The Past Revealed

Ancestor Of The Month Blog

Each month one of my ancestors will feature here, with a brief story about their life.
December 2023

Charles William Bowler 1842-1926

Charles was born in Water Eaton, Buckinghamshire to parents Barnard and Sarah. He married Mary Ann Dormer in Marylebone, Middlesex aged 24 and worked as a train driver based in Buckinghamshire until the age of 38. From the summer of 1881, he became a victualler. This was firstly at The Fox and Hounds pub in Heath and Reach, Bedfordshire, followed by The Bull and Butcher in Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire. In 1883 Charles and Mary Ann sadly had a stillborn daughter. Their only child together was Sophia, my great-grandmother, born in 1886 when Charles was 43, but Mary Ann died six days after the birth. Aged 45, Charles remarried to Sarah Constable. They went on to have nine children together. More heartache ensued, with five of their children dying young of conditions such as measles and enteritis. Despite his second wife being much younger than him, Charles also outlived Sarah; she passed in 1907. Charles spent the remainer of his days residing at the Bull and Butcher living with his daughter Lydia and her husband.
Extract from Charles' first marriage register entry

November 2023

John Puckett 1790-1864

My fourth great-grandfather John was born in Sutton Poyntz, Dorset and was the son of John and Jane. At the age of 23 he married Elizabeth Tizard and together they had six children. Elizabeth however is not a relation of mine. John had an adulterous relationship with Hannah Osment who lived two doors down, which resulted in the birth of my ancestor Thomas. At the age of 34, John was found guilty of bastardy and sentenced to three months hard labour at Dorchester. His prison records state he was nearly 5 foot and 10 inches with dark hair and hazel eyes. He died aged 74 of emphysema.
Extract from John's prison record

October 2023

Mary Croad 1793-1865

Mary spent her life in Preston, Dorset. She was baptised on 3rd June 1793, the daughter of Robert Croad and Elizabeth Lovelace. In 1816 she married William Read, an older man who had just returned from France after being held there as a Prisoner of War for around 20 years. They had one son and seven daughters, including my 3rd great-grandmother Elizabeth. After her husband's death in 1847, she remained in Preston, residing with her daughters. She died of bronchitis aged 72 and is buried in Preston churchyard.
Extract from Mary's death certificate

September 2023

John Shaw 1736-1781

John married Eleanor Wilcox by licence on 7th January 1768 in Lichfield. Eleanor was expecting their first son at the time, hence the need for the licence and a quick wedding! John is an excellent example as to why headstones can be so useful. His gravestone gives his occupation and address as Miller of Seedy Mill and his age at death as 45. He died on the 1st May 1781 and is buried in Longdon parish churchyard. There is a lovely quote on the headstone reading 'He was a valuable neighbour, a sensible man and a good Christian. Let every reader learn to imitate so laudable a character'.
John's headstone in Longdon, Staffordshire

August 2023

John Taylor 1837-1901

John was born in Teston, Kent to parents Thomas and Anne Taylor and was one of twelve siblings. Today, John would be thought of as an odd-jobs man, with his occupations listed as 'day labourer', 'brickmakers labourer' and 'unemployed agricultural labourer'. He married Mary Jane Brown in 1863 in Maidstone and they had six children. One son, Thomas, died of exhaustion when he was twelve days old. Another son, John, died of whooping cough and pneumonia aged just four. After a seemingly difficult life, John himself died of influenza and cardiac failure aged 64 .
John's home in Maidstone in 1871

July 2023

John Webb Frampton 1774-1826

John was the oldest of Isaac and Susanna Frampton's six children. Born in Poole, Dorset (then Hampshire), John then found himself apprenticed to a mercer in Newport on the Isle of Wight. Whilst there, he met Elizabeth Tucker and they married in Hampreston, Dorset in 1795. He occasionally found himself in trouble, for example having to answer to a charge of nuisance in 1816. John and Elizabeth had eight children, many of whom are not found in the parish baptism registers as John was a Methodist. He died at the age of 52. This may have been a sudden death as his will had not been changed since 1798, however no cause of death has been recorded.
John's signature from 1815

June 2023

Robert Squibb 1743-1789

Robert spent his life in the neighbouring villages of Sutton Poyntz and Preston in Dorset. He learned his trade as a Velmonger from his father Stephen whom he was apprenticed to. This trade is largely seen in the south of the country and involved creating animal rennet for cheese production. Robert also worked as a servant, as keen be seen in the 1765 militia records, where he paid for a substitute to take his place. He married Jenny Dunman the same year and they had 9 children together. He is buried in Preston churchyard.
Robert's name in the Dorset militia list of 1765

May 2023

Josiah Blundell 1817-1850

Josiah was born to Protestant parents John and Jane in Simpson, Buckinghamshire. He married Sarah Tucker Bugden in Potterspury in 1844. They had three sons named Josiah, John and Robert. Josiah was working as an Engine Driver when he passed away suddenly of an epileptic fit whilst at Tring Station in December 1850. This left his grieving wife Sarah to look after their young children, with the help of their family.
Snippet from Josiah and Sarah's marriage certificate

April 2023

Elizabeth Samways 1769-1836

Elizabeth married Eli Paul in 1785 at All Saints Church in Dorchester and together they had 11 children. Her parentage is often incorrectly assigned to another couple in Dorset, but has been proven to be Henry and Mary Samways. In his will from 1802, Henry names Elizabeth and his daughter and also names her husband Eli. Elizabeth was buried in Broadmayne and despite her lack of wealth has a surviving headstone giving her age and date of death.
Eli and Elizabeth's names in her father's will of 1802

March 2023

Robert Bugden 1799-1877

Robert was born to parents William and Jane in Christchurch, Hampshire (now part of Dorset). He married Eliza Tucker Bugden in Poole, having seven children together. Having initially worked as a baker in Poole, the family moved to Buckinghamshire in the late 1830's. He spent the rest of his working years on the railways, including many years as the Station Master at Cheddington. He was a talented wood carver, with his work displayed at Halton Industrial Exhibition, opened by Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in 1868. He died whilst at work at Farthinghoe Station.
Benjamin Disraeli opening Halton Industrial Exhibition in 1868

February 2023

Alice Rosa Colyer 1867-1950

The eldest of nine siblings, Alice was born in Boughton-under-Blean, Kent to parents John and Eliza. Three months after turning 17, she married Alexander Taylor and together they had eight children. It was an unhappy marriage with her husband repeatedly jailed for theft and drunkenness. When he died in 1920, she remarried just five weeks later to George Boughton and they remained together in Maidstone.
Snippet from Alice's birth certificate

January 2023

Robert Egleton 1600-1641

Robert was born to parents William Egleton and Katherin Goleburne and had two brothers; Phillip and William. He and his family spent their lives in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire and there is no evidence he ever left the county. He married Margaret Croxton there in 1620 and together they had four daughters and a son; namely Katherin, Robert, Anne, Margaret and Aymy. Robert was buried at Aylesbury on 7th May 1641, two years after his youngest daughter Aymy was buried there as an infant.