Meet the ancestor – Great Granny Paul

This venerable lady lived to be just over the 100. She was born in 1857 and lived long enough to be known by my wife. I’m going to let her son, Howard, tell the outline story – an item he had published in his work company magazine.

My Mother – Centenarian

ON THURSDAY, January 3rd, Mother was indeed a proud woman for it was her l00th birthday. Two telegrams thrilled her immensely: firstly, one from Her Majesty The Queen, and, secondly, one which read, “Congratulations and best wishes from the Board and Staff of I. & R. Morley Limited on your hundredth birthday- Lord Hollenden.” You see; Mother has memories of Samuel Morley, who represented Bristol in Parliament in her earlier days; you see, also, I was employed by Morleys for some 47 years-16 years in the Warehouse and 31 years on the road as traveller.

Mrs. Sara Ann Paul, to give her full name, lives with my sister, Mrs. Beatrice Piper, at No.9 Poltair Avenue, St. Austell. Despite an illness two years ago and having been poorly ever since, Mother is still active. She is deaf, but her eyesight is good, though she is no longer interested in reading. She prefers to live in the past, as it were, and will readily recite quite lengthy poems she learned as a schoolgirl. When a Cornish Guardian reporter called to see her she was admiring the wintry sunshine streaming through the window. At his request she recited “The Cottage by the Sea” and gladly explained that the sea was actually the River Severn.

It was near the Severn, at Thornbury, near Bristol, that Mother was born on January 3rd, 1857. She was one of six children and lived in Thornbury until her father died. As a young girl she went to live with, and work for, a family who carried on a dairy produce business in Bristol. There she met and married in 1878 Walter Henry Paul, master tailor. When they were both aged 26 they moved to Cornwall and Father was appointed head cutter with Mr. Humphrey T. Williams, outfitter and draper, Redruth. For 37 years he worked for Mr. Williams, and my parents were prominent workers for the Wesleyan Church. Father became known as the cutter who fitted every rib.

Father died at the age of 75 at the home of my younger sister, Miss Edith Paul, a Plymouth schoolmistress. Mother lived in Plymouth until the blitz when, together with sister Edith, she went to St. Austell to reside with my other sister, Mrs. Piper. Edith, who was very ill at the time, died shortly afterwards, and Mother remained with Beatrice-the widow of Mr. W. W. Piper, who was a partner of the late Mr. Julian Pascoe in a tailor’s and outfitter’s business in the town.

Mother had seven children and has outlived all but three of us-Mrs. Piper, Percy T. Paul (a tailor’s cutter in Inverness) and myself. She had five grandchildren, one of whom was killed whilst serving in the R.A.F., and six great-grandchildren are living.

We are lucky enough to have photos of Great Granny, starting with one taken as a young woman in Bristol.


This is a CDV – carte de visite and we think it dates from the second half of the 1870s.

We wonder if our next photo was taken to celebrate the wedding for we have a matching colour tinted photo of Walter Paul who she married in 1879.


We’ll have a bit of a gap now and find Walter and Sarah together, possibly in the 1920s.



I had to include a photo with my wife in it. She’s the little girl at the front, sitting on the knee of her Great Aunt Dolly. The man is my wife’s dad and at the left we have Great Granny. We don’t know the other lady.

Of course, the 100th birthday was marked with photos.


Back in 2010 we found Great Granny’s grave. It is in the Weston Mill cemetery in Plymouth – huge but well organised. The experts were able to direct us to the grave.


Their daughter Edith is also commemorated here.


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3 Responses to “Meet the ancestor – Great Granny Paul”

  1. Sue Says:

    Great Granny always said that she would have taken to wearing shorter dresses had she known she would live so long. I remember her in long black clothes. Our family bought her a grey shawl for her 100th birthday.

    She was well into her nineties when I knew her, but still picked raspberries and made jam, though only in small quantities.

    We were not able to go to Cornwall for her funeral, but drew the lounge curtains shut as a mark of respect

  2. Roger Moyle Says:

    My mother used to speak of a Uncle Henry Paul but he lived at Carvannel Farm on the North Cliffs near Portreath and was married to Aunt Hester Ann Prideaux…..Does any of that tie up with your information?

    • locksands Says:

      Hi Roger

      I’m afraid it doesn’t tie up. Our Pauls moved to Redruth from Bristol. We do not know what made them move or why they chose West Cornwall, an area rich in people with the surname Paul. AQs far as we know there is no link with any other Paul family in Cornwall.

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