There has been a settlement
in this area since the Iron Age, the basis of the name being hen-lys,
'ancient court'. In the Domesday Book(1068) it is called the manor of
Henlistn. 'Helston an ancient market town built on two hills, was first
granted its charter in 1201. Two main streets intersect the town and the
widest, Coinagehall Street, was described by John Betjeman as "It
takes a beautiful curve like the Oxford "High" and is well terminated
at either end."
Helston was one of the ancient coinage towns where tin ingots were assayed
and stamped to assess the duty to be paid to the Duke of Cornwall. During
this process a corner or "coign" was cut off to be assayed for
quality. In early times Helston was a thriving port at the head of the
Cober estuary but from the 13th C onwards, the estuary began to silt up
and a great shingle bank "The Loe Bar" was formed at the mouth
of the estuary making the largest freshwater lake in Cornwall. The estates
round this lake are part owned by The National Trust and there are delightful
walks to be taken in this area.
Statistics: 2918 acres of land,
5 of water 17 of foreshore
Helston is on the south coast.1.
The whole of Cornwall
2. Here is a wonderful map
to get you to Helston - you can change the scale as well as get the local
weather and cinema listings!
John and ?
We know about John from the 1871 census which suggests that he was was born in Helston in 1816.
It is possible that this is
a son of Abel and Salome Venning and the grandson
of Nicholas and Joan Cord. The evidence is scanty
- the birthplace of John is given as Helston and his brother, Nicholas
1812, may have been born in the area. We certainly find Nicholas 1812 in Helston - Family
2 below. But the dates don't help - an IGI birthdate of 1806 and an
1871 census date of 1816. IGI give the birthplace as Antony. And if this
is the right John, his wife would have been Joane - St
Clether Family 1
John was a travelling cutler
and in 1871 is resident in Camborne. His wife is unknown, presumed dead
by 1871. Nicholas and Sarah are living in the same house with their three
sons - Nicholas may well be John's son but equally may be his nephew, Nicholas 1842
There's no sign of John in
the 1881 census.
Nicholas and Sarah McGrail and Coralina Smith
Nicholas 1842 is the son of
Nicholas 1812 and Jane Carlyon and the grandson of Abel and Salome Venning
In many ways, Nicholas seems to be a chip of the old block, a traveller with few roots. Putting the evidence together is tricky -
as suggested below, in the 1851 census, we find Nicholas with his parents with his father under the alias of John Carlyon. Nicholas is 9, thus born in 1842 in St Austell but I cannot find a GRO record for him. In 1861, there is Nicholas by himself born 1842 in Cornwall (although it says Veryan, this looks as if it has been added later). He is a traveller and 'dealing in
marine stores' (basically a peddler).
It is likely that this is the same Nicholas that we find in the 1871 census, who
has married Sarah McGrail, born 1849 St Austell. Sarah's father is William, a Dutch subject and also a dealer in marine stores/scrap, living in 1851 in St Austell with Sarah's mother, Fanny. I cannot find a record of the marriage which presumably is around 1864 so
Sarah is very young.
Nicholas is a travelling cutler and in 1871 is lodging at Gas Street
in Camborne, with Sarah and the children but also along with John Uglow - this is probably his uncle, John 1812 .
By 1875, the birth certificate of son WIlliam gives their address as Church Street, Liskeard. But early in 1877, Sarah dies. Nicholas has either already abandoned the family or does so soon after. He moves north. In Worcester in August 1877, Neptune/Nipton Uglow is born with father Nicholas, an umbrella mender, and mother is Coralina Uglow nee Smith - she is illiterate and makes her mark on the birth certificate. Nicholas and Coralina are not found on the 1881 census but they marry in Ormskirk in Lancashire in 1882 (although Coralina is decribing herself as Mrs Uglow in 1877). This is probably Nicholas 1842.
There is one sad story - in 1885, they have an infant son, Angelo. But at five months old, he dies from opium poisoning. The death is reported in The Times 31st March 1886 at p. 5f. But court proceedings follow against an assistant to a chemist, John Irvine. Not only Angelo but also a young woman died as a result of careless prescribing and measuring and Irvine is found guilty of manslaughter of the woman - Manchester Times 15th May 1886. Angelo's mother is not named but his father is Nicholas, a scissor grinder - by the time of the trial, he is living at 35 Whyatt Street, Wellington Street, Bradford.
Nicholas and Coralina fade from sight but their son, Neptune, carries on - Yorkshire Family 0
Children with Sarah
- son Nicholas 1858. In 1871 he is with his parents lodging at Gas Street
in Camborne but his age is given as 6 and place of birth is NK - 'not known'. There's
no sign of him in the 1881 census but in 1891, he's lodging at
Poundwell Street Lodging House in Modbury in South Devon. He's married
to Bessie and both give their birthplace as St Austell and born in 1858.
He's a knife grinder and she is a licensed hawker.
In 1898, Nicholas is in deep trouble - Trewman's Exeter Flying Post on 14th May reports on an inquest into the death of George Lawrence Stone at Bridgerule. Stone was a navvy working on the Bude and Holsworthy Railway. They were drinking in the Bridge Inn at Bridgerule on 30th April when Nicholas and Stone had a quarrel and fought. Stone fell and hit the back of his head but was well enough to get home. Nicholas appears to have been beaten up by the other navvies. Stone died the following day. The inquest jury treated this as manslaughter and he was charged with manslaughter of on 6th May. He was sent to be tried at Exeter Assizes. But on 25th June 1898 the paper reports that, at the preliminary hearing, the judge warns the jury to be careful before indicting him and the charges are dismissed by the grand jury;
By 1901 things seem to have changed - he's in a tent on
St Breock Downs - a travelling cutler, 3rd generation. In 1900 in Stratton RD, he's married for a second time - to Mary
Elizabeth Balsdon, born 1857 in Ashwater in Devon. Also along is Mary's 11 year old daughter, Alma Balston.
[Mary might well be the Mary Jane Balsdon, born Ashwater who is found
in Holsworthy Workhouse in the 1881 census]. There is a death record for a Nicholas in Redruth in 1919, aged 65 - this fits quite well with our Nicholas. Mary dies in 1925 - St Austell RD, aged 78
- son Abel 1867. In 1871, he's with his parents in Camborne, his age is given as 4 and place of birth is NK - 'not known'. There's no
sign of Abel in the 1881 census but by 1901, he is married to Bessie
Ricketts, born in Yeovil in 1871 - Torquay
- son John 1869. In 1871, he's with his parents in Camborne, his age is given as 2 and place of birth is NK - 'not known'. He might be
working for Thomas Floyd, a farmer, at Garker, just north east of St Austell in 1881. But there's no sign of him in any of the succeeding censuses nor in the death records. Did he emigrate?
- daughter Elizabeth Jane 1873 born in Liskeard RD but dies in St Austell in 1877 (NB this is speculation as to parents - I have not seen the birth certificate)
- son William 1875 born in Liskeard. At birth his parents are at Church St, Liskeard but by 1881, little William is in the St Austell workhouse. He's earning a living as a farm labourer with the Geach family at Biscovallack, Treverbyn, St Austell in 1891. By 1901 he is working in a tin mine and lodging with the Ould family at North Crofty, Illogan Redruth - later that year, he marries the landlady's daughter, Ellen Ould, born 1875 in Sithney. But Ellen dies in 1905 and in 1908 William marries again to Elizabeth Ellen Tregidga (perhaps nee Elizabeth Ellen Luke), born 1873. She dies in 1954 and William in 1956 - they are buried in the Treswithien cemetery, Camborne.
- daughter Doris 1911 but died in infancy.
- daughter Mary Ellen 1876 born in Liskeard RD but dies in St Austell in 1877 (NB this is speculation as to parents - I have not seen the birth certificate)
Children with Coralina
- son Neptune 1877 - see above and Yorkshire Family 0
- son Angelo 1885 born in Manchester but died of opium poisoning aged five months (above)
Family 1c: William and Emily Baxter
William 1843 born in Launceston is the son of Nicholas 1812 and Jane Carlyon and the grandson of Abel and Salome Venning. I can find no GRO record for his birth but on his marriage certificate he names Nicholas Uglow, sailor, as his father. This is very likely to be Nicholas 1812.
William, like his father and brother, seems to be a traveller with few roots. Putting the evidence together is tricky -
the first time we search for WIlliam is in the 1851 census and, as suggested below, it is possible that we find William with his parents but with his father using the alias of John Carlyon. If this is correct, William is 8, and was born in 1843 in Launceston.
Nor is William visible in the 1861 census. But in 1869 he marries Emily Baxter in Camborne Parish Church with the Rev Chappel officiating and with witnesses, Michael Hawke (Emily's stepfather) and Mary Floyd. William was a stone mason aged 23. Emily was just 17, the daughter of Emma Collins and John Baxter - her parents married in 1851 and Emma was born in 1852. She never knew her father, a brewer, who died around the time of her birth. In 1861 she is at 119 Tolcarne Street, Camborne with her mother.
Emily and William manage to miss the 1871 census and have disappeared by the 1881 census - but they have had a child who is now in the care of her grandmother
- daughter Mary Baxter born 1873 in Redruth RD. The GRO have her as 'ugglehoe'. This spelling issue continues as she is found as Mary Huglo in 1881 at 16 Victoria St, Camborne with granny Emma Hawke - this is Emma Baxter nee Collins , Emily's mother, who married Michael Hawke in 1862. She is already widowed and in 1871 is living at 16 Victoria St with stepson Richard Hawke. In 1891 Mary is to be found at Gurneys Lane, Camborne and working as a tin stream girl.
In 1891, Mary marries [Frederick] John Finn who was born in 1873 in Camborne - in 1881, he is with his parents John and Eliza. His father is Irish and a tin dresser. In 1891, he is lodging in East Charles St., Camborne and working as a plasterer/labourer.
They have a large family quickly - in 1901 Mary is on the census as married and is in a Bodmin lodging house with 5 children. But there is no sign of husband, John - however the family do take root in Bodmin and John dies there on 25th September 1942. There is a headstone in Bodmin cemetery.
This is just laying the foundation for one of the more remarkable stories of this website. Mary and John have a son, James Henry Finn, an ordinary working class man and an ordinary soldier:
[The picture is a cigarette card; the following text is taken from Wikipedia] Mary's son, James Henry Fynn, was born on 24th November 1893 at St. Clements, Truro but the family moved to Downing St., Bodmin. James had at least two brothers (Sussex Finn and Albert E.R. Finn) and four sisters (Annie Hoskin, Bertha Wigget of Watchet, Somerset, V. Capper and C.H King). One sister, Elizabeth Mary Finn, died in 1953 and was buried with her father at Bodmin Old Cemetery. The headstone there also mentions James but not his mother, Mary.
Finn went to South Wales looking for work. He eventually found employment at the Colliery at Cwmtillery. At the Colliery he made friends with Willie Townsend and eventually went to live with the family in Frederick street which has since been demolished. On the outbreak of War he immediately enlisted with the local Regiment, the 4th Battalion of the South Wales Borderers.
It was during action in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) that Private Finn earned the Victoria Cross for his bravery. An extract from "The London Gazette", dated, 26th Sept., 1916, records the following:
"For most conspicuous bravery. After a night attack he was one of a small party which dug-in in front of our advanced line and about 300 yards from the enemy's trenches. Seeing several wounded men lying out in front he went out and bandaged them all under heavy fire, making several journeys in order to do so. He then went back to our advanced trench for a stretcher and, being unable to get one, he himself carried on his back a badly wounded man into safety. He then returned and, aided by another man who was wounded during the act, carried in another badly wounded man. He was under continuous fire while performing this gallant work."
He was awarded the Victoria Cross as well as the Order Of Karageorge which is Serbia's equivalent to the Victoria Cross. He survived that night but was killed on 30th March 1917. His Memorial at Basra, Iraq can be found at panel numbers 16 and 62. The Basra Memorial was originally sited within Basra War Cemetery but in 1997 the Memorial was moved. It is now located 32 kilometres along the road to Nasiriyah, in the middle of what was a major battleground during the Gulf War. The Memorial consists of a roofed colonnade of white Indian stone, 80 metres long, with an obelisk 16 metres high as the central feature. The names are engraved on slate panels fixed to the wall behind the columns. More than 40,000 British, Indian and West African dead who died in the operations in Mesopotamia from the Autumn of 1914 to the end of August 1921 are commemorated on the Memorial.
In 1966, Finn was also remembered at his home town at Bodmin when an estate was named "Finn VC Estate" in his Honour. The ceremony was attended by many members of his family and members of his Regiment. The plaque commemorating the event was unveiled, and can be seen opposite the library in Bodmin. Sadly his VC medal is now kept locked away in a vault after it was donated to Bodmin Town council, and has not been shown in public for many years.
Although his body was never returned to Cornwall, he is remembered on his father's headstone in Bodmin cemetery.
2: Nicholas and Jane Carlyon
Nicholas 1812 is the
son of Abel and Salome Venning and the grandson
of Nicholas and Joan Cord.
Nicholas is probably born in Hampshire - there is an IGI christening for April 1812 for Nicholas, son of Abel and Sarah, born in Portsea, Hampshire. As his father Abel was a shipwright in HM dockyards, a trip to Portsmouth is quite possible. But there must be some doubt here as other records give different places of birth - the 1851 and 1861 census gives his place of birth as St Anthony.
Certainly Helston looms large in this story - St Anthony is on the
coast near Helston and he marries Jane Carlyon in St Gluvias near Falmouth
in 1844. Jane may be born in 1821 in Breage. All of these are in an area well away from Antony
where the rest of the family live - with the exception of Nicholas's uncle, James, who settles at Mylor...
The records suggest that Nicholas is a black sheep - in 1840, he is sentenced to 4 months imprisonment at Bodmin Assizes for stealing 9 fowls, property of Thomas Blight of St Anthony - West Briton 10/4/1840. In 1841, he is living with Jane, aged 20, as man and wife in Church St., Helston. Jane and Nicholas do marry in 1844 -the IGI record gives father Abel Uglow as a witness as well as 'Honour', said to be Jane's father.
Shortly after the marriage, Nicholas becomes a sailor on HM brigantine Swift which is on the Falmouth-Brazil mail run. We know this because when he arrives from Brazil on 22nd June 1844, he is caught smuggling 100 lbs tobacco. He pleaded guilty and was faced with £100 fine or 6 months in prison. Things do not improve - in 1849 there is a record of Nicholas Uglow, labourer from Torpoint, in the Exeter police charge book - on October 26th 1849 he was drunk and begging in Milk Street, using obscene language and assalting a police officer. He received a fine of 10 shillings (50p) or 14 days in prison. What he was doing in Exeter is a mystery.
Nicholas Uglow can't be found in the 1851 census but there is one possibility that he is living in Lostwithiel under an assumed name - John Carlyon is a labourer, apparently camping out with his family. Why should this be Nicholas? We know that he is often in trouble with the law and an alias might be valuable. Much of the information tallies with what we know about Nicholas: he is 42 and born in St Anthony. His wife is Jane, born 1820 in Breage. His children include Nicholas, 9 born in St Austell, William 8 born in Launceston, Elizabeth 3 born in Launceston and Selena (Salome?) 1 born in Lanreath. The coincidences of the names and places of birth are quite strong and I cannot find this family as 'Carlyons' on any other census. Nor can I find Jane or any of the children on the 1851 census as Uglows
More certainly, from 1854, they seem to settle
in Helston and in 1861, Nicholas is a farm labourer, born in 1811 in St Anthony, living at 151,Wendron
Street (see picture above), Helston with Jane and five children.
By 1871, Jane is living in Plymouth Charles and working as a charwoman. She is said to be married but there is no sign of Nicholas. Emily (a servant out of employment) and Abel (moulder's apprentice) are with her. Nicholas and Jane fade from the records - but within three years, many of the children emigrate to New Zealand.
- son Nicholas 1842 born in St Austell. He marries Sarah McGrain and later Coralina Smith - Family 1b
- son William 1843 born in Launceston. Although there is no GRO for his birth, on his marriage certificate he names Nicholas Uglow, sailor, as his father - Family 1c
- daughter Elizabeth 1847 born in Launceston. In 1861 she is at Wendron St, Helston with her parents.
She marries Richard Carlyon in Helston in 1867, probably a cousin. There
is no sign of them in any of the censuses - perhaps they have blazed
a trail to New Zealand?
- daughter Salome 1850 born
in Truro RD - it's the name 'Salome' that leads me to the conclusion
that Nicholas is the son of Abel and Salome. In 1861 she is at Wendron
St, Helston with her parents. In 1871 she was a domestic servant
with the Archelaus Harry family who farmed at Gunwalloe, a few miles
south of Helston.
She marries Richard Williams in 1871 in Helston - he is born in Cornwall
in 1847 and is a farm labourer. They emigrate to
New Zealand on the 'St Lawrence' arring on 22nd May 1874 with siblings Emily,
Abel and Jane but also with Edward Williams (11 years old) and Mary
J. Williams (8 years old) who may have been her husband's brother and
sister? They also have Emily Williams, presumably Salome's daughter
(10mths born 1873?). [This story is confirmed by Mike
Wilde in New Zealand who is Salome's great great grandson. His great
grandmother was Eliza Jane Williams, daughter of Salome and born 1884
in Temuka Canterbury NZ (d 11/11/62).]
- son Abel 1852 born in Falmouth
but died young
- daughter Emily 1854
born in Helston. In 1861 she is at Wendron St, Helston with her parents.
In 1871 she is with her mother in Plymouth Charles - a servant out of employment. She marries William Thomas Loch Murch (born 1855 in Kingsbridge, Devon
and a farm labourer) in 1874 in Plymouth. Within a month, they emigrate
with Salome, Abel and Jane to New Zealand in 1874. She dies in 1940
- son Abel 1856 born
in Helston. In 1861 he is at Wendron St, Helston with his parents. In 1871 he is with his mother in Plymouth Charles - a moulder's apprentice. He
emigrates to New Zealand in 1874
with Salome, Emily and Jane
- daughter Jane 1858 - born
in Helston. In 1861 she is at Wendron St, Helston with her parents and
at the 1871 census she is a servant in Mutley Plain, Plymouth. She
emigrates to New Zealand in 1874.
She marries Jonathan Bracefield in Timaru, NZ in 1875. After he dies,
she marries Jabez Uglow 1857 in
(Sources: Jane Hinkley
and John 1921)
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