This small farming parish is found just south east of Launceston, bordering on the river Tamar and Devon. As Launceston encroached into rural Lawhitton in the 1890s the parish was split into urban and rural parts. But in 1861 it looks to have been largely farming country.
There were only a few children aged 11 living in the parish in 1861. Three of them feature in the Victorian Lives database. One, Elizabeth Jasper, probably died in the early 1860s. Another – Helen Garton – born in London and staying with her uncle and aunt in 1861, cannot be traced but could well have returned to London.
The third was Nicholas Lobb. Nicholas’ father George ran the largest farm in the parish at Lawhitton Barton. Indeed, this must have been one of the largest in Cornwall. In 1851 he was recorded as farming 560 acres and in 1861 615 acres, employing 14 men, four boys and two women. This was a substantial enterprise.
Nicholas was the youngest of a large family with two elder brothers as well as five sisters. Nicholas’s parents both died in the 1860s and in 1871 he was living at his uncle’s farm, a few miles to the west at Trewen. In the census of that year he was described as an annuitant, living off rents or dividends or other unearned income. But it’s likely he was also honing up his farming skills for in 1881 he was back at the family farm at Lawhitton. There, he and his eldest brother George farmed the 555 acres with the help of four of their sisters.
At some point in the 1890s the two brothers parted company. George stayed at Lawhitton with the two younger sisters while Nicholas crossed the Tamar with the other two to farm at Milton Abbot, moving to Lew Down by 1911. Nicholas died in 1923, a year before his older brother. Both had remained unmarried as had their four sisters.