of Geoff Gowlland's exaggerations, but could well be true.

Specifically, his marriages and the issue from them were:-

1    Dorcas KIDDER            7th October 1759                    5 children, of whom 2 survived

2    Sarah WOODRUFFE    ? September 1770                12 children, of whom 5 survived

3    Ann FRIEND                   8 October 1781                     10 children, of whom 4 survived.

The children and their parentage are detailed separately - click here.

Sarah Sankey was a child by his second wife Sarah Woodruff (1741-1780).

The sons gave rise to considerable families whose male representatives are alive today.  

Sarah's brother Matthew was Mayor of Canterbury in 1798/9, at which time he organised a collection of £476.19s.6d for the "Relief of the Widows and Children of the Brave Men, who Fell in the Service of their King and Country and for such as have been Wounded in the Glorious Victory obtained by the British Fleet, under command of Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson, Knight of the Bath, over the French Fleet on the 5th August in the Mediterranean".  The battle of the Nile took place on 1st and 2nd August, 1798.  This 1799 mention is the nearest we have come to finding the origin of the legend of a Gowlland participating in the Battle of the Glorious First of June"

We understood that one of her sisters married the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, but do not know which one. 

Richard Symons Gowlland and Sarah had ten children (thereby continuing the tradition of Sarah's father!). 

Three of the children, William Henry (b. c April 1794 click here - died 26/10/1794 aged about six months - click here), James Fenn (b. 1803 - died 9/10/1803 aged eight months - click here) and (probably) Susannah (b. 1797) died in infancy.  

[Incidentally, look at the fourth entry on the page relating to James Fenn.  Ann Waterman died on 16th October at the age of twenty-seven, having already acquired two aliases!]

The other seven children are thought to be as follows:-

    Sarah Woodruff,  (baptised 28/7/1793), m. Henry Goulden

    Richard Sankey (baptised 24/9/1795)   

    Susannah Symons,  (baptised 16/4/1798),  m. John Richard Williams RN (here)

    Eliza, (born 29/01/1800 and baptised 7/2/1800 - click here), m. H Wood

    Maria (see below) (born 24/05/1801 and baptised 11/7/1801 - click here)   

    Thomas Sankey (born 27/11/1805 and baptised 16/11/1805 - click here)

    Hannah (born 23/09/1807 and baptised 28/10/1807 - click here)


[Incidentally, Neil Gowlland points out that the fact that some of these baptismal records originated in the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion Chapel in Canterbury indicates that Richard Symons Gowlland was a Wesleyan Methodist (the Chapel was an off-shoot of Wesleyanism) and Sarah's family had non-conformist leanings].

Richard and Sarah and their family are believed to have lived at Hackington Mill, 4 miles north of Canterbury.  In April 2009 an exhaustive but ultimately abortive search was made in the Canterbury Cathedral Archives for the Mill.  Halsted Vol IX states "Hackington, otherwise known as St Stephen's parish, lies on the rise of the hill from the River Stour".  Even in the Tithe maps (dating from 1840), nothing appears.  There is a stream running alongside the River Stour to the north for a couple of miles which on the map is specifically labelled as a millstream, but no building is shown adjoining it. 

Stephen Gowlland in the 1940s had a tradition handed down in his family that the family was formerly wealthy, but that the money had all been lost in litigation following polling irregularities at an election.  In Halsted's “Canterbury”  there is a copy of the resolution, amongst the signatories of which appears the name “R.S. Gowlland”.  It is very probable that a great deal of  money would be required for this kind of action.

Richard's business was not free of difficulties.  Click here for details of his involvement in a case where Daniel Anchor, a customer of his shop, tendered a forged one pound note, and attempts were made to obtain a reprieve from the death sentence passed on him at Maidstone Assizes.

There is a record of Richard (here) in the Poll List of 1802, in the "Lath [or Lathe] of St Augustine, Home Division, East Kent, Canterbury" (for more information on this, click here).   

Buried 19 June 1807 at St. Mary Bredin’s church, Canterbury.  There was an announcement of his death in the "Kentish Gazette" for 19 June 1807 - click here.  He was described as a miller, which surprised us; and subsequently an announcement in the Kentish Gazette of 26th May 1807 (here) dealt with the proposed sale by auction of the fully-described windmill, a few months before his death  -  the text is as follows:-


All that Freehold Close of Land, with the capital Windmill,

cottage, stable and buildings thereon lately erected, and garden

adjoining, situate, lying and being in the parish of St Mary

Bredin, in the city of Canterbury, on the old road leading to

Dover, late in the occupation of R. S. Gowlland or his Assigns.


The Mill is well situated for grist work, is 23 feet in dia-

meter, stands on 10 feet of brick work, clothed on a stage

with good oak middlings, and sweeps 36 feet long; is fitted up

in the best manner, with 2 pair French stones (room for 3),

    three excellent machines, viz. flour clearing off and wheat

machine, bolting mill, sack tackle, spur wheel with iron pinions

and every requirement for carrying on an extensive trace.


For further particulars apply to Mr F. J. Kingsford of

 Chartham, or Mr M. W. Sankey, Canterbury, who are

 authorised to treat for the same, and to whom all persons having

 any demands on the estate of the said R. S. Gowlland, are

 requested to send the particulars of their debts.



His wife Sarah was a Sankey, and the Kingsfords, citizens of high repute in Canterbury, were fellow-Baptists.



His widow Sarah is recorded in the 1841 census (click here) as "widow - independent means - not born in Middlesex", living at No 2 Upper Cross Street, Westminster with her daughter Susanna Williams and six other occupants (Susannah, incidentally, had married John Richard Williams RN on 20th September 1825 - here - the marriage being witnessed by her three siblings, Richard, Maria and Hannah). 

Sarah died at 64 Gibson Square, Islington, London on 7th February 1847 (click here for the death certificate) and was buried in Abney Park cemetery.

Daughter Sarah in 1812 married Henry Goulden, a cabinetmaker: by virtue of her father's being a freeman of Canterbury, Henry was entitled to become one, which duly happened in 1813 (here).  Richard Symons Gowlland was therein described as a haberdasher.

In regard to daughter Maria, she appears in the 1851 census [click here] in St Margaret's, Westminster, described as a spinster born in Canterbury, aged forty-nine, and employed as a housekeeper to a Mr W H Lowers, architect.  She died in the following year (27/2/1852) aged fifty (click here for the death certificate), and was buried on 3rd March at St John's at Hampstead.

Hannah also, apparently, never married.  Her burial record (click here), showing her date of death as 8th April 1835 and her burial date as 16th April 1835, comes from the Register of Deaths and Burials at Lock's Field Independent Chapel on York Street in the parish of Walworth, South London.  At the time of her death she was living at 12 Melina Place, Westminster Road, Southwark, and her age was shown as twenty-seven (agreeing with her birth date of 23rd September 1807).  Note that her name is clearly shown as Miss Hannah Gowlland.

Reverting to James Fenn Gowlland who died in infancy, his name was always something of a mystery: "James" is not a name used by 17th century Gowllands and "Fenn" appears nowhere else.  However, in "The Dissenting Ministers' Declarations 1689 - 1836" there appears, in addition to Stephen Gowlland (1847-1802), a James Fenn, described as a "Millwright from Pett" [Pett is a village in Sussex, about four miles north-east of Hastings, and about eight miles from the Sussex border]  who made his declaration on the same day and in the same place as Stephen: Neil Gowlland found in I.G.I a record (click here) of a marriage on 14th June 1769 at St Mary Bredman in Canterbury between James Fenn ("Pastor of Deal Baptists") and Mary Symons, about which he comments "I therefore think it is entirely reasonable to assume that Mary was the sister of Sarah Symons and that, for whatever the reason, Richard Symons G named one of his sons after his uncle".   In April 2009 the marriage certificate (here) was found in CCA and, providentially, it shows "Rich'd Symons" and "Stephen Gowlland" as the two witnesses, thereby almost certainly confirming the speculation of Mary being Sarah's sister. 

In The Surman Index Online, listing some 32,000 Congregational ministers, James Fenn appears (here) with the notation "Deal and Sandwich in Kent 1773 - perhaps Baptist?".    And in "Church History in Kent" by Timpson there is an entry for 1770-1800 "Several ministers laboured for the cause of Christ in the Independent Chapel in Deal until the close of the century" and proceeds to name nine of them, but without mentioning James Fenn.

In "The Minutes of Dover Baptist Church 1778 - 1814", there are two references to him  -  firstly, on 31st October 1792, at the Monthly Disciplinary Meeting appears "Proposed that a letter be sent to James Fenn, Pastor of Deal Baptists, recommending to his attention and care Sister Mary Rufret [?], a member of our church"; and secondly, on 12th April 1795, "We as a church being without an Elder, and Mr Fenn being gone to America, we being in want of a proper person to administer the Lord's Supper amongst us, we agree to submit our case to next Association for their counsel of assistance".

The family appears in the Wood Family Tree - http://woodlloydfamilyhistory.com/fam60.html  

(Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941]                                   

Gowlland, Richard Symonds  -  c1819 - 1871


Until early 2006, we knew nothing of this line of Gowllands; but it has now been possible to establish them up to the early 20th century.  For everything in this section, apart from the very beginning, the relevant paperwork has been published, where available, and the links are included below.  Since the gradual acquisition of more information was presented chronologically, the biography has been published in the same way.  Conceivably later some of the descendants of Richard Symonds Gowlland may be detached from this biography, and presented on their own.


This "separated" family tree is laid out in a PDF file, for which click here.


Firstly, a disproved speculation.   Richard Symonds Gowlland's 1847 marriage certificate (click here) shows clearly his full name incorporating "Symonds", and also states categorically that his father was "James Gowlland, cooper".  We had hoped that James Fenn Gowlland, the son of Richard Symons Gowlland, might be this person.  Regrettably we now have absolute confirmation that James Fenn died in October 1803, aged eight months.


The 1847 marriage certificate does not state "deceased" against the father's name, which indicates he was probably alive then (assuming he was in touch with Richard); and yet there is no subsequent death (after 1847) recorded for a James Gowlland or James Gowland of suitable age.  Furthermore there is no appropriate census entry for 1841,  1851 or 1861.


So the situation is that we don't know at present who Richard Symonds' father was.   


One very unexpected possibility arose from the startling addition of "James" as a second forename to Stephen Gowlland (b 1775), the father, on the Dr Williams's Library birth record of Thomas Winder Gowlland (here) - (it was transcribed as "James" in the IGI record - click here).  Stephen was a cooper, which is the profession shown for Richard Symond Gowlland's father in the 1847 marriage certificate below.  Stephen's six known children with his wife Jane née West were born in 1800, 1802, 1804, 1812, c1815 and 1822.  So it is in theory feasible that he might have fathered a child out of wedlock in about 1819. 


This would account for Richard Symonds Gowlland's second forename, as Stephen's mother was Sarah Symons - surely the "Symonds" and "Symons" must come from the same source, and it can't be a coincidence.   And the father's name appearing on the 1849 marriage certificate as "James" might have been an attempt to conceal Richard's true parentage.  Indeed, this may also be the reason why no birth or baptism record around the 1819 date has been found for Richard.


But is it imaginable that the son of such a pillar of rectitude as Stephen senior could have been party to this illegitimacy?  It does not seem likely.  At the very least, it must have caused immense trouble within the family.




We believe that Richard Symonds Gowlland was born - see entry below for 8th November 1871.


1847 1st August


Richard Symonds Gowlland, carpenter, son of James Gowlland [see above], cooper, married Jane Elizabeth Stapp in Stepney. (Click here for the banns called on 11th, 18th and 25th July, and here for the wedding record)


[The transition in 1851, below, from "carpenter" to "optician" is not as radical as it sounds.  The description "optician" applied to makers of optical and scientific instruments. Richard's advancement from carpenter to optician may well have owed something to the influence of his father-in-law  -  see 1851 census entry below]


1848 9th September


Richard Symonds Gowlland born to Richard Symonds Gowlland and Jane Gowlland, formerly Stapp.  (Click here)


1851 Census entry


Richard Gowland, aged 32, optician, and wife Jane (22) and son Richard (2), sharing a house with Richard Stapp (60), gunmaker, (his father-in-law), wife Sarah and two children, and also a grandson surnamed Gill [Note this name!]. Mile End Old Town.  (Click here).  [Richard Delmas Francis Stapp was born on 9th January 1791 and baptised on 24th May 1791]


1851 21st April


William Robert Gowlland was born to Richard and Jane, at 16 Mile End Road, Stepney  -  for the birth certificate, click here.


1861 Census entry


Richard Gowlland, optician, aged 42, wife Jane (33) and sons Richard (14) and William (10): note also servant Mary Stapp (Jane's former name) in Stepney.  (Click here)


1871 Census entry


Richard Gowlland, sextant maker, aged 52, wife Jane (42) and son Richard (22) and William (19), and daughter Fanny (7).  Stepney. [On this occasion the name was spelt "GOULLAND"].  (Click here).   In the same house was a boarder, William Eady (45), unmarried, born in Essex, occupation "carman".  [See 15/3/1874 below].   Eliza (23) is now living at Sudbury, Harrow, as a "General Servant" to William Cornwell, widower, a Licensed Victualler of the Swan Inn, Harrow Road, the others in the household being his daughter Harriet (22) and Thomas Frome (29), an ostler  -  click here and here (the household is split over two pages).


1871 8th November


Richard Gowland, aged 53, mathematical instrument maker, dies: death certificate states "violent strangulation - self hanging" (Click here).  The address is the same, 9 Howard's Buildings, Stepney, as in the 1871 census above.


1872 5th November


Richard Symonds Gowlland, carpenter, son of Richard Symonds Gowlland, mathematical instrument maker, married Louisa Newell in Bethnal Green.   Both resided at 23 Ludworth Street.    Interestingly, the two witnesses were both Stapps. (Click here).  [Based on the entry above, the words "the late" should have preceded the father's name].   In October 2009 we found the original record from St Matthew's, Bethnal Green (click here); and it is amusing to note that the clerk had trouble with spelling "Mathematical".

1873  24th September

Richard Newell Stapp (note - he possessed both his mother's and his grandmother's maiden names) born to Richard Symonds Gowlland, carpenter, and Louisa Gowlland, formerly Newell, at 45 at Waterloo Buildings, Bethnal Green  -  click here [He must have died almost immediately, because   . . .]

1874   Unknown date

Richard Symonds Gowlland, son of Richard Symonds Gowlland, carpenter, born  -  he died less than two years later

1874 15th March

Jane Gowlland, 45-year old widow of the Richard Symonds Gowlland who had hanged himself 2.1/2 years earlier, married William Eady "45 - bachelor - carman - son of William Eady, labourer" at Saint Peter's, Bethnal Green - click here for the certificate.  William had been their lodger in the 1871 census.  One might question the almost indecent haste of this marriage so soon after bereavement were it not for the fact that William, Richard Symond's brother, was one of the witnesses.   Both bride and groom give their address as 12 Thorold Street, next door to where her daughter Louisa was living by 1876.  The surname of one of the witnesses is "Gill" [see 14/9/1879 below]

1874  December approx

William Symonds Gowlland, son of Richard Symonds Gowlland, born  -  we do not yet have the certificate.  [See 25/5/1876 below].

1876  25th April

Richard Symonds Gowlland died at the age of two.  Cause of death - "Sudden exhaustion consequent on measles".  Informant "Certificate received from John Humphries, Coroner for Middlesex.  Inquest held 28th April 1876".   (Click here)

1876  25th May

William Symonds Gowlland died at the age of seventeen months.  Cause of death "Measles - two months - broncho-pneumonia 29 days  -  certificate by William Owen M R C S".  Informant  "Louisa Gowlland, mother - present at death - 10 Thorold Street, Bethnal Green).  (Click here)

1877 29th June

Louisa Jane Gowlland born to Richard Symonds, at No 10 Thorold Street, Bethnal Green  -  click here.


1878 25th June


Richard Symonds Gowlland, born to Richard Symonds and Louisa, at the same address in Bethnal Green  -  click here.  This is her fifth child  -  the first three all died in infancy.  This child also died in infancy, in 1880 - click here for the death certificate: the cause of death was "measles, croup".


1879 14th September


William Robert Gowlland, of full age [actually, provided this is the "correct" William, his age at marriage would have been 28], market trader, son of Richard Gowlland, optician, married Sarah Gill [see 1851 census entry above], also of full age, daughter of Charles Gill, jeweller, in St Mary's, Newington, Surrey.  (Click here)


1880 4th March


Lilly Gowlland born in West Ham to Richard Symonds Gowlland and Louisa Gowlland née Newell  (Click here).


1881 Census entry


Richard Gowlland, "carpenter and joiner, born Mile End, Middlesex" (32), wife Louisa "born Hadfield, Essex" (31), daughters Louisa (4) "born Bethnal Green, Middlesex"and Lillie (1) "born Stratford, West Ham, Essex".  (Click here and here)


Fanny (17), spelt with only one L, living at 8 Betterton Street, St Giles in the Fields, occupation "dressmaker", with Jane Eady (52 - widow), (see 15th March 1874 above).  (Click here)


William, railway inspector (29) and wife Sarah (27).  St Leonards, Shoreditch.   (Click here).


1884 28th March


Violet Gowlland born to Richard and Louisa, at 18 Bridge Street, Mile End Old Town.  (Click here)


1887 1st September


Harry Gowlland, 5 years, son of Richard Symonds Gowlland, carpenter, died in Whitechapel.  He must have been born about 1882 but so far no birth certificate has come to light.  (Click here)


1891 Census entry


Richard Gowlland, carpenter building trade (42), wife Louisa (41), daughters Louisa (14), Lilly (11) and Violet (7).  West Ham.  (Click here).


William Robert Gowlland, this time having reverted to the his father's and brother's profession of carpenter, and wife Sarah were living at this time in Billericay in Essex, and at the time of the census Sarah's young nephew was staying with them.  (Click here). 


1898 4th August

Richard Symonds Gowlland, aged fifty, thought to have been born in 1848, described as "Joiner", hanged himself "whilst of unsound mind".  (Click here).  Regrettably no trace of of the Coroner's Inquest can be found in the Newnham Archives.  Probate (click here) was granted to his widow, Louisa, on 21st September of the same year.  He left just £262.

1899 3rd September

Louisa Jane Gowlland, daughter of Richard Symonds Gowlland (carpenter - deceased) married John Horsley "25 - bachelor - milk carrier - son of George Horsely, gardener" in West Ham.  One of the witnesses is Lilly Gowlland, her younger sister.  Click here.   In 2012 we were informed that Louisa had died in 1957, and her husband in 1941.  They had three children, Irene (d 1995), Lily and John.  Irene married James Newman, and they had three children, one of whom (Jean) died in 2006.  Pictured below are Louisa Jane Horsley née Gowlland, and Irene John and Lily Horsley.




1901 Census entry


Louisa Gowlland, "head" [Richard had killed himself in 1898] (51), and daughters Lilly (21) and Violet (17).  West Ham.  (Click here) .


William Gowlland, carpenter (49) and wife Sarah (47).  Cann Hall, Essex.   (Click here)  


1903  29th August


Lilly Gowlland, aged 23, married William John Bush, described as "23 - bachelor - clerk, son of John Bush, brewer" at West Ham Parish Church - click here for the certificate.   William had appeared in the 1901 census as a "Stationer's Assistant".



1911 Census entry


Living in Stratford New Town, in a shared house, are recorded William Robert Gowlland "59 - married - Carpenter - G E R Compy - born Mile End, Middlesex" and Sarah Gowlland "57 - married - born Walworth, London".  (Click here).  "G E R Compy" might be "Great Eastern Railway" but this is only a guess.  The return, incidentally, shows no children were born to the marriage.


1913 1st June


Louisa Gowlland, 64 years, widow of Richard Symonds Gowlland, carpenter, died in West Ham.  The informant of death was "V Gowlland, daughter" [see Violet's birth on 28th March 1884 and 1891 census entry above].  (Click here)


1918 5th January


Violet Gowlland, aged 34, "spinster of 90 Holbrook Road, West Ham", marries Charles Wallis, a 38-year old bachelor Munition Worker, son of John Wallis (deceased), a gardener - click here.

(Source  -  John Gowlland  -  July 2006)


Gowlland, Stephen    -   1747 MC  -  1802

Born 14 February 1747 MC, the third of the four surviving sons of Joseph and Susanna Gowlland - click here for his birth certificate.

He was a millwright.  From 1769, the year before his marriage (see below), as a non-conformist preacher, there survives a Declaration in his name, dated 6th October 1769, whereby he made a Declaration on oath at the Quarter Sessions in Canterbury (and for which he paid 6d - 2.1/2 pence!) which confirmed he assented to the Thirty-Nine Articles, with the exception only of Articles 34, 35 and 36, and part of 20.  We believe that he also, as a Baptist, was permitted to except part of the 27th Article, dealing with infant baptism (Baptists embrace believer's baptism, adults professing their faith prior to being baptised, rather than the more common infant's baptism, as practised by the C of E).

This 1769 Declaration describes him as "Stephen Gowlland, millwright, of Cheriton".  This is a parish immediately to the West of Folkestone, and about six miles from Dover.  It appears that in the mid-eighteenth century there were three mills in Cheriton,  Horn Street Mill, Ashley Mill and Risborough Lane Mill.   The majority of surviving references are to the first of these, which implies it was the most significant.  A list survives of the chronology and the millers' names, but unfortunately only from 1771 to 1874.

On the same day that Stephen made his Declaration, the name also appears of James Fenn (click here). 

Two other surnames of individuals who made Declarations also appear.  The first is Hemden Winder, 15th July 1794, Canterbury.  (click here).

The second is Kingsford (four of them) - John, of Wingham, miller (15 January 1765); George (27th April 1781);  William, Baptist Minister (19th October 1783); and John (12th April 1793).  We know that an Edward Kingsford was Mayor of Canterbury at the time when James West Gowlland was admitted as a Freeman of Canterbury in 1830 (here); and we have also recorded Henrietta Kingsford (b 1814), the step-daughter of John Thomas, the second husband of Hannah Gowlland (1783 - 1841) (here).

"Eyethorne: our Baptist Heritage" by W. Philip Clark, chapter 8 (click here) includes a mention of Stephen, the relevant paragraph reading:-

"A pamphlet, entitled "Baptists in Kent", author unknown, has a reference to a petition to Parliament in 1773, to repeal "The Test and Corporation Act".  Among the signatories were James Fenn of Deal, and Stephen Gowland of Sandwich  . . . . ".   [Note that James Fenn was a witness at Stephen's 1770 marriage  -  see below].   Eyethorne was a centre of Baptist worship  - as the map below indicates, it was more or less equidistant from Deal, Sandwich, Dover and Canterbury.

In 1775 there is a record (click here) of Stephen Gowland [sic] as having "subscribed to Fundamentals of Religion in Faith and Practice; or, An Humble Attempt To place some of the most important Subjects of Doctrinal, Experimental, and Practical Divinity in a clear and scripture Light. By Dan Taylor, 1775", TAYLOR, Daniel. Leeds.


[The only reference to be found regarding this book in the British Amazon.co.uk lists it as "Fundamentals of Religion in Faith and Practice; or an humble attempt to place some of the most important subjects of doctrinal, experimental and practical divinity in a clear and Scripture light" (Unknown Binding) - by Daniel Taylor (Author) - currently unavailable.


In the American Amazon.com, two books cite the above, namely:-

Excerpt -  "...  Taylor, Dan. Fundamentals of Religion in Faith and Practice. London: 1775.


Excerpt - "... Like Dan Taylor in 1775 (Fundamentals of Religion in Faith and Practice) ]

Note that in the record Stephen's location is shown as "Isle of Thanet" - this is the extreme north-east corner of Kent, incorporating the towns of Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate, and bordering Sandwich.  His title is shown as "Reverend" and his occupation as "Cleric".

In the Canterbury City Sessions Minute Book (CC/J/Q/O19) for 1765 - 1786 appears:-

"10 January 1785    Certificate of a Meeting place for Dissenters.  At this Court a new Meeting House in the Parish of Saint Alphage in the said City and County in a certain Place there called the Dancing Shool [sic] Yard is certified by Stephen Gowland and John Macmillan Members of a congregation of dissenting Protestants to have been lately built by them and others of the said dissenting Protestants as a Place of a Meeting of a Congregation or Assembly for Religious Worship and desired that it may be recorded in the Court for that Purpose.  It is Ordered by this Court That the said New Meeting House be and the same is hereby for that Purpose recorded pursuant to the statute in that Case made and provided".

This location has disappeared, either lost or renamed.  The assumption is that this new Meeting House was a Particular chapel, one of the "two attempts in the eighteenth century to establish a Particular Baptist cause in the city [of Canterbury] but both had faded away ('Kent and Sussex Baptist Associations', Frank Buffard, 1963, p 78).  Arthur F Taylor in his 'The Free Churches of Canterbury: A Sketch of their History and of their Relations to One Another', Canterbury, 1932, states that a 'third (or fourth) Particular Baptist congregation was established in Canterbury between 1775 and 1790, and was dissolved in 1806 (page 20)'.

[For this Canterbury information and references we are greatly indebted to Miss Gillian Rickard of Canterbury  (GRKentGen@aol.com)].

Stephen married Sarah Symons on 11 June 1770 at St Clement’s church in Sandwich, Kent - click here for the marriage licence and here for the marriage record.   At the time of his marriage he was living in Canterbury (and Sarah was living in Sandwich).   James Fenn, as mentioned above in connection with the 1773 Eyethorn Baptist Petition, was a witness at the wedding.

Sarah’s birth has not yet been traced; but we do know that her parents were Richard and Susannah (or perhaps Hannah) Symons.  We believe also she had a sister called Mary (click here).

Her father, Richard Symons, was clearly a man of some position in Canterbury.  In 1756, for example, he was one of fourteen citizens appointed to administer the rating of householders to provide for the newly installed lighting in the city - click here.

The children of Stephen and Susanna were Richard Symons (1771 - click here for his birth certificate), Susannah (1773 - click here), Stephen (1775 - click here), Sarah (1777 - click here), Mary (1780 - click here) and Josiah (1781 - here).  

Richard, Susannah, Mary and Josiah were born in the parish of St Andrew, Canterbury:  Stephen was born in the parish of St John the Baptist, Isle of Thanet, Kent, and Sarah was born in the parish of St Peter, Canterbury.   [Incidentally, Stephen's birth took place in St John's parish, which is located on the extreme north-eastern corner of Kent, and is thus very much closer to Sandwich than to Canterbury.   The petition co-signed with James Fenn mentioned above identifies Stephen's place of worship as Sandwich in 1773]

The births of all the children were registered in 1792 at the Nonconformist Registry of Births of the Dr Williams Library in London [click here and here].   It is not yet known whether the children were baptized in a Nonconformist chapel or Anglican church.   Despite intensive searches no such baptism records have been located, and this, as much as anything else, confirmed to us that Stephen was a Baptist.

One of the witnesses to two of these births was Mary Thornton, who we have reason to believe was the great-aunt of Peggy Thornton who subsequently married Josiah, Stephen's last child.

[Parenthetically, the other witness to Mary Gowlland's 1780 birth, registered in 1792, was called "Elizabeth Bissaker",  In the Canterbury Blackfriars Baptist Chapel appears a record of a burial on 16th January 1807 of Elizabeth Bissaker Chapman, wife of Copper [?] Chapman, of St Alphage, Canterbury.  This would imply the Bissakers and Gowllands, and indeed the Thorntons, were not only friends but also fellow-Baptists] 

Stephen died on 28th February 1802 (click here for the burial record, from "Blackfriars Baptist Chapel, Canterbury, 1780 - 1836"), giving his address as Mercery Lane, Canterbury  -  interestingly he was buried within three weeks of his brother Thomas, and within 2.1/2 years of Maria Mond, his great-niece and the grand-daughter of Thomas  -  evidently it was not a large parish). 

He died intestate.  For the probate record, click here.  His effects were valued at under £300, and the file is annotated "Sarah Gowlland of Canterbury, Widow the Relict.  Intestate - left to six children  [illegible]" as he was survived by Sarah and the six children.  Sarah's death has not yet been traced.



Susannah, the first daughter and second child of the marriage, married George Pearce at St Andrew's Canterbury in 1798 (here).  George was a 32-year old widower, fourteen years older than his brother William (see below).  We knew of at least one child born to the marriage, Susannah, born in 1806; but it was puzzling that there was a gap of eight years between the marriage and the child's birth.  But in September 2009 in the records (click here and here) of Eythorne Particular Baptists chapel we found five more children - George (16/3/1799), James (1/12/1800), William (21/7/1802), John (1/4/1804) and John (24/2/1805).

[For information about Particular Baptists, click here  -  in simple terms, they were more rigid in their doctrine than the General Baptists.  Stephen, Susannah's father, made his declaration as a dissenting minister in 1769, and founded his own meeting house in 1785, in both cases, as far as we know, as a General Baptist; and he therefore cannot have welcomed his daughter and son-in-law embracing this more extreme sect]

[And, in regard to the Pearces, they are a non-conformist family (who spelled their name indiscriminately "Pearce", "Pierce" or "Peirce") who were friends with, and intermarried with, the Gowllands over a long period.  In Spring 2010 we found a relevant page (here) appended to the end of the Parochial Register of St Mary the Virgin in Dover.  Headed "Christning [sic] of the Dissenters", in the middle of the right-hand column it records the baptism of nine children born to Sampson and Susanna Pierce (formerly Susanna Reading, married 28/10/1712 at St Mary the Virgin, Dover), namely James (born 13.10.1713), Priscilla (born Jan 1718), Michael (born 27.10.1720), Susanna (born 28/12/1721), Judah (born 14/10/1723), Marie (born 11/11/1724), William (born 11/03/1725), Marthinalia (?) (born 4th March 1726) and Reddin (?) (born 6th June 1730).  This is the only occasion so far in which we have found such a supplementary page of Dissenters included in a register].  

There is a record in Canterbury Baptists' Chapel of the burial on 3rd December 1794 of "Ann Peirce, infant": possibly she was a child of George's first marriage.


Sarah, the second daughter and fourth child of the marriage, married William Pearce, a boot-maker, in the Parish of Saint Andrew's in Canterbury on 9th May 1801 (here).  From the Protestant Dissenters' Registry we have the birth certificates of two sons of the marriage, Henry Standen Pearce in 1811 (here) and Richard Symons Pearce in 1813 (here): both births took place in William's Dover house.  Richard's occupation is shown on both certificates as "Millwright".   George, William's elder brother, was witness to both certificates

Intriguingly, we already knew of Henry Standen Pearce, because in July 1839 he married (click here) Martha Gowlland, Stephen and Jane née West's daughter: we had not hitherto known that he was a grandson of Stephen (b 1747), and thus Martha's cousin.

In Eythorne Particular Baptists chapel, as with Susannah above, we have found four more children born (all in St Mary's Dover) to this marriage which fit neatly into the gap between Sarah's marriage in 1801 and Henry's birth in 1811, namely Selina (1/3/1802), William (22/8/1803), Sarah (10/8/1805) and Edward (12/3/1809).

In the records of the Methodist Chapel in Staplehurst (which is seven miles from William's birthplace of Tenterden) there are records of the births of two sons to William and Sarah Pearce, Edward (b 16/4/1817) and Thomas (b 13/3/1822) and we believe that these are the children of "our" Sarah.

In 2009 a fifth child was found, Edwin, born 5th December 1823 in the parish of St Giles, Cripplegate Without, London - click here.


There is a possibility that Mary (born 1780), the fifth child, is the "Gowlland. Mrs, milliner" named in the 1823 Pigot's Kent Trade Directory for "Romney, or New Romney" (she was, of course, "Miss Gowlland, not "Mrs Gowlland").  We subsequently found, however, a reference (click here) in The London Gazette of 1st March 1823 (in other words, in the same year as the Romney entry) to the bankruptcy in Lambeth of a "Susanna Gowlland, milliner", for whom the only candidate we can think of is George's daughter born April 1776, in which case therefore the lady mentioned in the Romney record might be Susanna, not Mary.   In April 2009 a search was made in the Canterbury Cathedral Archives for a burial records in the name of Gowlland for St Nicholas, New Romney, and St Clement, Old Romney; but nothing was found.

A definite sighting of Mary is in the 1851 census in Bermondsey, London, aged 70, relation "sister-by-law" [sic], occupation "domestic servant, born Canterbury, Kent".   She was living in the house of William Pearce, who had married her older sister Sarah (see above).  William is described as "head, widowed, 70, annuitant, born Tenterden, Kent", and it is noted that he is blind.   Also in the house were Edward Pearce "son, single, 27, architect, born Cripplegate, Middlesex", and Elizabeth Pearce "great niece, 14, visitor, born Ashford, Kent".  Click here and here (the record is spread over two pages).

And we also have Mary's death certificate, which makes it clear that she never married, dated 21st March 1868, by which time she had moved to Minster, Thanet, Kent  - click here.

[Source - Rosemary Milton-Thompson née Gowlland, and Neil Gowlland [ngowlland@bluewin.ch] - 2005]


Gowlland, Stephen    -   1775 -1843

Born in Canterbury to Stephen (above) and Sarah.   He was a cooper.  From him several lines of Gowllands are descended. 

He married Jane West of Deal (c.1775 – 1843) in St Leonard’s Church, Deal, by banns.  Jane was daughter of James and Ann West of Deal.  They were strongly non-conformist.

[Incidentally, according to IGI a certain James West married Anna Saunders on 7th August 1768 at St Peter The Great, Subdeanery of Chichester, Sussex: we have no certainty of course that they were Jane's parents.  And a William West, son of William West and Sarah née Marsh, was born in Hougham in 1785, and buried there in 1845; and this confirms that the Gowllands and the Wests (although not in Jane's direct line) were neighbours]. 

In early 2010 a record of his apprenticeship was found (click here and  here  -  his is the twelfth name in the second batch).   His Master was named Quested (see below), described as a cooper of the City of Canterbury. The period of the apprenticeship was seven years, commencing 12th May 1789: the parental payment was £20, on which the Duty payable was ten shillings  -  there is a note implying the apprenticeship actually began in "April last", in other words in April 1788, when Stephen would have been just thirteen years of age.  Or perhaps the payment was made in advance.   In the column headed "If one or two Inds" is written "2"  -  presumably this column differentiates between those apprenticeships bound by one indenture or two.

In 2008 Rosemary found the original Freedom certificate, dated 17th May 1796, (in other words he was just twenty-one years of age) which showed that he had been apprenticed to one John Quested, cooper, of Canterbury.  The name shown is "Stephen Gowland" and it has not been corrected.  It has not been possible to trace this particular John Quested, but other Questeds are recorded nearby,  in Sellindge, near Ashford, earlier in the 18th century.   For copyright reasons it has not been possible to publish this certificate but, for further details, please contact Rosemary or John.

[Incidentally, according to "Eyethorne - Our Baptist Heritage" by W Philip Clarke, previously cited in connection with Stephen's father's 1773 petition, "In 1737 Josh Quested was appointed Treasurer to the General Baptist Church in Dover".  He might well have been the father of Stephen's apprentice-master, known to Stephen's father through their share religious convictions].

He was admitted a Freeman of the Borough of Canterbury by apprenticeship in 1796 (click here for the entry in "The Roll of the Freemen of the City of Canterbury" by Joseph Meadows Cowper, published 1903).  In his Freeman document his name is incorrectly spelt, but was altered in the same hand to “GOWLLAND”, and is so spelt in a 1798 Poll Book. 

In 1802 (?) he moved to London, to Mile End (now Alderney?) Road.  He seems to have brought all his family and servants, and had the children re-baptised, using the original witnesses - a rather extravagant proceeding.  Mile End Road was near the big and prosperous London breweries, to whom he supplied barrels. 

He had six children, Thomas Winder (1800 - ?),  James West (1802 – 1874), George Castle (1804 – 1890), Mary (1812 - 1868), Martha  (1815 - 1889) and William (c. 1822 -  1873). 

It is noteworthy that Stephen followed non-conformist practice by registering his children's births at a civil registry, Dr. Williams' Library, Redcross Street.  This was to avoid being forced to register births at the established church.


Click here for his birth registration (note that the father's name on the 1811 Dr Williams's Library" document is shown as "Stephen Jam... Gowlland" (it was transcribed as "James" in the IGI record - click here).  Did Stephen sometimes use "James" as a second surname, although he was not so baptised?  If so, it may cast light on the mystery of the ancestry of Richard Symonds Gowlland - click here.  

Nothing more is known of Thomas Winder.   It may be added that we have never known the origin of this "Winder".    However in 1769 Stephen's father, Stephen (b 1747), is recorded as a signatory to a Dissenting Minister's Declaration, dated 6th October 1769, whereby he made a Declaration on oath at the Quarter Sessions in Canterbury (and for which he paid 6d - 2.1/2 pence!) which confirmed he assented to the Thirty-Nine Articles (subject to certain agreed exceptions).  And one of the other names in this list is that of Hemden Winder, who made his own Declaration at Canterbury on 15th July 1794.  This Hemden Winder was born in 1771 in Biddenden, Kent [for those who appreciate trivia, the village is best known for having been the birthplace in the early 1100s of the Biddenham Maids, Eliza and Mary Chulkhurst, the earliest recorded conjoined twins]; and on 23rd October 1793 he married Charlotte Tritten in St Mary, Dover, Kent (their first child was born on 10th July 1794, also named Henden; and the birth record is stated to be at "Saint Mary General Baptist, Dover").  Hemden would have been twenty-nine years of age at the time of Thomas Winder Gowlland's birth.  It is therefore, we conclude, conceivable that he (or possibly his father, John Winder, born 1738 in Biddenden, died 1824 also in Biddenden)  may have been the source of Thomas Winder's second name, although it is certainly not proven.


Click here for his birth registration: his second name, "West", is of course his mother's maiden name.

James West Gowlland was a member of the Stockwell Chapel, who subsequently became a grocer.  He was elected a Freeman of Canterbury in 1830 - click here.  The wording of the original document is "28/7/1830 Freedom granted to James West Gowlland, London, Tallow Chandler, was admitted and sworn to the Liberties and Freedom of the City   . . .  before Edward Kingsford, Mayor, he having attained his Freedom by copy of Stephen Gowlland, Canterbury, cooper".  From him there are numerous descendants living. 

In 1831 we have a record (click here) of the dissolution of a partnership between him and James Murray Cowham: the partners are shown as working in Stepney, and their occupation is described as "Oilmen and Drysalters".

His name appears in 1837 (here - twenty-third name) as a "Person of Standing" who provided a letter of recommendation for a London police recruit, Thomas Winter.  Applicants not formerly in the Army, Police or a Government Department were required to produce two letters if reference, from persons of standing who had some sort of personal acquaintance with the recruit.  Winter remained in the police force for twenty-four years, resigning only in June 1861.  And he provided a similar letter in 1847 (here) for Francis Hale, who lasted only a few months.

In 1832 James West Gowlland married Jane Carter (click here for the certificate from St Botolph, Aldgate; and here for the entry in Pallot's Marriage Index): they had seven children, James Carter (1833 - 1915), John (c1839 - 1855  - see below), Jane (1842 - 1874), Joseph (1844 - 1912) (click here for his birth certificate), Samuel (1846 - 1852), Thomas (1847 - 1849) and Stephen (1851 - 1913). 

For the biography of his oldest son, James Carter Gowlland, click here.

In the 1841 census (click here), James West, occupation "grocer", is recorded living in Lambeth (as he did for the rest of his life) aged 35, with his wife Jane née Carter, and two children, James Carter (aged seven), and "John" (aged two).  We had known nothing of this John, but have now found a death certificate (click here) from 23rd February 1855 of "John Gowland" (one L), aged sixteen, the son of "James West Gowland - grocer", whose cause of death is stated as "Natural  -  suddenly falling dead in a field after sliding on ice  -  Inquest".

Interestingly, also in the household in 1841 is an Elizabeth Welch, aged twenty-five (i.e. born in c1815).  James West's younger brother George Castle married a Margaret Welch (born in 1799 in 1826).  Could Elizabeth have been a younger sister of Margaret?

In the 1851 census James, described as "49 - General Cheesemonger", is shown living in Lambeth with Jane (41), James C (17 - clerk to ??), Joseph (6) and Samuel (5) - click here.  Note that this entry was indexed with spelling "GAWLLAND".   John (spelt with one-L as Gowland) (click here) was residing in an illegible school, in St Mark's Kennington, borough of Lambeth, Surrey (in other words, very close to the parental home): he was aged thirteen, and described as "Scholar".  Two other (younger) pupils were also boarding there.

In 1852 he was called upon for Jury Service at the Old Bailey - here.  He is in the fifth jury.

His names appears in the "Commercial Directory" of 1856 (click here) listed as "Grocer and Cheeseman".

In the 1861 census (click here) the family is augmented by Joseph and Stephen: John, Samuel and Thomas had died.

And in the 1871 census (click here) we find James West and Jane, with unmarried sons Joseph (26) and Stephen (19), together with Alice Jane Gowlland (grand-daughter - daughter of James Carter Gowlland - click here).

Further information on their youngest child Stephen may be found in Norman James Leversha Gowlland's biography - click here.


For George Castle Gowlland's biography, click here,   The origin of his second name, "Castle", is still unclear; but in April 2009 we established that the name of the wife of his great-uncle George (b 1740), Anne Norris (b 1740), was Alice Castle  -  so far this is the only indication of a possible link.


Mary was born in Stepney on 11th September 1812 and her birth was registered at Dr William's Library (click here)  -  [Neil Gowlland points out that the names on this birth registration, although occurring nine years after the births, are clearly signatures]   Nothing more was known of her in the 1940s, but we now know that she married John Dailey, a commercial traveller, in July 1835 at St John of Jerusalem's Church, South Hackney - click here for the certificate.  They went on to have five children, Selina (c1836), Jane (c1841), John (c1843), Emma (c1845) and Charlotte (1844 - click here for her birth certificate of 26th June 1844 -  note that John now describes himself as "Leather Manufacturer").  

For the family in the 1851 census, click here.    John Dailey (Head - 39 - commercial traveller - born Surrey) is living at Oldford Road, Stratford Le Bow, Middlesex, together with (all born in Bermondsey, Surrey), wife Mary (39), and children Selina (15), Jane (11), John (9), Emma (7) and Charlotte (6), plus a twelve-year old servant.

In the 1861 census (click here), Selina now aged twenty-three has married a surgeon named John Cooper aged ten years older than her (click here for the marriage certificate) and is living with him at No 10 Harley Place, Bow Road, together with the three little children of the marriage (ages 4, 2 and 1), a house servant, a nursemaid, John's unmarried 30-year old surgeon brother Vincent, and two of Selina's sisters, Emma (17 - scholar) and Charlotte (16 - scholar).  

Jane (unmarried - boarder - 21 - no occupation - born Bermondsey) is also in the 1861 census (here), living in Hackney in the home of John Glanville (61 - independent means), his wife Elizabeth (48) and their six children: another occupant of the house is Emma J Hale (unmarried - adopted - 27 - governess - born Lewisham, Surrey)  -  which is interesting since Jane's 1861 marriage certificate (click here) gives her name as "Jane Hale Dailey".  It appears Emma was the fifth child of John Hale, an engineer born in Norfolk but living in Waterloo Road, Lambeth.

Also in the 1861 census, there is a record (click here) for Dolphin Place, Manchester of what appear to be the parents John (head - married - age 48 - merchant cotton goods), wife "AM" (presumably Mary) (wife - age 42 - married - born Essex), and son John (son - unmarried - age 18 - born Middlesex, London), together with two servants.

In 1866 Charlotte married Cornelius Edwin Garman (click here), as with her sister her new husband being (a) a surgeon, and (b) some fifteen years older than her.  This time John Dailey described himself as "Insurance Broker".

We now know that John (son) Dailey died at the age of twenty-five  in 1866 (click here).  The cause of death was Psthisis (tuberculosis) and the place of death was "Union Workhouse, Battersea".  So evidently he had returned from Manchester during the five years before his death.

It is tempting to speculate that between 1861 and 1871 the father John died, and Mary had been institutionalised [see below].   What is evident is that John Dailey senior seems to have changed occupations several times  -  1835 commercial traveller, 1844 leather manufacturer, 1851 commercial traveller, 1861 merchant cotton goods, 1868 insurance broker  -  and possibly more still to come.

Mary died on 1st February 1868 at the age of fifty-six from "Chronic Cerebritis - certified" (inflammation of the brain): her death occurred in the Bow Lunatic Asylum, in East London.    It is not clear what length of time is implied by "chronic".


Martha married Henry Standen Pearce (the cordwainer son of a cordwainer father) in 1839 - click here for the marriage certificate.  It is curious that "Pearce" was also the surname of two of the males who married into the Gowlland family about 1800  (click here and here) -  could he have been a relative?  It was, of course, not an uncommon name.  They had three children, of whom the first (confusingly also called Martha) was born in 1843 in New York: the other two were born in London. 

In the 1861 census (click here) Henry (now described as "Ladies' Shoemaker - born Dover Kent") and Martha are shown living in Stepney with daughters Martha ("18 - Mantlemaker - born in New York - British subject"), Lydia ("16 - Book Folder - b Walworth Surrey) and Selina ("7 - born Stepney").  

She died in London in 1889 - click here for her death certificate.


For William's biography, click here.

A question  -  why did James West and William, alone amongst their siblings, consistently use the one-L spelling in census returns?

Jane died from "dropsy" on 5th December 1843, at the age of sixty-three, the informant being her fourth son, William - for her death certificate, click here.  

[Source - Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941 and John Gowlland - 2006]


Thomas Sankey Gowlland  (1805 - 1872)


Thomas was the youngest of the three sons of Richard Symons Gowlland and his wife Sarah née Sankey (they also had seven daughters).  He was born in Canterbury on October 27th 1805 (the year of Trafalgar) and baptised on 16th November 1805 (click here).

He married Mary Ewing on 20th September 1831 in the Parish Church of Columbkill in the county of Donegal, Ireland (click here for the marriage certificate).

Like his elder brother Richard Sankey Gowlland I, he seems to have been destined for a naval career and may have studied at the Royal Hospital Schools in Greenwich.  Possibly as a result of the contraction of the Royal Navy after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, he joined the Coastguards as a Chief Officer on 5 April 1827 on a salary of ₤100 a year.  His early appointments were in Limerick, Sligo, and Killibegs in Ireland, where he married and where his eldest child, Anne was born (click here for her birth certificate which appears on the same page as her parents' marriage certificate of 9.1/2 months earlier).

In 1832 he was posted to the Beresford coastguard station in Faversham, Kent, to Shellness in the same district and in December 1838 to Tresco in the Scilly Isles.  Below is an aerial view showing Tresco, indicated with the white arrow.

Bryher with New Grimsby Channel separating it from Tresco and St Martin's in the far distance.

He remained at Tresco for over nine years before being posted briefly to Prussia Cove in Cornwall, and finally to Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, in February 1848 before his retirement on a pension of ₤16.13s.4d per annum nearly 10 years later.   For a summary of his service, click here.

Thomas and Mary had a large family.  Anne was born in 1832, in Ireland;  Mary Louisa in 1834 and John Thomas Ewing (birth certificate here) in 1838, both in Shellness;  Sarah Maria (here) in 1840, James in 1843 and Richard Sankey II (here) in 1845, all three in Tresco;  Frederick William Nichol (here) in 1848 and Eliza Celia (here) in 1851, both in Leigh-on-Sea; and Emily (who died in 1868) (here) in 1854 in Rochford, Essex (but see below).

In the 1841 census (click here), the record spells the surname "GAWLLAND", and the family, living at Tresco, Scilly Isles, comprises Thomas (35 - coastguard), Mary (25), Ann (8), Mary (6), John (3) and Sarah (9 months): living with them is Mary Ewing (30 - "of independent means")  -  born and died in Ireland, she was the sister of Mary's father James Ewing, and was also living with them at the time of the 1861 census.

In the 1851 census (click here) the family (now spelt GOWLAND) has moved to Leigh in Essex and now comprises Thomas (45 - Chief Officer Coast Guard - born in Canterbury, Kent), Mary (37), Louisa (16), Sarah (10), James (8) and Frederick (3).  Mary Ewing is still living with them (58 - aunt - governess - born Ireland).

In the 1861 census (click here) the family, recorded as living in Greenwich, Kent, comprises Thomas (55 - head - born Canterbury, Kent), Mary (48 - wife - born Strabane, Tyrone, Ireland), Annie (28 - governess - born Glen, Donegal, Ireland) and Eliza C (9 - scholar - born Leigh on Sea, Essex), and Mary Ewing (68 - aunt - born Raphoe, Donegal, Ireland).   .   Eliza later emigrated to Australia.  

In this same 1861 census, Frederick William Nichol (12), his youngest son (who subsequently also emigrated to Australia) is recorded as being one of three boarders in a school in Huntingdonshire - click hereHe appears in the Greville NSW postal directory for 1872. (A local report on his later managership of an Australian bank appears to have disappeared some time in 2013 - by way of compensation, here is a report from about 1895, a couple of years before his death, indicating that he did not retire from his bank job with a good recommendation!]).)


There is also an 1861 entry for an Emily Gowlland aged 6, recorded as being a visitor to the household of Henrietta Broadley, in Kendal, Westmoreland - click here.  Henrietta (described as "house proprietor") and her younger sister Charlotte evidently lived in some style, with three servants.  Emily's surname is correctly spelt with two Ls, and the stated age corresponds to Thomas's youngest daughter; but the census return gives the place of birth as "Yorkshire, England", whereas we know that it should be "Leigh on Sea, Essex".  A puzzle.  Perhaps the person filling in the census form found a "ditto" less trouble than a more specific entry.  Emily died from tuberculosis at the family home in Crayford, Kent in 1868, at the age of thirteen, (click here for her death certificate) and one may surmise therefore that she had been sent to Kendal, in the Lake District, in a vain attempt to improve her health.

In the 1871 census (click here) Thomas is recorded as living in Crayford, described as "Widower - 65 - retired Office of Coastguard", accompanied by his unmarried daughter Annie (aged thirty-eight) and a seventeen-year old "general servant"

Annie is recorded in the 1881 census (click here) as living in Brunswick House, Graham Road, Great Malvern, Worcs, aged 48, born in Donegal Ireland,, described as "Companion - unmarried - funded proprietress".   She died in Ealing on 21st October 1894 - click here for the death certificate: the informant was her sister Jessie.  Note that the clerk spelt the names of both Annie and Jessie with only one L.

After this stay in Greenwich, Thomas and Mary and their younger children moved to Crayford in Kent where Mary died on 30 October 1862 aged fifty (click here for her death certificate) and Thomas died in February 1872 (click here).  They were both buried in Crayford.       

Thomas Sankey Gowlland appears in Genuki's summary of Coastguards 1841 - 1901  -  click here.               

For details of some of Thomas and Mary's descendants, click here.

[Source - Richard Joscelyne  -  Aug 2005]


Gowlland, William  -  c 1822 - 1873  

The fourth son, of a total of six children, of Stephen Gowlland and Jane West, William Gowlland was thought to have been born in Wapping, Stepney, East London.  GPG had been told that he was said to have been "an optician with Newtons in the Strand": no verification was possible in 1941.

On 23rd February 1847 he married Emma Knight, a minor, daughter of James Knight, a watchmaker, in the parish church, Bethnal Green (click here for the marriage certificate).  William’s occupation at the time was given as mathematical instrument maker.  We understood that they had five children, Emma (1848), William (1850 - 1854), Lydia (1852 - ?), Eleanor (1855 - ?) and Rebecca (1861).  However, in mid-2006 we discovered three more, William (1849 - 1849), Charlotte (1857 - 1860) and Thomas (1865 - 1866); and in December 2006 we discovered another, Jane (1859 - ?1861). 

     Emma      We know very little about her.   However we have a birth certificate (click here) from 17th May 1874 which we believe relates to Emma.  The mother of baby Jane is described as an inmate of Mile End Workhouse: no father's name appears.  Emma would have been twenty-six years of age.  Her father William had died in the previous year.  Emma is listed in the 1861 census (aged thirteen), but not in that of 1871; and neither she nor baby Jane appear in subsequent censuses.  Did one or other or both die?

    William    We have the death certificate (click here) of a William Gowlland, who died on 6th September 1849 from "Diarrhoea, 3 days, certified  -  son of William Gowlland, nautical instrument maker - died at 11 Caroline Street, Bethnal Green"; and we assume therefore that this William was a hitherto unknown second child of William and Emma, whose name, after his death in infancy, passed on to the next male child, who was born in June of the following year.

    William     The second William (click here for his birth certificate) died on 10th October 1854 at the age of five.  Note, incidentally, that initially on the birth certificate the clerk described the informant, Emma Gowlland, as "Father": this required later amendment, in the presence of both parents.

    Lydia        For her birth certificate of 1852, click here; and for her marriage certificate from early 1874 click here.  [It is from Lydia’s line that today’s correspondent Sally Knight, the source of many of these notes, is descended]. 

    Eleanor    Born in 1855. She married George Weedon, described as  "22 - bachelor - clerk - son of Benjamin, a silk weaver", on 13th April 1879 in Bethnal Green - click here for the marriage certificate: the witness was her younger sister Rebecca.  Does the certificate imply that the ceremony was in the hands of a bishop?  William's occupation was given as "optician". 

                      A puzzle arose in late 2009  -  a baptism certificate (here) from St Stephen, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets, London, dated 13th April 1873, and in the name of "Eleanor Gowlland", citing as parents "William and Emma".  The address given was !14, Edward Street, Stepney"; and the father's occupation as "optician".  We have to assume that Eleanor decided to have herself baptised at the age of eighteen - certainly there is no record of her having been baptised in infancy. 

    Jane        Born in 1859, she came to light in December 2006 - click here for her birth certificate.  Note that the Registrar, not for the first time, had trouble with the second "L" in Gowlland.  Jane died sixteen months later - click here for her death certificate.

    Rebecca    Born on 20th December 1861, on 7th February 1881 Rebecca married Edwin Hunt (her next-door neighbour), in the parish church, St Jude, Bethnal Green (click here).  They had six children, Thomas, Richard, Edwin, Lydia, Elinor [sic] and Alice.   Edwin died in 1894 at the age of thirty-three, leaving Rebecca with six young children: she never remarried.

    Charlotte    Unknown to us until 2006, in 1857, daughter Charlotte was born (click here), at No 9 Somerford Street, Bethnal Green, a house which they were sharing with a tailor's large family.  Sadly, Charlotte died two years later (click here) on 20th January 1860, cause of death "Measles, 3 weeks: pneumonia, 1 day"

    Thomas    And equally unknown until late-2006 was Thomas, born in 1865, for whom we have a birth certificate (click here) and death certificate (click here).  The cause of death was "Variola" - smallpox.  Another infant Gowlland had died from the same cause six years earlier - click here.  Note that the address on the certificate for the place of death (Somerset Street) is clearly wrong: that for the “residence of informant” (Somerford Street) corresponds with the family’s address in the 1861 census and with his 1865 birth certificate.  It is sad that the two children before Thomas also died in infancy.

Census information on the family is, as always, very interesting.

The 1851 census (click here) despite the one-L spelling of Gowland, clearly refers to him  -  the wife's name and date of birth is correct, as are those of the first two children (William 3, and Emma 9 months ).  The age of William (father) is shown as 28, which implies a birth year of 1822 or 1823  -  the same birth date as given in his 1873 death certificate (click here).  His mother Jane would have been forty-six or forty-seven at his birth, an advanced age for childbirth in those days.

It is also worth mentioning, in connection with this 1851 census, that William's occupation is shown as "nautical instrument maker", exactly the same as that of his older brother George Castle (for whose biography, click here), and Emma's occupation is given as "dressmaker".  They were all living at No 15 Barnsley Street, Bethnal Green, which they shared with two other families.

By the time of the 1861 census (click here) in which are included his younger two surviving children, Lydia 9 and Eleanor 6, the family is still living at No 9 Somerford Street: the surname is still spelt with one L.

And the 1871 census (click here) here  finds William and Emma, still with only one L, together with Lydia and Eleanor, and sixth and last surviving child Rebecca, at No 13 Edmond Street, Tower Hamlets - just north of King's Cross.   William described himself as "optician", as did so many of his relatives; and Lydia had commenced work, as a "book folder".

William Gowlland died in King’s Cross Hospital in 1873 from cancer of the lung and cancer of the brain

[Source - Sally Knight  -  July 2005 and JGG - Sept 2006]

Gowlland, William   -   1870 - 1950

He was the  fourth son, and fifth child, of George and Jane.  As a youth he showed distinct artistic promise.

His first job, as a result of an exhibition of his work at school, was with a firm of wallpaper designers: this lasted seven years. 



In 1897, at the age of twenty-seven, he founded a company, William Gowlland Ltd, in premises over a wheelwright’s shop in Liverpool Road, making, amongst other things, Juler Ophthalmoscopes.  [Pictured above  -  front and back of a contemporary model, possibly made by his previous employers Henry Crouch Ltd, and the equivalent William Gowlland Ltd model dating from about 1908.  Much more information on ophthalmoscopes will appear in due course in the history of Gowllands Ltd.  A brief note will be found in the glossary - click here].  He took into partnership his brothers Egbert (then aged twenty-five) and Charles (who allegedly had just left school, and was still wearing knickerbockers when he started work  -  but as he was nineteen at the time, this story seems unlikely); and moved the firm to Morland Road in Croydon. 

He was associated with a notorious mock treasure hunt fully written up in the London newspapers.   [Illegible] on sailboats and had several narrow shaves.

He soon moved again, this time to Seaford in Sussex.  He attended the premises in Croydon only irregularly for fourteen years, and was finally bought out by his brothers in 1912. 

In the 1911 Census (click here) he, his wife and two children are shown as "Boarders" at a boarding house at 2 Chesham Road Brighton owned by a Mrs Bailey.  He describes himself as "40 - married - Manufacturing Optician - employer - born London).  His wife Melissa aged 26 came from Seaford, Sussex; and Melissa junior (5) and William junior (3) came from Blackpool Lancashire and Norwood Surrey respectively.

From W. Gowlland Limited he retained, by agreement, the lens measure manufacturing business, and specialised in making these and dial gauges at Brighton.  [Lens measures and dial gauges are basically similar, relying on a quadrant meshed with a pinion to convert the linear movement of a plunger into the circular movement of a hand on a dial  -  the only difference being that the former measure radii of curvature, whereas the latter measure tiny increments of movement.  It is interesting that it was not until the early 1940s that Gowllands Limited, to fulfil a Ministry contract, resumed making lens measures]. 

In 1921 an article in "The Engineer" dealt with his dial indicators - see below.

By 1941 he and his son William Charles had moved into a new factory (still in Brighton).  For Geoffrey Gowlland’s letter to Gladys telling her how difficult “Uncle William” was to do business with, click here.

William had only the one son (click here for the 1932 certificate of his first marriage  -  note that the occupation of William Charles, although aged twenty-five, is shown as "Student of Engineering"), and one daughter, Melissa, who was one of Geoffrey Gowlland’s numerous correspondents.   In 1935 Melissa married Charles Gresham Shillito (32 - bachelor - independent means - father James Norman Shillito (deceased) - profession Concrete? Exporter and Company Director) - click here for the marriage certificate: there are a number of disparaging references to Charles in Melissa's correspondence with Geoff Gowlland, and they were later divorced.  She never remarried.

He took out numerous patents in his lifetime, mostly for ophthalmic instruments (when at Wm Gowlland Ltd, subsequently renamed Gowllands Ltd) and dial gauges (when at Capstan Gauge Company Ltd).  Prior to these, in 1896, was one for "explosive motors and devices", taken jointly with Charles Septimus  -  click here.  Many years later he asked Melissa, Geoff's cousin and William Gowlland's daughter, to help him with dating this application since he felt there was a chance of making money from it. 

There were two more patents in 1896, one with Charles - click here.

William died in 1950 : for the first page of Melissa’s letter to Geoffrey telling of his last days, click here.

[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941, Melissa Gowlland - 1950 and John Gowlland - 2005]



Mathieson, Peter John Riber    -   1871 - 1954




Peter John Riber Mathieson was born to his Norwegian mother on 17th December 1871 on board the vessel “Haakon Jarl”, off Gravesend in Kent, during a violent winter storm, whilst her husband, the captain, was subduing a mutiny

He was the husband of Gertrude, who was the half-sister of Gladys Gowlland, Geoffrey Gowlland’s correspondent, whose letters in their entirety have been published to this website. 

Gertrude was the older daughter of Henry Orford Gowlland (for whose biography click here) from his first marriage to a Mrs Brown: Gertrude was the only child of this marriage, and had five step-siblings from Mrs Brown’s first marriage first marriage.  Henry Orford Gowlland subsequently moved to the USA with Gertrude, and there had two children by his second marriage in 1892 to Mary Ann Holder, Gladys and George.  For a large part of Peter’s career, Gertrude and Gladys shared an apartment in Montreal, Canada. 

Peter Mathieson first went to sea as a cabin boy on his father’s ship at the age of fourteen, in 1885. Thereafter he remained a sailor, on all types of vessels and in all kinds of position, until 1944 when, as Gladys’s letters make clear, he was invalided off his ship the “Joseph E Wing”, then at Morotai, in the South Pacific, with a breakdown.  As he later wrote, “the doctors told me I must be sent home: said one of them: “A young man soon recovers from psycho-neurosis - an old man, rarely, if ever - your sea-going days are over”.  It was the 5th of November 1944”.

After his discharge from hospital, he lived a very quiet life in the Montreal apartment. Then, in 1949, Gladys’s work required her to be transferred to Vancouver, where, as she writes, she “bought a nice house with a pleasant garden and a glorious view of sea and mountains, and there Peter and Gertrude joined me”. This was the perfect location for him, and his last years were tranquil and happy. 

His career spanned the entire spectrum of sea-going vessels, from the smallest coastal vessels, to the largest square-riggers; and he ended by captaining vessels carrying strategic cargoes across the Atlantic, and in the Pacific, during the second world war.

Throughout these years he maintained a meticulous diary and journals, and after his death Gladys used these to produce a biography of him entitled “Master of the Moving Sea”, published in 1959 by J F Colton and Co., Flagstaff, Arizona, USA .[Copies are always available, at modest cost, through second-hand book dealers on the internet]Unexpectedly [?] it is a very readable book.  If nothing else, it emphasis what a peripatetic and uncertain career was a sailor’s in the first half of the twentieth century, and how the life which he then knew, particularly on sailing ships, will never return.

The marriage to Gertrude was childless.   Gladys died in 1984 aged 87.

Some very evocative photos of Captain Peter John Riber Mathieson and who we thought was Gertrude on board the Antiope became available through the kindness of The Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney – click here http://www.flickr.com/photos/anmm_thecommons/sets/72157633894557686/ Regrettably in 2014 it became clear that the lady was not Gertrude (whom he had married in 1925)  but instead was either Emma S M Beech, his second wife whom he married in 1912, or possibly even his first wife Frances whom he married in 1905; and it was pointed out that the lady's clothing appeared to be dated more to the 1910s than the 1925s.  The specific explanation reads:

Peter, or John to his good friends, first married on 1st March, 1905, a Frances Wishar, daughter. of a French baron and an American mother in Oakland, California, according to Gladys Gowlland's book 'Master of the Moving Sea - The Life of Peter John Riber Mathieson'. Did she die or did they divorce? I don't know and can find no evidence of either event. He then married Emma Sarah Marie BECH in Balmain, NSW on 27 July 1912. I know from my daughter-in-law's father that Emma 'travelled the world' with him on the 'Antiope', as it is a legendary family story. They divorced in 1926 and then on 27 April 1927 he married Gertrude Caroline BROWN, in Vancouver, Canada. She was not a Gowlland, but a half sister of Gladys, the books author, a child of Gladys' mother from her first marriage, before marrying into the Gowlland family! 

Further investigating, using Gladys' book and shipping notes from Trove, show that Peter's first wife also travelled with him on his voyages AND, she was known to have been onthe 'Antiope' in at least 1906 possibly through to 1911, though this end year is not completely confirmed. Second wife Emma (marriage announcement of  1912 below), was known to be on board 'Antiope' from 1912 through to 18 July, 1915, when Peter Mathieson handed the ship over to new owners in Newcastle, NSW. Emma accompanied him on his next ships, the' Carrabin' (built as the 'North Star' and also known as 'Alsterufer' and 'Suzanne Vinnen'), the 'Geraldine Wolvin', the 'Aurora' and the 'Moshulu' up until at least 1923. It would appear that Peter was caught out by Emma having started a relationship with Gertrude Caroline (née Brown) around 1925/6, and thus their marriage ended in divorce for his adultery (announcement from 1926 below)!

And, so, the lady depicted in the photographs could in fact be Peter Mathieson's first wife, Frances (née Wishar) or it could be his second wife, Emma Sarah Marie (née Bech)  all dependant on when the photo's of the 'Antiope' series were taken by Sam Hood. There is a photo in Gladys' book opposite page 257, which shows the same lady as those shown in the Sam Hood collection, but alas, there is no evidence as to when this photo was taken, though it is in the saloon of the 'Antiope'! This photo is attributed to a GCB Mathieson who can only be Gertrude Caroline Brown Mathieson. It can't be Gertrude in the photo though as Capt. Mathieson was only master of the 'Antiope' from 1905 through to 1915, long before he met Gertrude.”



[Source -  Geoffrey Price Gowlland - 1941 and "Master of the Moving Sea" 2005]



Whitcombe, Sarah Maria (Trot), née Gowlland  -  1841 - 1922



Sarah Maria Gowlland, always known as Trot, the fourth child and third daughter of Thomas Sankey Gowlland and his wife Mary (nee Ewing), was born at Tresco in the Scilly Islands on 13 April 1841.  She married Dr. Philip Whitcombe in 1858 (click here for the marriage certificate) and died in 1922.


The newly-wed Trot appears in the 1861 census with two of her sons, Philip P aged one and Robert aged three months - click here.


Although Philip and Trot had five sons (one of whom died in infancy), it was an extremely unhappy marriage. The family story is that they did not talk to each other for some 40 years. Philip was 25 years her senior but died in 1914 aged 98; in all that long period, custom being what it was in those days, they shared the family home in Gravesend.  


Dr Philip Whitcombe of Gravesend, in later life.


Jack Gowlland refers to his brother in law Philip as ‘a brute of a husband’.  A major item of contention was Trot’s dress bills which Philip refused to pay even when threatened by the court with a jail sentence.  Trot had no money of her own, so that their second son Robert Henry paid for the bills and the fine from the scholarship money he had received from Winchester School to pay for his studies at Oxford.


In the 1881 census she appears in Ealing described as "Surgeon's Wife" (click here) as a visitor in the house of Stanley Hewitt, a shipping agent, and his family.  In the same census her son Philip, described as "Medical Student", is also in Ealing (click here), a visitor in the house of Eliza Whitman, a 66-year old widow.


Trot seems to have been a clever business woman: it appears from a letter written by her brother Richard that she ran a dress making business:


Dear old Trot spent four days with us last week.   We spent Easter at Gravesend and brought her back with us.   She was very well and in her usual good spirits.   Most of the time she was with us she was engaged upon a little dress wh. [? I enclose for your baby].   She is most indefatigable in her work and always has some brand new scheme in hand for making money.   She appears to have quite a large business correspondence.   I have never met such a clever contriving woman in my life.   She has now quite a staff of assistants to work for her e.g. the Reed girls at Bexley


Although she was 81 when she died, she suffered from periods of ill health.  A description of an operation she underwent shows how dreadful such experiences were in those days:


‘I write again now to tell you about Trot.  You know she has for a long time been in a bad state of health.   Recently she has suffered a good deal from that swelling outside the throat which you remember.   She was last week persuaded to see a private throat surgeon on the subject.   He at once said it was most serious and that she might be suffocated at any moment, that at most she could not survive a couple of years if the swelling was not at once removed by an operation.   She determined at once to undergo the operation.   She took lodging in Harley Street close to the Dr’s house on Tuesday last and there at 5 o’clock that evening the operation was performed.   There were two Doctors and two nurses.   It appears to have been very severe pain – Trot fainted twice once so long and so seriously that the Drs were frightened.   That night of course she was in a sinking state and so she was all the next day and night.   Her weakness seems to have been much greater than the Drs anticipated.  The operation consisted in emptying the lump and setting up inflammation in it.   This has to be done again and would have been done already had she not been so weak.   They are afraid to risk another bad fainting fit.   She is now therefore being fed up to meet the rest of the operation.   I see her every morning and evening.   This morning, Friday, she seemed decidedly better and had much less pain in the wounded part.   She is, however, very nervous and depressed about herself and very much dreads the pain which she must endure when the next stage in the operation is reached.   The Dr said she would have to be under him 3 weeks but this delay may defer this cure till a later date.   All I can tell you about her is that she is making very good progress – but we shall be all very anxious till she is really convalescent which is at present far from being the case.’




From 1889 until Philip’s death in 1914 (when she moved away from Gravesend to live in Holland Park in London) she was Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of the Gravesend Hospital Samaritan Society. The Gravesend Reporter wrote following her retirement in February 1915:


‘Mrs. Whitcombe’s long and energetic work for the Society is well known and she will be sorely missed by countless numbers of the sick poor, not only in the borough but around the whole countryside. Through the Society Mrs. Whitcombe was able to provide clothing for destitute patients who from long illness had been reduced to poverty and whose circumstances justified such assistance and nourishment and other pressing requirements were also supplied in cases of need; whilst hundred of patients have benefited by being sent away to the sea for convalescence. It was perhaps in this particular branch of the work that Mrs. Whitcombe was best known to the poor, for every year between 70 and 80 debilitated patients were sent to various convalescent homes. So large hearted was Mrs. Whitcombe that it did not matter where the patients hailed from: in fact quite half the patients came from Northfleet and Perry Street and the surrounding villages on both sides of the river. Mrs. Whitcombe was particularly interested in the maternity side of the work and many mothers have been thankful to her for boxes of clothes lent and for kindly help at a time of great need. A glance at the 20th Annual Report of the Samaritan Society shows that considerably over ₤150 was expended during 1914 on the alleviation of distress and in helping the sick during that year, compared to ₤8 expended in 1889, the first year that Mrs. Whitcombe took over the work.’


Langton Gowlland remembers being taken with his brother by their grandmother Jessie to take tea with his Great Aunt Trot in Holland Park.


‘She was very dignified, well turned out and pretty – the tea would be served with great ceremony and with a lovely lace cloth and she gave us a shilling – or it might have been half a crown.’


Of Trot’s five sons, one, Robert, died in infancy. Her surviving four sons all were sent to Epsom College, although the second, Robert Henry, later won a scholarship to Winchester and from there to New College Oxford.  Her first and third sons, Philip Percival and William, both followed the Whitcombe family tradition and became medical practitioners. Robert Henry became Archdeacon and Suffragen Bishop of Colchester (for a picture of him in 1911, click here).  William married his first cousin Effie Gowlland The fourth, Arthur, who was unmarried, became an underwriter at Lloyds.  There were a number of outstanding cricketers and senior soldiers among her offspring. 

 [Source -  Richard Joscelyne  -  August 2005]


Yeames, Peter   -  1759 - 1814




Peter was born in St Mary, Dover, on 6 March 1759, the son of Peter and Elizabeth, née Childs, who were married at St Mary’s in 1756 (they had four other sons).  Peter senior seems to have been born in 1733, again in St Mary, the son of James and Elizabeth Yeames.  However, there were a number of Yeames (and Yeams) families in Dover and further research would seem to be pointless, at least at this time.


Peter married Elizabeth Adler at St Mary’s on 9 June 1783. Elizabeth was born on 14 December 1757 in St Mary, Dover, yet again and was the daughter of Magnus and Mary Adler.  There are indications that Elizabeth’s parents came from Dover and that her father’s family was of Scandinavian origin.


Peter and Elizabeth had seven children.  The first five were born in Dover: Catherine Breeman (1784), Harry (1785), Elizabeth (1787), William (1789) and Augusta (1792).  The last two were born in Great Yarmouth: Louisa Mary (1798) and Clara Antoinette (1800).


Louisa Mary was born in 1798 and baptised on 2nd March at St Nicholas', Great Yarmouth: her baptismal record is shown below - click on the images for enlarged versions.  Louisa Mary is the tenth name down, and the parents' names are shown as Peter Yeames and Elizabeth née Adler.






Louisa Mary married Richard Gowlland, born 1795, (click here for his biography) in Paris in 1821.


The following transcript of Elizabeth’s will and a codicil, and of the grant of probate provides some more information about the family (it is also rather charming):


I Elizth. the Widow of M. Peter YEAMES who died at Villeneuf France in 1814 do bequeath after my decease to my two daughters Elizabeth my eldest Clara Antoinette my youngest three hundred pounds in the four per cent annuities equally divided between them I give my Son William one dozen of Silver Knives and forks to my Daughter Louisa I leave my large book of the new testament the little furniture Cr(?) in the house I design for the funeral expenses I hope my children will unite in helping their poor brother Harry as well as they can and be satisfied with the disposal of my little property and feel it my duty to provide for my two daughters residing with me my Son William and Daughter Louisa being both so well situated in life as to need no more  than the small token I have left them as a remembrance my two daughters Elizth. & Clara I nominate my executors witness my hand and seal this Day 29 of April 1823. Elizth. YEAMES SS Signed Sealed and Delivered by the said Elizabeth YEAMES the Testatrix as and for her last will and testament in the presence of us who in her presence at her request and in the presence of each other have Subscribed our names as witnesses Mm. Jno. UTTEN Browne Henry HANSELL


Since writing the above I have transferred the sum of one hundred pounds in the reduced 3/2 10% (?) to my Daughter Elizabeth CLABON in consequence I bequeath only fifty pounds to the said Elizabeth CLABON at my decease and one hundred and fifty pounds to my Daughter Clara Antoinette YEAMES Signed Elizth. YEAMES SS 17 Novr. 1829


Proved at London with a Codicil the 12th January 1830 before the Judge by the Oath of Elizabeth CLABON Widow & Clara Antoinette YEAMES Spinster the daughter the executrixes to whom Admon was granted having first been Sworn by the Commissioner duly to Administer.


Catherine Breeman and Augusta Yeames presumably died young, probably in infancy, since neither is mentioned in the will . From the wording, it seems very likely that Harry was mentally handicapped.  A Henry Yeames was recorded as being in a Great Yarmouth workhouse in 1841 (click here): his age is shown as sixty, he was not born in the country [of Norfolk] and was not born in "Scotland, Ireland or Foreign Parts".  Elizabeth had married Robert Bell Clabon in Norwich in 1814 and was obviously widowed before 1823.


Whilst William has not been researched, the 1861 census for the household of Louisa Mary (click here for an image) included her 29 year old married niece, Rosa E Austen, though there is no indication as to whether she was living with her aunt or just visiting. She has proved to be the daughter of William and was baptised Rosa Esther on 27 November 1831 in Alverstoke, Hampshire (IGI transcript).


It was hoped that the research into the Yeames family in Great Yarmouth would establish Peter’s occupation, which could account for the family’s move from Dover to Great Yarmouth and, perhaps, his death in France.  Unfortunately, nothing has yet been found.


As a final comment on Peter Yeames, his name and that of his father was perpetuated in the name of one of his grandsons, Peter Yeames Gowlland, the distinguished surgeon, (click here for his biography) and great-grandsons, Peter Yeames Gowlland, who was destined for a successful career as a barrister but died at the age of 29.


[Source - Neil Gowlland [ngowlland@bluewin.ch]  - March 2006]






[Click here to return to the Gowlland Family Contents Page]