Yeovil People

William Rowe

Ironmonger and Iron Founder


William Rowe was born in 1823 in Exeter, Devon. He was the son of builder Joseph Coplestone Row (1783-1865) and Jane née Bennett (1802-1858). Joseph and Jane's children were William, Mary A (b1825) and Jane (1828-1907).

Nothing is known of William's early life, but by the time of the 1851 census he was living in Half Moon Street, Sherborne, Dorset. William, by now aged 28 and unmarried (he was to remain a lifelong bachelor), gave his occupation as an ironmonger. Living with him above his shop premises were his sister Jane, two ironmonger's shopmen and a domestic servant. In the 1861 census, William was still listed in Half Moon Street, but with only a house keeper and a domestic servant. He gave his occupation as an ironmonger.

During the 1860s, William moved to Yeovil and purchased the Yeovil Iron & Brass Foundry in Clarence Street. The foundry had been built in the 1830s (it was shown an Madeley's map of Yeovil of 1831) and was owned by Sansbury & Savery. William was advertised as an 'Iron Founder of Victoria Place' in the 1866 edition of the Post Office Directory

The 1871 census found William living in Lyde Lane (today's Lyde Road south of today's Vale Road), together with a domestic servant. William, by now aged 48, gave his occupation as 'Ironfounder employing 12 men & 2 boys'.

In 1872, at the age of 49, William retired. The Yeovil Iron & Brass Foundry was then acquired by James Petter.

By the time of the 1881 census, and still living at Lyde Lane (Lower Lyde in the census), William gave his occupation as a retired ironmonger. Living with him were a housekeeper, a gardener/groom Henry Morris, his wife Elizabeth a domestic servant and their daughter Annie.

William Rowe died in Yeovil in the spring of 1889, aged 66.




Courtesy of John Palmer

A drill press manufactured by William Rowe at his Yeovil Foundry.


Courtesy of John Palmer

William Rowe's logo on the above drill press.


Courtesy of John Palmer

The wheel from a stone trolley, as used at the Ham Hill quarries, manufactured by William Rowe at his Yeovil Foundry. 


Courtesy of Alastair Wreford

A steel plate, presumably originally fixed to an item made by William Rowe.