Thomas Rowley (runholder)

Last updated

Thomas Rowley
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Ellesmere
In office
25 January 1861  25 April 1862
Preceded byNew constituency
Succeeded by James FitzGerald
Personal details
Southwold, Suffolk
Political partyNone
Spouse(s)Emily Rowley (née Mathias)
Relations Thomas Rowley (father)

Thomas Rowley (died 1903) was an early settler in Canterbury, New Zealand. His father was a member of the Canterbury Association and Dean-designate for ChristChurch Cathedral, but never came to the colony. Thomas Rowley and one brother emigrated, and he became a significant runholder. He later started acting as an agent for absentee landowners. He briefly served as a Member of Parliament for one of the rural Canterbury electorates. Rowley was active in church matters and married a daughter of Octavius Mathias, the first vicar of the Church of St Michael and All Angels. After 11 years in New Zealand, he returned to live in England.

Canterbury, New Zealand Region of New Zealand in South Island

Canterbury is a region of New Zealand, located in the central-eastern South Island. The region covers an area of 44,508 square kilometres (17,185 sq mi), and is home to a population of 617,700.

Canterbury Association

The Canterbury Association was formed in order to establish a colony in what is now the Canterbury Region in the South Island of New Zealand.

Church of St Michael and All Angels, Christchurch Church in Christchurch Central City, New Zealand

The Church of St Michael and All Angels is an Anglican church in Christchurch, New Zealand. The church building at 84 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch, is registered as Category I by Heritage New Zealand. Its freestanding belfry is registered separately.


Early life

Portrait of Thomas Rowley senior Thomas Rowley sr.jpg
Portrait of Thomas Rowley senior

Rowley was the eldest [1] son of Thomas Rowley (1797–1877), a headmaster of Bridgnorth Grammar School. [2]

Thomas Rowley (headmaster) rector, reverend

Dr Thomas Rowley was a successful headmaster of Bridgnorth Grammar School between 1821 and 1850. He was a member of the Canterbury Association, was Dean-designate for the yet to be built ChristChurch Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, but he never emigrated.

Bridgnorth Endowed School is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form with academy status, located in the market town of Bridgnorth in the rural county of Shropshire, England. Founded in 1503, The Endowed School is a state school and is a specialist Technology College. The age range of the school is 11–18 years. It was previously known as the Bridgnorth Grammar School, and the school celebrated the 500th anniversary of its foundation in 2003. Former pupils include Professor Peter Bullock, the inspirational soil scientist who was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Rowley senior joined the Canterbury Association on 10 April 1851 as a committee member. He purchased land from the association in Canterbury, New Zealand. Rowley junior bought land at Barrys Bay at the head of Akaroa Harbour; rural section (RS) 63 (it is believed, though, that Rowley senior paid for this). Rowley senior bought RS 85 west of Christchurch in the Riccarton area, from which the suburb of Middleton developed. Rowley senior was chosen as the Dean-designate for the yet to be built ChristChurch Cathedral, but he never came out to the colony. [3] [4] His appointment upset Bishop Selwyn, and the proposed cathedral chapter was dropped again until the cathedral was built. [2] [5]

Akaroa Harbour harbor in New Zealand

Akaroa Harbour is part of Banks Peninsula in the Canterbury Region of New Zealand.

George Selwyn (bishop of Lichfield) English clergyman

George Augustus Selwyn was the first Anglican Bishop of New Zealand. He was Bishop of New Zealand from 1841 to 1869. His diocese was then subdivided and Selwyn was Metropolitan of New Zealand from 1858 to 1868. Returning to Britain, Selwyn served as Bishop of Lichfield from 1868 to 1878.

Life in New Zealand

Rowley's homestead is now the Primary library of Middleton Grange School Middleton Grange homestead 06.JPG
Rowley's homestead is now the Primary library of Middleton Grange School

Thomas Rowley arrived in Lyttelton on 2 February 1853 on board the Minerva. [3] [6] His younger brother John Cotton Rowley (d. 1886 aged 46) [2] also came to Canterbury, but at a different time. In about 1855, he had a homestead built on RS 85 in Riccarton that he called Middleton. [3] [7] Rowley sold the land and the homestead to Charles Bowen. [2] [8] The homestead is today the library of primary pupils of Middleton Grange School. [9]

Lyttelton, New Zealand Place

Lyttelton is a port town on the north shore of Lyttelton Harbour, at the northwestern end of Banks Peninsula and close to Christchurch, on the eastern coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

Charles Bowen (New Zealand politician) New Zealand politician

Sir Charles Christopher Bowen was a New Zealand politician.

Middleton Grange School State integrated composite(years 1-13) school

Middleton Grange School in Christchurch, New Zealand, is a state-integrated Christian co-educational Year 1 to 13 school. It's currently New Zealand's largest evangelical Christian school.

Rowley bought further landholdings once in New Zealand. In 1854, he bought Sandy Knolls (Runs 26 and 114). The land comprised 15,000 acres (6,100 ha) and was adjacent to the Waimakariri River. [10] Whilst all his runs had managers, he spent much of his time here. [11] In August 1853, he bought the lease of Homebrook (Run 100), which he almost immediately sold again. [12]

Waimakariri River river in New Zealand

The Waimakariri River, formerly briefly known as the Courtenay River, is one of the largest of the North Canterbury rivers, in the South Island of New Zealand. It flows for 151 kilometres (94 mi) in a generally southeastward direction from the Southern Alps across the Canterbury Plains to the Pacific Ocean. In Māori, Waimakariri has several meanings, one of which is "river of cold rushing water". The river is known colloquially in Canterbury as "The Waimak".

Rowley also started acting as agent for absentee landowners. [2] In that capacity, he assisted Robert Tooth with the purchase of the leasehold of Mt. Possession (Run 53) from John Acland and Charles George Tripp. [13] Rowley bought Alford (Run 126) together with Frederick Tooth, a brother of Robert Tooth. [14] Another purchase was Clent Hills (Runs 174, 262, 298, and 377), which he bought in about 1859 and on-sold to Robert Tooth in 1865. [15]

Robert Tooth Australian politician

Robert Tooth was one of three brothers of Sydney's Tooth brewery family. He built two of Sydney's grandest houses, Cranbrook House and The Swifts.

John Acland (politician) New Zealand farmer and politician

John Barton Arundel Acland, often referred to as JBA Acland or J.B.A. Acland, was born in Devon, England as the youngest child of Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 10th Baronet. He followed his father’s path of education and became a barrister in London. With his colleague and friend Charles George Tripp, he formed the plan to emigrate to Canterbury, New Zealand, to take up sheep farming. They were the first to take up land in the Canterbury high country for this purpose. When they divided their land into separate holdings, Acland kept the 100,000 acres (400 km2) that made up the Mount Peel station.

Charles George Tripp New Zealand farmer

Charles George Tripp was a pioneering sheep farmer in South Canterbury, New Zealand. Together with his friend and business partner John Acland, he was the first to use the Canterbury high country for sheep farming.

Buying rural sections gave the right to choose town sections, and as part of the above purchases, Rowley junior chose eight quarter acre sections in central Christchurch; they made up around half the block described by Cathedral Square, Worcester, Manchester, Hereford, and Colombo Streets. [3] Rowley sold that land when he left New Zealand, and in 1905, much of the land fronting Worcester Street was taken by the Government under the Public Works Act for the Government Building. [16]

Rowley was active in church matters and was a supporter of St Peter’s Church in Upper Riccarton, not far away from his Middleton homestead. When St Peter's was dedicated in 1858, a large group of parishioners was entertained at Middleton. [11] Rowley was also on the commission that organised the construction of ChristChurch Cathedral. [5] [17]

On 23 July 1857, Rowley married Emily Mathias, the eldest daughter of Octavius Mathias. Her father was the first vicar of the Church of St Michael and All Angels, which at the time was Christchurch's pro-cathedral. [1] [5] His younger brother, John Cotton Rowley, married Mary Rose Mathias, the youngest daughter of Octavius Mathias. [18]

New Zealand Parliament
1861 1862 3rd Ellesmere Independent

Rowley was elected unopposed on 25 January 1861 for Ellesmere. [19] He resigned the following year. [20]

Rowley Peak behind Fairlie was named after Thomas Rowley senior. [2] The mountain has since been renamed Fox Peak and is now a ski-field. [21]

Later life in England

In 1863, Rowley decided to return to England, and he advertised that he needed to receive open accounts by the end of the year. [22] Rowley, his wife and four children left New Zealand on 4 February 1864 on the White Star for London to settle on Guernsey. [3] [23] He sent ferrets to Canterbury in 1867, which are these days one of the prime pests. He died in 1903 at Southwold, Suffolk. [3]

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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Rowley Coat-of-Arms (Caithness Heraldry)". Rowley Muster. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "The Architectural Heritage of Christchurch : 5. Government Buildings" (PDF). Christchurch City Council : Town Planning Division. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  4. Cresswell, Douglas (11 March 1953). "Rowley Of Lake Hawea". New Zealand Free Lance. Archived from the original on 20 December 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  5. 1 2 3 Blain, Rev. Michael (2007). The Canterbury Association (1848-1852): A Study of Its Members’ Connections (PDF). Christchurch: Project Canterbury. pp. 71–72. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
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  10. Acland, Leopold George Dyke (1946). "Sandy Knolls — (Runs 26 and 114)". The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs Limited. pp. 25–26. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  11. 1 2 Penney, Sarah E. W. (1977). Beyond the City : The Land and its People (Riccarton Waimairi Paparua). Christchurch: Penney Ash Publications. pp. 16–17.
  12. Acland, Leopold George Dyke (1946). "Homebrook — (Run 100)". The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs Limited. p. 91. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  13. Acland, Leopold George Dyke (1946). "Mt. Possession — (Run 53 N.Z.R., afterwards re-numbered 543)". The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs Limited. pp. 291–292. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  14. Acland, Leopold George Dyke (1946). "Alford — (Run 126)". The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs Limited. pp. 112–113. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  15. Acland, Leopold George Dyke (1946). "Clent Hills — (Runs 174, 262, 298, and 377)". The Early Canterbury Runs: Containing the First, Second and Third (new) Series. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs Limited. pp. 310–311. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  16. NZ Federation of University Women (1995). Round the Square : A History of Christchurch's Cathedral Square. Christchurch: Clerestory Press. p. 41. ISBN   0-473-03399-2.
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  19. "Canterbury". XVI (1495). Wellington Independent. 8 February 1861. p. 5. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  20. Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 232. OCLC   154283103.
  21. "Rowley Peak". Rowley Muster. Archived from the original on 20 December 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  22. "Page 1 Advertisements Column 5". The Press . III (334). 25 November 1863. p. 1. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  23. "Cleared". Lyttelton Times . XXI (1196). 13 February 1864. p. 10. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Ellesmere
Succeeded by
James FitzGerald