William North Row, J.P. [Obituary]

Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1885, Vol XVII, pp. 64-65.


Rev W. Harpley

Prepared by Michael Steer

The paper was delivered at the Association’s July 1890 Barnstaple meeting. Tiverton Town Hall possesses a handsome marble bust of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, (1784-1865), twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The front of its plinth is inscribed: "Henry John, Viscount Palmerston. The gift of William North-Row". Mr North-Row was J.P. for Devon, and Patron of one living. In 1869 he married Elizabeth Hewitt, daughter of John Hewitt, Esq., of Burgatia, co. Cork. Their son, William Robert North-Row (born 1869), was educated at Emmanuel College., Cambridge and became a Captain in the Royal North Devon Hussars (Yeomanry Cavalry., born at Cove House, Tiverton. (The County Families of the United Kingdom, Aristocracy of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, 1908) In 1862 William North-Row sold a "parcel of land adjoining quay" to The London and South Western Railway Company, in conjunction with The Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses of the City of Exeter. See Conveyance, Devon Archives and Local Studies Service (South West Heritage Trust), Reference: 2913B/T/6[2]. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

William North Row, J.P., was the youngest son of the late Mr. John Row, who practised as a solicitor at Tiverton, and was born in June, 1810. He was educated at Blundell’s School, and subsequently kept some terms at Oxford. Destined to follow the profession of his father, he was articled to Messrs. Gidley, of Exeter; but being in delicate health he soon gave up the study of the law, and set out to visit foreign countries. He spent some time at Madeira and in the East. His elder brothers, of whom there were several, having died in early manhood, he succeeded at the death of his father in 1840, to the Cove Estate, and settled there. This being within the borough boundary of Tiverton, Mr. Row from the first felt a deep interest in the municipal government of that town. In 1863 he was chosen to an aldermanic seat, which he held to the time of his death, having been re-elected at each sextennial vacation. Except during later years he was very regular in his attendance at the Council meetings, and his opinions had great weight. In the same year as he was chosen an alderman he was unanimously nominated as mayor, and he retained the robes of office the following year. He was chief magistrate again in 1872-3, and was shortly after named by the Lord Chancellor as justice of the peace both for the borough and the county. He held many other important local positions, being a trustee of the borough charities, a market trustee, a land tax commissioner, a governor of Blundell's School and of the Tiverton Middle School, and a member of many committees. When the ecclesiastical district of Cove was made a separate parish, Mr. Row accepted the office of churchwarden, and he always showed a hearty interest in its welfare, giving generous support to the reading-room and other institutions for the benefit of the inhabitants.

Mr. Row owned, besides Cove, numerous properties scattered about in different parts of North Devon and West Somerset, and was held in very high estimation by his tenants, being a most kind-hearted man, a staunch friend, and a liberal landlord.

He became a member of the Association in 1865, on the occasion of its visit to Tiverton, when, as mayor, he joined in giving it a hearty reception, and he was one of the Vice-Presidents for the year.

He died, after a brief illness, at his residence at Cove, on the 30th June, 1890, aged 80 years, leaving a widow and two sons and four daughters to mourn his loss.