Cubert: local moves and global migrants

Cubert is a small parish between Perranporth and Newquay which supplied five children for the database. One has not yet been traced beyond 1861; the others all left the parish at some point but three of them only moved within the confines of mid-Cornwall.

Cubert churchtown

As an example, we can take James Edwin Hubber, who was the son of William and Jane, who lived at the churchtown in 1851. William Hubber was a miner at one of the small lead mines nearby. By 1861 the search for lead had been replaced by a search for iron, although James was employed helping in the fields rather than in a mine with his father. However, at some stage in the 1860s James too turned to mining.

In 1871 he married Mary Eastlake and ten years later was boarding at Down Hill in St Eval, a few miles to the north, where he was again working as a farm labourer. His wife was lodging separately back in Cubert with their daughter Mary, aged nine. Had they separated, as the 1891 census found them still living apart? James was by this time trying his hand as a ‘portable engine driver’, maybe meaning threshing machines or similar farm machinery.

The exception in Cubert to merely local moves was Fanny Vivian Mitchell. Fanny’s father had also been a lead miner, living at Tresean in the parish in 1851. They were still there in 1861, when Fanny was receiving some schooling. At some point in the 1860s she went to London and in 1871 was working as a housemaid in Oxford Terrace in Paddington, conveniently close to the end of the railway line from Cornwall. The same railway may have conveyed her back to Cornwall soon after, as she married Thomas Phillips in the St Columb Registration District in 1872.

The pair were missing from the 1881 census, but that was because they were in the States, where two children were born in the late 1870s. They had emigrated sometime after the birth of their first child in 1873. By 1885 they were back in Cornwall. But not for long. By 1891 they had moved to Warwickshire, in which county Thomas was renting a farm, no doubt taking advantage of the falling farm rents of those decades.

The landscape near Great Alne, Warwickshire – flat, featureless and clearly prone to flooding