General history
Population and longevity

Sponsor

Institute of Historical Research

Publication

Author

Daniel and Samuel Lysons

Year published

1814

Pages

42-50

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'General history: Population and longevity', Magna Britannia: volume 3: Cornwall (1814), pp. XLII-L. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=50611 Date accessed: 21 August 2014.


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Population.

The number of persons in Cornwall, assessed, in the year 1377, to a poll-tax, from which only mendicants and children, under fourteen years of age, were exempted (including the religious of both sexes, who were taxed separately, and amounted to 686), was 34,960. This tax was levied immediately after a great plague, by which this county, and particularly the town of Bodmin, had been much depopulated. Carew says, that it had been a question, whether Cornwall had been better stored with people than it was in his time; some holding the affirmative, says he, "vouch to prove it, the general decay of inland towns, where whole streets, besides particular houses, pay tribute to Comdowne castle, as also the ruines yet resting in the wilde moores, which testifie a former inhabitance:" "touching the decayed inland townes," he observes truly, that "they are countervayled with a surplusage of increase of those on the coast, and the desolate walles in the moores have begotten a seven-fold race of cottages near the sea-side." The decay of the Cornish towns appears to have attracted the attention of parliament before Carew's time, and it seems not to have been confined to the inland towns, Truro as well as Bodmin, Launceston, Liskeard, and Lostwithiel, being included in an act of Parliament, passed in 1540, for the repairing those towns, and others therein mentioned. By this act, it was provided, that proclamation should be made for all owners of void places, which had been occupied by buildings, or of decayed and dilapidated houses, to rebuild on those sites; if they should neglect this for three years, the High Lord, under whom such houses had been held, had power given him to rebuild on his own account; if such High Lord neglected it for the space of two years after the expiration of the former time, the same power was given to any persons or bodies politic, who had rent-charges on the premises; on their failure so to do for the space of one year, the same power to go to the corporations of the several towns; and in case of their neglect for three further years, the power to revert to the first owner, and so on as before (fn. 1) . It does not appear that any thing of consequence was done under this act. Since Carew's time, in consequence of the extension of the mining works, particularly since the coppermines have been worked to so great an extent, some of the most desolate moors, particularly in the neighbourhood of St. Agnes and Redruth, have become "very well stored with people;" indeed Redruth itself has long since Carew's time grown into a town; St. Austell also, from its vicinity to the great mine at Polgooth, and from its having become a great thoroughfare on the road from Plymouth to the Lands-End, has grown from a mere village to be a considerable town.

The populous town of Falmouth, containing, with its suburbs, near 5,000 souls, has risen from a village, almost too insignificant for notice. Mevagissey also, now very populous, is of more modern date as a town of any consequence.

The total population of Cornwall, according to the census of 1801, was 188,269 persons, that of 1811, 216,667, making an increase, within the last ten years, of 28,398, supposing the account of both periods to have been taken with equal accuracy.

Names of Places. Inhabited Houses. Uninhabited Houses. Families. Persons.
1801. 1811. 1801. 1811. 1801. 1811. 1801. 1811.
Advent 37 42 4 6 37 45 170 219
St. Agnes 777 848 24 17 817 998 4,161 5,024
St. Allen 73 74 2 5 75 75 360 418
Alternon 118 134 9 12 118 148 679 784
St. Anthony (East) 254 320 10 11 427 533 1,795 2,144
St. Anthony, in Kirrier 52 36 2 2 54 45 262 224
St. Anthony, in Roseland 34 35 1 35 38 161 157
St. Austell 663 710 44 32 707 775 3,788 3,686
St. Blazey 87 82 10 3 89 86 467 442
Blisland 81 92 3 5 82 93 437 487
Boconnoc 40 47 7 4 42 56 212 236
Bodmin (town) 266 253 12 12 374 396 1,951 2,050
— (parish) 59 62 5 6 59 63 348 333
Botusfleming 34 41 42 46 201 237
Boyton 50 72 2 2 55 73 319 402
Breage 492 581 33 16 509 591 2,534 2,888
St. Breock 185 181 16 5 194 210 962 998
St. Breward 97 93 6 12 108 102 513 506
Bridgrule (the Cornish part) 34 34 5 2 34 34 192 176
Broadoak 35 31 2 4 36 32 173 188
Budock 124 200 4 6 157 384 779 1,514
St. Buryan 207 210 15 7 224 218 1,161 1,188
Callington 144 164 1 6 177 213 819 938
Calstock 197 354 1 6 217 411 1,105 2,064
Camborne 880 873 18 14 949 939 4,811 4,714
Cardinham 99 104 6 7 101 114 552 662
St. Cleer 147 166 18 2 155 171 774 780
St. Clement's 229 300 24 7 308 402 1,342 1,692
St. Clether 19 25 3 19 29 134 165
Colan 31 37 2 32 39 191 221
St. Columb-Major 309 410 12 9 323 444 1,816 2,070
St. Columb-Minor 204 229 5 5 211 254 999 1,126
Constantine 246 261 19 6 266 280 1,229 1,327
Cornelly 22 23 1 28 29 137 151
Crantock 53 65 8 7 59 72 299 358
Creed 29 35 4 41 38 217 226
— Grampound in Creed 80 96 5 1 109 131 525 601
Crowan 418 466 9 12 489 530 2,587 3,021
Cubert 52 52 3 55 56 269 289
Cuby 20 21 1 1 24 22 139 152
— Tregony in Cuby 128 174 6 7 238 231 937 923
Cury 62 70 3 3 62 73 304 347
Davidstow 38 45 5 5 44 49 217 262
St. Dennis 83 89 2 1 86 96 318 478
St. Dominick 103 100 2 4 109 100 538 534
Duloe 96 131 5 114 134 709 821
St. Earth 216 244 4 2 216 255 1,122 1,317
Egloshaile 161 182 8 9 184 203 782 954
Egloskerry 54 61 1 2 69 79 307 395
Endellyon 140 165 4 3 156 201 727 950
St. Enoder 159 168 6 4 180 175 869 881
St. Erme 70 79 3 3 70 90 358 431
St. Erney. — See Landrake.
St. Eroan 72 63 2 6 74 65 358 331
St. Eval 62 56 2 3 63 61 288 309
St. Ewe 229 222 11 10 241 228 1,176 1,125
Falmouth (town) 465 465 3 5 947 1,017 3,684 3,933
— (parish) 113 182 1 5 271 329 1,165 1,374
Feock 148 183 2 2 151 220 696 968
Filleigh 66 70 6 4 70 78 315 342
Forrabury 33 44 5 36 51 140 212
Fowey 213 227 26 12 280 320 1,155 1,319
St. Gennys 114 116 4 6 122 119 597 658
St. Germans 350 383 16 21 390 435 2,030 2,139
Germoe 130 150 5 4 139 155 629 735
Gerrans 165 155 9 12 182 167 771 698
Gluvias 92 122 4 1 113 142 624 714
— Penryn in Gluvias 294 350 11 10 553 574 2,324 2,713
Gorran 183 202 2 206 235 1,009 1,116
Grade 62 63 7 63 63 320 306
Gulvall 211 240 4 8 225 248 1,076 1,224
Gunwalloe 44 43 2 6 44 48 216 206
Gwennap 944 986 24 26 970 1,025 4,594 5,303
Gwinnear 314 369 4 314 377 1,654 1,952
Gwythian 67 72 2 70 75 329 372
Helland 33 38 2 3 36 38 221 223
Helston 301 328 12 1 436 531 2,248 2,297
St. Hilary 146 443 5 4 159 449 990 1,248
— Marazion in St. Hil. 206 184 18 11 242 184 1,009 1,022
Jacobstow 83 98 9 9 85 102 432 489
Illogan 529 751 7 19 582 803 2,895 4,078
St. John 22 27 1 1 26 33 110 143
St. Issey 103 117 7 23 106 130 522 632
St. Juliot 42 41 2 2 42 41 199 208
St. Just, in Penwith 536 598 7 8 571 635 2,779 3,057
St. Just, in Roseland 163 272 10 4 321 338 1,416 1,639
St. Ive 77 96 4 5 95 100 486 535
St. Ives 712 12 15 621 748 2,714 3,281
St. Kaine 24 24 4 2 24 25 139 157
Kea 451 517 21 18 480 530 2,440 2,766
Kenwyn 558 909 17 50 822 1,017 4,017 5,000
St. Keverne 440 453 31 27 458 467 2,104 2,242
St. Kew 206 215 8 1 209 229 1,095 1,113
Kilkhampton 158 147 5 3 178 176 808 852
Ladock 114 112 10 116 113 542 651
Lamorran 14 16 2 4 15 18 78 94
Landewednack 51 53 2 6 54 53 244 303
Landrake with St. Erney 123 129 2 9 125 140 613 768
Landulph 84 89 3 7 99 108 529 590
Laneast 30 30 1 32 30 179 149
Lanhydrock 33 39 2 38 42 187 235
Lanivet 131 120 6 5 149 142 513 687
Lanlivery 132 159 2 2 147 192 778 965
Lanreath 76 92 3 1 92 99 478 548
Lansallos 162 165 2 175 179 847 804
Lanteglos by Fowey 146 141 4 2 150 166 678 859
Lanteglos by Camelford, (including Camelford) 188 216 2 15 214 254 912 1,100
Launceston 223 262 3 7 313 353 1,483 1,758
—St. Thomas Street 28 28 2 45 47 182 218
Lawhitton 52 55 3 2 57 55 289 360
Lawncells 113 118 4 122 119 647 672
Lelant 199 209 8 9 215 233 1,083 1,180
Lesnewth 18 20 21 21 104 105
St. Levan 72 82 11 2 75 86 400 434
Lewannick 101 101 14 6 109 107 548 563
Lezant 124 132 3 132 138 620 671
Linkinhorn 163 174 12 7 186 187 924 1,002
Liskeard (town) 302 361 21 13 424 402 1,860 1,975
— (parish) 160 167 24 5 160 173 848 909
Lostwithiel 121 132 4 6 177 178 743 825
Ludgvan 259 268 8 1 259 310 1,324 1,431
Luxulion 143 185 6 1 171 204 875 1,047
Mabe 52 60 4 1 64 67 387 396
St. Mabyn 91 103 12 7 108 112 475 560
Madern 303 315 16 4 311 340 1,564 1,817
Maker 223 507 10 257 740 1,691 3,678
Manaccan 92 100 6 7 109 117 489 506
Marham church 74 79 8 8 81 99 414 448
St. Martin, in Kerrier 70 75 2 5 76 84 363 391
St. Martin in the hundred of West 61 61 1 6 65 64 344 343
—East Looe in St. M. 117 128 9 14 143 168 467 608
Mawgan, in Kirrier 127 155 4 10 140 167 785 800
Mawnan, in Pyder 100 111 6 5 119 118 543 622
Mawman 85 82 4 4 102 91 427 397
St. Mellion 54 56 1 4 54 61 284 326
Menheniot 150 171 11 10 157 208 918 1,024
St. Merran 72 81 12 3 73 82 425 458
Merther 59 71 5 1 65 78 305 350
Mevagissey 309 373 4 12 465 485 2,052 2,225
St. Mewan 130 130 7 27 130 140 780 626
St. Michael Caerhayes 13 11 1 2 14 16 86 104
St. Michael Penkevill 31 35 1 33 38 154 178
St. Michael's Mount (extra-parochial) 45
Michaelstow 28 30 4 10 40 32 158 181
Milor 328 356 21 13 391 472 1,665 1,897
Minster 70 74 4 7 72 79 311 396
St. Minver 157 157 4 1 157 174 788 851
Morva 40 55 2 2 40 58 282 273
Morvall 82 104 3 13 101 120 533 574
Morwinstow 140 165 2 2 160 207 874 940
Mullyon 102 106 5 3 102 109 529 571
St. Neot 141 165 3 5 141 192 906 1,041
Newlyn 146 153 6 8 146 162 735 798
Northill 134 137 10 4 143 166 782 893
Otterham 27 27 1 27 28 141 176
Padstow 182 219 19 17 291 333 1,332 1,498
St. Paul 611 622 19 18 652 684 2,937 3,371
Pelynt 89 116 7 1 103 117 630 708
Penzance 667 772 27 12 773 858 3,382 4,022
Perran-Arwothall 125 214 4 2 188 240 884 1,104
Perran-Uthno 112 124 6 1 113 124 506 626
Perran-Zabulo 284 264 20 12 289 318 1,389 1,527
Little Petherwick 23 22 3 3 25 26 126 134
South Petherwin 124 105 13 3 139 105 699 733
Phillack 272 369 1 1 302 403 1,475 2,119
Philleigh.—See Filleigh.
Pillaton 53 58 4 2 74 75 336 477
Pinnock 55 57 3 56 57 302 316
Poughill 49 55 3 2 4 62 297 355
Poundstock 109 113 5 11 124 121 617 635
Probus 194 199 6 7 232 242 1,013 1,163
Quithiock 91 108 8 6 102 108 587 585
Rame 137 162 6 1 194 227 904 978
Redruth 648 844 16 26 1,010 1,162 4,924 5,903
Roche 183 210 7 2 189 210 954 1,164
Ruan Lanihorn 62 56 6 2 65 68 329 328
Ruan-Major 25 28 1 25 29 142 167
Ruan-Minor 69 58 2 15 70 60 317 274
St. Sampson 33 36 2 3 37 38 169 186
Sancreet 150 162 11 7 159 164 782 790
Sennan 80 95 8 5 88 102 431 495
Sheviock 76 67 2 5 89 81 409 428
Sithney 265 284 15 9 269 298 1,420 1,552
Southill 79 87 7 1 88 97 447 466
St. Stephen's in Brannel 342 348 5 15 345 360 1,738 1,904
St. Stephen's near Launceston 125 159 2 159 162 738 896
St. Stephen's juxta Ashe 183 177 12 20 212 227 1,004 1,121
Saltash, in the parish of St. Stephen's 153 190 7 5 292 352 1,150 1,478
Stithyan 228 183 5 5 238 255 1,269 1,394
Stoke Climsland 214 222 6 12 234 239 1,153 1,237
Stratton 191 203 8 13 213 215 960 1,094
Talland 149 171 18 153 174 760 801
—West Looe, in the parish of Talland 79 92 3 1 85 112 376 433
Tamerton 75 74 2 1 75 76 403 420
St. Teath 150 134 8 2 160 190 911 857
Temple 2 3 1 3 3 15 18
St. Thomas 36 44 3 36 46 173 241
Tintagel 116 141 17 177 151 649 730
Towednac 95 99 5 2 99 100 465 532
Tremaine 19 21 19 21 91 122
Treneglos 34 42 2 3 36 44 196 200
Tresmere 26 32 3 1 26 32 129 154
Trevalga 20 22 3 2 20 24 100 112
Trewen 30 31 1 33 31 193 190
St. Tudy 98 91 4 13 106 102 500 512
Truro 354 381 15 19 501 501 2,358 2,482
Tywardreth 137 135 2 5 144 155 727 741
St. Veep 99 94 12 8 112 102 506 511
Veryan 201 234 13 6 205 243 1,007 1,082
Warbstow 52 59 5 4 61 65 330 323
Warleggon 37 43 1 2 43 49 166 228
Week-St. Mary 104 104 6 3 111 121 566 612
Wendron 583 659 10 28 583 682 3,006 3,555
St. Wenn 66 83 5 2 68 83 358 452
Whitstone 61 63 4 5 61 71 345 397
St. Winnoe 116 142 3 7 116 161 671 782
Withiel 60 59 3 4 60 66 283 299
Zennor 117 129 4 117 133 544 671

Longevity.

The climate of this county has been ascertained, by experience, to be peculiarly favourable to life and health, its inhabitants having been long noted for their longevity. "For health," says Carew, "eighty and ninety years of age is ordinary in every place, and in most persons accompanied with an able use of the body and senses. In the parish where God hath seated my poor dwelling, I remember the decease of four, within fourteen weeks space, whose years, added together, made up the sum of 340." A Cornish correspondent of Mr. Polwhele's observes (fn. 2) , that in the language of the West, they should not call a person of seventy or eighty aged. In Worgan's agricultural survey of this county is an interesting paper, drawn up by the Rev. John Trist, vicar of Veryan, on the population of that parish, which, in 1810, consisted of 1220 persons. Having kept his registers, as it appears, with great accuracy, during an incumbency of thirty years, and very judiciously noted, as ought to have been done in all cases, and as is now enjoined by authority, the ages of all persons buried, he has ascertained that, infants included, the proportion of persons buried within these thirty years, who had exceeded eighty years of age, was one in eight; those who had exceeded ninety, one in fifty-three and a half. Mr. Trist, in a note, has quoted an opinion of Mr. Jonas Hanway, that the general average of those who attain the age of eighty is one in thirty-two. By the London bills of mortality it appears, that one only in forty lives to eighty. Dr. Price has quoted, as an extraordinary instance, a parish in Shropshire, in which one in twenty-four had attained the age of eighty. Mr. Trist supposes that the result of his data will afford a fair estimate of the state of the other parishes in Cornwall, situated as Veryan is, on the southern coast. "The proportion of deaths," he observes, "to the sum total of the living, is less than has been recorded in any political computation whatever, being as one to ninety (fn. 3) ." In Cumberland, where, throughout the diocese of Carlisle, the ages of all persons buried have been noted in the parish register for thirty-five years past, in consequence of an injunction of a former Archdeacon, we have had the opportunity in many, particularly in some of the most populous parishes, of ascertaining the proportion of persons who had attained the ages of eighty and ninety. We were induced to undertake the search in that county as often as we had the opportunity, in consequence of the prevailing opinion of the longevity of its inhabitants; the circumstance of the registers was peculiarly favourable, and the result was in general the same as Mr. Trist found it to be in his parish of Veryan, that one in eight had attained the age of eighty; in some parishes we found that one in seven had attained that age, and even in the populous parishes of Carlisle, so much more unfavourable to longevity, the average, including infants, was one in ten.

Carew has recorded the following extraordinary instances of longevity:—"One Polzew," says he, "lately living, reached unto 130; a kinsman of his to 112; one Beauchamp to 106; Jean Brawne, the beggar, a Cornishman by wandering (for I cannot say by inhabitance), though Irish by birth, outscoreth a hundred winters by I wote not how many revolutions." He speaks, in another place, of one Prake, of Talland, aged 110. The Rev. Thomas Cole, minister of Landewednack, who died and was buried there in 1683, is said, in the register, to have been above 120 years of age. Dr. Borlase relates an anecdote of his walking to Penryn and back, a distance of thirty miles, not long before his death, on the authority of Mr. Erisey, who met him on the road. Michael George, sexton of the same parish, was buried March 20, 1683, aged, as is said in the register, upwards of 100 years. Dr. Borlase speaks also of an old man of the name of Collins, upwards of 100, whom he saw on a tour to the Lizard: this man (Sampson Collins) was buried at Ruan-Major in 1754, aged 104. Dr. Borlase tells us also, on the authority of Mr. Scawen, of Molineck, of a woman who died at Gwythian, in 1676, at the age of 164. There is no entry of this woman's burial in the register, but by an inquiry, obligingly instituted by the present rector, Mr. Hockin, we find she is well known by tradition among the oldest inhabitants. Her name was Cheston (fn. 4) Marchant. The tradition of the place is, that she had a new set of teeth and new hair in her old age, and that travellers, who came to see her out of curiosity, frequently took with them a lock of her hair: it is said also, that she spoke only the Cornish language, and that she was many years bedridden. Mr. Polwhele mentions Henry Brenton, a weaver, of St. Wenn, who died in the reign of George I., aged 103; Mrs. Trevanion, who died at Bodmin in 1769, aged 107; Mr. Richardson, of Tregony, who died in 1770, aged 102; Mrs. Blanch Littleton, of Lanlivery, aged 101 (the three last on the authority of the Annual Register); a lady at Egloshayle, aged 112; Maurice Bingham, a fisherman of St. Just, who died in 1780, aged 116; Elizabeth Kempe, of Wendron, who died in 1791, aged 104; Catherine Freeman, a Scotch woman, who died at Falmouth in 1793, aged 118; John Roberts, of St. Keverne, aged 107; Priscilla Rouse, aged 101, and Edward Roberts, aged 102, both of Manaccan; Mary Sarah, aged 102, and Jane Studiford, aged 102, both buried at Gluvias in 1803; Mary Jenkins, of Crantock, then (1806) lately deceased, aged 102 (her father, said to have attained the age of 101, her mother that of 103); and Elizabeth Woolcock, of Nantallan near Bodmin, then (1806) living at the age of 105, and able to ride single to church at the distance of three miles. With respect to Elizabeth Woolcock, Mr. Polwhele was misinformed; although, by common report, she was considered many years older, her age, we are informed, did not exceed ninety, at the time of her death, which happened about two years ago.

Mrs. Zenobia Stevens, of Skilly-Waddon, in the parish of Towednack, who was buried at Zennor in 1763, at the age of 102, was tenant for ninety-nine years of the tenement of Trevidgia-Warra, held under the Duke of Bolton's manor of Ludgvan-Lees; and we are informed from good authority, that when she went, on the expiration of the term, being of course in her 100th year, to the Duke's court at St. Ives, she excused herself from drinking a second glass of wine, because it was growing late, and she had some way to ride home upon a young colt. Her daughter, Mrs. Zenobia Baragwanath, lived to the age of ninety-eight or ninetynine. (fn. 5)

Elizabeth Fradd, aged 103, was buried at St. Kew in 1803. Henry Martin, aged 101, was buried at Stithian in 1812.

Footnotes

1 Rastall's Statutes.
2 Vol. IV. p. 52.
3 Dr. Haygarth has stated, that in Chester (it being a remarkably healthy town) one in forty dies annually. Mr. Arthur Young says, that in the neighbourhood of his parish, Bradfield-Combust, in Suffolk, one in forty dies annually; in that parish, one in sixty-two; in Lowestoff, one in forty-six.
4 The name of Cheston occurs more than once as a female name in the pedigree of the Nansperians, a family who lived in the neighbouring parish of St. Erth.
5 From the information of her great nephew, communicated by the Curate of St. Ives.