Sam Rumble

Some papers recently came to light, at Market Lavington Museum, about a local man called Samuel Rumble. Here, we’ll tell a little of the story.

Sam was actually born in the Littleton area of West Lavington in 1863 and that’s where we find him on the 1871 census, with his dad, William who was a labourer, his mum, Ann and also an older brother and three younger brothers. In the next house there was another, smaller Rumble family – just a widower and his son – probably Sam’s uncle and cousin.

By 1881, Sam’s mother had died, and Sam was living with his father and brother at Eastcott which was in the ecclesiastical parish of Easterton although the civil parish of Urchfont. All three Rumbles were described, in census short hand, as ag labs – agricultural labourers.

But it seems young Sam had been taken by steam power. He obtained a job driving traction engines for Edward Box who was managing his dad’s brickworks in Market Lavington. The Box family found traction engines ideal for transporting bricks and numerous members of this family became traction engine users, or in one case, a designer. Edward Box decided that he needed pastures new to expand his traction engine haulage business. He left Market Lavington and moved to Liverpool. Sam Rumble went too.

Sam married Charlotte Rickards in Birkenhead in 1889 and in 1891 we find engine driver Sam, with his wife Charlotte living in the Kirkdale area of Lancashire. Their daughter, Lily is with them.

Sam Rumble and wife Charlotte - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

By 1901, Sam and Charlotte had five children, living in Kirkdale. Sam was still working for the Box company as an engine driver.

In 1911, Sam was in the Isle of Man for the census – presumably working for Charlotte was still in the Liverpool area.

When Edward Box gave up the business, his son, Norman, Market Lavington born, continued operations. Sam carried on working for Norman.

Sam died in 1924, still in the Liverpool area. How lovely that his life is celebrated in song.

Here’s a couple of verses.

It’s Samuel I was christened, though mostly known as Sam,

And I hope that you will listen to my tale of a working man;

My surname being Rumble, I’ll tell you of my trade,

And of the way the country that you know today was made.


For the iron wheels would rattle as the engine shook the ground,

And the cobbles they would rumble when Sam Rumble was around.

I was born and bred in Wiltshire, country of the standing stones,

And first I worked for Edward Box, being of his blood and bone;

I was steering traction engines not long after I left school,

Till we went to try our fortunes at the port of Liverpool.


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5 Responses to “Sam Rumble”

  1. john rumble Says:

    could someone contact me as sam rumble was my great grandad and i would love to know more about him i can be contacted on e mail thank you john rumble

  2. Liz Evans Says:

    This man was also my great grandfather and I would love to know more about him. His daughter Lily [actually Elizabeth Lilian Rumble] was my grandmother.

    • Emma Thompson Says:

      Hi Liz,

      I have just come across your post from June as I have been researching my great-grandfather Sam Rumble for a little while now.

      I have some information including birth, marriage and death certificates as well as about half a dozen related photos. He is my great grandad through his daughter Dorothy, my grandmother, one of Elizabeth’s sisters.

      It would be great to hear from you as I think we must be second cousins! Let me know what info you would like or if you have anything that I might not have.

      Kind Regards,

      Emma Thompson

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