William was born in 1775 in Croydon, Surrey, England. Mary also a native of Croydon, we assume was born around 1775 or near to it. To put some context around what was ‘news’ in their lifetime in the year that William was born the American Revolution began, England’s king was the mad king George the III. Catherine the Great had freed the serfs of Russia and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a celebrated musician in Europe. Marie Antoinette had in the last year become the Queen of France and fashion was in the Rococo style. Whilst these were often outlandish and extravagant among the wealth this bore no relation to the every-day lives of our Fowles family. As everyday folk their dress would have been more simplified and functional to meet their lifestyle and purse as agricultural labourers.
William and Mary were married around 1798 which would have made them around 23-25. Their first child was born the following year. Finding information about Mary to date has proved very difficult. She is only recorded on records as Mary.
In Croydon at this time industries such as dairying , market gardening and the cultivation of wheat and oats were commonplace. Manufacturing in the area that would emerge with the coming industrial revolution included starch, tobacco, gunpowder, paper, vinegar, pottery and hats. There were extensive distilleries, breweries, bleaching and printing works. There was also a large contingent of the East India Company stationed in Surrey. It is not unforeseeable to think that some Fowles might have even got themselves stationed in Indian contingents as part of their travels.
William and Mary had eight children all of whom were baptised at St John the Baptist Church of England in Croydon. They were Sarah Fowles, Thomas Fowles, Elizabeth Fowles, William Fowles, John Fowles, Mary-Ann Fowles and Henry Fowles. Two of their children died prior to reaching adulthood. Thomas aged six months and Henry aged five years.
In the 1841 census William and Mary were living with their daughter Mary-Ann Fowles and her husband Edward Bance and their family in Thornton Heath, Croydon. They both died within a month of each other in 1842. William died on the 21st August 1842. Mary died on the 4th September 1842.