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Mewse family history

There have been Mewses in the Lowestoft area from the 15th Century to today, and apart from a couple of short periods they remained in Lowestoft until the ease of 20th century transport enabled a spread world - wide. I have been helped in this research by many Mewse family members and relations as well as by David Butcher and Ivan Bunn, local Lowestoft historians, to whom, along with several others, go my thanks.

The superscript numbers show the person's number in the Mewse family tree

287 years of butchers

GENERATION 1 and earlier

The earliest record of the Mewses is of John Muse who was a warden of the Church at Greyfriars, Dunwich in 1505 and another early one is of one “John MUSE of Lowstoff”, who in 1508 was an apprentice with the Worshipful Company of Butchers in the City Of London. He was trading as a butcher in St Johns Street, London when he was accused in 1518 that he “daily useth to blowe the kydneyes” to make them swell and “seem much greater than they would be”.

He was bound over with two sureties, Edward Langhorne and Robert Dunne, two other butchers of St Johns Street, to appear and answer before the Mayor and Aldermen, but the result of the action is not known.

Each member of the Company, a trades guild, had to make an annual subscription, and in 1522 John Muse was being looked for to pay, but apparently he had left London, to disappear for ever! It seems likely, but not certain, that he went back home and practiced his skills in Lowestoft, and was probably (not proved, however) the grandfather of Wyllyam MEWSE1 , my 10 times great grandfather who was a butcher and who was buried in 1582, of whom the first parish register record remains. There is however a record in the Muster Roll of 1535 which refers to "William Mewse's servant" indicating that this William may be the father of Wyllyam Mewse 1 who died in 1582, and possibly the son of the John who fled London.

A Bartholomew Mewse who with his wife lived in Norwich in the mid 1500s had a son Edmund, who in turn married Margaret Bower of Catfield in 1592 and moved to that village, but the line seems to have died out.

Butchery remained the major trade in the Mewse family until at least 1795, and each generation throws up new butchers. Was John the first of the Mewses to be a butcher? So far research has not been able to get back further than 1505, but work continues on this.

Wyllyam left two houses in Lowestoft in his will, proved in 1582 - one in High Street and the other in West Lane. It was acording to the Manor Roll of 1618 "situted south of West Street and abutting onto the High Street to the east. (His son Thomas to whom the house was left appeared not to want it and its copyhold was sold to a Mr Goldsmithe.) Wyllyam had married Elizabeth who died in 1607, 25 years after Wyllyam and they had at least eight children. In the last year of his life there must have been a bit of excitement when he was called as a witness as "a native tenant of the Manor" in the surrender of land between a Thomas Jentleman senior to John Archer, a citizen and fish monger of London.

The High Street one was almost certainly Wyllyam's place of work. Butchers’ shops at this time were of two kinds - a simple stall set up in a market place or on the side of a street, and houses which had shuttered window spaces, whereby the shutters were hinged near the bottom and swung out into the street to form a stall during the day and to provide security at night when closed. It was likely that the High Street shop was of the latter type, and that beneath it was a cellar (crypts which have been dated to the 15th century still exist under several of the existing High Street shops ) which had a large drain. This would enable the cleansing of the animals’ intestines and the disposal of waste material - always a source of trouble, smell and complaints at the time. John’s training in London included the use of such a facility. The drain, if there was one, probably came out into the open at the base of the cliff on top of which stood High Street.

At the back of the shop, if it were used for living in, would be a separately built kitchen, in order to reduce fire risk, and an earth closet, as well as a plot of land on which would be kept the animals for slaughter. These were probably killed outside, and the carcases taken into the main room against the street for cutting up.

All the family would have provided labour as soon as they were old enough - the youngest children were probably used at first to frighten away cats and dogs who were interested in free food. The shutter - stalls holding the meat would go some way to prevent this, as would the rails and hooks above the windows from which carcases would hang - undoubtedly festooned in flies - but stealing by animals and pilfering by shoplifters was always a problem. The older boys would be trained to succeed their father, and in later generations this extended to nephews as well.

At this time the Catholics were the ruling establishment and meat was not allowed by religous law to be sold or eaten on Fridays or in Lent; fish was the only alternative. Most butchers in seaside areas sold fish as well as meat, and the Mewse family were no exception. The real problem for fish salesmen of the day was that fish did not keep fit to eat for more than a few days at best.

The town of Lowestoft was built at the top of some cliffs, just inland from the sea, and there was a flat area between the base of the cliffs and the sand dunes which formed the coast. There were a number of narrow pathways called scores which led from the High Street down to the flat area on which there were many wooden “fish houses” used for the storage and curing of fish caught by Lowestoft’s fishermen.

The preservation of fish was either by packing them on salt in barrels (pickled herring) or by smoking. Depending on the length of time they were smoked was their longevity as food, and they ranged from Silver herring to golden herring and red herring, the latter being the ones which were cured (in oak smoke) for longest, and for which Lowestoft became famous.

GENERATION 2

Wyllyam was succeeded in the business by his sons Thomas Mewse2 and Willyam Mewse6 , but Willyam was buried in 1592 and it was Thomas Mewse who carried on until he died in 1620. Thomas married Phillip Pearce in 1583. (during the 16th century Phillip was a female name and only later became the Philippa we know today.)

Soon after his father's death a Ralph Fayerchild was fined 3s 4d for "making an affray on Thomas Mewse" - why is not recorded but it may simply have been a young men's brawl.

Thomas was an ale house keeper as well as a butcher. He lived at the Bell Inn (now 148 High Street) (you can see it here) which he bought in 1606 from a Thomas Goddard and on which, because it was copyhold, he paid 1s 6d Lord's rent annually, but in 1627 it passed from the ownership of Thomas' widow Phillip to Simon Hammond. Perhaps he bought the property with the proceeds from the sale of the house he had been left in his father's will.

Thomas also owned at least two other properties, so his business as a butcher and ale house keeper must have thrived, but he was in trouble with the law on several occassions: in 1584 he was fined 3d for "obstructing the road way with neets scalpis (cattle heads) and in 1618, 1620 and 1621 he was fined for selling beer using an "unlawful measure".

The farming pattern of the day was to slaughter most of the cattle in early winter because there was insufficient food for them, and by spring meat was hard to get. So diversification into providing alternatives, such as fish, was the only sensible option. It is likely (though not proved) that Thomas and probably his father Wyllyam both offered fish for sale and were involved in the industry.

GENERATION 3

Thomas’ son Willyam9 married Amy ALLDEN in 1608 and had ten children of whom three at least continued in the business - William15 , christened in 1619, Thomas16 in 1621 and Philip20 in 1629. Another son, John, was born in 1592 and his son Simon, cousin to Willyam, Thomas and Philip, became a butcher until he died in 1719. William Mewse9 was noted in the bishop's visitation of 1629 - along with Thomas Durie, another butcher - for keeping his shop open and selling meat on Sundays

In spite of this, William was clearly a well respected person in the town and paid 13s 4d in ship money in 1636 - one of the highest in Lowestoft! [NRO 589/178] and again in 1640 he paid 3s 4d

The Leet Court records that he was elected constable and ale-taster on 2 Mar 1620 and ale taster again on 1 Mar 1623. Ale Tasters, who were appointed by the court-leet were sworn "to examine and assay the beer and ale, and to take care that they were good and wholesome, and sold at proper prices according to the assize; that proper measures were used and also to present all defaults of brewers to the next court-leet."

Manorial in origin the constable had been the link between the Lord of the Manor and his tenants, and was also the keeper of law and order. He was appointed from the better off members of the parish by the jury of the leet court. The post was unpaid and no expenses were given. The constable raised taxes and kept accounts. It seems that the appointee had no say in the matter - his appointment was for one year, when he was replaced with a new ale taster or constable

William was admitted to the west end of a tenement at Lord's rent of 2d on 6 Aug 1645. The following year he mortgaged the dwelling to Thomas Leeman for 22..8s It was then sold by William and Thomas Leman to Robert Rix. Whether he lived in it or rented it out is not known - he still had the butchery business with presumably a house owned by him.

The Mewses had at least one of the Smoke Houses, for in 1664 WilliamMewse9 lost £100 worth of goods (£10,500 in modern terms) in a disastrous fire which swept through the area, causing also some £50 loss for his son Thomas.

John Mewse11 , brother to William, son of Thomas and my 8 x great grandfather who married Mary Green in 1620, paid 2s in ship money in 1636 and lost 100 worth of goods in the great fire of March 10th 1644/5, which were stored in the yard of the Bell Inn, where they were probably hiring premises or outbuildings from Simon HAMMOND he having bought the messuage from Phillipa MEWSE and her sons in Oct 1627, and when his son (25) John lost 50 worth of goods. This is the earliest proved instance of Mewses being involved in the fish industry. He (John senior) was elected ale taster in the Leet Court of 16 Feb 1621 and on 26 Feb 1653 he was elected hog reeve (the person responsible for seeing that all pigs' snouts were ringed): In the same Leet Court he was fined on 10 Feb 1649 for not maintaining the footway next to his house (3d), and a further 3d for not scouring out his ditch. The fish houses were mostly erected on the dunes at the foot of the cliff on which Lowestoft was built, and there were 12 paths from the top of the cliff to the fish houses which remain to this day and are called Scores.


A Lowestoft Score

Nevertheless, the family business weathered the loss, for in 1711, two years before Willyam15 died aged 94, it is recorded that a “bell for St Margaret’s Church was cast in Willm Mewse’s fish house”. William was evidently a churchgoer, because in 1680 he is recorded as being Churchwarden for St Margaret’s. He was assessed as having 2 hearths in 1674.

Simon Mewse21 married Judith (probably Hovell) 1654 and died at the age of 76 and was described in the parish register as "an ancient man". Simon was elected constable at the Leet Court of 27 Feb 1669, was elected ale-taster on both 11 Mar 1761 and 15 Feb 1673 and was fined 3d in the Court Leet for not maintaining the footpath next to his house on 24 Feb 1672. He was assessed as having two hearths in 1674 and was elected constable on 13 Feb 1692 at the same Court. He was a signatory to the Fishermen's petition along with his cousin Francis of 1670 to Parliament to get relief for the poverty and paucity of fishermen caused by the civil war.

GENERATION 4

It was in this generation that Thomas Mewse16 , a carpenter and son of William and Emme Allden, married Elizabeth Pacy 23rd October 1638, the sister of Samuel Pacy, who apart from being a highly successful businessman, was a principle witness in the trial of the Lowestoft witches at Bury St Edmunds in 1662 when Amy Denny and Rose Cullender were hanged for practicing witchcraft on several people including two of Samuel's children. (Elizabeth's brother Nicholas emigrated to Salem, Massachusetts, but returned later some 50 years before the famous witchcraft trials there.) Thomas seems to have spent some time in Bermondsey, but in 1667 he was back in Lowestoft at the Manorial court in connection with the Lowestoft tithe barn messuage. He was assessed for hearth tax in 1674 as having 3 hearths, but the entry was marked "empty a Yeare". After Elizabeth's death he remarried Dorothy Rising who brought to their marriage one small house and a fish house at Lords rent of 7p as a result of her husband William RISINGs will - she was admitted 27 Feb 1658 Dorothy's will left it to husband Thomas who was admitted on 23 Aug 1671. This property stood at the bottom of Gallows Score/Cart Score. The site is now part of the Sparrow's Nest garden area.

One of the children of John Mewse and Mary Green was Philip Mewse29 who was also a butcher. Did he work with his brother Simon or was he in competition? He died in 1673 aged 44 having been twice married with six children, one of whom, John, was also a butcher

Simon Mewse33 , born in 1641, William's son and successor, was another butcher until he died in 1719. He had married Ann Cooe in 1667 and was admitted to a house (previously occupied by his father William) on 18 Dec 1667. It was left in his will to Ann Wisbridge, his daughter, for the eastern part and to Simon his son for the western half. This property stood on the south side of Bell Lane (now Crown Street East) to the west of the curtilage of the Bell Inn. - with the latter went a bruary dole (rough grazing) on Stamaker Heath. This property stood on the south side of Bell Lane (now Crown Street East) to the west of the curtilage of the Bell Inn.
He was was assessed as having 2 hearths in 1674. The Tithe accounts books show that he "held" one cattle, but the Tithe book (NRO 589/90) of 1707 claims 2 cattle due to the minister but that Simon had none. In 1708 this claim was made zero. Simon also had a 3/32 share in the "Pink", a trading vessel. He remarried as a widower to Ann Gobbett, a widow, on 28 Jan 1693.

William Mewse32 was my seven times great grandfather and was born in 1637. He was one of the sons of John MEWSE who had a such heavy loss to bear when the fish houses caught fire, and perhaps because of the family’s financial hardship he went to London and had his first two children in Wapping. The family returned to Lowestoft before 1665, perhaps as an escape from the plague of that year. Like his brother Philip he was a butcher. He had married Rebecca Frary from Lowestoft in 1658 when she was 18, and they had a family of ten children, seven of whom died in infancy. The eldest was named after his father, another William and the last child was born in 1676 when Rebecca would have been 36.

Presumably Rebecca then died, for there were no more births to William and Rebecca, but by 1678 William had remarried and with his new wife Ruth Smith produced three more children, the eldest of which was called William! Ruth brought with her to the marriage a daughter Ruth who was illegitimate but who was apparently considered a Mewse until she married - then to Caleb Aldred, to become parents to Obed Aldred of Lowestoft Porcelain fame. You can read about Lowestoft Porcelain here.

Son William the elder would have been in his late teens when his mother Rebecca died and was replaced by Ruth so soon after, and one can imagine the relationship between father and son breaking down at this point, Father William perhaps being disowned by his first son William at the time of the marriage. Was the illegitimate Ruth actually William's daughter? Either way, whilst it was common for a child to be named the same in the family after the first one died, it was extremely unusual to have two Williams living as sons to the same man.

Father William’s will explains it. His “houses and tenements in Lowestoft” were left to his son “William, which I had by the said Ruth” after his mother’s death, but to William his son by Rebecca Frary “the sum of five shillings to be paid within three months if the same be lawfully demanded” was a way of ensuring he could make no claim as the eldest son on the property in Lowestoft.

(The family was irrevocably split and the family name of William was ignored with the next generation, for William the son of Rebecca married Ann SMITH and called his eldest son Samuel. Thomas, this William’s brother, went off to live in Ormesby.)

At some stage William the father was living in Gt Yarmouth, for he was the joint guarantor on 27th Oct 1691 with Robert Seaman, a shipwright, of a settlement bond for a Robert Speciall, woolcomber previously of Norwich and his wife and family: William is recorded as a pulley maker.

The tithe accounts book of 1698 to 1767 recorded that he "had not held any cattle for three year"

William was fined in the Leet Court 3d for not maintaining Lyons Score (now Crown Score) on 27 Feb 1669, and again on 11 Apr 1671. On 9 Mar 1709 along with four others he was fined 3d for failing to maintain the footpath alongside his property adjacent to the Denes (now 34 High Street)

William also owned copyhold three tenements witha slaughterhouse at 5d Lords rent for the tenements and 1d for the slaughterhouse from 12 Mar 1673. It had previously been owned by Mary Robking and was clearly used to raise mortgages, and presumably to let to tenants. It was mortgaged on 3 Mar 1688 to Richard Jenkenson for 106, on 27 Jul 1692 to Susan Ferney for 105 (cleared 31 May 1704), again to Samuel Wright and Robert Pake for 105 (cleared 7 Dec 1709) and promptly on 7 Dec 1709 mortgaged again to Samuel Wright for 105. The tenements passed to 70 William by the terms of his father's will. The property stood on the south side of Swan Lane (now Mariner's Street) and is beneath the Town Hall.

William was elected fen reeve (Supervisor of hedge and fence maintenance) together with his son William the son of Ruth on 9 Feb 1706

Francis Mewse31, William's brother was not a butcher but a cordwainer. He married Elizabeth Munns about 1659 and then when she died he wed Elizabeth Gordon in 1687. Francis was admitted to property at 1d Lords rent (now 138 High Street) on 6 Jan 1686. It passed to his grandchildren by the terms of his will.

GENERATION 5

William Mewse36, married a lady whose name was Amphillis, and they lived at Hopton where William was a parish overseer in 1673; Amphillis remarried as a widow Augustin Mileham 17 May 1692 Somerleyton where their older children had been born.

William Mewse46a married a Mary, with whom he had four children. This William was a butcher, carrying on the family tradition. Wiliam was elected ale-taster on 8 Mar 1690 at the Leet court, but on 28 Feb 1691 was fined 10s 0d for not carrying out his duties . He and 12 others were fined 3d at the same sitting of the Leet Court for not maintaining the footway adjacent to his house.

William is recorded in 1686 in the manor rolls as buying the copyhold of no 71 High Street This was on the corner of High St and Rants Score - in later years some tenement houses were built in the rear of the garden and became 1 - 5 Rants Score, dwelt in by William's descendants. William also had 2 tenements at 3d Lords rent previously held by Ann Arnold to which he was admitted on 29 Nov 1710. In the year before he died he mortgaged the property to Robert Grave for an unknown sum, and his widow Mary was admitted to it on 16 May 1716. The property lies in the St Margaret Plain area, but was on the north side of Fairstead/Almshouse Lane, now Dove St.

In 1692 and in 1693 William was fined 3d each time for blocking a drain (presumably a ditch) with sheeps' heads! Archaeological digging by Ivan Bubb and David Butcher in the garden behind no 71 High St revealed huge amounts of bones, all showing the usual signs of butchery

But the piece de resistance was his being fined 6d for "inflating his veal with wind"!!! (shades of John Mewse of 1508 fame in London)

The Lowestoft Tithe book entry for 12 Jun 1707 shows that the Minister was claiming 6 cows of William Mewse "Score Head" [probably his address to differentiate from another William Mewse from whom the minister was also claiming]. The following year on Apr 29 the minister was also claiming 6 cows, and the comment at the side says "he has more to reccon with you for".

A third William Mewse59, (the son of William and Rebecca who broke with his family), my 6 x great grandfather married Ann Smith and lived in Lowestoft for several years, ending up back in William's birthplace, Wapping.

Samuel Smith was Ann's father and his memorial stone in Lowestoft states 'Also his daughter Ann ye wife of Mr William Mewse of St John, Wapping who departed November ye 17th 1727 aged 64 years.'

William was fined 3d for not maintaning the footway next to his house on 4 Mar 1693, and was elected ale-taster at the same Leet Court sitting

On 25 May 1692 they were admitted to property (now 59 - 60 High Street) described as one messuage with yard and fish houses at 6d Lord's rent. On 29 Jul 1702 the property was mortgaged to John STROUD for 84, which was cleared on 9 Apr 1718

Ann's father Samuel left her one tenement, previously in his own occupation at 8d Lord's rent: she was admitted on 7th Oct 1719. This tenement stood , now partly occupied by the Wesleyan Chapel and partly under Jubilee Way.

And the fourth 70William Mewse married Judith Fisher in 1714, Mary Spratt, a widow in 1718 and Sarah in 1723. In 1714, this fourth William was admitted to copyhold property in High Street (now no 34), and promptly mortgaged it to James Kingsborough for 36..15s and again to Simon Canham on 7 Jan 1719. The Tithe book for 1698 to 1767 shows that William Mewse held 4 cattle but had more "in another place, which he would pay for". William was elected Fen Reeve with his father on 9 Feb 1706 and on 25 Feb 1710 he was elected Constable.

In the Leet Court of 17 Mar 1714 William was fined 3d for not cleaning the street (outside his house) sufficiently. He had six children including another William and an Ann, of whom more in the next generation.

Simon Mewse75 married Margaret Symonds in 1693 in Norwich, and continued in the family business of butchery. His home in Lowestoft was on the south side of Swan Lane, under what is now Jubilee Way. It had previously been owned copyhold by Joseph Smithson and Simon was admitted at Lords rent of 2d on 5 Mar 1719. Simon was churchwarden in 1732 and 1733 at St Margaret's Church, Lowestoft.

Thomas Mewse76 remained in the butchery trade and married Elizabeth Canham - they were dissenters. They had eight children - He and Elizabeth were jointly admitted to copyhold in the Manor of Carlton 4 Apr 1722 and Thomas alone to one in Broomholme at the same date.

GENERATION 6

But Samuel Mewse113, William’s son, was clearly not an “accredited” member of the butcher family and presumably had no house to offer when he married Ann Haltaway in about 1769, for he went to live in her village, Corton, close by Lowestoft and their eldest son William became the landlord of the White Horse in that village. His third son was called Samuel and remained in Corton for all his life although when he was buried he was said to be "from Lowestoft" in the register. Ann, his widow remarried to Simon Mewse, the son of Simon and Margaret Symonds

Another Samuel Mewse124, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Canham, carried on as a butcher, marrying Margaret Mickleborough and having eight children in Lowestoft. He died in 1795 and was buried in St Margaret's churchyard; he was the last of the Mewses to work as a butcher, giving a continuing line from 1508 to 1795 - 287 years. The Universal directory of 1797 lists no Mewse as a butcher. How many firms today can point to nearly 300 years in the same trade?

Judith Mewse, Samuel's sister married James Alderson, dissenting minister of Lowestoft who served from 1738 to 1760, the longest serving of all such ministers in Lowestoft. Gillingwater, the local historian of the day, says that he was held in high esteem in the town.

William Mewse129 had a completely different career. He was recruited into the Customs service and worked in Cromer as a riding surveyor, starting on 7 Dec 1757. [Riding Surveyors were first introduced in 1698 after the Wool Act was passed and they were accompanied by, and in charge of, Riding Officers. These armed,mounted men were stationed around the coast to prevent wool being exported illegally, and assisted the Waterguard with any inbound contraband. As a Riding Surveyor it was his duty to inspect the Officers between Great Yarmouth and Aldborough.] In being appointed he had to have some surety and one of those who stood for him was John Glasspoole, who married his half sister Ann. There is a Lowestoft Porcelain tankyard in Bristol Museum , marked "Willm Mewse Southwould 1771". of which I have a replica, made by the present day Lowestoft Porcelain (you can see it at here): John and Ann Glasspoole were also remembered by the original firm because they had a Lowestoft Porcelain bowl, painted in underglaze blue, nine and a half inches diameter, inscribed "John & Ann Glasspool Blundstone 1772" showing a sportsman with a gun in a landscape. William's aunt Ruth Smith (Mewse) had married Caleb Aldred and had Obed Aldred who was one of the founders of Lowestoft porcelain, and cousin to both William Mewse and Ann Glasspoole.

On 10 October 1768 he where he became part of the Great Yarmouth Collection, and after two years he was promoted to Collector at Southwold, by warrant. It would have entailed the actual collection and remittance of dues for all dutiable goods. He would have been mounted and armed still, but now responsible for a small staff at the Southwold station.

The work of Customs (and Excise) officers was sometimes very dangerous. Whilst they worked singly or in twos and threes, smugglers often operated in gangs of a dozen or more persons, usually armed with flintlocks, cutlasses and knives. Sailing vessels used by smugglers were also often armed with small cannons, and skirmishes on land and at sea were quite regular. Many smugglers commissioned the building of fast skiffs with very shallow draughts. These were designed to carry a few barrels of spirit and be rowed from offshore across flats and into marshland where Customs cutters could not venture. In some cases local inhabitants often aided smugglers, many having vested interests in obtaining illegal imports. Wool, brandy, rum, wines, textiles and tobacco were the most commonplace contraband.

William stayed at the Southwold Collection until his death in 1788, and was buried at the Southwold church as was his wife, Sarah , who died from smallpox in 1770. There daughter Sarah died in infancy. My brother Robert has a copy of a book with William's nameplate about Dunwich, Blythburgh and Southwold by Thomas Gardner, which he annotated. William was a subscriber to this first edition.

GENERATION 7

William Mewse140, t inherited the White Horse Inn at Corton. He was admitted to the tenancy on 17 Jun 1747 according to the list of tenants in the Lowestoft Manor Rolls. His will shows him as a mariner, which may explain why Catherine, his daughter, was baptised in Gt Yarmouth

His brother Samuel Mewse143 married Mary Cross (daughter of John Cross and Mary Butteson) on 30 Nov 1764 by licence to become my 4 x great grandparents. They had seven children, all born in Corton. When Samuel died in 1795, Mary remarried after two years to Patrick Perney in Lowestoft.

John Mewse144 William's youngest brother married Jane Perkins in 1761 and had two boys and a girl, all in Corton. Both boys died in infancy. The Archdeaconry of Suffolk Probate records show that probate was granted for John's will on 7 Feb 1804. The executor, James Brame of Lowestoft, beer brewer, renounced administration and probate was granted to John Mewse, his nephew. Everything had been left to this John and two of his brothers. It therefore seems likely that daughter Ann did not survive her father.

Mary Mewse147, daughter of the last Mewse butcher in Lowestoft, married William Neslen who was a plumber and glazier and had seven children.

GENERATION 8

It was in this generation, in the late 1700s and ealy 1800s the first of the houses were built on the low lying ground which was between the sand dunes which formed the coast and acted as a rather ineffective defence aginst high tides and the cliff at the top of which Lowestoft then stood, they and later houses became known as the Beach. It was where most of our family lived in later years, along with other fishermen and peole in allied trades, together with supporting roles, such as shops and services. Beach had two other names: "the Town below the Cliff" and The "Grits". John Mewse164 was the son of Samuel and Mary Cross and born in Corton. He married Hannah Allerton but died at sea on the vessel "Violet" when he was 61 years old. They lived in Lowestoft and had nine children, four of whom died as children and two in their twenties. John was a fisherman, as were so many of the Mewses in this and other generations.

Daniel Mewse165, his brother, was also in a trade associated with the fishing industry - he was a twinespinner (a rope and string maker) and married Elizabeth Cross. Daniel and Elizabeth lived at 109 Beccles Road in 1881. Of particular interest was that his son John Henry was born in Chatham, Kent in 1812. Many Lowestoft men went to work in the naval dockyards at Chatham for a while, but Daniel and Rebecca clearly returned after a while for their later children were born in Lowestoft.

Samuel Mewse167, my three times great grandfather, also a brother to John, was a fisherman who lived in Lowestoft but was buried where he was born, in Corton in May 1868. He married twice, firstly to Ann Barber on 4 Sep 1797 and with whom he had seven children and after she died in 1868 to Rebecca, but he only survived a few months. Samuel and Ann were living at Frost Score, Old Back Yard in 1841, 39 Beach, Lowestoft in 1851, and in 1861 Samuel is recorded as a fisherman living with Ann at 6 Fisherman's Hospital Lowestoft (These were alms houses for retired fishermen).



Fishing and other occupations

GENERATION 9

This is the generation in which the identification of occupations becomes possible. The first four were not fisherfolk, but the rest of the men in this generation were all in jobs connected directly with fishing, although of course in Lowestoft almost everything was to do directly or indirectly with fishing, as it had been for several hundred years.

John Henry Mewse187a who had been born in Chatham, born in 1812 married Charlotte Fox from Leiston. They had five children, at least two of whom were fishermen. In the 1841 census the family lived at Pound Street, South Side,Lowestoft, but John was not present. John was a twinespinner in 1861 living with the family at 177 Church Road Lowestoft. John and Charlotte were at Wesley Street, Infirmary Plain in 1871 with their son James who was described as a cripple. Mary A, his second wife, surname unknown, was a net mender in 1881

Daniel Mewse188 the son of Daniel and Rebecca and brother to John Henry above, married Mary Ann Peak from Bacton on 25 Dec 1837, and in 1851 they were living at 221 Corn Lane, thereafter at 24 Factory Lane. Daniel was a twinespinner in 1861 and a labourer in 1867 - he was a dock labourer in 1881. There were five children in the family the youngest of which was William, born 1850, who became a basket maker and died in 1923, still a basket maker.

James Cross Mewse189, another brother of John Henry and Daniel, was born in 1817 and married Mary Ann Firmin from Covehithe (she died in 1858) in 1843. John was a cordwainer (shoemaker) and in 1851 he was living at 21 Lighthouse Hill, in Tonning Street in 1871 and was a lodger although still a shoemaker at 31 New Nelson Street, Beccles. There were seven children of this marriage, and two of the boys were still living with James in 1871.

Susannah Mewse191 sister to John Henry and Daniel married a John Ballard from Northamptonshire and went to live in London - there were four children who lived at 2 Queen's Crescent, St Pancras wher John was a carman.

Ann Mewse 200 born 1802, the eldest daughter of Samuel and Ann, married into a local family with strong fishing connectionsby wedding John Sterry, a twinespinner. The family was living at Shuckford Loke, Lowestoft in 1851, and Ann was living at 3 Shuckford Loke in 1871 when she was widow and a netmaker, and 1 Spark Building Lowestoft in 1881. She died in 1899, having had seven children, one of whom died by drowning at sea at the age of 29.

Samuel Barber Mewse 201 , fisherman, who was born in 1803, brother to Ann above, died in 1860 at sea: he is the first person on the memorial in St Margaret's Church, Lowestoft. He married Maria Rumsby Girling from Pakefield and they had nine children, two of whom were fishermen and three died as children. A daughter, Isabella, who subsequently married Sidney Allerton, completed a sampler which you can see here

James Barber Mewse 202 , a fisherman, born 1809 married Susan Chambers from Gisleham. In 1841 James and Susan were recorded at Beach with Benson and Henry next door to John Barber MEWSE. In 1861 James, now a widower, and family were living at 29 Nelson Score, still next door to brother John Barber MEWSE. James was then a fisherman, as he was in 1841, living at Beach. In 1867 he was a labourer. They had six children, of whom two died as infants, one became a shipbuilder and two were fishermen. Son George who married Martha Ann Barnaby was a seaman on board the "Joseph and Sarah" in 1872 and in 1873 he was mate on the same vessel. George and Martha were at 6 Lighthouse hill in 1881, but by 1902 George was a shopkeeper at 4 Burton Place Lowestoft.
Another son, James Chambers, was also a fisherman who married twice and in 1881 was living at 35 Anguish Street, Beach. He was a fisherman in 1861, 1881 and 1891, when he was Owner and Master of the boat "Unity". Fishing at that time had other risks than bad weather and his statement to Customs and Excise of 29 December 1880 reads

" I am the owner and master of the drift net boat "Unity". On 30th November last when riding my nets about 9 o'clock at night, with about a mile of nets out, about 14 miles south east of Lowestoft, an Ostend trawler, O 133, trawled into my nets about 10 or 12 yards from my vessel; she parted them and sailed through. We got our mast up and sailed round her two or three times, and saw her letter and numbers on her bows, but she had no letter or number on her mainsail; she carried away 25 nets, 25 bowls, and two warps and a piece of another. I estimate my loss at 50., I never recovered my nets, but had to come into harbour and lay up and make up the boat for the season because I had no other nets to replace those I had lost, so that in addition to my los of 50 I also lost three weeks fishing.
After the trawler had struck my nets, he pushed on, and it was the pressure of his warp upon ours that ultimately broke it.

John Barber Mewse 167 , my great great grandfather, was born in 1810 and married Mary Ann Crispe, with whom he had thirteen children. John was a seaman. Ticket no 112046, 35 yrs old when ticketed, height 5'3", fresh complexion, eyes grey hair brown. He first went to sea as a mariner in 1820, according to the ticket issued at Gt Yarmouth 20 Mar 1845. He was recorded as a fisherman in 1841 and 1861 living at 119 Beach, next door to brother James Barber MEWSE.
Mary Ann was a beatster (a netmender) in 1861, living at Beach, and 1881. The 1871 census shows them at Whapload Road, Fishermans Shop. In 1881, when John was described as a Fisherman (Late) they both lived at 4 Hospital House, Whapload Rd Lowestoft with their son William who was a fisherman. In 1891 Mary Ann is shown as a widow aged 79 living at Alms Houses, Thurston Rd Lowestoft. When she died, Mary Ann lived at 155 St Peter's Street Lowestoft
Their son William who remained single all his life, was a visitor on board the Volant with brother John as the master on 7 Apr 1861. He was a seaman on the "Volante" with his brother Samuel in 1863 and 1864 with brother John as Master. In 1874 he was seaman on the "Morning Light". The 1871 census shows him aboard the "Little Polly". William was a fisherman, and still living with his parents in 1881

William Mewse 206 brother to John Barber Mewse, married Charlotte Pye and lived at five known addresses - Denny's Score in 1841, 38 Nelson Score in 1861, 80 Herring Fishery Score, and in 1881 2 Nelson Score, and Christchurch Score in 1889, all in Lowestoft
William was mate on the "Happy Return" from Harling in 1863 and in 1891 was lodging with his daughter-in-law at Christchurch Square, Lowestoft as a widower. There were four girls and one boy in the family and in 1871 two of the girls, Charlotte and Emma were domestic servants in London

GENERATION 10

We start this generation with an engraving of 1871 fo Lowestoft from the sea. As well as the town on the cliff, the smoke houses at the foot of the cliff are clearly visible, and even at this stage people were enjoying the beach and seaside activities.

Henry Mewse 210 the son of Daniel and Mary Ann Peak was a seaman who married Maria Rumsby with whom he had six children. In 1871 Henry and Maria lived at 4 Jacob Street, Lowestoft. In the1881 census Henry was not present, but Maria was living with her mother,Amy RUMSBY and her grandmother Ann STURGEON as a boarder, with children Emma and Catherine. Also present in the 1881 census with Amy RUMSBY was Alice MEWSE b abt 1840 Lowestoft, a general domestic servant. In 1891 Henry was a general labourer. in 1902 the directory states that Henry was living at 73 Seago St.

Charles Mewse217b was part of the family which had gone to the North East - he lived with his wife Rachel in Newcastle on Tyne and had three children

With Frederick Mewse 217 the exodus from the Lowestoft area begins. He married Amelia Turner from Lowestoft in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1874 with whom he had seven children, and stayed there. In 1881 the family were living in 5 Raglan Terrace, Elswick, Northumberland and in 1891 at 20 Shumac Street, Newcastle where Frederick was a port night watchman . Also boarding with the family in 1891 was Frederick Coleman a 29 year old general labourer born Lowestoft. In 1901 Frederick Mewse was a nightwatchman in a leather factory. His eldest son Frederick 274 was an apprentice fitter in 1891, and in 1901 he was a machine maker/fitter living in Erith, Kent and his sister Ellen 275 was a glue maker living at Elswick in 1901

No wandering on land from Samuel Barber Mewse 226 who married Elizabeth Turrell on 27 December 1847. A maritime memorial record states: 'Samuel B. Mewse husband of Elizabeth Mewse was unfortunately killed by lightning at sea on board the boat JENNY LIND July 7th 1894, aged 65'. But Samuel had other strings to his bow: he was a publican as well as a fisherman, and kept the "Flowing Bowl" pub in Beach. Samuel and Elizabeth were living at Beach in 1851 census, at Beach in 1861 (when Elizabeth is recorded as a beetster (net mender), in Anguish Street in 1871 and at "The Flowing Bowl" near Rant Score East, Beach in 1881: when he was described as a fisherman/publican. In 1891 they were living at 4 Strand Cottages, Anguish Street Lowestoft. They had thirteen children of whom two died in childhood.

Alfred Mewse 227 was a fisherman in 1851 and was mate of the "Hero of Delhi" in 1873 having previously served on the "George and William". He married Sarah Ann Catchpole Ayres in 1850 and they lived at first with his parents: in 1861 they were living in Beach.

Alfred was awarded a silver medal by the Royal National Lifeboat Institute for his part in the rescue of fourteen people from the steamer SHAMROCK of Dublin. (also on the lifeboat was Thomas Liffen, a cousin to Alfred.) The story appeared in the Illustrated London News of 26 Nov 1859:

"When the lifeboat reached the steamer the sea was breaking over the masthead, but she was providentially able to anchor in a most advantageous position ahead of her, and although the seas broke over her and repeatedly filled her, this excellent lifeboat as often, in her bouyancy, clearing herself of the seas, was at length, with difficulty, enabled to approach the steamer. A communication was then by ropes established with the wreck and the whole crew of fourteen were hauled by the lines through the sea to the lifeboat and brought safely to the shore"

In 1881 Sarah Ann was a beatster (netmender) living at 2 Whapload Road, Lowestoft. They had ten children - six boys and four girls. Their eldest daughter, Eleanor Isabella was a dressmaker in 1881 living with her mother. One of their sons, Charles Henry James Ayers Mewse 287 was a fisherman and a seaman on "Star of the East" and "Sapphire" in 1878 and 1879. The 1900 Kelly's direcory shows him as living at 71 Albert Street, Lowestoft, a boat owner. Either he or his brother 288 Henry is the subject of a report in "The Times" of 3rd August 1934 as having been a retired boat owner, and leaving 11315 (net personalty 10236). The name given is "Henry James Ayers Mewse". Another son, Alfred George Mewse 291b who married an Ada Cornwall in London was living at 147 Albany Road, Camberwell (St George's) and Alfred was a commercial clerk. The family story is that Ada died giving birth to their only son

Benson Mewse235 The son of James Barber Mewse married Mary Ann Barnaby 1859 in Ipswich. Benson and Mary Ann were living at 11 Lighthouse Hill in 1861, 5 Lighthouse Score in 1898 : Benson was a boatbuilder/shipwright - confirmed by Cook's Directory of Lowestoft in 1883, stll living at Lighthouse Score. Benson, Mary Ann and Florence were living at 5 Lighthouse Score in 1901. Mary Ann died at 5 Lighthouse Score and Benson died aged 66 at Beccles Road, Oulton Broad. There were seven children of this union

Now we come to my great grandfather John Mewse244 known as "Crorney" who was twice married. First to Frances Garner in 1859, with whom he had two children, a boy who died as an infant and a girl, Frances known as Fanny. Frances who had been a braider, died in 1864 and three years later John remarried to Elizabeth Crickmore with whom he had ten children, seven of whom died. In 1871 they lived "next the Gas House" (a pub in Beach) but in 1881 the family was at 2 Rants Score East, next door to Elizabeth's widowed mother Susan Crickmore, with whom my grandmother lived. You can see the houses concerned here

John was a fisherman and the 1861 census shows John as master of the Volant, at sea. As a fisherman he was a member of the Old Company (there were two such companies at Lowestoft at the time - the Old and the New) which had been formed to undertake salvage and rescue work. The Old company had been founded in 1801. The Companies occupied large sheds on the beach known as "shods" in which spare gear was stored for salvage work and which were manned as lookouts when the weather was bad. Even in the mid 1800s when John was first a member, (membership cost 1 a year) priority was given to saving lives over salvage, but when the alarm was raised there was a concerted rush by each company, since the first to get to the wreck got the salvage money.

When lifeboats were introduced, the companies were looked to for the provision of fishermen to man the lifeboat. The first lifeboat was provided in 1801, but the Beach men would not man it, saying that its design was unsuitable for the conditions at Lowestoft approaches.
The first usable lifeboat, provided seven years later, was the "Mary Ann", built in Beach, and manned by men from the companies, although the old system of companies racing out for salvage continued for many years. The “Company” men also had a reputation for smuggling, but there is no legal evidence of a Mewse involvement - perhaps they were just not caught!

In 1866 John helped in a courageous rescue of the crew of the Austrian ship "Osip" for which he was later awarded a medal, along with the rest of the crew. The medal is now in the Lowestoft Maritime Museum and details may be seen by clicking on his medal.

He remained in the life saving business until he was forcibly retired at the age of 75, spending the last ten years as coxwain of the RNLI lifeboat - he was second cox from 1896 to 1901. There appear to be two boats of almost the same name which he owned and of which he was master. There was the Volant in 1861, and the Volante built in 1880 registered as LT14. [the later Volante can be seen here preceeded by a list of the 1861 crew], In 1883 there was a great storm in which the Volante lost her boat and sails - an account in verse may be seen here At this time the Volante was owned by W Slack of Denmark Road, Lowestoft, according to the 1883 Cook's Directory of Lowestoft, so presumably John had sold it on. In his later years he was involved in longshore fishing and shrimping.

This is a photograph of the RNLI lifeboat of the day "Kentwell" returning to harbour in 1910: 74 year old John in charge as cox, and probably the man at the stern partly obscured by the sail. In 1905 he took the lifeboat "Samuel Plimsoll" to the Thames, where she was used for motor trials by the RNLI, and returned with the 46 foot "Kentwell" built at a cost of 2197 by Thames ironworks. You can see an account of all his launches as cox here

Daughter Fanny299 ( although she married, oddly enough, a nephew of Elizabeth Crickmore her stepmother with whom she did not "get on".She ran away at 18 years of age from home to do so, wearing one shoe and one boot, such was her hurry to get away!

Daughter Eliza Ann Alice married Walter Catchpole - She registered and was present at her mothers death in 1919, at which time she lived at Loddon Rd Broome Bungay. Walter made himself a car about 1900 which can be seen here. Elizabeth nee Crickmore died while living at Fishermen's Hospital Cottages, Whapload Rd (6 almshouses for retired fishermen between Rant's Score East and Wildes' St) of cardiac failure and bronchitis. John had died early in the year before at the same address from senile decay and apoplexy, so clearly widows stayed in residence after the fisherman's death.

James Mewse245 married Elizabeth Ann Marjoram in 1878. Elizabeth was the daughter of James Garwood Jones, painter. Witnesses to the wedding were Edward Coleman and Eliza Clarke. Also living with the family in 1891 were Mary A Marjoram, a 23 year old netmaker a daughter to Elizabeth and her daughter-in-law Matilda Marjoram aged 20. At that time Elizabeth was a net maker. After James died Elizabeth Ann married again to William Green 1st qr 1884 Lowestoft. Their daughter, an only child was described as lame in the 1881 census

Samuel Mewse248 (known as "Snotty Sam" was a mariner - he is recorded as a fisherman in 1861; as well as serving on the "Volante" with his brother William249 , under the mastership of his older brother John244 in 1864 and 1865, he was also with John244 on the "Sophia" and served as seaman on the "Antelope" in 1866, "Morning Star in 1866 and 1867 first as seaman then as Mate. In 1880 and he was "Part Owner and Master" of the "Twilight" and in ,1885 and 1886 he seems to have been the sole owner of the "Twilight". In 1880 he wrote to the Customs and Excise as follows:

" I am master and part owner of the drift net boat "Twilight". On the 9th December instant I was out fishing 28 miles to the eastward of Lowestoft, about 7o'clock of the evening and riding to my nets, which extended about one and a half miles, when a trawler sailed into my nets when about 200 yards off. He parted about 60 nets from us and sailed away. He was a foreigner, but to what nation he belonged I should not like to say; he was cutter rigged. I am sure he was a foreigner; he had no number or letter on his mainsail, and if he had any letter or number on his bows it was covered over by his staysail, which was lowered. I examined her through my glasses. The damage done in nets and fish amounted to 30. I recovered the nets the same night, but some of them were torn to pieces

He married Naomi Hunting Fisher and had one child - Beatrice - They lived at 2 Burton Place New in 1881: In 1883 Cooks Directory of Lowestoft states that he kept a beer house at East Street, Lowestoft. Naomi was living at 2 Lakenham Cottages, Beach St Pakefield in 1891 with her brother Henry Fisher and his wife Sarah. In 1892 Samuel and Naomi were divorced: the co-respondent was William Cook. On 9 Dec 1905 Samuel who was a trader at Lowestoft Fish Market petitioned for bankruptcy, his creditors receiving 7s 31/2d in the pound. He was discharged 10 Jan 1910. His public hearing was at the Suffolk Hotel, Lowestoft at 2.45 on 10 January 1906.

In his later years he remarried to Jane Eliza (surname unknown); when Samuel and Jane died they were at Fishermen's Cottages, Whapload Road

William Bartholomew Mewse257 was married three times: first to Jane Brown with whom he had twelve children of whom eleven survived. When Jane died he remarried, first to Annie Bryant and then to Annie Crickmore -Annie Crickmore had been the wife of Henry, living in Hulver where the census called her "Ammy" in 1881 and Anna in 1891. She was born Anna Milligan in 4th qr 1860 in Gislingham. William was master of the vessel V-Boy Bob in 1881 when they were living at 3 Nelson Score, Lowestoft. [ they lived at Christchurch Square, Beach in 1891, but moved to Whapload Road by 1892 When Jane died they were living at 150 St Peter's Street, Lowestoft].

John Daniel Mewse260 the son of the John Henry Mewse187a was another fisherman and in the 1861 census he was on board the "Prince Albert" (Master: John Bird). He married Elizabeth Haylett, the daughter of another fisherman and both of them gave their address as Row 131 Gt Yarmouth at marriage. They had seven children: one daughter, Elizabeth went into service in Hampstead London with a solicitor's family, and another, Florence was also a servant in South Lynn. A third daughter married Charles Slapp but family memory is that Minnie liked her drink. The marriage did not last
John was listed as a mariner in North district , Gt Yarmouth in the 1871 census, living at 5 Blackfriars Road, Great Yarmouth and a trawler skipper and lived at 59 Blackfriars Road, Gt Yarmouth in 1881.
John was presented to Queen Victoria on her visit to Gt Yarmouth as a representative of Norfolk fishermen and his portrait hangs in the National Gallery entitled "Fisherman of England".
He was lost at sea in 1886 - the record shows 29th March 1886 "ARAUNAH"
Voyage - Fishing & Return, Type of vessel - Sailing Cutter, (Smack) Construction - Wood, Owner - J MEWSE, Crew - 2, Number Lost - 1, Skipper - J MEWSE. Vessel foundered in wind S W Force 7, 52.35N 01.54E.

A report in "The Times" of 31st Mar 1886 states: "Yesterday intelligence was received at Great Yarmouth of the capsizing of a shrimp boat in the roads during a sudden squall. There were two men of the boat at the time, John Mewse the owner and William Joseph Read, a fisherman. They swam together for some little time, but after some minutes Mewse became exhausted and sank. Read was rescued by the crew os the schooner Ariel and was brought to the Sailors' Home, where he soon rallied. Mewse leaves a widow and six children"

Elizabeth gave her birthplace as Misterton in 1891 census and was a charwoman widow. She clearly had a difficult life: at the age of 10 (1851) she was in Rollesby Workhouse with parents, William and Mary who had married in 1833 at Winterton. William died in 1853 at the workhouse. Elizabeth's siblings were at the workhouse in 1851 too: they were Sarah Ann, aged 16 Mary aged 14 Thomas aged 12, James aged 8 and Joseph aged 6.
In 1861 Elizabeth was a servant with Thomas Dodman at Rodney St, St Nicholas, Gt Yarmouth and also present were Sarah Ann working as a braider, Joseph aged 16 also a braider together with Elizabeth's mother, Mary, a widow aged 50. In 1901 Elizabeth was a charwoman living at 140 Beccles Road, Gorleston

GENERATION 11

This and the next generations saw many Mewses living away from Lowestoft. Perhaps the hard life of fisherman, their poverty and living conditions made the grass seem greener on the other side of the street! Nevertheless at least thirteen Mewses in this generation were either fishermen, mariners or involved in the fish trade.

Arthur Samuel Rumsby Mewse266 who was oddly enough born in Lincolnshire to Henry210 left Lowestoft to live in London where he married Ellen Harwood. They are said to have had 18 or 19 children, but I have only been able to identify six. Ruby b 1916 was still alive in 2004 and had three girls and two boys. Arthur died in 1962 and is buried in Well Hall Road Cemetery SE9

William John Mewse269 married Florence Mary Brooks in 1896. William John was at first a fisherman in Lowestoft, and in 1881 he lived at 59 Blackfriars Rd, and his mother, widow Elizabeth was a charwoman, living at Gorleston in 1891 at 14 Highfield Rd, He walked to Middlesborough about 1898 to find work in the steel industry before 1901. In the census of that year he is shown as a shipyard labourer, living with his wife and son at 25 Dinade St, Middlesborough. He had a dance band, according to family.
Their first two children were born in Gorleston, but the remaining six were born in Middlesborough. His son, William Harold, was a private soldier 24015 in the Teeside Battery of the 9th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. He enlisted in Middlesborough and died of wounds received in battle

James Arthur Mewse272 was a mariner and trawler skipper. James was living at Gorleston in 1891. He married first to Elspet Noble Allen in Scotland with whom he had four children, living in Aberdeen. Elspet died in 1949, and James who had left the family and was living and working in Fleetwood married two weeks later to Lily Sharman. He died in 1949

In May 1907 he obtained his Master's Certificate of Skipper for a trawler, and between 1907 and 1930 he served with the Royal Navy Reserve, retiring on 22 Sep 1930 as Skipper. He was awarded a long service medal for his 23 years during which he made 130 mine sweeping forays during world war 1. He was a trawler skipper from 1927 to 1947, working in Fleetwood for J Marr and Sons.

The "London Gazette" of 24 Sep 1930 records: "Skipper J A Mewse placed on retired list with rank of Skipper Lieut (September 22nd"

William James Mewse277 married Mary Ann Liffen and they had seven children, one of which, Henry Ernest was killed in action in WW1. Henry was a private no 12694 in the 9th Suffolk Regiment. His record shows that he was awarded the Victory Medal, the British Medal and the 5 Star medal and that he went to France on 9 August 1915. William and Mary Ann lived at 5 Christchurch Sq in in 1883 and 1889.

John Henry Mewse278 was a fisherman, and the home of his wife, Mary Ann Payne was in Newlyn, Penzance, showing the range of the small fishing craft from Lowestoft. They married in 1877 and were living at "near Rant Score East" in 1881. In 1884 when John was at sea, the rest of the family were at East Street. In 1891 the family was at Eden Street, Lowestoft, and Mary was a dressmaker. (John Henry was not at home). John was was drowned off Plymouth when the vessel "Violet" of which he was Master sank with all hands on 3 March 1896.One of his sons, Samuel Barber Mewse was recorded as a shipwright, living at 33 Reeve St, Lowestoft when he died in 1895

Charles Edward Mewse281 was perhaps less adventurous - he stayed in Lowestoft as a fisherman, marrying first Alice Rutter from Coddenham with who he had two children and then Annie M Boardley with whom he had four children. The family lived at 3 Flowing Bowl Road, Lowestoft in 1890 and at 1 Alma Cottages Lowestoft in 1891, when Alice and her children were boarding with William and Jane Beck. Charles and Annie were at 5 Strand Cottages, Beach in 1904 and 1907

Benjamin Henry Joseph Mewse282 started out as a fisherman, and in 1882/3 Benjamin served as "boy" on "Traveller" and "Young Richard", then in 1885 0n "Sapphire" and in 1898 on "Energy". But he went to Liverpool where he worked as a dock labourer and married Alice Lawton, a Liverpool girl. Which came first - the emigration to Liverpool or meeting Alice? They had seven children and lived in West Derby, part of Liverpool

His brother George Sharman Mewse283, known as "Sharmo" also went in for fishing - and stayed in Lowestoft.marrying first Ellen Lark and then Susannah Marie Butcher. He started his seagoing career as a "boy" aboard "Sophia" (920587) in 1877 and was deckboy of the "Bonnie Lass" in 1883, but by 1884 he was mate on the "Beeswing". He was mate on the "Violet" in 1894 and Master of the "Primrose" in 1897 and of the "Pansy" in 1898. There were six children of the union with Susannah, one of whom Alfred Benjamin Percival, known as "Olly" was cook on the vessel "Qui Sait" from 1912 - 1914; he is then recorded in 1914 as seaman.

William Frederick Mewse286 married Jessie Rachel Mewse of Oulton in 1877 and had one child - a boy, also named William Frederick, who became a ship's steward. William senior was Master of the vessel "Princeps" in 1855 and 1856 having previously served on the "Bonnie John". He died at the Hospital 98 Beresford Rdin 1918. William and Jessie lived at 3 Marine Cottages by Anguish St, Beach in 1881 and in 1888 at 158 High Street He was a boat owner and petitioned for bankruptcy. The public hearing was at Great Yarmouth Town Hall at 11am on 19th December 1888 and the final hearing was on 3 Jan 1889 at the Suffolk Hotel Lowestoft. His bankruptcy release was on 29 Jun 1889. In 1891 they were lodging with Caroline BREACH ( who had been a witness at their marriage) at 38 Denmark Road, Lowestoft and were at 31 May Rd Lowestoft in 1914.

Alonzo Shorten Mewse286 m Emma Matilda HICKLETON in 1893 and had two children, the first one, a girl dying at 3 weeks old. Alonzo, a fish merchant, and Emma were living at 281 Raglan St Lowestoft in 1896 and 6 Wesley St in 1918 he was Master of the vessel "Boy Ben" in 1870 having previously been on the "Providence". From 1908 he was skipper (Cert no 1728A) of the "Brittania", then skipper of the "Good Hope - 122751 steamship, then the "Alfred and the last record we have is of his being skipper of the "Pleasance" in 1911. His son Alonzo James Mewse, appears in the London Gazette of 27 Dec 1914 as a seaman (RNPS LT JX 210621) being awarded the Distinguished Sevice Medal

Another link to the south west of England is Benson George Mewse293 who married Kate Cock, a widow of Perranporth in 1899. Benson was a fishmonger living at 2 Edinburgh Rd in 1891 and in 1901 and was living at 5 Lighthouse Score in 1902, but he also had a shop at 147a High Street where he was a fish merchant, and another one at 119 Bevan Street, Lowestoft. Kate brought her son, William C COCK (b 1887 Penryn) to the family, but there appear to have been no children of this union

William Samuel Mewse294, Benson's brother, was a mariner who married Mary Ann Page, the daughter of a fish hawker. Later in his life he broke with family tradition and became a hairdresser. William and Mary Ann lived at 4 Whapload Rd in 1881 and at 3 Barcham St in 1902 . They had two boys, one of whom, William Samuel, became a tabacconist at 42 High Street in 1902

Elizabeth Mary Ann Mewse302 married Frank James Green, and they became my grandparents. In 1881 she was living next door to her parents at 1 Rants Score with her grandmother Susan Crickmore. Elizabeth Mary Ann was an assistant schoolteacher in 1891 at Hintlesham, Suffolk. She was a teacher at Kirkley Infant School during its first year of operation in 1898, and was given a clock as a wedding present from staff and pupils, [still in my posession, 108 years on]. when she left. Further information is available on the "Green" tree.

John Samuel Mewse305, brother to my grandmother, married Louisa Emily Wilkin 1n 1899 - Witnesses to the marriage were Walter William Harvey Catchpole and Eliza Ann Alice Mewse303 who subsequently married each other. They had three children, one of whom, Gladys Maud emigrated to Australia. John was a footballer and played for Lowestoft Football Club. William Bartholomew Mewse328, yet another fisherman, married Edith Clara Bryant in 1908 and had eight children which included one pair of twins.

Charles Arthur Mewse329, William, bother married twice; first to Jessie Agnes Blowers in 1910 and then to Winifred Emma White. Charles Arthur was a trawler skipper. The family lived at at Christchurch Square in 1887, and then at 12 Morton Rd Lowestoft.

From this time on, many of the Mewse family members are still alive, and are therefore omitted. If you are one of them and would like to be included please contact me by e-mailing me at the link below

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