From Crantock sailor to Camborne grocer?

Elizabeth Jane Jolley was the first child of John and Elizabeth, a young married couple living at Trevallack in St Columb Minor in 1851. By 1861 John and Elizabeth together with Elizabeth Jane and three other children, were living at Trewolla in Crantock, to the west of Newquay. Short moves were frequent, as the presence of Newlyn East and Kenwyn in the birth columns of their children born in the 1850s suggests.

Perranporth in the days before tourism

By 1871 Elizabeth Jane had left home and was working as a farm servant on the farm of John Robins at Roseveth in Kenwyn. Almost a decade later she married James Rosevear, a lead miner, and they set up home in Perranzabuloe, a parish not far from Crantock. They were still there in 1891, although the demise of the local lead mines meant that James was finding work as a farm labourer.

William Jenkin was also living in Crantock, at the churchtown in 1861, although born in neighbouring Newquay. His father was a mariner and away at sea at the time of the 1851 census. However, William’s widowed grandmother ran a small farm of 28 acres and William, his sister and his mother lived with her.

By 1861 his mother was also a widow and working as a shop assistant in the churchtown. In the 1860s she married Edward Johns, a grocer and coal merchant of the parish. In the meantime, William had followed in his father’s footsteps and become a sailor, although it’s unclear whether this was with the Royal Navy or the merchant marine.

Was this the same William Jenkin, born in St Columb (St Columb Minor included Newquay) who we find managing a grocery store in Commercial Street, Camborne in the 1881 and 1891 censuses? This William was a Methodist Local Preacher. It must be admitted that the links to confirm this transition of the 1870s – from Crantock seaman to Camborne grocer – look extremely tenuous, although the grocery connection of his businessman stepfather is an intriguing coincidence.

Parishes mentioned in this blog

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One thought on “From Crantock sailor to Camborne grocer?

  1. Just in terms of changing jobs, one of my mining ancestors at Kearsley near Manchester attempted to leave the mines around 1870, I think due to the great danger of working under ground. Several relatives, died in mine accidents around that time. In any case his attempt to establish a greengrocers failed and he was killed in a major mine accident only a few weeks of starting underground again.


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