Philleigh’s farm labourers: mainly short-distance movers

Philleigh, a small parish on the edge of the Roseland east of Truro, provides a nice contrast with Perranzabuloe and Phillack, dependent as it was on farming rather than mining or engineering. Indeed, four of the five Philleigh children in the Victorian Lives database were from families of farm labourers. The exception was Lydia Stephens, who had been born in Truro Workhouse, her mother listed as an unmarried farm servant. If she survived, Lydia’s later whereabouts are yet to be discovered. Meanwhile, two of the other four died before they reached 40. None of the five emigrated and only one left Cornwall.

The location of Philleigh and some of the other places mentioned here

The adventurous one was Alfred Snell. Alfred was actually born on Jersey in the Channel Islands in 1849, but his father William was only there for a short time. William and his wife Jane were back in Cornwall at Tregony in 1851 before ending up in Philleigh in 1861. Alfred then decided he’d prefer a life on the ocean waves and joined the Royal Navy. He was an able seaman in 1871 and a bosun’s mate in 1881. Leaving the Navy, he became a labourer at the dockyard at Devonport, although living across the river at Torpoint in Cornwall in 1891, having recently married Alice Nowell from Devonport. The pair moved across the Tamar to Devonport in the mid-1890s and in the new century Alfred continued to live on his earnings as a general labourer supplemented by his navy pension.

Samuel Daniel’s signature on the 1911 census form, by which time he was living at Veryan and employed as a rabbit trapper

Samuel Daniel was born in Philleigh and spent most of his early life there, although his parents moved fairly regularly within the parish. In 1871 he was living at the churchtown and labouring at a local farm, as was his father John, now 70 years old. In 1881 Samuel, having married in 1876, seems to have taken a step up, employed as a gamekeeper just across the River Fal at Trevean in Kea. However, this didn’t last and in 1891 he was back in Philleigh farm labouring while living a mile and a half from his birthplace.

High tide on the Fal near Ardevora, Samuel Daniel’s birthplace

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