Part 3 Family Histories

The Rowlinson Family


John Rowlinson, grandfather of Jack Rowlinson who lives with his wife Doris at “Driftside”, took over the “Cock Inn” in 1912. The “Cock” then remained with a succession of Rowlinsons until 1971. John was succeeded by his brother (Jack’s Uncle Orris), then by Jack’s father John in 1922 whose eldest son Sydney followed him from 1949 to 1971.

The second John Rowlinson had seven children. Sadly their eldest daughter Edna Smith was killed in a road accident involving an army vehicle in 1941.

John (II) farmed the fields at the rear of the “Cock Inn”, with stock including pigs and chickens. He was also a haulage contractor for West Suffolk County Council using three horses and carts at first, then adding two lorries for his work on the roads.


The Rowlinson Family

The Rowlinson Family: standing Harold & Dora, Joyce & Colin, Leslie & Cicely, John (Jack) & Doris; seated Sydney & Irene, Beatrice and John (parents), Rhoda & Joe Tucker (with daughter Jennifer); in front Barbara (daughter of Harold & Dora), Bernard (son of Edna & Reg), Anne (daughter of Sydney & Irene). [Barbara & Anne went on to marry Athertons]

John also did quite a lot of taxi work using the various cars he owned during his years at the “Cock”. Doris and Jack have records of the taxi service from 1924 including the charges, which were quite expensive. These include many journeys by the vicar, various families and well-known people, usually to the station, and also the Misses Day. There were very few cars around at this time and Jack and Doris believe his was the only car in Thurlow at one period.

Jack tells the story of Brigadier Frink always bringing two men and two horses home when he came on leave during the war. These were lodged and stabled at the “Cock”. Brigadier Frink also owned and rode a retired racehorse, which Jack used to exercise for him.


One of John Rowlinson’s first lorries, used as an alternative to the horses in the stables in the background.

[This photo us one of several unearthed in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and sent to Jack because of the name and address on the lorry]

Jack’s wife Doris was the daughter of the village policeman, Tom Hart, before she married. She has memories of the various families who ran the village shop. Jack remembers the Purkis family of whom Doris only has vague memories. She well remembers the Brown family who followed them and has written the following description of them:

I have vivid memories of the Browns, though I am not certain of the dates. They must have been around in the early to mid 1930s. Mr. Brown appeared as a very mysterious man, always dressed in dark clothes, wearing heavy rimmed spectacles. Mrs. Brown was a very polite, educated and talented lady, a very good pianist and singer. Apparently over-generous when serving customers, she had been known to give money back. (Doris also says that she found
Mr. Brown terrifying as a child, and always peered through the glass door to see if he was about or was there alone before entering the shop for errands.)

Mr. Brown would disappear for weeks and his wife would be unaware of his whereabouts. (I am told he was a commercial traveller.) Mrs. Brown made frequent visits to my home (the local police station) complaining of ill treatment by her husband. I think it was a love/hate relationship, as on many visits they were quite happy together! I don’t think they were in Thurlow for many years. It was reported that Mrs. Brown committed suicide after they left Thurlow; apparently she put her head in the gas oven ­ very sad.

The Browns were followed by Mr. and Mrs. Hale. Mr. Hale was quite a character (very outspoken). The correct approach was most important when making a purchase. It was fatal to say, “Have you got a certain item?” His reply would be, “Mr. Hale has got everything”. This being wartime we didn’t always get what we wanted!

Mr. Hale and his son made excellent bread and pork pies. Jack remembers Mr. Hale letting Fred (his son) deliver the bread with a pony and trap around Cowlinge and Bradley East Green areas. Fred did the local deliveries on a trade bicycle.

In later years Mr. Hale’s eldest son took over the business and kept the shop open for a number of years. Sadly after Ernest Hale left it ceased to remain a shop.


A bill sent to Jack by his father

A note on the back reads , ‘ “Bill received for free evening at the Cock after our wedding.”‘