Peasants to Puddles
My Family History - By Nicky Rowberry
The Rowberrys have for many years been my main line of research when it comes to family history. Not surprisingly therefore, I can take this line much further back than any other of my surname interests. This success is due largely to the help and support in the early days from my mother, Pamela Rowberry and latterly from my very good friend and fellow family history obsessive, Polly Rubery.
If you are interested in the Rowberry surname, why not try Polly Rubery's excellent website at The Rowberry One Name Study
I have been lucky in that my Rowberry family are in the same county that they started in over 400 years ago. Despite the vaguaries of governmental reshuffling of county boundaries, my Rowberrys have remained steadfastedly Herefordians to this day. And although I've spent a long time away, I'm still proud to call myself Herefordian today.
My first known Rowberry is Richard who married Izott Smyth in Thornbury, in 1575. The image below shows the details of their marriage recorded in the parish register. This is the earliest record I've found for any of my Rowberrys or indeed for any of the other surnames on this website.
Thornbury is a small parish in the north east corner of Herefordshire. It is not far from Tenbury, which recorded the earliest sightings of the surname Rowberry (spelt Rubury then) in 1327. For a detailed account of the origins of the name, please see Polly's "Rowberry One Name Study" site.
Richard died in 1594 and was buried in Thornbury, although of course after all this time no record remains of any gravestone, assuming they could even afford one in the first place. I don't know what happened to Richard's wife Izott, I've not found a burial record for her yet. Richard would have been my 9 x great grandfather. The Rowberrys remained in Thornbury for at least another 5 generations. For a map of Thornbury, click here
Richard's youngest son was Humphrey Rowberry, born in Thornbury in 1592. The image below, although not easy to read, says "Humfrey the sonne of Richard Rowberry was christened 16th of July"
Humphrey married Maria (Mary) Browne in nearby Bromyard in 1621 and they had at least 4 children together. Humphrey is described in his will of 1668 as a Hop-planter. Hops were only introduced into Herefordshire in the 17th century and Humphrey may have been one of the early pioneers of hop culture. Perhaps Humphrey's legacy of interest in beer lives on in his descendants today?
Both Humphrey and Mary left wills, naming many of their children and grandchildren. They also give inventories of all their belongings, detailing everything from featherbeds, pewter dishes, to raw yarn and hogshead barrells. In 1675 the total worth of his belongings was estimated as £82..11.04, which in today's money would be about £7,300.
Neither Humphrey nor his wife could read or write. This is the mark Humphrey made on his will instead of a signature. Click anywhere on his mark, if you want to see a full transcription of his will.
Or to read a full transcription of Mary's will, please click
I know relatively little about the next few generations shown on the tree below. On the whole, they all seem to have been born, lived and died in Thornbury. None of them seem to have left wills, presumably not having sufficient wealth to warrant one. I haven't even been able to find many of their marriages, presumably they married in the bride's parish rather than in Thornbury. Or they may have been married in Thornbury, but due to the religious unrest which was prevalent in the 17th century, the records may have been lost. Without details of the marriage, I don't even know many of the wives surnames.
Several of the Rowberrys, shown on the tree below, have many living descendants not all of which are shown on this site yet. For example, Stephen Rowberry (born 1667) went on to have 3 wives and left a dynasty of Rowberrys now spread across the world. The majority of Rowberrys (and its variants) with the name Stephen can be traced back to him. For more information on Stephen and his descendants, please click on the following link:
As another example, the descendants of John Rowberry (born 1743), the illegitimate son of Alice, include a well known Mormon Bishop in America in the 19th century, who had 4 wives (3 of them at the same time) and at least 30 children! Polly Rubery has written in great detail about the USA branch of the Rowberry. To read all about it, please click here
The family tree below summarises what I know about the first few generations of my Rowberry family. It is hopefully reasonably accurate, but if you spot any errors, or any relatives, please feel free to E-mail me
Please click on one of the red links on the tree to move to a different page.
The next generation for whom I have more details, is that of George Rowberry, born 1751 in Thornbury. For more information on George and his descendants, please click the link below.
If any of the above is of further interest, please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
© Nicky Rowberry 2012
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Peasants to Puddles - My Family History. By Nicky Rowberry