Mylor: Wales or New South Wales?

Nineteenth century Mylor on the west bank of the Fal estuary was a relatively diverse parish. Although there were no mines in the parish only about a quarter of the men were employed in farming, while a third earned their living directly or indirectly from the sea or the estuary, as mariners, fishermen, oyster dredgers or shipbuilders.

The parish hosted the great house of Carclew, in the 1800s home to the Lemon family. William Lemon had made his fortune not from the sea but from Cornwall’s eighteenth-century mining boom. He became Mayor of Truro and bought the estate of Carclew with its part-built mansion in 1749. He completed the house which was eventually almost entirely destroyed by a fire in 1934.

As well as Carclew, Mylor parish also included the village of Flushing, where the houses were not quite so grand. Martha Catherine Spurrier was born in one of them in 1850, the daughter of a merchant seaman as were many of her neighbours. Like many in west Cornwall Martha was known by her second name, usually shortened to Kate.

Very soon after the 1871 census she married George Merrifield, a Royal Navy sailor from the village. The couple then moved to Tranmere in Cheshire, across the Mersey from Liverpool. By 1891 they had again moved to Caernarfon in north Wales while also spending time later on Anglesey. Interestingly, their elder children were recorded as speaking both English and Welsh in 1891 and 1901 even though their parents only spoke English. The children could hardly avoid picking up Welsh at this date in what was a strongly Welsh speaking community. Kate died in Bangor in 1927.

Thomas John Rowe in old age

Thomas Rowe from Mylor didn’t have to negotiate any language issues although he travelled a lot further. The son of a farm labourer, Thomas moved to Albury in New South Wales in the 1870s. There, he married Mary Sefton from the neighbouring state of Victoria in 1879 and must have moved to that state before his death there in 1937.