In the late 1700's, an expanding woollen industry was centred on the towns of Newtown, Welshpool and Llanidloes. It had started as a cottage industry in Elizabethan times when it formed a valuable supplement to farming. The numerous fast flowing streams and rivers provided ideal sites for the mills. The scattered character of the industry meant that production was never great, though marketing of the finished cloth was well organised by the Shrewsbury Drapers Company who had a virtual monopoly on sales for many years.
Shrewsbury is on the River Severn, which provided a transport link via barge south to Bristol. Canals were also built to carry merchandise to the north.
Reference: "The Welsh Borders" by Roy Midwood and Adrian Robinson.
William Gamble (born circa 1760) married Mary Williams and had a number of children. These included William who was baptised in December 1787 in Shrewsbury, John (more later), Robert (baptised in August 1792), Mary (baptised in March 1794) and Hannah, baptised in September 1799. The last three children were baptised at Meole Brace.
John Gamble (born circa 1790) was a mill weaver and he married Frances Thomas (born circa 1797) and while living in Newtown, Montgomeryshire (about 20 miles west of Church Stretton) around 1818-21 they had a son, John. By the late 1820's they have moved to Church Stretton (Shropshire) where further sons George, William, Henry Edward and Robert are baptised (and presumably born) between 1828 and 1839.
When the 1851 Census was taken, Frances Gamble, a housekeeper and now aged 54, is living in Ryton with her sons John, an agricultural labourer and aged 33, and Robert, aged 11. Presumably her husband, John, has died and her other sons, now aged between 17 and 23, have moved away from home. It is possible that not all of the sons survived, however, there are no records of any Gamble burials in Church Stretton between 1839 and 1851 and in nearby Condover between 1823 and 1895.
Two years later, in 1853, Thomas John Gamble of Ryton, a labourer aged 34 and the son of John Gamble, a weaver, married Mary Ann Davies also of Ryton, aged 31, the daughter of William Davies, a wheelwright. It would appear that Thomas John Gamble was generally known as John.
In 1861, when the next Census was taken, Thomas and Mary Gamble were living in Ryton with their children, Martha, Rebecca and Robert. There was also a daughter, Elizabeth, born around 1842 at Shrewsbury (11 years before Thomas and Mary were married) who was presumably a child of either Thomas or Mary. Their marriage record would indicate that neither had been married before. St Julian's was one of a number of churches in Shrewsbury. A baptism record exists for Martha Ann Gambol at Condover in 1855 and a birth registration for Rebecca at Condover in 1857. While Thomas John Gamble's occupation was listed in 1851 and 1857 as an agricultural labourer, by 1861 he is a bricklayers labourer and haulier. It is clear from their marriage certificate that both he and Mary are illiterate, and hence the spelling Gambol in Martha's baptism record (which is from a transcribed record) is of little consequence.
Records from the next Census in 1871 show a Robert Gamble, aged 11, born around 1859-60 in Condover, living with Mary Huffer, aged 50, occupation haulier, living with John Huffer, a labourer from Clunton, with three children. Robert Gamble appears to be the son of Thomas and Mary Gamble from Ryton, mentioned in the 1861 Census. It is also likely that Mary Huffer was previously Mary Gamble, even though she lists her place of birth as St Julian's (Shrewsbury) instead of Condover. Presumably in the ten years between the censuses, Thomas John Gamble had died and the other children, now aged between 29 and 14, had either moved on elsewhere or died.
Rebecca Gamble gave birth to Richard Ernest Gamble (Peter's Grandfather) at Birkenhead (Cheshire) in 1880, when she was twenty three years old. Further, Rebecca lists her father as Thomas John Gamble, deceased, a stone mason, on her marriage certificate to William Blain at Walton on the Hill, in 1882. Rebecca died in 1945 in Invercargill, NZ. Descendants of William and Rebecca Blain are living in England and New Zealand.
Richard Gamble married Janet Ellis Musker in 1904 at Everton, Liverpool and shortly thereafter moved to Leeds, where their first two daughters were born. By 1910 they had moved to Manchester where Ernest and Henry (Peter's father) were born, before finally moving to Liverpool where George was born. Henry Gamble, with his wife Muriel and two sons migrated to Australia in 1951, settling first in Canberra.
Three members of the family are known to have migrated to the United States of America, where they evetually settled in Rhode Island. They are Richard GAMBLE (b 1825), Richard GAMBLE (b 1863) and William GAMBLE (b 1866). Donald Geoffrey Bidmead Gamble provided much material on William Gamble and the branches of the family that migrated to the USA.
If you are related to any of the people mentioned above, or would like further information, please send me an Email to pgamble AT ozemail DOT com DOT au
Copyright © 1997-2009 Peter Gamble. Last updated: 9 August 2009.