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Susan Prowse-Tako's January Prowse Highlights

1 January, 1735: Birth of Paul Revere. Immortalized in a ballad by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for his dramatic midnight horseback ride in 1775 warning Boston-area residents that “The British Are Coming”! He also took part in the Boston Tea Party, dumping tea from the British East India Company into Boston's harbor.  He features in our family history because he took the 'Suffolk Resolves', the basis for the American “Declaration of Independence”, from the Doty Tavern in Canton, (on land belonging to the now-named 'Prowse Farm') to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1775. (see p. 347 in my 'First Do No Harm' book). (see also 14 January entry below and in the April 18 , 1775, Highlights).


1 January, 2000: Two Prowse family members received MBE awards in the Queens' Millenium Honours List. Dave 'Darth Vader' Prowse (1935-2020) and Simeon Prowse. (See November 28, 2000, Highlights entry)


2 January 1896: “Army Fiasco Triggers Boer War”. Lt. Charles Bertie Prowse (1869-1916) of the Somerset Light Infantry ( and from the Kingston Manor branch of our family) took part in several battles during the Boer War. (see Jan 23/24 entry).


5 January, 1066: Death of Edward the Confessor sparking the Norman “invasion of England”. We were there!


8 January 1935: Birth-date of Elvis Presley, who had a short-lived affair with Juliet Prowse in 1960 during the filming of G.I. Blues. (see p. 201, in my original Prowse Family History Book, 3rd edition)


9 January, 1975: Birth of Matthew Prowse, son of Nicholas Geoffrey Prowse (1941-1999) and Johanna ClaridgeMatthew was tragically killed in a hit and run accident on April 25, 1998, in Bristol, England, aged 23. He was a 4th year mechanical engineering student and had just passed his Naval Board entrance exam prior to beginning a naval career following in his family's Naval tradition of over 100 years. Matthew's grandfather, Geoffrey Vernon Prowse was  lost at sea in his submarine, HMS Snapper, at age 28, just days after his son, Nicholas Geoffrey Prowse was born. His gt-grandfather was Cecil Irby Prowse, captain of HMS Queen Mary, who drowned at the Battle of Jutland. (see next entry below & p. 362, Those in Peril)


11 January, 1928: Thomas Hardy dies - his heart is buried in Stinsford Church, Dorset, and his body is buried in Westminster Abbey beside Charles DickensHardy composed a lovely poem to the memory of Captain Cecil Irby Prowse (1866-1916) of HMS Queen Mary (and of the Kingston Manor branch of the family), who died when his ship went down at the Battle of Jutland on May 31, 1916, because the wife of the vicar of Stinsford, Ethel Florence Prowse Cowley, was the sister of Cecil Irby Prowse. (see p.231, in my book 'Those in Peril')

12 January 1895National Trust founded when a donation of 4.5 acres was made by a Welsh lady, Mrs. Fanny Talbot, to this new organization. She was a personal friend of art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900), the first husband of Effie Grey (1828-1897), later to marry the artist, John Everett Millais (1829-1896), and whose descendants from the Kingston Manor branch of the Prowse family, when Effie and John Millais's granddaughter, Esme Millais, married Charles Anthony Stanley Prowse (1904-1981), son of Brig-Gen Charles Bertie Prowse (1869-1916). Their daughter, Thea, married the Rev. Desmond Parsons and had two children, Benedict (our Prowse Reunion photographer) & Katherine. (see pp. 365, 366 in my 'Those in Peril' book). John Ruskin died on 20, January 1900.


14 January 1200: Pierre de Preaux, nominated as “Seigneur (dominus) of Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney”, by King John.  He gave Pierre (Peter) other lands in England and Normandy, all of which he held from the King by the feudal service of 3 knights. He also received the promise of succeeding William de Vernon (whose eldest daughter, Mary, he had married) in the Lordship of the Isle of Wight. Sadly, Peter died before his father-in-law. (p.109 in my 'Prowse F.H. Book', 3rd edit)


14 January, 1824: Birth of Edward Prowse (1824-1862), 5th child and 4th son of James Prowse (1782-1846) & Mary Anne Philpott (1795-1843)  He was an engineer/draughtsman/architect who worked for 3 years for Isambard Kingdom Brunel, “one of the most versatile and audacious engineers of the 19th century” before emigrating to Adelaide in Australia in 1849.  Edward's older brother, Albert Philpott Prowse (1817-1895) also worked for Brunel.

Edward married Mary Ann South and had 5 more children after the death of their first-born son. Their descendants include several who have attended our Prowse Family Reunions in the UK, including Pam Matthews, gt-gt granddaughter, who died recently and who was the wife of Erwin Matthews, who contributed so much of the Australian Prowse history to us; and Noel Prowse, gt-gt-grandson of Edward and husband of Glenda. Other descendants include Virginia Banyard, a great-grand-daughter of James Barrington Prowse, Edward's first-born son, and her nephew, Simon Prowse, gt-gt-grandson of James Barrington ProwseSimon is a Consultant Radiologist and director of Training and Head of Department at the Lyell McEwin Hospital in Adelaide. His wife, Phoebe Hold, is a Consultant Plastic Surgeon and director of training at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, and they have two young children, Esme (2016) and Malcolm 'Mal' Barrington Prowse (2019). (see pp. 290-322 in my ''First Do No Harm' book). 

14 January, 1896: Birth of Martha Peabody, an American, who married Montague Warren Prowse, (1891-1954). Her father, Colonel Peabody, gifted the newlyweds with his historic farm in Canton, Massachusetts, which became known as 'Prowse Farm'. Montague was a gt-gt-nephew of the William Prowse (1801-1886) who founded the immensely successful Keith Prowse & Co. firm (music publishers and theatre agents) together with William Keith. (see also 1 January entry above)


15 January, 1790: Fletcher Christian and other mutineers from the BOUNTY land on Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific. See the December 7, 1817 Highlights entry for the story of Adeline Prouse's ancestor, Matthew Quintal, one of the 'Mutiny on the Bounty' 1787 mutineers.


17 January 1842: Birth of Thomas Davidson, artist, who specialized in historical naval scenes, including “Hoisting the Signal, England Expects”, in which our William Prowse is shown in the background behind Nelson, and Captains Hardy and Blackwood, looking through his telescope for his frigate, HMS Sirius. Beside him is shown his nephew, Captain Adair, of the Royal Marines, who was killed in that battle. Incidentally, when my parents returned from India in 1950, they rented a beautiful ancient Manor House in Martinstown, just outside of Dorchester, Dorset, which had been the ancestral home of Captain Hardy, and which was just a stone's throw from the ancient prehistoric settlement of Maiden Castle, a fossil hunter's dream site, and on whose ramparts I frolicked as a child! (See also p. 143 in my Prowse Family History bk, 3rd edition, & pp. 157-159 & 167 in my 'Those in Peril' book).


17 January 1893: President Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893) died. He was descended through the Gidleigh Castle and Chagford branch of the Prowse family through John & Jone Orchard Prowse.  Buried in Tremont, Ohio. (see p.191 in my original 'Prowse Family History Book, 3rd edition').


19 January, 1942: “The Japanese invade Burma”. Since my family lived in Assam, NE India, at the time, my sister, Anne (age 6), and myself (age 6 weeks!) along with all women and children were evacuated to southern India. My parents stayed in Assam and my father, as the only physician in that area, treated all the thousands of refugees pouring out from Burma into Assam to escape the Japanese, many suffering from malaria, dysentery and snake bites, etc. The Japanese came within 150 miles of our home but were soundly defeated by the combined British and Indian forces at the 1944 battles of Imphal and Kohima (recently voted as the most decisive battle of all time in British history). (See p. 6/7 & pp.15-35-- in my Autobiography, 'East to West, From the Himalayas to the Blue Ridge Mountains, (The Youngest & Highest to the Oldest & Lowest!) - Memoirs of a Child born in British India in the Waning Days of Empire'.


20 January, 1265: (to mid-March) Simon de Montfort's Parliament. Sir William Probus, husband of Alice Ferrers, was “probably” summoned to this parliament. This was the first occasion that commoners were allowed to act as Members of Parliament. Sir William was the High-Sheriff of Devon in 1269, in which year he died. (see pp. 42-44 in my Prowse Family History book, 3rd edition).


20 January, 1788: Captain William Jones Prowse, RN, baptized.  He married the Honourable Rachel Emily Irby (1805-1873), daughter of the Right Honourable Sir George Irby, Bt, 3rd Baron Boston of Hedsoe and had two sons, Capt. George James William Prowse (1841-1903) who married Emmeline Lucy Messiter (1843-1926); and William Charles Thomas Prowse (1844-1874). George and Emmeline were the parents of the WW1 brothers, Cecil Irby and Charles Bertie Prowse, who died within a month of each other at the battles of Jutland and the Somme in 1916. William Jones Prowse, of Kingston Manor, Somerset, patrolled around St. Helena Island in the South Atlantic Oc

ean aboard HMS Conqueror for 3 years while Napoleon Bonaparte was kept prisoner there. (see pp. 268 & 348 'Those in Peril”)


20 January, 1936: Death of King George V. June Barrington Prowse's grandfather, Sir Stanley Cecil James Colville, GCB, GCMB, GCVO, served King George V as his “First & Principal Aide-de-Camp' in 1919, having served in the Royal Navy as a midshipman alongside then Prince George in 1883. Sir Stanley was also among the land forces sent to rescue General Gordon in Khartoum in 1885. (see p.223 in my 'First Do No Harm' book)


23 January 1875: Death of Charles Kingsley, author of 'Westward Ho!', in which he states (regarding the Armada of 1588) that “eight fire-ships 'besmeared with wild-fire, brimstone, pitch, and resin, and all their ordnance charged with bullets and with stones' are stealing down the wind straight for the Spanish fleet, guided by two valiant men of Devon, Young and Prowse. (Let their names live long in the land!)” Hurrah! (see pp 106-110 & 117 in my book, 'Those in Peril'.)

23/24 January, 1890: Battle of Skion Kop during the 2nd Boer War, fought 24 miles WSW of Ladysmith in a 2nd failed attempt to relieve Ladysmith. British losses were 243 killed, 1,250 wounded, while the Boers had 68 killed and 267 wounded. Lt. Charles Bertie Prowse (1869-1916), age 20, of the 2nd Battalion Somerset Light Infantry, took part in this  battle.  (see p. 197 in my 'Those in Peril' book)

24 January, 1912: Death of Brig. Surgeon Lt. Col Thomas Gray Skardon (b. 1836). Thomas was the younger brother of Elizabeth Skardon (1829-1909), who married Dr. William Prowse (1825-1917), my great-grandfather. They were the parents of Arthur Bancks Prowse (1856-1925), our family's prolific and, probably, first historian. Thomas Skardon received his first commission from Queen Victoria on January 20, 1860, served with almost all branches of the Bengal Army and after serving for 25 years in the Indian Medical Service, retired in 1886. He corresponded copiously with his nephew, ABP, regarding their shared family history. He spent the remainder of his life at his home, named “Simla”, in Paignton, Devon and is buried at Maker.  (see pp. 83-86 in my 'First Do No Harm' book & also p. 31, in my 'The Skardon Story').

24 January, 1965: Winston Churchill dies. June Barrington Prowse's uncle, Sir John 'Jock' Colville, served 3 prime ministers, including Sir Winston Churchill, as Private Secretary. (See December 14 Highlights entry).

25 January, 1894: Three fisherman, including George Prowse, rescued the crew of the 'John Gronsund' off Exmouth in “terrible weather”. They were rewarded by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution for their bravery. (see p. 391, Those in Peril).

26 January, 1871: Rugby Football Union formed in London. My father, Dr. Arthur Skardon 'Keith' Prowse (1901-1971), played rugger for Bristol University, and for the County of Gloucestershire from 1923-25 and gained 4 English Trial Caps playing for England in International Rugby matches in 1924. (see pp. 177-198, in my 'First  Do No Harm' book)

27 January, 1914: Judge Daniel Woodley Prowse (1834-1914) died at St. John's, Newfoundland. “Lawyer, judge, politician, historian, essayist and office holder”. Author of “A History of Newfoundland from the English, Colonial & Foreign Records”. In it he claimed that practically all the old families of Newfoundland were of Devonian origin and that the country was discovered by West-country sailors under one of the Cabots only a few months after the first great voyage of Columbus and long before the first voyage of Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1584. Sir Humphrey is also related to the Prowses through Agnes Bampfield who married John Prous of Chagford in the early 1400s. Agnes's ancestry can be traced back to the Beauchamps of Ryme and to the powerful Mohuns of Dunster Castle and also to the de Clare family.... and thus back to Charlemagne!  As the saying goes: “Everyone is related to Charlemagne”! (see p. 198 & 58/59 in my 'Prowse Family History, 3rd edition' book).


28 January 1596: Death of Sir Francis Drake. From the 'Western Morning News, Plymouth, Wednesday 22nd October 1899, The Armada Memorial 'Heroes of the Fight': “Among the Heroes of the Armada was Captain Prowse, who with Captain Young, directed the fireships. Prowse...was, it is presumed, the same John Prowse who was witness to the Will of John, brother of Sir Francis Drake, who was killed in 1573....Prowse, it may be added, is a name of old standing in the neighborhood of Tavistock”.   In my pedigree chart on p. 110 in my book 'Those in Peril', you will find a John Prowse  under “c.1603” who married into the Drake family. This John was born about 1563 to William Prowse the Elder and Joan Mitchell of Ouldcliffe, which would have made him about 25 years old in 1588. He married Margaret Drake, perhaps related to Francis Drake's brother, John, which would account for him witnessing John Drake's Will. (see p. 109 Those in Peril). I still contend that it was William Prowse the Elder's brother, William Prowse the Younger, who was the Armada Fireships captain. You can see my argument for him on page 110, in my book, 'Those in Peril'!

29 January, 1856: “Victoria Cross (Britain's highest military decoration) instituted by Queen Victoria”. George Prowse, VC, DCM (1886-1918), son of John Prowse and husband of Sarah Prowse of Landore, Swansea, Wales, was a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Drake Battalion, R.N. Division. Described as “one of Swansea's bravest and most decorated men who was a magnificent example of courage, leadership and cheerful disposition”, George was born into a working class family and was a collier and an avid football (soccer) player who, in the First World War, was wounded twice and cited in several dispatches for heroism, culminating in his winning the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and the Victoria Cross (VC), his citation, in part, stating that he received the VC for “most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty with complete disregard of personal danger, his magnificent example and leadership were inspirational and his courage was superb.” He was killed in action in Anneux, France, on 27 September, 1918, just 45 days before the war ended. His widow, Sarah, was presented with her husband's Victoria Cross by HM King George V at Buckingham Palace on 17 July, 1919. His VC was the last one with the blue naval ribbon and is now held in the Lord Ashcroft Collection at the Imperial War Museum in London. (See pp. 269-311 in my book 'Those in Peril')


31 January, 1858: “Brunel's steamship The Great Eastern is launched after a 3 month delay”. The 'S.S.Great Eastern,' originally named “Leviathan', was the world's first iron-hulled, screw propeller-driven, steam-powered passenger liner. Captain Nicholas Prowse (1825-1884), son of another Nicholas Prowse (b. 1796) and Susanna Bedlake, was involved in the commissioning, launching and maiden voyage of this great iron ship. According to Nicholas's 2nd great grandson, Geoffrey Prowse Williams, he (Nicholas) played a huge part in recovering and making the ship secure after she broke loose in a storm during the fitting out stage. (see pp 384-387 in my 'Those in Peril' book and the April 7, 1858, Highlights).

31 January, 1950: Death of William Edward Prowse (1876-1950), eldest son of James Ferris Prowse and Eliza Bayly, and grandfather of Martin Prowse, another prolific family historian, and his brothers, Roger and RichardWilliam Edward Prowse  joined the Royal Navy in 1891, age 15, as a cadet and rose to the rank of Commander. Took part in 1897 Diamond Jubilee Review at Spithead, for which he received the Jubilee Medal and was attached to HMS Victory as sub-Lieutenant on at least two occasions. In 1915, he was appointed Lieutenant commander and then Acting Commander to HMS Victory at Portsmouth, which was being used as a Boys Training establishment.  Promoted to Commander (retired) in 1916, and receiving the British War Medal in 1920. (see p. 151 & 156 in my 'Prowse Family History Book, 3rd edition').


8 January: Birthday of Debbie, wife of Paul Newton and daughter-in-law of Hilary P & Bryan N.

10 January, 2011:  Death of Olive, wife of Chris Prowse.

15 January: Birthday of Alexandra Michelle Tako, my daughter and wife of Andrew Northam, and mother of Chase, Ellie and Ryan.

15 January, 2011: Birthday of Rosalyn Lorelai Cook, daughter of Alice and Simon

22 January, 2001: Birthday of Esme Annis Briggs, daughter of Spike and Miranda

24 January: Birthday of Lorisa, partner and soul-mate of my son, Nick, and mother of Logan

26 January: Birthday of Stewart “Spike” Briggs, husband of Miranda C

31 January: Birthday of Benedict Parsons, (our family photographer!) and son of Thea and Rev. Desmond Parsons (1925-2014).

31 January, 2012: Birthday of Daniel Thomas Prowse, son of Andrew and Nicola

31 January, 2018: My cousin, Virginia  Barrington-Prowse Shankland, wife of David, died.


6 January, 1941: Flight Sergeant Richard John Prowse, born 25 January, 1920, who enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in Sydney, NSW on this date. He was the son of Richard Prowse . He arrived in Canberra in the mid-1920s with his family. He arrived in Canada in July 1941 for training before proceeding to the UK in October 1941. He served as a fighter pilot with 66 Squadron at Almaza in the Middle East from April 1942 before transferring to 450 Squadron (the “Desert Harassers”) in July 1942  flying a Kittyhawk. He suffered compound injuries to his femur and arm in an air accident near Tripoli in January 1943, losing his arm. He and his wife, Dorothy retired to Moruya where he died on 16 April, 1992. (Thanks to Ran Prouse for this entry).   


7 January, 1942: John Henry Prowse, age 26. (Son of John Henry Morgan Prowse and Winifred Prowse). He was a  Sapper in the 7 Field Squadron Royal Engineers. Died in Tripoli, Libya, during WWII & is buried in the Tripoli War Cemetery.. (see p. 341, Those in Peril)


7 January, 1969: A.J. Prowse, RAF Flight Lieutenant, who died in Malta and is buried in the Imtarfa Military Cemetery  in Malta. Husband of Sally Prowse. (see p. 343, Those in Peril)


2 January, 1805: Christening, in Ugborough, Devon, of Mary Prowse, daughter of John Prowse (1779-1836) and Ann Mashford and sister of Samuel Prowse (1820-1886). Samuel is the common ancestor between Malcolm Prowse and I (gt gt grandfather). Mary died 4 days after she was Christened.

2 January, 1962: Birthday of Steven Jay Prowse, son of James Henry (Jim) Prowse of Halifax and gt-gt-grandson of James Nosworthy Prowse (1857-1940) of Hennock, Newton Abbot, who emigrated to Ontario Canada in 1872.

7 January, 2017: Death of Muriel Joy Upton, n. Pooley, daughter of Elizabeth Alice (Bessie) Prowse (1893-1993), and eldest daughter of Edwin John Prowse (1856-1911). Edwin John was a mason who migrated from Barnstaple to London in the 1880's, he was the son of Samuel Prowse (see 2 January, 1805 entry). Muriel's daughter Marea, is married to James Henry (Jim) Prowse thus reconnecting two Prowse lines (see 2 January, 1962 entry).

8 January, 2009: Death of Patricia (Pat) Pamela Prowse, 3rd child of Samuel John (Jack) Prowse (1887-1931) and Mildred Clara Prowse (1895-1978), who were 1st cousins. Mildred was the third daughter of Edwin John Prowse (see 7 January, 2017 entry). Samuel J Prowse fought in WWI as a Sapper with the Royal Corps of Engineers. Pat is the mother of Simon Knock, member of House of Prowse.

11 January, 1818: Elizabeth Prowse is born in London, England, the youngest child of Thomas Prowse (1774-1833) and Elizabeth Byer and the sister of William Prowse (1801-1886), of Keith Prowse Co. fame, and Thomas Prowse (1803-1867), gt-grandfather of Montague Warren Prowse.

13 January, 1951: Steven John Mattey is born in Stepney, London, the eldest child of Ronald Mattey and Maureen Ethel Davison, who's mother was Annie Margaret Prowse (1894-1975), 2nd eldest daughter of Edwin John Prowse and Clara Barns (see 7 January 2017 and 8 January 2009 entries). Steven is my brother.

21 January, 1856: Geraldine Mann is born in Ontario, Canada. In 1881 she marries William Henry Prowse (1856-1943), whose parents Henry and Hannah Prowse immigrated to Canada from Ermington, Devon around 1855. William Henry, a mason, is noted for bringing the stone grainery to the area; replacing wood structures that were short-lived and difficult to maintain by comparison. William and Geraldine's son, Stanton Earl Prowse (1893-1973) became an engineer and served with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in WWI. Stanton is the grandfather of Dave Prowse, a House of Prowse member. (see HoP Blog: What's in a Desk?)

21 January, 1952: David Alan Mattey is born in Bromley, Kent, the 2nd eldest child of Ronald Mattey and Maureen Ethel Davison, who's mother was Annie Margaret Prowse (1894-1975), 2nd eldest daughter of Edwin John Prowse and Clara Barns (see 7 January 2017 and 8 January 2009 entries). David is my brother.

25 January, 1833: Thomas Prowse (1774-1833), husband of Elizabeth Byer and father of William, Thomas, and Elizabeth (see 11 January 1818 entry) is buried at Finsbury, London.

26 January, 1960: Dave Prowse, HoP member and grandson of Stanton Earl Prowse, is born in London, Ontario. (see 21 January, 1956 entry)

27 January, 1952: John Rex Prowse, HoP member and son of Herbert John Prowse (1922-1983) and Gertrude Mary Hill, is born in Romford, Essex. There are two interesting intersections between the Barnstaple and London Prowses in the relationship between Herbert John and Getrude Mary Hill: 1) Herbert's parents are Samuel John (Jack) Prowse b. Barnstaple and Clara Prowse b. London, who are first cousins because Samuel's father, John Thorne Prowse, was Clara's father's, Edwin John Prowse, brother; 2) Getrude Mary Hill, is the niece of Mary Elizabeth Hill, who married Richard Henry Prowse (1882-1951), who is the brother of Samuel John Prowse, and grandfather of Malcolm Prowse. I hope you're as confused as I am. (see 8 January 2009 entry)

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