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Bulmer & District

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        Bulmer & District History Group

David Rowe 1843 - 1921


David, born 1843, was the son of Charles and Mary Rowe. He was born in Bulmer and spent his whole life in the village, living at Upper Houses.


After attending school, David was an agricultural labourer and whilst working on a Bulmer farm he met Eliza Finch who became his wife.  Eliza moved into David’s home at Upper Houses with his widowed father, Charles. Their first son was born: Philip, who later wrote about Bulmer. Philip was followed by six more sons and two daughters, including Emily, who later wrote:

Upper Houses.


‘My father was a farm labourer who worked at Goldingham Hall where he lost his left arm in 1888. It must have meant a difference to our lives. In those days no state aid or help of any kind, however, we had an aunt who married a gentleman of means where my aunt was a maid. They were wonderful as they gave my parents an allowance to help them.


My father, being a very determined man, tried his hand at many sorts of jobs. One in particular I remember was mole catching. He schemed and worked at all sorts of things so he could carry two pails of water etc. He used a hook from a yoke. Then a few years later he lost his finger through poison from a bush. My parents were very happy and helped each other, but it was very rare for any of our family to express or show any signs of love for each other. Father did a lot of gardening to keep us in vegetables and as there were a lot of us we needed a lot.’ (Emily Rowe)



As well as vegetables David grew wheat on his allotment. He would cut it with a scythe, and tie it into sheaves. The sheaves were put in to shocks and when dry enough were taken home where the straw was prepared and packed in bundles. For about four years, David worked at The Auberies as an under-keeper. Keepers were not well-liked in the community, and David was not happy in this job. By 1901 census, David had a second job as a postman.


David’s accident and the loss of his arm was reported in the local paper: July 17th 1888

On Thursday an serious accident befel a man named David Rowe in the employ of Mr F.Byford at Goldingham Hall, Bulmer. The unfortunate man was attending a cutter when the machine caught hold of his left arm severely lacerated it, he was taken to St Leonard's Hospital at Sudbury and the limb was amputated above the elbow. He is progressing favourably.


With nine surviving children, David and Eliza’s family grew: this family picture was taken in 1919.


David died in1931, aged 89. He is buried with his wife Eliza.

Gillian Lamb 2011