Aisle of Paul Church, Cornwall

Homebodies: Benjamin, Edith and Thomas Herbert Victor of Mousehole

I’ve recently written about Mary and John, some members of the Rowe and Victor family who had headed to Devonport (Plymouth) for work and Edwin who ended up in Glamorganshire. Their brother Benjamin happily stayed behind in Mousehole, 6 miles from Land’s End in Cornwall, England.

Photo of Fore Street, Mousehole

Looking down Fore Street, Mousehole, Cornwall

Benjamin was the son of a fisherman called Bernard Victor and his wife Alice (nee Rowe). He was born around Christmas 1860/New year 1861 as he was 3 months old by the 7 April 1861 census.  He was baptised on 28 April that year, one of eight babies baptised that day – Paul Church must have been so noisy!  However, scrolling down the list of baptisms that year in Paul Church, 13 October 1861 must have been wilder as an astounding 17 babies were baptised!

The family were living on Quay Street at that time, but by 1871 they had moved to 2 Mill Place – this picture of Fore Street is the view Benjamin would have got as he came out the house and turned down to head to the harbour.  He was still at school at that point.

By 1881 he was working as a boot and shoe maker, living on Church Street in Mousehole with his parents and two of his brothers, widowed Gamaliel and younger brother Edwin.

His father Bernard died in summer 1891.

Photo of St Mary's Church, Penzance

St Mary’s Church, Penzance

Although there was hostility between neighbouring Newlyn and Penzance (the latter was the far side of Newlyn from Mousehole), Benjamin met and fell for a Penzance girl called Edith Wilkins. They married in her parish, Penzance St Mary’s, on 3 November 1890. Her father was an engineer called Thomas Wilkins and witnessed the wedding; by that time Benjamin had become a boot maker like his grandfather William Rowe.

They settled down in Mousehole, where their son Thomas Herbert was born on 6 September 1894. Their daughter Annie Olive was born on 5 August 1898.  I know they also had a third child who’d been born and died young before 1911, according to that census.  I’ve found reference to a Harold Victor, 1896-1897, but don’t know at this stage whether Harold was Benjamin and Edith’s son or the son of his brother Albert and wife Sarah; I’d need to check either a gravestone or order a death certificate for that.

Benjamin continued to work as a boot and shoe maker and they lived in Mousehole at various addresses over the years.

Benjamin’s mother Alice Victor (nee Rowe) died in 1903.

Photo of Penzance Public Library and School of Art

Penzance Public Library and School of Art

In 1911 Benjamin and Edith were living at home in Mousehole with Thomas and Annie. They also had a widowed aunt staying, a lady called Ann Curnow (I think she is from Edith’s side) who had been senile for two years. At this time Thomas was an art student, which I found intriguing as this is the time when the Newlyn School of Art was flourishing and there was an art college in Penzance next to the Library, built in 1880.

So I googled Thomas Herbert Victor and – yes! A ‘famous ancestor’ at last! I found him on the Cornwall Artists Index and he indeed did go to to the Penzance School of Art where he had a scholarship from the start.  He was offered a scholarship at the Slade School of Fine Art in London but chose not to leave Mousehole and indeed lived there all his life, never travelling further than Truro, 32 miles away.

Bernard died in 1914 and was buried in Paul Cemetery.  Edith outlived him and the First World War by many years, dying on 15 January 1941 in Mousehole; her son was her executor.

Their children lived into their 80s, Thomas dying on 10 March 1980 in Mousehole, and Annie two years later, also close by in the same registration area.

© Lynne Black, 22 October 2015
Adapated from a blog post on the Worldwide Genealogy Collaboration Blog, 21 October 2015: 

2 thoughts on “Homebodies: Benjamin, Edith and Thomas Herbert Victor of Mousehole

  1. Pingback: A story of two Louisas: A Mousehole mother and daughter | starryblackness

  2. Pingback: Alice Rowe, 1824 – 1903: Coronations and potatoes | starryblackness

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