Dusting off the Shelve

St Michael and All Angels, Wentnor, Shropshire.  Geograph: copyright Richard Law reused under creative commons.

There was a time when I thought I had probably gone as far as I could in tracing direct ancestry, but I am still chipping away.  This time I have piggy-backed a little on another Ancestry tree builder:  rogerv190 and his Vaughan and Powell Family Tree, via Ancestry.  Roger had unearthed a couple of wills (transcribed) and related documents that provided some links that searching databases of parish records does not reveal.

For example: one Orlando Rowson, of Shelve, Shropshire, whose baptism record remains illusive unless you know where to look.  Orlando?  Now there is a surprise, especially after all those quintessentially British Johns, Williams and Thomases.

Rowson is a new name in my tree, so what is the connection?

The oldest ancestor I had in this Shropshire hills branch was Robert Groves (1714-1786), whose daughter married into the family of Medlicott of Medlicott, Shropshire, on the west flank of the Long Mynd.

Robert was baptised at Ratlinghope, son of Samuel Groves and his wife Mary on 12 July 1714.  That line is for future consideration.

For now my focus is on Robert’s wife, Sarah Rowson, of the parish of Shelve, whom he married on 1 July 1750 at Meole Brace, today a suburb in the south of Shrewsbury.

Sarah Rowson tree
The linkage between fourth great grandfather William Medlicott and sixth great grandparents.

Finding a baptism via Findmypast (FMP) was easy enough:  Sarah Rowson the daughter of Orlando Rowson and Sarah his wife was baptised the 13 Day of January in the Year of our Lord 1722.

Orlando?  Several sources say that this is an Italianate version of Roland.  I could see where this was leading:  it narrowed my search to the reign of James II, as he attempted to re-establish the Roman Catholic Church.  A search of FMP’s parish records for the 1680s threw up the baptism at Wentnor, Shropshire, written in Latin.  The writing itself is small and partly impaired by age, so here is my transcription:

Orlando filius Johannis Rowson et Marie uxoria sjus Baptizatus Septomo Die May 

Orlando, son of John Rowson and his wife Mary, was baptised 7 May

Perhaps that should be “Roland, son of … “, but the name was retained for marriage and for his last will and testament, and there was a son named Orlando, too, long after James II had skedaddled.

Last will and testament

After that the records became hard to find, but rogerv190 had transcribed a will to Ancestry, which was proved on 5 Aug 1740 at Ludlow.  Neither of us has found a burial, but it seems most likely that Orlando died in 1740.  Crucially, the bequests indicate relationships:

The first is that he left to his son Orlando £5, in addition to the £10 left to him by his grandmother Priscilla.  As Orlando senior’s mother was Mary, it follows that His wife Sarah’s mother was Priscilla Perkin (seventh great grandmother).  There were other bequests for his mother Mary, brothers John, James and Thomas, and sisters Sarah [Brazenor] and Mary Rowson.  Son Orlando was, presumably, a minor, but when did he come along?

Again a search led nowhere, but rogerv190 had a date from somewhere, so I found the relevant page in the parish register:

Roson Orlando bp 1717
Orlando the Son of Orlando Roson and Sarah his wife was Baptised ye 13 day of July in ye year 1717.
Roson Orlando bp 1717 detail
Lower left corner enlarged.

Note:  the day is indistinct, but there is an obvious three, preceded by a clear vertical, so I will stick to 13 for now.  I also see a faint “ye”, so “ye 13 day … “, consistent with “ye year”.

Orlando Senior

The next logical step was to find Orlando’s parents, John and Sarah.  Often people married shortly before birth of their first child, and this was no different and I soon found the relevant marriage at Wentnor:

Anno 1687

Johannes Rowson Et Marie Jones conjuncti fuissunt [sp?] Matromonio Die 22 July.

John Rowson and Mary Jones were married on 22 July 1687.

I have not yet found a baptism for John.

From the will it seems clear that Orlando’s mother was Sarah Perkin (her mother was Priscilla Perkin).  I have not been able to find marriage or baptism records for Sarah, but she was buried at Shelve on 12 Jul 1749.  Also from the will, made in 1726, Priscilla was  deceased (having left money for her grandson):  she was buried in 1718.

Priscilla Parking bu 1717
Priscilla Parking Widow was Buried the third day of January in ye year 1717.  Which means 1718 in today’s reckoning.

The date means that she left the £10 mentioned in Orlando’s will to her baby grandson, also Orlando.



Anno 1688

Jobe Perkin Et Priscilla Glover conjuncti fuisarunt (?) Matrimonio Die 27 January.

Jobe Perkin and Priscilla Glover were married on 27 January (1689).

So, this bit of my tree now looks like this, with scant detail:

Sarah Rowson tree 2
Latest view of the Shropshire hills branch, 5th – 7th great grandparents.

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