Mystery to solve: What ever happened to Henry BEEDLE and his wife Grace (ROWSE), married 1779 in Devon, U.K.
I began to research the Rowse family tree in 1994 and was delighted to unravel a history back to 1778 deeply involved in sea fishing out of Brixham in South Devon. Known locally as “the Mother of all fisheries”, I discovered sons from Brixham re-locating to other prominent fishing ports around the UK, such as Hull in East Yorkshire, Ramsgate in Kent and Tenby in South Wales.
However with the birth of Edward Langman Rowse in 1778 at Totnes I hit the proverbial brick wall. I have examined the surviving Parish Overseers Registers and the child was brought up at the expense of the Parish, until he was apprenticed to a tailor in Brixham before his 7th birthday. At the time of Edward’s marriage to Susanna Gibbons Coke in 1800 he gives his profession as mariner, an occupation certainly more exciting than tailoring, if not as lucrative.
On16 March 1779, in the year following Edward’s birth, his mother Grace ROWST (sic) married Henry BEEDLE by special licence, at the church of Saint Mary's in the High Street at Totnes in Devon, and I have never found a trace of this couple from that day forward.
Staff at the beautiful Totnes museum has been unable to find the special licence or any mention of either Grace or Henry amongst surviving settlement certificates and removal orders. Although the Devon County Records Office has quite a large collection of special licences, naturally they don't have that one. (See rules of genealogy!) I have been unable to locate baptisms or burials for Grace and Henry in the Totnes registers. With the rapid expansion of Internet genealogy I have searched for leads such as marriages, burials, wills and army records but am still without any conclusive information.
The fact of the special licence suggests that the extra cost was of less importance than the time factor, and I have speculated Henry may have been in the Navy or Militia; the timing would be just right for the American Wars of Independence. Perhaps they went to America and never returned??
More recently I have accessed on-line Parish Registers via Genuki.org.uk and have managed to extend Susanna’s line in Brixham to a marriage in 1603 which has remarkable historic significance; this couple, as children, probably watched the advance of the Spanish Armada along the English Channel in 1588, and their great grand children could have easily witnessed the landing of William of Orange at Brixham in 1688, before his march on London to be crowned monarch the following year.
In 1779 marriage registers did not record ages for the bridal couple, or father's names, which doesn't help as I have no firm indicators of birth year or place for Grace and Henry. So what became of them, and where did they go? Someone must have them on a tree somewhere, surely??