THE deaths of four people from the same family in less than three weeks went largely unreported due to the death of the monarch.

A husband and wife and their two adult sons all passed away in May 1910 and are buried in the same grave in Milverton Churchyard..

John Rowen died on May 6 aged 76, the same day as King Edward VII also died.

Four days later, Ann (nee Seaman), also 76, his wife of 49 years, breathed her last.

The couple lived in Preston Bowyer.

Then on May 24, their son John died in Taunton Hospital at the age of 38, followed two days later by his brother Robert, 46.

Reports in the County Gazette at the time reveal that John junior, who lived in Preston Bowyer, worked as a carrier, "journeying to Taunton twice a week".

The Gazette reported: "His genial and willing disposition made him a general favourite."

John, who had been seriously ill for a number of weeks, left a widow and four young children.

Robert, who worked on the Spring Grove estate in Milverton, died at his home in Houndsmoor, following a brief illness caused by pneumonia.

He was "of quiet disposition and was held in general respect."

Both brothers were members of the Order of Foresters, a society that offered help to members or their families who fell on hard times. No doubt John's widow would have received a payment to enable her to care for her children.

The Gazette expressed its sympathies for the family's misfortune, but gave over only a few column inches to report the tragedy.

The papers during the whole of the month were dominated by the news of Edward VII's death and the accession of King George V.