G1 Richard and Ellen Wearne

This article is about Richard and Mary Wearne, parents of sisters Mary Wearne, who married John Phillipps, and Ellen Grose Wearne, who married Timothy Sullivan.

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The starting point into researching the parents of Ellen Grose Wearne is her marriage certificate to Timothy Sullivan in 1840, identifying her father Richard Wearne a carpenter, and with witnesses Richard Wearne and Elizabeth Giddy Wearne.



The next piece of evidence regarding Richard Wearne is the 1841 UK Census (HO 107/144/6) showing Richard Wearne, a blockmaker aged 60, living in Fore St Saint Ives, to gether with wife Mary (55) and children Elizabeth (25), Richard (20), Mary Anna (15), Eliza (15), Anne (10) and James 9. Daughter Ellen Grose aged 25 has already married and is living in nearby Back Rd. Note that the 1841 Census tended to round ages to the nearest 5 years. The occupation of blockmaker refers to the wooden tackle blocks used for the rigging on the sailing ships of that time.

This would put Richard's birth around 1881 and Mary's around 1886. It also suggests a marriage around 1815.

No records of baptisms Conformist or otherwise have been found yet for Richard Wearne or Mary Grose.

A Richard Wearne, carpenter of Phillack, and Mary Grose of Gwinnear, marry in the Gwinnear Parish Church on 27th August 1809. A witness to the marriage is Samuel Grose. (1) 

 There is a 1786 marriage record of a Samuel Grose born 1864 in Redruth to an Eleanor Giddy.(1) These seem likely candidates for Mary Grose's parents, and the marriage date fits with Mary's suggested birth from the Census of 1886.

On this basis Richard was about 28 when married in 1809 and Mary about 23, imputing birth years of 1781 and 1786 respectively.

Baptismal records for children are only partial:

  • Elizabeth Giddy Wearne, daughter of Richard and Mary, baptised 18-09-1812 in Phillack.(1)
  • Emily Wearne, daughter of Richard and Mary,baptised 10-03-1824 in Phillack.(1)
  • James and Eleanor Wearne, mother’s surname Grose, baptised in Copperhouse Wesleyan Chapel Hayle 21/03/1819 (Baptisms Index)

An Eliza Wearne (daughter of Richard Wearne) appears in Phillack burials on 16/09/1811, followed by a James Wearne in 12-07-1819.

So of the children mentioned in the 1841 Census there is no baptismal record yet located for Richard, Eleanor who is resumed to be Ellen is baptised late, and there are no baptismal records yet located for Mary Anne, Anne and a second son named James

Elizabeth Wearne, single in 1841 at the census, marries a John Martin in Penzance in 1845 (2)

Mary Anna Grose Wearne agd 25  marries John Phillips, a miner aged 21 in St Ives on 25-12-1849 (Christmas Day). (3) Her imputed birth date is 1824

In the 1851 UK Census Richard and Mary are no longer present, and Ann Wearne and Eliza Wearne are residing at the home of their sister Elizabeth Martin age 38with her husband John.

Richard Wearne aged 67 was buried in St Ives in 1846 (imputing a birth year of 1779). Mary Wearne aged 62 was buried in St Ives in 1850 (imputing her birth year as 1788) (1) 

What became of sons Richard and James is unknown. It is possible that with the downturn in the shipping industry in St Ives Richard who had taken up his father's trade of blockmaker may have moved elsewhere. There is no burial record for either in the current Cornwall OPC database between the 1841 Census and the 1851 Census. (1)

There is a Richard Wearne who marries in Redruth in 1853 and subsequently emigrates to South Australia in 1857 at the age of 28, but this would put this Richard's birth year as 1829, about 8 years later than the Richard of the 1841 Census.


(1) Cornwall On-Line Parish Clerks Database

(2) UK General Records Office 

(3) John Phillipps personal correspondence to his son.