The Fowler family of Pontypool

It’s quite surprising how many Pontypool people have gone to live in other countries. I know that two copies of my book were sent out to former Pontypool residents who now live in Australia. Earlier this week I received an email from a member of the Fowler family, Jacqueline Yallup. She happened to come across my blog and was thrilled to see the photograph of Fowlers’ shop and the comments about it. Her emails are self explanatory so I print both of them below.


“I am researching my Fowler family. I was so excited to come across you web page and to see a picture of the Fowler drapers, wow, to see what once belonged to the family and to read the comments.

I will be spending the day reading through all your blogs to read of life around Pontypool, a dream I always hope to reach was to go and see for myself, but becoming more crippled I fear a dream that will not be realized.

My great grandmother was Kate Gwendoline Fowler, daughter of Edwin Fowler and Edith Hesket. Kate married Stanley Copley. They settled in South Africa. My grandmother was not responsive in sharing information and so I know nothing of these families.

This web page is giving me some insight into Pontypool and its people.”


I replied to the above letter and received the second email below.



“Thank you so much for your reply. I would be delighted if you could post that up and perhaps someone out there will have some information.

I was born and raised in Natal, South Africa and we moved to New Zealand six years ago. It gave me a good insight into how hard it must have been for my great grandmother, being so far from her beloved homeland and family.

Stanley Copley was a surgeon. He was sent out to South Africa during the Boer War to the military hospital at Weston, Mooi River, Natal. He fell in love with Natal and while there applied for a practice license. He was granted this and returned to Pontypool for a short while after the war. I presume to sign off from the Royal Service and get his belongings and break the news to dear Kate. He returned to Durban, where some months later Kate joined him. They married in Durban. Must have been awful for her, strange town, very wild countryside, no family. Anyway Stanley went on to do very well for himself in Durban, was a highly respected surgeon as well as assisting to develop general sanitary conditions in the growing city. He served as Mayor for a term. After Kate passed on he moved inland to the area where his daughter was, Mooi River and where he served at the military hospital. He is buried not far from where the hospital was now.

I would be so delighted if anyone can share anything with me. I have been so enjoying reading your blogs this morning.”


So if any visitors to this blog know anything about the Fowler family or if they have any more photographs of Fowlers’ shops (either “Top” Fowlers or “Bottom” Fowlers), please email me and I will pass on the information, or photographs to Jacqueline. As she is now unable to visit Pontypool, perhaps we can export some Pontypool information to her in New Zealand.


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5 Responses to “The Fowler family of Pontypool”

  1. angela firth Says:

    My family lived opposite Mr and Mrs Fowler in Ruth Road from 1955. Mr E.W.Fowler died and his widow moved to Malpas just outside Newport. The Fowlers also had a travel agency in Chepstow for a number of years.

    • Jacqueline Says:

      Angela, thank you so very much for that information I am sorry it has taken a while to respond. I am only again finding my feet in the family search after battling the BIG C. But by God’s grace an back up and running.
      Now I have had not known anything of them having a travel agency, how interesting, they really had their fingers in many pies. Thank you so much for those ever so valuable leads.
      God bless you and thank you.

  2. des pike Says:

    at the age of fifteen i left school in 1964 and started work in fowlers shoe dept but had to do initial training in the linen dept which i felt was an odd way of doing things.i moved into the shoes after about six monthes where my boss was a wonderful lady named esme harding whose married name was windsor. esme had no children and spoiled me rotton,when wales had a rugby match she would banish me to the stockroom with a radio pop and wages were £3 a week for 40 hours and i was shocked at xmas when she gave me a pair of sheepskin slippers costing £5.i was from a very workingclass background brought up in rooms and fowlers was a store for the better off it was a culture shock to see how well off others were custermers had to be addressed as sir or madam mr w fowler treated me well and even took me horseriding up the folly when i should have been on the shop floor.he kept his horses at telfers late mother was in service to colonel everet a solicitor and was his live in cook when mr. fowler met his wife to be who was miss lyle of tate and lyle the suger people at a dinner he held.after two years i left to work for esmes husband who was manager of griffithstown co-op.

    • Jacqueline Says:

      Des, thank you so very much for that story. I am so sorry it has been so long in finding my way back to this page I have had some major health issues get in the way of my search.
      You have answered a question the family has had for years. We knew their was a Lyle connection, but we had no idea where or how. I am so pleased to know that you were treated well. I have read in some other branches very distressing treatment of people. How blessed you were to have Esme Harding come into your life. She felt as equally blessed by having you in her life. Sounds like you both meant a great deal to one another. My grandmother became a renowned horsewoman in South Africa in her day and wonder now if it came down through the Fowler family.
      Des, thank you so very much, your story will be carefully stored in the family achieves. God bless you.

  3. Helen Says:

    I have done some extensive research into the genealogy of the Pontypool Fowlers, having needed to sort out ‘your’ Edwin from mine along the way! I’ve just been back over it to check that it’s the right family. I’ve just been taking another look at one Arthur Campbell Fowler, who was Kate Gwendoline’s brother and apparently a brewer in Ash Grove (Ashgrove?) Pontypool. He married Kathleen Worton in 1906, and they made a visit to Durban SA, returning in 1925 – the year before he died. He left a considerable estate to his widow. They had at least one son, Edwin Worton Fowler. Arthur Campbell and Kate Gwendoline Fowler had another brother, Edwin Godfrey, who is shown at boarding school in Cheltenham in 1891 and then I find no further trace of him. Perhaps he emigrated, or was off on military service. I’m sure I must have a great deal more on this extended family in my records – and they appear at first glance to tie up with my own branch of the Fowlers back in Wootton Under Edge, Gloucestershire, at the turn of the 19th century, with a common ancestor named Joseph. It’s hard to know what to cram in here, or what would interest you the most! Be well!

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