Stephen Rolfe

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

Stephen Rolfe

His parents John Rolfe and Hannah (née Cox) were married on 13 June 1824 at St. Nicolas Church.  Stephen was their fifth child born c.1832/3.  There followed a further 5 children. The family grew up above the premises in Market Place where their father ran a substantial grocery and home-cured bacon trade employing 2 men and one servant.  See below under Newspaper Announcements for a detailed description of the property when it was sold by auction in 1830.  John Rolfe was the tenant and he is recorded in Pigot’s Directory 1830 under the heading of Shopkeepers & Dealers in Groceries & Sundries.

John Rolfe  died in 1843 at the age of 48 and he was buried on 27 January 1843 in the graveyard by St. Nicolas Church. 

Stephen’s mother Hannah was the daughter of Joseph Cox and Amy (née Merrit). In 1815 Joseph Cox and his family lived in West Mills where he worked as a Brewer’s Man.   In the same year his son James, aged 9, is recorded as a “Blue Boy” (Kendrick Bluecoat School).

Stephen Rolfe apprenticed as a Locksmith and in 1851 he was living with his widowed mother who had taken over the grocery business. His younger siblings Frederick (aged 11) and Louisa (aged 9) were Scholars.  By 1853 he had established his ironmongery business in Gas House Lane. 

On the 26 March 1858, at the Lower Meeting  Independent Chapel, Newbury, Stephen married Elizabeth Wheeler, eldest daughter of Charles Wheeler, Ironmonger of Speenhamland.  A month later he removed his business from Gas House Lane to more convenient premises in Market Place, next door to Mr. White’s, Bacon Factor. 

Their first and only child Hannah Maria was born in 1859 but sadly died a year later.  




By 1861 he was a successful Master Ironmonger and Whitesmith employing 2 men and 1 boy, and a house servant.  However his circumstances appear to have changed and in August 1863 he was disposing of the business.  Later on in the year he was advertising as a Pork Butcher in the Market Place.    He was also the Proprietor of Old Established Dining Rooms and this arrangement continued for the next 5 years.  His mother was still running the greengrocer’s  next door to the Catherine Wheel.

Later in 1869 and 1870 he was advertising for a workman in the shoeing and jobbing trade.

In the 1871 census Stephen and his wife Elizabeth are living with his widowed mother Hannah, now an Almswoman, at 7 Kimbers Almshouses, Cheap Street. His occupation has returned to Ironmonger.   A few years later he is listed in the 1877 Post Office Directory trading as a Fishmonger in Cheap Street.

By 1881 he is living alone at 2 Lennox Place, Market Place, his occupation given as Retired Baker.   His wife Elizabeth is recorded living with her parents, Charles and Maria Wheeler, in London Road, Speen.

His wife Elizabeth died on 18 July 1886.  He was not blessed with good fortune as the 1891 census records him a widower, occupation Locksmith, and an inmate at the Union Workhouse in 1891 where he died on 12 March 1900 aged 68 years.

He was buried on 15 March 1900.


No Mrs. P. Code









His wife Elizabeth Rolfe – Mrs. P. Code W72  Page 16.  Buried 21 July 1886.

His daughter Hannah Maria Rolfe  -  Mrs. P. Code W(A) 46  Page 44.  Buried 13 April 1860.

His mother Hannah Rolfe and his brother Joseph Rolfe -  Mrs. P. Code P(F)9  Page 173.  Hannah  buried on 15 January 1890 and Joseph on 3 August 1892.

His sister-in-law Priscilla Rolfe, wife of Joseph  -  No Mrs. P. Code. Buried on 12 January 1907.

His sister Amy Ann Rolfe – No Mrs. P. Code.   Buried on 30 January 1907.


Sources: 1815 Joseph Toomer’s Census (page 103); Berkshire Marriage Index 13/6/1824 (his parents); BBI (Father’s burial on 27/1/1843);   1841 to 1891 census; Marriage Index 1Q 1858;  Marriages 1839–1860 Newbury Lower Meeting Independent Church; Post Office Directory 1864 (dining rooms, Market Place);  Kelly’s Directory 1869 (dining rooms, Market Place); 1896 Harrod’s Directory; Post Office Directory 1877 (fishmonger, Cheap Street); Death Index 1Q 1900;  Berkshire Burial Index.









Sources:as above

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