Budock: town and country

These days, to the consternation of some of its residents, Budock is being inexorably joined to Falmouth by the remorseless sprawl of new housing. However, the urbanisation of Budock is not new. In the mid-nineteenth century the former boundaries of the parish extended as far as the estuary of the Fal to the north of the growing town of Falmouth. Several of Falmouth’s terraces – Dunstanville Terrace, Penwerris Terrace, Stratton Terrace – had already spilled over the parish boundary into what was technically Budock.

The area in 1877. The old parish boundary crosses the streets from the left

Although the vast majority of the land area of the parish in 1861 was rural, just over half of its people actually lived in an urban context. A third of the working population was employed in farming, the largest sector, but the rest were scattered over a wide range of occupations, with a fair smattering of professional men, retired naval officers and wealthy widows living on annuities.

Women well outnumbered men; for every four men of working age there were six women. Just over a third of those women were wives busy running the household. Another 11 per cent were widows, But over half (52 per cent) were single, unmarried women. Of the 40 per cent of women who had a paid employment in the census, six out of ten were servants, attracted to the middle-class streets of north Falmouth.

There were only 17 children living in Budock in 1861 and captured by the Victorian Lives project, a rather low number reflecting the larger than average proportion of retired folk living in urban Budock. Meanwhile, the proportion traced is around the average; by 1891 two of the 17 (at least) had died, three were still in the parish, two were in other Cornish towns, one had ended up in London and one had emigrated to New Zealand.

Houses overlooking the estuary at Dunstanville Terrace