Mystery to solve: What ever happened to Henry BEEDLE and his wife Grace (ROWSE), married 1779 in Devon, U.K. :: Genealogy
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Mystery to solve: What ever happened to Henry BEEDLE and his wife Grace (ROWSE), married 1779 in Devon, U.K.

Journal by mowsehowse

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 Edwards 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 Edwards 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 and have managed to extend Susannas 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??

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by mowsehowse Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-09-24 08:34:39

mowsehowse , from Once a Londoner, now happily retired to sunny Devon., has been a Family Tree Circles member since Feb 2011. is researching the following names: WAYMOUTH, WYATT, ROWSE and 8 other(s).

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by janilye on 2012-09-24 09:43:13

Hello Mowsehowse, I'd forgotten about The Laws of Genealogy, gee we had some fun with that. Yes! once again number 14 got you.
Try Friends of Devon Archives A Henry Beedle is listed here as a Yeoman freeholder. They just may have some more information on the family.
Good luck I had a bit of a look for some trees but couldn't see anything. I've put it in the 'too hard' basket.
It's all yours :)

by mariapbf on 2012-09-24 10:08:45


A couple of interesting snippets on the National Archives : -

Henry Beedle, now in Alphington, born in Tiverton, apprenticed there to John Ditchet for 2 or 3 years, then joined the 15th Regt. of Light Dragoons and later discharged and entered the 52nd Regt.of Foot, serving 21 years 1481A/PO 708/12 1783
Devon Record Office

Item reference WO 121/140/337 1791
HENRY BEEDLE Born [Not Known] Served in 52nd Foot Regiment; Independent Company of Invalids Discharged aged [Not Kno ...

Best wishes


by mowsehowse on 2012-09-24 11:30:22

Thank you ladies.

It looks like army Henry may be son of Yeoman freeholder - there is also a Thomas Beedle, Innkeeper on the last of the three lists, date 1762.

I remember being hugely excited to discover that a Grace Beedle married (George Roberts) at Tiverton in 1799 but she was in the marriage register as daughter of Thomas & Elizabeth Beedle, so not our Grace.

I will certainly follow up the militia references when I can get to the DRO, and I thank you for your efforts.

BUT, if it is too hard for Janilye I wont hold my breath!!

by mowsehowse on 2012-09-24 11:34:03

Oh, and the Rules of Genealogy ARE brilliant. I think they should get a regular airing somewhere.

by janilye on 2012-09-24 12:33:26

If you go to the 'Name Index' on that site there are 5 BEEDLE's
It might pay to contact them and see what they have.

by janilye on 2012-09-24 12:39:53

They've got 5 Gibbons and 7 Rowse but they're out of coke

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