Poughill is located in north Cornwall. Nowadays, it’s often overlooked, merely a part of Bude-Stratton civil parish and waiting with trepidation for the inevitable time it will be overwhelmed by the housing sprawl oozing out from the precocious resort town of Bude. But in the 1800s it was a proudly independent ecclesiastical parish of its own, before being overshadowed by its neighbours. As a rural parish, not surprisingly the four Poughill children we find in our database all hailed from farming or farm labouring families.
The one boy among the four came from the most comfortably off of these four families. William Jewell’s father, also called William, farmed 40 to 50 acres in the 1850s, expanding to over 70 acres by the 1880s. He must have been the owner of at least some of this land, rather than the more usual tenant, as he was described in 1871 as a farmer and landowner. Also significant was the fact that William senior didn’t budge from his holding at Burshill, very close to the site of the battle of Stamford Hill of 1643, from 1851 to his death in the 1890s. Most farmers moved a lot more often than that.
The younger William grew up on the farm, assisting his father once he was old enough. Farming sons often married at an older age than average. In William’s case, he never did get around to marriage. When his father died, he continued to farm at Burshill for a few years, aided by his sister and a cattle boy. In the 1900s brother and sister decamped to a newly-built villa nearer the village centre, possibly renting it from the Bryant family of Burshill Manor.
The three other Poughill children were all girls and all three were daughters of labourers, one – Mary Hambly – married a merchant seaman and ended up living in Plymouth. The second – Norah Benetto – married a farm labourer and spent most of her life in the Poughill and the nearby parishes of Launcells and Week St Mary. Finally, Emma Sangwin married Samuel Earle in 1868 when she was 18 years old. Five years later, the pair left Poughill for Canada, where they lived at Durham, Ontario until Emma’s death in 1912.