Cynthia ‘Mary’ Llewellyn (1936-2013) had been living in Australia for 55 years when she made contact with the Newlyn Archive in 2012. She attended Tolcarne School and was able to contribute to the book Newlyn at School. We began to correspond. She said that she would send us the family bible which is particularly interesting because it begins with an entry from her grandmother who was Annie Eliza Webb née Warren (1864-1925). As a young woman Annie modelled for some of the most iconic of the Newlyn School paintings; she is the young woman leaning against the boat in Stanhope Forbes Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach and the young widow resting on her mothers lap in Frank Bramley’s Hopeless Dawn.
Unfortunately Mary died earlier this year but true to her promise she willed the family bible and many other family papers and photographs to the Newlyn Archive. We received them at the beginning of August and what a treasure the parcels contained.
The photograph at the top is a picture of her grandmother Annie Eliza with her 4 children Eliza Jane, Mary Annie, Beatrice Theodora and Elizabeth Ivy, that was taken c1904. Annie had grown up in Newlyn living ‘out the Green’ at Factory Row until she married ‘Jack’ Webb (1849-1910) a miner on February 21 1897 and went to live in Camborne. Times were hard and Jack became a migrant worker and had joined the gold rush in South Africa when the photo was taken. It is a poignant reminder of the emotions felt by the wives left at home that the space between Annie and Eliza Jane in the photo was for her husband to fill on his return.
In those days, there was little contact between people who were geographically apart as many people were unable to write. Annie Eliza could write, but not fluently (there is a letter from Annie to daughter Elizabeth Ivy in Australia, dated 20/4/1925, just four days before she died). Husband Jack must have been in touch as Annie had a photograph of him at a mine in South Africa, taken soon after he had left Cornwall.
By 1907, Annie was back in Newlyn, needing the support of her family. She had lost contact with Jack and the Rev Fagan at St Peter’s Church wrote to the manager of the French Rand Gold Mining Co Ltd, where Jack had worked and learned from him (in a letter dated 16/12/1907), that Jack was no longer there. Although a good worker, Jack had turned to alcohol and died in South Africa in 1910 although Annie Eliza did not learn of this until much later.
Mary Llewellyn’s archive contains fascinating letters and photographs about Annie Eliza Warren’s descendents. Mary’s mother was Annie’s daughter Beatrice Theodora who married John Charles Llewellyn. The latter was a stone cutter before becoming a gardener for the Bolitho family at Trewidden. Mary was born at nearby Tregavarah. Her father was a literate man and has left his diary, a 162-page manuscript about his family and life, which includes an account of the bombing of Tregavarah Chapel during WW2.