William Cobley was Ari’s 4x great-grandfather, born in 1814 in Barrowden, a parish on the river Welland in Rutland, and also on the Jurassic Way.
As I started looking at what I knew about him this morning, things got a bit confusing. I thought I’d found his marriage to Mary Davis in 1841 but then couldn’t find it again. What I found instead were the banns and marriage record for:
That definitely says Coverley! Now I wasn’t sure. Is this the same person? Would Cobley and Coverley be pronounced the same if you had a Rutland accent?
Puzzling over this, I did a search for the new name, and came upon a second marriage for William on 29 Dec 1863, after Mary’s death. He is marrying a widow, Amy Townsend, and just look at the signature:
So maybe he used both names, or maybe the curate wasn’t sure. But at least that provides enough evidence that it is the right person.
So, on with his story. The banns (from the Rutland Banns Collection on Findmypast) say that he is living in Oakham, so we can assume that the 1841 census is correct. Here he is a servant on a farm called Oakham Grange. He appears in the Lincolnshire Chronicle twice. Firstly on 5 Sep 1845 where he has been convicted of using wire snares to kill game:
And secondly on 3 March 1848, where he is being sent to gaol:
(Always worth checking the local papers!)
In 1851 he and Mary are living in Barrowden with three of their four children and a nephew. William is an agricultural labourer. Mary died in 1863 and William married Amy later that year, as we have seen. In 1871 the two of them are still in Barrowden, with an eight-year-old grandson, John Newman.
William died in 1876 and was buried on 2 Feb.
(Source: Rutland Burials on Findmypast.)
To end his story, here is a photo of Barrowden’s tranquil pond and village green.