Follow us on Facebook  @FHofDW

Ambrose Rose

Oak Street, Deal
Strand Street, Sandwich
45 and 46 Beach Street, Deal

Occupation: Cordwainer and Victualler

Ambrose Rose was born in Barham, the son and grandson of the local butchers. Ambrose did not go into the family business but was apprenticed to cordwainer William Page who was also living in the town in 1779. Ambrose later moved from Barham into Deal where he  set up in business eventually having his own apprentice, John Oatridge in 1790.  Two years later he married Ann, one of the daughters of local clockmaker, Thomas Aldridge. In 1794 their first child was born and by 1812 with eight children, their family was complete.

As was quite common but, nonetheless devastating, three of those children died in childhood. Elizabeth was just two in 1800 when she died followed in February 1806 by Stephen aged 6 and Jarvis aged two.
Stephen and Jarvis were both buried in the Aldridge Family Vault in St. George’s Chapel Field which, according to sexton Nathaniel Rammel, was in the middle of the cemetery, or Chapel field. We assume that Elizabeth was also buried there too.

Remittent Fever
While looking at the pages of the burial register for the two boys it struck us that there were a lot of infant and child deaths from the town and even more recorded as a ‘child of a soldier’. There were also a lot of soldiers who were described as Dragoons, Guards or simply as ‘a soldier’ and eight were recorded as ‘Soldiers from on Board a Transport’. These eight men were probably from Cork on their way to Austerlitz. What these men died of has not been recorded but seven were buried in December 1805 and one on January 7 1806. We turned our attention to the burial register for Old St. Mary’s in Walmer for the same time period, there too there were a lot of deaths in the village and from the barracks. Given that at the time both towns were full of naval and military men embarking and disembarking, not to mention those many ‘hangers on’ the increase in deaths is no real surprise as when diseases occurred, without modern medicine, they would have spread easily.
Researching this further we came across ‘A Practical Account of Remittent Fever’ published in 1806 by Thomas Sutton. He had been observing the men at Deal Barracks who were presenting with a condition similar to what was then understood to be a Typhus like disease, that today would probably be diagnosed as Typhoid.

Thomas states in the first pages of his paper that officers belonging to the regiments, in which the disease has occurred, did not become infected and the disease seems, ‘to be confined to crowded spaces’. He continues to write that the disease had not spread to any considerable extent, in the neighbourhood of those regiments. 

He describes that, ‘at the onset of the disease the patient feels coldness and shivering followed by an extreme temperature, with great pain in the head, confusion, delirium. Violent pain was frequently felt in the back, limbs and joints; in some cases sickness and diarrhoea sometimes degenerated into dysentery. Death would frequently happen within the first week!’ 

Whatever the disease was, Thomas Sutton after trying medicines of opium and bark decided on venesection, in other words bloodletting. He states that by taking no less than twelve ounces of blood at regular intervals brought on a greater curative rate than for those who were treated with the opium and bark remedy. Why this would be we simply do not know.

Whatever the remedy, if it was Typhoid, which seems most likely to our non-medical minds, it was spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. If an infected person does not wash their hands properly after going to the toilet then they can pass on the bacteria by touching a person or by touching an object that another then handles. Typhus on the other hand is spread by fleas or lice. It was not until the mid 1800s that Typhoid became recognised as a disease. Given the age of the children that died they were more likely to be drinking water and, being children particularly then, hand hygiene would not be a high priority. However there could have been other diseases in circulation, particularly affecting the children in the towns that were responsible for this peak in child mortality, such as measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough and even diarrhoea.  

Returning to Ambrose and his family, we know from his will that he owned properties in both Sandwich, where he had once resided, and also in Deal. Our research into his father in law, Thomas Aldridge, found that Ambrose had taken over a property on Beach Street that was later purchased by the borough as this was where the first pier – or jetty was eventually to be built. 

Ambrose is also described as a victualler which probably means a supplier of goods to the navy or military. This would help to explain his eventual wealth. Soon after Ambrose arrived in Deal, Britain declared war on France and with Deal’s proximity to the French coast and the safe anchorage of the Downs, just off shore, it made for a good mustering point for the thousands of military and naval personnel all of whom needed both military and personnel supplies. Ambrose’s wealth enabled him to purchase his properties in Delf Street, Chapel Street and Jail Street in Sandwich as well as the leases of tenements on Beach Street and Oak Street in Deal.

  In the early decades of the nineteenth century the town of Deal went into a steep decline, mainly brought on by the cessation of the wars with France. So, in the late 1820s onwards, to try to bring prosperity back to the town and turn it into a seaside town, or watering place, the ‘Deal Public Improvements Committee’ set about planning and building of the promenade we know today. This was a gradual process taken over many decades as properties on the seaward side of Beach Street were purchased and demolished making way for the promenade to be built. As well as a Promenade a Pier was planned. In 1839, several Beach Street tenements were purchased by the Deal Pier Company one of which was the home of Ambrose Rose. Ambrose had taken over the lease of his  father-in-law’s Beach Street tenement, or house, when he died in 1804. This  may have been his wife’s childhood home and where her father ran his Clockmakers business from. 

The address of the tenement was given in the Kentish Gazette as 45 and 46 Beach Street which corroborates an earlier document dated 1811, based on older leases, that says Thomas Aldridge was leasing a tenement in two dwellings near the Pelican public house which was then in 44 Beach Street.

Name Born Baptised Married Died Buried
Ambrose Rose 1767
February 27 1767
At. John the Baptist, Barham
Ann Aldridge
July 7 1792
St. Leonards or St. George’s?? By Benson.Born 1770
Died 1857
1840 January 17 1840
St. George’s Church, Deal

The Children of

Name Born Baptised Married Died Buried
James 1794 June 29 1794
St. Leonard’s, Deal
May 11 1846
St. George’s Church, Deal
Clara 1795 December 25 1795
St. Leonard’s, Deal
Samuel Pierce
January 20 1825
St. Peter’s Church, Sandwich
20 Maison Dieu Road,Dover
February 16 1825
St. Mary’s the Virgin, Dover
Elizabeth 1798 May 2 1798
St. Leonard’s, Deal
1800 February 9 1800
St. Georges Church, in Aldridge family Vault
Stephen 1799 December 25 1799
St. Leonard’s, Deal
1806 February 2 1806
St. Georges Church, in Aldridge family Vault
Mary Ann 1802 January 27 1802
St. Leonard’s, Deal
John Fuller
December 18 1822
St. Peter’s Church, Sandwich
Jarvis 1803 October 7 1803
St. Leonard’s, Deal
1806 February 2 1806
St. Georges Church, in Aldridge family Vault
Elizabeth 1806 January 1 1806
St. Leonard’s, Deal
Thomas Leach
January 1 1838
St. Leonard’s Church, Deal
Sarah 1808 July 29 1808
St. Leonard’s, Deal
William Wood
October 28 1830
St. Peter’s Church, Sandwich
Lucy Ann 1812 October 27 1812 Stephen Wood
July 24 1848
St. Leonard’s Church, Deal
Sources and further reading:
A practical account of a remittent fever, frequently occurring among the troops in this climate / by Thomas Sutton 1806
Deal Tithe Map 1843
Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved.
With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (