I always wondered why my 4th great grandparents Edmund Rouse (of St Clement) and Christian "Kitty" Crossman (of the parish) who married on 1 Feb 1801 at Truro St Mary, Cornwall appeared to have had children born and christened over a period that included a significant nine year gap after the first two:
- Ann born 12 Aug 1801 and christened on 23 Aug 1801 at Falmouth, Cornwall
- Petherick born on 26 Dec 1802 but not christened until 8 Feb 1804 at Truro
- William Crossman born on 5 Sep 1813 and christened on 26 Sep 1813 at Truro (Edmund's occupation was given as Weaver)
- Elizabeth christened 31 Jan 1819 at St Clement
Then I came across the Statement of Service below for Edmund Rouse of St Clement that seems to very neatly explain it. This was my transcription of what looks like a standard form with any handwriting shown in bold. If it is the same Edmund Rouse then he may have been away from home for at least the period 13 Jul 1804 until 16 May 1812.
I am hoping that someone with experience of reading such Statements of Service may be able to provide their thoughts on whether it seems likely that someone who was described as a Cabinet Maker on their 1812 discharge would become a Weaver 15 months later? For example, I'm not sure whether the form indicates that the trade of Cabinet Maker was what he did before enlisting, or whether it was a trade he may have acquired during his service, and left it with. I'm also not sure whether a Private suggests he was a combatant or part of the army's support staff.
From a FindMyPast transcription I know that Edmund (aged 41) was buried on 31 Jan 1819 at St Clement i.e. the same date and place his last child was christened. Consequently, I have no census records to check his occupation.
My theory is that Kitty, described as a carpet maker in the 1851 Census, and their son Petherick (or Patrick), described as a hand carpet maker in the 1861 Census, may have put together a business while Edmund was away (presumably at various battles in Europe), and then on his return, perhaps due to the "Nodes on his Legs" that was a more attractive occupation than cabinet making.
The image of Edmund's trade clearly says "Cabinet Maker" but as the answer by @SueAdams suggests this is possibly a transcription error from another earlier form or perhaps "Carpet Maker" being misheard and written down as "Cabinet Maker".