Posts Tagged ‘Redruth’

Carn Brea

January 26, 2016

Carn Brea is a hill just outside Redruth in Cornwall. My wife’s grandparents were Redruth dwellers as children and both of them could see this hill from their childhood homes. These grandparents spent much of their adult life in Cheshire – just about the edge of Manchester. They named their house there Carn Brea in memory of their childhood.

Back in the spring of 2003 we were in the area in Cornwall around the real Carn Brea.

This was the view of Carn Brea from Granny’s home in Redruth.

image002The monument on top is the Bassett Memorial. I believe (but please put me right) that the building to the left of it was Carn Brea Castle and is now in use as a restaurant.

From closer to we preferred the more natural rock piles.


This Features my wife for a splash of red and for family connections.

There is, of course, a view back down over Redruth.

image006Granny’s house is more or less in the centre of that photo. Grandfather’s would be at the extreme left.


Places where family have lived.

August 5, 2014

I was fascinated by a comment from Current Descendant on a recent post about Great Granny’s house. Seemingly the terraced house, with just a narrow pavement (or sidewalk) between the house and the road, looks quite alien to the lady with Kalamazoo, Michigan connections. I guess land, and maybe cash, were more plentiful in the States.

But if one such street surprises, I thought we could see more of the ancestors homes from times past – whilst saying I have never lived in a house without a bit of front garden.


My wife’s grandmother was born in the cottage with the ‘for sale’ sign up. That was back in 1888. This is Bassett Street in Redruth and looks up to the chimney at Pednandrea which was, originally, much taller. This family got wealthier and were able to move to a bigger and classier house on Clinton Road.

Grandfather (who married the grandmother of Bassett Street) lived in a slightly classier house with a little bit of front garden in Claremont Road in Redruth.


Both these houses gave a view to a hill called Carn Brea. That was the name the couple chose for their own house which was in Cheshire.

By contrast, another part of the Cheshire family had this very nice farm house called Cowbrook Farm in Gawsworth.


This was in the family for several generations but great great granny Maria Mottershead lived there in 1861 with parents and siblings.

Now this was the home of my great great grandfather in Tonbridge in Kent


In 1881 John Ware lived there with his wife and seven children. It must have been cramped. This one is on Rose Street in Tonbridge, Kent.

Well, it’s a bit of a mixture, which probably makes us much like anybody else.

The Late Mrs Hall

June 20, 2014

Newspapers can be very handy for genealogy, particularly if you get a list of attendees at a funeral or wedding. In some cases, though, more questions are raised than answered.

This one is about my wife’s great grandmother who died in 1926. It begs quite a few questions.


But let’s start with what we know. Lil and Howard were my wife’s grandparents. Lil was the daughter of the deceased. Their three children were Betty, Joyce and Gordon and Howard’s parents were W H Paul and family.

Grace’s son Will was a chemist in Truro and was married to Nan. Perhaps Len is a misprint?

Grace’s other daughter, Ada, had emigrated to South Africa and was married to Arthur Whear. It is possible that Clem is their son but why would he have been in Slough?

We guess that 37 River Street in Truro had something to do with Will’s chemist shop business.

The really unsolved bits are cousins mentioned – J H G Williams and S Head. The deceased, Grace Hall, had been born as Grace Williams and there is plenty of scope for cousins for her father was one of 13 brothers and sisters.

Sadly, for us, Williams is one of the commonest names in Cornwall. It’s very hard to trace people with any certainty.

Any ideas, anybody?

Great Grandfather’s Grave

February 4, 2014

A couple of days ago I started writing this and suddenly found I was writing about a German First World War cemetery. This time I’ll keep myself under control and tell you about a rather grand, overgrown grave in Redruth’s St Day’s Road cemetery.

This cemetery has been filled and is unkempt and uncared for. Articles in Cornish newspapers suggest I’m not the only person to think this.

Our first visit to the cemetery was back in 2003. On that occasion we found no grave of family significance although an internet search had told us that William Hall, great grandfather who died in 1907 was buried there.

Having talked to various people about likely areas, on our next attempt we found the grave. Here it is from October 31st 2005.


The graveyard itself was quite tidy then, but our William’s grave was so overgrown with prickles – holly and brambles, that we just couldn’t read what it said.

I realised that we had a bread knife in the car and UI went to get it so that we could attack and remove some of the vegetation. Soon a police helicopter was hovering overhead at which point I realised we were in a somewhat strange situation. Remember the date – it was the early evening of Halloween. We were in a grave yard and armed with an exceedingly vicious weapon. Had someone told the police they had seen me entering the grave yard with a huge knife? I can tell you, I felt quite scared, not by the graveyard, for no dead person has ever harmed me yet, but I am a law abiding person and I wondered how much the police would believe a story. I could explain everything. We were on holiday and had brought with us an unsliced loaf for picnics. Being unsliced, we had brought the bread saw. And of course we were genuine genealogists who had found an overgrown grave.

Fortunately, no stories were needed. The helicopter buzzed away and a rather shaken I could attempt to clear the grave.

Can I say that if you want to remove brambles and holly, a bread saw, even one purporting to be ‘the sharpest knife in the world’ is hopeless. But eventually, we almost had enough cleared and we could read what our grave said.


Our next visit was on May 30th 2011. We found the grave was worse than ever and the whole cemetery was in a very poor state.


We were on holiday, but this time we were in a little cottage. Our bread saw normally travels with us, but with a proper base, it wasn’t in the car. But what I had was a sort of Swiss army penknife which a very nice former pupil gave me as a Christmas present. Now there you have quite a useful tool for grave clearance. It wasn’t Halloween and I didn’t feel threatened by hovering helicopters. We actually got the grave quite tidy.


This time we could even read the addition about Grace, his wife and our great grandmother.

No doubt the grave is overgrown again, now. William and Grace’s children moved away from the Redruth area and all died many years ago now. All of his grandchildren have died and the UK branch of the family all live a very long way from Redruth. We are by far the nearest at a mere four and a half hours car journey away (if the traffic is easy). It isn’t a place you just pop to.

But next visit I’ll make sure I have my trusty penknife with me.

Meet the Paul Family

January 3, 2014

Of course, it was a sad day when my wife’s grandfather, Howard Paul died. His widow promptly left home and went to live with her son. The house was sold and the family goods were shared around. The son had his own wife and child and no space for much stuff and he had to dump things in the shed. The old family photos ended up there, got damp and a bit mouldy. They were put on a bonfire.

Via another branch of the family we got some photos- often not well captioned. This is one of them.


This is a delightful family group. It shows my wife’s great grandparents and their children who survived infancy. We date this photo to about 1904.

Let’s start with the back row which starts on the left with Beatrice Paul – always known as Dolly. Next we have Percy Paul and then their father, Walter Paul… Next is William Cyril Paul (always known as Cyril) and then Howard who was my wife’s grandfather.

In front we have Walter’s wife, Sarah Ann Paul and the youngest child, Edith Lilian Paul.

The family lived at Redruth in Cornwall, but Walter and Sarah Ann had started their married life in Bristol.

Sad to say, the surname Paul has now died out in this line. Percy had one son who was lost in World War II. He was never recorded as anything but missing as far as Percy was concerned and he retained a lifelong hope that his son would walk through the door one day. In fact the son is commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves site and he is commemorated on the Malta War Memorial which list 2300 Commonwealth aircrew with no known grave.

Cyril and his wife had no children which made Howard’s son the last of the Pauls. He and his wife had a daughter but no sons so that family surname has ended.

Of course, the line goes on under different names. Six great grandchildren of Walter and Sarah Ann survive. There are 11 great great grandchildren and at the moment about half a dozen great great great grandchildren.

William Hall advertises

November 6, 2013

William Hall was a great grandfather and he was based in and around Redruth and Camborne in Cornwall. I wrote about him briefly back in July with a news report of his funeral.

William was born into a mining family in 1844. He first saw the light of day at Kehelland, a pretty little village just outside Camborne. His dad died in 1851 and his family history gets a bit confused after that because miners, including, in time, William, travelled the world in search of fame and fortune – or just a bare existence.

In 1861 William was a miner at Grinfer, Illogan.

He is missing from the 1871 census but we think he may have been a gold miner in the state of Michigan, USA at the time of their 1870 census.

In 1876 William was back in Cornwall, marrying Grace Williams at Illogan. William’s occupation is given as miner on the marriage certificate. He lived at West Tolgus.

But in 1881 William was a draper at 69, Fore Street in Redruth and in 1882 he placed an advert in the local Cornubian Newspaper.


When we first found this advert, almost by chance, we were thrilled. We were scanning old Cornubians for births marriages and deaths, using a film reader and suddenly an advert for great grandfather’s shop appeared. I took a photo of the screen and that’s what you see here.

Unsurprisingly, there were more adverts in 1883.


Business was doing OK, we assume, as William was advertising not only his stock, but also he wanted an apprentice.

Let’s look at another from 1883. This one has the date on it.


There are more adverts, but maybe we’ll save them for another occasion.

William died in 1907 so we never knew him and none of his grandchildren knew him. Somehow these adverts helped to add real interest to a man who was just dates beforehand.

And as you can see you can get tolerable images by photographing fiche and film reader screens. These were taken back in 2003 when I used a 1.3mpixel camera which, incidentally, still delivers good photographs.


September 30, 2013

My wife had ancestors who were based around the West Cornwall town of Redruth. We are looking at a non-family postcard today which shows what we may call a significant area of Redruth and has a message which is just possibly family related.

Here’s the picture.


Fore Street is the main road through Redruth. It might, perhaps have been called high Street, for it is like ‘High Street’ in other towns. The street, as we can see in this Edwardian image, is lined with shops and inns. And a clock tower stands tall above the other buildings.

This picture is just slightly annoying to us, for at the extreme left hand edge we have a little portion of the shop which great grandfather, William Hall had. He died in 1907 and he had not been a draper all his life. He had been, like many a West Cornishman, a miner and as with many other miners he had spent time abroad to seek his fortune. And maybe he found enough of one to come back and give up the pick and shovel for the more peaceful life of a draper with his own business.

Now let’s look at that message, remembering that post cards, in the Edwardian era, were very much like the text message of today.

It appears to be dated 6/31/07 which I take to mean 31st June 1907

It goes on:

Dear Uncle and Aunt
The old street of Red Ruth.
Was down there this morning and also up to Carn Brea.
The folks are well and we are going to see Aunt Williams this pm and then to Porthtowan.

Could any of this mean our relatives? Well, William Hall’s wife had been a Williams – Grace Williams – so it could be. But Williams is a very common Cornish surname.

Now let’s see where the card was going.


It was sent on 2nd July 1907 from Redruth to Mr H R Walton in Kewanee in the USA.

I could almost get excited here for Great Grandad had brothers in Keweenah but that is in Michigan – quite a different place from the Illinois town this card went to.

From US censuses I think the recipient was a Hercules R Walton who had been born in Illinois in 1855. I know of no link to our family.

The post card is still lovely – but if only it showed more of great grandfather’s shop!

A Splendid Family Grave in Cornwall

September 16, 2013

My own family are quite amazingly short of memorial headstones. We agricultural labourers clearly could not afford to spend money on the departed when there were living mouths to feed. My wife’s family redresses the balance a bit. This grave is at Treleigh on the outskirts of Redruth in Cornwall.


See those primroses at the bottom? It’s a spring photo from April 14th 2010.

Let’s dart about the grave a bit, starting at the top.


At the top we have William Williams who died on the last day of 1873 aged just 52. He was my wife’s Great Great Grandfather and he had been born in 1821 at Hayle in Cornwall. Census data tells us that William was a tin miner. Of course there could be many reasons for death, but a mining accident must be a possibility.

We’ll now head down to the bottom of the grave.


Here we find a memorial to Grace, widow of the above – a twice true statement as it transpires. Grace Trounson had been born in 1825 at St Agnes in Cornwall. Her father was a tin miner as well.

Grace married William on 6th September 1845 at St Just in Penwith – out in the extreme western tip of the county.

After the death of William, Grace re-married, her second husband being Nicholas Peters. He just might have had a bit of money for, in the censuses he is described as a retired copper miner and also an annuitant – living on money he had.

Nicholas is also remembered on the grave.


He died in 1892 making Grace twice widowed.

The fourth name on the grave is of William James Williams, son of William and Grace. He, too, was a miner but he had clearly tried his luck overseas.


William James is remembered on the grave, but he certainly won’t be buried there. His body must have been buried in far-away Nevada.

So 1892 was a bad year for Grace, losing her husband and her first born son.

The grave at Treleigh is a haven of peace near what can be a very busy main road.


Meet the Relative

August 7, 2013

Great Aunty Gwen

Yesterday we looked at Gwen’s autograph book which we had the great good fortune to buy on Ebay.

Today we’ll look at the lady herself.

Gwen Davey was born in 1892 in Redruth. Because she had no descendants we have ended up with some of her paper work – including a birth certificate.


This certificate was written in 1938 and tells us that Gwendoline Marie Davey was born on 31st October, 1892 at Bond Street in Redruth Urban Sanitary District. Her father was Samuel John Davey,  a mine share dealer, and her mother was Mary Louisa Davey, formerly Knight.

Gwen was the only child of this marriage and she probably had quite a prosperous childhood. Certainly by 1901 the family with a servant lived on Clinton Road – very much a road for reasonably well to do people. We know from the 1911 census and the autograph album that their house was called Penlee.

In 1919, Gwen married William Cyril Paul – my wife’s blood great uncle. The marriage took place in Bristol and witnesses were Gwen’s father and Percy Theodore Paul (Great Uncle Percy). Interestingly, Cyril (as he was always called) has his father described as an agent. He was always a tailor’s cutter, but maybe that didn’t sound grand enough and quite possible he was an agent for something.

We seem to miss out on photos of Gwen but we have a lovely one of Cyril sitting on the running board of his car.


Now that’s a pretty grand vehicle, so it seems the prosperous life continued for Gwen and for Cyril. The couple had no children and certainly lived in Bristol. Relatives who had moved up to Cheshire recall that in the 1930s the Bristol home of Cyril and Gwen was an overnight stop when journeys to Cornwall were made.

I do not know when Cyril and Gwen moved to Crowborough in Sussex, but they had a very nice, large house there.

Cyril died in 1946. The death was registered in Maidstone in Kent. The probate record gives the address as High Barrow, Inhams Wood, Crowborough, but that he died at East Malling in Kent on 22nd June.

So Gwen started a lengthy period as a widow continuing to live at High Barrow.


And here is Gwen in front of the house, probably in the 1960s.


Gwen died in 1971

We were beneficiaries of her will – enough to buy some white goods for our home.

The Autograph Book

August 6, 2013

I scan Ebay for Redruth items because my wife’s family lived in Redruth. A few years back I was doing this and there was an autograph book with a familiar name. The seller was showing lots of pictures of this item and included the name of the owner.


Gwen M Davey! ‘Surely’’, I thought, that’s Great Aunty Gwen. The one who married blood relative, Cyril Paul. And she was the one who had no direct descendants and who left money to us and her other great nephews and nieces when she died’.

I just made 100% sure and I was right. We had to have that album, which, of course, looked very ordinary from the outside.


There was fierce bidding and we went way over what we hoped to pay and in the end we were outbid. But there was a real act of kindness and the high bidder withdrew – with a condition that we high quality scanned one of the pages for him. The album was ours.

Great Aunty Gwen’s album is not full of childhood friends who scribbled trite messages. It contains works of art.


This one was created by a school teacher who lived locally in Redruth.


I haven’t identified W B Adams but what a great sketch and limerick.


Gladys Jarvis also has an oriental theme. She was probably a friend of Gwen’s. Both were born in 1892 in Redruth.

What a delightful family item – and we still feel lucky and privileged to have it. The seller thought it had been in his dad’s drawer for fifty years. If he happens to read this – thanks again for what you did for us.