Captain Thomas Bowrey – The Essex Connection

I believe my talk at the Waltham Forest Family History Society went well. They are a small but friendly group and laughed in all the right places. It is always nice to have your sense of humour confirmed.

On my journey home, I decided to detour through my ancestral area of Essex and found some useful books in Ingatestone library including a photograph of my 4 x great uncle, Joseph Poole. He began his working life as a shoemaker but because the parish clerk (and, apparently, church organist) for many years. As he was also a letter carrier and later postmaster, he was a very busy man well known as a character in the village. Modern portfolio careers are nothing new.

Traveling through Essex I was reminded of Thomas Bowrey’s mysterious connections with the county. Similarly to his connection with Borneo, there are hints that he knew the area well but little more than circumstantial evidence. Thomas’ father-in-law, Philip Gardiner, may have been born in the country c.1636, had a house at Clacton and was buried there. As there was twelve days between his death and burial (in August, the wrong time of year to keep a body unburied), he is unlikely to have died there.

More strangely, a small cache of Thomas’ papers are held at the Essex County Records Office probably originally deposited with a local solicitor. They are mixed with some of Gardiner’s papers. Included is correspondence concerning a financial dispute between Andrew Searle senior and junior who came from the Epping area. (I stayed overnight at the Epping Forest Hotel.) Searle senior was a captain, I assume a sea captain, but otherwise there is no evidence how Thomas knew the family well enough to get involved in a family dispute.

I am constantly amazed at how little I know about I man I know so well!

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