The generation born around 1850 in St Agnes could have had little inkling of the economic disaster that lay in store for them. In 1851 71 per cent of the adult men of the parish worked on and in the tin and copper mines of the parish, one of the most intensive concentrations of miners … Continue reading St Agnes: travels and travails
Redruth had been at the heart of Cornwall’s central mining district in the 1700s. In the days of copper, it was surrounded by the riches of Gwennap to the east and the mines of Illogan to the west. As copper faded after the 1860s and the centre of Cornish metal mining shifted westwards towards Camborne’s … Continue reading Redruth: America’s 51st state
In the summer of 1857 some native cavalrymen at Meerut, 40 miles north east of Delhi in India, rose in revolt against their British officers. The troops, employed by the East India Company had been enraged by rumours that evangelical British officers were plotting to replace Hinduism, Islam and other native religions with Christianity. Meanwhile, … Continue reading From Probus School to India
Even in rural parishes Cornish participation in the emigration flows from Europe to the New World was a constant background presence. It had a stark day-to-day reality in mining parishes by the mid-1800s but also could scarcely be ignored in non-mining parishes such as Probus, to the east of Truro. Golden Manor in 1872 Take … Continue reading Probus: from one side of the world to the other (and back)
Perranzabuloe became the home in the 1930s of Winston Graham, the author of the Poldark series of novels. A few local placenames then made an appearance in his novels, Nampara for instance being used as the name of Ross and Demelza’s home. Emma Hoskin had been born in the real hamlet of Nampara, which was … Continue reading Perranzabuloe: leaving Poldark’s parish
The neighbouring parishes of Penzance and Paul were among Cornwall’s most populous in the Victorian period. That also means they provided more children for the Victorian Lives database, in fact a total of 133. Of those, just over three quarters (102) have been traced through to 1891 or their death. (Health warning: those of a … Continue reading Migration from Mount’s Bay
Mousehole, in Paul parish bordering the west side of Mount’s Bay, is now stuffed full of holiday cottages and second homes and more than half-dead in winter. It’s somehow fitting that this place could lay claim to be the location of the death of an entire culture. Christmas at Mousehole, when the lights bring life … Continue reading Mousehole: a culture’s final resting place?
Some have argued that Christianity first arrived in Cornwall in Roman times from Ireland (others prefer Gaul or the south east of Britain). Several ‘saints’ later venerated in Cornwall had connections with Ireland. One was Petroc, who was supposed to have studied in Ireland and who gave his name to Petrocstow, also known in Cornish … Continue reading Padstow: saints but no sinners
Nineteenth century Mylor on the west bank of the Fal estuary was a relatively diverse parish. Although there were no mines in the parish only about a quarter of the men were employed in farming, while a third earned their living directly or indirectly from the sea or the estuary, as mariners, fishermen, oyster dredgers … Continue reading Mylor: Wales or New South Wales?
The rather over-the-top Marconi monument at Mullion In 1861 the residents of Mullion on the Lizard peninsula would never have guessed that the parish would take its place as one of the epicentres of modernity in the coming century. It was from this parish that Marconi transmitted the first transatlantic radio messages in 1901/02, following … Continue reading Mullion: the roundabout road to (and from) Camborne-Redruth