CFHS code : BE126

Parish : St Bene’t

Inscription : In Loving Memory of WILLIAM PAUL IVITT ROWTON Oct 6 1819 – Feb 9 1894 also his wife SARAH RACHEL Dec 30 1821-Dec 11 1902

Monument : Obelisk

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

William & Sarah Rowton
Rowton monument


This tall, dark grey polished marble obelisk, in the parish area of St Bene’t, is located on the east side of the western path, 30 yards south of the Lodge. The obelisk fell in early 2016 and was restored in December 2016.


In loving memory of William Paul Ivitt Rowton
Oct 6 1819 ‒ Feb 9 1894

Also of his wife Sarah Rachel
Dec 30 1821 ‒ Dec 11 1902

Until the day break

William Paul Ivitt Rowton (1819‒94)

William Paul Ivitt Rowton was born on 6 October 1819, son of William Rowton, auctioneer and appraiser, and his wife Mary, of Downing Street, Cambridge.  He was baptised at the church of St Andrew the Great on 7 November of that year.  His siblings included Susannah (c.1818‒), Jane (married 1838), Emma (c.1822‒), Martha (b 1827) and Charles Ivett (b 1830).

William appears to have been a servant (perhaps apprentice) to John Cooch, ironmonger of St Andrew’s Street, by 1841.  On 3 July 1849 he married Mary Gibson of Cambridge at the St Bene’t’s Church, and by 1851 he and Mary were living with her 66-year-old widowed mother Sophia Gibson, hosier (also college draper), of 57 Trumpington Street.  By then, William was an ironmonger’s clerk, and Mary a schoolmistress.  From at latest 1873, William was one of the Cambridge Improvement Commissioners, elected by virtue of his being a churchwarden of St Mary the Great and he served on the Commission’s Finance and Audit Committee.   His politics were Liberal and by the 1880s he was referred to as “gentleman”.

Mary died in 1879.  She was buried in the parish area of Holy Trinity and space was clearly left on her headstone for William’s eventual inscription but was left unused.

The 1881 census gives the widowed William’s address as “13 Market Hill, called Beales’s Yd.”, where he was “employing ten men”;  he had his unmarried niece Sarah Clayton living with him, and one servant.  The census description identifies the east side of the market as Nos 7 to 13 Market Hill, which would place No. 13 on the corner of Market Hill and Market Street.  However, Spalding’s street directory for 1881 gives 13 Market Place (=Hill) as occupied by one Edward Kettle, and 14 Market Place (which was two doors east of Rose Crescent, on the north side of the market) as the firm “Beales & Co., ironmongers, &c”.  In the commercial section of the same directory, Beales & Co. is given, contradictorily, as “13 Market-place and [28] Thompson’s-lane [where its foundry was located]”, and in the residential section William Rowton’s address is given as 36 Regent-street, which is where he lived for the remainder of his life.  According to the Cambridge Independent Press of 2 July 1881, Rowton and Edward Beales had been in partnership, but in June of that year the arrangement had ended and Beales had continued to run the business, although a business relationship continued in the 1880s.

At the age of 64, William again embarked on marriage in the second quarter of 1884, his bride being the 62-year-old widow Sarah Rachel Glasscock of Harlow, Essex, the ceremony taking place in Epping.

William died on 9 February 1894, and his death was announced in the Cambridge Independent Press the next day with the instruction “No flowers, by request”.  He was buried in the parish area of St Bene’t in Mill Road Cemetery on the 13th of that month.  In his will he left effects worth the substantial sum of £12,512 18s 1d to Sarah, who outlived him by eight years and ten months.

Sarah Rachel Rowton (formerly Glasscock; née ?Wentworth) (1821‒1902)

Sarah Rachel’s origins, other than her birth in Harlow, Essex on 30 December 1821, are unclear.  The most likely of several prospects is that she was born Sarah Rachel Wentworth, daughter of Thomas Cruse Wentworth, farmer, and his wife Jane.  If that is correct, then by 1841 Sarah Rachel’s family was living at Roffy Hall, Rogues Lane, Harlow, and she had a twin brother, Henry Grover Wentworth, aged 15.

[But that age does not match the birth date given for Sarah Rachel in the monument inscription, so casts doubt on the identificationThe next paragraph, while true in itself, may not represent the Sarah who married William Rowton.]

Sarah Wentworth married Edmund Glasscock, farmer, also of Harlow, Essex, on 6 February 1850 in Holy Trinity Church, Mile End Old Town, Tower Hamlets, London.  Why they would marry there is unexplained, because we do not know Sarah’s whereabouts in the intervening ten years.  By 1851 the couple were living on Market Street, Harlow with one servant, Edmund’s occupation being “corn merchant”.  In 1861 they were living on Fore Street, Harlow, with a nephew Henry W Wentworth, aged 11, and one servant;  and ten years later with both Henry W, now “miller’s assistant”, and nephew Herbert Charles Wentworth, aged 16.  Sarah and Edmund do not appear to have had children of their own.  By 1881, still on Fore Street, Sarah Rachel at the age of 58 was a widow, and had taken over Edmund’s role as “corn merchant miller”, with Herbert Charles her “manager”, and yet another nephew, Ernest, as “clerk”.  By that year, the household also had Sarah’s niece, Annie Sarah Wentworth, living with them, aged 27.  (All three nephews and the niece were children of Sarah’s twin brother Henry Grover Wentworth, farmer of Burr’s Farm, New Way Lane, Harlow.)  Edmund’s death has not so far been traced.

[The remaining paragraphs are on firm ground.]

Sarah Rachel Glasscock, now 62, married again in the second quarter of 1884, this time to 64-year-old widowed William Paul Ivitt Rowton, iron merchant and founder, the ceremony taking place in Epping.  How they may have met is unknown.  William had for some time been living at 36 Regent Street, Cambridge, and Sarah came to live with him there.  William died on 9 February 1894, and Sarah continued to live in the same house.

"Until the day break"
“Until the day break”

Sarah Rachel Rowton died on 11 December 1902 at the age of 81, and was buried on the 15th of that month in the parish area of St Bene’t, Mill Road Cemetery.

Sources :
England census reports 1841 to 1891
All England & Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index 1837‒1915
England & Wales National Probate Calendar, 1858‒1966, 1972‒1995 (Wentworth/Glasscock)
London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754‒1921 (Wentworth/Glasscock)
Church of St Andrew the Great, Cambridge baptismal register
Church of St Benedict (Bene’t), Cambridge marriage and burial registers
Pigot’s Directory, 1839
Slater’s Directory, 1850
Kelly’s Directory, 1888‒96
Cambridge Independent Press, 8 Nov 1873,  2 July 1881, 8 Aug 1885, 9 Feb 1894

By Ian Bent



Sarah Rachel Rowton; William Paul Ivitt Rowton