Joseph Rolfe

Author: Deirdre Duff
Date published: 21/01/2021

Joseph Rolfe

Born in 1827, he was the eldest son of John Rolfe and his wife Hannah (née Cox).

On 1 October 1849 at St. Nicolas Church, he married Priscilla Murray, daughter of James Murray, Yeoman.

He started his working life as a Beer Retailer/Dealer but a year  after his marriage he was  sent to Reading Gaol for 6 months after being found guilty at the Quarter Sessions, Reading, for assault with intent,  plus a £5 fine, on 14 October 1850.

He is recorded in the 1861 census living in Back Lane with his wife and his nephew John Rolfe (aged 7, born in Mile End, London).   Joseph and Priscilla are trading as General Dealers.   In June 1869 he was summonsed to appear before the Borough Police Court for being drunk and riotous, for which he was fined 10s. plus 10s. costs.  It was reported that he was a quiet man when sober and the Mayor, H. Dolton, cautioned him to remain sober (NWN 1/7/1869)

In the 1869 Kelly’s Directory he is recorded trading as a fruiterer and fishmonger at 108 Bartholomew Street.  His nephew Edwin Rolfe (aged 12, born in Mile End, London) is living with them in 1871 and they are employing a servant named Thomas Chivers aged 15 years. Between these 2 years he was bound over to keep the peace (Reading Mercury 17/9/1870).

He later applied for a game licence which he received in July 1874 (NWN 30/7/1874).  He lost this licence in 1889.

Over the next years he appeared regularly in front of the Bench with a series of breaches of the Borough bye laws from indecent and profane language, drunkenness, rowing with his neighbour Charlotte Brindley and beating horses.  A few reports are available below, the rest are on file.  However, the business kept going probably due his long-suffering wife Priscilla who was described as hard working.

He died on 31 July 1892 aged 66 years, and he was buried on 3 August in the same plot with his mother Hannah who died two years before.

Mrs. P. Code:  P (F) 9,   Page 173


Sources:  Marriage Index 4Q 1849;  England & Wales Criminal Registers 1791-1892; 1851 to 1891 Census; 1876 Harrod’s Directory;  1887 Kelly’s Directory;  Death Index 3Q 1892.




Sources:as above

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