More on FAA Rowland and the Australian connection

Here is more information from exchanges of emails between Jacky Fogerty and me and a picture of the Von Ditges’ family schloss


Your research is  very impressive indeed, and I see you have perfected the skill of hunting missing pieces of information down by lateral means and in unexpected places, so vital to the historian. My Australian research was based on the excellent records and treasury of photos and documents kept by my grandmother and parents. The English research I did myself, but 30 years ago I did a doctorate in 19th and 20th century British social history, so I am fairly comfortable with the sources, if not very adept at the internet side of things.


In Suffolk FAA and Catherine Rowland lived at Stanstead Hall, Hitcham, and Catherine later lived with Alton, Henrietta and Marion at Mill House, Hartest Mill, Bury St Edmunds. I don’t know whether FAA Rowland was still living when they moved there and I don’t know what other places they lived in, my mother only remembers the Mill House address. I think the family left Mill House for more modest accommodation when Stanley died. Stanley did a couple of ink sketches of Mill House which my parents have framed – I scanned them and copied them on the tree but now cannot find my original scans to send you. I think Mill House may now be a furniture store of some sort, it seemed to be when I last googled it.


I have attached a photo of Catherine Rowland nee Laflin reading, probably at Stanstead Hall, and one taken by Stanley Rowland of Mill House and Hartest Mill. Also photos of FAA Rowland’s children (l to r: Alton, Henrietta, Percy, Stanley (front, in sailor suit), Ethel Theresa and Marion), PF Rowland with his wife Jessie and the three eldest children (Marion, Frances and Philip), PF Rowland’s entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography mentioning his parents’ names, and baptism records from the London Register of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials for PF and his brother Alton.


I do not have any hard evidence that Alton died childless, although only he and his wife are listed in the household in the 1911 Quebec Census. However they were in correspondence with my grandmother and she was very definite that Alton had no children and nor did any of PF Rowland’s other siblings, which was why she was expecting the (non-existent) Rowland money when the last sister, Henrietta, died.


In answer to your earlier question about  Marjorie Rowland  She changed her name to deed poll to Mrs Marjorie Rowland and her son David’s birth was registered as David Miles Wisely Rowland.


My mother was born Alison Ruth Milfull, mother Marian Laflin Rowland, and Marion was the eldest daughter of PF Rowland.  As you say, my mother is your third cousin.


Also I think I was being a bit glib about Philip Hastings Rowland, PF Rowland’s only son. Although it is true that he felt under pressure to do well academically like his father, he left school to go jackarooing immediately after his mother died horribly and in great pain from breast cancer.


I am attaching an old family tree chart by my cousin Peter, which does not include children born in the last ten years. I cannot work out how to convert it to a different format to edit it, and unfortunately Ancestry does not let me print out a tree diagram going downwards that is wide enough to fit everyone in, although it does a fine upwards (pedigree) view. Please ignore the last two sisters of PF Rowland at the very bottom of this chart, Ethel Theresa was a single person, not two people Ethel and Theresa (at this point we had not done any research on the English part of the family).


If Brian Rowland and family are in Australia, we would love to meet them. Looking forward to keeping in touch – thanks so much again, we are all so pleased about your research and making contact with the English family again.


By the way, did you know that Rev William John and FAA’s sister Alice Marion Rowland Hart wrote a long, interesting and amply illustrated book called Picturesque Burma about her travels there in 1895? I did not know this until I started looking for Rowland family publications and found a reprint at They are certainly an interesting family.


Jacky Fogerty





Thanks for sending through your Ancestry tree-immensely impressive-did you put it together and research all the documents yourselves? My researches are positively amateur by comparison. Also Australians seem to have supersize families-probably because you have so much space there! By all means update your trees with information from mine.

I think my search for continuation of the male line in Australia is likely to be still-born-both John Neville and David Miles Wisely are getting on in years. You will see from my tree that I have a first cousin, Brian Rowland who emigrated to Australia-I will check out his whereabouts from his sister Sally who lives in Norwich near my daughter Tessa. Also my son Ben and family now live near Sudbury in Suffolk-do you have FAA’s address there?


Richard Rowland



Dear Richard, How lovely to hear from you in person! Thanks so much for taking time to write such a helpful email.


And thank you again for your wonderful book, my uncle and mother (who are in their seventies) were thrilled, and my uncle of course was particularly excited about having some concrete information at last on the German connection.  My mother’s name is Alison Fogerty and she would be very pleased if you would sign a book for her.


I also noticed when I was tracking down the Rowlands that the Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre had a slightly inaccurate information box called “The Rowland Family and Champion Hall” on their website. It states that William Rowland was a barber, rather than his son. I emailed them mentioning this and asking if they had more information about Rosenthal or Henrietta Ditges and they said they had no more information on the Rowlands, but would be grateful for anything I could send. I then found out about your book, so I sent them the web address along with some jpg images of a few documents I already had. I am sure that if you wanted to provide them with a copy of your book, they would be very grateful and it would help researchers in future. Their email is


I will certainly post you some information about Frederick Arthur Alexander Rowland and family, but below is a brief synopsis. I will also invite you to our tree on Ancestry. I understand if you prefer not to use Ancestry, however there is a tremendous amount of documentation attached to it (BDM index references, baptism, birth, marriage, death certificates, photos, documents, letters etc) which I cannot possibly send.


Frederick Arthur Alexander Rowland was admitted as a solicitor on Dec 20 1871 and mostly practised from 14 Clement’s Inn. He seems to have fallen out with his family in 1869 when he married a servant girl, Catherine Laflin, daughter of Suffolk farm bailiff Abraham Laflin, at St Clement Dane’s (23 August 1869, bride’s name is given as Kate Laflin). We are very grateful that he did do the decent thing and marry her, as Percy Fritz Rowland, my great-grandfather, was born very soon afterwards.


He did however, at least in the early 1870s, act in some cases for the family, eg in the sale of Rowland assets, and I have some advertisements and legal proceedings attached to my tree on Ancestry.


FAA Rowland and Catherine had three boys and three girls, but the family was very quickly in financial trouble. FAA seems to have inherited his family’s exuberance and wide ranging interests without the finances to support them. He may also have incurred litigation costs as he was personally involved in at least two cases, one relating to alleged fraud by a clerk for the solicitors acting for Alexander William Rowland’s estate, of which I have a transcript, and another as plaintiff in relation to the estate of Anton Leo, for which I have recently put in a request with UK National Archives.


He is first in the London Gazette relating to a liquidation of his assets in relation to bankruptcy proceedings on 19 August 1879, but seems to have avoided bankruptcy on that occasion. There may have been other issues in the intervening period which I have not been able to track down, apart from a couple of partnership dissolutions, but on 12 April 1894 he was declared bankrupt. At that point he permanently disappears from the Law Lists (and from the Census as you say until 1911, when he is a retired solicitor living in Suffolk; in 1901 he is elusive but Catherine is visiting her sister in law Alice Marion Hart). He does not seem to have a probate record, although his wife does, which suggests to me that he never got his affairs onto a sound footing again.


My own theory is that his wife was quietly given money by FAA Rowland’s siblings to support the family. They certainly seem to have traded down into progressively more modest rented country houses in Suffolk as time went on. My great grandfather PF Rowland was able to go to Oxford on scholarship but the other children do not seem to have done this. Stanley, Marion and Henrietta worked as teachers until their retirement and did not marry. Alton emigrated to Canada, married Emma Holland in Quebec and died there childless. I understand he was an accountant and the 1911 Quebec Census bears this out. Ethel Theresa, who was called Cissie, was said to be somewhat feeble-minded and subject to nerves. My understanding is that she did not marry but retired to a rest home/asylum, and in 1911, ET Rowlands born Hampton Middlesex in the correct year, is listed at the City of London Asylum and Hill House, as having been a typist.


Frederick Arthur Alexander’s male line has not run out, but I think it is down to one thread. His son Percy Fritz Rowland had one son, Philip Hastings Rowland and three daughters, Marian, Frances and Joan. There were hopes that Philip would be a great scholar but the expectation was too much for him and he went off after his Junior Certificate to be a jackeroo (horseman on remote properites) and farmer, later qualifying as an engineer and serving in the air force in Morotai in World War 2. Philip had one son, John Neville Rowland, and one daughter, Helen Beatrice Rowland. John Neville Rowland lives in Tasmania. He has three daughters and grandchildren, but we have been out of touch with that side of the family, so I will just check with his niece that he has not married again and produced sons.


Percy Fritz Rowland’s daughters, on the other hand, had children, almost all of whom have had their own children and grandchildren and some great grandchildren. Frances Rowland’s only grandson is named David Miles Wisely Rowland, as his mother (now deceased) changed her name by deed poll to Marjorie Rowland.


We have always been very proud of the Rowland connection, although my grandmother, who was a bit of a snob, always spoke of them as a landed family with an “estate” in Suffolk and had expectations that she would inherit the (as it turned out non-existent) Rowland money when her aunts died.  We had no idea about the association with Rowland’s Macassar Oil or FAA Rowland’s financial troubles or his wife’s humble background until we started researching them. Ironically the research was mostly to track down the elusive “German grandmother” that my grandmother spoke of but had no more information about. We are very grateful that, thanks to your work, we now know so much more about the Rowlands and also the German connection.




I have attached photos of FAA Rowland’s entry from the Bankruptcy Register from the UK National Archives (BT 293) , and the original bankruptcy petitions in 1894 (B 11/11) with more details: the full file references are on my tree. There is also a listing from the London Gazette relating to this bankruptcy and the marriage certificate for FAA Rowland and Kate Laflin. I have not attached the baptism or other records for the children because I copied them so long ago I cannot immediately find them on the system, but they are all in the London Baptisms, Marriages and Burials and images are copied on our tree.


If you come across any photos at all of FAA Rowland or his siblings (apart from the very well documented Dame Henrietta Barnett), I would be very grateful for a copy. Thank you so much.


Jacky Fogerty





The wonders of the internet!

How good to hear from you- I suppose you came across the website whilst idly browsing

I had drawn a blank on Frederick Arthur Alexander Rowland and his progeny-the reference to his daughter Ethel and her husband MJ Bassett came from my father but I don’t know where he got it.I knew nothing about PF.

I knew FAA was a solicitor in London, but he seemed to avoid Census returns, and as you will gather from my book his brother (my great grand-father) William John made a watchword of having nothing to do with his family. So any information, photos etc would be interesting.Also of course Percy Fritz and his family. It would be good if you could send me a printed copy of your tree. I will be able to update my trees on line.

So it looks as though the Rowland male line from FAA has run out.

The von Ditges stuff is interesting. Micky Watkins a biograther of Dame Henrietta Barnett is also interested in Henriette von Ditges, her mother-she learnt she was a catholic-but other than what I have included in my book, I have no more information on her. I will try to visit the “family” schloss in Honnef-you will see from my book that my great uncle Sir Philip Gibbs failed to do this.

I will be pleased to send you a copy of the book -what is your mother’s name-I can dedicate it to her.


Richard Rowland




Henriette von Ditges'family schloss at Bad Honnef in the Rhine near Bonn, now a Business School

Henriette von Ditges’ family schloss at Bad Honnef on the Rhine near Bonn in 1910, now a Business School

One thought on “More on FAA Rowland and the Australian connection

  1. Pat Chappelle

    Hello Richard,
    At least, I hope this reaches you as I can’t seem to find a direct contact email for you.
    I am a freelance writer, and am currently researching and writing a history of Lee, south London. I arrived at your web pages via a Google search on Rowland’s Macassar Oil, having discovered that Alexander Rowland once lived in Lee. Your story is most interesting, with much relevant info, and I would love to pick your brains further on this phase of your ancestor’s life (the letters addressed to Betsey are especially tantalising), as it coincides with an important period in Lee’s history. I may be able to add a little info myself, and also correct a couple of errors in your text. However, before I type on at too great a length, I would be relieved to know whether this is actually reaching you! My direct email is, and it would be wonderful to hear from you.
    With kind regards,
    Pat Chappelle

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