Click here   Anderson Shelters
Click here   Apprenticeships
Click here   Argentine Gowlands
Click here   Baptists
Click here   Cine Film
Click here   Clock, Grandfather's Long Case
Click here   Freemen of Canterbury
Click here   Golder / Goulder references
Click here   Gowlland Tod Provincial Park
Click here   Gowlland Vancouver Names
Click here   Greenwich Royal Hospital Schools
Click here   Horlogue (Horologue)
Click here   M C Modern Calendar
Click here   Maple Baptisms in Kent
Click here   Marriage Licences
Click here   Microscopes
Click here   Morrison Shelters
Click here   Ophthalmoscopes
Click here   Parish Apprenticeships and Illegitimacy
Click here   Patents
Click here   Physical Characteristics of the Gowllands
Click here   Polls
Click here   POWs  -  Prisoners of War
Click here   Pre-1837 Sources
Click here   Privy Council Acts, Records of
Click here   Protestation of 1641
Click here   The Ratcliffe Highway
Click here   Rationing - Clothes
Click here   Rationing - Food
Click here   Registration and Parish Districts
Click here   Settlement
Click here   Sextant
Click here   Society of Genealogists
Click here   Spelling in the 18th and 19th centuries
Click here   Street Lighting
Click here   Typhoid

Anderson Shelter

Named after Sir John Anderson, the Lord Privy Seal, who was responsible for Air Raid Precautions (ARP).  Constructed from corrugated iron, about 2 metres long, with semi-circular roof and vertical ends, they were sunk about 1 metre into the ground, and projected about 1.1/2 metres above it.  The (very small) entrance was at one end and protected by an earth bank or nearby wall.  They were covered with earth for protection and insulation: flower beds or vegetable patches were often laid out on top.  Geoff in 1940 constructed a rockery on his.

At the outbreak of war 1.1/2 million had been distributed, which it was optimistically hoped would protect six million people.  Fifty thousand were produced every week.  The target was a little over two million.  They were distributed free to households whose income was below £250 per annum.  Above this limit, it was in theory possible to buy one; but initially supplies were only given on the free basis. About 7,500 were erected throughout Croydon

They were damp (flooding after rain was common) and it was unwise to leave bedding in them.  They were also smelly (frequently the only source of heat and of hot water was a paraffin stove) and very cramped; and carrying small children to the shelter, usually located at the end of the garden, in the middle of the night, probably in the rain or snow, was an ordeal for the adults.  Clearly, they would give virtually no protection against a very close bomb; but the belief was that they were safer than remaining in the family house with the associated risk of collapse, glass splinters etc.

[Click here to return to the letters]




Apprenticeships of Gowl(l)ands, some of whom are almost certainly not in our direct line, are tabulated below in chronological order:-


Year Master Occupation Apprentice     Record Premium Duty
1716 Henry Thornton Cit. & Clockmaker John, son of John Gowland of Rochester, Gent, dec. Press  £20. 10/-
1718 Thomas Gowland Shipwright of Chatham Christopher, son of Edmund Robinson of Chatham Press £20 10/-
1719 Edward Fawconer Cutler of London Richard, son of John Gowland, dec. Press £60 £3
1728 John Sutton Carpenter Joseph, --- --- ---. of Hougham Press £10 5/-
1732 Richard Gowland Cit & Cutler of London Joseph, son of Joseph Leaper of Whitechapel   ** Press £15 7/6
1733 Richard Gowland Cit. & Cutler of London George, son of ?? Francis, dec.   ** Press ? ?
1736 Richard Gowland Cit. & Cutler of London Abraham , son of Samuel Bristow of Yarnden, Oxon ** Press ? ?
1736 Thomas Gowland Shipwright of Chatham Robert, son of Thomas Bisenden of Chatham, dec. Press £16 8/-
1749 William Tapley Shipwright of Gillingham Thomas Gowland  --- --- --- Press £20 10/-
1768 Thomas Osborne Cooper of Rotherhithe James Gowland Press £10 5/-
1789 John Quested Cooper of Canterbury Stephen Gowlland Press £20 10/-

[** Further apprenticeships relating to Richard Gowland, cutler, occurred in 1737 and 1744, but have not been published here].

[The details below are taken almost verbatim from the guidance notes issued by The National Archives  -  for the appropriate link click here].

Many people in trade, skilled crafts and the professions served an apprenticeship.  The Statute of Artificers and Apprentices 1563 forbade anyone from practising a trade or craft without first serving a period as an apprentice to a master.  Apprenticeship usually began at 14, unless a parish or charity sponsored the child when they might be apprenticed at an earlier age. The usual period of apprenticeship in the first half of the 18th century was seven years [The National Archives' guidance notes state it to have been "three or four years, but could be more or less depending on the occupation": presumably this refers mainly to the 16th and 17th centuries  -  certainly the overwhelming majority of the apprenticeships recorded between 1728 and 1768 were for seven years]. The terms or articles of the apprenticeship contract were written up in a document called an indenture, a document setting out precisely the terms and responsibilities of both the master and the apprentice, and issued in two copies, one being retained by each party.   A sum of money or premium was paid for the apprenticeship.

[Incidentally, indentures for apprenticeships survive to the present day  -  for Eric Jeans' apprenticeship to Gowllands Limited in 1938, click here].

In the City of London, copies of indentures were often deposited with guilds and livery companies and can survive in the Guildhall Library. Parochial and charity apprenticeship indentures may have also survived and can now be found in county record offices. The London Foundling Hospital kept apprenticeship registers, which are now held in the London Metropolitan Archives. The majority of indentures however, unless a copy has passed down among family papers, will not have survived. The Society of Genealogists holds the Crisp collection of some 1500 private indentures, and some survive in local studies libraries and record offices.

From 1710, stamp duty became payable on the indenture premium, except where apprenticeships were set up by public charity, or by the parish overseers of the poor.  It is this record which enables us to locate early apprenticeships.

The duty payable was sixpence (6d) in the pound for premiums of £50 or less, and one shilling (1s) in the pound for premiums exceeding that amount.  Thus, for example, the premium paid for the 1728 apprenticeship of Joseph Gowlland in Hougham was £10, and consequently the duty payable was 10 x 6d = 60d = 5 shillings.  The duty was payable by the master any time from the commencement of the apprenticeship, and had to be paid within twelve months of the completion of the term of the apprenticeship.  The Commissioners of Stamps in London kept registers of the payments of this duty and these survive in the Inland Revenue series of records.  The registers run from 1710 until 1811, the duty having been abolished in 1804.  Duty paid in London was recorded in City (Town) Registers, and duty paid locally was entered into Country Registers.  Some provincial masters did come up to London to pay their duty and get their copy of the indentures stamped, so both series of registers should be searched.

The registers are arranged in date order and record the amount of duty paid.  They also record the name, abode and occupation of the master, the name of the apprentice (and up to 1752 the name of their father or guardian), the date of the indentures, the start date and length of the apprenticeship, details of any transfer or assignment of the term agreed, and the premium paid.   Marginal annotations might show if a charity or parish paid part of the premium, because this was exempt from duty, or where a value was estimated because no money had been paid as a premium.  There are personal name indexes for both masters from 1710 to 1762 and apprentices from 1710 to 1774 available on microfiche.

Of the three Gowlands located (Joseph, Thomas and James), remarkably, none has a father's name shown.  Thus, for example, Thomas Gowland's apprenticeship in 1749 (here) shows twenty names on the top half of the ledger.  Of these twenty names, eighteen include a parent.  One (Arthur Murdile) has been apprenticed into the Royal Navy.  Only Thomas Gowland has been apprenticed into a trade (as a shipwright) without any parental details  -  indeed the entry appears to show three short horizontal lines (dashes) to the right of his surname.

Incidentally, although Thomas's surname appears to contain two L's, regrettably it looks as if it is the descender of the "F" on the line above which causes the confusion.

The entries for Joseph Gowland (1728) and James Gowland (1768) likewise give no parental name.  (The microfilm quality was too poor to obtain a legible copy).  In James' case this is understandable as the requirement had ceased sixteen years earlier; but in Joseph's case the omission could be significant.  No parent is shown; but someone paid the ten pounds.  Who?

The James Gowland apprenticeship (ref IR1-25/202 dated 12th November 1768) was for the usual seven-year period, commencing 18th October 1768, and his master was Thomas Osborn of Rotherhithe, a cooper; and the premium was £10.

From the 18th century many common trades were undertaken without formal indentures.  Men were expected to bring up their sons to the same trade.  Also, a legal ruling established that the Statute of Apprentices did not apply to trades that were not in existence when it was passed in 1563, thus excluding many new 18th century industries.  Many disputes over apprenticeship can be found in the pleadings of the Court of Chancery. In 1814 compulsory apprenticeship by indenture was abolished, although apprenticeship itself continued into the mid 20th century.

        (Added September 2009)

Joseph Gowlland's apprentice-master was "John Sutton, carpenter, of Hougham".   In the index of Apprentice Masters held at the Society of Genealogists, there are numerous entries in the name of "Sutton Jn"; but only one of these gives the locality as Hougham, and from this one would infer that Joseph Gowlland was the only apprentice whom John Sutton took on during his working career.

The Parish Index for Hougham lists numerous Suttons (click here and here).   Joseph's apprenticeship began in 1728.  It seems a reasonable assumption that his apprentice-master would have been some years out of his own apprenticeship before he would have been entitled to employ an apprentice; and, on such a basis, it looks as if there are two candidates, (a) JNO Sutton, born in 1680, son of JNO [John] and My [Mary]; or (b) JNO Sutton, born in 1701, son of WM [William] and TAMS [presumably Thomasina or Tamsin - for simplicity the former will be used henceforth].  They would have been aged forty-eight and twenty-seven respectively in 1928 when Joseph's apprenticeship appears to have begun. 

Of these two, the second looks the more likely, as there is a death recorded in 1705 of "JNO, son of JNO" - infuriatingly, no mother's name is given which prevents a positive identification, but which is very probably the John born in 1680, the first of the two described above [and see below]

The 1701 John was, incidentally, the fifth child of John and Thomasina; and they went on to have one more, four years after John

John himself appears to have married SUS [presumably Susannah or Susan] while in his twenties, and they went on to have three children, John in 1726, AN [presumably Anne or Andrew] in 1728 and William in 1729.  There is a death in 1731 of "SUS - w/o [widow of] JNO", which is presumably Susannah.  In 1731 also William died.

And in 1734 there is a death of JNO.  Although it isn't clear whether this is father or son, the death in 1753 of Thomasina specifically states "w/o JNO" [widow of John], in which case she had been a widow for nearly twenty years after John's death in 1734; and thus Joseph's apprentice-master died before Joseph had completed his term.

Also in the listing is a father named as "HY" [Henry] who, with wife AN, between 1736 and 1749, had seven child,  six (!) of whom died in infancy.  The surviving records include several years' listings of "Assessment made by the Church Wardens", these being annual subscriptions to be paid for the maintenance and upkeep of the church by the inhabitants of a parish, based on the notional value of their holdings.  Thus, for example, the Hougham Assessment of 1746 "calculated at six pence in the pound" shows Henry Sutton (£13 - payable 4s 4d).






Cine Film

Geoff shot his movies on 8mm cine film.  This was the least expensive method for an amateur, utilising standard 16mm film stock.  This was offset in the camera in such a way that the whole length of the film was exposed on half the width only; and it was then exposed on the other half.  In processing, the exposed film was split, and the two halves were spliced together.  The reversal of the film, together with the original spool and the now-full take-up spool, halfway through filming needed to be done in complete darkness; and it was a very fraught procedure which could, and often did, go wrong.



Geoff Gowlland with his cine camera and tripod in 1949

The advantages claimed for 8mm film, as opposed to the more usual 16mm, were that the cost of the film stock was halved and the cameras were smaller: on the other hand, the quality of the image was reduced to one-quarter, and, particularly sixty and more years later, the pictures can be disappointing, particularly when the lighting is poor.  Geoff used an exposure meter, but of course automatic exposure control was many years away.  Similarly lens aperture and focusing distance had to be adjusted manually; and thereby the depth of focus often required these two variables to be considered carefully before shooting.  He would not believe how straightforward to use are today's video cameras.

Titles were shot separately.  A felt-covered board of about A3 size was used, on which letters with fuzzy backing could be (with difficulty) placed.  Latterly, Geoff became more ambitious and incorporated water-colour paintings, maps and so on.  The length of film carrying the title was then cut, and spliced on to the beginning of the appropriate film.

Geoff preparing cine titles under Rosemary's supervision in 1949


[Click here to return to the letters]


Clock Grandfather's (Long Case)

Gladys was very excited at having been able to retrieve this family heirloom which she remembered from her childhood.  Geoff was suspicious of the Clock's alleged history, and it would appear he was right.  A horological expert consulted on 16th May 2005 reported as follows:-

"Initially this appears to be of Scottish origin, but closer examination indicates it to be late Victoria or Edwardian, the so-called Gothic Revival.  The date is probably 1870 - 1900.  It is a spectacular item which belongs in a museum.

The case is almost certainly (black) ebonised wood.  On the hood are two Griffins.  There is a date of 1767 shown, either side of a shield: it is probable that the clock commemorates the granting of Arms in 1767, some 130 years before the clock was made..

On the dial are two shields.  That on the left contains a Pickle: this is an implement of war very similar to a Halberd, which is a combination of a sword and a battle-axe (as carried by Beefeaters - Yeomen Warders of the Tower of London.  The motto is "Domine dirige nos - Guide us, O Lord".  That on the right contains three swords, and the motto is "Festina lente - hurry slowly (in other words  -  more haste, less speed)".

Looking at the face of the clock, at the top is a large dial comprising (A) a cartouche with a portrait of the man in the moon; (B) the day of the month, from 1 to 31; (C) the month - twelve of them; and (D) the day of the week - seven of them.

Set within this ring is (E) a quadrant for adjusting for slow or fast, marked with the minutes per day in Roman numerals; and (F) and (G) two dials with 12-hour scales marking the Waxing and the Waning of the Moon.

Beneath this top dial are (H) a 12-hour dial showing the time of Sun Rise, on the left; and (I) another showing the time of Sun Set.

The main dial (J) shows the twelve hours and, as usual at this time, the Roman numeral for "4" was shown as "IIII", not "IV".  At the top of this main dial is (K) a subsidiary dial showing seconds, from 1 to 60.  In the pierced aperture beneath the boss of the hands is (L) an aperture behind which a dial shows the day of the week.

On the left-hand side of this aperture is (M) a lever to select chiming or silence; and on the right-hand side (N) a lever to select one of two patterns of chimes, Westminster (the normal one), or Whittington (this chime is derived from the Church of St. Mary's le Bow, in Cheap side, London: the legend recorded that Dick Whittington, running away from ill treatment as a house waif, seemed to hear the chimes say, "Turn again Whittington Lord Mayor of London Town".

Within the top dial the word "Sun" is visible.  It is conceivable that this is a regulator for a hand showing Solar Time, but without closer examination it is not possible to be certain.

The dial is engraved "Georgius Gowlland Fecit".

The face is pierced showing that the clock has three weights: it was undoubtedly an 8-day movement.  The probability is that the maker used a standard 8-day movement made by John Thwaites and Co, and then added to it the considerable complications needed to drive and synchronise the various mechanisms.  So intricate is the mechanism that it seems to have been made by a very talented man who was perhaps not a full-time clock-maker, but who was "showing off".

Interestingly, the face has been clipped and it does not fit perfectly within the hood"

In the expert's opinion, this is a very important clock, produced by an extremely talented individual; and, as mentioned above, in his opinion it belongs in a museum.

This report makes it clear that this was the clock which had been seen by several people in the 1930s, but which then disappeared; and about which Geoff embarked on a long, and ultimately fruitless, correspondence with various museums and individuals in the 1940s and 1950s.

One mystery remains - who actually made it?  At present (May 2005) the presumption must be that it was George Gowlland (1838 - 1911) who was responsible.  But this can only be a supposition.

However, the mystery deepens.   In May 2005 George Gowlland, Gladys's nephew, reported in an email:

"As far as the clock is concerned I found the photograph of the clock most interesting as I feel quite sure it was taken in Montreal and the clock was not working then as the pendulum is leaning against the wall [This is confirmed by Gladys's letter accompanying the photos she sent to Geoff]. The clock had experienced a major failure as the escapement had been broken and some of the adjacent gears were bent. Will be able to send you some information in a short while as I am obtaining the photos that were taken during the refurbishing process. One thing that is interesting to note is that when the clock was completely taken apart for cleaning and refurbishing there where two service dates scratched onto the back plates that were dated in the first quarter of the 1800s and another in the last part of the 1800s. These were photographed".

Clearly the presence of these dates throw open the whole question of dating.

It is fortunate that the clock remains in the family, of course.  George Gowlland has had it restored in Canada and it is now in pristine condition.  For his son-in-law's attempts to obtain more information, click here.

Subsequent to the above, in late 2010 we had the good fortune of being approached by the restorer who had worked on the clock between 1996 and 2002  -  click here.


[Click here for photos of the clock]

[Click here to return to Gladys's letter of 11/11/1942 or here for her letter of 28/10/1941]



Freemen of Canterbury

No man or woman could trade in the city of Canterbury without having obtained 'freedom' of the city, unless they paid an annual fee to do so.

Admissions of freemen were recorded on the Chamberlains' Accounts of the city, which were prepared annually from Lady Day (25 March) to Lady Day from 1392 until 1752, and thereafter each set runs from 1 January to 31 December. The accounts for 1392 are incomplete, but thereafter until 1800 there is a complete series except for the years 1455 to 1457 and the year 1552-3.


Joseph Meadows Cowper, Honorary Librarian to the Corporation, produced this extract of the names from 1392 to 1800, and the volume was privately printed in 1903.    A transcription was prepared by the University of Berkeley, apparently in March 2000 - here - but regrettably it is not very easy to read  -  it does however show a couple of other names involving intermarriage with the Gowllands lines, Thornton and Pearce/Peirce.


There are five groups of freemen, as follows, with the Gowllands as indicated: 


A          Those who obtained freedom after serving an apprenticeship to a freeman;

                        Stephen Gowlland (b1775) in 1796 


B          The children of freemen;

                        James West Gowlland (b1802) in 1830 


C         Those who married a freeman's daughter;

                                    Richard Symons Gowlland (b1771) in 1793

                                    Josiah Gowlland (b1781) in 1807


D         Those who claimed freedom by 'redemption', i. e. by purchase; and


E          Those who were honoured by a gift of the freedom from the Court of Aldermen.


Goulder / Golder


There are several occasions where the name "Golder" or "Goulder" has been used where we know, or are more or less certain, that it should be "Gowl(l)and".    So far we have not established why this should be so.


Accordingly details of assorted Goulders and Golders  are being accumulated here  -  mostly unchecked and with no guarantee of relevance.





Appraisal of 1747 - here.    Name at top is certainly Joseph GOULDER, but the signature is clearly Joseph GOWLLAND - here An early theory was that the document was drawn up on the basis that it was to have been signed by a Joseph Goulder but, he being unable to attend, his place was taken by Joseph Gowlland.  Upon reflection, through, this seems unlikely  -  the existence of both a Joseph Goulder and a Joseph Gowlland, both living in Buckland [by Dover] is too much of a coincidence.  Perhaps the clerk didn't know of the correct spelling, or he couldn't be bothered to get it right.  [There are, interestingly, NO "Goulder" entries in IGI for the relevant period, other than in Nottinghamshire  -  plenty of entries for "Golder" but none for "Goulder"]



[Incidentally, Simon Starr, the co-signatory, was, according to the IGI, almost certainly born in Dover on 23rd October 1687, the son of Thomas Starr and Ann née Gerry: he married Susanna Hoyle at Dover St Mary on 30th March 1714, and died on 7th December 1754.  He and Susanna had a son, also called Simon, on 3rd April 1721, also baptised at Dover St Mary; and it is therefore conceivable that he, rather than his father, could have been the co-signatory]





Records 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".)




Birth records from St Andrew's, Buckland-by-Dover, for three children of George Gowlland  (b 1740MC) and Ann née Norris, namely Stephen (b 1763) here, Elizabeth (b 1765) here and Joseph (b 1768) here





1728 Hougham burial of a Thomas Goulder - here;  and also Esther Golder born Dover 1798 -  here.





http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Libr/MIs/MIsDoverStMarys/01.htm   Memorial Inscriptions No 107 from St Mary's, Dover.     On a black Marble slab: Here lieth the body of Dockter John GOLDER fower times mayor of this towne & alsoe Katherine his wife by who he had issue 4 Sonnes & one Daughter, he died the 12th day of May 1689 aged 82 Years & about nine Monthes. Alsoe here lieth the bodies of Thomas Golder & William Golder two of the Sonnes of the said John & Katharine. Here lies the Body of Jacob GOLDER Son of George and Mary Golder. He died Ap. 16 1740 Aged 29. Here also lieth Interred ye Body of Mary Golder who departed this life the 2d. of September 1757 Aged 88 Years.





From IGI, the Golders recorded in Kent are:-


John Golder, born c1560, had a daughter Alice, born Dover 1591, and a son, John, born Dover 1584, who had a daughter Alice, born Dover 1610.  Quite possibly the John Golder of Dover mentioned above, born c1607, was also a child of his  -  John married Katherine, and they had five children, two of the sons being named Thomas and William.


Also recorded is a Bartholomew Golder, born Worth 1680, who married Eliza Neame in 1706.


The remaining records hereafter for Golders all come from Folkestone.  Thomas (b c1728) married Jane Clark in 1748.  Their son Stephen (b 1754) married Ann Jacob in 1778.  They had at least seven children:-


Martha b 1779.   In 1802 she married Richard Godden

Joseph Jacob b 1781

Stephen b 1784

Phineas John b 1786

James Large b 1788

John Watson b 1790

Charles b 1792.  In 1812 he married Mary Rolfe.  From this marriage there are at least eight children:-

William Rolfe b 1817

Mary b 1820

Mary Rolfe b 1824

Margaret b 1826

Jane Rolfe b 1828

Stephen b 1830

Mary b 1837




Gowlland Tod Provincial Park 

Geoff and Gladys were interested in the proliferation of "Gowlland" names in the locality of Vancouver and Victoria, British Colombia, Canada: they speculated as to whether the naming was attributable to John Thomas Ewing (Jack) Gowlland who later made his reputation in Australia before his premature death in 1874  (click here for his biography), or whether other earlier Gowllands accompanied the expeditions of Admiral Vancouver  -  Geoff studied several books and other records concerning this expedition, but could not establish a Gowlland link.  We now know that it was Jack Gowlland who was responsible for the namings (see below).



For two more 2005 photos click here and here, and for more than forty published in November 2006 click here..

A number of the smaller islands incorporating the word "Gowlland"  have subsequently been renamed; but the Gowlland Tod Provincial Park remains the best known and most important feature.  It is still considered a very beautiful and largely unspoilt wild park, and property prices on the fringes reflect its desirability.  A good overview may be found by clicking here.


Gowlland Vancouver area names

John Thomas Ewing Gowlland's surveys in the region of Vancouver and Victoria resulted in a number of places being named after him.  With the advent of Google Earth it is possible to use geographical coordinates to identify precisely different locations.

Amongst the features named after him, with their coordinates where known, are:-


  Gowlland Harbour


Campbell River N 50 02 48.83 W 125 15 26.92
  Gowlland Island


Quadra Island N 50 04 33.51 W 125 14 13.79
  Gowlland Islet Barkley Sound


  Gowlland Mountain


Bella Bella N 52 09 51.84 W 128 09 00.18
  Gowlland Point


South Pender Island N 48 44 07.88 W 123 11 00.33
  Gowlland Rocks


Vancouver Island N 49 00 07.36 W 125 51 32.26



For a (very much) larger version of this map showing Gowlland Island and Gowlland Harbour Road,

located towards the bottom of the Island, click on the image above.


In October 2007 John Gowlland bought the postcard below (on Ebay, of course!).  It is identified as "Gowlland Harbour, Valdez Island" and was sold as picturing a scene in Alaska.  But of course this is incorrect  -  Valdes (or occasionally Valdes) is the former name of Quadra Island, on which Gowlland Harbour is located.   It is unfortunately very faded.  Regrettably there is no text printed on the reverse side.



And finally here is a satellite view of the area.



It is interesting that the family of Richard Archie Gowlland were born, lived and died in Nanaimo, BC,  which, as the map below makes clear, is situated in this same locality.


Greenwich Royal Hospital Schools

Several Gowllands attended these schools prior to careers in the Royal Navy.  According to "The Illustrated London News" dated 1848 which describes the state of affairs at the Royal Hospital Schools a little before the Gowlland boys went there, it appears the Upper and Lower Schools did not form a continuum. They served a rather different clientèle.  The entrants to the Lower School came from a lower stratum of the naval population, and were often illiterate on entry.  Those going to the Upper School were more often, although not exclusively, the sons of commissioned officers and had to pass a difficult entry test.  Thus those in the Upper School were ‘officer material’ and entered the school aged ten.  At thirteen they, or perhaps only some of them, proceeded to the Nautical School (part of the same establishment) to undertake strictly professional training.  Eight of the best graduates were, at the age of fifteen, given an outfitting allowance of ₤20 and posted as Captain or Master’s Mates or Assistants. This must have been the case with John (Jack) Gowlland (who was Captain, or ‘Head Boy’ of the combined schools) and saw active service in the Baltic during the Crimean War.  The case of James is more puzzling, as he was fifteen years old when he met Prince Alfred (then aged fourteen) in Gibraltar and evidently had met him some time before.  Perhaps some of the boys left at thirteen and were given practical training while at sea.

[Source - Richard Joscelyne - 2005]

[To return to the biography of Richard Sankey Gowlland, click here; or for that of James Gowlland click here; or for that of John Thomas Ewing Gowlland click here].

Horlogue (Horologue)

Geoff used the two above spellings indiscriminately.  Today it is more usually written as "Horologe".  Defined as a mechanical time-keeper, and current in Mediaeval times in religious institutions, it possessed neither dial nor hands.  Every four hours it would give an indication, either visual or audible, of the passing of time and thus the call to prayers; and this was used by the monks to regulate their religious observances during the day.

Such horloges were always kept within the monastery.  Lay people were not allowed access to them.  Time, and the passing of it, was the monopoly of the Church: the peasants' idea of time was restricted to what suited their monastic employers, namely that they rose at dawn; they worked until noon (when the sun's shadow was vertical), at which time they stopped work and ate a meal; and then they worked until dusk.

In the eighteenth century the horloge became a rudimentary clock with one or two hands, intended primarily for nautical use. 

The name derives from "horologium" (Latin) and/or "horologion" (Greek)

Geoff spent many hours trying to trace this item: only in 2005 did it become apparent that the horloge about which he had been told, and the grandfather clock bought by Gladys in Canada, were one and the same.

[Click here to return to the letters]

Licences for marriages in southern England (1632-1714)

The province or archbishopric of Canterbury covered all England and Wales except for the northern counties in the four dioceses of the archbishopric of York (York, Durham, Chester and Carlisle). Marriage licences were generally issued by the local dioceses, but above them was the jurisdiction of the archbishop.

Where the prospective bride and groom were from different dioceses it would be expected that they obtain a licence from the archbishop; in practice, the archbishop residing at Lambeth, and the actual offices of the province being in London, which was itself split into myriad ecclesiastical jurisdictions, and spilled into adjoining dioceses  This facility was particularly resorted to by couples from London and the home counties, although there are quite a few entries referring to parties from further afield.

Three calendars of licences issued by the Faculty Office of the archbishop were edited by George A Cokayne (Clarenceux King of Arms) and Edward Alexander Fry and printed as part of the Index Library by the British Record Society Ltd in 1905. The first calendar is from 14 October 1632 to 31 October 1695 (pp. 1 to 132); the second calendar (awkwardly called Calendar No. 1) runs from November 1695 to December 1706 (132-225); the third (Calendar No. 2) from January 1707 to December 1721, but was transcribed only to the death of queen Anne, 1 August 1714. The calendars give only the dates and the full names of both parties.

Of course, the licences indicated an intention to marry, but not all licences resulted in a wedding.

Within this period there is an entry (here) for November 26th 1683 showing an application in the names of Thomas Row and Eliz[abeth] Gowland.  It is presumed to originate in southern England, but we do not know where.

There is also a record from 1675 in the name of Robert Gowland of Crowhurst (East Sussex) - click here.  Sussex was in the Diocese of Chichester, divided into two archdeaconries - Chichester for west Sussex, Lewes for the east.   Both archdeaconries exercised active probate jurisdictions, and issued marriage licences.  Those issued by Lewes Archdeaconry court in the period 1670 - 1739 were recorded in a series of registers in 1907.  Each entry gives the date of the licence, the full names of bride and groom, with parish for each, and often stating whether the bride was a widow or maiden. To obtain a licence it was necessary for the parties to obtain a bond, with two sureties. One of these was often the prospective husband [as it is in this case]; the other might be a relative or other respectable person.  From the bonds the names of the sureties were also copied into the register, together with the name of the church at which the wedding was intended to take place

MC - Modern Calendar

The beginning of the civil year in Great Britain changed to 1st January with effect from 1752.  Until then it was 25th March.  The recorded years of events before 1752, which fall on or between 1st January and 24th March, have therefore been changed to ensure comparability with the modern calendar, and are flagged MC.

[Source - Neil Gowlland - June 2005]

In other countries the calendar changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar at other times. For example, in much of Europe the change took place in 1582.

In Belgium (then the Southern Netherlands, and ruled by Spain) there was no Christmas Day in 1582, 21st December being followed by 1st January 1583.

Parts of Canada settled by the French used the Gregorian calendar, then reverted to the old Julian calendar when the British took control - only to change back again in 1752.

In America the change occurred in 1752 in the British colonies, but in 1582 in Florida and California.

There's a website where you can find out the dates of calendar changes around the world - and even download a free calendar program that produces calendars for virtually any year and any country:


Additional information passed on in March 2008.

The years 1751 and 1752 are a notorious minefield for genealogists, for (a) 1751 was the first year in which the year was considered to run from 1st January to 31st December, whereas before it had run from 25th March to 24th March; and (b) in 1752 the Gregorian calendar was introduced and, to bring the English and Scottish calendars in line with those of other countries, eleven days (corresponding more or less to the first two weeks of September) were omitted.

The first column shows the dating by our system, and the second how the dates were written at the time; and summarising the above shows:-

Now    1750         25th March               Then     1750

Now    1750        31st December        Then     1750

Now    1751        1st January               Then     1750

Now    1751        24th March                Then     1750 

Now     1751        25th March                Then    1751

Gregorian Calendar introduced

Now    1752        1st January                 Then    1752

Now    1752        2nd September          Then    1752

Eleven days omitted

Now    1752        14th September         Then    1752

Now     1752        31st December         Then    1752

Now     1753        1st January                Then    1753

One final point.  At school, one was told that the riots of September 1752, and the slogan "Give us back our eleven days", were because the population at large thought that their lives were being made eleven days shorter.  However, it was explained to us that the real bone of contention was that the Quarter Days, when rents became payable to landlords, came round eleven days earlier; and thus tenants had eleven days fewer in which to put aside the rent.


Maple Baptisms in Kent

Joseph Gowlland married Susannah Maple at St Andrews, Buckland-by-Dover, in 1734.   Susannah was baptised (in about 1705) in Ickham, a parish a few miles to the South of Canterbury.   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 shown below:-


Anne d/o Henry & --------- MAPLE baptised 12 Feb 1587-8 in Bridge


Henry s/o Henry & -------- MAPE baptised 22 Sep 1616 in Adisham


Children of Henry MAPLE junior & -----------( no wife named )

William  vi April 1618 baptised in Staplehurst

Edward  ( too faded) 1619  baptised in Staplehurst ( between May & Sept)


Thomas s/o Henry & Ann MAPLE baptised 21 Dec 1691 in Staplehurst


Steven s/o Henry & Mary MAPLE baptised 12 May 1686 in Staplehurst


Gladys Mary d/o Mary Lily MAPLE of t.p. baptised 312 oct 1897 in Lydden


Children of   ?  (Robert & Margery )  MAPEL  baptised in  Bridge

Roger 25 Dec 1562  parents not named

Susan  8 Feb 1563  parents not named

Mary  5 Nov 1566-7


Joane 12 Feb 11580-1

Julyan 24 Jan 1581-2

William  10 June 1582

Although parents are not named in these baptisms I have reason to believe they are children of said parents


Children of Roger &-----------MAPLE baptised in Bridge

Alice  1 May 1584

Isacke  16 Sept 1585

Mary  3 Sept 1587


Children of Stephen & ------------MAPLE baptised in Bridge

Jane 1583

Mary  16 Maye 1585


Children of Stephen & Elizabeth MAPLE  baptised in Bridge

Thomas  18 Feb 1798

Louisa 21 Oct 1804

Charlotte  26 April 1807


Children of Thomas & ---------- ( Gillian ? ) MAPLE  baptised in Staplehurst

Dennis 10 Aug  1617 ( daughter , a familiar of Dyionisis)

Katharine 11 April 1619

Thomas 4 Feb 1620

Thomas 9 Feb 1622

Jana 29 Sept 1625

John  3 Aug 1627

Elizabeth 27 Feb 1630

Anne  6 Dec  1635 (mother named as Gillian )


Children of Thomas & Ann MAPLE baptised in Woodnesborough

Mary  ? 2 May 1697

Thomas  6 Aug 1699

Ann  13 April 1701

Stephen  3 Feb 1705-6

Elizabeth 12 Feb 1707-8

John  30 July 1709



Children of Thomas & Catherine MAPLE  baptised in Patrixbourne

William  9 March 1760

Thomas 20 Dec 1761

Edward 17 March 1765

Stephen  30 Aug 1767

John  4 Dec 1768

William 21 Oct 1770



Robert s/o William & -----------MAPLE  born 29 Feb 1623  baptised in Chillenden


BURIED Hester MAPLE ( granddaughter of Widow EWELL ) 18 Dec 1669 in Chillenden


Henry MAPLE = Elizabeth EPPS 18 Oct 1817 in Stourmouth .





Several generations of Gowllands were involved in the manufacture of microscopes  -  indeed, it is probably the case that the profession of microscope maker was more prevalent amongst the nineteenth century Gowllands than any other.

(1)    Henry Orford Gowlland (1865 - 1928) was a skilled maker and it was known that after leaving London, under allegedly ambiguous circumstances,  he moved to the South Coast  -  for more details, click here for his biography.  It had always been understood that he spent his time in Selsea making microscope objectives, which were his particular speciality. [For those who had the good fortune not to have endured a scientific education, it should be explained that microscopes consist essentially of a tube of adjustable length, a lens near the eye (the eyepiece) and a lens near the object being viewed (the objective)].

However, in May 2006 on eBay there suddenly appeared an item described as "Excellent Henry Gowlland Victorian Brass Microscope".  Obviously this could not be permitted to escape; and, after more than twenty bids and counter-bids, and at, frankly, exorbitant cost, it was secured by John Gowlland.



It is in fact a beautiful microscope and works exceptionally well.  The irony is that none of the four objectives is made by Henry (two are by C Baker, one by Swift and one by Beck).  Of the five eyepieces, two are by C Baker, but the other three are unidentified and may well be made by Henry.




The brass plaque is engraved clearly "HENRY GOWLLAND  -  SELSEY CHICHESTER".  The base is also marked with a serial number 2777: however, this should not be taken to mean that he had made nearly three thousand of them - more probably the first serial number was 2501 or something similar.



There is a card fixed inside the door with drawing pins, showing the different magnification with differing combinations of eyepiece and objective.  This may be in Henry's handwriting, although quite possibly it is that of the owner who, apparently, bought it from new and on his death passed it on to his son, who was a doctor in a Northern town.

To summarise, the quality of the workmanship is excellent,  The racks and slides perform admirably, and the lenses are as well figured and centred, as when first made more than one hundred years old.  Henry should be proud of his abilities!

In July 2007 the Objective shown below was bought from Canada.



It was bought on eBay and the description accompanying the illustrations was:-

"1/12" Oil immersion microscope objective by English maker Henry Gowlland, probably from the 19th century. Pardon the much abused word, but this is a quite rare lens. N.A. is 1.30, and there are two numbers: #257 and, smaller, 9690. It is for a 160mm tube length. The front lens is damaged, and its image is low in contrast on my old Spencer microscope. This lens is really best for a display, not use. From the hub against the nosepiece to the front it is 34 mm long."

In subsequent correspondence, the vendor explained:-

In the 80s I was a professor in the Microbiology and Immunology Department at McGill University in Montreal. The old technician who serviced the microscopes and had the lens in his office was Turho Salo.  He had just retired around 1980, after forty years' service at McGill; and the new technician was throwing out most of the bits and pieces from older microscopes - a whole drawerful -  from which I rescued some of the items from the dust-bin.  In the 19th and 20th centuries McGill had many close ties with the large British med. schools, and I suspect that is how the lens ended up over here.

Of course, we know that Henry himself worked at McGill which was how the objective appeared there.  Irritatingly, however, the McGill Archives have no record of Henry working there.

In February 2013 another microscope came to light.  The owner lives in the Midlands, and comments: “It was given to me for my 14th birthday in January 1963. I have the receipt; it cost £15-10s. It had a lot of use while I was at school but almost none since, so I've had it for half a century; that's rather depressing. With the long tube length, I can still remember having to perch on the back of a dining chair so that the microscope could be used vertically, allowing samples of pond water to be viewed without spillage. I stayed with biology and still have a few other, more modern, microscopes.
I hope this is of interest”.

Certainly it is of great interest, and the owner kindly provided us with three pictures, and the following explanations:



This first image is of the Gowlland label on the foot. I hadn't noticed until I just looked at the picture that the characters seem to have been picked out with a small chisel, judging by the straight line segments. [This implies that so few were actually manufactured that the expense of buying a hardened steel stamp was not justifiable].

The second image shows the microscope, box and lenses. As you will see, the stand is identical to microscopes attributed to (Henry) Crouch Limited in images on the web, although I've yet to see a picture showing all of the features on a single microscope. The rotating stage with the slide carrier free to slide over a glass disk seems quite characteristic. The bulls-eye condenser is also apparently identical to one shown with a Crouch microscope on the web, although engravings of those condensers seem to show little variability.

The box is a very close fit and has lost some of its internal wooden fittings, judging by the glue. It does have shaped support for the bulls-eye condenser still in place.

For the picture, the high-power eyepiece and the Gowlland 1" objective are in place on the body. The microscope has survived the years remarkably well. Both fine and coarse focusing still work very smoothly, the mirror surfaces, especially the concave one, are almost blemish-free and the lenses show no sign of deterioration or damage.

The third and final image shows the 1" Gowlland objective and also the 1/4" Ross that came with the rest. The 1" has no marking on the objective itself but is a perfect fit for the case so I presume it is original. The case top is marked Gowlland 1 in London. Clearly the employment of Henry Gowlland by Crouch and Ross and then the juxtaposition of items seemingly made by the three in one microscope box may have a significance. The Ross lens is relatively complex, with its adjustment (correction collar) for the presence/absence of a cover slip and the engraving is quite fine.

I hope these three images prove useful and illuminate the involvement of your family with microscope manufacture a little. If you discover anything that might explain a Crouch microscope labelled Gowlland & Son in more detail, I would be interested to hear.




(2)    George Gowlland (1867 - 1927), his brother, appeared able to turn his hand to anything, not always staying on the right side of the law.

A microscope bearing the name of "George L Gowlland" which turned up in a California museum in 2006, as below (for more information, 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" is also so far unexplained.




And in 2009 another microscope bearing the same name turned up, also in America, as below: it was dated provisionally to 1890.  For more pictures, click here.




Morrison Shelter

Introduced in 1944 and named after Herbert Morrison, the then Home Secretary, successor to Sir John Anderson who gave his name to the Anderson shelter. 

They were constructed from steel and sited in the safest downstairs room in a house.  The intention was to use the fabric of the house to protect from bomb blasts, whilst the girder framework protected the occupants from collapsing ceilings, roofs etc.  They contained two layers: the base was a steel mattress 6ft 6" long x 4ft wide, the sides were 2ft 9" tall, and the top was a steel plate 1/8" thick.  Unlike the Anderson shelter, they were dry, did not smell, and were easily accessible.

400,000 had been ordered in 1941 but insufficient were available for distribution in 1944. As with the Anderson shelter, they were supplied free of charge but only to households with an income below £350: above this, they cost £7.12s.6d (£7.62) to buy.

As can be seen in the photo, Geoff and Peggy slept on the lower level, and the three children on the upper - Mark in a wooden drawer.    Prior to Geoff's Morrison Shelter being installed, Mark's cot, in the event of night-time raids, was moved to the downstairs lavatory which, being immediately underneath the stairs, was considered to be the safest location.

[Click here to return to the letters]



The main product of Gowllands Limited, whose Canadian agency occupied a significant part of the correspondence in the 1940s between Gladys Orford Gowlland and Geoffrey Price Gowlland, was (and still is) Ophthalmoscopes; and when William Gowlland left Henry Crouch and started up in business himself at the turn of the century, it was an ophthalmoscope that was the first instrument he made.

Ophthalmoscopes are used for examining the retina of the eye, and can be used for a variety of diagnostic tests.

For an excellent overview of them, and a brief summary of the most important other instruments in ophthalmology, click here for an excellent article by Richard Keeler, for many years the Managing Director of the well-known company of Keeler Optical Limited in Windsor, the leading British manufacturer of ophthalmological equipment.



For a listing of the Gowlland patents, and explanations thereof, click here.

The European Patent Office lists sixty-one patents in the name of "Gowlland", as follows:-


To replicate this, go to http://www.epo.org/searching/free/espacenet.html and click on "Open Espacenet at the EPO".   In "Smart Search" insert "Gowlland" and then click on "Search".  Twenty-five patents will be listed.  On bottom left click on "Load more results for export": twenty-five more will appear.    Repeat this procedure for the final eleven.

[If the same page loads, go the the top RH corner of it, and press the RH arrow above the word "Page"]

What was described as the "Gowland Lens" [sic] appears in the Americal Optical biography of Dr Estelle Glancy - click here.   Our attention was drawn to this in July 2013 - we had no prior knowledge of this lady.  Hypothetically, there would seem to have been a collaboration between her and Henry: presumably she was the theorist, and Henry was the practical man struggling with how to manufacture such lenses.




Physical Characteristics

In 1942 Geoffrey Gowlland summarised what he felt to be the predominant Gowlland male characteristics as follows:-

The only features common to the family seem to be greater than average height, brown eyes, dark hair and darkish complexions.  Hair tends to grey in middle age, rather than leaving bald patches.  Mostly slim in early manhood, tending to get stouter and heavier in middle and later life.  No traces of hereditary diseases such as colour blindness; but a number seem to have a degree of "double-jointedness".  In the period 1880-1942, average age at death (when due to natural causes) is about seventy.



In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries citizens participated in polls for choosing members of parliament and for appointment as knights of the Shire.  This resulted from the 1696 "Act for regulating Elections of Members to service in Parliament".  The franchise, enabling an individual to vote, was important as without it an individual was not permitted to trade, to exercise a craft, or open a shop.  The requirement was to be a freeholder with freehold lands or hereditaments of yearly value forty shillings.

Most of these are available on micro-fiche (they have to be bought!) and details may be found on:-



Joseph Gowl(l)and's name appears as a freeholder of Buckland in the 1754 Poll of Knights of the Shire - Kent (here).  There was always some uncertainty as to whether the "Buckland" was the tiny village close to Faversham, in North Kent; or the much larger Buckland-by-Dover, in South Kent close to Dover, and a known location for the Gowlland ancestors.  The fact that the fifth name listed stated "Buckl. n. D" implied that the first four were different, and that therefore the Joseph Gowland listed might have come from North Kent.  However in March 2010 a close examination of the 1734 Poll revealed that there were five Buckland names (none known to us), all five of whom showed their abode as "Buckland"; and four of them showed their freehold as "Buckland" whereas the fifth showed "Alkham" - this parish being nearly adjacent to Buckland-by-Dover.  We therefore now are reasonably confident that all mentions of Buckland related to Buckland-by-Dover and thus are of Gowlland ancestors.


It should be mentioned that the 1754 Poll Book also contains mentions of Wm GOLDER (Northbourne) and John GOLDEN (Rochester).


Two other Poll Books searched in 2010 list a number of parishes with names that may be associated with the Gowlland Family, and these are summarised here:-



1734 POLL BOOK    
Abode Name Freehold
Buckland 5 unknown names Four Buckland, one Alkham
Canterbury Edward THORNTON Canterbury
  J PILCHER Canterbury
  Charles NORRIS Goodnestone
  John QUESTED Standford
  Samuel NORRIS Elbam
Chilham John QUESTED Chilham
  John SUTTON Challock
Deal Thos PEARCE Deal
  John IGGLEDON Deal
  Daniel SUTTON Folkestone
  James IGGLEDON Deal
  Joseph IGGLEDON Mongeham
Dover Jeremiah HOWLAND Dover
  Jacob GOLDER Hythe
  Edward GARDNER Dover
  George PILCHER Dover
  Thos OSBORNE Dover
Eyethorne Henry PEIRCE Eyethorne
Hythe Thos QUESTED Hythe
  Joseph QUESTED Hythe
Hougham Henry SUTTON Hougham
  Wm PILCHER W Hythe
St Lawrence Thanet John SUTTON St Lawrence  Thanet
New Romney Wm Pearce New Romney
Sutton by Dover James PILCHER Mongeham
Udimore, Sussex Thos PIERCE Wittersham, Kent



1790 POLL BOOK    
Abode Name Freehold
Canterbury ? PILCHER Canterbury
  Chas NORRIS Canterbury
  Several PEARCE Canterbury
  John QUESTED Canterbury
  Henry THORNTON Canterbury
Chatham Several PEARCE Chatham
  James TAPLEY Chatham
Chilham Wm TAPLEY Chilham
  John QUESTED Chilham
  John SUTTON Chilham
Deal John PEARCE Deal
  Several PILCHER Deal
  Benjamin GARDNER Deal
Dover Several THORNTON Dover
  Several PILCHER Dover
  Jacob GOLDER Dover
  John PEARCE Dover (House occupied by G Golden)
Gillingham Wm TAPLEY Gillingham
Heathfield, Sussex Toke SYMONDS Kingsmill, Kent
Hougham John PEARCE Hougham
  Henry SUTTON Hougham
Kingston Thos GOLDER Kingston
Longfield Henry THORNTON Living in Hatton Garden, London
Ospringe Henry PIERCE Living in Water Lane, London
Sibertswold John NORRIS Sibertswold
Tenterden John WEST Tenterden


Pre-1837 Sources


At the beginning of March 2008, Rosemary and John attended a one-day course on the above subject at The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies in Canterbury, Kent.   Much of what was learnt was very interesting.  But it should be stressed that in many areas there are differences of views and approach, and what follows is essentially just a summary of what emerged during the course itself.

How much of what we learnt will result in more information being obtained regarding the early Gowllands is, as yet, unclear.

Of future interest was the information regarding the so-called "Gibson Guides", which help to locate which records survive and where they can be accessed; and the details can be found by clicking here.   Summarised, they are as follows:-

Church Registers - an Introduction (1997)

Hearth Tax Returns, other Stuart Tax Lists, and the Association Rolls (1996)

Land Tax and Window Assessments c1690 - 1950 (1998)

Local Census Listings 1522 - 1930 (1991)

Marriage Indexes (2008)

Militia Lists and Musters (1757 - 1876 (1991)

Poor Law Union Records - Vol 1 - South Eastern England (1997)

Probate Jurisdiction - where to look for wills (2002)

Protestation Returns 1641 - 42 (1991)

Record offices and How to Find them (2002)

Tudor and Stuart Muster Rolls (1991)

The principal sources for records before 1837, we were told, are the following:-

Parish Registers

An admirable summary of this subject will be found by clicking here.

These were first introduced in 1538 by Thomas Cromwell, coinciding with the dissolution of the monasteries.  The instruction was that they be completed every week, recording the events of the preceding week (clearly some clerics were less than scrupulous in this respect and their completing the records two or more weeks later gave rise to errors or omissions).  

Initially they were written on paper (part of the reason why the majority of them have not survived), but in 1598 parchment was introduced, a more robust material; and the church officials were instructed to transcribe the old paper records, at least for Queen Elizabeth's reign, on to parchment, after which the paper records were destroyed.  In certain parishes duplicates of the old records were sent to the bishop of the diocese  -  these are known as Bishop's Transcripts. Not all the paper records were transcribed, however.

In general the records were written in Latin, but from about the mid-17th century English was used, and in 1733 Latin was prohibited.

Composite registration, comprising Baptisms (which can be used for researching births), Marriages, and Burials (used for deaths) initially had the three types of records jumbled up; but later the week's entries would be divided by category, all the baptisms, then all the marriages, and so on.

During the Commonwealth (1642 to 1660) most Parish Registers ceased.  In 1653 the Barebones Parliament legislated for the reintroduction of civil registration of births (not baptisms), marriages and deaths.  Marriages could alternatively be registered before the civil authority.  All these records, unfortunately, were destroyed.

After the Restoration in 1660, throughout the country there were mass retrospective baptisms.   Around this time,. therefore, frequently two or more siblings in a family show the same baptism date, even though their birth dates were different.

The regulations governing marriages were tightened in 1753 (after which date non-conformist Gowllands had to be married by an Anglican clergyman).

Uniformity of registers was introduced in 1812 by George Rose's Act. 


Key Dates

1538: The first Anglican parish registers began

1598: Queen Elizabeth decreed that all parish registers be retrospectively transcribed into parchment volumes to at least the beginning of her reign

1649-1660: During the Commonwealth records were meant to be kept in English instead of Latin, and many passed into the care of the new secular authorities. If they were not lost, they often contain gaps

1733: Latin in documents was abolished

1753: Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act was designed to put an end to clandestine marriages. It enacted that weddings could only be solemnised after the publication of banns or after the issuing of a licence, and registers were standardised. The Act also decreed that only Anglican clergyman (and Jews and Quakers) could conduct marriages, and minors could only marry with parental consent

1812: George Rose's Act decreed that church incumbents were to keep two specially printed registers to record baptisms and burials separately, plus the marriage register standardised by Hardwicke's Act

1836: Marriage Act: Superintendent Registrars were empowered to issue licences for marriage in the office of a registrar or in a Non-Conformist church. This Act spelled the end of the Established church's near-monopoly on legal marriage contracts (remember that Jews and Quakers were exempt), and civil registration began on 1st July 1837


Wills and Probate Records

A common misconception is that only wealthy people made Wills.  This isn't the case.  Simply expressed, they were made by someone "with something to leave".  Thus, for example, a wealthy tenant would be less likely to leave goods and chattels than, say, an average shop-keeper with his stock, or a labourer with the tools of his trade.  Land usually devolved by common law. 

For Wills proved before 1858, the Church was authorised to grant probate: thereafter it was secularised.    Church courts were organised in accordance with the Church itself, whereby a parish was part of a deanery, which was part of an archdeaconery, which was part of a diocese, which in turn was part of an archbishopric (Canterbury or York).

Wills proved in either an Archdeacon's or Diocesan court can be found in the local record office.

For goods of value above £5 (£10 in London) the Archbishopric Courts of Canterbury or York had jurisdiction - if property was held in both archbishoprics, Canterbury took precedence.

From 1750 an inventory needed to be attached to a Will.

In 1882 the Married Women's Property Act for the first time protected a wife's assets and enabled her to dispose of them as she wished: before then a married woman could make a will, but her husband didn't have to honour it.

The website www.originsnetwork.com contains many databases concerning probate records, specifically the following relating to the south of the country:-

Bank of England Wills Extracts Index                1717 - 1845

Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills Index    1750 - 1800

Archdeaconery Court of London Index              1700 - 1807


The website www.nationalarchives.gov.uk contains the following, in registers PROB10 and PROB11:-

PCC Wills                                                               1354 - 1858

Death Duty or Estate Duty records                      1796 - 1811





 Parish Apprenticeships and Illegitimacy

[Taken more or less verbatim from website http://www.mdlp.co.uk/resources/general/poor_law.htm]

Parish Apprentices

Children of poor families, orphans and widows children were often apprenticed  at the parish's expense to masters in other parishes.  This was a way of disposing of possible future problems by altering their legal settlement status.  If they served their full term of seven years, then their legal settlement would be at the place of their master's settlement.  Girls were usually apprenticed until they attained 21 or got married, problem solved, and boys till they were 24.  This extra three years gave the master a bit more cheap labour as an incentive.

Although many of these apprenticeships were just an excuse for cheap labour, some were meaningful: many a parish apprentice prospered at his new home and in fact took apprentices from his old parish later on.

The Parish Indentures were important documents and sworn before the local Justice by the overseers and the churchwardens.  Two copies were made one for the master and one for the parish.  The master had a legal obligation to feed cloth and impart the mysteries of his trade for the duration of the contract.



Illegitimacy during this period was no big deal: it was accepted it happened and did not appear to be any bar to future marriage to the girl in question. Where it was a problem was with the poorer class of labourer who lived on the brink of poverty. 

When a girl from this class reached 13 or even earlier she would be placed in service somewhere, so decreasing the financial burden on the household.  If she became pregnant she would invariably lose her job and be thrown back on her family for support.  The home parish would naturally become concerned that this would force the family into relief and, if she died in childbirth (a real risk) there would be an orphan to support. 

If  she was working away from her own parish, at the first sign of her pregnancy she would be removed, since if the child were born there she could claim relief  whilst the child was at nurse (defined as up to the age of 3 years).  With this in mind there was a necessity to try to find out who the father was. The girl would be examined and if the father could be identified then an order for both maintenance and the cost of  delivering the child would  be issued.  Issued by the church wardens and overseers of the poor this order would be implemented by the parish constable and in default a warrant was frequently issued and his possessions could be sold towards the debt. These orders were commonly called filiation orders or bastardy bonds. The maintenance order could be a lump sum paid to the parish, a minimum of £40, usually out of the question for most fathers; or a fixed sum for the lying in and a weekly allowance until the child was 14 years. A labourer would have a smaller sum fixed, say 2s a week and a master or farmer up to 3s 6d. 


The Parish Chest

In 1552 an Act directed churches to obtain a strong chest suitable for storing parish documents and records, and also alms.  The vestry committee was charged with overseeing the administration of the contents.

Churchwardens were effectively “spies” within the parish.  Thus, for example, they could raise a “presentment” which detailed charges levied against an individual or groups of people, wherein parish funds might be involved.  An excellent summary of the nature and scope of presentments, in this case for the Nottingham area, may be found by clicking here.

Most Family Record Centres hold collection of records from the Parish Chests of certain parishes: so far no attempt has been made to find out if any records exist for parishes associated with early Gowlland.


Census Substitutes

There are a few records which may provide information similar to that contained in the ten-yearly national census (which started in 1841).  The overwhelming majority of them have not survived, unfortunately.


Early 19th Century Censuses

Four censuses were held on 10th March 1801, 27th May 1811, 28th May 1821 and 30th May 1831.  All that was recorded was the name of some of the inhabitants and the original notebooks were largely destroyed.   A few printed summaries survive, and details of these can be found in Gibson's "Local Census Listing", and/or on the F.H.S website.


Militia Lists 1757 - 1831

These recorded inhabitants aged between eighteen and forty-five, liable for enrolment in the Militia in the event of war.


Defence Lists - 1798 Posse Comitatus   and 1803/4 Levee en Masse

These are lists of inhabitants liable for enrolment in the event of invasion (most probably from France): the age limits were seventeen and fifty-five.


Land Tax 1693 - 1963

Conceived as a census of landowners, it recorded both owners and occupiers.  In many cases the records are also held in the Quarter Session.


Window Tax 1696 - 1851

This taxed only the owner, not the occupant.

For further information on the above two records, coincidentally for the city of Dover, click here.


Association Oath Roll 1696

Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688-9, the regime of William III faced continued threats from the remaining supporters of the ousted Catholic King James II. In 1696, a Jacobite assassination plot prompted the drafting of an Association of loyalty to William, modelled on Elizabethan precedent (a similar bond was drafted in defence of Elizabeth I in 1584), but this time imposed on a much wider section of the population. The returns for some English counties were even larger than those gathered for the 1641 Protestation. The detail recorded on these Association oath rolls was, in some cases, also much greater than that included in the Protestation returns of 1641: often they divided signatories by occupation with separate columns for bricklayers, barber-surgeons, tanners, coopers and free-masons. The humble professions linked with some of the names on these association rolls, including servants and journeymen, indicate that the Association was not only taken by property-holders.  Very few of these records survive  -  see The National Archives website.

Marriage Duty Assessment 1695 - 1705

The province or archbishopric of Canterbury covered all England and Wales except for the northern counties in the four dioceses of the archbishopric of York (York, Durham, Chester and Carlisle). Marriage licences were generally issued by the local dioceses, but above them was the jurisdiction of the archbishop. Where the prospective bride and groom were from different dioceses it would be expected that they obtain a licence from the archbishop; in practice, the archbishop residing at Lambeth, and the actual offices of the province being in London, which was itself split into myriad ecclesiastical jurisdictions, and spilled into adjoining dioceses, this facility was particularly resorted to by couples from London and the home counties, although there are quite a few entries referring to parties from further afield. The licences indicated an intention to marry, but not all licences resulted in a wedding.


Hearth Tax 1662 - 1689

For details from the National Archives website, click here.

These records are accessed by location, not by family's name: consequently it is virtually impossible to trace any Gowllands, although there are rolls mentioning both Hougham and Dover.


Protestation Oath Returns 1641

The 1641 Protestation oath bound subscribers to defend ‘the true reformed Protestant religion, expressed in the Doctrine of the Church of England’ against the perceived threat of ‘Popery’.  In Devon, for example, over 60,000 individuals signed or, if semi- or illiterate, added their mark to this oath. The content of the Protestation appeared quite uncontroversial (even some Catholics surreptitiously took it). However, in the fevered religious atmosphere of the 1640s, the Protestation was incredibly divisive. Some of those who signed the Protestation believed that it required them to attack ‘Popery’ by smashing ‘idolatrous’ stained glass windows, as the parishioners of St. Thomas the Apostle, London, did after taking the oath in June 1641. Many clergymen saw it as part of a puritan attack on the episcopacy, noting that the oath only bound subscribers to the ‘doctrine’ but not the government of the church. Nonetheless, despite the controversy that the Protestation aroused, it was the most widely subscribed of the oaths of allegiance imposed during the 1640s.


Tudor and Stuart Muster Rolls 1522 - c1640

These covered males aged fifteen to sixty.  Although such records were kept prior to 1522, none of these survives.  They can be useful for tracing the localization of a surname.



Prisoners-of-war were permitted under the Geneva Convention to be employed in a non-military capacity, and many German and Italian prisoners-of-war were used on farms and in other outdoors activities, in particular undertaking repairs to locations devastated by bombing (housing was desperately short after the war, and re-building needed to be resumed as quickly and intensively as possible).  Also, as Geoff's letter indicates, they were employed clearing away fortifications and coastal defences after the war had ended.  They worked in gangs under Army supervision.  It was often 1946 or 1947 before they were permitted to return home.  But, unlike their counterparts in Germany during the war, the majority of them did not feel badly treated during their time in England; and indeed a surprising number of them married English girls and settled down here.

[Click here to return to the letters]

Privy Council Acts

The Privy Council in the reign of Edward VI was responsible for internal security in England and Wales, and dealt with all manner of special and urgent matters.  An entry from early June in 1551 records the issue of fourteen warrants to be delivered to individuals "in recompense of certayne persones by them taken and freely delivered, by virtue of the late Peace, without ransome" (in those days the usual procedure was that a prisoner of noble birth would only be released against the payment of a ransom, and evidently on this occasion the named individuals waived this opportunity of self-enrichment).  The entry is shown below - for an enlarged image, click here.

The interest for us is the fifth name, that of John Gollande.  The variants of "Gowlland" are numerous and most of them have no connection with us.  But this entry intrigues because three of the fourteen names specifically indicate "of Dovour" (Dover).  And such an origin is bound to raise the possibility of this John Gollande being an ancestor.

Protestation of 1641

By the end of 1640, King Charles I had become very unpopular.  Parliament forced him to make changes in the Constitution which gave them a greater voice in how the country was governed. From then on, Parliament was split into two factions - Royalists (Cavaliers) who supported the King, and Parliamentarians (Roundheads) who wanted political and religious reform.

On 3 May 1641, every Member of the House of Commons was ordered to make a declaration of loyalty to the crown.  This was ratified next day by the House of Lords. They called it their Protestation against " an arbitrarie and tyrannical government" and another order was made that every Rector, Churchwarden and Overseer of the Poor had to appear in person before the JPs in their Hundred to make this Protestation Oath in person.  It was to  be a declaration of their belief in the" Protestant religion, allegiance to the King and support for the rights and privileges of Parliament".

They then had to go back home to their own parish where any two of them were to require the same oath of allegiance from all males over the age of 18. The names of all who refused to make the oath were to be noted and assumed to be Catholics.  Women and children were not required to make the oath.

In Kent he records of only twenty-five Kent survive, mainly in the eastern part of the county.

No GOWL(L)AND entries exist.

Three MAPLE entries are recorded, Stephen (of Ickham), Thomas (of Stapel in Downham Hundred) and William (of Goodnestone next Wingham): note that Susannah Maple, who married our ancestor Joseph Gowlland in 1734, was born in Ickham, and her father, born about 1685, was named Stephen.  So presumably Susannah was a descendant of the Stephen of the Protestation.

And there are seven GO(U)LDER entries, John and Richard (of Dover), James (of Ringwold), Bartholomew (of Eastry - duplicate entry), Roger and John (of Eastry) and John (of Worth).




Ratcliffe Highway (The)

John Gowlland had started compiling information on the Ratcliffe Highway, which featured prominently in his ancestors' history, but subsequently discovered a website at:-


which provides a wealth of information.

Amongst the events described are the notorious Ratcliffe Murders, which appear in most histories of London, and concern two households who were killed near Ratcliffe Highway  In December 1811.  First, Timothy and Celia Marr, their baby and shop boy were clubbed to death at home with a shipwright’s maul.  The, twelve days later, John and Elizabeth Williamson, and their servant were murdered with a ripping chisel.   Local magistrates, constables and watchmen appeared powerless in the face of growing public panic.   Amid fear and rumours, sailors and locals were rounded up and questioned.  The suicide of John Williams, a seaman held on flimsy evidence, provided the authorities with a ready culprit.   Seen by crowds of spectators, his body was dumped at the junction of Cannon St and Cable St with a stake driven through his heart.   But even now there are considerable doubts as to whether he was in fact the murderer.  Clear parallels exist with the Jack the Ripper murders.

Well known in its day was The Ballad of Ratcliffe Highway,  whose words are:-

As I was a-walking down Wapping
I stepped into Ratcliffe Highway,
And there I went into an alehouse
To spend all that night and next day.

Two charming young girls sat beside me.
They asked me if I'd money to sport.
"Bring a bottle of wine, change a guinea."
"I see you are one of the sort."

The bottle was placed on the table
With glasses for every one;
When I asked for the change of my guinea
She gave me a verse of a song.

The old woman she flew in a passion,
And placed her two hands on her hip,
Saying, "Young man, you don't know our fashion.
You think you're on board of your ship."

"If that is your fashion, to rob me,
It's a fashion I don't much admire.
So tip me the change of my guinea,
Or a broadside into you I'll fire."

The bottle that stood on the table
I quick at her head did let fly,
And down on the ground she did tumble
And loudly for mercy did cry.

The gold watch that hung on the mantel
I into my pocket did slip;
And, darn my old shoes, didn't I trick her,
And soon got on board of my ship.

Our anchor being weighed at our bow, boys,
Out tops'ls being well sheeted home,
We soon bid adieu to fair London
And all the flash girls in the town.

[Source: Palmer, Roy (ed) (1986) Oxford Book of Sea Songs, Oxford, OUP]

Now, in 2005, the Ratcliffe Highway, renamed as "The Highway", A1203, runs from Tower Hill in the West, through St George in the East and Shadwell, north of Wapping, to Limehouse Basin in the East.  It is predominately a thoroughfare with very few residential or retail properties.  A more accurate idea of how it was in the 19th century can be obtained from the first of the photos below.  Wapping, Shadwell, Stepney and indeed the whole area is now transformed and it is difficult to reconcile today's surroundings with those which caused so much bitterness in George Castle Gowlland.



Shops adjacent to The Highway, possibly with original fronts.


Saint George in the East  -  on The Highway opposite Wapping Lane


The Highway in 2005 - a busy through road running south of Commercial Road

The East End of London in the early 19th Century was very different from that of today: for more information about this, click here.



Rationing - Clothes

It was only on 1st June 1941 that clothes rationing was introduced.  Churchill had resisted it, believing it to be "unnecessary, unworkable and unpopular"; but Oliver Lyttleton at the Board of Trade persuaded Churchill that, as stock levels of wool and cotton had dropped to 20% of their pre-war levels, there was a real probability that, without control, the better-off would embark on a buying spree, leaving nothing in the shops for the poorer consumer.

The difference between rationing of food and of clothes was that the former was based on value, whereas the latter was based on the garment itself, not its cost.  Thus with food one could theoretically choose between small quantities of expensive produce or large quantities of economical food; whereas with clothes the rich, able to pay for more expensive and thus longer-lasting clothes of better quality, would use no more coupons than the poor.

At the beginning, everyone received sixty-six coupons per year.  This allocation was reduced to forty in 1943, and then increased slightly to forty-eight in 1944.

For a man, with sixty-six coupons to use, a two-piece suit took twenty-five coupons, trousers eight (a Scotsman’s kilt took only six!), a shirt five, vest and pants eight each, socks three, shoes seven, tie one, handkerchief one, pyjamas eight and dressing gown eight.

For a woman, a two-piece suit took eighteen coupons, a coat eighteen also, a raincoat (unlined) nine, woollen dress eleven, cotton or rayon dress seven, blouse five, jumpers (sweaters) five, shoes five (but this was soon increased to seven), vests three, knickers three, bras and suspender belts one each, and stockings two.

For children under four, no rationing applied.  Older children were included in the scheme but, as their clothes required less material, the allocations were more generous, thereby reflecting the additional pressure of children growing out of clothes; and from 1942 the children’s ration was increased by a further ten points.

Pregnant women were given first fifty, then sixty, extra coupons to use for maternity clothes and a layette.

Knitting wool was also rationed; but it still required fewer coupons to knit garments than to buy them. Throughout the war women knitted obsessively

Second-hand clothes did not require coupons but prices were regulated. Stock damaged in air-raids could be sold at reduced coupon value provided it did not exceed a certain price. At first sheets and furnishing fabric were not rationed but, when it became clear that clever dressmakers were using the supply to add to their wardrobes, these were put on coupons too. Blackout material was coupon-free, and it was not unknown for home dressmakers to use it for making garments.

It was reported that at the end of the first year the average number of coupons left per person was three, while many had run out altogether.

As the war dragged on, people became shabbier and shabbier. Unwelcome was the magazine Vogue’s jaunty assertion that "il faut SKIMP pour être chic" . Virtually all reports on Home Front morale featured complaints about clothing coupons, and by July 1944 people were finding it "increasingly difficult to keep themselves even respectable".

Geoff Gowlland’s correspondence with Gladys gives a personal viewpoint on the effects of these regulations.  As with food rationing, he acknowledged that the arrangements worked extraordinarily well.  He explained to Gladys that everyone was becoming shabbier (interestingly, this was a contemporary observation, whereas one might expect that the shabbiness would only become apparent after the event).  The generosity of Gladys (who, it must be remembered, had met him only once many years before, when he was still a schoolboy) in sending regular gift parcels to supplement the clothing ration, as well as the food ration, was remarkable.  And, just as with food she concentrated on providing a range of nourishing items suitable for the children as well as the adults, so with clothing she knew which items required the largest number of coupons and filled her parcels accordingly.

Human ingenuity, of course, overcame many of the restrictions.  The WVS [Women's Voluntary Service] opened clothing exchanges where clothes of growing children could be exchanged for the next size up.  Net curtains were stitched into blouses, petticoats and nightdresses.  Parachute silk was like gold dust, and anyone lucky enough to get any was set up for evening dresses, luxurious underwear, or even wedding dresses.  Blankets were turned into coats: candlewick bedspreads into dressing gowns: curtains into dresses and skirts.

"Making-and-mending" was what millions of poorer Britons had been accustomed to all their lives.  So the majority of women thought nothing of using pyjama trousers to make children’s vests, of turning sheets "sides-to-middle", of making two pairs of boy’s trousers from one pair of their father’s, of knitting new sleeves to replace those on worn jackets or coats, and of unpicking old and worn knitted garments in order to salvage the wool with which to knit replacements.

Sewing leather patches on the worn elbows of men’s jackets, and cutting the toes out of children’s sandals and shoes, to defer the need to buy replacements for growing feet, were still commonplace in the early 1950s, as John Gowlland recalls from his boarding school days.

Having mentioned Gladys’s generosity above, it might be added in conclusion that it was not only Geoff Gowlland’s family who benefited from her selflessness: she was also sending parcels to other recipients in England.

Clothes rationing was finally abolished in 1949.

[Source - "Wartime Britain 1939 – 1945" by Juliet Gardiner, published in 2004 by Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0 7553 1026 8. A fascinating book strongly recommended by John Gowlland.  See also "Rationing - Food"]


Rationing – Food


In the 1930s Britain imported most of its food - 50% of meat, 70% of cheese, 70% of sugar,80% of fruit and an astonishing 90% of cereals and of fats.   


Sir William Beveridge, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Food during the First World War, was appointed in 1936 to chair a sub-committee tasked with ensuring that, in the event of war, there would be sufficient food for everyone, and it would be divided as equally as possible.  Land was turned over from pasturage to growing crops such as corn, potatoes and cattle fodder; and sweeping emergency powers were given to the Ministry of Agriculture.


On 29th September 1939, National Registration Day, each householder was obliged to fill in a form detailing the occupants of their house: on this basis identity cards were issued, and ration books were filled in with the names and addresses of the recipients and posted to them.


Food rationing began on 8th January 1940, when each person became entitled, on a weekly basis, to (4oz) 100gms of butter, (12oz) 300gms of sugar and (4oz) 100gms of bacon and ham.


On 11th March 1940 meat was included, to the value of 1/10d (9 pence) per week. Basing the ration on value gave the consumer the choice of either a small amount of high-value meat such as steak or chops, or a larger amount of cheaper meat for braising or stewing.  Later in the year the ration fell to 1/2d (6 pence), and in 1941 to 1/0d (5 pence).


Cheese was first rationed in May 1941, the weekly allowance being 1oz (25gm).  In July 1942 this was increased to 8z (200grammes); but then reduced again in May 1943 to 3oz (150gms).


Tea became rationed in July 1943 (2oz or 50gms per week).


Jam, marmalade, syrup and treacle (2oz or 50gms per week) were rationed from March 1941; but from June 1943 the ration could be taken as sugar which gave the housewife greater flexibility.


Margarine was also rationed in July 1943 6oz or 150gms per week): there was some overlap between butter, margarine and cooking fat (2oz or 50gms per week).


These were the only food rationed during the war.  Others, in particular eggs and milk which were seasonally effected, were “quasi-rationed” or “allocated”.


The egg allocation was less than one per person per week, but with more for children and expectant mothers.  Those who kept chickens were able to obtain poultry feed only if they could prove that family and friends had registered with them as their egg provider.  From June 1942 dried eggs were introduced and people were allowed one tin (equivalent to twelve eggs) every eight weeks.


The milk allowance was progressively cut until it stood at 3 pints (1.70 litres) per week.  Dried milk was also available from time to time, but was mainly intended for babies.


During the War rationing was suggested for various other foods, including canned and processed foods, dried fruit, rice, breakfast cereals and biscuits, but demand for such food varied from time to time, and also continuity of supply could not be guaranteed, a cardinal tenet of the rationing scheme (although one that the government came perilously close to being unable to fulfil on several occasions)


Tobacco was never rationed, and in 1941 it was included in the US Lend Lease scheme.  However there were recurrent shortages and, to try to deal with absenteeism amongst essential workers leaving their jobs to queue for rumoured deliveries of cigarettes at their local shop, Beaverbrook arranged for canteens of more than 200 workers, and NAAFIs, to sell up to forty cigarettes per week per person.


The tax revenue on cigarettes was vital to the Government, as was that on beer whose consumption increased during the war, albeit of a watered-down version.


Potatoes were never rationed, although supplies could be erratic: it was believed that it would constitute the bulk of the diet of manual workers who were not receiving much larger rations despite the calories they were expending.  Bread also was never rationed, (although it was after the war): however, in order to save on wheat (the majority of which was imported in the early years of the war), the extraction rate of flour was raised, to produce the much more nutritious, but widely disliked, wholemeal “National Loaf”.


Fruit and vegetables, fish, game, sausages and offal were coupon-free, although frequently supplies were unavailable.  (Butchers’ favoured customers could hope to receive kidneys, liver, oxtails, hearts and so on from under the counter).  Indeed, it was the unrationed foods which gave rise to the image of wartime drudgery, of housewives queueing endlessly for tomatoes (mostly coming pre-war from Holland and the Channel Islands) or onions (80% from France and Spain).  Fruit, and oranges in particular, was short: shopkeepers obtaining supplied of the scarcer fruits were supposed to reserve them for children for seven (later reduced to five) days.


Geoff Gowlland’s wartime letters to his cousin Gladys several times commend the working of the rationing scheme, and in particular point out that the diet might have been boring but it was never wholly insufficient.  In retrospect, it is frequently said that the nation’s health actually improved during wartime, some of the reasons being that the rationing and allocating arrangements gave a balanced if unimaginative diet, that the millions serving in the forces were fed to specific standards and that the very poor became able to include foods in their diet that hitherto had been unaffordable.


Food rationing was finally abolished in 1954, the final items de-rationed being meat and bacon.


[Source - "Wartime Britain 1939 – 1945" by Juliet Gardiner, published in 2004 by Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0 7553 1026 8. A fascinating book strongly recommended by John Gowlland.  See also "Rationing - Clothes"]









Various links to Rodmersham  are included here, as GPG's references to Godmersham were, we now, think mistaken, and he meant Rodmersham.  The most compelling argument is in his letter of 16th March 1951 to Brigadier Geoffrey Cathcart Gowlland, in which he writes


The earliest record that has come to light has been a Robert, who held Godmersham Manor.  (Are you familier with Jane Austin’s history? If so, the name will be familiar), which he left in 1529 to his son, Richard, who dies without issue, and then to his daughter Ann, who married John Pordage, from whom the estate has been handed on.


The Pordage family owned Rodmersham Manor for some three hundred years: as far as we can ascertain, they had no connection with Godmersham.


The third of the family trees reproduced in this website begins with "Robert Gowland of Godmersham Manor, Canterbury, died 1529": the same tree shows two children born to him, Richard (b 1529) and Anne; and four other descendants, Stephen (b 1601), Humphrey (d? 1611), Stephen (1613) and Thomas (1638).  Thereafter, this tree shows only names already known to us.


As an interim step, therefore, this entry includes links relating to Rodmersham and the Pordage family.


For a detailed history of Rodmersham Manor, go to




For the Pordage pedigree in the British Library, go to





A 1574 Gowland mention in connection with the name Tappenden (there are numerous Tappendens still living in Rochester area)





Pordage/Lynde pedigree






Archdeaconry Court of Canterbury Will Index 'P' (maybe John Pordage - Rodmersham - d 1591, and Robert Pordage - Rodmersham - d 1592)






Ditto 'C' (maybe Elizabeth Cowland - Dottington (3 miles from Rodmersham - d 1554






Ditto  -  in Rodmersham





More 16th century Pordages






D'Elboux Manuscripts summary mentioning Robert Pordage of Ospringe (yet another of GPG's villages!)







Registration etc Districts




When compulsory registration of births, marriages and deaths was introduced in 1837, the countries were divided into counties, and then into registration districts.   For an overview of England, click here.  


The two areas in which we are mainly interested are Dover (here) and Canterbury (here).   The Dover map highlights the proximity of Hougham and Buckland, the areas which mainly interest us in the early eighteenth century; and in the Canterbury map the anomalous Blaine entry (see Loose Ends No 1 - here) is shown to be adjacent to Canterbury and indeed was later absorbed into Canterbury (probably, however, the position remains that this Henry Gowlland, for whom this birth certificate is the only document out of several to spell the name with two L's, was nothing to do with us).


The ancient parishes in East Kent (in other words, those predating the introduction of ten-yearly censuses), incorporating both Dover and Canterbury, are shown on a detailed map, for which click here.  


Other areas may be accessed through http://images.google.com, and then putting in a description of what is wanted.


For changes in boundaries of districts over the years, go to http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/genuki/reg/







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.

Click here and here for the vendor's complete technical description of the sextant:

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.



Society of Genealogists


A search of their parish indexes in the autumn of 2009 showed the following Parish Index entries:-


ACRISE         10 Golder 1634-1741


ALKHAM        3 Golder 1714-1723        c 60 Sutton 1645-1753


BUCKLAND   Gowland [B]   1735 Thos  1736 An  1739 Geo  1741 Sus  1742 Joyce  1744 Jos  1741 Stev  1749 Thos

                         13 Castle 1725-1741     16 Sutton 1664-1754




Settlement and Settlement Certificates 


These notes are taken from an extremely interesting article entitled "The Poor Law in Rural Communities 1601 - 1834" - click here - and it also provides a link to an equally interesting site "Workhouses" - click here.


The explanations preface details of the two settlement certificates included in the Gowlland website - for these, click here.


Very briefly, from Saxon times, the 90% or so of the population involved in agriculture would by tradition have its poor cared for by their parish; and in 1563 the poor were categorized for the first time into Deserving (the very old, the very young, the infirm and those in financial difficulties resulting from a change of circumstances), and Undeserving (criminals, migrant workers and beggars).  In 1572 the first local poor law tax was introduced, in 1597 the post of overseer of the poor was created, and the great act of 1601 consolidated all the above measures.


The Poor Law of 1601 required that every individual had a parish of legal settlement and, if relief were required, it would be the responsibility of that parish to provide it.  The parish was required each Easter to appoint two overseers of the poor, whose responsibility it was to set the poor law tax and to arrange for its collection and for its distribution to those in need.   These overseers were intended to be "substantial householders", but in practice, in small country parishes, the only requirement was their being rate payers.


Amongst the criteria for legal settlement were the following:-


1    To be born in a parish of legally settled parent(s).

2.   Up to 1662, by living there: after 1662 you could be thrown out within 40 days.

3    After 1691 you had to give 40 days notice before moving in.

4    Renting property worth more than £10 per annum in the parish or paying taxes on such a property

5    Holding a Parish Office

6    Being hired by a legally settled inhabitant for a continuous period of 365 days

7    Having served a full apprenticeship to a legally settled man for the full 7 years.

8    Having previously been granted poor relief (implying that you had previously been accepted as being legally settled)

9    Females changed their legal settlement on marriage, adopting their husbands legal place of settlement.


If  you could not satisfy these requirements you could move into a new parish using a settlement certificate providing your home parish would issue one. This was virtually a form of indemnity issued by your home parish stating that you and your family and future issue belonged to them and they would take you all back at their expense if you became chargeable to the parish. Because of the expense of  removal it would be unlikely your home parish would issue a certificate for a parish a large distance away.




If you or your family became or threatened to become reliant on parish relief and you could not satisfy the strict guidelines for legal settlement then you were liable to be removed to the place of your last legal settlement.  If you were a certificate man the you would be sent back to your old parish at their expense; but if no settlement certificate were in force then a removal order was applied for from the local Justices of the Peace. This would usually involve an Examination as to Settlement carried out before the local justice, overseers and another ratepayer in order to ascertain your place of last legal settlement.  In tenuous cases others might have to be examined also, parents, grandparents and siblings  These examinations could run into many pages, virtually the life story of the individual's family.



Gowland Settlement Certificates


In the Gowlland Family website, there are three documents relating to settlements.  As it happens, only one of them can be precisely identified with known Gowlands but, in the hope that the connections will be made in the future, they are included here.


1.     Josiah Gowlland of Edmonton 



In 1821 Josiah Gowlland moved to Edmonton in North London (click here - page 13 - entry number 399 - date 1st August 1821) and a settlement certificate was issued in his name.  There is no mention of his wife Peggy, nor of any of their children.  It is not clear whether he moved there as an inmate in the Workhouse, or as a teacher of music there.


Intriguingly there is an entry further down the page, number 428, in the  name of "Josiah Gowland" [one "L"]  



2.    Thomas Gowland of Rochester.



1728 Settlement Certificate signed by Thomas Gowland - click on image for enlarged view


This Settlement Certificate signed by Thomas Gowland in his capacity as Church Warden and Overseer of the Poor in the Parish of St Margaret's, Rochester, duly authorised by the Justices of the Peace, acknowledges that William and Elizabeth Waller, and their son William, are legally settled there; and it is addressed to the responsible authorities in Deal (?) in Kent.


We have no known Thomas Gowland of Rochester in our direct line from this period; but we have two apprenticeship deeds dated 1718 (here) and 1736 (here) naming the apprentice-master as Thomas Gowland of Chatham and, as Chatham and Rochester are within the same connurbation, it seems very probable this is the same Thomas Gowland.


3       Joseph Theophilus Gowland  -  Dover


Details have been obtained of a Settlement Certificate issued in his name in 1774, naming him, his wife and their two children, confirming settlement in the parish of St Mary's, Dover, having moved from Buckland-by-Dover, both locations associated with (our) Joseph Gowlland's family.   We have a birth record from 1775 (here) of Joseph Theophilus Gowland, naming father Joseph Theophilus Gowland and mother Ann.


It is also possible that the 1808 burial (here) of Ann Gowlland (Joseph Theophilus Snr's wife is named as "Ann" on Joseph Theophilus Jnr's birth record) relates to them. 


No more definite information exists at this time.


The precise wording of the Settlement record is:-


Joseph [Theophilus - crossed out] Gowland, Settlement Examination - at Buckland, settled St Mary, Dover 1774 August 19.

Ref: CCA: U3/30/16/1


Joseph Gowland, and his wife and two children [names not given]. Settlement Certificate - by Buckland to St Mary, Dover. 1174 December 6.

Ref: CCA: U3/30/13/2





Spelling in the 18th and 19th Centuries


A brief comment  concerning spelling.  There are two well-known problems that compound each other. 


The first, at least in the social class of the Gowlland ancestors, is that names didn't take their final shape until around the middle of the 19th century. 


The second is that the minister, clerk or whoever wrote records usually had no interest in trying to decipher the phonetics of a name and, in many cases, the records were written as much as days after the events. 


Unfortunately, early family research took the view that the name as written was "official" or "legal".


What is rather unusual with the Gowlland family is that the (a) name took its definitive form at an early stage (obviously some time before Joseph's signature in 1748) and (b) there seems to have been a high degree of literacy (ability to write).


Incidentally, and by the way, in Middle English (used between the 12th and 15th centuries), "gowland" is the present participle of the verb "goulen", meaning to howl or cry.   I'm not suggesting any connection whatsoever,  but it's interesting.


[Source - Neil Gowlland - May 2006]


Street Lighting


In the mid-18th century, Parliament passed laws requiring the streets be lit.  In Canterbury implementation of this law fell within the jurisdiction of the Canterbury Court of Quarter Sessions.    Richard Symons (b c1725), father of Sarah Symons (b c1750)  who married Stephen Gowlland (1747 - 1802) was involved in this.    In the Canterbury Minute book of Monthly Meeting of Justices, dated 16th September 17566, appears the following:-


Lamp Director.


It is ordered by this Court that John Lade, one of the aldermen of the said City, shall be and he is hereby appointed to place and fix lamps in the streets and other public places in this city, and to cause the same to be lighted according to the Act of Parliament in that behalf made and provided


Lamp Assessors


It is ordered by this Court and this Court doth nominate and appoint the several persons hereafter named to make and settle a rate or rates assessment or assessments upon the several inhabitants and occupiers of houses within the said city for the buying setting up and maintaining and keeping in spare [?] the lamps erected and to be erected in the said city in pursuance of the Act of Parliament in that behalf made and provided.


Names [and parishes of Canterbury within which they live]


Thomas HARROD  -  St Margaret

Richard SYMONS - St Andrew

Abraham PREBBLE - All Saints

William SANKEY - St Mary Bredin

Benjamin PARSONS - St Mary Magdalene

George SILLS - St Peter

Thomas WEAR - St Mary Bredman

Thomas HARTUP - St Mary Northgate

Edward ELLIS - St Paul

Matthew BROWNING - St Alphage

Edward PREBBLE jnr - St Martin

Richard PORTER - St Mildred

Henry MEDGETT - St George the Martyr

Edmund RANDALL - Holy Cross Westgate





Entire books are available on the subject of surnames. 


A few possibilities:-



Origin of surnames.    http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/concise/concise.html


The entry of interest (see above) is:          "Goulen, v. to howl, cry, S, S2; gowland, pr. p., S3; see 3*oulen", and the entry mentioned at the end of the above is                    3*oulen, v. to howl, cry, MD; goulen, S, S2; 3*aulen, MD; yawle, HD; gowland, pr. p., S3.--Icel. gaula.    The difference between the two is the pronunciation of the "g", for one variant of which the symbol "3*" is used..



Meaning of surnames






Surnames on Kent gravestones:









In 1938 a serious typhoid epidemic occurred in Croydon.  Geoff had the illness sufficiently badly for him to be taken to hospital where his condition worsened.  Subsequently it was always said that of those who recovered he was the patient who had been the most seriously ill.  As this occurred when Rosemary was just a small baby, it was a devastating experience for the family.  Photographs taken at that time show how badly it had affected him and how much weight he had lost.  Peggy remembered how his sight had been so affected that, when he was in hospital, she had to write him notes using large capital letters.  He recovered slowly, but was never wholly robust thereafter.  Interestingly, this was one of the early cases in which (Lord) Arnold Goodman was involved: click here for an extract from his biography detailing the causes of the outbreak and the subsequent legal proceedings taken against the Croydon Corporation.


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