The history of two Cornish surnames, one common and one rare

There were two enquiries this week about surnames from the opposite ends of the spectrum. One is in my surnames book; the other isn’t. One is very common; the other very rare. The two surnames are Roberts and Matta. I've mentioned both before in these blogs but let's re-visit them. Robert was a personal name … Continue reading The history of two Cornish surnames, one common and one rare

Corruption in a Cornish borough

The following is an extract from Chapter 11 (The Borough) of The Real World of Poldark: Cornwall 1783-1820. The Reverend Richard Gurney, Vicar of Cuby, was at the centre of Tregony’s borough politics throughout the Poldark years. In 1792 he had been implicated in encouraging ‘mob uproar’. Three effigies representing gentlemen of Tregony who opposed … Continue reading Corruption in a Cornish borough

Penvoze and Trezona: a study in contrasts

Two enquiries recently received offer the opportunity to show the contrasting history of Cornish surnames. Although one of these surnames flourished and the other did not, they are similar in that both originated in a Cornish placename. Penvoze, spelt Penfos before the early 1500s, existed in five separate locations from the Roseland peninsula as far … Continue reading Penvoze and Trezona: a study in contrasts

Views of Cornwall in 1919

Donald Shaw MacLaughlan (1876-1938) was an American artist (although born in Prince Edward Island, Canada). As a young man he followed the trail of many other artists from North America and travelled to Europe, basing himself thereafter mainly in France but travelling widely. Among his journeys he visited Cornwall, where he spent some time around … Continue reading Views of Cornwall in 1919

The gentry at home around 1800

Two hundred years ago life was hard for most people in Cornwall. But for a small minority fortunate enough to own land things could be lot more comfortable. Much time was spent visiting each other's houses. Staying at Tehidy, the home of the Bassets, in 1792 James Boswell described the: astounding variety of alcoholic beverages … Continue reading The gentry at home around 1800