Turtle Bunbury

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Delbridge of Cornwall, Arizona & Mexico

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Above: John Delbridge's father-in-law
the Rev. Alfred Rudall, Vicar of St. Agnes,
Cornwall, England.

My wife Ally's great-grandfather was John Delbridge, a gold-miner from the parish of St. Agnes in Cornwall, who lived an extraordinary life that took in the copper mines of Mexico and Arizona, among many other places. In 1902, he married Elfrida Rudall, eldest daughter of the Rev. Alfred Rudall, Vicar of St. Agnes in Cornwall. The couple were bonded by a mutual love for music but it would seem the marriage was to the Vicar's disapproval and John absconded soon after the birth of his second child Phyllis, my wife's grandmother.

This essay is a history in motion, an ever-evolving project designed to reassure my ever-loving wife of the great marvels of genealogical research. This work has been enormously assisted by the research of Eldrith Ward and Maria O'Brien, as well as conversations with my wife's family. If you should spot any errors or omissions or simply wish to pass comment, please drop me a line.

John Delbridge I and II

There have been Delbridges in Cornwall and Devon since at least the 1500s. To establish a direct line between these Delbridges and John Delbridge the miner is rather more difficult. The farthest back we can go is to John Delbridge (sometimes spelled Dulbridge) and Elizabeth, his wife, with whom he had nine children.

Their son John Delbridge II was baptized on the 24th January 1803, became a Master Mason and lived in Mithian, some 2 miles from St. Agnes, in Cornwall. His wife was Elizabeth Keast, baptized on the 11th October 1807 in St. Agnes.

The couple appear to have had only one child, Richard James Delbridge, born on 31st August 1838. He also became a stonemason. In 1861 John, Elizabeth and Richard Delbridge were living in Peterville, St. Agnes.

Richard Delbridge, Master Mason (1838 – 1895)

On 12th September 1865, 27-year-old Richard Delbridge married 21-year-old Caroline Roberts at the Wesleyan Chapel in Truro. She was born in Ireland in 1844. Her father, Edward Roberts, was deceased at the time of the wedding and is described as a miner.

By 1871, Richard, Caroline and three children were living in Gooninis.

By 1881, Richard and Caroline had 6 children - Emma baptized 1866, Edwin baptized 1867, Herbert baptized 1869, John Delbridge III baptized 1875, Alfred baptized 1878, and Willie baptized 1880. Edwin, now 14 years old, was working as a tin dresser. Herbert, Richard and John III were Scholars.

By 1891, two more children had been added to the family - Charles and Ethel - and the five eldest children were working as tin dressers.

Richard Delbridge, Master Mason, died on the 26th October 1895 at the age of 51 at Goonown, St. Agnes. The cause of his death was emphysema, a common place ailment for miners.

In the 1901 Census, Caroline and five of the children were still living in Goonown. Young Richard (26), John III aged 25, William (18), and Charles (16) were described as tin and gold miners, while Ethel (13), was still at home. By then, Herbert, John and Alfred were in Michigan.

The Tinners of Cornwall

St. Agnes is sited in the heart of tin mining country and both town and parish were dependant on the industry. The "Tinners" had been mining Cornwall since the Bronze Age, long before Tristan and Iseult, or Arthur and Guinivere, or the arrival of the Normans. To quote Daphne de Maurier: "Those first explorers from the Mediterranean lands who settled around the River Hayle and in West Penwith discovered the secret or brought it with them - the secret being that the mixture of sand and stone washed down in the streams from the granite hills was a precious ore, tin, which blended with the copper ore that they found in Ireland, turned into bronze". First they created weapons, then came domestic pots, pans and bells.

Cornwall was the greatest source for this natural ore in all Europe - the Romans knew it, the Saxons knew it, and they all sent men to work amongst the Cornish rocks and furze to increase their wealth. In the 12th century, a code of laws - the first Charter for the Stannaries - was drawn up to give the tinners their official rights. They were officially entitled to search for tin and work it in any waste land. The lord who owned the land would receive a toll payment but had no right to interfere. Thus the tinner was his own master, a free artisan whose only fee was to pay a tax on the tin itself. By 1914, the only mines still operating were the homely sounding West Kitty Mine, employing about 250 persons, and the Wheal Kitty Mine, employing about 220 persons. The Delbridges were presumably based in one or more of these mines.

The Town of Truro

The Stannary law demanded that all tin, once smelted, be taken to the nearest coinage town. For the miners of St. Agnes, this town was Truro. Here the tin was weighed and taxed before the officers of the Crown, then stamped with the Duchy arms. It was then sold to foreign traders. All profit went to the tinners. These gatherings took place four times a year in the coinage towns - Truro was one of four, the others being Helston, Lostwithiel and Liskeard - and were accompanied by long and lively festivals, sometimes running for twelve days, the longest being the Midsummer Coinage. The tinners still worked in the open, picking their way along river banks, shovelling up the tin the moors between the granite. He generally worked an area with members of his own family, employing other men if he was on a lucky break. The tin was washed and sent back down on a pack-horse to be smelted at the nearest blowing house.

The Delbridge boys must have been hardened souls, well used to sleeping rough in the sparse moor-houses with their solitary turf hearths and heather or straw bedding spread on the floor. The winters were particularly bitter with ice cold rain driving across the moors and pitch darkness setting in by half past four. They trapped rabbits and shot wild-fowl, plover, woodcock and duck that came to feed amid the pools and marshes of the Cornish scrub. By night they sat around fires exchanging stories, legends, ballads and such like. As they slept they could hear the wail of long dead tinners, the ancient and gnarly underworld fairies (called knackers) whose mining tools lay scattered amid the rocks.

Evolution of Tin Mining

Tin-mining beneath the surface began in the 15th century. In Richard Delbridge's day, shafts had been sunk deep into the earth and tunnels ploughed deep and long. His daily concerns would have been rope, timber, candles, the sinking of shafts, the shoring up of earth, the risk to his life. He may have handed over his tin to a middle-man, a merchant or money-lender, or he may have sought a deal with the local landlord.

Sir William Godolphin of Godolphin Hall formed his own company and secured the richest tin land in all Cornwall. The price of tin was prone to major fluctuation so the tinner's career was never that secure. There were riots in the 18th century which earned them a reputation as violent and ignorant men who stole chickens and lured passing ships to their doom so they might plunder their goods. They were in fact a proud people, individual and bold.
Cornish tin boomed with the industrial revolution with the improvement of roads, the construction of new foundries and engineering works, the introduction of steam engines and a resurgence of interest in tin from "foreigners from up-country". The tinners tried to resist the capitalist takeover of their industry. "Each individual mine became the centre of the community, men, women, children all taking part in the work; but while fortunes came to the adventurers and the lucky landowners, the miners themselves had small share now in any profits, working long hours for low wages".[2]

Collapse of Cornish Tin Mining

By 1880 two-thirds of Cornish miners had emigrated to the mines of the Americas, Australia and South Africa. Certainly, in the later 1890s, mining failure and emigration were uppermost in the minds of contemporary observers. Their despair was articulated by Cornwall's leading man of letters, Quiller-Couch, writing of Cornwall in the dying years of the nineteenth century, when the price of tin had sunk to its lowest level for a hundred years: 'her population diminishing and her able-bodied sons forced to emigrate by the thousands, the ruined engine-house, the roofless cottage ... the presence of destitution and actual famine'.

An equally famous literary giant of the times, the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould, shared these sentiments, although he was more critical of the part that Cornishmen themselves had played in their own downfall: 'The Cornish miner has gone abroad, his industry ruined by too much dishonesty, which in the end discredited Cornish mining altogether'.

Perhaps somewhere amid the collapse of the Cornish mines one learns to sympathise with an out-of-work John Delbridge falling for the Vicar's daughter.

John Delbridge III and Elfrida Rudall

John Delbridge and Mary Elfrida Catherine Rudall, were married in the Parish Church of St Agnes in 1902. She was the eldest daughter of the Rev. Alfred Rudall, Vicar of St. Agnes. On his Marriage Certificate, John stated that he was a gold miner. He had worked in the US prior to his marriage and records from 1895 indicate that a 19-year-old English miner called John Delbridge had arrived from Southampton into New York on 29th April, 1895, with a final destination of Michigan. Most of his siblings emigrated to Michigan. He appears to have gone to work on the Quincy Copper Mine near Hancock, Houghton, Michigan, where he was recorded as a witness on 27th July, 1895, at the marriage of his older brother Herbert (born about 1870), who emigrated to USA in about 1892, to Anna (Nannie) Kinsman. [*]

* Herbert Delbridge and his wife Nannie had one son, Herbert jnr, who was born in Hancock on 6th April, 1896. Following Nannie’s death on 27th Feb, 1905, in Franklin, Houghton, Michigan, Herbert Snr (now a naturalised citizen) brought Herbert Jnr to England to be reared in St. Agnes by his own mother Caroline Roberts Delbridge (who was born in Cork, Ireland). They arrived in the port of Southampton on 23rd of May, 1906. Herbert Snr returned to America and is recorded in the 1910 US City Directory of Calumet, Michigan, as boarding with younger brother, Alfred, at 613 Pine. Alfred arrived in New York from Southampton on 15th March, 1897. Herbert Snr and Alfred were recorded as ‘Copper Miners’ in the 1910 Census as living in Globe, Gila, Arizona.


Maria O'Brien, whose research has been utterly invalubale to compiling this family history, went on to ask - and answer - this question.

'Just how did the paths of John, a miner, and Freda, a vicar’s daughter cross? It would seem they both shared a love of music and performed at the same event in November 1899, by which time John had returned from the USA. An article in The Royal Cornwall Gazette on Thurs, 23rd Nov, 1899 included the following detail:

'The instrumental portions were piano duets by the Misses Rudall and piano solos by the Misses Rudall. Miss A Rudall nicely sang “A dream of peace”. Mr J Delbridge sang “When you forget” and an air from the “Bohemian girl”. The vicar (Rev A Rudall) gave a capital reading of Rudyard Kipling’s stirring poem, “The absent-minded beggar”...'.

And then on Monday, 1st January, 1900, John and Freda sang together as part of a quartet that also included Freda's sister Ada. The following is a summary of the article that appeared in The Royal Cornwall Gazette on Thurs, 4th Jan, 1900:

'The quartette, “Sweet and low,” was tastefully sung by the Misses Rudall and Messrs. Gill and Delbridge...'.

Making ‘sweet music together’ duly lead them to the alter rails on Wed, 27th Aug, 1902. The newlyweds went to live in Fowey, a small town and cargo port at the mouth of the River Fowey in south Cornwall. Popular legend has it that Jesus visited Fowey as a child, along with Joseph of Arimathea who was a merchant visiting local tin mines in which he had a commercial interest.

John and Elfrida's only son John Barwis Delbridge was born in Golant on the 18th February 1905.

On 15 August 1907, The Cornishman announced that 'John Delbridge of St. Agnes, (now of Golant), has obtained a position as mine captain in Portugal and is leaving for that country immediately.' However, there is no evidence that John travelled to Portugal to take up the position of mine captain. His only daughter Phyllis - later destined to marry Eric Craigie - was born on 25th November 1907.

In 1908, nine months after Phyllis's birth, a John Delbridge is recorded on the passenger list of the Harland & Wolff-built White Star passenger liner Cedric, which arrived in New York from Liverpool on 7 August. His last address was given as St. Agnes while his intended place of residence in the US is hard to decipher but possibly reads ‘Home with brother’. He was recorded as 33 years old, married, and as having previously been to the US for 3 years, staying in Michigan.

John Delbridge is also recorded in the 1910 US City Directory of Calumet, Michigan, as boarding at 5 N Quincy loc (Quincy was the address given on Herbert Snr’s marriage record). The names that are included in City Directories are usually taken from the year prior so although John, Herbert Snr and Alfred are recorded in the 1910 directory as living in Calumet they are also recorded as living elsewhere in the 1910 Census. Hence, in the US Census taken on 2nd May, 1910, John has remained in Michigan and is boarding in Franklin, Houghton, Michigan. He is recorded as being a ‘Copper Miner’ and of having being married for 6yrs.* John’s brothers Herbert Snr and Alfred were recorded as ‘Copper Miners’ in the 1910 Census as living in Globe, Gila, Arizona.

[* As Maria O'Brien observes, his claim to have been married for 6 years 'isn’t out by too much as some records provide dates re birth / marriage / arrival that just don’t make sense at all, as is the case for John’s year of arrival in the USA, which is given as 1882.'). Information given on any census/record is only as accurate as the one providing it and in this case it was probably provided by the head of the boarding house, James Weekes (also from England). In saying that most folk had really only an estimated notion of when they were born, etc., etc. because, unlike with today, it wasn’t important to know exact dates of anything.']

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Above: Hebert Delbridge junior, nephew of John Delbridge and first cousin
of Phyllis Craigie (nee Delbridge). On 18th Feb, 1916, he registered with the
American Consulate at Plymouth and in doing so had to provide an affidavit
explaining his protracted residence in England. On his registration form he
appointed his father Herbert snr, with an address at that time of Globe,
Arizona, as his next of kin in case of death or accident. By this time Herbert
jnr was a Bank Clerk in Plymouth.

John Delbridge is not recorded in the 1911 Census of England and Wales so presumably he was still living in America. His wife, Mary E C, is recorded on it as being a ‘Music Teacher’ with her own account and living with their 2 living children John Barwis and Phyllis. Also in the 1911 England and Wales Census is John's widowed mother Caroline Roberts Delbridge, along with her youngest daughter Ethel (sister of John, Herbert snr and Alfred) and their grandson Herbert Delbridge Jnr (see image) from Michigan.

Globe, Arizona, where John Delbridge and his brother Herbert were living by 1916, was a labour stronghold where miners’ organizations had been active and aggressive, and trouble had been brewing there since 1896, when the Western Federation of Miners established a local. At that time the fledgling union group informed the superintendent of the Old Dominion Mine that they would escort him out of town if he cut their pay or continued to hire Mexican miners (who worked for lower wages than Europeans). The Old Dominion management, leading from strength and confidant that it could starve the miners out, responded to the threat with a lockout, but somehow the union held on. For the next twenty years Globe was plagued by labour-management squabbles and the town became known as a centre for radical labour agitation in Arizona even though the miners were only partially successful in getting the company to meet their demands.

In the 1916 Arizona City Directory John Delbridge is listed as living in Globe and boarding at 656 N Sunderland. He was working as a ‘Pump Man’ in the Old Dominion Mine and is assumed to have still been there when the US entered the war in 1917. As author Daphne Overstreet wrote of that year, '1917 was a time of labour unrest throughout the mining West. The country was at war. Metal was needed to supply the armed forces. Copper prices were up, production was soaring, and Labour wanted a share of the enormous profits which the mining companies were harvesting. Union leaders pointed out that the living conditions for the miners were degrading, wages were low and working conditions were often hazardous. The situation played into the hands of IWW organizers, who moved in and attempted to dominate local unions. Before summer in 1917, miners all over the West were out on strike.'

All through June, Globe’s Arizona Record carried flaming headlines: "Strike at Jerome!….Less than 20% of Butte’s Miners Working….No Prospect for Settling 10-Day Strike at El Tigre….Representatives from Department of Labour Called in to Help Settle Strike against International Smelting in Utah….Americans Leave Cananea Mine….Butte Mine Closes as Men Refuse to Work….Five Thousand Miners in Warren District Called upon to Quit Jobs Today….Leadville Miners May Go on Strike to Demand Higher Wages."

These seeds of discontent bore fruit in July of 1917, of which more details at this link. On 12th Septmeber 1918, John Delbridge enlisted in the US Army, giving his date of birth as 17th May, 1875. He is still living in Globe, Arizona, and working as a ‘Pipe Fitter’ in the Old Dominion. He lists his brother Herbert snr as his next of kin.

On 23rd Aug, 1919, John Delbridge is recorded as arriving in Southampton from New York on board the Adriatic. He gives his address as The Vicarage, St Agnes, Cornwall, and has recorded his intention of remaining in England. However on Saturday, 6th March, 1920 John set sail again on the s.s. Mauretania from Southampton to New York. He records his age as 44yrs and 9mths, his occupation as ‘Mechanic’, and also his final destination as Globe in Arizona. He records Mrs M E Delbridge, The Vicarage, St. Agnes, Cornwall, as his nearest relative in England.He left Freda and their two children at her parents home, the Vicarage in St Agnes.[3]

On Saturday, 13th March, 1920, John Delbridge arrives back in New York and he provides the name and address of his brother Herbert Snr in Globe, Arizona, as the person he is going to stay with and that he will be staying indefinitely. John is recorded as having lived in Arizona from 1909-1920, which of course isn’t correct as he returned home in 1919. He is recorded as having paid his own fare and as having been 5’ 10” tall, with a ruddy complexion, dark hair and hazel eyes.

The Cornishman and Cornish Telegraph (Wed 7th April, 1920) later published an article entitled 'CORNISH FOLK IN AMERICA' in which it listed 'John Delbridge, St. Agnes, to Milwaukee, Wis' as one of many 'Cornish folk who have stopped at the Cornish Arms Hotel, 441, 443, 445, West 23rd Street, New York City, during the past month'. He was recorded as staying in the hotel on 19 March.

There might have been a further trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but as yet there is no evidence that he went there. He is not recorded in the city directory at any point, and therefore it is possible the reporter mixed up the destination details of the various men. There is also as yet no evidence as to where exactly he resided between the years 1920 and 1928.

On 30th Aug, 1929, John Delbridge crosses the border from Mexico, where he was working for the Montezuma Copper Company (a subsidiary of Phelps-Dodge Corporation that also had large holdings in the Old Dominion Mine) as a ‘Rock Drill Repairer aka Mechanic’ at the mine in Nacozari. You'll see some footage of the remains of these mines at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kdm5FxMXdZU. Having crossed the border, he arrived into the port of Douglas, Arizona, a border crossing with Mexico that was founded as an American smelter town, to treat the copper ores of nearby Bisbee, Arizona, to visit with a friend and to stay in The Biltimore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. He travelled ‘alone’ and his stay is recorded as being one of ‘pleasure’ for the duration of 20 days. It also records that he had lived in the USA from 1908-1919, residing at Hancock, Michigan and Globe, Arizona. This would lead to the conclusion that he did not reside there when he returned in 1920 but rather headed directly to Mexico. The details on the Manifest are blurred but not completely illegible. Various description of John recorded his eye colour as Hazel, Blue and Brown!

In the 1930 Census of Pilares de Nacozari, Nacozari, Sonora, John is recorded as being single. As Freda had sadly passed away by this point, this was not completely incorrect). He is recorded as a ‘Mechanic’ from England, aged 54 and of Protestant Faith.

On 19th January, 1931, he again crosses again from Mexico to Douglas, Arizona. And again he is alone. He is recorded as a widower, works as a ‘Rock Drill Repairer’, and has given his intention of staying in the US for 12 days. He provides the name of his daughter, Phyllis Delbridge of Glanville Terrace, St. Agnes, Cornwall, as his contact.

The last record found on John Delbridge, thus far, is of him Arriving in London on Wednesday, 4th February, 1931, with his last address given as Mexico. He is recorded as a ‘Mechanic’ and provides Planville Terrace, St. Agnes, Cornwall, as his intended place of residence while in England, which is more than likely an error and should be Glanville (address of daughter Phyllis). He also recorded his intention of returning ‘to foreign lands’.


One story ran that he had joined the Merchant Navy and was killed when German U-boats attacked the British fleet at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. In any event, he was not seen again until 1945 when John Barwis Delbridge briefly met him in England and he was still very much alive.


The Cornish in Mexico and the Cornish diaspora (via Wikipedia)

In the State of Hidalgo in central Mexico a local speciality originates from the Cornish pasty, called pastes which was introduced by miners and workers from Cornwall who were contracted in the silver mining towns of Mineral del Monte and Pachuca. The majority of migrants to this region came from what we now term the Cornish "central mining district" of Camborne and Redruth. Mineral del Monte's steep streets, stairways and small squares are lined with low buildings and many houses with high sloping roofs and chimneys which indicate a Cornish influence. It was the Cornish who first introduced football to Pachuca and indeed Mexico, as well as other popular sports such as Rugby union, Tennis, Cricket, Polo, and Chess, while Mexican remittances helped to build the Wesleyan Chapel in Redruth the 1820s. The twin silver mining settlements of Pachuca and Real del Monte are being marketed in 2007 as 'Mexico's Little Cornwall' by the Mexican Embassy in London and represent the first attempt by the Spanish speaking part of the Cornish diaspora to establish formal links with Cornwall. The Mexican Embassy in London is also trying to establish a town twinning arrangement with Cornwall. In 2008 thirty members of the Cornish Mexican Cultural Society travelled to Mexico to try and re-trace the path of their ancestors who set off from Cornwall to start a new life in Mexico.[7][8][9]

The Cornish diaspora consists of Cornish people and their descendants who emigrated from Cornwall, England. The diaspora is found in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Brazil.

Cornish emigration has been caused by a number of factors, but due mainly to economic reasons and the lack of jobs in the 18th and 19th centuries when many Cornish people or “Cousin Jacks”, as they were known, migrated to various parts of the world in search of a better life. A driving force for some emigrants was the opportunity for skilled miners to find work abroad, later in combination with the decline of the tin and copper mining industries in Cornwall. It is estimated that 250,000 Cornish migrated abroad between 1861 and 1901 and these emigrants included farmers, merchants and tradesmen, but miners made up most of the numbers. There is a saying in Cornwall that "a mine is a hole anywhere in the world with at least one Cornishman at the bottom of it!"

The Cornish economy profited from the miners’ work abroad. Some men sent back “home pay”, which helped to keep their families out of the workhouse. As well as their mining skills, the Cornish emigrants carried their culture and way of life with them when they travelled. They formed tight-knit communities, and did not lose contact with either the people or the customs of their homeland. Wrestling competitions took place in the new settlements, Cornish Methodist chapels were constructed, pasties and saffron cakes became well-known to natives of Australia and the United States alike, and the air resounded with the sound of brass bands and Cornish carols, wherever the miners went.



Mary Elfrida Catherine had a talent for playing the piano and at the age of 14 was put forward to take the L.R.A.M. music exam. She was far too young and unfortunately failed. One wonders from whom she could have had lessons in Cornwall? Did she have to travel the 5 miles to Truro to find a piano teacher, perhaps? She played the organ in Church for many years and taught dancing and no doubt gave piano lessons as well. One of her favourite pieces was the Nocturne in D flat Major Op. 27 No. 2 by Chopin, so John Barwis Delbridge told his niece Eldrith. In 1914, Miss Rudall, presumably Elfrida, was listed as Hon. Sec of the St Agnes District Nursing Association, with John Williams as Hon. Treasurer. Elfrida was stricken with breast cancer and passed away in 1928 at the age of 54 at Rosemundy in St. Agnes. The present Rosemundy Hotel was previously a Nursing Home. Rosemundy is also a district of St. Agnes.


Elfrida’s son, John Barwis Delbridge, known as 'Bar', went out to Assam, North-East frontier of India, as a tea planter at the age of 21. Fortunately, for the family, he became a Manager just as war was declared. All Assistant Managers were called up to fight in Burma. By the time he retired at the age of 55 years, he was Manager of three Tea Gardens. He retired to Bulawayo in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) where he worked with Coca Cola. He was married in 1937 to Norah Martin, elder daughter of Charles Martin, M.A. Astronomer at Dunsink Observatory. Norah’s sister Edith worked for Guinness. Bar was Miriam Moore's godfather, a gentle giant with dark hair. Bar and Norah had a daughter Eldrith Janet Delbridge, who grew up in India, was educated at Hillcourt School (now Rathdown) in Glenageary and today lives near Portsmouth. In March 1962 she married Captain Patrick Erskine Ward, a decorated naval officer and son of Major James Palmer Ward and Yvonne Lockington Flood (both James and Yvonne spent their young lives in Assam and were married out there). James was a grandson of Sir William Erskine Ward, the last Viceroy of Assam. Yvonne's father, Cedric Lockington Flood, was also in tea in Assam and latterly became Superintendant of the Zoological Gardens in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Patrick and Eldrith had two daughters, Julia Helen Yvonne Ward (married to John Moulton) and Janette Elizabeth Barwis Ward (married to Andy Britton) and a son, Richard John Rudall Bangor Ward (married to Elizabeth). The Wards were divorced in 1971.


Phyllis, aged 16, nursed her mother through the final stages in the Vicarage at St. Agnes. She subsequently went to live with her mother's only sibling, Ada Rudall, known as "Aunt" at 4 Glanville Terrace, St. Agnes. In January 1929, the St Agnes Parish Magazine reported that P. Delbridge (aka Phyllis) had the role of the Baroness (or Stepmother) in a performance of Cinderella with a special orchestra conducted by Mr. W. Donald Behenna. While attending her brother’s wedding to Norah Martin in 1937, Phyllis met Eric Craigie of the Merville Dairy clan in Finglas, North Dublin. Another version holds that they met on a visit to Aintree one April. Either way, they were married on 12th July 1940. Phyllis sailed to Ireland for the wedding on her own, armed with a wedding dress and the cake. She reputedly spent the honeymoon locked away in her bedroom while Eric and his six brothers consulted a crate of whiskey bottles at their fishing lodge in County Mayo. Phyllis's excellent Cornish pasties, passionate Royalism and penchant for wrapping every single Christmas stocking item in newspaper are among many legacies she bequeathed to her descendents. Eric and Phyllis Craigie had a son, Ramor, and three daughters, Virginia, Miriam and Susan. Eric became well known in Ireland as an industrialist, farmer, inventor and former Master of the Ward Union Hunt. His life story is recalled in two colourful books published by Lilliput Press – ‘ An Irish Sporting Life’ and ‘Telling Tales’. His second daughter Miriam married Archie Moore and is mother to my beautiful wife Ally and grandmother to my daughters Jemima and Bay.


[1] Another of John and Elizabeth Delbridge's sons was Joseph Delbridge (brother of John Delbridge II) who was christened on 6th December 1812 at St. Agnes. (Records show spelling as Dulbridge). He married Jane Hall in 1837 at St Agnes. (Records show spelling as Delbudge). Joseph and Jane had six children including Selina, born 1849, who married James Collins in 1869 at Gunnislake, Cornwall and emigrated to America, where they had a daughter, Minnie Maud Collins, and then settled in gold-mining area of Thames, New Zealand. This information was kindly provided in September 2011 by Cherie Hamlin, great-granddaughter of Minnie Maud Adams (nee Collins).

[2] On the 3rd February, 1830, a fearful accident occurred at the United Hills Mine in St. Agnes parish when an engine boiler burst killing nine of thirteen persons on the premises at the time.

[3] It is worth noting that in 1914, a Thomas John Delbridge was listed as a Boot dealer with an address at Vicarage Road in St. Agnes. TJ Delbridge later set up a successful garage in the town.

With many kind thanks to Eldrith Ward, Miriam Moore, Virginia Hartley, Marie O'Brien, Cherie Hamlin and Julia Moran.