Moses Bowness
Susan Premru
Moses Bowness
Ambleside’s first Photographer    Active 1856-1894
Moses first wife, their children and step-children, with some relatives through marriage
                                                                            Christel Muncaster who writes:-
The first wife of Moses Bowness – Isabella Burrow and her extended family in Ambleside

In this short essay I will try to explain some of the people that can be seen in the censuses with Moses Bowness, and how they are related to his first wife, Isabella Burrow(s).

Isabella Muncaster (1789-1869): the mother of Isabella Burrow:

Thomas Burrow (aged about 28), a house carpenter, and Isabella Muncaster (aged 24) had married in Colton, near Ulverston, on 9 Jan 1813. Besides Isabella, they had another three children together, two of whom can be linked to Moses Bowness; Isabella had also had an illegitimate son, when she was about 17 or 18, and his two daughters can be linked to Moses also.

Isabella was born in Coal yeat, and baptised at Broughton-in-Furness chapel on 20 Dec 1789; she was the youngest child of William Muncaster and Barbara Russell (married 1770).

"In 1807, her illegitimate son, Isaac Jackson Muncaster, was born; he was baptised at Colton on 26 Sep. The baptism record says that Isabella was resident at Bandrake Head; where I assume she was in service."

Following her marriage to Thomas Burrow, Isabella had another four children, all born at Ulverston; Isabella; Mary Ann, born 13 Mar 1819; Thomas, born about 1823; and Jane, baptised 29 Dec 1824. Isabella was widowed in 1848; in the 1851 census (as a lodging house keeper) she still had two unmarried children living at home in Ulverston, with her widowed sister and a niece amongst her lodgers; however, more importantly for our purposes, in 1861 she can be seen at Ambleside as Moses Bowness’s mother-in-law (former Innkeeper).

She died in Ambleside in 1869, however she was buried back home in Ulverston on the 8 Feb.

Isabella Burrow (1816-1889):

Isabella Burrow was the eldest child of Thomas Burrow and Isabella Muncaster, and was born on 8 Sep 1816 at Ulverston. She married her first husband, Abraham Slater (1811-1851), a builder, on 27 Dec 1836, when she was 20.

The first of their children, William, was born in Ambleside in 1839, and there were three others; although the next child, Abraham, was born and died in the Apr-Jun quarter of 1841, he did live long enough to be baptised (on Apr 9); there was also Agnes born in 1842, and Isaac in 1846.

Isabella was widowed in 1851, and although he died in Ambleside Abraham was buried in his home parish at Ulverston, on Oct 7, aged 40. It was some 6-7 years later that Isabella married Moses Bowness, on 16 Jan 1858 at Ambleside; they had one daughter, Mary Anne, born in the Jul-Sep quarter of 1858, baptised on 17 Oct.

Mary Ann Burrow (1819-1877): the sister of Isabella Burrow:

Mary Ann never married and following her sister’s marriage to Moses Bowness, she and her mother had both joined his household. In 1861 they just appeared as family members, however by 1871 Mary Ann was acting as Housekeeper. She died at Ambleside on 17 Oct 1877.

Jane Burrow (1824-1855): the sister of Isabella Burrow:

Jane married Robert Birkitt Elleray, a joiner, on 25 Jan 1848 in Ulverston; they had two children, John born in Ambleside in 1848 and Thomas Burrow born in Ulverston in 1851. Sadly, Thomas Burrow Elleray died in Chorlton RD, Lancashire in 1852; however, by 1855 it seems that the family were back in Ambleside, as this is where Jane died.

In 1861 Robert Birkitt Elleray, was living in Ellel, Lancashire with his son John; John died in 1863. I don’t know if Robert ever worked for Moses, or if it was a purely family connection, however, when Robert passed in Ambleside in 1870, Moses Bowness was the sole executor of his will.

Hannah Isabella Muncaster (1834-1935) & Mary Ann Muncaster (1845-1930): the nieces of Isabella Burrow:

Isabella Burrow’s half brother Isaac Jackson Muncaster married Mary Harbottle in Colton on 23 Nov 1830; he and Mary had three children before he died in 1845, aged 38. His son, Thomas Harbottle Muncaster was born in 1836, dying in London in 1863 aged 27, only three years after qualifying as a surgeon.

Hannah Isabella (his eldest child) was born in 1834 in Colton, she never married and unlike the male members of this family she lived to a very ripe age of 101. She lived with her widowed mother in Colton, and later in Lowick; however in 1891 she can be seen in Ambleside as a “niece” of Moses Bowness.

Her sister Mary Ann had married farmer William Stephenson in 1868, having six children with him. They farmed in Lowick, but sometime after 1877 moved to Kingsland, near Leominster in Herefordshire where Mary Ann Bowness was to visit them in 1881, and where Mary Harbottle died in 1885. In 1891 when William is farming in Shropshire, Mary Ann is with her sister in Ambleside, another “niece” of Moses Bowness.

Presumably these two sisters went to nurse their aunt Isabella Burrow before she died in 1889, or went to help sort out her estate following her death, and then over a year later they were still there. I don’t know when they left, but in the 1901 census they are living together back in the Furness region in Urswick, where William is no longer farming but a Commission Agent.
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