William Rawle was one of the "makers" whose mark was only entered as incidental to his main business, that of military equipment supply. He was certainly not a working silversmith, but appears to have done some private retailing to the upper end of the market .
However he is so interesting a character that a full biography has been compiled. Read on for martial merchanting, marital misdemeanors, and burial in Westminster Abbey. And the Axe that beheaded King Charles the First . I am actually surprised that he does not appear in DNB.
Born around 1721, since according to the records of Westminster Abbey he died aged 68 in 1789.
No information on parentage or apprenticeship. However he almost certainly came from a wealthly and/ or aristocratic family. Perhaps from the West Country and may have been linked to Sir Walter Raleigh (Rawle - Rawlee - Rawley are equivalents )
William Rawle, bachelor, married spinster Catherine Salmon at the Collegiate Church of St Katherine by the Tower
There is a christening record for a Catherine Salmon, daughter of John and Esther Salmon at St George, Bloomsbury in 1733 although if is the correct lady she would have been only 17 years old when she married Rawle .
Probable birth of daughter Caroline Rawle, later Caroline Dale.
16 July 1754
Valentine Rawle (see viewtopic.php?f=74&t=29467
" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ), a son, was christened at St George the Martyr, Queens Square The Rawle's address was given as Eagle Street.
1 September 1758
Probable birth date of Catherine Rawle, daughter of William Rawle who was according to IGI was christened 10 October 1758 at St Andrew, Holborn. According to Westminster Abbey records she was born 1st September 1768 [sic] and died 28 December 1777 in her 20th year.
27 January 1761
Cecillia Rawle daughter of William and Catherine Rawle christened at St Andrew Holborn (IGI)
Trade Directory entry shows him as a cap maker and clothing at the corner of Castle Court in the Strand.
11 May 1769
Registered a mark,as a smallworker at Corner Castle Court , Strand
Grimwade comments that although his name ,almost certainly as retailer, has been seen on a few pistols, no examples of his mark were known. However a small stock type buckle is known which almost certainly bears the G3279 mark.
24 February 1770
William Rawle obtianed at least one large contract with the Admiralty for suppling caps, belts pouches etc for Marines.
In PR1773 as Silver Hiltmaker, Corner of Castle Street, Strand, where he is also listed by Heal
Willliam Rawle, Accoutrements Maker in the Strand, parish of St Martins in the Fields, voted for Percy and Clinton
Oxford Dictionary - Items of apparel; (more generally) additional pieces of dress or equipment, trappings; (Mil.) the outfit of a soldier other than weapons and garments
20 January 1776
Entered a mark as silver hiltmaker at corner of Cassell Court, Strand
Sun Policy No 381107 for Â£ 3500
William Rawle, Accoutrements Maker, the corner of Castle Court, The Strand
5 December 1777
Morning Chronicle and London Advertised states
"Yesterday a Patent passed the Great Seal to William Rawle of the Strand,in the Parish of St Martins in the Fields, Accoutrement Maker, of his newly invented machine for the more convenient and commodious carriage of soldiers cartridges"
An American maker of reproduction military items has pictures of a reproduction one on his website at http://www.militaryheritage.com/cartridgepouch.htm
" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Their description includes ; -
"This style of pouch was used during the American Revolution along with a couple of other styles of cartridge boxes. It is commonly referred to the 1777 Pattern "Rawle Pouch" because of a patent on its design by that supplier to the British Army . In 1784 a new pattern was introduced into the British Army. . . However this [new] pattern slowly fell out of favour, and the 36 round pouch made a come back in the late 1790s. ... Regimental inspection returns show some regiments still carrying them in 1812. This is surprising because a new 60 round pouch was approved for the army in 1804. . . and it wasn't until 1813 that all the regiments got the new pouch and this pouch finally disappeared"
2 January 1778
Catherine Rawle , daughter buried in the North Cloister of Westminster Abbey. As far as I can see she was the first of the Rawle family to be buried ther.
Cecilia Rawle married Nicholas Price at St Mary, Lambeth, both being given as of that parish
27 April 1783
A grandson, Joseph Dale, son of Joseph and Caroline Dale (nee Rawle) christened at Saint Andrew, Holborn
Willliam Rawle, Gent in Charles Court, parish of St Martins in the Fields, voted for Hood and Wray [this might be another Rawle]
The Westminster Rate Books for 1784 show a Willliam Rawle at the Strand, St Martins in the Fields at a rack rent value of Â£60.
Trade Directory entry shows him as an accoutrement maker and clothing at 430 Strand
8th November 1789
William Rawle died aged 68 and was buried in the North Cloister of Westminster Abbey on 15 November 1789.
London Chronicle -November 12, 1789 " On Sunday night last died, after a lingering illness, Mr William Rawle, Accoutrement Maker, in the Strand, well known to the Gentlemen of the Army for his improvements in that branch , and equally well known to the lovers of vertu was his valuable collection of medals bronzes arms and other curiousities"
Gentlemans Magazine Nov 1789 p1057 adds " he was actually possessed of the sword with which Oliver Cromwell turned out the long parliament .. .. Mr R. was also possessed of Oliver's buff coat. Oliver's helmet engraved in his work, was also in Mr Rawle's cabinet"
20 November 1789
Will of William Rawle of the Strand in the County of Middlesex Accoutrement maker proved at PCC
Signed 6th November, two days before his death.
Leaves virtually all his estate to be divided equally between his four children
Caroline the wife of Joseph Dale (who was an executor)
Cecilia the wife of Nicholas Price
and Horatio Rawle (died 1790)
He also left a small legacy to his servant Martha Reymer , and a legacy in the trust " for the maintenance and education of the two children Walter and William which I had by Martha Reymer " As the legitimate children are all of age, both daughtersbeing over 30 , and the two illegitimate ones were still minors, it appears that this liason was probably well after the death of his wife.
Witnesses - John Sibley and William Atkinson (both untraced)
Executors - Joseh Dale ,of Oxford Street , Music Master [ name at that address given in 1791 directory as Music Warehouse ] and John Pearce of the Bank of England
Reference: TNA PROB 11/1185/167
His estate seems to have been sold in stages
"The Copper Plates and Impressions of the works of that great and well known artist THOMAS WORLIDGE"
Sold by Mr Hutchins
10 March 1790
"The Valuable Collection of Antiquities and Curiousities "
Included the battleaxe of King Richard I, various Cromwell items, Queen Elizabeths cap, wig of Charles II,.powder horn of Henry VIII etc. Also sold by Mr Hutchins
13 March 1790
The Times reported on the that
" At the sale of Rawles antiquities Mr Fox bought the axe with which King Charles was beheaded for three shillings ,being something more than the price of a calves head " . This is however a political joke, not an auction report !
But it does show that there was considerable interest at the time in Rawle and his collections.
March 1790 -
"Coins and Medals "described as the property of Mr William Rawle of Castle- Court , Strand, deceased, Sold by Mr Hutchins .
These were Greek, Roman and English coins in gold silver and brass
Foreign and English modern Medals, including many original dies
Also old seals, reliefs in bronze and other "articles of curiosity "
Pictures and Miniatures, Enamels and Ivory Carvings
Includes two items " from the late collection of Sir Francis Drake and Sir Martin Frobisher" - West Country and/or Raleigh connection ?
Again sold by Hutchins.
8 July 1790 (although advertised by Whitehall Evening Post on November 12, 1789 Issue 6631)
by Mr Willocks
"A spacious and lofty leasehold house, formerly the Lebeck[sic] Tavern , most desirably situate at the corner of Castle -court , opposite the New Exchange Buildings , in the Strand , containg four rooms, with closets, on each floor; a very large shop , thirty five foot in front , lately used as two shops , with roomy arched vaults under , late in the occupation of Mr William Rawle, Army Accoutrement Maker, deceased. These premises are particularly well calculated for any trade or business requiring room or will easily accommodate two families. "
September 1794 - What looks like the household and business furniture and equipment once the relatives have taken their pick was sold by Hutchins. Perhaps Valentine had been using some of this !
"A few lots of household furniture, a capital counting house desk with five flaps, a quantity of music , a grand forte piano , miniature and pictures, a large and capital fly press, a cutting ditto, sword belts sashes, caps, stocks,feathers, a box of manuscripts, together with some jewellert articles late the property of Mr William Rawle of Castle Court Strand . .. . . NB The Fly Press and the Cutting Press to be seen at Mr Hadleys , Turnham Green "
27 October 1790
The will of Horatio Rawle of Church Lane, Chelsea Gentleman, , one of his sons , was proved at PCC. Left every thing to his wife Maria Lucinda Rawle. Provision made for a possible posthumous child or children - i.e. it seems as if he thought his wife was pregnant .
Universal British Directory gives RAWLEY, William, Accoutrement Maker 430, Strand . Almost certainly an out of date entry , although the possibility exists that he could be a son who was not included in the will .
19 November 1821
Will of Joseph Dale of Cornhill , City of London proved at PCC ( PROB 11/1649) This was his son in law,
1 November 1826
Burial of Caroline Dale in the North Cloister of Westminster Abbey in the same grave as her father William Rawle.
She died, described as widow , Henrietta Street, Brunswick Square on 22 October 1826, aged 74 . Curious as to why she was buried with her father, rather than her husband.
Indeed, why were the Rawles buried in the Abbey ?