Turtle Bunbury

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FAMILY HISTORY
The Rudalls of London

image title

Above: Rev. Alfred Rudall,
Vicar of St. Agnes, Cornwall, and
sometime inventor &
supernaturalist.

My wife Ally's maternal great-grandmother was Mary Elfrida Catherine Rudall, eldest daughter of the Rev. Alfred Rudall, Vicar of St. Agnes in Cornwall. In 1902 she married John Delbridge, a miner from the same parish. It would seem the marriage was to the Vicar's disapproval.

A thorough study of the Rudall family has been conducted by Eldrith Ward and is much superior, and up-to-date, than this essay which is something of a history in motion, designed to convince my ever-loving wife of the great marvels of genealogical research. I am also greatly indebted to the research of Maria O'Brien.

The story of Lieutenant Alfred Rudall and Eva Halpin is of particular interest.

If you should spot any errors or omissions or simply wish to pass comment, please drop me a line.

John Rudall of Carnaby Market

Alfred Rudall's grandparents were Henry and Mary Rudall of London. Harry Rudall was baptised in Crediton in Devon on the 5th October 1768, the son of Samuel and Mary Rudall. Harry died at the age of 38 (could have been 36) and was buried on the 18th February 1804 at St. James, Clerkenwell. His address was Wynyatt Street, which is not very far from the Church.

Harry and Mary were the parents of the Rev. Alfred's father - namely, John Henry Alexander Rudall was born on 19th October 1793 and baptized in the Church of St. James in Clerkenwell, London on the 24th November 1793. (1)

On 10th January 1806, 12-year-old John wrote a letter from Kirby Hill in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, to his mother Mrs. Rudall, at No. 24 Carnaby Market, London. (2) It seems likely he was then a pupil at the Kirby Hill Church of England Grammar School. Built in 1556, it remained a school until 1957. The Landmark Trust have converted the Tudor lodgings of the schoolmaster into flats for holiday rental and repaired the ground-floor schoolroom for use as a village hall. The large library of old school books is still there. At any rate, the letter read:

Hond. Mother,
I now write you a few lines to inform you, that I have enjoyed very good health, and spirits since I wrote to you last and also that I am much in the favour of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, and everybody here, for my diligence in School, and good behaviour out of it. When I came here, I began on the Single Rule of Three Direct, and after going thro' all the useful Rules of Common Arithmetic, I am now busy in learning Practical Questions and I read two lessons, and write two Copies every day, and also am busy in getting by heart the English grammar, and hope in time to make a good progress. We have all been very merry here, on account of the holidays, and wishing you, and all my Relations, and friends, a happy New Year, I remain, Hond. Mother, with Mr. and Mrs. Johnson's best respects,
Your very dutiful Son,
John Henry Alexander Rudall
P.S: Master Steel writes to his Mother by this post - and so does Master Angles to Mrs. Partridge - they are both well and hearty.

The Wife & Family of John Rudall

On the 17th September 1831, 37-year-old John Henry Rudall of the Parish of St. Martin Orgars, London, Bachelor, married 30-year-old Mary Ann Smith of the Parish of St. George, Botolph Lane, London (in the said Parish). The Witnesses were Henry Smith and Amelia Rudall. Baptised in June 1799, Mary Anne Smith was a daughter, possibly the third child, of Robert Smith and his wife Frances Martin. Frances was a granddaughter of Robert Martin and Mary Bedford, who were married in 1715. Her paternal grandparents were Henry Staples (bapt. 1695) and Elizabeth Lamprey. Mary Ann had least one older brother Henry (b. 1783) and a sister Frances Diana (b. 1795). In 1806, her older sister Frances Diana Smith married the salt merchant John Weston. (He died on 8th July 1817).

The Rudalls had seven children who were all baptized in the Church of St. Olave, Hart Street, London. They were Louisa (baptized 9th January 1833, married James Le Brun), Henry (baptized 31st December 1834, may have died young), Maria (baptized 6th February 1834, may have died young), Henry Alexander (born 22nd August 1837, baptised 18th Sept, married Jane of Dagnell, Buckinghamshire and, by 1881, they had 3 children - John Henry born 1871/2, Alfred born 1877 and Ella F. born 1879), Alfred (born 13th June 1840, went into church, ancestor of Moores of Bishopscourt), Frances Mary (baptized 7th October 1841, married Charles Le Brun) and George (baptized 27th October 1842).

John Rudall, General Merchant

John established himself as a General Merchant in London with offices at 8 and 9 Great Tower Street. From 1837 until the 1850s, John Henry and Mary Ann lived at 8 Gould Square near the Tower of London. The surrounding area, known as Crutched Friars, was patronized by Virginia merchants in the 18th century. (3) They later moved to 2 Newington Terrace, Newington (south of the Thames), then 1 Andover Place, Camberwell Grove, Camberwell, where Mary Ann died on the 9th October 1857 at the age of 56. At the time of John's death nine years later, his address was 164 Camberwell Grove. (4)

The Death & Will of John Rudall

Mary Ann died on 9th October 1857, aged 58. Her husband John Henry Alexander Rudall died on 3rd August 1868 at Hunstanton St. Edmunds aged 74 years. He perished from congestion of the brain. John Barwis Delbridge said his aunt Ada Agnes Susan Gripe (nee Rudall) believed John travelled to Germany on business and perhaps that is why he was at Hunstanton near Kings Lynn, from where he would have caught a ship to Germany, when he died. However, a report unearthed in 2015 by Maria O'Brien from The Lincoln, Rutland & Stamford Mercury of Friday, 7th August, 1868 adds the following detail:

'An elderly gentleman named Rudall, from Camberwell Grove, went to bathe about noon on Monday at Hunstanton, St. Edmunds, and shortly after getting out of the [bathing] machine he fell and was unable to rise. Some boatmen went to his assistance, and lifted him into the [bathing] van, but he was wheeled back to the shore a corpse. He had been out of health, and it is believed he was sun-stricken.'

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Above: Bathing Machines (or Vans) at Bognor, as per the type from which JA Rudall tumbled to his doom..

His place of burial is not known. He was meticulous in his desires for the administration of his will, drawn up back in 1863. To his eldest surviving son, Henry Alexander, he left his house and all the household goods and furniture, plate, linen, china, books, music, musical instruments and pictures. The solitary exception was the portrait of his late wife, Mary Anne, which was to be sent to his eldest daughter Louisa Le Brun, by now the wife of James Le Brun of Santa Cruz, Tenerife. John's business was to be left to his youngest son, George, and to be called John Henry Rudall & Sons. The second son, Alfred, was left a third part of wines. In a Codicil, John left £1,300 in trust to invest in some British or Colonial Government stocks. The interest or income arising every three months was to be paid to his brother Thomas James Rudall during his life.

The Tenerife Connection & the Armenian

Alfred's eldest sister Louisa Rudall was born in London in late 1832. On 7th August 1856, she was married in Camberwell, Surrey, to 31-year-old James (Diego) Le Brun of Tenerife. The Rev. Edward Rudall presided and may have been her cousin or uncle. Although French in origin, the Le Brun's had been in the Channel Islands for many generations and some of the family are still in Jersey today. James's father Elias Le Bruns was born in Jersey in 1783 and moved to the island of Tenerife in 1818, according to a Consular list of British residents of the town of Santa Cruz made on 10 April 1851. He operated as an importer and exporter, probably bringing in British artifacts and shipping wines and cochinilla to the UK. However, with the great fall in cochineal prices in the 1870s, many firms went under.

At one time he was in a partnership called Le Brun y Davidson with William (Guillermo) Davidson. Davidson was born in County Down, Ireland, about 1796, and still has decedents in Tenerife today. After the death of Elias the partnership appears to have split up and "Le Brun y Cia." and "Guillermo Davidson y Cia.", were trading independently of each other.

On 25th January 1865, the Le Bruns and their four children were travelling first class on board the Royal Mail steamer, Armenian, from Liverpool to Tenerife when the ship ran up on Arklow Bank off the coast of Ireland. Captain Thomas Leamon, commander of the steamer, gave the order to abandon ship, women and children first. When the passengers began to panic with men rushing for the lifeboats, the Captain was obliged to fire his revolver into the air to restore order. It was to be a grim night. When the main top mast came crashing down, a wire flung itself around the neck of a naval officer, a passenger, and instantly severed his head from his body. Three other passengers were washed off the deck and never seen again. Four members of the Arklow Light were also killed when they ventured out on a rescue party. Forty eight mail-bags, destined for the ports of South Africa, and a large cargo of merchandise bound for Tenerife and Madeira was also lost.

The Le Bruns and their children were rescued by a ship called Montagu (incorrectly called the Rattlesnake by some newspapers of the time) and brought to Wexford where they were accommodated in White's Hotel. As the survivors were all destitute, the women of Wexford initiated a subscription to raise sufficient funds to provide the women and children with food and clothing. James Le Brun later signed a letter praising Captain Leamon for the coolness of mind he showed under such pressing circumstances. The captain was nonetheless to have his license revoked for 9 months due to his not following proper procedure during the voyage that would have prevented the disaster.(5)

James and Louisa Le Brun also presented a Silver Cup to Captain Clarke of the rescue ship the Montagu as a mark of gratitude saving them and their children from a watery grave. On an oval shield on the side of the cup was inscribed the following:

Presented
to
Captain Clarke
of the Steamer “Montagu,”
by
James and Louisa Le Brunn,
in testimony of their gratitude
for the services rendered by him
on the occasion of the
wreck of the “Armenian,”
25th Jan. 1865

(My thanks to Maria O’Brien for adding to the details above).

Elias Le Brun arrived in Tenerife He is recorded as being born in Jersey and aged 68.

Louisa was buried in Las Palmas British Cemetery in 1888. It seems that after Louisa's death, James was married secondly to Frances Marian Rudall (born 1 June 1857), died Santa Cruz de Tenerife on 8 January 1941.James died at Tacoronte, Tenerife on 25 August 1886.

Meanwhile, on 8th August 1867, two years after the accident, Louisa's youngest sister, 25-year-old Frances Mary Rudall (born 19 July 1841) married Charles Le Brun of Tenerife. He may have been a widower. Charles James Baker, who married Charles's daughter Matilda, litigated successfully in the Spanish courts in 1880 on behalf of his minor daughter Matilda, against Charles' widow Frances Mary to obtain Charles' Estate.

It is not known exactly how many children James and Louisa had. However, on March 8th 1887, The Times reported that Matilda Susan, 'second daughter of the late James Le Brun of Tenerife' was married on 22nd February 1887 at the parish church of Islington to 31-year-old Dr. Colin (Campbell Murray) Gibson, youngest son of the late Dr. William Lockhart Gibson, MD (1807 - 1873), of Dundee, by his wife, Anne Weston. Matilda Gibson died on 19th August 1922 at 21 Craven Road, Harlesden, North West London.

Amongst James and Louisa's great-grandsons included Peter Hugh Hamilton, who died at Santa Cruz on 5 January 2009, aged 55, and Julio Alvarez Hamilton, Honorary Consul of Finland at Santa Cruz until 2006.

Rev. Alfred Rudall & the Barwis Marriage

John and Mary Anne's second surviving son Alfred Rudall was born in Kennington, Surrey, on 13th June 1840. On 16th January 1863, the 22-year-old was admitted to Wadham College, one of the most progressive and tolerant colleges in Oxford, obtaining an MA in 1871. (6) He was a Humphrey Hody (Hebrew) Exhibitioner from 1864 to 1867. The prize was set up in memory of the English theologian and monk, Humphrey Hody, who became a Fellow of Wadham in 1685. On October 31st 1866, Alfred became first Vicar of St. Paul, Penzance; the patronage was in Mrs. H. Batten and the stipend £100. On 18th January 1869, 29-year-old Alfred was married at St. Paul's to 34-year-old Philippa Mary Barwis, daughter of the late schoolmaster John Barwis and his first wife Honor. Philippa was born on 3rd November 1834. Her mother, Honor Barwis, died on 13th September 1839 aged 33 years, shortly after the birth of another child who did not survive long after her. John Barwis Snr died in 1854 aged 53 years. The witnesses at Alfred and Philippa's wedding were Philippa's cousin Robert Barwis, her 48-year-old cousin John R. Branwell, her 24-year-old half-brother John C. Barwis and her 20 year old half-sister, Susie T Barwis. The latter were John Barwis Senior's children by his second wife Susan Marrack. (7)

The Schumann Connection

As a young man in London, Alfred played the violin well enough to play with the pianist, Clara Schumann (1819 - 1896). Born in Germany, Clara had been performing before large crowds since she was 11 years old. She adored the excitement of it all. Edward Grieg described her as 'one of the most soulful and famous pianists of the day'. In time, she married the composer Robert Schumann with whom she had eight children, one of whom perished young. In part because the Schumann's needed money to raise their children and in part because of Clara's wish to not be forgotten as a pianist, Clara continued to tour after the marriage. This put a strain on her marriage as Robert, while admiring her talent, felt she should pursue a more traditional wifely role. When Clara first visited England in 1856, the critics received Robert's music with a chorus of disapproval. But she returned defiantly in 1865 and continued her visits annually, with the exception of four seasons, until 1882. It was probably during this time that she became friendly with Alfred and his musical brother, H.A. Rudall. She also appeared in London each year from 1885 to 1888. In 1878 she was appointed teacher of the piano at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main, a post she held until 1892, and in which she contributed greatly to the improvement of modern piano playing technique.

Liquidation of J.H. Rudall & Sons

In 1874, a manuscript was published entitled 'American municipal bonds as investments', edited by 'J.H. Rudall & sons'. Alas, iIt was not a bestseller. On Friday July 30th 1875, The Times reported that 'debtors Henry Alexander Rudall and George Rudall, merchants, of King William Stret', operating as 'J.H. Rudall & Sons' had filed for a petition of liquidation, with liabilities estimated at £60,000 and estimated at about the same amount, subject to realization'. There are references to a George Rudall of 9 King's Arm Yard and the 'London and Paris Dress & Millinery Association' in The Times for June 24th 1881. George seems to have moved to Tenerife at some time after this. Certainly when his son Charles Rudall passed away on 6th October 1936, his death notice in The Times requested that the Tenerife papers 'please copy'. (8)

Henry Alexander Rudall & 'Signa'

Alfred's eldest brother Henry Alexander Rudall was born in 1839 and became a celebrated Musical Critic and Journalist in Victorian times. He also succeeded to the family business and it was under his watch that the firm was liquidated. He is referred to on page 53 of a book called 'Modern Spiritualism: A Short Account of Its Rise and Progress' by John Nevil Maskelyne (1876, Scribner, Welford, & Armstrong). I have not seen the book but the page suggests 'Mr. Alexander Henry Rudall, a merchant, of 8 and 9 Great Tower Street, City' was an 'intimate friend' of a 'disinterested medium' about whom we know no more. He was also musical and published a book called 'The Great Musicians: Beethoven' in 1890. (9) The book was edited by Dr. Francis Hueffer whose funeral HA Rudall attended on January 25th 1889. (10) In 1893, Henry Rudall and Gilbert a Beckett combined forces on the English libretto of 'Signa', an opera based on Ouida's Signa which The Times described as 'unusually good'. (11) On account of Mr. Beckett's death midway through the project, most of the third and fourth acts were completed by HA Rudall alone. It was first performed in a reduced three-act version at the Teatro Dal Verme, Milan on 12 November 1893. It was later given in a two-act version at Covent Garden, London on 30 June 1894. By his wife Jane (born 1850, Dagnall, Bucks), Henry had two sons, John (b. 1871) and Alfred (b.1877), and a daughter, Ella, or Eleanor (b.1879). In the 1881 Census, the family were recorded as living at 25 Upp Phillimore Place, London. Other occupants of the house at that time included Henry's 39-year-old sister Frances Le Brun (described as 'holder of property abroad'), her 9-year-old daughter O.M. Le Brun, and two servants, Annie Roden (20-year-old Governess) and Mary Farmer (21- year-old general servant from Sutton, Wiltshire).

Henry Alexander Rudall died aged 58 on the 21st April 1896. The causue of death was Carcinoma of Omentum (1 year) and Haematemesis (11 days). His youngest son Alfred was present at the death, which happened at 8 Hazlitt Road, Hammersmith. (1) In 1909, an Eleanor Rudall wrote an operatic prologue, The Book of Aesjuen, for solos, chorus and orchestra, which received a rather scathing review in The Times of Friday, Jul 02, 1909. She was almost certainly H.A. Rudall's daughter, Ella.

Footnote
(1) Ref: 1896 April/May/June Fulham, Greater London, London, Middlesex. 1a. p.150.

John Rudall - The New Zealand Composer

H.A. Rudall's eldest son John Henry Rudall was born in 1871 and became a well-known composer in New Zealand. He first arrived there in about 1888 and, in 1895, began a teaching career at Motukaraka in the North Hokianga, where he remained until 1914. He married Margaret Smith MacLaurin. He was a composer and music teacher, and also involved in rural community life including the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts movement. After his retirement in 1929 he lived in Auckland where he died in 1950. His scrapbook contains newspaper clippings and ephemera relating to Motukaraka, community events, the extended Rudall and MacLaurin families and their careers, and some photographs of family sites at Motukaraka. The sheet music is a composition by J.H. Rudall 'The Reaper and the Flowers'. A number of his family are buried at the Motukaraka Cemetery; St. Johns Presbyterian Church, Papatoetoe, Auckland - Elizabeth Eleanor Rudall (died 24 Feb 1906), Margaret, Jane Catherine, Alfreda Martha, and another Jane Catherine. (12)

alfred rudall and eva halpin

God bless Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, inventor of the internet. It is a dream come true for anyone trying to piece together the jigsaw of their personal identity through the medium of genealogical research. In April 2008, an Australian lady by name of Julia Moran came upon my website. She was seeking further information about a man she believed to be her grandfather. His name was Alfred Rudall. Family lore had it that Alfred moved to South Africa to work on the diamonds mines in the 1890s but was killed during the Boer War. To her delight, she found Alfred referenced on my website in a potted history of the Rudalls of London, a family from which my lovely wife Ally descends. This was to be the first in a series of wondrous coincidences.

death in africa

Born in Kensington in 1877, Alfred was the second and youngest son of the aforementioned music critic Henry Alexander Rudall.[1] In the 1891 Census he was one of 90 boys registered at a boys school in St. Botolph's of Aldersgate in the City of London. He was by his father's side when the latter died in 1896 and seems to have moved to South Africa shortly afterwards.

On January 24 1900, Lieutenant Alfred Rudall of the Imperial Light Infantry, was killed in action fighting the Boers at Spion Kop on the Tugela River in Northern Natal. It was a particularly bloody affair in which the British lost 1,500 casualties, 243 dead in the trench. Pakenham described how the Imperial Lights and the Middlesex, led by General Coke, were seen 'hurrying up the hill, a string of brown figures, bayonets flashing like diamonds mixed with the dark blobs of the ammunition mules. But in the firing line, fve hours without food and water had brought the men to the limit of endurance - and beyond'. [2] Alfred was leading a charge when hit and killed by a powder-filled cast iron 'pom-pom' shell.[3] He was 23 years old. The Times reported his death on February 3rd, giving his address at 47 Russell Road, Kensington. He was buried in a mass grave at Spion Kop. His name is to be found on the Regimental wall plate in the All Saints Church in Ladysmith and on the Saxonwold memorial in Johannesburg. (There is also a memorial to the Imperial Light Infantry at Spion Kop).

[1] The 1881 Census says he was born at Kensington; the 1891 says Hammersmith
[2] Thomas Pakenham, The Boer War (Abacus, 1979) pps. 296 - 304.
[3] 'The Natal Campaign' (page 357) by Bennet Burleigh (KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), 1900), 'Lieutenant Rudall, of the LLI, whilst leading the reliefs towards the right about n am, was hit and killed by a " pom-pom " shell.

The Widow & Her Baby Girl

According to Julia Moran, Alfred died leaving a wife and baby behind. The marriage and birth reputedly took place in Natal. Alfred's wife was an Irish girl called Eva Halpin. The baby was called Kathleen and she was Julia's mother. Julia said she knew no more about Eva, her grandmother, save that she had sailed for Australia soon after Alfred's death and joined her parents in Wollongong, an hour south of Sydney. Eva later married a man called Butcher, accompanying him to the Outback of Western Australia where she lived and learned aboriginal dialects. Kathleen married James Moran, scion of a Cork family, and converted to Catholicism for which she became estranged from her family. James and Kathleen had nine children, of whom Julia is the youngest. Kathleen was widowed at the age of 42 and raised her large family single handed. As Julia says, Alfred would have been immensely proud of her had he survived to see her grow.

All About Julia

The same week that Julia Moran contacted me, a discourse began on the Carlow Rootsweb concerning Carlow girls called 'Julia'. This began when Bill Webster of Australia enquired if anyone knew anything about his great-grandmother, Julia Villiers. In about 1840, Miss Villiers married George Halpin (Junior), a Civil Engineer responsible for deepening the river and building new quay walls in Dublin's Docklands. George and Julia's son, also George, was married at St Mary's of Rathvilly, Co. Carlow to Annie Watters on 4th June 1868. That is my family church so this caught my eye. I was also interested to see that Annie's mother Mary Malone was a daughter of Joseph Malone, who leased the Rathmore mill and farmland from one of my forbears, Captain William McClintock Bunbury. It is also possible that Jospeh was a relation of John Malone, the Agent at Lisnavagh from 1848 until 1862, who lived at the Farm House. (Note of 31 March 2015: It was formerly thought that John and Joseph were brothers but this was proved to be an error - Joseph's brother John died in 1853).

It would seem that George Halpin (variously described as an architect or builder) and Annie Halpin were 'a bit footloose'. They tried their luck in the USA and South Africa before emigrating finally in 1884 to New South Wales. They had at least 10 children, born in Dublin, Newark, New Jersey and in NSW.

All About Eva

As I digested this news of the Halpins and Rathmore and Australia, another email arrived from Julia Moran. In it, she let slip a throwaway remark that she had been named Julia after one of her grandmother's sisters who liked to sing. I emailed Bill Webster as to whether the name Eva Halpin rang any bells. Bill replied almost immediately to say yes, Eva was the fourth of George and Annie's ten children. She was born in Dublin in 1876, making her a year older than Alfred. Bill's grandmother, Julia Halpin, was George and Annie's seventh child, born at 2 Raymond Street, Dublin in 1882. All Bill knew of Eva was that she had been married three times - first to an unknown man in South Africa by whom she had a daughter Kathleen; secondly to a man called Butcher with whom she had four daughters and thirdly to a man called Semmens, with whom she had no children. Eva Semmens was buried in Mildura, Victoria in 1943 aged about 67.

I swiftly forwarded this information to Julia. She was suitably stunned to receive such fantastic information about both her grandmother and grandfather in the same week. Everything tallied; Julia's mother Kathleen had indeed been raised in Sydney by her grandparents, George and Annie Halpin. Eva was meanwhile living in the Australian Outback with Mr Butcher, although she sent Kathleen a book and a pair of gloves for every birthday and Christmas. Bill and Julia are now in contact by phone. It almost goes without saying that Bill's mother - Julia Halpin's daughter - was also called Kathleen. And before long other members of the family were also in touch, including Pamela Griffith, granddaughter of Eva's brother George.

The facts are roughly as follows:

George and Annie Halpin left Ireland in the early 1880s, probably because George's headstrong mother Julia Halpin (nee Villiers) felt Annie was too common a wife for her son. They lived variously in the USA (where some of their children died of cholera), Canada and South Africa, before moving to the boom town of Wollongong, New South Wales in 1884 where George found work building the new harbour and accompanying lighthouses. Eva was born in 1876 and was thus 8 when her parents arrived in Australia. The travel bug was evidently with her early on as, in 1892, the 16-year-old Eva Halpin was registered on board a vessel called the Wairarapa which sailed from New Zealand to Sydney.

On 21st September 1893, George Halpin, now 50 years old, was on board the SS Hubbuck when it called in at Albany, Western Australia, from Melbourne, with the ultimate destination of Port Natal. George had been in Australia for 9 years, since he was 41, and his youngest child was 5.

A person called 'E Halpin' of no stated gender was on the SS Bullara, also transiting Albany, on 30 March 1895. If this was Eva, she had recently turned 19.

By 1899, George had been recurited by the British Army to construct barracks for the British army engaged in their reckless war against the Boers. While his wife Annie remained in Australia, George seems to have brought Eva with him to South Africa. It is not yet known where Eva met Alfred Rudall. He may have been working as an Assayer in the Diamond Mines but soon signed up with the army. Alfred was killed in January 1900, leaving Eva and a posthumous daughter, Kathleen, who was born in September 1900. George, Eva and baby Kathleen returned to Australia soon after.

Eva seems to have left Kathleen with her parents in Woolongong almost immediately and relocated to Western Australia. Rather bizarrely, Eva Rudall's name is registered in the Electoral Roll of 1901 as having cast her vote in the sub-district of Bunbury, West Australia. (Her mother must have been familiar with the Bunbury name from growing up so close to the Bunbury family home of Lisnavagh, Co Carlow). When Eva voted in 1901, she described herself as a housemaid. Also of note is that she was living in the same building on Victoria Street, Bunbury, as one Frederick Oliver Butcher, describe as a 'manager'. (The building may have been a guest house). There is a suggestion that Eva and Frederick actually met in South Africa; Fred was an engineer and may have worked alongside her father. It certainly would explain why she decided to move to West Australia.

Eva Rudall's name again shows up on the 1906 electoral roll. However, her name also appears on the electoral roll for the gold-mining town of Kookynie as Eve (not Eva) Butcher (home duties) where the 28-year-old Irish girl was now married to 'Frederick Butcher (Engineer)'. It certainly seems that Eva voted twice that year! Her brothers Alf and George later sailed over to see her at some point. Eva and Frederick Butcher had four daughters, Sheila (born Kookyne, 22 July 1905), Beth (born North Coolgardie, 1907), Nonna (or Norah, born Hawthorn, 1909, married Henry Witcher in Victoria, 1936) and Meg (or Margaret Ann, born Nortcote, 1911). By 1914, they were based in Ivanhoe, Victoria. In 1919, Fred found work as an engineer in Electrona, Franklin, Tasmania. She may have been involved with a man called Mr Mettham, described as 'a pioneer of the newspaper business', for whom a public baths and a street are apparently named.

Fred Butcher seems to have died soon after arriving in Tasmania for, in 1924, 41-year-old Eva was married thirdly in Hobart to an accountant called Herbert Wentworth Semmens. Herbert was born in Wallaroo on 20 Sept 1874, the son of Stephen and Catherine Elizabeth Semmens. There may have been a Cornish connection. Herbert died on 6 December 1937. Eva appears to have been a remarkable woman, enjoying life in the remote outback, and becoming a great friend of the aboriginal people, mastering their langauge. Eva Semmens of Billabong died in a hospital in Mildura, Victoria, aged 67 on 25th May 1943. The cause of death was described as 'dementia'. She was buried in Mildura Cemetery the following day.

This was presumably a of connection Herbert James Semmens, born in 1888. His father Herbert Semmens married his mother Annie Amelia Boucher, daughter of Thomas Boucher and Mary Cavanagh, in 1887 at Bealiba, Victoria. He should not be confused with Hebert Semmens (1881-1921), born in Craigieburn, Victoria, Australia, son of a Cornish couple, Thomas Howes Semmens (b. 1831) and Anna Maria Crougey (b. 1842). This latter Hebert married Elizabeth Mary Lancaster, daughter of William Lancaster and Loena Elizabeth Kashow, in 1906 at Dunolly, Victoria.

Le Petit Monde

From a personal perspective, these coincidences were also most pleasing. For one, Alfred Rudall was a nephew and namesake of the Rev. Alfred Rudall, Vicar of St Agnes in Cornwall, whose portrait hangs in my wife's family home in County Monaghan. Why? Because the Rev. Alfred Rudall was my wife's great-grandfather. I was also delighted the younger Alfred fell in love with a girl who had such strong connections to Rathvilly and Rathmore, both a stone's throw from where I live and write. And as to the Halpins, I had a perfect excuse to explore them a good deal more as, the same month Julia and Bill contatced me, I was unexpectedly commissioned to write a book on the Dublin Docklands. Who knows what further twists this story might take? Only last night my good friend Oisin Nolan told me that his grandmother was a Halpin. As Bill Webster says, this was a classic example of not knowing what may spring from the sowing of some wild seeds.

The Move to St. Agnes

Meanwhile, back in England, the Rev. Alfred Rudall and his family moved to St. Agnes in 1887. According to The West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser for 3rd February 1887, he presided over the wedding of John Oppy of Stithians to Miss Grace Richards, of Porkellis at Carnmenellis, Wendron (January 29th). Mr. Oppy was almost certainly a relative of John Opie, ARA (1761-1807), the celebrated painter and author who was born in St. Agnes. After his appointment to St. Agnes, Alfred resided in a fine Vicarage, with a net yearly value of £227 in 1914, with a ½ acre of glebe. (13) He held this as a gift of the Dean and Chapter of Truro.

The Census Results of 1891 for the Civil Parish of St. Agnes indicate that Alfred Rudall, 50, described as a 'Clerk In Holy Orders' was living at the Vicarage with his wife, Philippa, 56, and their daughter, Ada A.S. Rudall, then a thirteen year old Scholar. Also in the house was a servant, Edith A. Soloman, aged 22.(4). Alfred's seventeen year-old eldest daughter, Mary Elfrida Catherine Rudall, was a pupil at The Clergy Daughters' School, St. Augustine, in Bristol at this time.

NB: St. Agnes was formerly pronounced by its inhabitants with the 'g' silent but regrettably, the practice has been dying out since at least the middle of the 20th century and is now hardly ever heard or even known about by most of the present-day inhabitants. The name is found written as St Anns or St Annes in maps from about 1600. With thanks to Peter Thomas and the St Agnes Museum Trust (www.stagnesmuseum.org.uk)

ALFRED THE INVENTOR

(With thanks to Maria O'Brien)

Among his many talents, the Rev Alfred Rudall was as an inventor:

(1) On the 7th Dec, 1905, he submitted a patent (No. 25.463) re Improvements in billiard tables.

(2) Description (OCR text may contain errors) (N0 ModeL) v 3 Sheets-Sheet 1

A. RUDALL. TELESCOPE

No. 471,708. Patented MarLZQ, 1892

(No Model.) ashem-sneet 2. w A. RUDALL

I TELESCOPE'. No. 471.708. Patented Mar. 29', 1892

m2 cams PETE! co.. mow-141110., msmmuu, o. c.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE

ALFRED RUDALL, ST. AGNES, ENGLAND

TELESCOPE

SPECIFICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 471,708, dated March 29, 1892.

Application filed March 31, 1890. Serial No. 345,932. (No model.)

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, ALFRED RUDALL, clerk in holy orders, a subject of the Queen of Great Britain, residing at St. Agnes Vicarage, Scorrier, in the Duchy of Cornwall, England, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in and Connected with Astronomical and other Telescopes, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawings...

For further info see http://www.google.co.uk/patents/US471708

 

Death of Rev. Alfred Rudall

Alfred was also the foremost exponent of shorthand in Cornwall in his day. In 1910, Alfred was presented with the photograph above of himself by the members of his congregation as a mark of esteem and faithful service - the photograph hangs in Miriam's house.

Click here for details of his daughter Freda's marriage and the family of Cornish miner John Delbridge.

Alfred died at the age of 82 on 29th September 1922 - on the very day that he had to give up the living. He asked for his pipe and sank back and died. During his 35 year tenure as Vicar of St. Agnes, the church services followed the standard Book of Common Prayer. However, after Alfred's death, the Church became 'high church' circa 1922/23. The Rev. William H. Browne introduced the twelve "Stations of the Cross" on the walls. One event of note was the day lightning struck the steeple of the church in 1905 - see Appendix A below.

The Supernatural Connection

As we have seen, Alfred's brother H.A. Rudall of 17 Langham Street was, with the likes of Mr. and Mrs. SC Hall, fond of séances. (14) Alfred Rudall was also deeply interested in spiritualism and the supernatural. He and a group of friends frequently met to discuss such things. As such, the Rudall brothers must have been fascinated by a celebrated ghost story from 1665 which concerned a Parson John Rudall of Launceston and an exorcism that took place in South Petherwin, Cornwall. (15) An apparition was brought to the Parson's attention by a young boy called Sam Bligh from Botathan House who claimed he met it every morning as he crossed a meadow near an old house on his way to school. One morning, Mr. Bligh and Parson Rudall set off with the boy and his dog. They encountered the spirit precisely where the boy said she would be. Taking careful measures, Rudall drew a pentacle on the ground with some ritual and called her spirit forth to step into the ring (usually in this case it is the exorcist who waits inside for protection). The spirit was that of a woman who later identified herself by the name of Dorothy Dinglet, a friend of the Bligh family who had died three years earlier. When asked to speak, she rather chillingly said, 'Before next Yuletide, a fearful pestilence will lay waste the land, and myriads of souls will be loosened from their flesh'. The Parson Rudall charged the spirit to explain why she could not move on. She explained that she had preformed a great sin and named the man whom she had sinned with as Mr. Bligh's eldest son. She then disappeared. At dawn the following morning, Rudall returned again and called her forth. Again she appeared in the ring, where he told her he had confronted the man, who had apologized and swore to make penance. Dorothy did not speak a word until he ordered her to depart. When she did, she is said to have sighed heavily, said, 'Peace be in our midst', and disappeared. In his diary the next day, Parson Green wrote: 'The next morning being Thursday, I went out very early by myself, and walked for about an hour's space in meditation and prayer, in the field next adjoining to the Quartiles; soon after five, I stepped over the stile in the disturbed field, and had not gone above thirty or forty paces, before the ghost appeared at the farther stile, I spoke to it with a loud voice, in some such sentences, as the way of these dealings directed me, whereupon it approached, but slowly, and when I came near, it moved not, I spoke again, and it answered in a voice neither very audible nor intelligible; I was not the least terrified, and therefore persisted, until it spake again and gave me satisfaction, but the work could not be finished at this time, wherefore the same evening, an hour after sunset it met me again, near the same place, and after a few words of each side, it quietly vanished, and neither doth appear since nor ever will more to any man's disturbance, the discourse in the morning lasted about a quarter of an hour'. The following June, the temperature became quite hot and the village suffered a drought; a plague came sweeping through.

The Gripe Connection

Alfred's younger daughter Ada Agnes Susan Gripe was born in 1879. She subsequently married Arthur Pelham Gripe (1888-1953), son of Arthur Pelham Gripe and his wife Elizabeth Jane Chapman, daughter of Richard Chapman. (Elizabeth and APG were married on 14th January, 1888). The elder Arthur Gripe died on board the passenger/cargo ship R. M. S Saxon at the age of 37 on 21st Feb, 1904. The Saxon made her maiden voyage from Southampton in June 1900 arriving in Cape Town in July. Regular service was between Southampton, Cape Town, and Durban with a call at Madeira. Arthur Pelham Gripe Snr is recorded as a ‘miner’ on the passenger list of the Tantallon that arrived in London from Cape Town in Nov 1899. She was primarily a mail carrier that was wrecked on Robben Island, Cape Town, on 7th May, 1901.

Arthur's grandfather was Captain Arthur Gripe (d. 1899), who at the time of his marriage in October 1850 to Jane Sleeman, third daughter of Captain William Sleeman of the schooner, Trevaunance, was an agent of the Wheal Ocean Mines (also known as North Blue Hills) and Wheal Betsy Mines. Shades of Poldark, I'm sure. (15a). He was presumably the Arthur Gripe recorded in 1859 as the Chief Agent of the Penhalls Mines at St Agnes (purser - Joseph Newton; manager - M. Edwards). By 1865, he was Cheif Agent of the tin and copper mines at East Polberro (purser - John Clay).

'On the 27th September, 1866, a coroner’s jury, after a prolonged enquiry before Mr J Carolyn, county coroner, into the death of 6 years old Timothy Collins, who had fallen down an abandoned mine shaft on East Polberro sett, returned a verdict of manslaughter against Capt. Arthur Gripe, the then agent of East Polberro, through whose “gross neglect” in not securing the mouth of a dangerous shaft, the deceased met his death. Capt. Gripe was committed for trial at the next assizes, but admitted to bail.' (The Royal Cornwall Gazette, 27 December 1866, with thanks to Maria O'Brien).

In March 1867 at the Grand Jury hearing Mr Lopes, on behalf of the prosecution, stated that he did not intend to offer any evidence on the coroner’s inquisition, and so the prisoner, Captain Arthur Gripes, was acquitted...(Lake's Falmouth Packet & Cornwall Advertiser, 23 March 1867, with thanks to Maria O'Brien).

According to the Royal Cornwall Gazette of 20 July 1899, Rev Alfred Rudall officiated at the funeral of Captain Gripes, who died on 11 July, 1899. A Miss Rudall impressively played Handel’s ‘Dead March from Saul ‘as the funeral cortege left the Parish Church in St. Agnes, which she also played at the funeral of his wife Jane in 1897 and at which Rev A Rudall also officiated.

Alfred's Quest

The origin of the Rudall family remains a mystery. Alfred endeavored to find out and received a note from a Harry Hems (date unknown) which says: 'Yours is an interesting name Petrus Rudellus of Normandy is mentioned as long ago as 1180-95 and John de Rodhall seems to have been in England - and also mentioned in 1272'. Eldrith Ward recalls her father John Barwis Delbridge telling how Alfred believed the Rudalls came to England to escape religious persecution in Europe. Another theory is that they were somehow related to the Hapsburgs.

Cornish Rudalls

It's not clear where Alfred Rudall or his merchant father John H.A. Rudall came from. The 1851 Census for the Civil Parish of North Petherwyn refers to the Rev. Edward Rudall, 50, Vicar Of Boyton, Cornwall, living about about five miles north of Launceston, with his wife Elizabeth, 45, of Holsworthy Devon, and unmarried daughters, Elizabeth (23, Bude), and Susan (21, Boyton). Also present were two house servants - Henry Kerslake (36) and Jane Parsons (18). (5) The Rev. Edward Rudall was very likely a close relative, as he officiated at the marriage of Alfred's sister Louisa to James Le Brun of Santa Cruz, Teneriffe, on 7th August 1856 in Camberwell, Surrey. In keeping with the Launceston connection, there is a plaque on the wall of the south aisle of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Launceston, near the railings of a chapel, which has a Latin inscription to one Johannes Ruddle A.M. died Jan 20 1698 aged 62. Above it is a plaque: "In memory of Sarah the wife of Mr. John Ruddle whose body was buried near this place". (16) It would seem reasonable to suppose that this Johannes Ruddle was the man who witnessed the ghost of Dorothy Dinglet. Another kinsman may have been the Rev. John Rudall, a priest in the Holy Cross parish at Crediton in Devon for over 50 years. Rev. John Rudall was also the Chaplain aboard HMS Royal Sovereign, the flagship of Admiral Collingwood, Nelson's second in command. The Royal Sovereign was the first ship to engage the enemy at Trafalgar and Rudall would have been in the thick of the action. He had two sons serving in the fleet, one on the Royal Sovereign and the other on HMS Defiance.

The Parish of St. Agnes

St. Agnes is a town on the west coast of Cornwall, bounded on the north and west by the sea. In Alfred Rudall's day, a station one mile out of the town connected it to the Truro and Newquay branch of the Great Western Railway. At the time, the main centre for entertainment in the town was Oddfellows' Hall, built in 1882 for a cost of £600. On 7th June 1893, six years after Alfred's arrival, the Miners and Mechanics' Institute laid the foundation stone for their new stone headquarters, complete with ornamental granite dressings, comprising a large reading room, billiard and committee rooms and other offices. (6) The Trevellas Institute opened at St. Agnes in 1913, comprising reading and billiard rooms. (7)

Alfred's Church of St. Agnes consisted of chancel, nave of four bays, aisles, south porch and a tower, with a finely tapering spire, containing six bells. By the churchyard gate is an ancient cross with irregularly shaped head, 5 feet high and about 2 feet wide. The register of baptisms dates from the year 1653: marriages 1674: burials, 1674. The church was rebuilt in 1848 under the direction of Mr J Piers St Aubyn, architect, and paid for by Mr and Mrs William Carne, for whom the east window is dedicated. (8) In 1905, the spire of the church was struck by lightning and had to be rebuilt. That same year the bells were recast as a memorial to Alderman William Lawrence, the cost being defrayed by his son, Sir Edward Durning-Lawrence of Ascot, Berkshire. (9) A new vestry was added in 1909 by W Naylor-Carne, and a brass lectern was provided by his family in his memory; the oak choir stalls were the gift of the family of Mr Thomas Martin, who for over 20 years was sidesman and churchwarden.

The wooden altar rails on the steps were given by John Barwis Delbridge in memory of his mother Mary Elfrida Catherine Delbridge.

 



Rudall Footnotes

1. On the 1861 Census, JHAR is said to have been born in Clerkenwell, London.
2. Carnaby Market was closed in 1820 and almost the whole of the area bounded by the modern Foubert's Place, Marshall, Ganton and Carnaby Streets was rebuilt under leases granted by Lord Craven shortly afterwards. From: 'Kingly and Carnaby Street Area', Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32: St James Westminster, Part 2 (1963), pp. 176-95. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=41470. Date accessed: 20 July 2007.
3. In 1794, this property was registered to Alex Tulloh, merchant. Kent's Directory for the Year 1794. Cities of London and Westminster, & Borough of Southwark.
4. Eldrith Ward has traced John's subsequent addresses to -
1837 - Merchant of Gould Square
1841 - Gould Square, Coopers Row
1851 - 8 Gould Square, Crutched Friars (but not found on Census)
1861 - 1 Andover Place, Camberwell Grove
His address at his death was 164 Camberwell Grove.
5. See: The Loss Of The Steamer Armenian On Arklow Bank in The Times, Monday, Jan 30, 1865; pg. 6; Issue 25095; col A.
6. See: 'The Registers of Wadham College, Oxford ...: From 1613 to [1871]' by Wadham College' (1895). Richard Bethell, who became Lord Chancellor as Lord Westbury in 1861, were members of the college. Two twentieth-century Lord Chancellors, F E Smith (Lord Birkenhead) and John Simon, were undergraduates together in the 1890s, along with the great sportsman C. B. Fry; Sir Thomas Beecham was an undergraduate in 1897, though soon abandoning Oxford for his musical career.
7. Penzance St. Paul - Marriage Register 1867-1900
8. The Times, Friday, Oct 09, 1936; pg. 1; Issue 47501; col A
9. 'The Great Musicians : Beethoven', by H. A. Rudall, published by Richard Clay & Sons Ltd, London, 1890.
10. The Times, Friday, Jan 25, 1889; pg. 7; Issue 32605; col D
11. The Times, Monday, Nov 13, 1893; pg. 5; Issue 34107; col E
12. John Henry Rudall's scrapbook can only be accessed by visiting the Far North Regional Museum in Kaitaia, New Zealand, or by having our FNRM Archivist accessing what you may require. I have not yet done this. The following is a description of what can be found in the scrapbook. It contains: newspaper clippings and ephemera relating to Motukaraka, in the Hokianga area in the Far North district, where John Henry RUDALL began a teaching career in 1895 - 1914; community events (newspaper clippings, ephemera), Sheet Music - composer J.H.RUDALL "The Reaper and The Flowers", some written family history about K.M. RUDALL's scientific career, a report of an Orchestral Concert of the Royal Academy of Music featuring Miss Eleanor C. RUDALL "advent of a new woman composer", a newspaper photograph of the "Boy Scouts in the Far North", dated 12 June 1913 - (N.B. this could be copied in digital reproduction)- (John RUDALL was involved in the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts movement in the Motukaraka district), Photograph of RUDALL family 1912, Photographs of family headstones i.e.Elizabeth Eleanor RUDALL, died 24 Feb 1906, Motukaraka Cemetery; St. Johns Presbyterian Church, Papatoetoe, Auckland (resting place of several RUDALL women; i.e. Margaret, Jane Catherine, Alfreda Martha, & another Jane Catherine. There are a few newspaper clippings relating to the MacLAURIN families and their careers - (John Henry RUDALL married Margaret Smith MacLAURIN). Cost of Archival research undertaken by FNRM archivist are, $20 per hour, + photocopy .20cents per A4 sheet, photographs $15 - $20 (5" x 7").
13. See: Penzance Natural History and Antiquarian Society Report & Transactions 1888-89 which includes some remarks on Parson Rudall and the Botathen ghost
14. He is listed as attending séances in 'EXPERIENCES IN SPIRITUALISM WITH MR. D. D. HOME' (1869) BY VISCOUNT ADARE, WITH INTRODUCTORY REMARKS BY THE EARL OF DUNRAVEN
15. See: Penzance Natural History and Antiquarian Society Report & Transactions 1888-89 which includes some remarks on Parson Rudall and the Botathen ghost.
15a. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of Great Britain, by Robert Hunt, Geological Survey of Great Britain (1859). Click here for more info on Jane Sleeman and her family.
16. The husband valediction. Anno Domine 1667.

Appendix A - Steeple Struck by Lightning

16/3/1905 A Gale in the West St. Agnes Church Steeple Damaged Struck by lightning and knocked out of perpendicular About noon yesterday a torrent of rain and hail fell. A flash of lightning of blinding brilliancy was followed immediately by a thunderclap of tremendous force, reminding some of the noise made on this occasion of the dynamite explosion at Perranporth some years ago. The shock was so great that one person was knocked down, and others were almost thrown down. The greatest damage, however, was done to the steeple of the Parish Church. This was struck by the electric fluid, and about 3(8) feet of the top of the steeple, in addition to the vane, was carried away. Nearly the whole of the debris fell upon the roof of the building. But this being strongly built, only a few compartively small holes were made. Some of the granite stones were found inside the Church. The steeple appears to have been struck on the south-west side as the coping around the steeple and on the top of the tower has been carried away in one place, and in others shaken and broken. There is also a place about 6 feet high in the lower part of the tower the stones of which have been loosened, and the whole steeple is considerably out of perpendicular. It will have to be taken down, unless a continuance of the stormy weather brings it down with a crash. One stone fell on the roof of Mrs. Williams's house, which stands opposite the Church and slightly damaged it; and glass in the windows of several houses was broken. On the north side of the Church one of the granite stones to which are fixed the ornamental railings was found to be broken, and the turf torn up nearby, although no stone could be found near the spot. The railings escaped without injury, and no further damage was done, although a resident stated that it appeared to him that the lightning struck the road in the centre of the town. (J.T.L.)

Another correspondent states that several of the stones from the steeple were thrown a great distance, one going right through the roof of the Church and making a hole the size of a man's hand. Another was found in a field nearly 200 yards away, and one struck the corner of Mrs. Williams's grocer's shop and carried away a portion of the guttering and masonry, and damaged the window. The door of the tower was burst open, while an inner door leading into the steeple was shattered to fragments. The iron gate leading to the vicarage was also damaged.

Mrs. Lampshire, living in a house about 50 yards off, was using a knife when the flash occurred, and her arm was temporarily paralysed. Miss Langdon, living just across the road, was similarly affected, while using a fork.

The Vicar (the Rev. A Rudall) says he was sitting in his study at the time. He saw a globe of fire, and then heard an explosion, which disappeared in a blue flash. He then knew that something had been struck.

At West Kitty Mine the lightning, which was followed by a blinding hail-storm, played up and down the steel cable at the shaft, and several of the miners working in the 110 fathom level and 100 fathoms in the stope were knocked down by the shock. A shock was also experienced at Wheal Friendly. At present what remains of the Church steeple has a decided list to the west, and has a very shaky appearance. The damage is estimated at several hundred pounds but the ediface is insured. (struck by lightning 15/3/1905)

ST. AGNES CHURCH STEEPLE

A steeplejack arrived at St. Agnes on Saturday afternoon, and removed the loose stones on the top of the steeple. He found it very difficult to find a firm hold for the cramps by which to hold the ladders, showing that the steeple had a greater shock than those who inspected it on Friday were prepared to admit. He, however, reached the top and threw down eight large stones which were very loose. He also gave as his opinion that the steeple was unsafe, and that it would be dangerous to hold the usual services in the Church. The Vicar (the Rev. Alfred Rudall) gave notice that the Church would be closed, and that the services would be held in the schoolroom. Inside the Church a large crack was observable in the arch nearest the tower in the north aisle, and it looked as if the arch had also been slightly shaken out of position. In some parts light could be seen between the boarding of the roof. The holes in the roof have been patched in order to keep out rain water. The steeple was built by a man named Thomas Delbridge, and was generally admired for the very fine work that was put into it, and for being so true. The steeple was built in 1848 when the present edifice was erected, but the tower on which it rests was a part of the old Church and is over four (now five) hundred years old. (R.C.G. 23/3/1905)

January 1930 St. Agnes Parish magazine Account of lightning strike Vol.VI Price 2d.

During the recent gales we had the misfortune of having our Church Spire struck by lightning, and some six feet of solid masonry hurled from the top into the Nave of the Church, crashing through the roof and bedding itself in the floor. If it had not been for the lightning conductor, we have been told, the whole Church would have been wrecked.

The marvellous thing was that this top of the Spire, weighing something over half a ton was hurled eastwards about 10 feet and fell, after smashing the roof, in one solid mass. Not a stone in it was loosened by the terrific fall.

This is the second time, that we know of, that the Spire has been so damaged. In 1905 it was so injured that the whole of it had to be taken down and rebuilt. Mr. James Larkins, the famous Steeplejack was responsible for the work on that occasion, and it is a great tribute to his work that the fall this time did not shatter into fragments the large portion of masonry which was dislodged.

The estimate for the repairs comes to considerably over £200 and this is, fortunately for us covered by our insurance policy.

The Vicar has been the recipient of many kind letters from people both in and out of the County, all expressing sympathy, some offering to help when the amount of the damage was known, and one enclosing a cheque for £5 to go on with. We are most grateful to all of them and are glad not to need any outside assistance for the work.

The fall of the Spire was spectacular and aroused ready sympathy, but we have, perhaps, a more deadly peril to face. It is the dry rot in the Church, the damage it is doing is for the most part unseen and it spreads rapidly. At present it seems to be confined to the woodwork of the floors and pews of the North and South Aisles, and as we get funds we do what we can to destroy it. We have already spent a good sum on this work, and the Board of Finance has made us a grant of £25; this we are spending on the South West Corner, where the Children's Corner is.

It would be criminal for us to ignore this danger, for ultimately it would spread, if unchecked, throughout the whole Church, destroying floors, pews, organ, and worst of all the roof. We must hand down intact the fair heritage we have received to those who come after. As the flooring is removed we must fill up with concrete and tiles, and replace the pews with chairs, for we cannot now reduce our seating capacity, fortunately. It will cost a lot of money, but we shall get it and do our duty

Charlie Chegwyn - General Mason, Builder and Contractor of Churchtown, St. Agnes worked on the roof both times when lightning struck. (1) on the paper shop - general store roof (2) same roof. "I looked over the sea and it was coming over black and I thought, I was working on this roof when the Church was struck by lightning and I had no sooner said it when Bang! it happened again!" - This story was told to me by Mr. Tonkin who was keeping an eye on the Church.

With many kind thanks to Eldrith Ward, Miriam Moore, Virginia Hartley, Bill Webster, Julia Moran, Keith Hazell, Maria O’Brien, Debra Payne, Pamela Griffith and Peter Thomas (editor of the Journal of the St Agnes Museum Trust).

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