George Rowley and Elizabeth Friend (70%)

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Parents    :  Anthony Rowley and Mary Dennis        William Friend and Elizabeth Slow

George Rowley (b 1717  Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, m Elizabeth Friend 1739 Godalming, Surrey)
Elizabeth Friend (b 1716 Godalming) 
    Elizabeth Rowley (b 1740 Godalming) 
    George Rowley (b 1743 Godalming, d 1744) 
    George Rowley (b 1745 Godalming) 
    Thomas Rowley (b 1747 Kingston Upon Thames, children by  Elizabeth Selwyn, d 1806 Kingston House, Newtown NSW).
        Thomas Rowley II (b 1794 Sydney NSW, m Catherine Clarkson 1818 Christ Church, Castlereagh, d 1858 Minto).
            John Rowley (b 1822 Minto NSW, m Mary Jane (Jane) Onslow 1846 Liverpool, d 1909 Pertersham)
               John Clarkson Rowley (b 1847 Liverpool, NSW, m Sarah Jane Smart 1874 Beechworth Vic, d 1928 Bethanga)
                       Joseph Smart Rowley (b 1875 Yackandandah Vic, m Eircell Broome 1909 Albury NSW, d 1957 Bethanga)
    Mary Rowley (b 1748 Kingston Upon Thames) 
    James Rowley (b 1753 Kingston Upon Thames) 

Rhonda Kroehnert pointed out that Ancestry has a marriage bond for George and Elizabeth if you are interested

Thomas Rowleys Origins - Extracts from "A Cameo of Thomas Rowley"

The discussion laid out 20 years ago by Ian Ramage in his Cameo (reference 1) still stands up well

1.03    Whereas Brian Fletcher in his entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography gives Rowley's birth-date as “1748?” - John Ritchie in the index to The Evidence to the Bigge Reports repeats this - Huntington says “he was born in the year 1753” and this is implied on his tombstone, erected in 1884, when the remains were re-interred. Another report sets his birth-date as 1756. Again, whereas Huntington suggests that Rowley “was much better educated than his brother officers in the Colony”, Fletcher makes the point that the “singularly poor grammar and spelling in his letters indicate that he could not have been well educated."
1.035    John Gray, a descendant who has done a considerable amount of research, suggests that Captain Rowley may be identical with the "Thomas Rowley", the son of George Rowley and Elizabeth (nee Friend) who was baptised at Kingston Upon Thames on 24 January, 1747 and I believe that this is likely. Rowley called his first farm "Kingston Farm" - to honour his birthplace ? - and his second, "Burwood Farm". Less than ten kilometres from Kingston Upon Thames are the villages Burgh Heath and Kingswood. Today, "Burwood Park" in England is operated by the Burbill Estates Co Ltd, no doubt Burbill being a similar contraction of Burgh Heath and Walton On The Hill.
    Further support for John Gray's suggestion comes from the close proximity of the village of Croydon, from which Major Grose came, and the knowledge that the appointment of the Adjutant was in the personal right of Grose.  
    The following tree was compiled by John Gray.
Anthony Rowley - m - Mary Dennis
Anthony               Hanford                                        George -               m                 Elizabeth Friend
baptised                baptised                                          baptised                                  27.12.1739                                                   
 23.11.1709            29.8.1711                                     24.7.1717                                at  Godalming            
at Kingston           at Kingston                                    at Kingston                                               .
Upon Thames       Upon Thames                                Upon Thames                                                         . .                                                 |
George              George                 THOMAS ROWLEY           James
baptised            baptised                baptised                                 baptised
25.12.1743         16.6.1745              24.1.1747                               6.6.1753
at Godalming    at Godalming      at Kingston                           at Kingston
                                                     Upon Thames                       Upon Thames

1.06    There were two Rowleys who arrived in the colony in 1790 as convicts aboard the Second Fleet. On board the Surprise was William Rowley who was sentenced to seven years on 23 May, 1787 at the Old Bailey. Thomas Rowley, also sentenced to seven years - the terms tended to be 7, 14 or life - was transported on the Neptune. This has led more than one person to entertain the notion that Adjutant Rowley enlisted for service in New South Wales in order to watch over his convict son. It is easy then to suppose that Adjutant Rowley had a wife who was among those who died aboard the ship on which they came to the colony. (Ian's suggestion of an accompanying wefe was spot on. Link )
1.065    There is a record in the register of St Philip's of the burial on 20 September, 1822, of Thomas Rowley, aged 39 years, a corporal in the Marines.

Burwood Park

Ian Ramage mentions Burwood Park(1.035 above), but the mention of a composite name from Burgh Heath and Kingswood distracted me. Geoff Rowley pointed out Burwood Park is a  real possibility.
It existed in Thomas' day as a grand estate. It is now a residential developement, just as Thomas' farm is now the Sydney suburb of Burwood. But the website has its history. See History of Burwood Park, Walton on Thames

The Grose Connection

To what extent was Thomas friends with Francis Grose, and does that give any indications of Thomas' origins
Francis Grose was probably born in Wandsworth, and his father was paymaster of the Hampshire Militia and later captain and paymaster of the Surrey Militia.
Francis was wounded while serving in the American war of independence in 1779 (Sources ADB, LDS)
His son Francis was born in 1790 in Portsmouth (LDS), and came to Australia on the Pitt
Francis was living in Croydon Surrey in 1814 (ADB). - about 12 miles from Kingston, ie not that close in Greater London. terms. But maybe close enough if you are wealthy.
Thomas may well have got his Adjutant job on a recommendation from Francis' father.
Conclusion: Given the mobility of Francis and possibly Thomas, there is nothing to strongly support particular theories of Thomas' origin.

Rhonda Kroehnert adds to the picture of the Kingston Thomas
I have found an entry from - British Origins re London Apprenticeship Abstracts 1442-1850 for Thomas Rowley:
1762 Rowley Thomas, son of George, Kingston, Surrey, farmer, to John Dobbs, 7 Dec 1762, Innholders' Company.
LR : Does This make his connecting with someone of the social class of Francis Grose any more or less likely? I have no idea
Rhonda : I
believe it would have been the usual for George Rowley to have needed connections or money to get Thomas apprenticed.

John Gray's Article

This is available in full. (Link), but parts should be restated here
    Early researchers placed Rowley's birthplace, or at least the place where he spent his childhood, as at a "Burwood Farm", said to be in Cornwall.
    These, or other, researchers, also suggested a connection with one of the prominent Naval Rowley families of Cornwall. (This was perhaps because of confusion of his final Army rank of Captain with the Naval rank of Captain.)
    Many people over the years have spent much time and energy in trying to locate a Burwood Farm in Cornwall, or verify the suggested connection with the prominent Rowley Naval families, both without success.
    In recent years my research suggests that he may have been born at Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey.......... there is an old established property, Burwood Park, only a few miles from Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey. There appears to be some connection with a Thomas Rowley, of Bath, and his nephew Joshua Rowley, and the sale of a portion of land, adjoining Burwood Park in 1769 to a Mr. Frederick (whose family held Burwood Park for several generations).
    Thomas Rowley's first appointment, to the New South Wales Corps, was as Adjutant in 1789. This rank is a Regimental appointment, rather than an Army appointment, and was most probably made by the first Commandment, Major Grose. Thomas Rowley was shown as "gentleman" on his appointment, indicating that he had not been in the Armed Services before.
Major Grose was born at Petersham, Surrey and lived in Croydon, Surrey, both not far from Kingston-upon-Thames. His grants in New South Wales he called Petersham and Croydon. It is quite likely that Major Grose and Thomas Rowley were close friends, because they appear to have lived fairly close together in Surrey, and because it appears that Major Grose secured for him his appointment as Adjutant, an act which appears to have been within his power to implement.
    This close friendship could account for his appointment as Adjutant at 42 years of age when, I understand, nobody over 39 years was to be appointed to the Corps for service in New South Wales.

Possible Births for Thomas in FamilySearch

    If we are guided by the Kingston and Burwood connections, we need only discuss the Kingston family outlined above. One point though. My Collins Road Atlas of Britain has 29 Kingstons and another 5 Kingstones. Interestingly, no Burwoods
  Searching the LDS around 1753, the date where his tombstone points gives 44 hits in the period 1751-5, of which 11 appear to be duplicates. Hard work could eliminate many of these, but it is a reminder to be wary.

Possible Marriages for Thomas to Elizabeth in FamilySearch

It would seem to me we are looking for two main possibilities. Found in LDS
(1) A marriage not long before departure from England in July 1791. The couple had no accompanying children
    Elizabeth Allman 1 Jun 1790 Eccleshall, Stafford (see research notes)
    Elizabeth Knott 19 Jan 1791 Stoke Upon Trent, Stafford, (see research notes)
    Elizabeth Suckwell 13 Oct 1785 Chedzoy Somerset England
(2) A marriage about 1770, early enough to have children that could be left, or could have got in trouble and been sent to Australia
    Elizabeth Fox 8 Nov 1772 Saint Clement Worchester
    Elizabeth Eyre 1 Jan 1775 Saint Margaret Lothbury London
    Elizabeth Sutherland 18 Nov1776 St Margaret Birmingham, Warwick
We can rule these out if we are lucky, by finding children born in England after the Pitt departure, or if we are very lucky, a record of death or census entry in 1841. But these would not necessarily need to be near Kingston.

Review (Les Rowley)

(1) Thomas' date of birth
See 1.03 above, and  photo of the tombstone. Detail of inscription. (supplied by Glenn Rowley)  This seems to give age 53 years, giving a calculated DOB between May 1852 and May 1853. This is not consistent with the son of George and Elizabeth who was christened in 24 Jan 1747.
(2) The Kingston Connection
George and Elizabeth christened their Thomas at Kingston, and he called his first farm "Kingston Farm".
(3) The Burwood Connection
The second naming coincidence looks to be getting conclusive, particularly with a Rowley involved in property sales . But he was not our Thomas (See the discussion in the land sale analysis).I think this leaves us with a strong case our Thomas came from the Kingston/Burwood area (90% confident), but not quite so strong a case that he was the Thomas born in 1747 (70% confident)
(4) The Grose Connection
Inconclusive, but consistent with Kingston
(5) Marriage to Elizabeth
Inconclusive. If you had to pick, you might go for Elizabeth Eyre. but Saint Margaret Lothbury  is 1.2 miles N of the centre of London, ie not that close to Kingston. My hunch is he married not long before departure.As I say above, more work is needed on children and deaths..My Elizabeth Eyre is ratng about 25%.
(6) Miscellany. Very minor thing, but if Thomas was sentimental enough to name two homes after where he grew up, you might have expected he would name a son after his father


Circumstantial but strong evidence our Thomas was born in Kingston. But his date of birth is a lingering doubt that he is the son of George and Elizabeth..


A Cameo of Captain Thomas Rowley – Ian Ramage. 200pps on Thomas and his descendants.

Research Notes

Possible Deaths in FamilySearch
One thing against the Knott Stoke on Trent marriage is a death of Thomas Rowley in Stoke on Trent in 1846 (The 1841 Census has a Thomas Rowley in Stoke on Trent b about 1791 who could well be a son)
Possible Children in FamilySearch
One thing against the Stafford marriage is
Thos Eowley and Elizabeth son Thomas christened 1796 Weston upon Trent, Stafford, England
Thos Eowley and Eliz son Thos b 18Apr 1799, christened 12 May 1799 Hanley, Stafford, England

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