Why are there so many Williamses in Cornwall?

Williams was (and probably still is) the most frequently occurring surname in Cornwall. The last blog looked at an exceptional family with this name. This one reviews the more common Williamses. Williams, like Thomas, Richards, Harris and others, is relatively common in Cornwall (as in Wales) because hereditary surnames were sometimes adopted later, when the … Continue reading Why are there so many Williamses in Cornwall?

From merchanting to gardening: the Williams dynasty of Caerhays

The history of the Williams family of Caerhays in mid-Cornwall and Scorrier, Burncoose and Tregullow near Redruth is the story of Cornwall writ small. Emerging from obscurity in the later 1600s in the country between Redruth and Penryn, the family became Cornwall’s most successful mine managers and investors during the 1700s. It was John Williams … Continue reading From merchanting to gardening: the Williams dynasty of Caerhays

When did William (or Richard or Robert or … ) add an -s to his name?

Some of our most common surnames in Cornwall were very uncommon 500 years ago. Take the names Williams and Richards for example. Nowadays these are the the most frequent surnames found among the native Cornish. In the 1540s there were hardly any examples of people named Williams or Richards. But of course there were scores … Continue reading When did William (or Richard or Robert or … ) add an -s to his name?