Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Rowe, Joshua Brooking

ROWE, JOSHUA BROOKING (1837–1908), antiquary and naturalist, born at Plymouth on 12 June 1837, was only son of Joshua Brooking Rowe of Brixton, near Plymouth, printer and bookseller of Plymouth, by his second wife, Harriett Caroline, daughter of Captain Charles Patey, R.N. Samuel Rowe [q. v.], writer about Dartmoor, was his uncle. After education at a private school in Plymouth the younger Joshua was in 1860 admitted a solicitor, and practised for many years in Plymouth in partnership with Francis Bulteel, and latterly with W. L. Munday.

Through life he devoted his leisure to literary and scientific research. A paper on 'The Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians of Devon,’ which he read before the Plymouth Institution in 1862, was issued separately next year. Subsequently he published much on archæological topics, and encouraged local archæological study. In 1862 he helped to form the Devon Association, of which he was president in 1882, and joint honorary secretary from 1901 till death. To the 'Transactions' of the association he contributed over fifty papers. In 1875 he was elected F.S.A., of which he was a local secretary. He was also a fellow of the Linnean Society, and a member of numerous antiquarian societies, being a founder of the Devon and Cornwall Record Society.

From 1882 he resided at Plympton St. Maurice, where he was active in local affairs. He transcribed the parish registers for publication in the 'Parish Magazine.' On 28 June 1908 he died at Plympton St. Maurice, and was buried in the churchyard there.

In December 1864 he married at St. Andrew's, Plymouth, Sara Foale, daughter of Henry Mews, of Plympton, by whom he had no issue.

A photograph hangs in the Exeter public library, to which he bequeathed his library of about 10,000 volumes, pamphlets and manuscripts, including an unpublished history of Plympton St. Mary.

Rowe revised Samuel Rowe's 'Perambulation of … Dartmoor' (Exeter, 1896), and also published:

  1. 'The Cistercian Houses of Devon,' Plymouth, 1878.
  2. ’The History of Plympton Erie,' Exeter, 1906.
  3. 'The Ecclesiastical History of Plymouth,' 4 parts; Plymouth, 1873-4-5-6.

He wrote for many local periodicals, and was joint editor of 'Devon Notes and Queries,' some of his contributions to which were reprinted separately. The article on the 'Mammals of Devon,' for the Devon volume of the 'Victoria County Histories,' is by him.

[Trans. of Devonshire Association, vol. 40, 1908; Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries, 1908, v. 121; private information.]

H. T-S.