WILLIAM AND SUSANNAH SOWMAN
William Sowman was a Solicitors Managing Clerk in Colchester. He married Susannah Catherine Rudkin in 1859 and as was usual in that time, they had a large family. Their seven children were John William, Arthur William Rudkin, Frederick Smith (died in infancy), Edwin, Margaret Rudkin (died in infancy) Catherine Rudkin and Dora Ellen Susannah. The three surving sons went on to found and manage the well known Olney shop, JW & E Sowman.
William and Susannah Sowman of Colchester photographed possibly around 1890
The hand written note shown below indicates that William assisted his sons John William and Edwin to set up the business in Olney by purchasing in 1889 the stock, goodwill and possibly the buildings, from Thomas Cooper for the considerable sum of £800.
Susannah Catherine Rudkin, born in 1835, was the daughter of John Rudkin, a bookseller of Colchester. As mentioned above, in 1859 she married William Sowman of Colchester. In his will, John Rudkin provided for his daughter Susannah, and in turn, for her husband William and any children. This provision is assumed to be the reason why so many subsequent generations of Sowman children were given ‘Rudkin’ as their middle name. Incidentally, William Sowman’s sister Emma married William Rudkin, John Rudkin’s son.
William and Susannah spent their last days in Olney having seen their sons’ business prosper. Their graves can be seen in Olney Churchyard. William died in 1912 and Susannah in 1919. The statements and bills presented below are associated with their deaths and funerals.
The following items are tradesmen’s statements, probably associated with the funeral in Olney of Susannah Sowman.