Bertram Rumbold was born Bertie Frederick Rowter in Epsom in the March quarter of 1877. He was baptised on the 4th of February 1877 at St. Mary’s Church Ewell. He was the fourth child born to James Frederick Rowter, a watch maker, and Eliza Christiana Rowter, née Hodges. His father died in 1876.
Bertram’s parents were married on the 19th of October 1869 at Alverstoke, Hampshire.
In the 1851 Census, Eliza Christiana Hodges was living with her family in 168 High Street, Cheriton, Kent. The family consisted of John Hodges, head of the household, aged 45 and a coast guard born in Portsea, Hampshire, Sarah, his wife, aged 42, born in Portsea and their children. Elizabeth, aged 13, was born in Seabrook, Kent. The following children were all born in Shorncliffe, Kent: Eliza C aged 11, James aged 9, Caroline aged 8, Ellen aged 5, Lucy aged 3, and Octavia aged 2.
Having married, the Rowter family was lodging in the house of Isaac Qually at 19 St. Paul Street in Islington, by the time of the 1871 Census. The family consisted of James Rowter, mis-transcribed as “Rowlee”, aged 29, born in Collington, Cornwall. His occupation is described as a watch, clock, and jewellery (maker). Eliza, his wife, aged 30, is a milliner and dressmaker, born in Sandgate, Kent, and their daughter Gertrude ages 7 months, born in Islington. Gertrude was born in the third quarter of 1870, reference Islington 1b 352.
Their second child, Kate Eliza, was born in the October quarter of 1873. Unfortunately, she died at 5 weeks old and was buried at St. Mary’s Church, Ewell on the 10th of October 1873. Her burial record gives her name as Eliza Kate.
Their third child, Ernest James Rowter was born in Epsom in the December quarter of 1875. He was baptised on the 5th of December 1875 at St Mary’s Church, Ewell. His parents were James Frederick and Eliza Christina.
Unfortunately, James Frederick, Bertie/Bertram’s father, died, age 37, in the December quarter of 1876. He was buried on the 12th of October at St. Mary’s Church, Ewell.
Sadly, Eliza Christiana, Bertie/Bertram’s mother, died age 39 in the March quarter 1879.
In the 1881 Census, Gertrude, age 10, was in the Female Orphan Asylum, Beddington, Surrey. Her name was mis-transcribed as “Rowler”.
Ernest J. Rowter, age 5, was living at 19 New Street, Margate in Kent. He was described as the “adopted son” of James Rumbold, age 39, and his wife Ellen, age 35. James was described as “a pensioner, instructing Sergeant of the Volunteer Corps”. The Volunteer Force was a part time citizen Army created in 1859 which eventually became the Territorial Army. Ellen was born in Sandgate, Kent (Sandgate and Shorncliffe are adjacent to one another to the west of Folkestone; in the 1851 Census, Ellen is recorded as being born in Shorncliffe) and was Ernest’s aunt. She was one of Eliza Christiana’s younger sisters. She married James Rumbold, a soldier, on the 8th of September 1871, at All Saint’s Church in Camden Town.
Comment: Legal adoption was introduced in 1927. Prior to that, parents or guardians could place their children in another’s care. Common reasons for children to be fostered were death of the parents, illegitimacy, abandonment, or poverty.
Bertie Rowter, age 4, was a visitor at 1 Prince Alfred Street in Alverstoke, Hampshire. The head of the household was James Thomas, age 54, a Greenwich pensioner. Also present were Sarah Thomas, his wife, age 44, and their five children, his mother-in-law, and two visitors (one of which being Bertie). The other visitor was Caroline Sherrington, age 38, married and born in Sandgate, Kent. Caroline was Bertie’s aunt and was one of Eliza Christiana’s younger sisters. She married George Sherrington on the 30th of November 1864 at St. Mary’s Church in Islington.
In the Census of 1891, the Rumbold family was living at 14 High Street, St. Peter in Kent. James Rumbold, age 48, was the head of the household. He was an Army pensioner. With him were Ellen Rumbold, his wife, age 44 and born in Sandgate, Kent; Edward J. R. Rumbold, their son, age 16; and Bertram F. R. Rumbold, their son, age 14. Both children were scholars, and both were born in Ewell.
In the December quarter of 1894, Gertrude Christina Rowter married William Thomas Pierce in Dover.
Ernest James Rumbold joined the Royal Navy on the 12th of May 1896. He was a bandsman and served until 1899. He subsequently served as a bandsman on several ocean liners.
On 1st of July 1901, Bertram, age 23, joined the Army. He enlisted in the Hussars of the Line, regimental number 5856. He was discharged on the 14th of May 1903. The Hussars of the Line was the collective name for the group of 30 Hussar Regiments in the Army.
On 5th of February 1908, Bertram was admitted to St Giles Workhouse on Broad Street, Westminster. He was discharged on the 7th of February to Long Grove Asylum in Epsom.
The Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records show that on the 19th of September 1908, Bertram Rumbold, properly Rowter, a lunatic pauper, was sent to Long Grove Asylum on 7th February 1908. He was sent there at the expense of the Strand Poor Law Union. Two Justices of the Peace decided that the expense should be charged to Shoreditch parish as Bertram Rumbold resided for 3 years prior to 1899 in Shoreditch parish. On 1st March 1892, he had been bound apprentice to Jeremiah Rotherham & Co of High Street, Shoreditch.
In the file is a deposition from that company stating that, on 1st March 1892, he was apprenticed for four years and his real name was Rowter. His Aunt Mrs H. Rumbold of 114 High Street, St. Peters, Thanet in Kent requested he adopt the name of Rumbold. He left their employment on 31st October 1899. On 6th November 1899, they gave a reference to Messrs Marshall and Snelgrove of Oxford Street. On 9th June 1903 he was re-engaged with Jeramiah Rotherham & Co after having served in the Army in South Africa. He left the company on 1st June 1906. In 1907, they received two letters from him with addresses on Gillingham Street, Victoria, London.
Comments: The Mrs H. Rumbold mentioned in the deposition was probably Ellen Rumbold. Jeremiah Rotherham & Co., a department store on Oxford Street, was founded in 1840 and continued to trade up to the late 1960s. The Boer War was from October 1899 to May 1902. Although 28 Hussar regiments served in the Boer War, Bertram did not serve overseas.
In the Census of 1911, Ernest James Rumbold, age 34, born in Epsom and a musician was living with his wife Ethel Gertrude, age 28, at Orleans Road, Stoneycroft, a district of east Liverpool bordering on West Derby.
Bertram died in Long Grove on 2nd April 1918 and was buried in Horton Estate Cemetery.