Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A Brotton Lad – Anthony Rowe

Peter Anson and his companion Anthony (Tony) Rowe set off from St Augustine’s Datchet on the river Thames. It was Ash Wednesday, February 14th 1934, and they left with black smudges on their foreheads and determination in their hearts. The great caravan was pulled by two horses, Jack and Bill. Anthony was a farrier and he was chosen out of 200 applicants to accompany Peter and look after the horses.

Peter was commissioned by the Universe Catholic paper, to sketch churches and document the pilgrimage to Fort William. The journey took them to Ugthorpe where they changed caravan for a much lighter one – the horses would not have managed the hills of the north with the original van.
Peters companion was a local lad, Anthony Rowe from Brotton. Tony was a farrier and had already spent time in the local ironstone mines and an ideal choice for his knowledge of horses and practical sense. Tony went on to write the first book “The Brown Caravan.”

On their way back from Scotland through Bowes, Yarm, Guisborough and then on to Ugthorpe, which was to be their final port. The horses sensed the home run and needed to be held back rather than urged forward. The caravan was sold, the horses too and Peter continued his wandering, writing and drawing; his stories of local folk, faith and their determination.

In 1901 Anthony’s parents were living at 2 Wood street Skinningrove with three children
Anthony was born 6th January 1909 and in the 1911 census – was living at 7 Park Terrace Brotton, with:
Ralf Welford Rowe – Father
Mary Rowe (nee Harrison) Mother, and his brothers/ sisters:
Henry (Harrison) 19
Mary Elizabeth 13
Hilda 11
Alma Agnes 8
William Ralf 9
George 1-month

1939 register tells us that Anthony was living at St Augustine’s Datchet as a smallholder – together with:
Brothers Ralf William & George – both in Holy Orders and teachers.
Also his sister Mary Elizabeth as a domestic.

Anthony died June 1984 in the Isle of Wight aged 75.

Anthony’s parents both share my own ancestry, through the Welford and Harrison family’s – all recusants of the Catholic faith, during difficult times. I would be interested to know more about this young man, Anthony, who at the age of 24, set off as a caravan pilgrim. How did he and two of his brothers and his sister arrive at St Augustine’s Datchet and what took him to the Isle of Wight?

John Pearson

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