Lamorran was unusual by the standards of Victorian Cornwall. Here, the population did not fall after the 1850s but remained stable into the 1880s. This parish on the Roseland south east of Truro was also Cornwall’s second smallest parish in terms of population with 92 residents in 15 households in 1861. (Question of the day – which was the smallest?)
Thirteen of those residents, including six servants were found in the one household of the rector, the Honourable John Boscawen, cousin of the Boscawens of Tregothnan and grandson of the third Viscount Falmouth. The Boscawens owned most of Lamorran together with its neighbours and shared the parish with three farming families and 11 families of agricultural labourers.
In one of the latter we find 11 year old William Thomas Bennett, the sole Lamorran participant in the Victorian Lives database. William’s father Thomas had been born in the parish but when William was born was working in neighbouring Probus. Back in Lamorran by 1861, the young William was listed neither as a scholar nor as a labourer.
William then goes missing from the records. But a William Bennett, born in Probus, turns up at New Bridge Street, Truro in 1881 and remains there for the rest of his life. This William had married Louisa Harding in 1877. Louisa was from London and this might suggest he had spent some time in that city, bringing Louisa back to Cornwall with him.
William had escaped the feudal confines of Lamorran parish and an apparent destiny as a humble farm labourer and had made his way in life as a plumber, becoming an employer by 1901. Born into anonymity and his life story shrouded in a little mystery, William Bennett seems an appropriate standard bearer for this tiny, secretive and overlooked parish.