Ven. Archdeacon William Rowe

1813 - 1885

Claimant or beneficiary


Almost certainly Archdeacon William Rowe, son of Hon. William Rowe (q.v.) and his wife Catherine, and grandson of William Rowe of Torrington (q.v.). Born Jamaica, 16 December 1813, and baptized at the family's Belle Vue estate, St Elizabeth, Jamaica, on 16 February 1815. Entered the Church and became Venerable Archdeacon Reverend of Cornwall Jamaica. Beneficiary of part of the compensation for the Bagdale and Fullerswood esates in St Elizabeth, the compensation for which was awarded to John Griffith as 'Trustee of William Rowe an Infant and Annuitant.'

  1. The Bagdale and Fullerswood estates had belonged to William's great-grandfather, James Rowe of Great Torrington Devon (q.v.), and subsequently passed to his uncle, James Rowe of Redland, Gloucestershire (q.v.). The family established itself in Jamaica in the early 18th century, but maintained links to Britain. By the mid-19th century branches were involved in trade across South America and the professions and business in Britain. The Rev. James John Rowe (q.v.) was also a member of this same family, the son of James Rowe of Redland Gloucestershire (whose will was proved 29/01/1821).

  2. It is likely that he is the same William Rowe who appears as a property holder in the Jamaica Almanacs from 1825 onwards. His father ceases to be named after 1840, suggesting his death, at which point his son left for England, where he was ordained in 1842 before returning to Jamaica around 1844. He was a signatory of the letter from the clergy of Jamaica commending Governor Eyre in 1866. In 1870 he was appointed Archdeacon of Cornwall and as an island curate, living at Malvern, St Elizabeth. In 1878 he is recorded as owning Belle Vue pen and tannery, which the family had owned since the 18th century. By this stage Bagdale had been sold to one William Hill. He was involved in educational activities around the parish of Manchester, including establishing and running the Bel Retiro Academy (Bel Retiro was formerly the name of a estate), 'for the sound, moral and intellectual training of Gentlemen’s sons' in preparation for schooling and university education in England. The school taught classics and mathematics, at a cost of Pd.45 p/a. Other superintendents included C. Kehnroth and, Rowe's son, A. P. Rowe. He appears to have spent his final years in Madeira, where he was involved in the founding of a depositary intended to make religious texts more readily available by the British and Foreign Bible Society together with the Religious Tract Society. He died in Madeira 31 December 1885.

  3. William Rowe Adm. pens. (age 19) at CAIUS, May 7, 1832. S. of William, Esq. B. [Dec. 16, 1813], in Jamaica. School, Salisbury (Dr Radcliffe). Matric. Michs. 1832; B.A. 1843; M.A. 1865. Ord. deacon, 1842; priest (Gloucester) June 11, 1843; C. of St John's, Derby, 1842-3. Went to Jamaica, 1843. R. of St Andrew's, Kingston, Jamaica, 1852-7. Island C. of St Elizabeth, Cornwall, Jamaica, 1857-62. Archdeacon of Cornwall, 1863-77. Retired to Funchal, Madeira, where he died Dec. 31, 1885. (Clergy List; Venn, II. 218; W. Cowper; Boase, VI. 506.).

  4. He married twice. First Louisa Smith (d. 8/6/1878), daughter of Theodore Stone (it is possible that she had been married previously). The couple had at least seven children: Frances (Fanny) Catherine Rowe (m.1872 William Woodward Shore); Louisa Sophia Rowe (m.1869 Phillip Edward Chapman); Rev David Rowe, b. Derby, England, 15/9/1842. Ordained Kingston Jamaica 1865, curate Jamaica, 1867-70, Vicar St John's Kilburn, London, 1871-75, Vicar of Hale, Sussex, 1875-79, Rector of Wroot Lincolnshire 1879-81, Rector of Denton, Manchester 1881-85. Married Ellen Georgina in Jamaica, with their eldest son Allan David Rowe being born on the island before the family returned to England, where 4 more children were born; Rev. Arthur Panton Rowe, (d.1880) m. Margaret Frances Farquharson, d of James M. Farquharson of Elim, St Elizabeth, Jamaica. Ordained Jamaica 1872, and worked with his father at Bel Retiro Academy. He was the third signatory on the letter from St Elizabeth parishioners commending Governor Eyre for his actions during the 1866 rebellion. He subsequently became Chaplain of Vizagapatam, Madras, where he died in 1880; John William Rowe (1850-1868); Emily E. Rowe (1853-1881), born India, suggesting Archdeacon William Rowe and his wife Louisa were visiting India; Adelaide E. Rowe, b.1859, (married E. K. Shore). Archdeacon William Rowe married secondly, Lydia Ann Swire, at St Mark's church, St Ann District, Dry Harbour, Jamaica on the 3/2/1875. She had been born at the Norwich estate, Portland, Jamaica, 5/2/1845 and died Cross Roads, St Ann parish, Jamaica, 2/8/1936.

  5. Another William Rowe (1813-1897), identified in genealogical sources as son of Charles Rowe and Mary Gauntlett, was possibly the William Rowe aged 37 West India merchant born Jamaica living in 1851 in Edge Lane, West Derby. John James Rowe, a South America merchant of Liverpool who died in 1875, leaving £180,000, was reportedly the son of Charles Rowe (1754-1821) of Grant's Green estate in Manchester (although the marriage registry for John James Rowe and Agnes Graham shows his father as 'John.'.


T71/870 St Elizabeth no. 371

  1. Devon Record Office, Miscellaneous Devon Documents, 3012Z/T/5 and 3012Z/T/6, accessed 11/03/2013; PROB 11/1134/82; PROB 11/1650/308.

  2., Cambridge University Alumni, 1261-1900 [database online].

  3. 1851 census online; private communication from W.D. Rubinstein 30/12/2013.

Further Information

(1) Louisa Smith, nee Stone; (2) Lydia Ann Swire
(1) Frances Catherine, Louisa Sophia, David, Arthur Panton, John William, Emily, Adelaide

Associated Claims (1)

£4,673 9S 7D
Beneficiary (Annuitant)

Associated Estates (4)

1835 - → Annuitant
1835 - → Annuitant
1820 - 1826 → Trust beneficiary
1817 - → Trust beneficiary

Relationships (4)

Son → Father
Grandson → Grandfather
Nephew → Uncle
First Cousins