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Fanny WILLIAMS was aged 19 (20 ?) when she married Henry ROSE in the Chadsmore (Now Chadsmoor) Registry Office on 8th August 1879., Chadsmore was and is a northern suburb of Cannock, Staffordshire. Henry was then aged 29 (27 ?)

Their place of residence shown on their marriage certificate was also Chadsmor in the city of Cannock

FANNY WILLIAMS born 20th. June 1860.

Birth registered at Shifnal in the county of Staffordshire.

(Shifnal in now in the county of Salop)

Born at Blymhill Common (Blymhill)

Father JOHN WILLIAMS - LABOURER (still alive in 1879)


Fanny Williams baptised 1st. July 1860 at Blymhill

The birth and marriage certificates of Henry ROSE

include some of the following details :

HENRY ROSE born 3rd. March 1850.

Birth registered on 28th. March 1850

District of Huntingdon, sub district of Ramsey.

Born in Ramsey, county of Huntingsdonshire.



(possibly spelled as ELLINGSTON/ELLINTON)


Unfortunately, because Fannys father was deceased at the time of their marriage it is very difficult to try and pinpoint if there was any of Fannys family still there. A number of English gazetteers show that the town of Cannock was on the edge of a major coalfield and it is likely that Welsh miners came up from Wales to work in the developing coal mines hence the widespread name of Williams. However, the Birth certificate of Fanny showed that her father's occupation was shown as Farm Labourer.

All that we know about Fanny's mother was that she was named Anne Smallwood.

SHIFNAL The registry district where Fanny Williams birth was registered in 1840.

Fanny ROSE (WILLIAMS) died on 9th. December 1902 aged 42 years in Spaxton Somersetshire.




Shortly after their marriage in 1879 Henry and Fanny must have moved down to Spaxton which is just a small village with a few houses not far from the small town of Cannington and the larger town of Bridgewater in Somersetshire. Apparently Henry obtained a job at the newly built Ashford waterworks at Spaxton as an engine driver and he was to live in Spaxton until he died in 1925 aged 73 or 75. Henry and Fanny Rose had nine children before Fanny died in 1902.

It seems very likely, from reading the history of the Ashford Waterworks, that Henry must have been one of the very first workers to start work at the Ashford Waterworks. The town of Bridgewater was first supplied with water in 1694 from a mill stream at Durleigh belonging to Richard Lowbridge.

As the population of the town grew over the years the need to provide a clean and plentiful supply of water became more urgent. In 1879, the year of Henry's marriage, the first water treatment works was built at Ashford (Spaxton). Water from local streams were treated and pumped into Bridgewater.

These waterworks have been expanded a number of times - as late as 1990 -with the result that the original pumping station, where Henry worked, is now an Education centre giving local schools and community groups an opportunity to learn about water, the environment and conservation.

I was able to visit Somerset in 1995 and it proved to be a trip of great interest and satisfaction when I finally made it to the birthplace of my mother in September .

My mothers maiden name was Elsie Maude ROSE and she was born in one of the cottages which were part of the Ashford Waterworks complex. My mother had two brothers and five sisters and only Lily and May dying in Somerset. The rest moved away to other parts of England and America. (Their eldest daughter Ada Helena was born at Cannington in 1880).

I have been able to trace my grandfather's roots back to Ramsey in Huntingdonshire where the Rose family were farmers and gardeners from way back. I guess the history of fen drainage and water control and pumping which was required in that area provided my grandfather with some experience which was of value to him in his position at the Ashford waterworks.

My grandmother died relatively young at 42 years and Henry re married. His second wife - Florrie ? - and my Aunt May Rose lived with my grandfather at the Waterworks until he died in 1925 and then in a cottage which was then attached to the old Cottage Inn on Wembdon Hill. When the old inn was pulled down and rebuilt in the early 1930's my step grandmother and aunt May went to live in West Street in Bridgewater until they died in the late 1940's

My grandfather was described as an engine driver at the waterworks and would have been one of the very first to have worked there following its opening in 1879.

My visit to Spaxton turned out to be a very interesting and gratifying day and I was able to meet a number of interesting and friendly people who live in Spaxton. I must admit I was very surprised to learn how strong is the interest shown by the people of Spaxton in their own history and background and I hope my reminiscences which I am now writing from my home in Australia are of interest to you

One of the first highlights was a visit to the Ashford waterworks itself and to see the major extensions made during the last few years. It was most gratifying to view the original pumping station, so well designed and epitomizes the grand and solid type of structure built during the Victorian era, It does make one wonder whether the new structure which has been built since will survive just as well for another 100 years.

What made our visit to the Waterworks so interesting was the personal information and guidance given by a long standing employee Mr. Norman Lewis of the Wessex Water utility. He is to be congratulated by his attempt to so successfully preserve some of the past as well as providing facilities for the future and by having such dedicated and interesting people working there.

We then went on to visit St, Margaret's church in Spaxton and contemplated the times my mother and her family may have been there. A drive past the busy school and hearing the happy noise of the school children prompted me to photograph the building and to notice that the date on the outside was 1890. As my mother was born in 1894 it seems more than likely that she would have been a pupil there, as would have been her brothers and sisters

A pub lunch in the only remaining pub in Spaxton passed an enjoyable hour and we then set off to try and find Mr. Harris whom I had made contact with before I left Australia. Through the good offices of a letter to the Bridgewater Mercury Newspaper which I had written in 1994 in an endeavour to obtain any information about my mothers family.

In addition to Mr.Harris who provided me with much information about Spaxton and confirmed some family details we were also able to meet up with Marcia Roman and her brother John who still live behind the Cottage Inn on Wembdon Hill. The kindness shown to us was much appreciated and it was good to hear the memories which both Marcia and John could tell me about my step grandmother and Aunt May when they were both young children living next door to the the Rose ladies. They did recall how sad it must have been for them when they had to move into Bridgewater when the old Cottage Inn and their cottage was demolished. The copy of a painting of the old Cottage Inn is a gift from Miss Roman I will always cherish.


Bridgewater is an important Market town and Trade centre about 32 miles south of Bristol. It lies on the River Parrett, which runs into the Bristol Channel. The bay is called Bridgewater Bay although Bridgewater itself lies some miles inland from the Bristol Channel. Bridgewater was mentioned in the Doomsday Book as an agricultural community called Brugie. In centuries past the town of Bridgewater was an important port particularly as a centre for the cloth trade and by the 15th century was trading regularly with Ireland and Europe although this no longer applies. During the civil war the town centre was destroyed by siege and bombardment by the parliamentary forces in 1645.The town has many fine buldings built since then due to the prosperity following the development of Bridgewaters industries such as bricks, tiles and Bath bricks. Modern Bridgewater is a bustling market town with a population of 35,000 and is the commercial ,industrial and administrave centre of the Sedgemore area. Towards the central built up area, in a street called West Street, he second Mrs. Florrie Rose and May Rose lived after the original Cottage Inn was demolished. They both lived there until Mrs Rose died in 1945 and May died in 1949.



Cannington is a smaller town or village three miles north west of Brisgewater with origins which can be traced back to the Iron Age with a fort and cemetery to the north west of the present village.



Wembdon is a suburb on the western outskirts of Bridgewater on the road to Cannington. Wembdon Road climbs significantly, and towards the top of the rise is situated the Cottage Inn built in the 1930's. Prior to being rebuilt there was an older thatched Inn which had an attached dwelling in which he second Mrs. Florrie Rose and May Rose lived after Henry died in 1925.


Spaxton is a spread out village three miles west of Bridgewater and is strongly rural in character. About one mile to the north of the village centre is the Ashford reservoir and waterworks, which was first founded in 1880 and where Henry Rose started work shortly after it was opened. It has been extended and modernised during the mid 1990's. The local Church of England is St. Margaret's and there is a local village school founded in 1890 and is probably where the Rose children would have attended.