Peasants to Puddles
My Family History - By Nicky Rowberry

The Rowberrys

Page 5

William Rowbree (or Rowberry) was born in 1817 and baptised in Orcop, Herefordshire on 7th December. He was the eldest son of Sarah Ruck and George Rowberry, who went on to have 4 more children after William. George probably died in 1828, and Sarah went on to have 3 more husbands. For more information on Sarah Ruck, please click on the following link:

In the first available census, 1841, William was living at Pentwine Common, Kilpeck, with his widowed (by this time twice widowed) mother, his sister Mary and his three half sisters Hannah, Eliza & Emma. On the same census page was also Sarah Llewellin, aged 15, who William married in 1846. In 1851 the family were living at Yew Tree Cottage, Kilpeck, with the two eldest daughters. William was described as an Agricultural Labourer. Also at the cottage was Elizabeth Llewellin, Sarah's widowed mother. The table below gives the details from the 1851 census (HO107/1978 folio 533).

Parish of
Kilpeck Herefordshire
Ecclesiastical District of
City or Borough of
Town of
Village of
Schedule Name of Street, Place, or Road Name & Surname of each Person who abode in the house, on the Night of the 30th March, 1851Relation to Head of FamilyConditionAgeRank, Profession, or OccupationWhere Born
21 Yew Tree Cottage William RowbreeHeadMarried33Ag. LabourerOrcop
   Sarah RowbreeWifeMarried24 Kilpeck
   Angelina RowbreeDaur 4 Kilpeck
   Elizabeth RowbreeDaur 1 Kilpeck
22Yew Tree Cottage Elizabeth LewellingHeadWidow62LabourerEwyas Harold
   Samuel ThomasLodgerUnmar50Ag LabKilpeck
   Emma PowellVisitor 14ScholarMuch Dewchurch

In 1861 the family were still in Kilpeck, but by now William was working on the railways. The table below gives the details from the 1861 census (RG9/1823 folio 86 page 6).

The undermentioned Houses are situated within the Boundaries of the
Parish [or Township] of City or Municipal Borough of Municipal Ward of Parliamentary Borough ofTown ofHamlet or Tyhthing of Ecclesiastical District of
No. of Schedule Road, Street and Name of HouseName and Surname of each personRelation to Head of FamilyCondition AgeRank, Profession or OccupationWhere Born
25 Turnboul StreetWilliam RowbreeHeadMarried 42Railway LabKilpeck
   Sarah RowbreeWifeMarried 34 Kilpeck
   Elizabeth RowbreeDau 11 Kilpeck
   Thomas RowbreeSon 8ScholarKilpeck
   George RowbreeSon 6ScholarKilpeck
   Sarah RowbreeDau  3ScholarKilpeck
   William RowbreeSon  3 mo Kilpeck

By 1871, the family's fortunes must have improved somewhat. They were still living in Kilpeck (at Crofton or Grafton Oak now), but William was described as a farmer of 12 acres employing one labourer. They must have moved to Crofton Oak at some time in the mid 1860s, as they were there in 1866, with William as a farmer, when they had their son Edwin John baptised. They remained there at least until 1881, although by then, William was back to being described as an Agricultural Labourer. For a map of Kilpeck click here

William died in 1890 and was buried in Kilpeck, at which point he was said to have been from Marlos, Kilpeck at the time of his death. His wife Sarah remained in Kilpeck. In 1891 she was living at Jubilee Cottage with her son George. By 1901 she was still in Jubilee Cottage, but George had married and moved out, and another son, Edwin, had moved back in. Sarah died in 1904 and was also buried in Kilpeck.

Today there are many descendants of William & Sarah, both with and without the Rowberry surname, several of whom I am lucky enough to be in contact with. So far I've only got a photo of one out of all these Rowberrys and Rowbrees. The fabulous photo below included Robert Alfred Rowberry (1891-1961) - he is third from left on the back row. Many thanks to his great great grandson Gareth for the photo. It would be lovely to add more faces to the names, so if anyone has any more, please do get in touch.

The family tree below summarises what I know about the above generations of the 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.

If any of the above is of further interest, please feel free to contact me at:

Nicky Rowberry 2020

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Peasants to Puddles - My Family History. By Nicky Rowberry