St Anthony in Roseland: a deserted wife?

St Anthony in Meneage is found at the north-eastern extremity of the Lizard peninsula while, on the other side of the Fal estuary, St Anthony in Roseland forms the tip of the Roseland. However, both parishes were originally called Lanyntenyn, meaning the site of Entenen, a local saint. Over time, the Cornish saint was replaced by the internationally more renowned Anthony. In St Anthony in Meneage there is a Lantinning farm, bearing the original name still.

An aerial view of most of the parish

Moving on to its counterpart on the Roseland, St Anthony in Roseland was home to even fewer people and supplied just two residents for our database, one girl and one boy. The girl was Johanna Blewett, daughter of Thomas Blewett, a farmer running a large three-generation household on the 200-acre Barton farm in the parish in 1861. Thomas had moved from a smaller farm at Perranzabuloe on the north coast, where Johanna had been born, in the 1850s. During that decade his wife Elizabeth died after the heroic effort of presenting him with at least 11 children.

Johanna’s stay in St Anthony was a short one as by 1871 she had moved again with her father, by now 70, back to Perranzabuloe and to a much smaller farm of just 30 acres. Soon after the census was taken, she married Charles Pierce from Rhuddlan, Flint in north Wales. The pair had three children in Cornwall before setting out for Putney in London, where Charles was employed as a clerk in 1881.

Things then get complicated. The 1891 census reveals Johanna back in Cornwall at St Enoder, housekeeping for a farm bailiff. In 1911 she was still in the area, living on her own at nearby Brighton. In the meantime, a Charles Pierce, born in Rhuddlan, turns up in Manchester in 1891, apparently married to a Mary from Herefordshire. Had Charles, who died in Manchester in 1896, left Johanna for Mary? No other Charles Pierce can be found. But we shall never know.

The boy from St Anthony in Roseland was Frederick Roberts, son of William, a farm labourer and his wife Elizabeth, who were living in St Anthony in 1861. Frederick was himself a farm labourer by 1871, still living with his parents and still in St Anthony. After marrying in the early 1870s, he and his wife Eliza from St Mawes moved across the Fal to St Thomas Street in Penryn later in the decade. There, Frederick was at first labouring on a nearby farm, then general labouring while finally becoming a labourer at a local granite works by 1911. Despite suffering increasing competition from Scandinavia and North America at least some of the granite quarries near Penryn were struggling on through the Edwardian years.

Moving large blocks of granite from the quarries to Penryn was no easy matter. In 1901 this block was on its way to the railway station to be taken to Winchester to be used – somewhat ironically – to make a statue of Wessex’s King Alfred

4 thoughts on “St Anthony in Roseland: a deserted wife?

  1. Interesting as ever. Very intriguing to imagine past lives, the vestiges of which you portray so well.

    I would really like to know more about granite mining in Cornwall. Our house in Warleggan is built of enormous granite blocks. Where did they come from and how on earth were they raised? The house was built in 1705. I iimagine some kind of scaffolding but what did it look like, how were the vast bricks raised and eased into position? Seems like they whacked the house up within two years as well though it is substantial. I am also interested if they use architects.

    How can I find out more?


    1. Hi Cathy, Unfortunately, while I may be an expert on many things Cornish I’m not an expert on everything! That includes the history of buildings and architecture. The off the top of my puzzling head answers are – the granite blocks in 1705 would have been cut from stones lying on the surface of the moor (plenty of those not too far from Warleggan) as granite quarries emerged later on. Wooden scaffolding was used from much earlier times – think of all those 14th and 15th century church towers – it must have been primitive and would not have passed today’s health and safety rules. Most of the cottages and rows of houses that sprang up from the early 1830s onwards in Cornwall were designed by the builders to a fairly uniform style. The grander the house the more likely there would be a specialist architect involved. But for real insight into this subject from genuine experts you need to contact the Cornish Buildings Group –


      1. Oh, wow, extremely good suggestion (though mitigated by your very disappointing revelation that you are not an expert on everything).

        I really appreciate this suggestion, great idea.


  2. Very many years ago we used to holiday at Place Manor St. Anthony, in the grounds of which was Barton Farm managed by the son-in-law of the Hon. Mrs. Spry-Grant-Dalton. Is it so today?


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