My house 150 years ago… part 1


A few weeks ago we all completed our Census Forms to provide information for the Government’s “Forward Planning” (a Government planning something – what next?).   In centuries to come the information we have provided will be of immense interest to historians and genealogists looking back to source local and family history.

The first Census in the form we know it today was conducted in 1801 – 200 years ago – and has been conducted every 10 years since.   The 1851 Census was one of the first to provide us with reasonably accurate and detailed information of the inhabitants of each parish.   By looking through the records for Warleggan Parish we can begin to piece together the way of life in this remote region in the mid-1800’s.

On March 30th – 31st 1851 the Enumerator for Warleggan – Petherick Bunt – set out around the parish listing the residents of every household.   He recorded a total of 300 persons.   He also indicated that of those 300, 8 were only there temporarily that night and 2 were absent but usually dwell in the district.   Thus we have a resident population of 294.   Compare this with the 1991 population of 205 – 90 less than 150 years ago!

His recording of the parish started in the north, working southwards and ending up back in Warleggan Village.   The Census provides much more information than I have been able to provide in this article such as ages and places of birth and if anyone is interested in any particular family or house please contact me.

The first entry is of the Giddey family where John and his wife Ann farmed 70 acres at Northam with their 6 children and a house servant.   Where was Northam?   I can only suggest that it was Petherick’s spelling of the farmstead now known as Higher Thorne as this is not referred to elsewhere in the records.

Moving north to Downhouse young John Blewett farmed the 18 acres here with Mary Ann and their 2 young children again with the help of a farm servant – can you now imagine a workman on an 18 acre farm!

Castle Dewey is now split into two households but in 1851 it was obviously not so important being occupied by a Farm Labourer – Hugh Coppin – then aged 61, with his wife and their 2 children – Richard 14 and Elizabeth Ann 9.

There must have been two houses in the region of Whitewalls as at Higher Whitewalls we find William Bennett and his family living.   William’s employment was Tin Miner and his 15 year old daughter Elizabeth was described as “Tin Miner Maid”.   Living with the Bennetts at the time of the Census was Elizabeth Tucker a Dress Maker form Altarnun.

At Middle Whitewalls lived John Weary a Farmer of 12 acres and with them lived Abel Weary who was a Tailor and Sarah Spargo another Tin Mine Maid.

Returning down the lower road towards Callaways Water where now there are only two houses it would appear that in 1851 there were four cottages.   At Lower Tor House lived John Walsh aged 75 but still described as an Agricultural Labourer (no retirement pensions then) looked after by his daughters Catherine and Jane with the latter also being described as a Tin Mine Maid.

At the next Lower Tor House lived John Lobb a Tin Miner with his family including 22 year old Sarah a Farm Servant and 17 year old Mary Ann another Tin Mine Maid.  John’s 76 year old mother Ann lived with them and was on Parish Relief.

There was also an Under Tor House where John Mutton a Tin Miner lived with Mary his wife and son William.

Along the road at Calaways lived John Williams an Agricultural Labourer his wife and their 3 children still at home.

Outer Dewey, now known as Higher Dewey, was a farm of some importance extending to 185 acres and occupied by William Rawlings and his wife Elizabeth both aged 39.   Presumably looking to produce farmworkers to help they had a family of 7 children but only one son being the eldest Joseph (13) followed probably much to William’s disappointment by a string of girls – Elizabeth Ann (11), Mary Jane (9), Ellen (7), Margritta (5), Lewisa (2) and Levinyea (4 months).   There was one Agricultural Servant living in – William Rawlings but apparently no relation of the family.

At Tar House lived 48 year old Robert Keast a Farmer of 30 acres, his wife Elizabeth and their 3 children – William 15, Jane 13 and Robert 10, all described as Scholars.  How fascinating that 150 years later we still have a Keast living at what is now known as Tor House.   Robert was my second great grand uncle!

On the western side of the Tor there were 3 houses in the vicinity of Carburrow where now there is a house and barn conversion.  At Little Carbarrow lived John Jane described as “Agricultural Labourer and Tin Miner” with his family and a lodger – Joseph Best a Tin Miner originally from St. Wenn.

There appear to be 3 families living at Great Carbarrow.  John Frances an Ag. Labourer and his wife; two visitors – Catharine Simmons aged 59 from Lanlivery and her daughter; and William Tinney aged 69 but still described as a Tin Miner and his wife.

Treveddoe was another large farm of 112 acres occupied by John Weary, his wife Betsey and their 3 children.   Living with them were 3 Agricultural Servants – Thomas Mallett, John Lemin and William Coppin – and a House Servant Elizabeth Smeath.

We also find another house at Treveado occupied by William Arthur an 80 year old Farmer of 13 acres and his wife Phillippa.

Moving southwards to just below Warleggan village at Welltown were two households where now there is only one.  Richard Cole a Farmer of 15 acres with his family and Elizabeth Lean a 70 year old widow described as Farmer of 3 acres with her Servant, 19 year old Mary Ramsey.

Along the road at Polventon lived an Agricultural Labourer – William Pollard with his young family.

Woodah, the fine slate hung farmhouse in the valley below Warleggan, was a full house not only occupied by Richard Bunt, a Farmer of 35 acres, and his wife Abigail but also Jane Lobb a House Servant; James Tinney and John Cole Agricultural Servants; Henery Bunt a nephew and a visitor Sharlot F. Harvey described as Independent.

Next month I will cross over the River Bedalder towards Mount and probably the following month return to Warleggan Village.

John K

                                                                                                                  -> -> -> go on to part 2

Got your own memories to share?  Or any photos showing how Mount and Warleggan used to look in the old days?  Share them –  by email, through comments (below) or dropping off a pendrive/memory stick with Chris W (in Mount) or Gill K (in Warleggan)


3 Replies to “My house 150 years ago… part 1”

  1. John Giddey’s parents were Frances Cole and William Giddy. When William died (between 1796 and 1804, Frances remarried, to James Webber. I’m keen to find out who William’s parents were. Frances had only one child, John. I’m not sure if she was married before she married William. I can’t find William’s birth date or whether he had any siblings, or where he was born. Any information is welcome!

  2. What a fascinating article. I have a particular interest in the 2nd House at Whitewalls occupied in the census by the Bennett family. In the 1841 census there appears a Mary Bennett aged 3 months.Mary was my Great Great Grandmother. She married a John Cullis Reynolds from Lanlivery and the family moved to work in the Iron mines in Scalegill Cumberland. Later to return to Cornwall and reside at Redmoor Lanlivery. Should you so wish I have some very old photographs of Mary. Kind regards Geoff Reynolds.

    1. Geoff. Glad that you found the article of interest. I see that Mary was baptised at Warleggan Church on 4th October 1840 and her father is described as “Miner”. He most probably worked at the nearby Treveddoe tin and copper mine.
      If you contact me direct on I could send you a copy of the Parish Register entry and details of Treveddoe Mine and I would be pleased to receive a photograph of Mary for our archives.

COMMENTS - write your comment here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: