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Part 2 - SECTION I


 My maternal English family name is ROSE. They originated in the English county of Huntingdonshire. My grandfather's name was Henry ROSE and after his marriage to my grandmother Fanny WILLIAMS they moved down to live in the village of Spaxton near Bridgewater in the English county of Somerset.

Henry ROSE was born the small town of Ramsey in Huntingdonshire and Fanny WILLIAMS was born in the village of Blymhill Common near Cannock in Staffordshire. They were married in the Staffordshire town of Cannock.


Although my mother Elsie Maude Rose, together with all her brothers and sisters, were born in the English county of Somersetshire, the roots of the ROSE family were deeply set in the small English County of Huntingdonshire. The ROSE family lived in the town of Ramsey and some of the small surrounding villages. It would appear, the main means of livelihood for the ROSE families during the past three to four hundred years, was that of market gardening on their own land or that of working for other landowners.

My mother Elsie Maude ROSE was born on 23rd. June 1894 in Bridgewater, in Somerset, England. She had six elder sisters, one elder brother plus another younger brother. One of her reminiscences was that had her elder brother Henry Briton ROSE not been born before her, she - Elsie - would have been the 7th.daughter of a 7th daughter. This memory gives us a clue as to the extent of Elsie's mothers family e.g. her mother Fanny WILLIAMS must have had six elder sisters.

Because we knew Elsie was born in Somerset and lived in the little village of Spaxton near the large town of Bridgewater and the smaller town of Cannington my initial research was concentrated in this area of Somerset. It was only when we eventually established that Elsie's father, Henry ROSE was married in Cannock in Staffordshire and was actually born in Ramsey in Huntingdonshire (From the 1881 census covering Spaxton in Somerset). This census also stated that Fanny was born in Blymhill Common, Staffordshire. We were then able to widen our research considerably and gain a lot of information.

The information from the census and also their marriage certificate led me to Huntingdonshire. John ROSE's marriage certificate stated he was born in Ramsey and that his father's name was John. As the certificate did not show John as deceased we assume he was still alive in 1879.

With subsequent research we were able to establish that Henrys forebears were gardeners and we can only surmise that he left Ramsey in the search for work and he met his future wife - Fanny Williams - in Staffordshire. They must have left Cannock shortly after marrying and went to live in Spaxton where they were to have nine children. Henry worked as a stationary engine driver at the newly built Ashford Waterworks, Spaxton and remained there for the rest of his life until he died in 1925 at the age of 75.

Because Henry was one of many children and with limited opportunities to work with his own family as market gardeners he would have moved across to the Midlands of England. The Midlands of England were then in the throes of the Industrial Revolution and it would have been easier for Henry to find suitable work there whether it was in farming or in one of the many new coal mines in Staffordshire, possibly learning how to use and operate one of the newfangled steam engines, pumping water out of the coal mines. This experience presumably helping to get his job at the waterworks in Somerset. It may have been that his background in Huntingdonshire would also have had a bearing on his future work at the waterworks in Somerset. Because of the low-lying Fens in Huntingdonshire, water drainage work was continually being carried out and had started as far back as the Roman occupation. It is very likely that Huntingdonshire men would have had some considerable experience in the problems of drainage and in water control in particular.

Tracing back the family roots to Huntingdonshire was at first difficult. We had no knowledge whatever of this county and indeed I had never been there. After a few false starts I was able to make contact with a genealogy researcher [ Liz Carter ] who lives in the village of Upwood just outside of Ramsey. She has provided most of the information about the ROSE family right back to 1700 in addition to some of the families into which our ROSE forebears married.


The county town of Huntingdon was first settled back in the mists of time by the Saxons and Danes and established their camps on the higher ground at Huntingdon above the surrounding fens and marshes and they were followed in due course by the Romans and Normans. From this heritage the sturdy farmers, gardeners and peasants evolved and would have included the forebears of the ROSE family the earliest of which we can identify being that of GABRIEL ROSE in about 1700.

The ROSE family, together with many of the local families into which they married - ELLINGTON, ELLINGSTON, ELLINTON, PAPWORTH, GREEN, COLLETT etc. all lived in villages near RAMSEY and included BURY, ABBOTTS RIPTON, BLUNTISHAM cum EARITH and WARBOYS, ST. IVES, FEN DRAYTON, SWAVESEY etc.all in Huntingdonshire and the village of OVER in Cambridgeshire and were all within a ten mile radius of Ramsey.

Tracing the antecedents of the ROSE family, which surname incidentally is very widespread in Huntingdonshire and nearby counties, does depend a lot on church records, particularly Church of England and even this has its problems. One complication, is that Huntingdon and Cambridgeshire became a very strong centre of non-comformist sects. e.g. Oliver Cromwell was a Baptist. Consequently they did not attend the Church of England church and their Births, Death and Marriages do not appear in the official church records.

To date (1992) a direct ROSE line has been established to GABRIEL ROSE who married Ann Ellington at St. Ives in 1731 and Gabriel must have settled in Ramsey from that time on as Ann (who was the first of his three wives) died there.

One of the maternal lines can be traced back to the mid 1600's and stems from Henry Collett whose had a son and a grandson called Stephen (Steven). The daughter of the Grandson was called Elizabeth who married a William Papworth. Their daughter was called Sarah Papworth who married Robert Ellington who were the parents of Ann Ellington who married John Rose in 1838. This Ann is not to be confused with the Ann Ellington who married Gabriel Rose in 1731.

Gabriel's second wife was HANNAH GILL and the children from this second marriage is the ROSE line in which we are involved . They were married on 28th. January 1737, with Gabriel dying in 1770 and Hannah in 1743.

One of Gabriel's and Hannah sons was named JOHN and he was baptised on 2nd. May 1739 married ELIZABETH GREEN in 1768. John died in 1807.

WILLIAM ROSE, a son of John and Elizabeth was Baptised on 21st. March 1784 and died between about 1838. He married a Sarah, surname unknown.

One of William and Sarah's sons was called John born 26th. July 1812 and died sometime after 1879 (He was alive when his son Henry married Fanny Williams in 1879). John married ANN ELLINGTON (also spelled Ellinton or Ellingston) on 5th. February 1838. Ann was born 28th. May 1815.



SWAVESEY Was the village where the PAPWORTH'S lived.

William Papworth born in Swavesey in 1735

Elizabeth Barton born in Swavesey in 1736

William and Elizabeth married in Swavesey in 1758

Swavesey is often known as 'The Meridian Village' because it lies on the Prime Meridian '0'degrees east and '0' degrees west. Swavesey is about 7 miles North West of the university city of Cambridge and whilst originally in the county of Huntingdonshire is now part of the enlarged county of Cambridgeshire. The Anglican Church at Swavesey is St. Andrew's and is situated at the north end of the village. This Anglican church continues to be used (2000) ..

FEN DRAYTON William PAPWORTH married Mary ? here in 1730.


ST. IVES Gabriel Rose and Ann Ellington were married here

With Ramsey being the main centre where the ROSE families lived, the listed villages tend to be clustered approximately 8 to 12 miles south east of Ramsey and can be accessed on side roads without going through Ramsey. Ramsey itself is some 8 miles north of Huntingdon which is 16 miles north west of Cambridge.

William Papworth born 1704 died in OVER in 1769

William Papworth died in OVER in 1805

Although some of the villages, from where many of the family members who married into the Rose line originated, were situated in the old county of Huntingdonshire. There where a number of exceptions and these included the villages of Over, Swavesey and Fen Drayton all of which were in the nearby 'old' county of Cambridgeshire. It was from these villages where many of the Papworth and Collett families lived.. Indeed, these three villages and the parishes were in what was called the Papworth Hundred, an ancient definition. The name of Papworth is very wide spread there.

The village of Over was not actually mentioned in the Doomsday book but there is evidence that there was a church there in Saxon times. The present church is quite an imposing one and built mainly in fifteenth century with a spire which rises to 156 feet.