About Arthur William Southgate (b.1863 - d.1929)
A yacht steward most of his life and eventually landlord of The Falcon in 1929
Arthur William Southgate was born in Rowhedge in 1863, and baptised there on 6th September 1863. He was the son of fisherman James Southgate and Mary Ann Easter Murrells. Arthur was the sixth of eight children born to the couple, who lived in Albion Street.
Initially a fishermen but later became a steward on the Colne yachts
Somewhat inevitably, like his brothers, Arthur went to sea, initially as a fisherman, presumably assisting his father. The 1881 census lists him as a mariner. Crew records for 1880 list him as a ‘boy’ and later a cook on the cutter Whydah. It seems to have been a family trait that the Southgates became cooks or stewards on board and then innkeepers on land, alternating between the two. With the number of sailing yachts berthed on the Colne work as a steward was relatively easy to obtain.
Arthur’s elder brother Ebenezer was landlord of the Layer Fox at Layer de la Haye and then the Ship Inn in Rowhedge, and Arthur followed Ebenezer at The Layer Fox from the late 1880s. There are several references in the local paper to his tenancy and his involvement in village life.
Arthur marries into the Harlow family of Wivenhoe
In October 1890 Arthur married Edith Sarah Harlow at St Mary’s Wivenhoe. Edith was the daughter of Thomas William Harlow long term Master of the Gertrude owned by Lord Rendlesham. Edith was a formidable lady with a good head for figures. When her father died she was the one entrusted to look after the extended family finances. The family believe that it was she who forged links with other licensed victuallers as far afield as Kent.
Alternates between being a pub landlord and a yacht steward
Arthur remained at the Fox until at least 1895 but it is uncertain how much longer he was there. The 1901 census lists him as a yacht steward living in Queen’s Road, Wivenhoe. Crew lists place him on Kestrel, Marcella and Cassiopeia during the 1900s. Since he is not listed on the 1911 census it is a reasonable assumption that he was again at sea.
Home becomes Millbank in the High Street and then The Falcon
From the mid 1920s Arthur and Edith lived at Millbank in the High Street and both of them are listed on the voting registers at that address. Family recollections say that Arthur made excellent biscuits but Edith was in charge at home. One family member referred to her as a martinet!
In 1929 Arthur and Edith were listed on the voting registers at the Falcon Hotel. Following the death first of Benjamin Archer Barr in 1924, landlord of The Falcon since 1910, and then his wife Elizabeth Ann in early 1928 following a period of ill health, taking on the tenancy of the Falcon, with the connections Edith had built up, would have been a good move. It should be also worth bearing in mind that Edith was related by marriage to the Barrs. Sadly Arthur did not live long enough to make his mark at The Falcon as he died ‘in office’ in September 1929 aged 66. Emily returned to Millbank and survived him by twenty five years.