Saturday, 29 September 2012

Job Cornwell (1780-1869), agricultural labourer

Job Cornwell was my great, great, great grandfather. He was the father of George Cornwell (1817-1907), who was the father of Jane Wilkins nee Cornwell (b1851), who was the mother of Gertrude Amy Taylor nee Wilkins (1890-1919), who was the mother of my father, Eric William Taylor (1913-2003).

Job was born in 1780 and baptised on 6 July 1780 at St Mary, Kelvedon in Essex. His parents were Job (1756-1806) and Hannah Cornwell. He was the second of their seven children.

Job went to work at sea. In 1798 Commodore Sir Sidney Smith was manning his fleet to attack the French in Egypt. A press gang from the Commodore’s flag ship seized Job on board a coal ship. He refused to be sworn and was made a prisoner. Being an apprentice on board a coal brig, his captain claimed him and he was released.

On 21 October 1805, Job married Mary Butler (b1785), a local girl, in Kelvedon. He was aged 25 and she was 21. Parish records show that Ann Cornwell Butler was born on 8 July 1805 and baptised on 11 August 1805 at Kelvedon. Her mother’s name is given as Mary Butler with no father’s name. It seems likely that Job was her father. Perhaps he had not been able to marry Mary before Ann’s birth because he was he was away working at sea ? Job and Mary went on to have ten more children : Mary (1807-87), Phoebe (1808-85), Job (1811-66), Amelia (b1812), Charles (b1815), George (1817-1907), Jane (b1819), Emma (b1821), Harriet (b1823) and Rebecca (b1825).

The 1841 census shows Job, an agricultural labourer aged 60 living in Kelvedon with his wife Mary (55) and their youngest children Harriet (18) and Rebecca (15). Job’s wife Mary died in 1843 aged 58.

The 1851 census for Kelvedon lists Job Cornwell, aged 71 an agricultural labourer, with his daughter Amelia (37) and her husband William Freeborn (36, an agricultural labourer). Also in the household were Job’s daughter Rebecca Cornwell (25, a servant) and his grandsons George  (11) and Charles Cornwell (9).

By 1861, Job (aged 81) was living in Kelvedon with William (48) and Amelia (48) Freeborn and their daughter Harriet (8).


Job died on 28 May 1869 aged 89 and was buried in Kelvedon parish churchyard on 6 June. A newspaper item recording his burial says that he left behind 7 children, 42 grandchildren and 80 great grandchildren!

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