Bulmer & District




        Bulmer & District History Group

Mary Bocking

1800 - 1865

1800 Mary was born, and like her father and grandfather, she was born in Bulmer, now a village of about 400 people. George lll was King and The Prime Minister was Willian Pitt The Younger

1814 Bulmer had a Sunday school with 26 pupils. It is not known whether Mary attended school.

Mary probably became a domestic servant in the village. There were a small number of big farms which would have employed girls. The duties of a maid included: laundering, sewing, emptying chamber pots, dusting, hauling water for baths, and lighting fires. 

1815 Defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo brought uncertain times with high food prices and low wages. The 1815 Corn Law kept grain prices artificially high adding to the social unrest of the times. And 1816 was the ‘Year without summer’ - very poor harvests plus a general smallpox epidemic.

1823 On 7th August, Mary married 26-year old Charles, and became Mrs Rowe. Charles was an illiterate agricultural labourer and signed his marriage certificate with a cross. The Rowe family was enterprising and supported their family entirely from their own labours.

In common with most of the women of Bulmer, Mary plaited straw for the hat industry. It was a skilled task. The work could be done at home, and children were taught from an early age to help with the process.  

1841 Census: Mary, Charles and four children are shown on the census living at Upper Houses in Bulmer. Like Charles, Mary’s neighbours were also agricultural labourers. At Upper Houses, several residents kept pigs which paid for the rent.  Upper Houses still stand and are about a mile from the centre of Bulmer.

1842 Son David was born.

Mary’s aging mother came to live with them, and later they took a lodger.

1865 Mary died and was buried here at Bulmer

Gillian Lamb (Mary’s g-g-granddaughter) 2016

1824 Son Charles was born and named after his father

1826 Constable’s painted ‘The Cornfield’ (right)

1827 Son Philip was born

1832 Daughter Henrietta was born

1835 Daughter Rosanna born

1837 Victoria became Queen on the death of William lV.

1840 Daughter Ruth was born, facing new outbreaks of smallpox, scarlet fever, and cholera