Mevagissey harbour Visiting Cornwall Logo - background is part of Bodmin Moor as seen from Jamaica Inn at Altarnun. The road in the picture is the main A30 through Cornwall. Eden Project near St Austell
 

Famous Men and Women of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

 
  Back to Main Index  
     
  These are some of the famous people that were either born here, currently live here, or lived here for a significant part of their life - to the extent that their names have since become linked with Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly.

For famous actors and actresses who have visited to Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly to appear in films or television programs go to our Television Locations around Cornwall and Film Locations around Cornwall pages.

Ordered alphabetically by surname:
A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

 
  Search by Category  
  John Couch Adams (discovered Neptune)
Michael Adams (chess grandmaster)
Jenny Agutter (actress)
Sir Ben Ainslie (olympian)
John Arnold (pocket chronometer)
Sir John Arundell (soldier & MP)

Morwenna Banks (actress)
Jonah Barrington (squash player)
Sir John Betjeman (poet)
William Bickford (safety fuse)
Captain William Bligh (naval commander)
David Bond (olympian)
Henry Bone (enamel painter)
Edwin Raymond (Ray) Bowden (footballer)
William (Billy) Trewartha Bray (preacher)
Maria Branwell (mother of Brontë Sisters)
William John (W J) Burley (crime writer)

Richard Carew (translator)
Charles Causley (poet & writer)
Chula Chakrabongse (Prince of Siam)
Jack Cock (England footballer)
Baron Sebastian Newbold Coe (athlete & statesman)
Selina Cooper (suffragist & MP)
William Cookworthy (discovered china clay)
Chris Craft (racing driver)
Steven Craine (actor)
John Curtice (professor of politics)

Nick Darke (playwright)
Mary Ann Davenport (actress)
Sir Humphry Davy (miners safety lamp)
Richard Driscoll (screenwriter, film producer, actor [as Steven Craine] and film director)
Daphne du Maurier (novelist)
Robert Duncan (actor)

Matthew Etherington (footballer)

Private James Finn VC (WWI Soldier)
Bob Fitzsimmons (world champion boxer)
Thomas Flamank (lawyer & Cornish martyr)
Michael John Kells (Mick) Fleetwood (drummer)
Jonathan Fox (paralympic swimmer)
Paul Fox (actor)
Dawn French (actress & comedienne)

Guy Gibson (RAF Pilot and holder of the VC)
General Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert (army officer)
Helen Glover MBE (olympian)
Sidney Godolphin (statesman)
Sir William Golding (novelist)
Winston Graham (author)
Simon Grant (television presenter & actor)
Sir Bevil Grenville (Royalist commander)
Sir Richard Grenville (naval commander)
Goldsworthy Gurney (surgeon, chemist & inventor)

F E Halliday (academic & author)
Nick Harkaway (novelist)
John Harris (poet)
Donald Mitchell Healey (rally driver, engineer and speed record holder)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (sculptor)
Al Hodge (musician & songwriter)
Ellen Hunter (paralympic tandem pilot)

Jethro (real name Geoffrey Rowe) (comedian)
Henry Jenner (scholar)
Richard Jose (singer)

Alison King (actress)

Richard Lemon Lander (explorer)
John le Carré (novelist & spy)
George Walter Selwyn Lloyd (composer)
Richard Lower (inventor of blood transfusion)
Stanley Lucas (supercentenarian)

Jessica Mann (writer)
(Anthony) Nigel Martyn (international footballer)
Joshua (Josh) Matavesi (international rugby union footballer)
Rory McGrath (comedian)
Ralph McTell (singer-songwriter)

Robert Morton Nance (authority on the Cornish language)
John Nettles (actor)
Thandie Newton (actress)
Jack Nowell (England rugby union player)

Leon Ockenden (actor)
William Oliver (physician)
John Opie (painter)

Andrew Pears (inventor of Pears Soap)
Richard William Pearse (pioneering aviator)
Dame Annette Penhaligon (politician)
David Charles Penhaligon (MP)
Dolly Pentreath (last native Cornish speaker)
Sue Perkins (comedienne, broadcaster, actress and writer)
John Arthur Phillips (geologist)
Robert Edwin Phillips (army captain and holder of the VC))
Rosamunde Pilcher (novelist)

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch ("Q") (novelist)

Sir Walter Raleigh (explorer)
Cyril Richard (Rick) Rescorla (soldier and 9/11 victim)
Andrew Ridgeley (musician)
Angela Rippon (television personality)
Dr Alfred (A L) Rowse (historian & writer)

Dame Kristin Scott Thomas (actress)
Frances Speedie (actress)
Richard Francis "Dick" Strawbridge (engineer, television presenter and environmentalist)
Tristan Sturrock (actor)

Derek Alan Trevithick Tangye (writer)
Jean Tangye (writer)
Nigel Tangye (writer)
Sir Richard Trevithick Tangye (engineer)
Roger Meddows Taylor (drummer)
D M Thomas (novelist, poet & translator)
Michael (Mike) Trebilcock (footballer)
David Treffry (international financier and High Sheriff of Cornwall)
Sir Jonathan Trelawney (bishop)
Henry Trengrouse (rocket line inventor)
Silvanus Trevail (architect)
Richard Trevithick (inventor of railway locomotive)

John Samuel Wallis (navigator)
Dr James Whetter (historian & politician)
Colin Wilson (author)
Harold Wilson (politician & British Prime Minister)
Edward Woodward (actor)

Return to top of page    
  John Couch Adams (1819 - 1892) - Astronomer & mathematician
John was born at Laneast, near Launceston, on 5th June 1819. His major achievement was predicting the existence and position of Neptune using mathematics. He used calculations to explain that anomalies in the orbit of Uranus were caused by an unknown and unseen planet. The outermost ring of Neptune is named after him. He was Lowndean Professor at the University of Cambridge for thirty-three years from 1859 to his death at Cambridge Observatory on 21st January 1892. He won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1866. The Adams Prize, presented by the University of Cambridge, commemorates his prediction of the position of Neptune.
John Couch Adams
Return to top of page    
Michael Adams (1971 - present day) - Chess grandmaster
Michael was born on 17th November 1971 in Truro.
He became a Grandmaster at the age of 17 and has been a professional chess player for over 20 years.
In 1981, aged just nine, Michael entered the Cornwall County Under-9 Championship and won it. At the same event, he also won the Under-13, Under-15 and Under-18 Championships.
In 1987, Michael won the silver medal at the World Under-16 Championship in Innsbruck, behind the Icelandic player Hannes Stefansson. Later in 1987, at the age of fifteen, he became the world's youngest International Master.
He won the Best Junior prize at the 1987 British Championship and in 1989, still only 17 years old, won the full British Championship title.
More about Michael Adams
 
Return to top of page    
Jenny Agutter (1952 to present) - Actress
Jennifer Ann Agutter was born in Taunton, Somerset on 20 December 1952. Her father, Derek, was a British Army officer and then ran the Combined Services Entertainment, producing shows for the forces. Jenny lived her very early years in Singapore and then in Nicosia, Cyprus. At the age of eight she went to Elmhurst boarding school in Camberley, Surrey.

Jenny remained single until 4th August 1990, when she married Swedish hotelier Johan Tham. Their son, Jonathan, was born on Christmas Day in 1990. Although their main home is in London, they spend a lot of their time at their Cornish home on The Lizard.
More about Jenny Agutter
Actress Jenny Agutter
Return to top of page    
Sir Charles Benedict "Ben" Ainslie (1977 - present) - olympic sailor
Ben was born in Macclesfield on 5th February 1977 and moved to Cornwall as a young child, attending Truro School. At the age of eight he started sailing at Restronquet Sailing Club and entered his first competitive race at the age of ten.
Ben was also the first Olympic Torch bearer for the start of 2012 Torch Relay at Lands End.
More about Ben Ainslie
Ben Ainslie - Four times Olympic Gold medal winner
Return to top of page    
  John Arnold (1736 - 1799) - watchmaker and inventor
Born in Bodmin in 1736, John became one of the very best watchmakers in Britain, striving to produce ever more precise chronometers. John Arnold is known for refinement of the chronometer escapement and balance spring. He set up a factory in Chigwell, Essex to produce his chronometers and in 1788 produced the first pocket chronometer. John Arnold made very accurate regulator clocks for the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. His marine chronometers were of such quality that Captain James Cook used them on his South Sea voyages.
John Arnold died at Eltham in Kent on 11th August 1799.
John Arnold
Return to top of page    
  Sir John Arundell (1576 - 1656?) - Royalist commander & MP
Born at Trerice House (now National trust) near Newquay. He married Mary Cary. He was MP for Mitchell (1597), Cornwall (1601 and 1621-1622), St Mawes (1624) and Tregony (1628-1629 and 1640).
In 1643 he fought at the battle of Braddock Down, near Lostwithiel, with Sir Bevil Grenville and was then appointed governor of Pendennis Castle (now National Trust) at Falmouth. In March 1645, Cromwell's army, under General Fairfax laid siege to Pendennis Castle. It was not until August 17th, after running out of ammunition and food, that Sir John surrendered to Colonel Richard Townsend. This was the second longest siege of the English Civil War. (The siege of Raglan Castle was two days longer.) Sir John is buried at Duloe in East Cornwall.
 
     
Morwenna Tamsin Banks (1964 to present) - Actress, writer and producer
Morwenna was born on 14th January 1964 in Flushing, near Falmouth and attended Truro High School for Girls. She is probably remembered for the Channel 4 comedy series Absolutely, where her best-known character was a schoolgirl who sat on the edge of a desk. Banks made her US television debut on 8th April 1995 on Saturday Night Live. She left the show after four episodes, making her one of the shortest-lived cast members.

Morwenna lives with the comedian and novelist David Baddiel and their two children.
More about Morwenna Banks
Morwenna Tamsin Banks
     
Jonah Barrington (1941 to present) - squash champion
Jonah was born in Morwenstow on 29th April 1941. Between 1967 and 1973, Jonah won six British Open titles. He now lives near Glastonbury Tor, training young squash players from around the world at Millfield school. He also coaches his youngest son, Joey, who had a world ranking of 27 in April 2010.
Jonah Barrington
Return to top of page    
Sir John Betjeman (1906 - 1984) - Poet Laureate, writer and broadcaster
John was born in Hampstead, London on 28th August 1906. As a child John visited Cornwall on holiday regularly as his father owned several properties at Trebetherick.
In 1960 he became a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) and in 1969 he was knighted. He became Poet Laureate in 1972 on the death of Cecil Day Lewis.
From the age of 67 Betjeman began to suffer from Parkinson's Disease and a series of strokes reduced his mobility. He died at his home in Trebetherick, Cornwall on 19th May 1984, aged 77, and is buried half a mile away in the churchyard at St Enodoc's Church.
Sir John Betjeman
     
  William Bickford (1774 - 1834) - Inventor
William was born in Ashburton, Devon in January 1774 and then moved to Truro and later to Tuckingmill in Camborne, where he worked as a currier (dressing, finishing and colouring leather). He is best known for inventing of the safety fuse for igniting gunpowder used in mining. In 1831 he invented a machine to weave and thread two layers of jute yarn over a small tube of gunpowder, which would then be "varnished" with tar in order to make it waterproof. He developed a fuse which, would burn at a known rate of 30 seconds per foot length of the fuse. He started a factory in Tuckingmill with his son-in-law, George Smith, to produce the safety fuse. In the first year the company produced 45 miles of fuse. William died in 1834, just before the factory opened. The factory is now closed and has been replaced by industrial units. There is a plaque on the buildings commemorating Bickford and his invention. His grandson, William Bickford-Smith, became MP for Truro. In 1974, the Bickford-Smith family bought the Trevarno estate between Helston and Crowntown.
William Bickford
Return to top of page    
Captain William Bligh (1754 - 1817) - Royal Navy Officer
William Bligh was born at St Tudy near Bodmin on 9th September 1754.
He signed up for the navy at the age of just seven, serving as "Ship's Boy" and "Captain's Servant" on HMS Monmouth. It was not until he was 16 that he formally began his naval career on HMS Hunter as an able seaman. In 1776 Bligh was selected by Captain James Cook to join the Resolution as sailing master and accompanied Cook on his third and final voyage to the Pacific. He returned to England in 1780 with news of the final voyage and the death of Captain Cook. He fought at Gibraltar with Lord Howe in 1782 and in 1787 was made commander of HMAV Bounty.
More about Captain William Bligh
William Bligh
Return to top of page    
  David John Were Bond (1922 to present) - olympic gold medalist
David Bond was born in Falmouth on 27th March 1922. He is the last surviving British gold medallist from the 1948 London Games.
He grew up in Falmouth with a father who was a passionate sailor and a pioneer of sailing events. David was educated at Harrow and went on to work at the British Aircraft Corporation.

Stewart Morris was a young sailor who would often come to Cornwall to sail with David's father. After World War II was over and the London Olympics were in the offing, Stewart turned to David crew his boat in the Swallow class. David and Stewart underwent six weeks’ training in the build up to the Games, taking it very seriously.
The sailing was held in Torbay between 3rd and 12th August. There were a total of seven races. The racing was very tight in the Swallow class and, by the final race, Bond and Morris needed to be in fifth place or better to win. They finished fourth and gold was theirs. With 1948 being the ‘Austerity Games’, their historic medals came without ribbons. It was the only sailing medal won by Great Britain in the 1948 Olympics.

Bond and Morris never sailed together again after the Olympics. David retired from competitive sailing, getting married and raising twin daughters. He did return to sailing with his wife in 1970's, and they won a number of national titles together. He later became a yacht builder in Cornwall.
 
Return to top of page    
  Henry Bone (1755 - 1834) - enamel painter
Henry Bone was born in Truro on 6th February 1755. in 1767 the Bone family moved to Plymouth and in 1771 Henry became apprenticed to William Cookworthy. The following year they moved to the Bristol china works, and here Henry remained for six years until the business failed. Henry went to London with just one guinea of his own and five pounds borrowed from a friend. At first he started enameling watches and fans but then progressed to making enamel and watercolour portraits. On 24 January 1780 Henry married Elizabeth Vandermeulen, a descendant of the distinguished painter Adam Frans van der Meulen. The couple went on to have 12 children, of which 10 survived. Also in 1780 he exhibited his first picture at the Royal Academy. This was a portrait of his wife and was an unusually large enamel for that period. In 1789 he exhibited "A Muse and Cupid", the largest enamel painting ever undertaken at that time. In 1800 he was appointed enamel painter to the Prince of Wales. In 1801 he was made an associate of the Royal Academy and enamel painter to George III. He continued to hold the royal appointment during the reigns of both George IV and William IV. On 15 April 1811 he was elected a Royal Academician. In 1831 his eyesight failed and he reluctantly took the Royal Academy pension. He died in London on 17th December 1834.
 
Return to top of page    
  Edwin Raymond "Ray" Bowden (1909 - 1998) - footballer
Ray was born in Looe on 13th September 1909. He played for local non-league side Looe as a centre forward and, despite his small frame, he scored over 100 goals in a season, including ten in a single match against Tavistock! He signed for Plymouth Argyle as an amateur in 1926 while he still worked as an auctioneer in the week. He scored 83 goals in 149 league matches for Argyle. Herbert Chapman signed Ray for his Arsenal side in March 1933 for £4,500. In 1934–35 Ray scored 14 league goals (in 24 games) and also won his first cap for England, against Wales on 29 September 1934 (England won 4 - 0). Two months later, he was one of the seven Arsenal players who played for England against World Champions Italy in the "Battle of Highbury" match, which England won 3–2. In all Bowden represented his country six times, scoring once, against Wales in February 1936. In all he played 138 matches for Arsenal, scoring 48 goals. He was sold to Second Division Newcastle United in November 1937 for £5,000 becoming a regular for them for the next two years. With the outbreak of World War II, first-class football was suspended, and the 30-year-old Bowden decided to call it quits. He returned to Plymouth, where he ran a sports shop with his brother Austin. Ray died on 23rd September 1998, at the age of 89, by which time he was the last surviving player of the great inter-war Arsenal side.
(Other Cornish Footballers: Matthew Etherington, Nigel Martyn, Mike Trebilcock )
Ray Bowden in 1936 after the FA Cup Final
Return to top of page    

William (Billy) Trewartha Bray (1794 - 1868) - Cornish preacher
Billy Bray was born in Twelveheads, between Truro and Redruth, on 1st June 1794. After a brief education Billy became a tin miner in Cornwall and later in Devon, where he became a drunkard.
Billy married Joanna in 1821 and they has seven children. In 1823 he had a close escape from a mining accident and later said that he was converted to Christianity in November of that year through reading John Bunyan's Visions of Heaven and Hell.
Billy became attached to a group of Methodists known as the Bible Christians and became a well-known though unconventional preacher; his sermons being punctuated with spontaneous outbursts of singing and dancing. Billy was not only a preacher; he and Joanna raised two orphans along with their own children and were generous in giving help to people around him.
Billy raised enough money to build three new Methodist chapels; one in his home village of Twelveheads, one at Carharrack, and a third, nicknamed 'Three Eyes' chapel because of its three windows, at Kerley Downs near Baldhu.
William James, the American psychologist and philosopher, in his The Varieties of Religious Experience, referred to Billy Bray as "an excellent little illiterate English evangelist". One of Billy's favourite sayings, which he used as a response to people who complained about his enthusiastic singing and shouting, was "If they were to put me in a barrel, I would shout glory out through the bunghole! Praise the Lord!"
Billy Bray died on 25th May 1868 and is buried at the parish church of Saint Michael and All Angels in Baldhu where his grave is marked by a granite obelisk. In 1984 'Three Eyes' chapel, the only one of the three he built that is still standing, was dedicated to his memory.
Painting of Billy Bray
Return to top of page    
Maria Branwell (1783 - 1821) - Mother of Brontë Sisters
Maria was the 8th of 12 children born to Thomas Branwell and Anne Carne on 15th April 1783 in Penzance. They lived at 25 Chapel Street, Penzance. Maria met Reverend Patrick Brontë in 1812, when living with her Aunt Jane and Uncle John Fennell in Yorkshire after the death of her mother and father. They were married on 29th December 1812 at Guiseley Parish Church. Their first two children, Maria and Elizabeth were born in Hightown, near Liversedge, West Yorkshire, in 1814 and 1815. After they moved to Thornton, they had four further children: Charlotte (born 1816), Patrick Branwell (born 1817), Emily Jane (born 1818) and Anne (born 1820). Shortly after Anne was born the Brontës moved to Haworth and, within a year of the move, Maria developed cancer. She died 7½ months later, on 15th September 1821, when Anne was just 20 months old.
Maria Branwell
     
William John (W J) Burley (1914 - 2002) - Crime writer
Burley was born at 3 Lister Place, Falmouth on 1st August 1914. He was educated in Falmouth and Truro Central Technical Schools. Burley worked for Truro Gas Company from 1931 until 1940, when he became Manager of Okehampton Gas Co Ltd. In 1944 he worked for Crewkerne Gas and Coke Co Ltd before returning to Cornwall to work at the Camborne Gas Co Ltd.
In 1950 he obtained a place at Balliol College, Oxford to study for a degree in zoology, gaining a second class honours degree. In September 1953 he was appointed head of biology at Richmond & East Sheen County Grammar School for boys. In September 1955 he became head of biology at Newquay Grammar School for boys, where he remained until he retired in 1974.
His first book, A Taste of Power, was published in 1966 by Victor Gollancz. It featured an amateur detective called Dr Henry Pym and murder in a school. The first Wycliffe book, Three-Toed Pussy, was published in 1968. Between 1968 and 2002, Burley wrote 22 books featuring Cornish detective Charles Wycliffe, which became the basis for the popular Wycliffe television series. He died while working on Wycliffe's Last Lap which would have been the 23rd Wycliffe novel.
 
Return to top of page    
  Richard Carew (1555 - 1620) Translator & Antiquary
Richard is best known for his Survey of Cornwall published in 1602. He was High Sherriff of Cornwall in 1586 - 1587 and succeeded by Sir Walter Raleigh.
 
     
Books by Charles Causley Charles Causley (1917 - 2003) Poet and Writer
Charles Causley was born on 24th August 1917 in St Thomas Hill, Newport, Launceston and educated in Launceston. His father died from a lung condition in 1924 and Charles had to leave school at the age of 15 to support the family. His first play, Runaway, was publishes when Charles was just 19. He served in the Royal Navy in the Second World War as a coder. After the war he trained in Peterborough to be a teacher. On qualifying, he returned to Launceston to teach at the National School and remained there until he retired. In 1955 he was appointed as a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd. In 1958 Charles was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 1967 he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. In 1979 he was a guest on Desert Island Discs with Roy Plomley. In 1986 he was awarded the CBE. He was highly regarded by his fellow poets and on his 70th birthday many of them, including Ted Hughes, Elizabeth Jennings, Roger McGough and Seamus Heaney, contributed to a collection of poetry and prose tributes published in his honour. Charles Causley died on 4th November 2003 and is buried next to his parents in the graveyard of St Thomas Church, Newport, Launceston.
Charles Causley
     
  Chula Chakrabongse (Prince of Siam) (1908 - 1963)
HRH Prince Chula Chakrabongse was born on 28 March 1908 at the Parusakawan Palace in Bangkok. He was sent to Britain at a very young age to be educated. He did not return to Siam (now Thailand) until he was 23. In 1927 Prince Chula was managing a racing team called White Mouse Racing when his cousin, Prince Bira Birabongse, came to England and started driving for them. Prince Bira went on to become a Grand Prix driver, racing in 19 Grands Prix between 1950 to 1954 and scoring a total of 8 points.
In 1938 Prince Chula married an English woman, Elizabeth Hunter, and they lived in at Tredethy, near St Mabyn, Bodmin in the 1940s and 1950s. They had a daughter, Mom Rajawongse Narisa Chakrabongse (Narisa), on 2nd August 1956.
Prince Chula died of cancer on 30 December 1963 at the age of 55.
Prince Chula
Return to top of page    
John Gilbert "Jack" Cock DCM MM (1893 - 1966) England Footballer
Jack Cock was born on 14 November 1893 in Hayle. He was the first Cornishman to play for the English national team. He started his professional football career with Huddersfield Town in 1914. He also played for Chelsea, Everton, Plymouth Argyle and Millwall. His England debut was against Ireland in 1919, where he scored just 30 seconds after the start of the match. This is the third fastest England goal of all time. His only other England appearance was against Scotland in 1920, where he scored again. He starred in several films, including The Winning Goal in 1920 and The Great Game in 1930. He later ran a pub in New Cross, Lewisham, London. Jack continued to live in South London until he died on 19 April 1966 at the age of 72.
Jack Cock - footballer
     
Baron Sebastian Newbold Coe (1956 - date) - Olympic athlete, politician and statesman (Seb Coe, Lord Coe or Baron Coe of Ranmore)
Born in Chiswick in London, Seb was a middle distance runner, winning Olympic gold medals in the 1500m in 1980 and again in 1984. In 1992 he became MP (Conservative) for the Falmouth and Camborne constituency until losing the seat in the 1997 General Election. He became a life peer in 2000. He was the head of the London bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics and then became the chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG). In 2007, he was also elected a vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations. On 25 August 2011, he was re-elected for another four year term. On 16th December 2012, Seb was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Sports Personality show by the Duchess of Cambridge.
Lord Coe - Sebastian Coe
Return to top of page    
Selina Cooper (1864 - 1946) - Suffragist and trade union activist
Selina was born in Callington in 1864 as Selina Coombe but moved to Barnoldswick in Yorkshire as a child following the death of her father from typhoid. She worked from the age of 12 in Barnoldswick Mill. She became active in the trade union and learnt basic medical skills, as most of her co-workers could not afford doctors. Selina married Robert Cooper, a committed socialist and trade unionist who had been sacked from the Post Office for his union activities. They had three children, but only two of them survived infancy. Selina was the only working class woman with the confidence to stand up and to push through motions at Labour Party conferences on women’s suffrage. Selina was horrified when the Pankhursts eventually resorted to arson. The radical suffragists also disagreed with the Pankhursts’ aims. They did not accept that the vote was an end in itself. In 1910 she was chosen to be one of four women to present the case for women's suffrage to Herbert Asquith, the Prime Minister at the time. During the World War I Selina developed the first ever Maternity Centre in Nelson. She was later elected to the town council and went on to become a local magistrate. In the 1930s Selina Cooper played a prominent role in the campaigns against fascism, against military conscription and to protect women's rights. She died in 1946
 
Return to top of page    
  William Cookworthy (1705 - 1780) - Pharmacist
William was born in Kingsbridge in Devon on 12 April 1705 to Quaker parents, William and Edith. William's father died in October 1717 and in 1720 they lost their family's investment in the South Sea Company failure. William was apprenticed to the Bevan Brothers in London and the Bevans later set him up in business in Plymouth. He brought his brothers, Philip and Benjamin, into the partnership and bought out the Bevans' interest in 1745. William discovered china clay near St Austell, Cornwall and devised a way of making porcelain, which previously had to be imported from China. Cookworthy helped Eddystone lighthouse builder John Smeaton with the development of hydraulic lime, a form of mortar which will set under water and was essential to the successful building of the lighthouse. Smeaton also designed Charlestown harbour.
In 1768 William founded a works at Plymouth for the production of Plymouth Porcelain. William died on 17 October 1780.
 
Return to top of page    
  Chris Craft (1939 - date) - Racing driver
Christopher Craft was born in Porthleven on 17th November 1939. His father was a bank manager from Essex who went on to become a missionary in Africa. Chris was a buyer of ladies underwear in his youth before becoming involved in motor racing through his brother Andrew, who owned a body shop in Woodford Green. He started racing in 1962 in a Ford Anglia and went on to race a variety of other touring cars until he tried his hand at single seaters in a Merlyn Formula 3 car. In 1971, he participated in two World Championship Formula One Grands Prix driving a Brabham Ford. He failed to qualify for his first World Championship race (the 1971 Canadian Grand Prix). His second grand prix, the US at Watkins Glen, ended with a suspension failure and tyre problems during the race. Chris also competed in many other forms of motor racing, including saloon cars, notably with a Ford Capri; sports cars, including a period with the Dome team in the early 1980s; Formula 3 and Formula 5000. One of the highlights of his career was a third place finish in the 1976 24 Hours of Le Mans. After his race career Chris Craft started the Light Car Company with F1 designer Gordon Murray to build the Light Car Company Rocket.
 
Return to top of page    
John Kevin Curtice (1953 to present) - Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University in Glasgow and Research Consultant to NatCen Social Research in London and Edinburgh.
John was born on 10th December 1953 in Redruth. His parents were Thomas John and Mildred Winifred Curtice. He lived his early life in St Austell. John became interested in politics at what he describes as "the unnaturally early age of 11" when, following the death of Hugh Gaitskell, Harold Wilson won the 1964 election for Labour. His mother and uncle went on to become involved in local politics as councillors for different parties.
More about John Curtice
Professor John Curtice
Return to top of page    
Nick Darke Books Nick Darke (1948 - 2005) - Playwright, writer and poet
Nicholas Temperley Watson Darke was born at St Eval, near Padstow, on 29th August 1948. He lived most of his life in Porthcothan, where his family have lived for four generations after moving there from Padstow.
More about Nick Darke
 
Return to top of page    
  Mary Ann Davenport (1759 - 1843) - Actress
Mary was born as Mary Ann Harvey in Launceston in 1759. Her first stage appearance was at Bath in December of 1784, where she played the part of Lappet in The Miser by Henry Fielding. Two years later she met and married another actor, George Gosling Davenport. They later worked at Covent Garden, where George became the secretary to the Covent Garden Theatrical Fund. After Georges death in 1812, Mary lived with her daughter. She retired from the stage on 25 May 1830 and died at 17 St Michael's Place, Brompton, London, on 8 May 1843. She is buried at St Paul's, Covent Garden.
 
Return to top of page    
Sir Humphry Davy (1778 - 1829) - Chemist and inventor of the Davy Lamp
Humphry was born on 17 December 1778 in Penzance. His father was a woodcarver. He was educated in Penzance and then Truro Grammar School. He became an assistant in the newly opened Pneumatic Institution of the scientist, Dr Beddoes, in Bristol. He was president of the Royal Society for seven years and knighted in 1812. Also in 1812 he was asked to devise a miners lamp that would not ignite flammable gases after an explosion in a coal mine at Feeling Colliery near Sunderland killed 89 miners. His solution to the problem was relevantly simple and easy to make. He used a fine wire gauze to cover the flame in the lamp. Air passes through the gauze to provide the flame with oxygen, but the denser explosive gases were prevented from coming into contact with the naked flame. Although Davy patented his invention, he allowed anybody to use it. He was also the founder of the Zoological Society, that runs the zoo in Regents Park. He died in Switzerland at the age of 51 in May 1829.
 
Return to top of page    
Richard Driscoll (1951 to date) - screenwriter, film producer, actor and film director
Richard was born on 14th June 1951 in Cornwall. His acting career (under the name of Steven Craine) included appearances in It Ain't Half Hot Mum, as Private Jones, The District Nurse, as John Morris, Boon, as Butch, Eldorado, as Oliver Rosenblum and Back2Hell, as George Carney.

Richard established the House of Fear film studios at Higher Nanpean Farm near Four Lanes, Redruth. He specialises in horror films in 3D. He directed The Comic (1985), Silent Heroes (1988), Kannibal (2001), Evil Calls (2008), Eldorado (2010), Back2Hell (2011), The Legend of Harrow Woods (2011) and GrindHouse 2wo (2012).
Richard was also an extra in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi as an X-Wing fighter. He can be seen briefly pushing an amplifier across the stage in the Sex Pistols film The Great Rock & Roll Swindle,
Richard had such a passion for animals that he opened an animal sanctuary at his film studio near Redruth.
In June 2012, the farm, land and studio buildings at Higher Nanpean Farm were on the market at a mere £349,950.
Richard is currently directing and appearing in The Devil Rides Out with Lysette Anthony, Oliver Tobias and Dudley Sutton. It is scheduled for release in June 2013.
 
Return to top of page    
Books by Daphne du Maurier
Daphne du Maurier (1907 - 1989) - Novelist
Daphne was born in London on 13th May 1907 to actor and theatre manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and actress Muriel Beaumont. Her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published in 1931. Her most notable works are probably Rebecca, Jamaica Inn, The Scapegoat and The Birds (immortalised in Alfred Hitchcock's film version). Daphne completed the unfinished last novel of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, Castle Dor. Her 1941 historical novel Frenchman's Creek was made into a film in 1944 and starred Joan Fontaine, Arturo de Córdova, and Basil Rathbone. Daphne du Maurier wrote three plays, the first being an adaptation of her novel Rebecca in 1940. She followed this in 1943 with The Years Between and September Tide in 1948.
Read more about Daphne du Maurier and her novels
Daphne du Maurier
Return to top of page    
Robert Duncan (1952 to present day) - Actor
Robert Duncan was born as Robert Welch in St Austell on 27th July 1952. He is best known for playing the part of Gus, the station manager, in Drop the Dead Donkey. His stage name of Robert Duncan came from taking the first name of his younger brother, Duncan. He has appeared in many television dramas, including Boon, Eastenders, The Bill and London's Burning. He also played Peter Hayes in Casualty in 1995 and 1996. Robert still does a lot of theatre work. Robert appeared in the Radio 4 sitcom Old Harry's Game from 1998, playing the part of Scumspawn. In 2010 he toured in a production of "Witness for the Prosecution" by Agatha Christie. He currently lives in Hertfordshire with his partner, the former model and professional photographer, Jean Havilland.
 
Return to top of page    
  Matthew Etherington (1981 to present day) - Footballer
Matthew was born on 14th August 1981 in Truro. As a left-sided midfielder and winger, he came through the youth ranks at Peterborough United and made his league debut aged 15 years 262 days, in a 2–1 win at Brentford on 3 May 1997. He made a total of 58 appearances for Peterborough in all competitions, scoring six goals. He went on trial at Manchester United in July 1999, but at the end of December 1999, he joined Tottenham Hotspur in a deal that valued him at £500,000. He struggled during his three year stint at Spurs and, in 2001, spent two months on loan to Bradford City, where he made 13 appearances and scored one goal. He scored his first Premiership goal at Spurs in a 2–2 draw with Everton on 17 August 2002. Etherington made 51 appearances for Tottenham, 28 of these as a substitute, scoring two goals, against Bolton in the FA Cup and Everton in the league. In August 2003, he joined West Ham in an exchange deal plus cash for Fredi Kanouté. He played in the 2006 FA Cup Final when West Ham lost on penalties to Liverpool. He completed 195 games for West Ham, in all competitions, scoring 18 goals, before being sold to Stoke City, on a three and a half year contract, on 8 January 2009. He played in the 2010 FA Cup Final as Stoke lost 1–0 to Manchester City.
Etherington appeared for the England Under-20 team at the 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup, playing alongside players such as Stuart Taylor, Ashley Cole, Peter Crouch, Lee Canoville and Andy Johnson. However, the team failed to score a single goal in their three group matches, and finished bottom of their group.
(Other Cornish Footballers: Edwin Raymond (Ray) Bowden, Nigel Martyn, Mike Trebilcock )
Matthew Etherington in West Ham United strip
Return to top of page    
  Private James Henry Finn VC (1893 - 1917) - recipient of the Victoria Cross
James was born on 24th November 1893 at St Clement, Truro and later moved to Downing Street in Bodmin. He had five brothers and five sisters. After going to South Wales looking for work, James worked at Cwmtillery colliery near Abertillery. At the outbreak of World War I he enlisted with the local Regiment, the 4th Battalion of the South Wales Borderers.
On 9 April 1916 at Sanna-i-Yat, Mesopotamia (now Iraq), 22 year old Private Fynn (this was the incorrect spelling of his surname in Army records and was never corrected) earned the Victoria Cross for his most conspicuous bravery:
" After a night attack he was one of a small party which dug-in in front of our advanced line and about 300 yards from the enemy's trenches. Seeing several wounded men lying out in front he went out and bandaged them all under heavy fire, making several journeys in order to do so. He then went back to our advanced trench for a stretcher and, being unable to get one, he himself carried on his back a badly wounded man into safety. He then returned and, aided by another man who was wounded during the act, carried in another badly wounded man. He was under continuous fire while performing this gallant work."

There is some confusion about when and where Private Finn was killed: One report is that although he was wounded he survived the night attack, only to be killed the following year in a field hospital, that was hit by an enemy shell, at Ypres (or at Noel Plain, 50 miles south of Bagdad) on 30 March 1917. Another report is that he died of his injuries later on the day of his gallantry. The Mesopotamia/Iraq versions are supported by a record of his death on the Basra Memorial, which was originally sited within Basra War Cemetery but was moved in 1997 to a new site 32 kilometres along the road to Nasiriyah. In Bodmin he is remembered on his father's headstone in Bodmin Cemetery with the words "Also his son Pte J.H. FINN VC Killed in Action 31 March 1917". The location of Iraq and date of 31st March 1917 is the most likely.

In 1966 he was also remembered at his home town of Bodmin when an estate was named "Finn VC Estate" in his honour. A plaque commemorating the event can be seen opposite the library in Bodmin. His VC is now kept locked away in a vault after it was donated to Bodmin Town Council, it has not been shown in public for many years. He was also awarded the Serbian "VC", the Order of Karageorge.


The Victoria Cross
Return to top of page    
Bob Fitzsimmons (1863 - 1917) - Triple world boxing champion
Born 26th May 1863 in Helston, Robert Fitzsimmons was the youngest of 12 children. At the age of 10 Bob and his family moved to Timaru in New Zealand. By 1882 Bob was an established boxer with a fight record of 11 wins from 11 fights. In 1890 Bob had moved to San Francisco where he won his first world championship, beating Kack Dempsey to win the world middleweight title. In March 1897 he knocked out Gentleman Jim Corbett in the 14th round to add the world heavyweight title. This was the first championship bout ever to be filmed. His third title, in 1903, was the world light heavyweight championship, which he won by beating George Gardner on points.
Bob continued boxing around the world before returning to Chicago, where he died of pneumonia on 22nd October 1917.
There is a plaque on a cottage in Wendron Street, Helston to mark his birthplace. The name on the plaque is Fitzsimons (with one 'm') as it appears on his birth certificate. Throughout his boxing career and in his many biographies Fitzsimmons was always spelt with a double 'm'.
 
Return to top of page    
  Thomas Flamank(Executed 1497) - Lawyer & Martyr
Thomas was the chief instigator of the Cornish rebellion of 1497. Believing that a tax to fund Henry VII's fight against Scotland was illegal under Stannary Law, Thomas, along with blacksmith Michael Joseph, led a march of Cornishmen from St Keverne to London to present a petition to the king. Arriving at Blackheath they were confronted by 10,000 of the king's men under Lord Daubeney. 1,500 cornishmen were taken prisoner. Thomas Flamank and Michael Joseph were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn on 24th June 1497. A statue of the two men was unveiled at St Keverne on the 500th anniversary. A commemorative plaque was unveiled at Blackheath Common at the same time.
 
Return to top of page    
Michael John Kells (Mick) Fleetwood (1947 - present day) - Musician
Mick was born in Redruth on 24th June 1947. His father was an RAF fighter pilot and the family soon moved to Egypt and then on to Norway.
Mick attended school in Norway and became fluent in Norwegian. He then attended several boarding schools in England, including the Kings School, Sherbone Park, Gloucestershire. His exam results were poor and he dropped out of school at the age of 15.
In 1963 he moved to London to pursue a career as a drummer. Mick's first gig was in Peter Barden's band The Cheynes. This was followed by stints in the Bo Street Runners, Peter Bs, Shotgun Express (with Rod Stewart), and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.
Mick was asked by singer and guitarist Peter Green to join him along with bassist John McVie in his new band Fleetwood Mac.
Read more about Mick Fleetwood and Fleetwood Mac.
Mick Fleetwood
Return to top of page    
Paul Fox (1979 - present day) - Actor
Paul was born on 20th March 1979 in Truro but moved to Birkenhead as a baby. He attended the Glenda Jackson Youth Theatre in Birkenhead. He studied for a BTEC in Performing Arts and an A Level in Theatre Studies at West Cheshire College. His television debut was in 1995 in the Channel 4 drama Hearts and Minds, playing Tony, the nephew of Christopher Eccleston's character, Drew Mackenzie. He played Will Cairns in two episodes of Emmerdale in 1998. Also in 1998 he played the part of the male martyr in Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett and Joseph Fiennes. In 1999, 2000, 2001 and again in 2006 he played the part of Mark Redman, the long-lost son of Mike Baldwin, in Coronation Street. In 2003 to 2007 Paul played the character of Dr Jeff Goodwin in The Royal and in 2008 he played Simon Tanner on Casualty. In 2004 he played Marcus Fagen in the Canadian television series Starhunter.
 
Return to top of page    
  Jonathan Fox (1991 - present day) - Paralympic swimmer
Jonathan was born in Plymouth on 30th May 1991 with cerebral palsy. He was educated at Cornwall College and currently lives in St Stephen, near St Austell.
He has trained with the Newquay Comorants and, more recently, at Manchester HPC.
In the Beijing Paralympics in 2008 Jonathan won the Silver medal in the 100m Backstroke (S7). In the London Paralympics in 2012 he won the Gold medal in the 100m Backstroke (S7), having already set a new world record of 1:09.86 earlier in the day in the heats.
 
Return to top of page    
Dawn French (1957 to present) Actress & comedienne
Dawn Roma French was born in Holyhead, Anglesey, on 11th October 1957. She was educated at the independent St Dunstan's Abbey boarding school on North Road West in Plymouth, Devon. Her father, Denys, was a member of the Royal Air Force, being stationed at RAF Valley and the RAF partly funded Dawn's private education. Her father committed suicide when Dawn was 19. Dawn went on to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1977, where she met her future comedy partner, Jennifer Saunders. Both of them had came from RAF backgrounds and had grown up on the same base, without ever meeting. Dawn and Jennifer shared a flat whilst at college and were influenced to do comedy by their flatmates as part of their college projects. French and Saunders eventually came to the attention of the public as members of The Comic Strip, a part of the alternative comedy scene in the early 1980s.
Read more about Dawn French
Return to top of page    
Wing Commander Guy Penrose Gibson VC, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, RAF (1918 - 1944) - RAF Pilot of WWII
Guy Gibson was born in Simla, India on 12 August 1918. He moved with his family to Porthleven, in 1924. in 1926 he attended St Georges's Prep School in Folkestone, Kent and later St Edward's School, Oxford. In 1936 he joined the RAF, becoming an Acting Pilot Officer. His service number was 39438. He learnt to fly at No 2 Flying Training School at RAF Scopwick in Lincolnshire. By the start of the Second World War he was a bomber pilot with 83 Squadron, flying the Handley Page Hampden. In July 1940 he won the Distinguished Flying Cross. After completing his first tour of duty of 27 operational sorties, Gibson volunteered for RAF Fighter Command.
Read more about Guy Gibson
 
Return to top of page    
  General Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert (1785 - 1853) - Army Officer
Walter was born in Bodmin on 18th March 1785. A cadet in the Bengal Infantry at the age of 15, Walter was posted to India, arriving in October 1801.He rose through the ranks being promoted to Major in November 1820, Lieutenant-Colonel of the newly-formed 39th Bengal Native Infantry in 1824, Colonel of the 35th Native Infantry and of the 1st Bengal European Fusiliers in 1832, Major-General in June 1838 and finally Lieutenant-General in November 1851. He was made a KCB in April 1846, a GCB in June 1849 and a baronet in 1850. Following his death a 144 ft tall memorial obelisk was erected on the Bodmin Beacon.
 
Return to top of page    
  Helen Glover MBE (1986 - present) - Olympic Gold in Rowing
Helen was born in Truro on 17th June 1986. She was educated at Humphrey Davy School in Penzance and later at Millfield School in Somerset. She went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Wales.
She didn't start rowing until 2008 while she was teaching in Bath. She gained a place on the GB Rowing Team's Start programme. Helen won a gold medal in the senior single sculls at Women's Henley in 2009 and followed up with a 3rd place rowing for the Reading University team at the Women's Eights Head of the River Race in 2010.
Lottery funding allowed Helen to give up her teaching job to concentrate on her rowing. She was paired with Heather Stanning in the women's coxless pairs for the 2010 World Cup Series, gaining a 9th place in Bled and a 5th place in Munich. They won a silver medal at the 2010 World Rowing Championships. In 2011 they won the British rowing trials and a further silver medal in the 2011 World Championships in Bled, Slovenia.
On Wednesday 1st Ausust 2012 Helen and Heather won the first Gold medal for Team GB in the London 2012 Olympics. This was also the first ever Olympic gold medal for British women's rowing. To commemorate their success Royal Mail painted a post box near the harbour in Penzance in gold paint. The British pair also appeared on a 1st Class stamp the following day.
In the 2013 New Year's Honours, Helen was awarded an MBE for services to sport.
On 15th September 2015 Helen became engaged to television wildlife presenter Steve Backshall in Namibia. They first met at a Sport relief event in 2014.
In August 2016, along with partner (and maid of honour) Heather Standing, Helen repeated her 2012 achievement of winning the gold medal in the women's coxless pairs in Rio.
Heather and Steve married on Sturday 10th September 2016 at Prussia Cove, near Penzance.
 
Return to top of page    
  Sidney Godolphin (1645 - 1712) - Statesman
Born in Helston in 1645, Sidney became Helston's Member of Parliament in 1668. In 1680 he became Baron Godolphin of Rialton and First Lord of the Treasury. Queen Anne made him Lord High Treasurer in 1702. In 1706 he became Viscount Rialton and Earl of Godolphin.
 
     
Books by William Golding Sir William Gerald Golding (1911 - 1993) Novelist and Nobel Prize winner
Born at his grandmother's house, 47 Mountwise, Newquay, on 19th September 1911. He grew up in Marlborough, Wiltshire but spent many childhood holidays in Newquay. He attended Marlborough Grammar School, where his father was a science master. In 1930 William went to Oxford University as an undergraduate at Brasenose College, where he read Natural Sciences for two years before transferring to English Literature. He gained his BA (Hons) Second Class in the summer of 1934, and later that year his first book, Poems, was published in London by Macmillan & Co.
William married Ann Brookfield on 30th September 1939 and they had two children, Judy and David. William Golding joined the Royal Navy in 1940. During World War II, he fought in the Royal Navy and was briefly involved in the pursuit and sinking of Germany's mightiest battleship, the Bismarck. He also participated in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, commanding a landing ship that fired salvoes of rockets onto the beaches, and then in a naval action at Walcheren in which 23 out of 24 assault craft were sunk. At the end op the war he returned to teaching and writing.
His most famous novel, The Lord of the Flies, was published by Faber in September 1954. He was awarded the Booker Prize for literature in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book of the trilogy To the Ends of the Earth. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983.
In 1985, William and his family moved to Tullimaar House at Perranarworthal, near Truro, Cornwall. In 1988 he was knighted. William Golding died of heart failure at Tullimaar House on 19th June 1993. He was buried in the village churchyard at Bowerchalke, Wiltshire. He left the draft of a novel, The Double Tongue, set in ancient Delphi, which was published posthumously. He is survived by his daughter, the author Judy Golding, and his son David, who still lives at Tullimaar House.
 
Return to top of page    
Winston Mawdsley Graham OBE (1908 - 2003) Novelist
Winston was born in Victoria Park, Manchester on 30th June 1908. In 1925 he moved to Perranporth, where he lived until 1959. In September 1939 he married Jean Williamson and they had two children, Andrew and Rosamund.
Winston had his first novel, The House with the Stained Glass Windows, published in 1934. He wrote another 11 novels before he wrote the first of the Poldark novels, Ross Poldark, in 1945. In all he wrote 51 books, including 12 Poldark novels, the non-fiction Poldark's Cornwall and his autobiography, Memoirs of a Private Man.
His 1961 novel Marnie was made into a film of that name by Alfred Hitchcock in 1964, but the setting was changed to the USA and many details changed.
After leaving Cornwall, Winston lived mainly in East Sussex and died in London on 10th July 2003.
Winston was Chairman of the Society of Authors and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 1983 was honoured with the Order of the British Empire (OBE). A lot of Winston Graham's manuscripts and papers were donated to the Royal Institute of Cornwall by his children after his death. They are in the Courtney Library at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.
Winston Graham - author of the Poldark novels 
Return to top of page    
  Simon Grant (1978 - present) Television presenter and actor.
Simon was born on 3rd July 1978 (or 3rd November 1980) in Falmouth. He began his presenting career on The Saturday Show, alongside Fearne Cotton, in 2002. He went on to become a regular presenter on CBBC. More recently he has starred in a television commercial for the online insurance and holiday finders 'Money Supermarket.com'.
 
Return to top of page    
  Sir Bevil Grenville (1596 - 1643) Royalist commander
Born near Withiel to the west of Bodmin, he was the grandson of Sir Richard Grenville. During the English Civil War he won battles at Braddock Down near Lostwithiel, and at Stratton Hill near Bude. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Lansdown Hill outside Bath, in which his Royalist army defeated the Parliamentarians of Cromwell. The Cornish soldiers in his command then returned to Cornwall carrying his body. He is buried in a tomb at Kilkhampton Church near Bude.
 
     
  Sir Richard Grenville (1542 - 1591) - Naval captain
Lived at Stowe, near Kilkhampton in North Cornwall. His father, Roger Grenville, was captain of the Mary Rose when it sank in the Solent in 1545. Richard was a cousin to Sir Walter Raleigh and friends of Sir Francis Drake. Richard died as captain of HMS Revenge in September 1591 after bloody battle against a fleet of about fifty Spanish ships.
 
Return to top of page    
  Goldsworthy Gurney (1793 - 1875) - Surgeon, chemist, architect & inventor
Goldsworthy Gurney was born at Treator near Padstow on 14 February 1793. The Gurney family could trace its ancestry back to the Counts de Gourney, who arrived in 1066 with William the Conqueror. Goldsworthy went to Truro Grammar School. After leaving school studied medicine with a Dr Avery at Wadebridge and took over the practice in 1813. He married a farmer's daughter, Elizabeth Symons, from Launcells and settled in Wadebridge where he practiced as a surgeon. in 1823 was awarded an Isis gold medal of the Royal Society of Arts for devising an oxy-hydrogen blowpipe (similar to a bunsen burner). In 1830, Gurney leased some land overlooking Summerleaze Beach at Bude and started construction of a new house to be built amongst the sand hills. The property rested on a concrete raft foundation, one of the earliest examples of this form. Here, Gurney developed the principle of illumination by the forcing of oxygen into a flame to increase the brilliance of that flame. He called this bright light the Bude Light. Bude lights were fitted in the House of Commons. It is claimed that he replaced 280 candles with 3 of his lamps and they lit the House for 60 years until the arrival of electricity. This work was applied to lighthouse lamps, in the choice of light source and the use of magnifying lenses to intensify the light. He introduced a system of on-off patterns to enable those at sea to identify which lighthouse they could see by virtue of the flashing.
The Gurney Stove, an invention which Gurney patented in 1856, was used extensively to heat a variety of buildings. Its most interesting feature is the use of ribs to increase the external surface area of the stove, thereby increasing the amount of heat transferred into the room.
He was was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1863, shortly before suffering a stroke. He retired to his small house at Poughill (near Bude) with his daughter until his death on 28 February 1875. He is buried at Launcells parish church.
 
Return to top of page    
F E Halliday (1903 - 1982) - academic & author
Frank Ernest Halliday was born in Bradford, Yorkshire on 10th February 1903. He was educated at Kings College, Cambridge, where he gained an MA in 1928. In 1927 he married Nancibel Beth Gaunt. They had one son. Halliday taught English and history at Cheltenham College from 1929 to 1948. After he retired from teaching, they moved to St Ives, where he began his professional writing. In 1953 he produced a modernised edition of Richard Carew's The Survey of Cornwall. He wrote or edited more than 20 books in his lifetime, including a volume of poetry, Meditation at Bolerium. His compendium A Shakespeare Companion was a basic reference work for a generation of readers. It was first published in 1950 and the book went through a major revision and updating for a new edition in 1964 to mark the quarter centenary of Shakespeare's birth.
In 1959 Halliday wrote A History of Cornwall, He also wrote books on Chaucer, Wordsworth, Thomas Hardy, Dr Johnson and Robert Browning.
Frank died on 26th March 1982 at the age of 79.
 
Return to top of page    
Nick Harkaway (1972 - present) - Novelist
Nick is the fourth son of novelist John le Carré and was born in Cornwall in 1972. He studied philosophy, sociology, and politics at Clare College, Cambridge, and then worked in the film industry. He now lives in London with his wife, Clare, who runs a human rights charity called Reprieve, and their daughter, Clemency. His first novel was The Gone-Away World and a second, Angelmaker, is due in February 2012. He has trained in fencing, aikido, jujitsu, and kickboxing.
 
Return to top of page    
John Harris (1820 - 1884) - Poet
John was born and raised in a 2-bedroom cottage at Bolenowe Carn, a small village near Camborne. At the age of ten or twelve he went to work at Dolcoath mine. At this time he started writing poetry in celebration of his native landscape around Carn Brea as well as the scenic splendours of Land's End and the Lizard. John could not afford pen and paper, so he improvised with blackberry juice for ink and grocery bags for paper. In the 1840s he married Jane Rule and together they had two sons and two daughters. Around 1850 one of his poems was published in a magazine. The poem attracted great interest, and he was encouraged to produce a collection of poems, which was published in 1853. Soon after he became a Scripture Reader in Falmouth, where he spent the second half of his life. During this time he produced his most important work, the poem A Story of Carn Brea (1863). He died in 1884 having requested that he should be buried at Treslothan Chapel, near the village of Troon and at the foot of Carn Brea.
 
Return to top of page    


Donald Mitchell Healey (1898 - 1988) - Rally driver, engineer and speed record holder
Donald Mitchell Healey was born on 3rd July 1898 in Perranporth. He became interested in everything mechanical from an early age, but his greatest interest was in aircraft. After leaving school he joined the Sopwith Aviation Company and from there he volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps (RFC.), where he earned his "wings" in 1916. During the First World War, he served on anti-Zeppelin patrols and also as a flying instructor.
After being shot down by British anti-aircraft fire on one of the first night bomber missions of the war, he was invalided out of the RFC at the age of 18. He returned to Cornwall and enrolled in a correspondence course in automobile engineering. After the war, in 1919, he opened the first garage in Perranporth.
In 1921, Donald Healey married Ivy Maud James and they had three sons, Geoffrey, John, and Brian. In 1931, Donald Healey won the Monte Carlo Rally driving an Invicta. He has previously competed in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1929 and subsequently finished in the top eight places in 1932, 1934 and 1936.
In 1932 Donald won the class for unlimited sports cars at the Brighton Speed Trials, driving an Invicta, in a time of 28.8 sec for the half mile course.
Read more about Donald Healey
Return to top of page    
Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903 - 1975) - Sculptor
Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was born on 10th January 1903 in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. She was educated at Wakefield Girls High School, where she won a scholarship and studied at the Leeds School of Art from 1920 (where she met Henry Moore). Barbara then won a County scholarship to the Royal College of Art and studied there from 1921 until she was awarded the diploma of the Royal College of Art in 1924. She later studied for a period in Italy.
Her first marriage was to the sculptor John Skeaping and they had a son, Paul, in 1929. She married the painter Ben Nicholson on 17 November 1938. They has already had triplets in 1934 (Simon, Rachel and Sarah). The couple divorced in 1951.
Barbara's eldest son, Paul, was killed on 13 February 1953 in a plane crash while serving with the RAF in Thailand. Barbara created a memorial to him, entitled Madonna and Child, in the church in St Ives. Barbara Hepworth was featured in the 1964 documentary film 5 British Sculptors (Work and Talk) by American filmmaker Warren Forma.
Barbara was made a Dame in 1965. She died during a fire in her St Ives studio in Cornwall on 20th May 1975. She was aged 72. Her work can be seen at the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St Ives, Trewyn Garden, St Ives and outside the St Ives Guildhall.
 
Return to top of page    
Al Hodge (1950 - 2006) - Guitarist & Songwriter
Alan Hodge was born in Bodmin in 1950. He was educated at Bodmin Comprehensive School, where he made his performing debut in 1963, playing Foot Tapper by The Shadows in front of the entire school. The same year he joined local band The Jaguars and they played at local venues until 1966. All left school on 1966 and joined another Cornish band, The Onyx. Together they toured the UK and Europe for several years. They appeared on Radio One quite regularly. The band recorded 7 singles on the Pye label. After returning to Cornwall in 1970 Al played with the Bodmin band Ginhouse and worked as a session musician at The Sawmills Studio in Golant. In 1975 he formed Rogue and recorded 3 albums for CBS. 1978 saw the formation of the The Al Hodge Band, with Alan Eden (drums) and Dave Quinn (bass). Initially put together as the house band at the Sawmills Recording Studio at Golant in 1971 they, as The Mechanics got their big break in 1980 as the backing band to Leo Sayer. They went on two world tours with Leo, played on his BBC2 TV series 'This Is Leo', and recorded with him. They also worked with Linda Ronstadt, Randy Crawford, Bill Cosby (doing 60 shows in a month at the Las Vagas Hilton) and Vanessa Williams.
In 1985 Al returned to Cornwall and wrote in partnership with Michael Dan Ehmig, producing Rock 'N' Roll Mercenaries which was recorded by Meatloaf and John Parr and achieved Platinum album sales. In 1999 - 2000 All toured with Elkie Brooks. He wrote and recorded with Suzi Quatro in 2001. In the next couple of years Al wrote music for television, films and corporate videos as well as gigs and recording with The Mechanics. In 2005 he was teaching guitar in some local schools.
After a two-year battle with a brain tumour, Al died on 6th July 2006 at Bodmin Hospital.
He is remembered each year at the Alstock Festival
 
Return to top of page    
  Ellen Hunter OBE (1968 - present day) - paralympics able-bodied cyclist and tandem pilot.
Elen was born in Wrexham on 12 February 1968. She now lives with her husband, Paul, and two children in Penryn near Falmouth.
Ellen has been the tandem pilot for visually impaired cyclist Aileen McGlynn OBE at two Paralympic Games.
She partnered Aileen in the Athens Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004, winning gold in the Kilo and silver in the Sprint. In 2008, at the Beijing Paralympic Games, they won gold medals in both the Kilo and Pursuit events
 
Return to top of page    
Jethro (real name Geoffrey Rowe) (1948 - present) - Comedian
Geoffrey was born in St Buryan in 1948. He was an apprentice carpenter and worked as a timber man in the local tin mine. At 18 he was a member of the St Just and District Operatic Society. His fine bass voice and natural comic talent made him a regular pub attraction. He played over 100 games for the Pirates Rugby Team, now better known as the Cornish Pirates, between 1970 and 1975. His first television appearance was on the local ITV station, Westward, as a co-host of their Treasure Hunt quiz program. His first national television appearance was on the Des O'Connor Tonight show in 1990. Apart from a record nine appearances in Des O'Connor's shows he has appeared five times on Jim Davidson's Generation Game, including two demonstrations on how to make a Cornish pasty. He has had his own show, The Jethro Junction on HTV and, in 2001, appeared before the Queen on the Royal Variety Show. He now lives just out of Cornwall at Lewdown near Okehampton but spends most of the year on tour. Tour dates can be found on his official website. Jethro's DVDs are available through our DVD page.
 
Return to top of page    

Henry Jenner (1848 – 1934) - Scholar of Celtic languages
Henry was born at St Columb Major on 8th August 1848. His father was one of two curates to the Rector of St Columb Major, and later consecrated (though not enthroned) as the first Bishop of Dunedin. Henry's earliest interest in the Cornish language is mentioned in an article by Robert Morton Nance entitled "Cornish Beginnings". In 1874 Henry Jenner continued his interest in Celtic languages, and in 1875 he read a paper to the Philological Society in London, his subject being the Manx language. The following year he read another paper on the subject of the Cornish language at Mount's Bay. In 1877 he discovered, whilst working in the British Museum, forty two lines of a medieval play written in Cornish around the year 1450. Also in 1877, Jenner married Kitty Lee Rawlings (she was a novelist and author of non-fiction under the name Kitty Lee)
In 1903 he was made Bard of the Breton Gorsedd, and along with L.C.R. Duncombe-Jewell he jointly founded the first Cornish language society, "Cowethas Kelto-Kernuak". The following year Jenner and Duncombe-Jewell took Cornwall's application for membership of the Celtic Congress, then meeting in Caernarfon. His Bardic name was Gwas Myghal which translates as 'Servant of Michael'. Shortly afterwards he published his Handbook of the Cornish language and the Cornish Revival was born. His version of Cornish was based upon the form of the language used in West Cornwall in the 18th century, although his pupil Robert Morton Nance would later steer the language revival towards mediaeval Cornish. In 1909, after working at the British Museum for more than forty years, Henry and his wife Kitty retired to Hayle, (Kitty's home town) and in January 1912 he was elected as the Librarian of the Morrab Library, a post he held until 1927. He died on 8th May 1934 and is buried in St. Uny's Church, Lelant.
 
Return to top of page    
Richard Jose (1869 – 1941) - Singer
Richard was born in Lanner on 5th June 1869. After his father died in 1878, he was sent to live with his uncle in Virginia City. He later moved to live with another uncle, who was a blacksmith in Reno. Richard Jose quickly became Reno's Blacksmith Balladeer, singing as he pounded out horseshoes and repaired farm equipment. He took singing lessons at Bishop Whitaker's School for Girls. In 1884 a friend, who was the manager of a California minstrel group, introduced him to Charles Reed, a booking agent. Richard joined one of his troupes in Sacramento at a salary of $12 a week. The troupe next played in San Francisco, and Jose was soon making $100 a week. As his fame grew, he was offered a position in New York City at the famed Lou Dockstadter's Minstrels at $150 per week. Once on Broadway, Jose was taken to heart by the city's music lovers, and he introduced more songs there than any performer in history.
In the 1890's, he began to make annual tours of Europe, where he sang for the crowned heads of every nation. On a tour of South Africa, Cecil Rhodes once closed down his diamond mines so his employees could attend Jose's concert. Chances are, they were Cornish miners.
Richard began recording for the Victor Talking Machine Company, and made the company its first million dollars, when he cut, Silver Threads Among the Gold, the song which became his anthem. When silent movies became popular at the turn of the century, Jose performed in one of the earliest, Silver Threads Among the Gold, in 1911. For its opening in New York's Madison Square Garden, Jose stood in the wings watching the movement of the performers lips on the screen and sang his famous theme song.
Richard's voice did not adapt well to radio so he gave up singing in the 1920's. In 1919, California Governor William D. Stephens had appointed him to the position of Deputy Real Estate Commissioner, a job he held until his death in San Francisco on 20 October 1941.
Though largely forgotten in America, he is still remembered in his native Cornwall. A silver trophy donated in his honor by some American friends is annually awarded to the best choir in Cornwall.
 
Return to top of page    
Alison King (1973 to current) - Actress
Alison King was born in Leicester on 3rd March 1973. She is best known for playing the part of Carla Connor in Coronation Street on and off since 2006. Alison's connection with Cornwall was at the age of 18 when she moved to Newquay and worked at Fat Willys Surf Shack. At the age of 22 she enrolled at the North Cheshire Community Theatre. During her time there she got her first television role, playing Helen, a hair salon crimper, in two episodes of Brookside. Before the conclusion of her 3-year diploma, she was cast in the major role of Lynda Block in Sky One's Dream Team.
 
Return to top of page    
  Richard Lemon Lander (1804 - 1834) - Explorer
Richard Lander was born in Truro on 8th February 1804. As a youth he worked for the Scottish explorer Hugh Clapperton and in 1825 went with him to northern Nigeria with the aim of exploring the Niger River. Both Lander and Clapperton suffered from a series of illness and Clapperton died on 18th April 1827. Richard Lander survived and returned to England in July 1828. Richard undertook a second expedition to the Niger area in 1830, when he was accompanied by his brother John. On his third trip to the area, in 1833 to 1834, Richard was killed by African natives near Fernando Po on 6th February 1834.
 
Return to top of page    
Complete selection of books by John Le Carré John le Carré (1931 - ) - Novelist and spy
John le Carré is the pen name of David John Moore Cornwell, who was born in Poole, Dorset on 19 October 1931. He did not know his mother, who abandoned him when he was five years old, until their re-acquaintance when he was 21 years old. His relationship with his father was difficult, given that the man had been jailed for insurance fraud, was an associate of the Kray twins (among the foremost criminals in London at the time) and was continually in debt.
Cornwell graduated from Oxford with a First Class Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in 1956. He then taught French and German at Eton College for two years, afterwards becoming an MI5 officer in 1958. Whilst with MI5 he began writing novels under the pseudonym "John le Carré". In 1960, Cornwell transferred to MI6, the foreign-intelligence service, and worked under 'Second Secretary' cover in the British Embassy at Bonn; subsequently transferred to Hamburg as a political consul. His intelligence officer career was ended by the betrayal of the covers of British agents to the KGB by Kim Philby, a British double agent. Le Carré depicts and analyses Philby as 'Bill Haydon', the upper-class traitor, code-named Gerald by the KGB, the mole George Smiley hunts in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. His third novel in 1963, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, became an international best-seller and remains one of his best known works. Following the novel's success, he left MI6 to become a full-time author. He has published over 20 best-selling novels.
In 1954, Cornwell married Alison Ann Veronica Sharp and they had three sons, Simon, Stephen and Timothy. They divorced in 1971 and in 1972 Cornwell married Valérie Jane Eustace, a book editor with Hodder & Stoughton. They had one son, Nicholas, who writes as Nick Harkaway. Le Carré has lived in St Buryan for more than forty years and he owns a mile of cliff quite close to Land's End.
John le Carre in Cornwall
Return to top of page    
George Walter Selwyn Lloyd (1913 - 1998) - Composer
George was born on 28th June 1913 in St Ives. Despite the majority of his early schooling being at home, because he suffered from rheumatic fever, George went on to study at Trinity College London. His first symphony, written at age 19, was premiered by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 1933. His first opera, Iernin, was performed in 1934 at Penzance. His second opera, The Serf, was staged by Vladimir Rosing at Covent Garden in 1938. During World War II, he was a bandsman in the Royal Marines. During an Arctic convoy on HMS Trinidad in 1942 a faulty torpedo did a U-turn in the sea and blew up his ship. Many of his shipmates were drowned and he was the last man to escape from the compartment where he was working. After the war, Lloyd resumed composing music and wrote two more symphonies. His opera, John Socman, was commissioned for the 1951 Festival of Britain. In all, he wrote 12 symphonies. His final work, a Requiem, was completed 3 weeks before his death in London on 3rd July 1998, aged 85.
 
Return to top of page    
  Richard Lower (1631 - 1691) - Physician & physiologist
Richard Lander was born at Tremeer, near St Tudy. He studied at Westminster School and at Christ Church, Oxford, gaining an MA in 1655 and an MD in 1665. He studied under Thomas Willis (Professor of Natural Philosophy) to investigate the nervous system. Lower also did his own research on the heart and its workings. He followed the way that blood circulated as it passed through the lungs and learned that it changes when exposed to air. He was the first to observe the difference in arterial and venous blood. Lower proved that it was possible to transfuse blood from animal to animal and from animal to human intravenously. In November 1667, working with Sir Edmund King (another student of Willis), he managed to transfuse blood from a sheep into a man who was mentally ill. Lower was not only interested in advancing the science but also believed the man could be helped, either by the receiving of fresh blood or by the removal of old blood. An eccentric scholar, Arthur Coga, consented to have the procedure demonstrated on him by Lower and King before the Royal Society on 23rd November 1667. Transfusion gathered some popularity in France and Italy, but medical and theological debates arose, resulting in transfusion being prohibited in France for a while. Richard married Elizabeth Billing in 1666 and they had two daughters. In 1671 Lower became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians, before becoming a Fellow in July 1675. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in November 1667. Lower took care of Charles II during his last illness in 1685. After James II came to the throne he lost the royal patronage, because of his anti-catholic beliefs and his political support for the Whigs. He spent an increasing amount of his time in Cornwall until his death from a fever in London on 17th January 1691.
Richard Lower
Return to top of page    
  Stanley Lucas(1900 - 2010) - supercentenarian
Stanley Lucas was born in Morwenstowe, near Bude on 15th January 1900. After the death of Harry Patch on 25th July 2009, Stanley was verified as the oldest living man in Europe. He was also the third-oldest man in the world in 2010.
In 1908 the family moved to Marhamchurch, where he lived until 1948. He left school at 14 and was later called up for service in both the First and Second World Wars. However, Lucas did not serve due to a pre-diagnosed heart condition. Instead, Stanley helped on the family farm during the First World War. He married Ivy Nancekivell in 1926 and took over the family farm. In 1948 he relocated to live with his family at Poughill, where he continued to live after Ivy's death in 1963. In 1950, Stanley started playing bowls, which he continued to play until 2000, aged 100. Stanley was a member of Bude Town Council from 1959 – 70, as well as vice chairman. He was a teetotaller and non-smoker. Stanley was the last living British male born during the 19th century. He was the only verified male supercentenarian to die in 2010.
Stanley Lucas - supercentenarian
Return to top of page    
Jessica Mann (1937 to present) - Writer
Jessica was born in London in 1937. She was educated at St Paul's Girls' School and Newnham College, Cambridge, where she read Archaeology and Anglo Saxon and, 10 years later, as a mature student at the Leicester University, from which she has a degree in Law. She specialises in crime fiction, having published 20 crime novels since 1971. She has also written two non-fiction books, including Out Of Harm's Way, the story of the overseas evacuation of children during WW2. She lives near Truro in Cornwall and is married to the archaeologist and historian Charles Thomas with two sons and two daughters. She also wrote a book about Godrevy Lighthouse with her husband.
 
Return to top of page    
(Anthony) Nigel Martyn (1966 to present) - Footballer
Nigel was born in 11th August 1966 in St Austell. He started amateur football with South Western League sides Bugle and then St Blazey. He turned professional in 1987 when he joined Bristol Rovers. On his transfer to Crystal Palace in November 1989 he became the first British goalkeeper to be transferred for a million pounds. He appeared 349 times for Crystal Palace, including the 1990 FA Cup Final against Manchester United. His international career started in 1992 with the England away game in Moscow. He gained 23 England caps. In July 1996 Leeds United paid £2.25 million pounds for him. Here he was first team goalkeeper for six seasons including the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup campaign and the 2000/2001 UEFA Champions League. In summer 2003 Nigel was bought by Everton and became their first choice goalkeeper very quickly. His last professional game ever was his 100th for Everton in the one-all FA Cup draw with Chelsea. On 8th June 2006 Nigel retired from playing football due to recurring ankle injuries. In March 2007 he became goalkeeping coach for a while at Bradford City.
(Other Cornish Footballers: Ray Bowden, Matthew Etherington, Mike Trebilcock)
England goalkeeper Nigel Martyn
Return to top of page    
  Joshua (Josh) Matavesi (1990 to present) - British rugby union footballer
Joshua Lewis Matavesi was born in Camborne on 5th October 1990. His father, Sireli Matavesi, came to the UK as a Fiji Barbarian in 1987 where he met his wife, Karen. He was offered a contract by the Camborne RFC. Josh also played for Camborne, Mounts Bay RFC in the National Division Two, Truro College and a handful of games for Exeter United. In December 2008, he was called-up to the England Under-20 squad for the 2009 Six Nations Under-20 tournament. Josh was signed by the Exeter Chiefs in August 2009 and played in the 2010 Junior World Championship with Fiji U20s in Argentina. In November 2009, he was called up to join the Fiji team for the 2009 Autumn Internationals against Scotland, Ireland and Romania. He was part of Fiji's U20 team in the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship in June 2010 and, in October 2010, he was selected again for the Fiji team to take part in their end of year rugby tour in Europe.
In 2013 Josh was again called up to play for the Fijian national side in a four-game series in the Pacific Nations Cup with games against Canada, Tonga and the USA to follow. This is the first time he has played for Fiji in Fiji.
In September 2015 he was on the bench for the opening game of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against England at Twickenham.
Josh says "I don't feel English, I feel Cornish. Cornish Fijian that's what they call it."
 
Return to top of page    
Rory McGrath (1956 - present) - Comedian
Rory was born in Redruth on 17th March 1956 and educated at Redruth Grammar School before going to Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He was a member of the Cambridge Footlights. Together with Jimmy Mulville, he wrote radio scripts for Frankie Howerd and Windsor Davies and then progressed to writing scripts for Not the Nine O'Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones . Rory has appeared on many panel games such as QI, where he scored an amazing 88, and They Think It's All Over Rory has been a lifelong Arsenal supporter. He also appeared in several documentary programs including the Three Men in a Boat series, one of which saw him return to the house in Redruth where he was born, and Rory and Paddy's Great British Adventure with comedian Paddy McGuinness. Rory has written two books; Bearded Tit - Confessions of a Birdwatcher (2008) and The Father, the Son and the Ghostly Hole: Confessions from a guilt-edged life (2011).
After both had been through failed marriages, Rory is now married to Nicola, whom he first met at university. They now live in Cambridge.
 
Return to top of page    
Ralph McTell (1944 - present day) - Singer-songwriter
Ralph McTell was born as Ralph May in Farnborough, Kent on 3rd December 1944. Ralph passed his 11-plus examinations and attended the John Ruskin Grammar School in Croydon. At the age of 15, he was very keen to leave school and, in 1959, he enlisted in The Queen's Surrey Regiment. Army life proved much worse than school and, after six months, he bought himself out. He resumed his education at technical college, passing several O level exams and an A level exam in art. At college he discovered African American music - jazz, blues and R&B. Inspired by musicians such as Jesse Fuller, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, he bought a guitar and practised tirelessly. He was persuaded to join a bluegrass-influenced band called the Hickory Nuts, who performed all over England and they ended up earning decent fees in front of respectable-sized crowds in venues such as Croydon's Fairfield Halls.
Read more about Ralph McTell
 
Return to top of page    
Robert Morton Nance (1873 - 1959) - Cornish language authority
Robert was born in Cardiff in 1873 to Cornish parents. In 1906 he moved to at Nancledra near St Ives. In 1911 he jointly founded the Society for Nautical Research. In 1920 together with Henry Jenner, he founded the first Old Cornwall Society at St Ives. In 1928 he jointly founded the Gorseth Kernow which was inaugurated at Boscawen-Un, where he took the bardic name Mordon meaning 'Sea Wave'. In 1929 he published Cornish for All using the 'Unified' Middle Cornish spelling system. From 1951 to 1955 Robert was President of the Royal Institution of Cornwall. He studied art in Britain and France and was both a painter and a skilled craftsman.
 
Return to top of page    
John Nettles OBE (1943 - present day) - Actor
John Nettles was born on 11 October 1943 in St Austell and was adopted at birth by Eric and Elsie Nettles. He was educated at St. Blazey Primary School, St Austell Grammar School and Southampton University. Although appearing in repertory at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter in 1969 - 1970 and small television parts in The Liver Birds, Enemy at the Door and Robin of Sherwood, John came to fame in 1981 playing the role of Jersey detective Jim Bergerac for 87 episodes until 1991. In 1995 he took on another detective role as DI Tom Barnaby in Midsomer Murders. In 2011 DI Barnaby retired. John was awarded the OBE in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to drama.
 
     
Thandie Newton (1972 - present day) - Actress
Thandiwe Nashita "Thandie" Newton was born in London on 6th November 1972 and was raised in London and Penzance, Cornwall. She studied dance at the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts and at sixteen, while recovering from a back injury, she successfully auditioned for her first film role. She then went on to study social anthropology at Downing College, Cambridge, from 1992 to 1995, where she achieved a 2:1. In 1998 she married the English writer, director and producer Oliver Parker. They two daughters: Ripley, born in 2000, and Nico, born in 2004. Her daughters were named after the character Ellen Ripley in the Alien films and the singer Nico. In 2006, she contributed a foreword to We Wish: Hopes and Dreams of Cornwall's Children, a book of children's writing published in aid of the NSPCC. In it, she writes vividly about her childhood memories of growing up in Cornwall and the way in which the county's vibrant cultural heritage made it easy for her to "enrich every situation with layers of magic and meaning".
Thandie made her film debut in Flirting in 1991. She played the female lead Nyah Hall in the film Mission: Impossible II. In 2007, she starred with Eddie Murphy in the comedy Norbit as his love interest, and opposite Simon Pegg as his ex-girlfriend in the comedy Run Fat Boy Run.
 
  Jack Nowell (1993 - present day) - England Rugby Union Player
Jack was born on 11th April 1993 in Truro. He was educated at Mounts Bay School, Heamoor, Penzance and at Truro College. He was in the junior section of the Cornish Pirates before making his Premiership debut for Exeter Chiefs in their 27–23 win over London Irish on 25th November 2012. He has represented England at under-18 and under-20 level. He scored in the 2013 IRB Junior World Cup final win over Wales and was nominated for, and won, the LV= Breakthrough Player Award for the 2012–13 season in a public vote.
On 1st August 2013 he was selected in the England Saxons squad and on 9th January 2014, Nowell was included in the England squad for the 2014 Six Nations Championship. He made his full England debut in the 26–24 defeat to France on 1st February 2014 and scored his first try during the 52–11 win over Italy on 15th March 2014.
 
Return to top of page    
  Leon Ockenden (1978 - present day) - Actor
Leon grew up in Looe and attended Looe Comprehensive School and then studied performing arts at Plymouth's College of Further Education before winning a place at LAMDA, one of London's most prestigious drama colleges. He made his first TV appearance in 2003 playing a student in Judge John Deed. In 2005 he starred in a raunchy video for Geri Halliwell's single Desire, playing a boss seduced in his office by his secretary. He turned down the opportunity to play a doctor in Casualty to take on more varied roles, but in 2007 he became Dr Oakley in Heartbeat and in 2009 he appeared as Luke Reilly in Casualty. More recently he has appeared is as Stas, the cosmonaut, in the film, The Cosmonaut and as Hector Reid, the PE teacher, in the BBC series Waterloo Road. Next is the part of Serge de Bolotoff, a Russian prince, in the 3rd series of ITV's Mr Selfridge.
Return to top of page    
  William Oliver (1695 - 1764) - Physician
William Oliver was born on 14 August 1695 in Ludgvan, near Penzance. William practised for a time at Plymouth, where he introduced inoculation for smallpox, but about 1725 he settled at Bath and remained there for the rest of his life, obtaining in a very short time the leading practice of the city. He was instrumental in obtaining finance for the erection of the Water or General Hospital, now called the Royal Mineral Water Hospital in Bath. William Oliver is said to have invented the Bath bun. However it proved too fattening for his rheumatic patients and so he invented the ‘Bath Oliver’ biscuit. Shortly before his death he confided the recipe to his coachman Atkins, giving him at the same time £100 in money and ten sacks of the finest wheat-flour. Atkins opened a shop in Green Street, and soon acquired a large fortune. The ‘Bath Oliver’ is still a well known brand. William Oliver was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 22 January 1730. He died in Bath on 17th March 1764.
 
Return to top of page    

John Opie (1761 - 1807) - Historical and portrait painter
John Opie was born at Trevellas, St Agnes on 16th May 1761. He showed an exceptional talent for drawing and mathematics. At the age of 12 he had mastered Euclid and opened an evening school for poor children where he taught them reading, writing and arithmetic. John's first recorded drawing was made at the age of 10. came to the attention of local physician, Dr John Wolcot, who recognised his potential and bought him out of his apprenticeship at the local sawmill and took him to live at his home in Truro. Wolcot introduced his "Cornish wonder" to other artists, including the great Sir Joshua Reynolds. John was introduced at the court of King George III, who purchased one of his pictures and commissioned him to produce a portrait of Mary Delaney. In 1782 he had his first exhibition at the Royal Academy and in December 1782 he married Mary Bunn. The marriage was not a happy one and they were eventually divorced in 1796. In 1786 he exhibited his first important historical subject, the Assassination of James I and, in 1787, the Murder of Rizzio, This latter work was recognized by his immediate election as associate of the Royal Academy. He became a full member of the Royal Academy in 1788. He married Amelia Alderson in May 1798 and they lived at 8 Berners Street, London. John painted 508 portraits in all, mostly in oil, plus 252 other pictures. John Opie died on 9th April 1807, aged 46, at his home in Berners Street. He was buried at St Paul's Cathedral, in the crypt next to Joshua Reynolds, as had been his wish. He had no children.
 
Return to top of page    
  Andrew Pears (1766 - 1845) - Inventor of Pears Soap
Andrew was born on his father's farm near Mevagissey. In 1789 he moved to London where he trained to be a barber, later opening a barber's shop in Gerrard Street, Soho. His upper class clients had a delicate white complexion that needed a gentle soap. He found a way of removing the impurities and refining the base soap to produce a high quality soap, that had the additional benefit of being transparent. His method of mellowing and ageing each long lasting Pears Bar, for over two months, is still used today. Andrew Pears retired from business in 1838, leaving his grandson, Francis, to continue the business of the London-based firm of A & F Pears. Andrew died in London in 1845. Pears Soap was the world's first registered brand and is therefore the world's oldest continuously existing brand.
 
Return to top of page    
  Richard William Pearse (1877 - 1953) - Pioneering Aviator
Richard was born in Temuka, New Zealand on 3rd December 1877. His parents were Cornish immigrants from St Columb near Newquay. He was a farmer but was also an inventor who performed pioneering experiments in aviation. It is recorded that Pearse flew and landed a powered heavier-than-air machine on 31st March 1903, nine months before the Wright brothers flew their aircraft. Pearse did not develop his aircraft to the same degree as the Wright brothers, who achieved sustained controlled flight. He was not a publicity-seeker and occasionally made contradictory statements which for many years led some of the few who knew of his feats to offer 1904 as the date of his first flight.
Although Pearse patented his design, his innovations (such as ailerons and the lightweight air-cooled engine) did not succeed in influencing others. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Pearse continued to work on constructing a tilt-rotor flying-machine for personal use – sometimes described as a cross between a windmill and a rubbish-cart. His design resembled an autogyro or helicopter, but involved a tilting propeller/rotor and monoplane wings, which, along with the tail, could fold to allow storage in a conventional garage. Pearse intended the vehicle for driving on the road (like a car) as well for flying.
He was committed to Sunnyside Mental Hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1951 and died there two years later on 29th July 1953.
 
Return to top of page    
Dame Annette Penhaligon (1946 to date) - Local politician
Born Annette Lidgey on 9th February 1946. Annette married David Penhaligon in 1968. She took over the post of sub-postmaster at Chacewater Post office when David became an MP. At the same time she became his secretary until his death in December 1986. From 1987 to 1994 she was a member of Carrick District Council. In 1993 she was awarded the honour of Dame of the Order of the British Empire for services to politics and public service. She was a founding member of local independent radio station Pirate FM. She was been a member of Restormel District Council from 2003 until it became part of Cornwall Council in 2009. She was elected leader of Restormel Council in 2008. Annette married again in 1994 to Robert (Bob) Egerton.
 
Return to top of page    
David Charles Penhaligon (1944 - 1986) - Politician
David was born on D-Day (6th June 1944) near Truro. His father ran the sub-post office in Chacewater. David attended Truro School and then Camborne Technical College before working for Holman Brothers in Camborne as a research and development engineer. He was the chair of the Cornish Young Liberals from 1966 to 1968. In 1971 he was adopted as parliamentary candidate for the Truro constituency. In the election in February 1974 he cut the Tory majority to just 2,561 and in October 1974, because of the small government majority, he stood in another General Election and won the seat with a majority of 464 votes. In the 1979 election his majority was increased to 8,708. In 1984 he became the first sitting MP to be elected to the post of President-elect of the Liberal Party and in 1985 & 1986 was Party President. Many believe that David would have become leader of the party were it not for his untimely death in a car crash at 6:45 on the morning of 22nd December 1986 as he was travelling to meet with postal workers at St Austell sorting office. He was succeeded as MP for Truro by his former research assistant, Matthew Taylor.
His wife, Annette, had been his secretary throughout his parliamentary career. (See above for more about Annette.)
 
Return to top of page    
Dolly Pentreath (1692? - 1777) - last fluent native speaker of the Cornish language
Dolly Pentreath, or Dorothy Pentreath is regarded as the last fluent native speaker of the Cornish language, prior to its revival in 1904. It is believed that she was the last person who spoke only Cornish and not English although she claimed that she could not speak a word of English until the age of twenty. She lived in the parish of Paul, next to Mousehole.She never married, but in 1729 she gave birth to a son, John Pentreath, who lived until 1778. Dolly has passed into legend for cursing at people in a long stream of fierce Cornish whenever she became angry. Her death was seen as marking the death of Cornish as a community language. According to legend, her last words were Me ne vidn cewsel Sawznek! ("I don't want to speak English!") but it is more likely that this was her customary response to being addressed in English. After her death in December 1777 she was buried at Paul where, in 1860, a monument in her honour was set into the churchyard wall of the church of St Paul Aurelian by Louis Lucien Bonaparte, a nephew of Napoleon, and by the Vicar of Paul of the time. No burial of Dorothy Pentreath is recorded, but it has been argued that this appears in the parish register under the name of Dolly Jeffery, which is suggested to be the surname of her son's father.
 
Return to top of page    
Sue Perkins (1969 - ) Comedienne, broadcaster, actress, and writer
Susan Elizabeth Perkins was born in East Dulwich, London on 22nd September 1969. Sue went to the independent Croham Hurst School in Croydon. She later studied at New Hall, Cambridge University where she did her first stand-up show. Along with her future writing partner, Mel Giedroyc, Sue was a member of the long established comedy performance club, the Footlights. She graduated in 1990 with a degree in English Literature before becoming a teacher.
Sue and Mel spent a few years writing for French & Saunders. Over the years she has made numerous appearances on BBC TV shows like Have I Got News for You, Mock the Week, Room 101, Celebrity Weakest Link, Question Time and Newsnight.
Sue moved from London to Penzance in 2006, having fallen in love with Cornwall whilst on holiday here six months before. In October 2011, Sue appeared in the BBC series All Roads Lead Home and in the first episode led Stephen Mangan and Alison Steadman from Bodmin Moor to Cape Cornwall.
 
Return to top of page    
John Arthur Phillips (1822 - 1887) - geologist
John Arthur Phillips was born on 18th February 1822 at Polgooth, near St Austell. He was educated at a private school at St Blazey. He then started studying to be a surveyor but became more interested in metallurgy, especially in connection with electricity. He was involved with the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society where he collaborated with Robert Were Fox the Younger and Robert Hunt in experiments connected with electricity and the deposition of metallic copper. John became a student at the École des Mines, Paris, in December 1844, and graduated in 1846. He spent two years working at a French colliery, but returned to England in 1848. In 1853 he went to California for a year, returning there again in 1865 and in 1866. During these latter two visits he made a number of observations on the connection between hot springs and mineral vein deposits, which were embodied in an important paper, published by the Geological Society of London. He married Mary Ann Andrew of Carne, St Mewan on 1st January 1850. He was elected a fellow of the Geological Society in 1872, and was a vice-president at the time of his sudden death in London on on 5th January 1887.
 
Return to top of page    
Robert Edwin Phillips VC (1895 - 1968) - soldier
Robert Edwin Phillips was born on 11th April 1895 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire.
On 25th January 1917, whilst serving with the 13th Batallion of the Warwickshire Regiment near Kut in Mesopotamia, Lieutenant Phillips went to the assistance of his commanding officer (Edward Elers Delaval Henderson) who was lying in the open mortally wounded while leading a counter-attack. The lieutenant went out with a comrade, Corporal Scott, and, under the most intense fire, they succeeded in bringing their commanding officer back to safety. He was also awarded the Legion of Honour by France. Robert was later promoted to Captain. On 9th May 1918 Captain Phillips was attached to the newly-formed Royal Air Force for pilot training but his service there was cut short when, after going on leave in October 1918, the armistice was signed.
On 13th February 1919 Captain Phillips completed his military service and resumed his career in the civil service. Robert married Beatrice Amy Brockhouse at St James Church, Hill Top, West Bromwich, on 19th May 1920. After Robert retired from the civil service in the 1960s. he and his wife moved to St Veep, near Lostwithiel where he died on 23rd September 1968. He is burried in the churchyard at St Cyrus & St Julietta Churchyard at St Veep.
 
Return to top of page    


A selection of the books of Rosamunde Pilcher
Rosamunde Pilcher OBE (1924 - present day) - novelist
Rosamunde Scott was born in Lelant, near Penzance, on 22nd September 1924. She was educated at St Clare's at Polwithen and Howell's School at Llandaff before going on to Miss Kerr-Sanders' Secretarial College. Rosamunde began writing when she was 7, and had her first short story published when she was 18. From 1943 to 1946, Rosamunde served with the Women's Naval Service. On 7th December 1946 she married Graham Hope Pilcher. He was a war hero and jute industry executive. They moved to Dundee in Scotland, where she still lives today. They had four children and fourteen grandchildren. Graham died in March 2009.
Her first book, a romance novel, was published by Mills and Boon, under the pseudonym Jane Fraser. She published a further ten novels under that name but, in 1955, she also began writing books under her real name; starting with Secret to Tell. In 1965 she dropped the pseudonym and used her own name to all of her subsequent novels.
The real breakthrough in Pilcher's career came in 1987, when she wrote the family saga, The Shell Seekers. Since then her books have made her one of the more successful contemporary female authors. Her books are especially popular in Germany because the national TV station ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) has produced more than 100 of her stories for TV starting with Day of the Storm. In all Rosamunde wrote 10 novels as Jane Fraser and 18 novels as Rosamunde Pilcher plus 12 omnibus editions and 6 collections of stories.
Rosamunde retired from writing in 2000 and in 2002 she was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to Literature. Her son, Robin Pilcher, is also a novelist.
 
Return to top of page    

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch ("Q") (1863 - 1944) - Novelist
Born in Bodmin on 21st November 1863. He was educated at Newton Abbot Preparatory College, Clifton College and Trinity College, Oxford. Whilst at Trinity College he wrote his first adventure romance Dead Man’s Rock (Cassell, 1887) under his "Q" non-de-plume. The Astonishing History Of Troy Town (1888), and The Splendid Spur (1889) followed.
In August 1889 he married Louisa Amelia. They had two children, Bevil and Foy. Foy would later become friends with Daphne Du Maurier, who finished and published Q's Castle D'Or, a tale where the legendary Tristan and Iseult are transplanted to Cornwall in a spellbinding love story.
In 1891, due to illness, he and Louisa settled at `The Haven', beside the sea at Fowey in Cornwall. He loved rowing and yachting and this led to him being appointed Commodore of the Royal Fowey Yacht Club in 1911 until his death. He was the Mayor of Fowey in 1937/38. His collection of short stories, I Saw Three Ships & Other Winter's Tales was published first in 1892. His Cornish The Delectable Duchy: Stories, Studies, and Sketches (1893) is a series of historical fictional sketches.
Q devoted much time and energy to the Oxford Book series, including the Oxford Book of English Verse 1250–1900 (1900), The Oxford Book of Ballads (1910), and the Oxford Book of English Prose (1923). He was knighted in 1910. He was appointed professor of English literature at Cambridge University in 1912 and was a fellow of English at Jesus College, Cambridge.
in 1915 Sir Arthur Quiller Couch became one of only two officers of the tenth battalion of the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry, was raised by the Mayor and citizens of Truro on 27 March, 1915. The tenth battalion is described as unique, all Cornishmen with their leader treating them almost as his children.
Sir Arthur Quiller Couch died at his home in Fowey on 12th May 1944. He was buried in the St Nicholas Churchyard in Fowey. Castle Dor, a retelling of the Tristan and Iseult myth in modern circumstances, was left unfinished at his death and was finally completed many years later by Daphne du Maurier.
 
Return to top of page    
  Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 - 1618) Writer, poet, soldier, spy and explorer
Although born in Devon and probably spent more time in the Tower of London than in Cornwall, Sir Walter was Lord Warden of the Stannaries (who has the function of calling a Stannary Parliament of tinners) from 1584 to 1603 and Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall (High Sherriff) from 1587 to 1603.
 
     
  Cyril Richard (Rick) Rescorla (1939 to 2001) Soldier and only Cornish 9/11 victim
Rick was born on 27th May 1939 in Hayle. In 1957 he enlisted in the British Army, first as a paratrooper in the Parachute Regiment and then in an intelligence unit in Cyprus during the Cypriot insurgency. He was a police inspector in the Northern Rhodesian Police Service and then a police officer in the Metropolitan Police Service in London before moving to the USA. He enlisted in the US Army in 1963, becoming a platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). In Vietnam, Rick participated in the 1965 Battle of Ia Drang. This battle was described in a book and movie We Were Soldiers Once… And Young. Rick is the soldier pictured on the book's jacket cover. Rick's Vietnam honours included the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, a Purple Heart, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Rick married Betsy in Dallas in 1972. Rick accepted a position with Dean Witter Reynolds in New York City. He and his family moved to New Jersey in 1984. When Dean Witter merged with Morgan Stanley in 1997, Rick was named as director of security for Morgan Stanley at their headquarters in the World Trade Center. In 1994, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery to remove his prostate. Initially, the prognosis was positive, but by 1998 the cancer had spread to his bone marrow. After his divorce, Rick met Susan Greer in 1998 and his cancer went back into remission. Rick and Susan married on 20th February 1999 in Florida.
In 1992 Rick had warned the owners of the World Trade Center about the possibility of a truck bomb attack on the pillars in the basement parking garage, but was ignored. When terrorists used this method in the 1993 attack, Rescorla was instrumental in evacuating the building, and was the last man out. Rick believed that the World Trade Center was still a target for terrorists and that the next attack could be a plane crashing into one of the towers. At Rick's insistence, all employees at Morgan Stanley, including senior executives, then practiced emergency evacuations every three months. On September 11th 2001, Rick was scheduled to attend a lunchtime meeting to discuss the lawsuit Morgan Stanley was filing against the Port Authority over the security lapses that led to the 1993 attack. At 8:46 am, American Airlines Flight 11 struck World Trade Center Tower 1. Rick, following his evacuation plans, ignored building officials' advice to stay put and began the orderly evacuation of Morgan Stanley's 2,700 employees on twenty floors of World Trade Center Tower 2, and 1,000 employees in WTC 5. As a result of Rick's actions, all but 13 of Morgan Stanley's 2,700 WTC employees survived. Rick was one of those 13; he was last seen heading up the stairs of the tenth floor of the collapsing WTC 2. His remains were not recovered.
Rick Rescorla was honoured with the White Cross of Cornwall (An Grows Wyn a Gernow) award from his native Cornwall in 2003 by the Revived Cornish Stannary Parliament. In 2006 Fort Benning, Georgia, unveiled a statue of Rick Rescorla.
 
     
  Andrew John Ridgeley (1963 to present) Musician
Andrew was born on 26th January 1963 in Windlesham, Surrey. grew up in Bushey, Hertfordshire, and attended Bushey Meads School. At school he became friends with a boy called George Michael. They played together in various bands before forming Wham!. They had significant worldwide success from 1982 until they broke up in late 1986. Andrew then moved to Monaco, where he tried his hand at Formula Three motor racing. He then moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of a career in acting before returning to Britain in 1990. While surfing with his brother off the coast of Britain, they both contracted a waterborne illness from the raw sewage being discharged from a nearby pipe. As a result Andrew became a prominent activist in the cause of water quality at British surfing beaches and riverways, working with the UK charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). As a partner in a business making surfing equipment, he lends his name and donates money to help pass laws against the discharge of raw sewage in UK offshore waters. Since 1995, Andrew has lived near Wadebridge, in a restored 15th century farm property with his partner, Keren Woodward of the pop group Bananarama, and Keren's son Thomas.
 
Return to top of page    
Angela Rippon OBE (1944 to present) Television journalist, newsreader, actress, author and dancer
Angela was born in Redruth on 12th October 1944. Her television career started at the BBC in Plymouth in September 1966. Angela presented the BBC Nine O'Clock News from 1970 to 2000.
She is probably best remembered for appearing on the 1976 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show with her high-kicking dance routine. She was the first presenter of Top Gear and hosted the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest from the Wembley Conference Centre. She received an OBE in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to Broadcasting, the Arts and Charity.. She was a founder member of TV-am in 1982 and in 1984 moved to America to work for the Boston based Channel 7.
She is the national Vice President of National Childrens Home Action for Children and The Riding for Disabled Association, Patron of Support Dogs and a Barker of the Variety Club and has recently been appointed Vice President of the British Red Cross and Chairman of English National Ballet.
 
Return to top of page    



Books by A L Rowse
Dr Alfred Leslie (A L) Rowse (1903 - 1997) - Historian
AL was born in St Austell on 4th December 1903. He was educated at St Austell Grammar School before winning a scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford. He was encouraged in his pursuit of an academic career by fellow Cornish man of letters, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, who lived at Polperro and who recognised his ability from an early age.
He had planned to study English literature, having developed an early love of poetry, but was persuaded to read history. He was a popular under-graduate and made many friendships that lasted for life. He graduated with first class honours in 1925 and was elected a Fellow of All Souls College the same year. In 1929, he was awarded his Master of Arts degree, and in 1927 was appointed lecturer at Merton College, where he stayed until 1930. He became a lecturer at the London School of Economics. In 1931, he contested the parliamentary seat of Penryn and Falmouth for the Labour Party, but was unsuccessful, finishing third behind the Liberals. He chose to continue his career at Oxford becoming Sub-Warden of All Souls College.
In 1952, he failed in his candidacy for election as Warden against John Sparrow and shortly afterwards began his regular trips to The Huntington Library in California where for many years he was a Senior Research Fellow. He received a doctorate from Oxford University in 1953. After delivering the British Academy's 1957 Raleigh Lecture on History about Sir Richard Grenville's place in English history he became a Fellow of the Academy in 1958. Despite his academic and social success, he remained proud of his Cornish roots. He retired from Oxford in 1973 to Trenarren House, his Cornish home, from where he remained active as writer, reviewer and conversationalist until immobilised by a stroke the year before his death. His ashes are buried in the Campdowns Cemetery, Charlestown near St Austell. There is a commemorative plaque to him in Truro Cathedral and a memorial stone on Black Head, overlooking St Austell Bay almost within sight of Trenarren.
He wrote Tudor Cornwall in 1941 and The England of Elizabeth in 1950.
 
Return to top of page    

Dame Kristin Scott Thomas (1960 - present day) - Actress
Kristin was born in Redruth on 24th May 1960. Became well known in English films including Four Weddings and A Funeral (1994), Mission Impossible (1996) and The English Patient (1996). She is the great-great-niece of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, the Antarctic explorer who lost his life during the return from the South Pole in 1912. Kristin was educated at Cheltenham Ladies' College and St. Antony's Leweston School for Girls in Sherborne, Dorset, both independent schools. On leaving school she moved to Hampstead, London, and worked in a department store. She then began training to be a drama teacher at the Central School of Speech and Drama. On being told she would never be a good enough actress, she left at the age of 19 to work as an au pair in Paris. Being a fluent speaker of French, she studied acting at the École nationale supérieure des arts et techniques du théâtre (ENSATT) in Paris and on graduation, at age 25, she was cast opposite pop star Prince as Mary Sharon, a French heiress, in the 1986 film Under The Cherry Moon.
Kristin is divorced from French obstetrician François Olivennes, with whom she has three children: Hannah (born in 1988), Joseph (1991) and George (2000). They had been together for 18 years. She won a 2008 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actress of her performance in Seagull at the Playhouse. She has the rare distinction of being in two movies that opened on the same day in 2007 in the US - The Golden Compass and The Walker.
Kristen was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2015 New Year Honours for her services to drama.
Kristin Scott Thomas
Return to top of page    
  Frances Speedie (1986 - present date) Actress
Frances went to primary school in Devoran, and then Penair in Truro. She also went to Truro College to study a BTec in performing arts, before gaining a place at ArtsEd in London. In 2008 Frances returned to Cornwall to play a part in the film Golden Brown, directed by Sharon Sheehan.
 
Return to top of page    




Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Francis "Dick" Strawbridge, MBE (1959 - present date) - Engineer, television presenter and environmentalist
Dick was born in Burma but raised and educated in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. He attended Ballyclare High School from 1971–76. Dick received a commission in the British Army in 1979, after attending Welbeck DSFC, and joined the Royal Corps of Signals in January 1980.He was promoted to Lieutenant in April 1981, Captain in October 1985 and Major in September 1991. He was awarded an MBE in 1993 for his distinguished service in Northern Ireland and then promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in June 1999. He left the army in November 2001.
Dick was married to Brigit and has two grown-up children, James and Charlotte.
Dick is known as an engineering and environmental expert on such television programmes as Scrapheap Challenge. Dick, along with his family, have filmed three series of It's Not Easy Being Green for BBC Two. In series one, which was shown on 28 March 2006, the family moved to a new home near St Austell and attempted to live as green a life as possible, using renewable energy and environmentally friendly resources. The second series started in Spring 2007 with a different format: Dick and his son James aided several members of the public in larger and smaller ecology projects around the country. Series three saw another format change as the programme took on more of a 'magazine' theme.
He appeared as a one-off presenter on the BBC2 series Coast, examining the workings of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge, a role he revived in the 2007 version of Coast, presenting a short part of the program on the failure of Exercise Tiger. In Series 4 of Coast, July 2009, Dick examined the terrain of the Normandy landing beaches. Since then Dick has become very much part of the Coast team, appearing in many episodes mainly using his engineering and military history experience. Some his favourites have been visiting off-shore wind turbines in Denmark and exploring the beaches of Normandy. The Strawbridge family lives at Newhouse Farm near St Austell, where much of the filming for all three series of It's Not Easy Being Green was done. With his son James he runs eco courses at the farm.
In 2011, Dick and James recorded the ITV series The Hungry Sailors as they sailed from Fowey along the south coast to the River Thames in search of local produce to cook with.
Other television work includes Crafty Tricks of War (BBC 2), Geronimo (BBC), Re-inventors (UKTV) and Planet Mechanics (National Geographical).
Dick and James have written several books individually and together.
Dick Strawbridge
Return to top of page    
  Tristan Sturrock (1968 - present date) - Actor
Tristan was born at Upton Cross near Liskeard in 1968. He performed with the Kneehigh Theatre Group for over 25 years as well as appearing on Broadway and with the National Theatre.
On May Day in 2004 he fell off a wall in Padstow, where he was living, and fractured the C5 vertibrae in his neck. He was totally paralysed and was airlifted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. Following some risky surgery to fuse the bone together and many months of physiotherapy he was finally back to full mobility, even though he has some sensation loss in hands, feet, arms and shoulders. Later he wrote a one-man show about his experiences which he performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 2012 and in New York in April 2013. The show was directed by his wife, actress and director Katy Carmichael.
Tristan, Katy and their three children now live in Bristol, where he is a member of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre, but Tristan returns to Cornwall regularly to perform and for filming his part of Danny Steel in Doc Martin and as Zacky Martin in Poldark. He also appeared with Martin Clunes in Saving Grace. He played the part of Eli Brown in the 2014 TV mini-series of Jamaica Inn. Other TV credits are The Bill, bad Girls and Garrow's Law.
 


More Derek Tangye books
Derek Alan Trevithick Tangye (1912 - 1996) Writer and Journalist
Derek was born in London on 29th February 1912 but lived in Cornwall for the last 46 years of his life. Most of that time he lived on a clifftop daffodil farm called Dorminack, but affectionately referred to as Minack, at St Buryan. Derek had worked as a newspaper columnist for the Daily Express and, during the war years, he had worked for MI5. His brother Nigel Tangye was also an author. Their grandfather was the engineer Richard Tangye. Derek married Jeannie (Jean Everald Nicol) in 1943. The first of Derek's "The Minack Chronicles" was A Gull on the Roof published in 1961. Great Minack Stories (in 1990) is an omnibus edition of Way to Minack, A Cornish Summer and Cottage on a Cliff which gives an account of his time with MI5 and the family's subsequent relocation to an isolated cottage near to the cliffs at Mount's Bay in Cornwall. Between 1941 and 1996 he wrote 22 books. Derek died on 26th October 1996. The thriller writer John le Carré, who lives a mile away along the cliff path, gave the eulogy at his funeral.
 
Return to top of page    
Jean Tangye (1919 - 1986) Writer
Jean (Jeannie) Everald Nicol was born on 23rd March 1919. She was the Press Officer for the Savoy Hotel in London, where she met many famous actors and actresses. Here she met Derek Tangye and they married in 1943. In 1950 they moved to west Cornwall. Jeannie wrote four books, based on her experiences at the Savoy, under the name of Jean Nichol: Meet me at the Savoy (1952), Hotel Regina (1967), Home is the Hotel (1976) and Bertioni's Hotel (1983). She also illustrated her husband's books with sketches and line drawings. Jeannie also painted in oils.
 
Return to top of page    
Nigel Tangye (1909 - 1988) Writer
Nigel was born in Kensington on 24th April 1909. Nigel started his career in the Royal Navy, spending three years in the Mediterranean after having graduated at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He reached the rank of Squadron Leader. When he left the Navy he devoted himself to learning to fly, gaining a Professional Pilot's 'B' Licence, the Navigator's Licence and the Air Ministry Instructor's Licence. As the aviation correspondent for the London Evening News, he covered the Spanish Civil War.
In 1938 he wrote Teach Yourself to Fly, a book designed to help flying students with the basics before entering an aeroplane. It became recommended by the British Air Ministry for pilots in the run up to and during the Second World War, and Tangye was asked to train prospective RAF pilots. He was a technical advisor on a couple of films in 1936 and 1940. In later life he ran a hotel in Newquay. He remained in Cornwall until his death on 2nd June 1988 at Camborne.
 
Return to top of page    
  Sir Richard Trevithick Tangye (1833 - 1906) Mechanical engineer
Richard was born at Broad Lane, Illogan (near Redruth) on 24th November 1833. As the young son of a farmer, he worked in the fields until he was eight. His father sent him to the Quaker Sidcot School near the village of Winscombe in Somerset, where he progressed rapidly and became a pupil-teacher. He then obtained a clerkship in a small engineering firm in Birmingham. He remained here for four years, gaining a complete mastery of the details of an engineering business. He introduced the system of a Saturday half-holiday which was subsequently adopted in all English industrial businesses. In 1856 he started his own business in Birmingham as a hardware factor and commission agent. His first customers were the Cornish mine-owners in the Redruth district. In March 1857, Richard, with brothers James and Joseph, started a manufacturing business in Mount Street under the title of James Tangye and Bros. Manufacturing hydraulic appliances and particularly lifting jacks, on 31st January 1858, their jacks were successfully employed in the launching of Brunel's steamship SS Great Eastern. In 1859, his brothers Edward and George joined the company and they acquired the patent of the differential pulley-block in 1861. In 1862 James Tangye invented the Tangye Patent Hydraulic Jack. The company was commissioned to design the hydraulic systems for the UK's first funicular cliff railway in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, in 1869. In 1872 the two youngest brothers, Richard and George, became sole proprietors. They developed the company internationally, opening offices in Johannesburg and Sydney, Australia.
Richard and his brother George founded the Birmingham Art Gallery in 1885. They also founded the Birmingham School of Art. in 1894 Richard Tangye was knighted. Richard owned houses in Birmingham and London, and estates in Surrey and Cornwall, including the Glendorgal Hotel in Newquay. He was the grandfather of the authors Derek Tangye and Nigel Tangye. Through his niece Helena Tangye Lean, he was a great-uncle of film maker David Lean.
Richard died at Coombe Bank, Kingston Hill, on 14th October 1906.
 
Return to top of page    
Music from Roger Taylor - The Cross - Queen
Roger Meddows Taylor (1949 - present) - Musician & songwriter
Roger was born in East Anglia on 26th July 1949 and moved to Truro shortly afterwards. At the age of seven he formed his first band, the Bubblingover Boys. Roger played the ukulele. When he was 15 Roger was asked to join Cornish band The Reaction as their drummer. Roger had been spotted playing with another Cornish band Cousin Jacks. The Reaction was a very busy semi-professional rock band formed mainly of boys from Truro School.
Roger went to London to study dentistry in 1967. In 1968 Roger saw an advert for a drummer on the noticeboard at Imperial College. He followed it up and joined Smile, made up of Tim Staffell (bass & vocals) and Brian May (lead guitar), as their drummer. After Smile split up in 1970, an avid fan, Freddie Bulsara (later Freddie Mercury), convinced Roger and Brian to continue. They did, as a band called Queen, and Freddie later joined them. The first public gig of Queen was in PJs in Truro on June 25th 1970 followed by a gig at Truro City Hll on June 27th. In 1971 they brought John Deacon into the band as bassist. Their debut album, 'Queen' was released in 1973. Roger wrote 'A Kind of Magic' in 1986 for the Christopher Lambert film Highlander. It reached No 3 in the UK charts. Roger also wrote 'Radio Ga Ga' and 'Thank God It's Christmas' (with Brian May) in 1984, 'One Vision' in 1985 and 'These Are the Days of Our Lives' in 1991
By 1979 Roger had met Dominique Beyrand and they lived together from 1980 until 1987, producing two children, Felix Luther and Rory Eleanor. About the time Roger and Dominique married, he started seeing Debbie Leng and they had Rufus Tiger in 1991, Tiger Lily in 1994 and Lola Daisy May in 2000. They broke up in 2002. Roger married Sarina Potgieter on 3rd October 2010.
Roger's first solo album, 'Fun In Space', was released in 1981. He performed all vocals and played nearly all of the instruments. 'Strange Frontier' followed in 1984. After Queen finished their 1986 'Magic Tour', Roger started a new band, The Cross, which released three albums over 6 years. In 1993 the band split up, after performing one final gig at the Gosport Festival. Alongside being the drummer for Queen, Roger fronted The Cross as rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist. In 2007 Roger opened the Live Earth concert with Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters and Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Since his last solo album Electric Fire (in 1998) Roger has been performing as a solo artist, as part of ensembles, and (infrequently) as Queen with Brian May.
On 25th June 2011 Roger unveiled a new sculpture in Truro called "The Drummer".
In a rare public appearance, Roger joined Brian May to perform We Will Rock You (with some help from Jessie J) as part of the London 2012 Olympic closing ceremony on Sunday 12th August 2012.
On 27th September 2014 Roger was made an Honorary Doctor of Music by Plymouth University in recognition of his incredible career.
 
Return to top of page    
D M Thomas (1935 - present day) - Novelist, poet & translator.
Donald Michael Thomas was born in Redruth on 27 January 1935. He was educated at Trewirgie Primary School and Redruth Grammar School before going to New College, Oxford. Most of his working life was spent in Australia and the USA, but he returned to his native Cornwall. His best known work the novel The White Hotel, which was one of seven short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1981. The winner was Salman Rushdie with Midnight’s Children.) In the 1950s, during the Cold War, Thomas studied Russian whilst on National Service. He retained an interest in Russian culture and literature. In the 1980s he translated several Russian works by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Alexander Pushkin and Anna Akhmatova. In 1998 he translated A Century in His Life by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
 
Return to top of page    
  Michael (Mike) Trebilcock (1944 - present day) - footballer
Mike was born in Gunnislake on 29 November 1944. Mike played for non-league Tavistock before joining Plymouth Argyle in December 1962. he scored 27 times in 71 league games for the Pilgrims, leading to a £23,000 move to Everton on 31 December 1965. He played primarily as a winger and is most famous for scoring twice in the 1966 FA Cup Final for Everton against Sheffield Wednesday. He became the first black player to score in an FA Cup Final.
In January 1968, after 3 goals in only 11 league games for Everton, he moved to Portsmouth for a fee of £40,000. He was a regular goalscorer at Portsmouth, netting 33 times in 109 league games, before moving on a free transfer to Torquay United in July 1972. He spent just one season at Torquay, scoring 10 goals in 24 league appearances before leaving in June 1973 to join Weymouth on another free transfer. In March 1974 he emigrated to Sydney, Australia where he played for Western Suburbs and won the NSW Rothmans Medal in 1974.
(Other Cornish Footballers: Ray Bowden, Matthew Etherington, Nigel Martyn)
Mike Trebilcock in his days at Plymouth Argyle
Return to top of page    
  David Treffry OBE (1926 - 2000) - colonial servant, international financier & High Sheriff of Cornwall
David was born at Porthpean, near St Austell on 7th October 1926. He was educated in Cornwall and at Marlborough College. He then served in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, transferring to the Indian Army, where he was a captain in the Frontier Force Regiment. In 1947 David returned to Britain and read History at Magdalen College, Oxford. He joined the Colonial Service in 1953 and served in Aden until it's independence in 1967. He achieved senior posts and, as Cabinet Secretary to the South Arabian Federation, was involved in the independence negotiations. While in Aden, David supported the work of the Reilly Centre for the Blind and it was for this work that he was made an OBE in 1966. In 1968 David moved to Washington DC to work for the International Monetary Fund, remaining there for 21 years. David retired to his ancestral home of Place in Fowey in 1987, where he played a conspicuous part in Cornish public life, becoming High Sheriff in 1991, president of the Royal Institution of Cornwall in 1993, and oversaw the inauguration in 1994 by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh of the Royal Cornwall Museum. He also worked for the Cornwall region of the National Trust, and other local organizations. David was a friend of the Cornish historian and poet A L Rowse, and, on Rowse's death, became the legatee of a substantial sum - which he made over to the Royal Institution of Cornwall, the National Trust, and the Cornwall Heritage Trust. In 1997 David was diagnosed with a terminal illness, but continued to play an active role in Cornish public and social life until his death at Truro on 3rd April 2000.
 
Return to top of page    
  Sir Jonathan Trelawney (1650 - 1721) Bishop
Jonathan was born on 24th March 1650 at Trelawne in the parish of Pelynt, near Liskeard.
He was Bishop of Bristol from 1685 to 1689, Bishop of Exeter from 1688 to 1707 and Bishop of Winchester from 1707 to 1721. He held the honorary title of Vice-Admiral of South Cornwall from 1682 to 1693. In 1681 be became the 3rd Baron of Trelawney.
He He and six other bishops were arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London for petitioning against James 11'sDeclaration of Indulgence. After three weeks he came to trial and was acquitted. He is immortalised in The Song of the Western Men by Robert Stephen Hawker (Vicar of Morwenstow). The song is better known as Trelawney.
 
Return to top of page    
  Henry Trengrouse (1772 - 1854) - Inventor of the rocket line apparatus
Born in Helston in on 18 March 1772, Henry was educated at Helston Grammar School. In 1807 Henry, with Captain George Manby, devised an apparatus for throwing a line to ships from the shore using a rocket rather than the mortar that had been used by Lieutenant John Bell since 1791. The rocket has the advantage of being lighter, cheaper to produce, reduced the possibility of the line breaking as the velocity of a rocket increases gradually. The whole apparatus could be packed into a small wooden chest for use on board of most ships. An example of his life-saving apparatus is on display at Helston Folk Museum in the Butter Market. Trengrouse died at Helston on 14 February 1854, is buried in the churchyard of St Michael's Church, Helston, and commemorated in the name of Trengrouse Way, a main street in the town.
 
Return to top of page    
Silvanus Trevail (1851 - 1903) - architect of Cornish schools, libraries and hotels
Silvanus Trevail was born in Luxulyan, near St Austell, in October 1851. He was Cornwall's most famous architect, certainly of the 19th century. Following the Education Act of 1870 which created Board Schools, Trevail designed around fifty such schools throughout the county. His first design for a chapel was at the age of 21, when he designed the former Methodist chapel in Victoria Road (Mount Charles), St Austell. In 1890, Trevail formed the Cornish Hotels Company. He had a vision to make Cornwall the rival of the south coast resorts. Motivated by his vision, he designed grand Cornish hotels including the Headland Hotel and Atlantic Hotel in Newquay, King Arthur's Castle Hotel at Tintagel, Housel Bay hotel at The Lizard, Pendennis Hotel at Falmouth and the Carbis Bay Hotel in Carbis Bay. The local opposition to his building a hotel on the headlands of Newquay brought about the Newquay Riots of 1897 as outraged farmers and fishermen, who used the headland for farming and drying nets, rushed to the site and tore down the wooden works office and threw tools and planks of wood off the cliff.
Silvanus Trevail also restored the church at Temple on Bodmin Moor. He was said to be a man ahead of his time, a campaigner for sanitation improvements and an entrepreneur.
He rose to become Mayor of Truro and, National President of the architects' professional body, the Society of Architects. His success however, did not bring him happiness. Trevail had a history of depression and had been unwell for some time before committing suicide. In November 1903 he shot himself in the lavatory of a train as it entered Brownqueen Tunnel a short distance from Bodmin Road railway station.
Read more about Silvanus Trevail in Silvanus Trevail: Cornish Architect and Entrepreneur
 
Return to top of page    
Richard Trevithick (1771 - 1833) - Mining engineer and Inventor
Born at Tregajorran, Redruth on 13th April 1771. His created the high pressure steam engine and he built the first full-scale working steam railway locomotive. The world's first railway journey took place on 21st February 1804 when Trevithick's steam locomotive hauled a train along the tramway of the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks, near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. Richard married Jane Harvey of Hayle in 1797. Jane was a daughter of John Harvey, a former blacksmith from Carnhell Green, who formed the local foundry Harveys of Hayle. The company became famous worldwide for building huge stationary 'beam' engines for pumping water, usually from mines, based on Newcomen’s and Watt’s engines. Trevithick built a full-size steam road locomotive in 1801 on a site near the present day Fore Street at Camborne. He demonstrated it on Christmas Eve 1801 by successfully carrying several men up Fore Street and then continuing on up Camborne Hill, from Camborne Cross, to the nearby village of Beacon. In about 1812 Trevithick designed the ‘Cornish boiler’. These were horizontal, cylindrical boilers with a single internal fire tube or flue passing horizontally through the middle. Hot exhaust gases from the fire passed through the flue thus increasing the surface area heating the water and improving efficiency. These types were installed in the Boulton and Watt pumping engines at Dolcoath Mine, Camborne and more than doubled their efficiency. In the same year he installed another high pressure engine in a threshing machine on a farm at Probus, Cornwall. It was very successful and proved to be cheaper to run than the horses it replaced. It ran for 70 years and was then exhibited at the London Science Museum in Kensington.

A steam fair is held in Camborne on the last Saturday in April to celebrate his birthday.
 
Return to top of page    
John Samuel Wallis (1728 - 1795) - Explorer & navigator
Samuel was born near Camelford on 23rd April 1728. In 1766 he was given the command of HMS Dolphin to circumnavigate the world, accompanied by the Swallow under the command of Philip Carteret. Wallis sighted Tahiti on 18 June 1767 and is considered the first European visitor to the island. He continued to Batavia (now Jakarta) in Indonesia, where many of the crew died from dysentery, then via the Cape of Good Hope to England, arriving in May 1768. He passed on a lot of useful information to James Cook who was shortly to depart on his first voyage to the Pacific. Some of the crew of HMS Dolphin sailed with Cook. In 1780 Samuel Wallis was appointed Commissioner of the Admiralty. He died in London on 21st January 1795.
 
Return to top of page    
  Dr James C A Whetter (1935 to present day) - Historian & Politician
James Whetter was born in St Austell in 1935. He has written several books of Cornish history. Twice in 1974 he stood as the Parliamentary candidate for the Truro constituency representing the Mebyon Kernow party. In 1975 he founded the Cornish Nationalist Party. He holds a Ph.D. degree and is the director of the Roseland Institute for Cornish Studies. He is editor of the quarterly Cornish magazine, The Cornish Banner (An Baner Kernewek). The Institute contains a library of over 20,000 books in the process of being catalogued and put on-line and is the base for the publishing activities of Lyfrow Trelyspen and CNP Publications.
Dr James C A Whetter
Return to top of page    

Colin Wilson (1931 - present day) - Philosopher & Writer
Colin Henry Wilson was born on 26th June 1931 in Leicester. He left school at the age of 16 and worked in factories and at various occupations. He read a lot in his spare time. His first book, The Outsider was published in 1956. He became regarded as one of the "angry young men"; a group of working class and middle class British playwrights and novelists who became prominent in the 1950s.
Shortly after publication of The Outsider, Colin and his future wife Joy, whom he had met in Lewis' department store in Leicester, were sharing a meal in his London flat when Joy's father burst in brandishing a horsewhip, uttering the immortal words: "Aha, Wilson! The game is up!". The next day the papers were full of the story. The scandal resulted in Wilson leaving London. He first took Joy to Devon, then to Ireland, and then to Cornwall. Here they were offered accommodation and have remained in Cornwall to this day.
Colin and Joy live in Gorran Haven in a modest home containing thousands of books. Colin has written over 110 books on philosophy, literary criticism, literary theory, criminology, psychology, theology and sociology plus a dozen or so fictional works. The latest book, Super Consciousness: the Quest for the Peak Experience, was published in 2009.
 
Return to top of page    


Harold Wilson (1916 - 1995) - Politician and British Prime Minister
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC, was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, on 11th March 1916. His father, James Herbert Wilson was a chemist and his mother Ethel (née Seddon) had been a schoolteacher before her marriage. Harold was educated at Royds Hall Grammar School in Huddersfield and went to study Modern History at Jesus College, Oxford, from 1934. After his first year, he changed his field of study to Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He graduated with a first class Bachelor of Arts degree. He went on to be one of the youngest Oxford University dons of the century at the age of 21. He was a lecturer in Economic History at New College from 1937, and a Research Fellow at University College.
Harold married Mary Baldwin on January 1st 1940, in the chapel of Mansfield College, Oxford. Mary Wilson became a published poet. In the 1945 general election, Harold won the Ormskirk seat in the Labour landslide. On 29 September 1947, Harold was appointed President of the Board of Trade and, at 31, became the youngest member of the Cabinet in the 20th century. After the Labour Party lost the general election in 1951 Harold became a Shadow Minister, rising to Shadow Chancellor in 1956.
When Hugh Gaitskell died in January 1963, Harold Wilson became a candidate for the leadership and won the campaign. Labour won the 1964 general election with a narrow majority of four seats, and Harold Wilson became Prime Minister. The slender majority brought a second election in March 1966 which returned Labour with the much larger majority of 96.
The British Pipesmokers' Council voted him Pipe Smoker of the Year in 1965 and Pipeman of the Decade in 1976. In June 1965 when he nominated The Beatles to be honoured with the award of MBE in the Queen's Honours. He returned every summer with his family to the Isles of Scilly.
Labour lost power in the June 1970 general election but Harold returned again as Prime Minister from March 1974 until his resignation on 16 March 1976. On finally leaving the House of Commons after the 1983 general election, he was created Baron Wilson of Rievaulx. Not long after retirement, his mental deterioration from Alzheimer's disease became apparent. He did not make any public appearances after November 1988, although he continued attending the House of Lords until just over a year before his death. Harold Wilson died from cancer of the colon and Alzheimer's Disease in May 1995, aged 79. He was buried at St Mary's Old Church, St Mary's, on the Isles of Scilly on 6th June 1995.
 
Return to top of page    
Edward Woodward (1930 - 2009) - Actor
Edward was born on 1st june 1930 in Croydon, Surrey. Best known for his role as police sergeant Neil Howie in the cult thriller The Wicker Man and as the star of the television series Callan. He was married in 1952 to the actress Venetia Barrett and divorced in 1986. He married the actress Michele Dotrice (who played Betty in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em opposite Michael Crawford) in New York in January 1987. Towards the end of his life they lived at Hawker's Cove near Padstow. Edward was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro suffering from pneumonia, where he died on 16th November 2009. Edward and Venetia had three children - Tim (born 1953), Peter (born 1956) and Sarah (born 1963) - all are actors. Edward and Michele had a daughter, Emily Beth, in 1983.
 
Return to top of page    
  Search by Category
Actors & Actresses   -   Artists   -   Authors   -   Comedy   -   Inventors, engineers & scientists   -   Military   -   Musicians   -   Pioneers & explorers   -   Poets   -   Sports men & women   -   Statesmen, politicians & royalty   -   Television presenters & personalities   -   Others
 
  Actors & Actresses
Jenny Agutter OBE lives on The Lizard
Morwenna Banks (Absolutely)
Mary Ann Davenport (18th century stage actress)
Steven Craine (It Ain't Half Hot Mum & The District Nurse)
Robert Duncan (Drop the Dead Donkey)
Paul Fox (The Royal)
Dawn French (Vicar of Dibley & French and Saunders)
Simon Grant (CBBC presenter)
Alison King (Coronation Street)
John Nettles (Bergerac & Midsommer Murders)
Thandie Newton (Mission: Impossible II)
Leon Ockenden (Heartbeat & Casualty)
Sue Perkins (Have I Got News for You & Mock the Week)
Kristin Scott Thomas (Four Weddings and A Funeral & The English Patient)
Frances Speedie (Golden Brown)
Tristan Sturrock (Poldark & Doc Martin) Edward Woodward (The Wicker Man & Callan)
  Artists (Painters & sculptors)
Henry Bone (18th century enamel painter)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (sculptor)
John Opie (18th century painter)
 
  Authors, novelists & playwrights
Maria Branwell (mother of Brontë Sisters)
William John (W J) Burley (crime writer - Wycliffe)
Richard Carew (translator)
Nick Darke (playwright)
Richard Driscoll (screenwriter, film producer, actor and film director)
Daphne du Maurier (novelist)
Sir William Golding (novelist)
Winston Graham (author of Poldark)
F E Halliday (academic & author of A History of Cornwall)
Nick Harkaway (novelist)
John le Carré (novelist & spy)
Jessica Mann (author of Out Of Harm's Way)
Robert Morton Nance (authority on the Cornish language)
Rosamunde Pilcher (novelist)
Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch ("Q") (novelist)
Dr Alfred (A L) Rowse (historian & writer)
Derek Alan Trevithick Tangye (writer)
Jean Tangye (writer)
Nigel Tangye (writer)
D M Thomas (novelist, poet & translator)
Colin Wilson (author)
 
  Comedy
Dawn French (actress & comedienne)
Jethro (real name Geoffrey Rowe)
Rory McGrath
 
  Inventors, engineers & scientists
John Couch Adams (discovered Neptune)
John Arnold (pocket chronometer)
William Bickford (safety fuse)
William Cookworthy (discovered china clay)
Sir Humphry Davy (miners safety lamp)
Goldsworthy Gurney (surgeon, chemist & inventor of Bude lights)
Donald Mitchell Healey (rally driver, engineer and speed record holder)
Richard Lower (inventor of blood transfusion)
William Oliver (physician & inventor of the ‘Bath Oliver’)
Andrew Pears (inventor of Pears Soap)
John Arthur Phillips (geologist)
Richard Francis "Dick" Strawbridge (engineer, television presenter and environmentalist)
Sir Richard Trevithick Tangye (engineer)
Henry Trengrouse (rocket line inventor)
Richard Trevithick (inventor of railway locomotive)
 
  Military
Sir John Arundell (Civil war soldier & MP)
Captain William Bligh (naval commander)
Guy Gibson (RAF Pilot and holder of the VC)
Private James Finn VC (WWI soldier and holder of the VC)
General Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert (army officer)
Sir Bevil Grenville (Civil war commander)
Sir Richard Grenville (naval commander)
Robert Edwin Phillips VC (WWI soldier and holder of the VC)
Cyril Richard (Rick) Rescorla (UK & US soldier and only Cornish 9/11 victim)
 
  Musicians
Michael John Kells (Mick) Fleetwood (drummer - Fleetwood Mac)
Al Hodge (musician & songwriter)
Richard Jose (singer - ballads)
George Walter Selwyn Lloyd (composer)
Ralph McTell (singer-songwriter)
Andrew Ridgeley (Wham!)
Roger Meddows Taylor (drummer - Queen)
 
  Pioneers & explorers
Captain William Bligh (naval commander)
Richard Lemon Lander (explorer)
Richard William Pearse (pioneering aviator)
Sir Walter Raleigh (explorer)
John Samuel Wallis (navigator)
 
  Poets
Sir John Betjeman
Charles Causley (poet & writer)
John Harris (poet)
D M Thomas (novelist, poet & translator)
 
  Sports men & women
Michael Adams (chess grandmaster)
Ben Ainslie (olympian & sailor)
Jonah Barrington (squash player)
David Bond (olympian)
Edwin Raymond (Ray) Bowden (international footballer)
Jack Cock (international footballer)
Baron Sebastian Newbold Coe (athlete, olympian & statesman)
Chris Craft (racing driver)
Matthew Etherington (footballer)
Bob Fitzsimmons (world champion boxer)
Helen Glover (olympian)
Donald Mitchell Healey (rally driver, engineer and speed record holder)
(Anthony) Nigel Martyn (international footballer)
Joshua (Josh) Matavesi (international rugby union footballer)
Jack Nowell (international rugby union footballer) Michael (Mike) Trebilcock (footballer)
 
  Statesmen, politicians & royalty
Sir John Arundell (soldier & MP)
Chula Chakrabongse (Prince of Siam)
Selina Cooper (suffragist & MP)
Baron Sebastian Newbold Coe (athlete & statesman)
Sidney Godolphin (statesman)
Dame Annette Penhaligon (politician)
David Charles Penhaligon (MP)
David Treffry (international financier and High Sheriff of Cornwall)
Sir Jonathan Trelawney (bishop)
Dr James Whetter (historian & politician)
Harold Wilson (politician & British Prime Minister)
 
  Television presenters & personalities
John Curtice (professor of politics and regular contricutor to the BBC’s election night coverage)
Simon Grant (television presenter & actor)
Sue Perkins (comedienne, broadcaster, actress and writer)
Angela Rippon(television journalist, newsreader, actress, author and dancer)
Richard Francis "Dick" Strawbridge (engineer, television presenter and environmentalist)
 
  Others
William (Billy) Trewartha Bray (preacher)
Thomas Flamank (lawyer & Cornish martyr)
Stanley Lucas (supercentenarian)
Dolly Pentreath (last native Cornish speaker)
David Treffry (international financier and High Sheriff of Cornwall)
Sir Jonathan Trelawney (bishop)
Silvanus Trevail (architect)
 
     


Visiting Cornwall is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk & Javari.co.uk


Created and maintained by Amdow Web Design

Broken Links: Although we try to ensure that all the external links on our pages are current, there are times when a website will cease to exist or change it's name or the names of individual pages without our knowledge. If you come across any of these links that do not work, please let us know so that we can correct them.
Please email us with the details (web page URL and the broken link) at: