Landulph: hired assassins and (more) Victorian coppers

Cornwall’s connections with the eastern Mediterranean via Tintagel in the fifth and sixth centuries are familiar. Less well-known is that Landulph, now a sleepy backwater beside the River Tamar, also had a somewhat unexpected association with Byzantium. In the church is an inscription recording the burial of Theodore Palaeologus in 1636. Palaeologus claimed that he was a direct descendant of the last rulers of the Byzantine Empire, which finally succumbed to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

Theodore’s tombstone at Landulph

By the 1800s, the traffic across the Tamar was mainly in the opposite direction and the occupations of those involved more salubrious, if less dramatic. Indeed, Landulph supplied more than its fair share of custodians of Victorian law and order. Edward Burrows was one. Born in the neighbouring parish of Pillaton, Edward was already at work at the age of 11 tending the cows at Elbridge Farm. At some time in the 1870s or 80s Edward gave up farm labouring and joined Plymouth’s borough police force, for which he worked as a constable before retiring in the 1900s.

Ellen Bate’s husband was far more exalted. Ellen was the daughter of an innkeeper at the Ring o’ Bells at Cargreen. In the late 1860s she crossed the river to work as a servant at a lawyer’s house in Devonport. In 1875 she married John Barrett, also from Landulph. She then accompanied John to Beckenham in Kent, where he was a police inspector, before becoming an inspector for the Metropolitan Police in the 1880s. Living in south London in 1891, the childless couple returned to Cornwall to Saltash on John’s retirement from the Met in the late 1890s.

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