Chard and Ilminster News 22 Apr 1905 Shepton Beauchamp A Mystery Strange Disappearance of a Farmer Herbert ROWSWELL

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Chard and Ilminster News. Somerset, Dorset, and Devon Advertiser. Saturday 22 Apr 1905

Page 6 Column 2


PARISH COUNCIL, Saturday. - Present: The Chairman, Messrs. JACOBS, ENGLAND, F. ROWSELL, sen., F. ROWSELL, jun., and the Clerk. - The Rector was unanimously re-elected chairman for the ensuing year. - Messrs. WILLMENT and H. GRAY were appointed overseers for the year. - The various accounts of the Parish Council were passed.



The police of the Ilminster division are just now investigating a strange case of disappearance from this village. The facts, briefly, are that a farmer and road contractor named Herbert ROWSWELL, of Shepton Beauchamp, a widower, has been missing since last Tuesday week. What has become of him is a complete mystery, which all efforts so far have failed to elucidate.

ROWSWELL was a man of about 40 years of age. Two years ago, or thereabouts, he lost his wife, and was left with one child, a girl, who is now about four years of age. Of this child he always appeared very fond. His business was a prosperous one, and, as far as can be ascertained, he had no financial worries. He has a substantial balance at the bank, and was generally looked upon as a man well off in his station of life. A niece kept house for him.

On the Monday night all was well, but early the following morning the man was missing, and since then he has not been heard of. His general habits are described as those of a steady, respectable, hard-working man. It is said that he was seen on Martock railway-station platform after the departure of the 10.50 a.m. train for Yeovil, but it seems certain that he did not leave by the train. Wells and streams in the locality have been carefully examined, and search made throughout the immediate district, but to no purpose.

Since the death of his wife the missing man has been more or less low-spirited, and of late this has been more acute. For some days prior to his disappearance he had been suffering from pains in the head. A strange factor in the case is that he left house with little or no money, and he took no clothes with him beyond those which he was wearing.

Many theories are advanced and many rumours are current, but to these no credence can be attached. P.S. LITTLE, of South Petherton, and P.C. LITTLE, of Shepton Beauchamp, have charge of the case on behalf of the police authorities, but their united efforts, aided by those of the relatives and friends, have been unavailing in unravelling this strange case. Shepton Beauchamp is not a large village as large villages go, and it seems more than passing strange than a man, well-known to practically every inhabitant, should have been able to disappear so completely without leaving any trace behind him.

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