Family Names

Monday, 19 June 2017

Living in the wake of family disaster

Article - 3 John Bassett of Madron (1790- 1868) 

This week I am going to take a look at the ramifications of criminal charges that were brought against John’s brother, his father-in-law and brother-in-law.

The incident in question happened only eight months after the couple’s nuptials on 13th December 1812 just before Christmas. However, although a warrant had been issued for their arrest, they were not apprehended at the time as they had absconded to sea. [i]   

Times would have been very lean after the incident, as the extended family had lost 3 main breadwinners all at once.  This must have put enormous pressures on those who remained to keep the home fires burning.  This may have been why John & Martha did not have their first until almost 2 years after they got married.  

Author unknown, Map of the County Cornwall England, digital image, Accessed 19 June 2017.  Edited to show the movements of John Bassett in the first few years of his marriage to Martha Carbis.

They were no longer living in either John’s home parish of Madron or Martha’s home parish of Paul, they had moved to Perranuthnoe where their first born, John was christened on 13 November 1814 in the local parish church. [ii] 

When John Bassett married Martha he was listed as a sojourner however on each of his children’s christenings he was listed as a miner which may be more indicative of his true profession.[iii]  Perranuthnoe is about 5 miles (as the crow flies) from Paul.

Artist Unknown, An engraving of Cornish miners from the St Ives area in 1866, French publication. digital image, accessed 19 June 2017

The couple may have moved to enable John to find work in various mines or perhaps they left their towns of birth to put distance between (them and) the embarrassing events of  their relatives.
What happened to the following relatives is not yet known:-
  • John’s mother-in-law Anne Carbis nee Drew would have been aged approximately  53 years in 1812 and her son Richard Carbis only 15 years old at the time. It is likely that Anne did not remarry given her age and unless there was a benevolent relative somewhere would have most likely ended her days in the parish poor house.  Richard being a lot younger would have made his way in the world as best he could.  At present there are a few working theories as to Richard’s fate.  Theory one is that he worked as a miner and eventually came out to Australia and settled near Martha, the alternative theory is that he went onto become a shoe maker and never left Cornwall.
  • John's sister-in-law Anne Drew Bassett nee Carbis (wife of Francis Bassett) had no children at the time.  It is thought that Anne may have married Robert Carne in 1820, however more research needs to be done to establish if this true especially as her convict husband would have still been alive albeit in the Australian Colony of New South Wales.
  • John's sister-in-law Grace Carbis nee Martins who had young child at the time of the incident.

Life must have been very hard for everyone concerned.

Previous articles on John Bassett in this June 2017 series 

  1. Article 1 -  Who is John Bassett?
  2. Article 2 - Looking for the Parent's of John Bassett.

Edit History

Originally posted on the 19 June 2017
Updated and revised on 24 June 2017


[i] West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser 7th April 1815 Pg. 1 & 4
[ii] FamilySearch, Baptism of John Bassett baptised 13 November 1814, Perranuthnoe Church Parish Register, Cornwall England, p.6  "England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010," database with images, Baptisms Perranuthnoe Cornwall, 1813-1837, Cornwall Records Office, Truro, Accessed 14 April 2015 (image 7 of 53).
[iii] FamilySearch, Marriage of John Basset & Martha Carbis, married 15 Mar 1812 Paul Church Register, Cornwall p. 273"England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010," database with images, Marriage banns, marriages, Paul, Carnwall 1754-1813, Cornwall Records Office, Truro.  Accessed 14 April 2015 (Image 141 of 143) [annotated by minister as Copy 1]; FamilySearch, Marriage of John Basset & Martha Carbis, married 15 Mar 1812 Paul Church Register, Cornwall p. unpaginated  "England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010," database with images, Marriage banns, marriages, Paul, Carnwall 1799-1813, Cornwall Records Office, Truro.  Accessed 14 April 2015 (Image 38 of 40) 


  1. How interesting (and sad for that family!)

    It's amazing what you can discover about the lives of ordinary people in the past, isn't it? :)

  2. Thanks for droping Lydia, it is amazing what we can find. There is much more hidden information plain sight, than we realise, if we care to look.


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