“Desperate People in Desperate Times”: Christian Grose and Richard Angove

The Younger Sister:

Christian Grose (1773-?) was the younger sister of Cornish Mine Captains, Matthew Grose (1761-1824) and Samuel Grose (1764-1825).

Her brothers worked at mines in Somerset and Cornwall and have already been written about on the ‘Adventurous Ancestors’ blog here and (in more detail) here.

Christian Grose was baptised at St. Uny in Redruth, Cornwall on 12th April 1773 to parents Matthew Grose and his wife Mary (nee Davey).

At the age of nineteen, Christian Grose married Richard Angove (1772-) on 15th October 1792 at St. Uny, Redruth. Both were likely illiterate as they marked (did not sign) the marriage register. The witnesses of their marriage were John Angove and Benjamin Davey (likely relatives of the bride and groom).

Interesting that, (unlike Christian Grose), her brothers had been educated as both signed their marriage registers, (Matthew in 1783 and Samuel in 1786).

After marriage, Christian (nee Grose) and Richard Angove encountered drama and troubles in 1795. I contacted their descendant, Peter Gardner, about the incidents I’d read about in his fantastic essay “A Convict in the Family”:

Peter commented that Christian and Richard Angove were…

“Desperate people in desperate times.”

This moving and meaningful interpretation inspired me to share their story here (mainly extracts from Peter’s essay and other sources).

1795 certainly epitomised  “desperate people in desperate times”. It was the year of bread riots across England – wheat shortages meant starving people and a country on the brink of famine.

The Angoves of Plain-an-Gwarry:

Richard Angove was baptised in Redruth, Cornwall on 22nd March 1772 to parents John Angove and his wife Elizabeth (nee Launder).

Richard Angove (1772-?) and his ancestors hailed from Plain-an-Gwarry, near Redruth

“Plain-an-Gwarry (Cornish: Plen an Gwari) is a hamlet in the west of Redruth, Cornwall… It is entirely surrounded by the town of Redruth… The name derives from Cornish plen an gwari (meaning “playing place”), an open-air performance area used historically for entertainment and instruction.”

via Plain-an-Gwarry – Wikipedia

In this case, Plain-an-Gwarry is a residential hamlet, but elsewhere in Cornwall the term refers more generically to an outdoor entertainment space…

A plen-an-gwary, also known as a playing place or round (Cornish: Plen an Gwari), is a medieval Cornish amphitheatre. A circular outdoor space used for plays, sports, and public events, the plen-an-gwary was a Cornish variant of a construction style found across Great Britain. Formerly common across Cornwall, only two survive nearly complete today…

The theatre area could be used for local gatherings, sports events, and production of plays. Cornwall culture had a type of play called miracle plays, written in the Cornish language, that would were meant to spread Christianity. To capture the attention of the audience, “the plays were often noisy, bawdy and entertaining.”

via Plen-an-gwary – Wikipedia

Peter Gardner writes about Plain-an-Gwarry in his essay:

“Plain An Gwarry was built early in the Eighteenth Century to house miners for the nearby North Downs tin and copper mines. The conditions in this and other similar villages by today’s standards were appalling. In 1833 when Plain An Gwarry was over 100 years old it was reported that there were just 11 privies for over 130 dwellings. These houses were overcrowded with large, extended families and lodgers being taken in to supplement incomes. Streets were given names like Dirty Court and Poverty Court.”

poor

Christian’s ‘ill-behaved husband’:

Mining Consultant, William Jenkin wrote a letter to Samuel Grose (Christian’s ‘Mine Captain’ brother) on 21st March 1795 which mentions Christian and other relations:

Thy Aunt Kate has behaved unkind to the little Alice Richards whom I have this day fixed with thy Uncle Richard Nicholls of Michell -who has taken her home with him and promised to take good care of her, and I believe he will do so. I am pleased with him from the little I have seen of him. Little Mary still lies on hands – but as she seems a well behaved industrious girl, and is in constant employ, I hope she will not stand in need of much assistance.

All these family members require further research. The letter continues about Christian…

Thy sister Kitty [Christian] and her ill-behaved Husband [Richard Angove] vexed me much one day this week by laying wait at thy Father’s door in the morning, and as the little girl opened it, they rushed in and seized the bed and bolster which he lay on while he lived, and carried it away, and then brought back an old bed of theirs in it’s stead. The little Girl [Mary] came up to me in a great surprise to tell me of it. I immediately went down, and by threatening them got back the Bed and bolster again–and I think it will be well, if I don’t hear from thee soon, to take all the goods to my House

Via ‘News From Cornwall’, by A.K. Hamiliton Jenkin

Severe Whipping:

Another letter followed from William Jenkin to Samuel Grose, on 16th October 1795

A strong rumour prevailed here yesterday that Kitty’s [Christian’s] husband [Richard Angove] was dead, and that Dug [Launder – a relative] was dying – and the Hill [A poor quarter of Redruth, near Plain-an-Gwarry] was in an uproar. It was asserted that their death was owing to the severe whipping they had last week. But on enquiry today I find it was a false report. I believe they had a pretty close trimming. I am sorry for thy sister [Christian] who I understand is far gone with child, and must unavoidably suffer by her husband’s misbehaviour.

Via ‘News From Cornwall’, by A.K. Hamiliton Jenkin

Peter Gardner writes more about this event in his essay :

In 1795 Richard Angove… was sentenced, with a relative, to 2 years in Bodmin prison for the theft of 4 pence worth of tin ore. His young wife Christian (nee Grose) was pregnant.

  • Wendy Angove in her history of the Angove family wrote:
    “William Launder of Redruth, tinner, and Richard Angove of Redruth, tinner, were convicted of taking 20lbs of ore, value 2d, 20lbs of tin stuff, value 2d, the property of Sir John St Aubyn and others, adventurers of Wheal Peevor. Sentenced to hard labour for 2 years, and to be publicly whipped until their backs are bloody, in Bodmin, at the beginning and end of their punishment.” [Angove, Wendy. The Jigsaw Puzzle Tree, The Author, Brigend Wales, 2003 p.78]

This was an extremely severe punishment in troubled times. Launder and Angove were either cousins or uncle and nephew and appear to have been ‘tributers’ (contract miners) in Wheel Peevor.

An estimate of the theft in today’s values (2015) is difficult and the 4d could have been as low as $40. Estimates of earnings of tributers about this time averaged from £2 to £3 per month so 4d would equal at least 1/120th of a monthly wage. However if their pitch (contracted area of the mine) turned poor or they had a poor contract they may have earned very little or nothing. Some prices of foodstuffs about this time (1801) included butter at 8d per pound, bacon 8d per pound and barley 6s bushel.

The crime almost certainly was one of ‘kitting’ – taking ore from another part of the mine away from their own ‘pitch’ or designated place and presenting it at as their own. This practice was generally frowned upon by miners and definitely so if the ore was stolen from another group of tributers’ pitch – in other words stealing from mates. However in this instance it appears that the ore was removed from a part of the mine not being worked by their fellows – in other words they were stealing from the company.

This and the harshness of the punishment meant they had strong support amongst the community

Peter also writes insightfully about the riot:

The riot that followed this cruel punishment was typical Cornish behaviour to injustice and in desperate times. It followed on from food riots in Redruth at the market earlier in the year. From this behaviour we can conclude that those being punished had the support of the community and that the spirit of revolt was very strong.

Children of Christian (nee Grose) and Richard Angove:

On 6th October, 1793, a daughter, Alice Angove was baptised at St Uny, Redruth.

In October 1795, Christian was pregnant when her husband was whipped (no baptism record found yet).

A son, Richard Angove baptised on 21st October, 1798 at St Uny, Redruth who likely died as an infant.

On 26th April, 1801, they baptised another son, Richard Angove at St Uny, Redruth.

Conclusion and Further research:

These letters of William Jenkin again show the close association that he had with the extended Grose family.

Other family members are mentioned in ‘News from Cornwall’ by A.K. Hamilton Jenkin who can be researched:

  • Assuming ‘Aunt Kate’ is an aunt of Matthew, Samuel and Christian Grose – she is either a sister (or sister-in-law) of their parents Matthew Grose (1732) and Mary Davey.
  • The same theory can be applied for ‘Uncle Richard Nicholls’ meaning he’s likely a brother-in-law of Matthew Grose (1732) or Mary Davey.
  • It is unknown whether Alice Richards is a family member, or perhaps a servant. The Richards/Grose family connections have been mentioned in other letters of William Jenkin and these will be looked at on another post.
  • Mary is likely a younger sister, cousin or niece of Matthew, Samuel and Christian Grose.

Further research is required for Christian (nee Grose) and Richard Angove and their descendants. Currently have not found a death or burial record for them.

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Resources and ‘Thanks’:

Sincere thanks to Peter Gardner for giving permission to use extracts of his essay on the blog.

Bonus! Family History Clues in “Two Men of Very Different Minds”

In the previous post, the mining careers of brothers, Matthew Grose (1761-1824) and Samuel Grose (1764-1825) were covered. Info was studied in four books containing extracts of their correspondence with William Jenkin (1738-1820).

All three men were from Redruth, Cornwall. Jenkin looked after mining interests for the Marquis of Buckingham. He appointed Matthew and Samuel Grose as Mine Captains in Cornwall and Somerset.

Family History Clues:

Mine Captain!

From Jenkin’s letters, we see Matthew Grose (1761-1824) was Mine Captain at Loxton, on the Mendip Hills in Somerset.

We’d previously discovered that his son (Matthew Grose 1788-1849) and niece, Mary (1788-?) were baptised here at the Parish Church of St. Andrew in Loxton:

 © Image courtesy of Somerset Heritage Service; Taunton, Somerset, England; Somerset Parish Records, 1538-1914; Reference Number: D\P\LOX/2/1/1 (Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1531-1812 via Ancestry.co.uk)

Initial research suggested it was a brief, unsuccessful copper mining venture, but Jenkin’s letters show it was a long captaincy.

Missing baptisms, children John and Elizabeth Grose:

With baptism records missing for two of Matthew Grose’s children – John Grose (1793-1842) and Elizabeth (1797-?), we can check again for misspelled records – focusing on Loxton and surrounding area.

From Jenkin’s letters we know that Matthew Grose (1761-1824) was still in Loxton in 1794.

1794: Josiah Holdship comes to Somerset seeking the mineral ’emery’. He approaches Matthew Grose at Loxton first, who sends him on to Samuel Grose in Dodington.

via “Two Men of Very Different Minds”… – Adventurous Ancestors

This bodes well for finding John and Elizabeth Grose’s baptism records nearby… unless for some reason they were baptised elsewhere!

There is also the following challenge:

“The early Loxton parish registers were badly worn, thus many entries on the fiche are illegible and others are taking a considerable amount of time to transcribe…

…before 1800 many surnames of similar sound were spelt in a variety of ways, now referred to as variants. There was not the standardised spelling that we have today and few people could write. Many churchwardens couldn’t spell and educated clergyman had to enter a written name that best fitted the sound of the name. It was open to misinterpretation particularly when one considers the various dialects around the country.”

via Loxton Baptism Registers…. – Somerset Village of Loxton

 Son, Matthew Grose and grandson, Thomas Grose:

We know Matthew Grose (1761-1824) was back in Dodington, Somerset by 1820, installing a pumping engine in the Beech Grove House.

By 1821, his son, (Matthew Grose, 1788-1849) and daughter-in-law, Mary (nee Wearn) are with him. They baptise their son, Thomas Grose at Dodington, Somerset.

(© Image courtesy of Somerset Heritage Service; Taunton, Somerset, England; Somerset Parish Records, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1914 (via Ancestry.co.uk)

Matthew (1788-1849) is listed as a ‘Miner’ on son Thomas’s baptism. Was Matthew working in the Dodington area too, or visiting his bold father, or perhaps en-route to another mine?

Work ceased at the Dodington (Buckingham) mine in 1821 and equipment was sold off in 1822.

image

20 July 1822 – Royal Cornwall Gazette – Truro, Cornwall, England (© Image courtesy of The British Library Board accessed via FindMyPast)

Grose family in Sticklepath, Devon?:

In the 1823 newspapers, at Okehampton, Devon, (approximately 50 miles southwest of Dodington, Somerset), we see a Mine Captain called Matthew Grose at the Sticklepath Copper Mine.

Could this be one of our Cornish Mine Captains – either Matthew Grose (1761-1824), or his son ‘Foxdale‘ Matthew Grose (1788-1849)?

image

12 June 1823 – Exeter Flying Post – Exeter, Devon, England (© Image courtesy of The British Library Board accessed via FindMyPast)

Check for Clues!

Near to Sticklepath in Devon are the villages of South Zeal and Belstone.

We see Elizabeth Ash (nee Grose) (1797-?) and her miner husband Obadiah Ash in South Zeal around this time because there are baptism records for their children here.

eg, Obadiah Ash junior baptised in 1822.

obadiah-ash.jpg

 © Image courtesy of  The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; General Register Office: Birth Certificates from the Presbyterian, Independent and Baptist Registry & Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan Registry; Class Number: RG 5; Piece Number: 172 England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970 via Ancestry.com

The mother on the baptism record Elizabeth Ash (nee Grose) is the daughter of Matthew Grose (1761-1824), so the younger sister of Matthew Grose (1788-1849).

On 18th March 1824, we see a baptism in Belstone, Devon for a John Grose, son of Matthew and Mary Grose. Their abode is Sticklepath and the profession of the father is Miner.


 © Images courtesy of South West Heritage Trust and Parochial Church Council (Accessed via FindMyPast)

All this evidence points to the Mine Captain of Sticklepath, Devon being ‘Foxdale’ Matthew Grose (1788-1849).

This is just four years before he migrates to the Isle of Man.

There is a slim chance that his father is the Mine Captain at Sticklepath, with Matthew just a miner, but unlikely.

His father, Matthew (1761-1824), passes away this year in August 1824 and from extracts  in “Men & Mining on the Quantocks” (Second Edition, Hamilton & Lawrence, 2008) he stubbornly resided in Dodington, (trying to attract new investors for the Buckingham Mine) and died there in grinding poverty.

Was Matthew Grose (1761-1824) alone when he died a pauper in 1824? Were his wife (Jane/Jennifer nee Williams) and youngest daughter, Eliza (1807-1864) still in Somerset at that time too?

To be resnearched another time!

Mining Career Clues:

Only a few gaps remain in the career timelines for the Redruth brothers, Matthew and Samuel Grose. With further analysis of the information from Jenkin’s letters, this will now be easier to research.

CONCLUSION:

Found!

From reading a few books about mining and further online research, we’ve been able to solve other family history mysteries…

‘Foxdale’ Matthew Grose (1788-1849) was a miner at Dodington, Somerset in 1821 because he was baptising his son Thomas Grose (1821-1882) there.

This date ties ‘Foxdale’ Matthew to working in Dodington with his bold father, because Matthew Grose (1761-1824) is installing an engine at Beech Grove (and subsequently upsetting the Marquis by moving it to the Glebe House!).

Also, from connecting a random newspaper clipping about Sticklepath Copper Mines in Devon to the Grose family, we’ve discovered ‘Foxdale’ Matthew Grose (1788-1849) was likely Mine Captain there by 1823.

His abode was Sticklepath and he baptised his son John Grose at nearby Belstone in 1824.

Interesting to note that ‘Foxdale’ Matthew Grose (1788-1849) chooses a ‘Church of England’ church to baptise his son, John (1824-1888), in Devon.

His sister Elizabeth Ash (nee Grose) (1797-?) chooses the nearby Methodist Church to baptise Obadiah Ash junior (1822-?).

The connection between the siblings, Elizabeth Ash (nee Grose) and Matthew Grose,  is of particular interest because BOTH migrate to the Isle of Man.

This will be looked at more closely in a future post.

Still to find!

Be nice to find the baptisms for two children of Matthew Grose and Jane/Jennifer Williams:

Unless the Loxton Parish Registers are just too badly worn!

Thanks for reading. Please comment or contact if you’re enjoying the blog, or if you have any info or ideas that might help with some of the mysteries!

 

 

Desperately seeking… Samuel and John Grose

When researching family history it can be frustrating when records and documents that ‘should’ exist cannot be found.

I’m currently hunting for the baptism record of Captain Samuel Grose (1791 – 1866).

It is well documented that he was born in Dodington or Nether Stowey in Somerset to parents Samuel Grose and Eleanor (nee Giddy).

His census records and death records all indicate this too, but his actual baptism record remains elusive.

Perhaps he was born and/or lived there, but was baptised elsewhere?

The family had connections to Redruth, Hayle, Gwinear, Phillack and likely travelled elsewhere in Somerset and Cornwall.

Another record that I’m seeking is a baptism for Captain John Grose, son of Matthew Grose (1760-1824) and Jane/Jennifer (nee Williams).

He is mentioned in his mother’s obituary in 1841.

His siblings’ baptisms span 1784 – 1807, so he could have been baptised anywhere around there. Likely around 1793.

Once again the likely location is within Somerset or Cornwall.

Alternatively, there could be an error in the obituary and John is another relative – perhaps a nephew, rather than a son.

The obituary in the West Briton newspaper reads “At Goldsithney, in Perranuthnoe, on the 23rd instant, at the house of her son, Capt. John Grose, Mrs. Jane Grose, aged 80 years, relict of the late Capt. Matthew Grose, formerly of Gwinear, and of Dodington in Somerset, much regretted and respected by her numerous family and friends. Her end was peace.”


There can be many different reasons for ‘hard to find’ baptism records.

Misspelling of names is a common reason. The spelling of names was changeable, often recorded phonetically.

When researching the Grose family tree we encounter records with surname spelling variants like Grove, Groce, Groves, Gover, Gross, Grosse, Grace, Grasse, Gasse and Craze and Cross.

Forenames can cause problems too.

We can see the same person as Jane, Jenefer, Gennifer or Jennifer.

Eleanor, Elenor, Allnir, and Ellen.

Matthew, Matthias and Mathew.

Ann, Annie, Anne and Ellen.

Mary, Maria and May.

As well as the names differing on the actual records, transcription errors can add another level of confusion. eg, When Lisa becomes Jessie.

Often, with patience and sometimes years(!) of detective work these puzzles can be solved, either on our own, or with the help of others.

If anyone finds the ‘missing’ baptism records for Samuel and John Grose, please comment below, or contact here.

I’ll be happy to try and help out with your most puzzling puzzles!