The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Bower Family Tree

The Bowers of Fulham

The roots of my own family tree are in Fulham and I made 2 visits to Fulham some years ago now:

Visit to Fulham 1999

Visit to Fulham 2009

In the late 18th Century, the family leased some land called Rowberry Mead which was adjacent to the Thames towpath.

The book Fulham Old and New Volume III, by Charles James Feret, gives details of the smallholding that the family ran at Rowberry Mead:

Extract from Book Fulham Old & New - sent to me in 2009

Fulham Old and New Text

"A liitle further down the path leading to the Bishop's, on the same side as Rosebank, is Rowberry, Rowborough or Rubery Mead, on which is an old homestead attached to which was once a cherry orchard, reputed to be the finest in Engaland.

Its history dates from 1638, when it was in the occupation of John Wolverstone, from whom it descended to the Frewens.

In 1661 we find the Bishop of London granting to Thomas Frewen a lease "of all that meade called Rowberry meade with appurtenances, containing by estimacon six acres".

In 1669 the Mead was leased to Stephen Frewen, his father; in 1683 to Thomas Frewen again, and in 1709, to the Rev. John Frewen.

For many years the cherry orchard was held by a family of the name of Thompson.

In 1757 is an entry in the Highway Rate books, relating to "Mr Bowers for the cherry orchard late Thompson".

This was Mr. George Bower, who is rated for it down to 1764.

The "messuage, barn and mead called Rowberry Mead" were in 1761 leased to Mr. William Cobb, on whose surrender it was, in 1795, leased to Mr. William Bower, the son of Mr. George Bower.

On the death of William Bower, the lease of Rowberry Mead was, in 1816, renewed to his widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Bower.

In 1823 it became the property of Mr George Bower, who resided here down to 1859. His widow lived here for some years.

It was subsequently taken by Mr. S.J. Walden*, in connection with his basket-making business.

The boundaries of Rowberry Mead are the river on the west, Pale Mead on the south, and Fulham Fields on east and north.

On the east side of the road, nearly facing Rowberry Mead, is Millshot Farm, the property of Mr William Bagley, a descendant of one of the oldest families in Fulham.

A little further along the road, on the same side as Rowberry Mead, we reach the site of Craven Cottage, a charming villa which was the home of some notable charaters. 1788 ten acres of adjacent land were leased by nthe Bishop to Mr. Georga Matyear of Crabtree House, who, in addition, was granted the lease of:

All that cottage called Craven Cottage with the osiers and reeds which shall come and grow upon the side of the Thames from the landing place above Cockbush in Fulham Field aforesaid and shooting down by the side of the river until the furtheer end of Percers Mead containing by estimation 8 1/2 acres, except a slip belongoing to Kender Mason."

Fulham Football Club, Craven Cottage

There is further relevant information in an article on the internet:

Foundation History of the Fulham Football Club
10 September 2017

Craven Cottage

"...In 1846, Sir Ralph Howard became the owner, and Craven Cottage continued to be the rendezvous of high society, including amongst its many visitors and guests were the Prince of Wales (Edward VII), the French Emperor and Empress, Prince Louis Napoleon, Sheridan, Disraeli etc.

In 1868, W. Bentley Woodbury, an American, took Craven Cottage for conversion into a pleasure resort, but the experiment failed. Mr Tod Heatley eventually puchased the property, and from 1872 the estae was tenantless until May 8th 1888 when the Cottage, as already stated, was entirely destroyed by fire.

North of Craven Cottage was another famous mansion and estate named Rosebank, and beween Rosebank and Craven Cottage was the establishment called Rowberry Mead with its famous osier beds owned by the Waldrens, a very old Fulham family.

The osiers were cut and dried and used in the Waldren's* basket-making induitry in Fulham."

* the 2 publications have the spelling as Walden or Waldren

Colin Bower
2 January 2024

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