The Symonds Story Part 4

St Wenn and St Enoder

Brief mention of the two parishes appears in the Descendants Charts but their significance in the story of the Symonds families will not be bypassed. Both have very direct connections which were explored in some detail.

St Wenn Parish

In this Parish, St Wenn village stands on a ridge which has a tributary of the River Camel about one kilometre to the north and another less than one kilometre to the east. To reach Tregolls, the family would have had to cross both tributaries. St Wenn Parish Church is on the high ground of the village. It is named for St Wenna and is believed to be mostly of 15th Century origin. In its earlier existence, it had a three-stage granite tower. In 1663, it was struck by lightning and the uppermost stage was destroyed. A slate sundial on the tower carries the date 1855 in Roman numerals and bears the punning inscription YE KNOW NOT WHEN, also rather appropriate to the fate of the tower in earlier times.

East of the village, Tregolls is reached on a road that eventually arrives at Bodmin. Tregolls Farm with other nearby farms once formed part of the extensive Lanhydrock Estate. The fertile land of the Tregolls property rises to the north quite steeply out of the valley with its stream which runs east down to the River Camel. The road runs between farm buildings with the stream below them on the south side.

According to the Tithe Apportionment Map of around 1840, held in the Cornwall Record Office, the property at that time had an area of over 58 acres. It seems probable that Francis #2 Symonds, who buildt and ran the Indian Queen Inn, could have held the property on a sub-tenancy from the various families who leased it from the Lanhydrock Estate. Francis #3, his son, was certainly working at a property in the Tregolls area at the time of his marriage to Agnes Gummow because both he and Anges were stated to be "of St Wenn". "Francis Symons" was found to be the rated occupier of Tregolls Farm in 1799 from the records in the St Wenn Parish Vesty Book.

Close to the end of his life in 1795, Francis #2 prepared a remarkably comprehensive Will which listed one of his bequests to his son Francis #3 as Right, Kind, Goods and Chattels in, on on, the Estate of Tregowls in the Parish of St Wenn". Although spelt Tregolls on present day maps, it was variously designated as Tregolds, Tregouls and Tregowls in various old documents perused.

The left sketch sets out a small section of the St Wenn Tithe Apportionment Map, showing the locatin of the Farmhouse, Barn and Walled Garden on the 58 acres of Tregolls Farm. The Barn had a 7 foot diameter water wheel on the north side, supplied from a spring which rarely failed to supply a flow from up on the hillside to the northeast. The water came down a leat to a tank behind the more recent farmhouse, providing a water supply to the farmhouse, and thence along a channel to the water wheel. Its drive was used to grind corn, make chaff from hay and other tasks such as driving a grinding wheel, a crosscut saw and so on. All of this activity took place on the upper floor of the Barn. The animals were kept on the ground floor and fed via a chute from above. Milking was done on the ground floor. There was an enclosed yard on the south side of the barn. It was all a model of a very efficient operation.

The right sketch gives a layout of the close environs of the original Tregolls Farmhouse and the position of a more recent Farmhouse.

The Tregolls Farmhouse was well built,
constructed of stone
from the Quarry on the farm.
It had its own Indoor Well and Oven.
This is the birthplace
of Francis #4 Symonds,
his one brother and five sisters.
The farmhouse is now used as a barn.

Many thanks must be extended to Mr Harry Hawkey, the owner who had purchased the farm, now with 650 acres, from the Lanhydrock Estate. In 1992, he explained that, when he was a boy, one door from the living room led out on the north side to a walled garden and to a barn also built of stone. The other living room door opened to a path to the other barn alongside the road to St Wenn. Stairs went up from the centre of the living room to the upper floor with three bedrooms. By the stairs, a door led from the living room to a large kitchen with a clome oven and an indoor well. He remarked that these facilities in the kitchen and the use of stone for the house indicated the wealth of the farmer. This comment during the visit made it less surprising that Francis #3, Agnes and their seven children were able to move into St Enoder Parish when his Tregolls lease terminated in 1807. Just when the family took up the lease on Nankervis Farm is not clear but it was after 1810. Nankervis Farm still retains that name in the 1990s. The Farm is well-known both in name and because of the Berryman family who are the present occupiers.

St Enoder Parish

The Parish of St Enoder is a level but elevated part of Cornwall and one of the most fertile. There are small villages on the high ground and in the valleys. In season, there are ripening fields of barley, herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. Because of a granite intrusion, there are finely foliated rocks around the intrusion and they are noted for their water retention properties. Strange though it may seem, similar rock formations existed in the area in South Australia selected by Francis #4 Symonds after emigration from Cornwall.

St Enoder Parish Church is of 14th and 15th century origin with its three-stage tower. Of the original Norman Church and its predecessors only the Norman Font remains. The tower collapsed in 1686 and was rebuilt in 1710. The collapse was attributed to the type of soil and rock in the area. Davies Gilbert in his The Parochial History of Cornwall records a statement by the earlier historian Hals:

The parish of St Enedor is the flattest or levellest parish of lands in Cornwall, and by consequence, the storehouse or preserver of moisture, or water; and in testimony to the wateryness of this soil, I do remember in the latter end of the reign of King Charles the Second, the tower of this church sunk in its foundations, so much that the whole fabric fell to the ground, and greatly damnified the church with its stones; which church and tower, by the Bishop of Exeter's grant of a collection throughout his diocese, are both again well-built and repaired as it now stands.

Nankervis Farm

Nankervis Farm was to be the home of Francis #3 and Agnes in the later part of their lives, together with Francis #4 and his family from early in the 19th century until 1848. From excerpts in the St Enoder Parish Vestry records, it is certain that both Francis #3, and Francis #4 subsequently, were involved directly in the Parish administration as Churchwardens, Overseers of the Poor and Waywardens. The contacts which Francis #4 would have made through his membership of the Vestry would have given him sound experience for his future roles in South Australia from 1849 onwards.


Nankervis Farmhouse - Southern Aspect

Nankervis Farmhouse - Eastern Aspect
There are two dovecotes
just below the eaves near the wall junction

A Storehouse and Stables
Mr Robert Berryman in attendance.

And what of the farmhouse and farm buildings on this attractive site! The general structure of the house is essentially unchanged internally from its layout in the 1830s. Inside the two-storey house renovations by the Berrymans in the late 1980s produced some surprises. Removal of a Victorian mantle around a fireplace showed up the original fine stonework of much earlier origin. Some refurbishment of the outside of the building revealed dovecotes under the eaves on the eastern side of the house.
Many of the outbuildings on the flatter ground above the farmhouse would have been there when the Symonds families worked the property. The storehouse, stables and equipment buildings were built in traditional Cornish style with local stone, mostly with a ground floor and an upper floor for storage of fodder. The structures were very similar to those at Tregolls. Some of the milking stalls could well have been used in the time of Francis #4 but the modern milking and cooling equipment certainly were not!

This part of the Symonds family history brings us to the end of the Cornwall visit. In 1848, Francis #4, his second wife Thomasine and eleven children departed for Plymouth to be carried on the ship Navarino to the shores of South Australia, to Adelaide and thence to the village of their abodes for over a hundred and twenty years - Chain of Ponds in the Adelaide Hills. That leads to a new part of the story in the pages to come.


Earlier parts of the family history can be reached with these links:
[Symonds Story Part 1]
[Symonds Story Part 2]
[Symonds Story Part 3 - Descendant Charts]
[Caust/Symonds Family Story]
The stories of the maternal ancestors of the Symonds Family can be reached at: [Five Generations of Cornish Maternal Ancestors]
There is also the [[Symonds OzEmail Home Page]


This page was produced by John L. Symonds on 29 September 1998, and modified on 3 April 2000.