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Tintagel Christmas 2002

Tintagel Christmas 2002

The census Taker

By David Hughes


I am the census taker and the year is 1851

I've just rode over from Tregony and the darn horse has thrown a shoe outside the pub in Ruan Lanihorne.  Well as I'm outside the pub I might as well start here.  Now Ann Nankivell has been publican here for several years.  "Ann how many people will be here tonight?"  Ann replies "probably most of the village".  Stupid woman thats not what I meant "how many people will sleep here tonight?"  Ann replies "Oh only half the village then"  Look stop being so cantankerous I've got a job to do.  Now lets try again " how many people will be living at this address tonight?"  Ann replies "Well why didn't you ask that in the first place. There will be me, my two lodgers Mary Bond and Henry Pearce, and Maria Carkeet house servant".
At last I've got all the details and I can move on to next door.
No answer but I know that the Hooker family live here.  Oh yes I remember they did say they wouldn't be in as they had another child to bury.  Poor souls thats the fourth one they've lost.  I'll come back later.
The horse is hobbling on but the blacksmith is at the far end of the village.  Thats two more houses done, the Mill house is next.
The Mill is looking good.  "Hello David hows the wife?"  David E Pearce replies " Thomasine's fine thanks and so is the baby".  I'm surprised that theres any room left in the house.  Theres David (miller), his wife Thomasine, their baby John, mill boy John Blight, mill boy John Pentecost and Edward Pearce, Davids father.  Before I go I'll just order a bag of flour for the missus and pick it up on the way back when I pick up Nessie.
Onwards and another two houses done.
Reached the blacksmiths at last.  The current blacksmith is James Davey.  James has said that he will get the horse re shod while I finish taking the rest of the census.  His wife Maria provides the details of the family, two adults and no children.  She tells me how much she would like to have a girl.  On up the hill to the schoolmaster Thomas Fookes.  At the age of 64 he's done well for his self with a 31 year old wife.  Back down the hill and back over the small bridge to the Poorhouse.  Not a poor house any more but three cottages.  Takes a while here getting all the details.  Why don't these people know when they were born, oh well I'll just put down what they think their ages are.  My poor feet are killing me but I've only done half the village.  Now down onto the bottom road and past the lime kiln.  The men are all working hard.  Another three houses down.  The butcher wasn't at home but he'll be in the shop.  I'll have to go as Elizabeth Pearce didn't know how old Ri!
chard was. 
In the butchers shop now.  Richard claims that he's 50, Elizabeth thought he was nearer to her age of 56.
Past the coalyard and up Dawes Hill.  I notice that there is a barge tied up to the quay and go over to talk to the captain.  They're unloading coal but the captain assures me that they will be back in Falmouth before evening.  Half way up Dawes Hill I go in to see the Blamey family.  Head of the house Henry is the local Waterman.  Wife Frances provides me with details of the three children.  I stop outside to have a drink from the village pump, refreshing.  At the top of the hill I decide to go and see grandfathers grave but in the liche gate I can see that the Hooker child is just being burried, I'll leave it to later.  One more house and then down to the parsonage.  Rector of Ruan is Henry Slight.  He's still up at the church but his parents John & Sophia are in.  Sophia is all ready for my arrival and has all the household details ready for me and invites me to stay for a bite to eat.  The meals finished, just as well I've got to walk back to get Nessie because that Port!
 was strong!  I quickly get back, having collected my flour and nipped back into the butchers for a bit of beef for tea.  I pay the blacksmith tuppence and I'm on my way.  I spent far to much time in the parsonage and must get on as I still have the local manor, several out lying farm houses, plus two hamlets left in the parish to go to.

Bye for now, see you in ten years time if I live that long.

Henry Behennah