Tremaine: colonisation

Tremaine begins a run of five micro-parishes – at least in terms of population – all found in north Cornwall. One of them – Tresmeer – doesn’t manage to provide any children at all for our database sample. The placename element tre-, from the original tref, is the most common in Cornwall. It was given to over 1,000 farms, hamlets and other settlements in the three or four centuries before the ninth. The element is also common in Wales and Brittany but not to the same extent as in Cornwall. It’s also noticeable that all Cornwall’s parishes that begin with tre– are found in north Cornwall very close to the linguistic boundary produced when English settlement took place north of the River Ottery, probably in the early 800s.

The modern landscape near Trussell

Putting early medieval ponderings aside, Tremaine provides just one child for our database. Sarah Robins was the daughter of John and Mary, who ran a small farm of around 50 acres at Trussell in the parish at mid-century. It must have been economically marginal. No farm servants or domestic servants were employed and running the farm depended on the family’s labour alone.

At the age of 19 Sarah married Robert Phillips. The pair soon left for the broader acres and greater prospects of Canada, being recorded at Haldimand, Ontario on the Niagara peninsula in 1873. By the 1880s they had moved north to Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron. The island had been set aside as land for the native peoples. However, in 1862 that agreement was torn up and the island opened up to settlement by non-natives, including, it appears, our emigrant from Tremaine whose distant ancestors may themselves have been pushed out of the land north of the Ottery River.

‘Numbering the Indians, Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island’, census-takers and native people painted in 1856 by William Armstrong

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