Peasants to Puddles
My Family History - By Nicky Rowberry

The Morris-Bent Connection

Almost all of the information given here is the work of Margaret Hatton and Polly Rubery. All I have done is take all their hard work and summarise it below.

Hannah Rowberry was my 2 x great grandfather James Rowberry's sister. She was born in 1833 and baptised on 30th June in Kilpeck,Herefordshire; the daughter of William Rowberry and Sarah Ruck. William Rowberry had married Sarah Ruck (his brother's widow) on Boxing Day the year before. For more information on the Rowberrys, please click the following link:

In the 1841 census Hannah is living in Kilpeck, Herefordshire, with her widowed mother Sarah and four of her siblings (and half-siblings). The table below gives the details from the 1841 census (HO 107/432/12 page 7).

City or Borough of
Parish or Township of Kilpeck
Place Names of each Person who abode therein the preceding NightAgeProfession, Trade, Employment or of Independent MeansWhere Born in Same County
Pentwine Common Sarah Rowbrey40ShopkeeperYes
  William Rowbrey25Ag LabYes
  Mary Rowbrey15 Yes
  Hannah Rowbrey7 Yes
  Eliza Rowbrey5 Yes
  Emma Rowbrey3 Yes

By 1851 she was living in Orcop with her brother James and her aunt & uncle Edward & Ann Niblett. Later that year she married her first husband Thomas Bent. Thomas & Hannah had several children and were still living together in the 1861 census in Orcop. The table below gives a transcription from the 1861 census (RG9/1823 Page 20 schedule 123):

Page 20]The undermentioned Houses are situated within the Boundaries of the
Parish [or Township] of City or Municipal Borough of Municipal Ward of Parliamentary Borough ofTown ofHamlet or Tyhthing of Ecclesiastical District of
St Marys         
No. of Schedule Road, Street and Name of HouseName and Surname of each personRelation to Head of FamilyCondition AgeRank, Profession or OccupationWhere Born
123 Harris Cottages(?)Thomas BentHeadMarried 40Hurdel MakerMuch Dewchurch
   Hannah BentWifeMarried 27 Kilpeck
   Charles BentSonUnmar6 Much Dewchurch
   Sarah BentDauUnmar4 Much Dewchurch
   Ester Ellen BentDauUnmar2 Much Dewchurch

However, by 1871, Hannah was living at Old Orchard, Orcop with a "boarder" William Morris, but no husband - Thomas Bent was living some miles away. It seems that at some point between 1861 and 1871, Thomas Bent was replaced by William Morris in Hannah's affections. Thomas Bent had been some 13 years Hannah's senior and William Morris seems to have been a few years her junior - perhaps that was the appeal?

The table below gives the details from the 1871 census. (RG10/2702 p6 schedule 39)

Page 6The undermentioned Houses are situated within the Boundaries of the
Civil Parish [or Township] of City or Municipal Borough of Municipal Ward of Parliamentary Borough ofTown ofVillage or Hamlet of Local Board of
Orcop          
No. of Schedule Road, Street and Name of HouseName and Surname of each personRelation to Head of FamilyCondition AgeRank, Profession or OccupationWhere Born
39 Old OrchardHannah BentHeadMarried 40 Kilpeck
   Ellen BentDau  11 Orcop
   James BentSon 9 Orcop
   Clara BentDau 7 Orcop
   Thomas BentSon 5 Birch
   Julia BentDau  3 Birch
   Mary BentDau  1 Orcop
   William MorrisBoarderUnmar 34 Orcop

Hannah continued to have children, all of whom were registered as having Thomas Bent as the father, but it seems that in fact the real father was William Morris. Certainly many of the younger children took the surname Morris in later life. Without knowing exactly when William Morris came into Hannah's life it is difficult to tell which of the middle children at any rate belong to which father.

Thomas Bent died in 1879 in Hereford Infirmary - Hannah Bent was the informant on his death certificate, so they must have been in touch still, even though she had been living with William Morris for some time now. In 1881 Hannah is still living with William Morris, although all the children living with her still went by the name Bent. Hannah and William finally married in 1883 at Orcop.

Hannah & William Morris were still together in 1901, when they were recorded in the census at Old Orchard, with two of their children, Blanch & Henry, who had by this time taken the name Morris. William Morris died later in 1901 after accidentally falling off a load of barley. Hannah died in 1912, still at Old Orchard, Orcop.

The family tree below summarises what I know about the above generations of the Morris/Bent family. It is hopefully reasonably accurate, but if you spot any errors, or any relatives, please feel free to E-mail me

Please click on one of the red links on the tree to move to a different page, or on one of the blue links to read a biography of that person, researched by Margaret Hatton.

If any of the above is of further interest, please feel free to contact me at: n.rowberry@btinternet.com

Nicky Rowberry 2016

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Peasants to Puddles - My Family History. By Nicky Rowberry