Peter F 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 stopped for five-weeks, it was necessary for them to change to a lighter caravan – the horses would not have managed the hills of the north with the original one. The villagers got to know them quite well, and my mother recalled the story of these travellers. Peter went on to write his book “The Caravan Pilgrim.”
Peter Anson wrote and sketched about churches, cathedrals and Abbeys up and down the country; he also travelled round Italy, France and Ireland. Peter was with the Benedictine brotherhood on Caldey Island, and one of the twenty monks who followed Abbot Aelred Carlyle over to Rome in 1913. He must have felt quite at home during his stay at Ugthorpe; the community had not changed in its beliefs or ways of life in many years. Staying true to the faith during the persecution, hiding priests and being married by the church in secret; and later in Whitby to fulfil the law. Peter had a great interest in these times and commented as he found them on his travels.
Peters companion was a local lad, Anthony Rowe from Brotton (just a stones’ throw from Ugthorpe). 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 Rowe13
Hilda Rowe 11
Alma Agnes Rowe 8
William Ralf Rowe 9
George Rowe 1-month
1939 register tells us that Anthony was living at St Augustine’s Datchet as a smallholder – together with:
Brothers William (Ralf) & George – both in Holy Orders and teachers.
Also his sister Mary Elizabeth as a domestic.
The order of priests at Datchet were Canons Regular of the Lateran:
These canons regular trace their origins to the reforms in the 4th century of St. Martin of Tours in France and St. Eusebius of Vercelli in Italy of the clergy. These and other bishops sought to model the accepted lifestyles of their clergy in a domestic model, based on the communal pattern followed by the first Christians, as depicted in the Acts of the Apostles. The premier example of this effort was the life and work of the great figure St. Augustine of Hippo, who himself lived as a monk before being called to take up the office of bishop for his North African city. He later wrote a small Rule to guide a community of women who wanted to live the monastic ideal. This document became the official guide for the earliest of the religious communities to emerge in the Church in later centuries, in parallel to that of the Rule of St. Benedict. From this comes the title 'regular,' meaning one following a Rule (Latin: Regula).
I believe that William moved to London, as on the website “Christ Church Priory - Eltham” there is a picture of William Rowe. http://www.christchurcheltham.org.uk/gallery/arc.html
I would be very interested to learn more about the Rowe family - how they travelled to St Augustine's and became part of that community. Any help would be much appreciated.