South Hill: Jope and Jory

South Hill is a rural parish just to the east of Bodmin Moor, containing the mother church of the small town of Callington, which made a bolt for parochial freedom in the early 1400s. South Hill is now a parish of farmers and commuters but it wasn’t always so. Back in 1861, located on the fringe of the Callington mining district, around a third of the men of the parish worked in nearby mines.

In 1891 this late 6th century inscribed stone was discovered in the Rectory garden at South Hill. The inscription reads Cumregnus, son of Maucus

Marina Jope was the daughter of a farm labourer who had found (slightly) better wages working on the surface of a mine in the 1850s. Spurning the possibility of work as a bal maiden, Marina was enticed, as were so many young women in south east Cornwall, by the employment opportunities offered in Plymouth. In 1871 she was one of three servants employed at the house of a captain in the Royal Artillery at Mannamead on the edge of Plymouth. Domestic service was soon replaced by domestic drudgery however, as Marina married Isaac Brickwood from St Germans in 1872.

Map of Frankfort Street in 1894 – the mills where Isaac Brickwood probably worked can be seen at the end of the street

Isaac worked at a corn mill, where he was a foreman. In the 1880s the family lived at Frankfort Street close to the heart of the old town in an area later almost totally destroyed by bombing in 1941. Curiously, by 1901, Isaac and Marina’s son Alfred, who had been apprenticed as a grocer in his teens, at the age of 23 was the manager of the corn and forage depot where his father worked. Ten years later Isaac was dead and his widow Marina was living in Devonport with two other unmarried sons.

Elizabeth Jory had also lived at South Hill in 1861, another daughter of a farm labourer. She had actually been born at St Breward on the other side of Bodmin Moor. Like Marina Jope, she’d moved across the Tamar by 1871 when she was employed as a servant in Devonport. In 1874 she married George Finch, who hailed from the London region. The pair had then moved to Finchley just outside London, by 1876. Five years later, George had become a police constable based at Clerkenwell in the City.

The Metropolitan Police had been formed in 1829 and by the 1870s it was overcoming its earlier problems, such as the large number of its police dismissed for being drunk on duty and poor working conditions. In 1872, before George joined, policemen had gone on strike, demanding a day a week off and higher wages. George didn’t last too long in the force though and by 1891 was back working as a farm labourer in Finchley, where he was outlived by Elizabeth.

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