1700 to 1800 AD
Last updated: 09/12/2011
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Sidney Godolphin becomes Lord Treasurer until
1710. Sources of Cornish History - Sidney
(27th - 28th August ) A violent storm, the tail end of an
American hurricane results in damaged houses, ships being driven
ashore and the destruction of Henry Winstanley's Eddystone
Daniel Gumb is born at Linkinhorne. Raised as a stone-cutter, he
makes a name for himself as a self-taught mathematician. He makes
his home carving out a rock by The Cheesewring. The roof serves as
an observatory, and the whole as a place where he can study
uninterrupted but near to his work. He becomes more reclusive and
the home also serves as a chapel for him as he was never seen to
attend the parish church. His wife and several children also live
in the rock dwelling.
of Cornish History - Daniel Gumb
Grant to Anthony Nicoll for 2 fairs or markets at St.Tudy.
Grant in fee for Robert Hooker, gent. of 3 fairs at
The thatched Friends' Meeting House at Come-to-Good, near Feock
Antony House, the home of the Carews at Torpoint, begins
construction, and is completed in 1721.
(5th November) Charles Mohun, 5th Baron Mohun, is killed in a
duel with the Duke of Hamilton. Mohun has previously been tried and
cleared (1692-3) by the House of Peers for the murder of William
Sources of Cornish History - Charles
(3rd May) "The most celebrated eclipse ever recorded in England.
Totality passed right across England from Cornwall to Norfolk".
The Lizard lighthouse is built. It is altered in 1903.
Trewithen House near Probus is under construction, probably to
the design of Thomas Edwards of Greenwich.
John Anstis, born at St. Neot in 1699, (MP for St. Germans
(1702) and Launceston (1713)) becomes Garter King at Arms.
Author of a number of heraldic works.
(27th Jan) Samuel Foote, playwright and comedian, is born at
of Cornish History - Samuel Foote
Thomas Newcomen comes to Cornwall to erect an atmospheric engine
at Wheal Fortune in Ludgvan.
Thomas Pitt, otherwise known as 'Diamond Pitt', (1653-1726) buys
Boconnoc, near Lostwithiel, and other manors in Cornwall with the
proceeds of the sale of a famous 127 carat diamond to the Regent of
Orleans (later Louis XV) in 1716 for approximately £125,000. While
Governor of Fort St George, Madras, he had bought it for around
£20,400. Thomas Pitt becomes the grandfather of William Pitt the
Elder (statesman) and Great Grandfather of William Pitt the Younger
(Prime Minister), and 2nd Baron Camelford (see 1775).
Ralph Allen devises the first cross-country postal service.
Known as 'The Man of Bath', he was born in St. Blazey in
1693,becoming Post Master in Bath; Contractor for Cross Posts
(1722-1764) and Mayor of Bath 1742.
of Cornish History - Ralph Allen
Dolcoath, near Camborne, perhaps Cornwall's most celebrated
mine, is already working and by 1778 is 160 fathoms deep. By 1864,
equipped with its ten engines, seven water wheels, and a
man-engine, it employs about 1200 people. Underground working
ceases in 1920 by which time the bottom level is at 550 fathoms,
the deepest of all the Cornish mines.
Mining is in operation by this time at Botallack Mine on the
cliff's edge near St. Just, and by 1800 the workings extended to
over 100 fathoms and a long distance beneath the sea. It becomes
one of Cornwall's richest tin mines. Operations finally end in
John Knill who instigated the 5-yearly celebrations at his
mausoleum near St. Ives, is born at Callington. He becomes
Collector of Customs at St Ives and is elected Mayor in 1767
Resigning his Customs post in 1782 around which time he arranges
the erection of a mausoleum on Worvas Hill as he "abhorred the
practice of burial within the body of the Church" which prevailed
in St Ives at the time. He moves to London and buys chambers in
Gray's Inn Square and is called to the Bar in 1787. In 1811 he dies
and is buried at Holborn, not St Ives.
Tehidy House, Illogan, is built for the Basset family to the
design of Thomas Edwards of Greenwich. It is destroyed by fire in
The Sherborne Mercury newspaper commences publication in Dorset.
It includes Cornish news and advertising, and circulates throughout
the south west of England. It continues until 1867.
Expansion of deep copper mining in Cornwall. This heralds
the Industrial Revolution in Britain.
John Williams is born. He becomes a successful mining engineer,
and manager of Poldice and Gwennap mines. He is noted for driving
the County Adit from Bissoe Bridge to drain the mines of Poldice, a
task which lasts twenty years and the completed work, thirty miles
long, takes in numerous branch adits and drains fifty mines. After
profiting spectacularly from a sudden tin price rise, he builds
Scorrier House, enlarging it substantially in 1845. After a serious
fire in 1908, it is rebuilt.
Sources of Cornish History - The
Great County Adit
John Wesley's Methodism becomes the dominant religious
denomination. This is his first of forty visits to Cornwall.
William Cookworthy, (a Kingsbridge Quaker who began a wholesale
chemist's business in Plymouth around 1733), having researched the
Chinese manufacture of porcelain, obtains kaolin from Virginia in
America. Around 1746 he locates china-clay and china-stone deposits
on the western side of Tregoning Hill in Germoe parish, near
Helston. On a later journey to Cornwall he finds much larger
quantities in the vicinity of St Stephen-in-Brannel and St Dennis,
near St Austell.
Admiral Boscawen wins fame at Cape Finisterre by singly engaging
the French fleet until the English fleet arrive
Sir William Lemon, who becomes MP for Penryn (1769-72) and the
County (1774-1824), is born in Truro. He dies at Carclew, Mylor, in
A new church, designed by Thomas Edwards of Greenwich at the
behest of the Earl of Godolphin replaces the old one at
The Cornish Stannary Parliament is suspended, subsequent to a
dispute with the Lord Warden, Thomas Pitt, over the location of the
Convocation in Lostwithiel contrary to the wishes of the
(9th Sept) William Bligh, grandson of John Bligh of St Tudy is
baptised in Plymouth. In 1787 he sets sail as Captain of the
'Bounty' to procure bread fruit trees from the South Sea
Sources of Cornish History - Captain
Henry Bone, enamellist, is born at Truro. He becomes enamel
painter to the Prince of Wales in 1800, a Royal Academician in
1811, dying in 1854.
(1st November) The Lisbon Earthquake strikes at about 09:40
hours. Its magnitude is somewhere between 8 and 9 on the Richter
Scale, the epicentre being some 200 km West of Cape St Vincent. It
has knock-on effects throughout Europe, mostly in the form of
flooding. Further damage is done by a Tsunami hitting the city
& this is followed by several massive fires. In Cornwall, at St
Michael's Mount, at about 14:00 hours, the sea is observed to rise
suddenly and then to retire. After 10 minutes the sea rises nearly
6 feet, very rapidly coming in from the South East; it then ebbs
again to the West with the same speed for about 10 minutes, until
it is nearly 6 feet lower than before. It returns again, and falls
again in the same space of time, and continues to do so for some 5
hours after. In Penzance the tide rises some eight feet, at Newlyn
Pier some ten feet. The same effect is reported at St Ives
& Hayle somewhat later.
Sources of Cornish History - The
The old church at Redruth is taken down and replaced by a new
building in the classical style, although its C15 tower
Rev. Richard Polwhele, who becomes the Vicar of Manaccan
(1794-1821) and Newlyn East (1821-1838) and the author of a
two-volume seven-part History of Cornwall, a similar work on Devon
and many other books, is born at Truro.
Admiral Boscawen dies. A hero of his time, he assists in the
capture of Porto Bello in 1740, commands a party which storms
Carthagena in 1747 capturing two batteries, becomes
Commander-in-Chief of the Navy in 1758, and, with General Wolff,
captures Louisberg and in 1759 beats the French fleet in Port
of Cornish History - Admiral Boscawen
John Wesley first visits Gwennap Pit in 1762, and thereafter 18 times
until his last visit in 1798 at the age of 86. In the entry in his
Journal for Sunday 22nd August 1773 he estimates that 'two and
thirty thousand' were present, and other dates record upwards of
20,000 in attendance. The pit we see today was remodelled by local
tinners and their helpers, re-opening on Whit Monday 1807. The
annual Whit Monday service is still a feature of the local
Methodist calendar. Sources of Cornish History -
Pencarrow, near Washaway, is built in the Palladian
Davies Gilbert (Giddy) PRS FAS FGS is born at St Erth. He
becomes a national figure of the Industrial Revolution, an
antiquarian, the President of the Royal Society, and MP for Bodmin.
He chairs several parliamentary committees concerning, for
instance, the building of roads, steam power, feeding the
population, and the Poor Laws. He moves in the same circles as
Boulton and Watt, Peel and Canning, and Darwin, and many others; he
is patron of Cornish inventors like Trevithick and Hornblower and
he discovers Humphry Davy.
John Smeaton, noted for the Eddystone lighthouse, constructs a
pier at St. Ives, since lengthened.
William Cookworthy takes out a patent for the making of
porcelain using Cornish materials, and this and the establishment
of a (short-lived) porcelain factory in Plymouth is greatly
supported by the Hon. Thomas Pitt of Boconnoc (later Lord
Camelford) who grants Cookworthy a lease on his land in St
The Bodmin to Launceston turnpike road is opened.
The 123 feet high obelisk commemorating Thomas Pitt, Lord
Camelford, is erected at Boconnoc.
The St Columb Canal, proposed by John Edyvean, is authorised and
planned to run from Mawgan Porth through parishes inland and to
return to St Columb Porth. Its purpose is to import sea-sand for
manuring to improve land. Two sections are built. One, from
Trenance Point to near Whitewater, and the other from Lusty Glaze
to near Rialton Barton in St Columb Minor.
William Cookworthy passes his patent for making porcelain from
Cornish china-clay to Richard Champion, prompting the interest of
Josiah Wedgwood, the distinguished Staffordshire potter. Following
a legal battle, Champion loses his monopoly over the Cornish
(28th July) Richard Hussey Vivian (afterwards General Lord
Vivian) is born at Truro. During a distinguished military career he
became MP for Truro (1820-25) and Windsor (1825-30), and later a
Privy Councillor (1834), Master General of Ordnance (1835) and MP
for East Cornwall (1837-41) at which time he was created Baron
Vivian of Glyn.
Sir John Call's mansion at Stoke Climsland is built.
It is demolished in 1912.
Thomas Pitt, 2nd and last Baron Camelford is born at Boconnoc,
near Lostwithiel. He becomes a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, leads
a short but remarkably adventurous life, and is mortally
wounded in a duel with a friend Captain Best in 1804, behind
Holland House, London.
Dolly Pentreath, who dies in 1777, is often claimed to be the
last speaker of Cornish. However, William Bodener who dies in 1794
knows five people in Mousehole who speak the language. Others claim
knowledge of it as late as the 1890s. It is probably safe to say
that the last native speakers are alive in the late 19th
century. However, the Education Act of 1870 makes the
teaching of English compulsory in all schools.
Sources of Cornish History - The
James Watt erects his first pumping engine in a Cornish mine at
Great Wheal Busy near Chacewater, one of the oldest of Cornwall's
copper mines. It replaces a Newcomen engine installed by John
Smeaton. By now, the mine has worked at various times from 1700 and
continues to do so until 1900.
Scottish engineer, William Murdoch, (born in Ayrshire in 1754)
comes to Cornwall in the employment of Boulton & Watt.
William Murdoch makes a small steam locomotion which he tries
successfully in Redruth in Church Lane.
John Silk Buckingham, MP, journalist and reformer, is born at
Flushing. Sources of Cornish History -
John Silk Buckingham
James Ruse, a Launceston man, arrives in New South Wales aboard
the transport Scarborough, part of the "first fleet" of
Australian convict ships.
Sources of Cornish History -
Jonathan Couch, FLS, author and naturalist, is born at
Bread riots in Truro at the outbreak of the French Revolution -
the tinners are nearly starved
Mr Charles Rashleigh commences creation of the new port of
Charlestown for the shipment of china stone to Liverpool for
Worcestershire or Staffordshire porcelain manufacturers.
Cornwall County Library is founded at Pydar Street, Truro, with
nearly 30 subscribers, minimum subscription 1 guinea, and survived
until 1920. In that time the library moved to Princes Street and
then to the Public Rooms, situated between Quay Street and the
William Murdoch lights Redruth house by gas, the foundation for
today's gas industry.
Sources of Cornish History - William
A public meeting is held at Bodmin which resolves that a canal
linking the Wadebridge River to the Fowey River would be
advantageous. Sir William Molesworth arranges surveying and
costings and plans are sent to John Rennie for comment.
It all comes to nothing, but Marc Isambard Brunel surveys the
Padstow - Fowey route in 1825 for a ship canal., proposing one 13
miles long. This too is not taken further.
In Truro the building of Boscawen Street and Lemon Street is
Passing of the Truro Paving & Lighting Act enables the
Corporation to improve Boscawen Street by pulling down Middle Row
and to lay out and build Lemon Street (after Sir Charles
Lanherne at St. Mawgan in Pydar, formerly the home of the
Arundells, becomes a convent.
Billy Bray, Cornish evangelist, is born at Twelveheads, near
The American engineer and inventor, Robert Fulton, with the
surveyor Charles Moody, examined the practicality of building a
canal from the Helford River at Gweek to the Hayle River near St
Erth. It was not proceeded with.
"On Saturday 20th August at 20 minutes past 2 o'clock (p.m.) a
slight Shock of an Earthquake was felt at St. Hilary, which lasted
2 or 3 seconds being in the middle space of a rumbling Noise which
attended it and which lasted 6 or 7 seconds. The Motion was from
East to West. The Air was still. The Thermometer at 70" - St.
Hilary parish records.
This information was collated by the Cornwall Centre, Redruth,
telephone +44(0)1209 216760. If you know of an interesting date
that we have missed, please let us know.