Select Pascoe Miscellany

Here are some Pascoe stories and accounts over the years:

The Wendron Mining District

Wendron mining district has one of the longest histories of copper and tin working of any district in Cornwall. By the 1580's, underground mining was well advanced within the district.  Two of the most important mines were Roselidden and Porkellis.  Two centuries later, Wendron was the most populated district in the region, with 9,000 inhabitants.

Many of the rich but often shallow copper mines had been abandoned by the 1840's.  Fortunately tin had been found.  Due to the mineral zoning, some of these mines also had tin deposits.  But miners had to go deeper.  Then tin was discovered in Australia in 1872 and new production was coming from Malaya and Bolivia.  The era for tin in Cornwall was over.

Two books have been published on the mining industry in the district: Wendron Tin by A.K. Hamilton Jenkin, commissioned by the Poldark Mine in 1978, and The Tin Steamers by Justin Brooks in 1994.

Early Pascoe Wills

Date Name Place
1621 Bennet Pascow Wendron
1624 William Pascowe Wendron
1662 John Pascoe St. Hilary
1671 Erasmus Pascoe Phillack
1677 John Pascoe Phillack
1684 Nicholas Pascoe St. Hilary
1691 James Pascoe Phillack

One Pascoe family traces their lineage back to John Pascoe who married Elizabeth Edwards in Wendron in 1564.

Pascoe as a Cornish Surname

Pascoe has ranked as No.6 among the most common surnames in Cornwall.  The table below shows the top ten from the 1881 UK census.

1881 census


Pascoe Emigrants

In 1881 it was estimated that one third of Cornwall's mining population had emigrated.  The extent of this exodus, known as the Cornish Diaspora, was typified by the parish of Crowan which had lost nearly half of its population between 1851 and 1901.

"Cousins Jacks and Jennys" were the slang terms for these Cornish migrants.  Many took their mining skills and their customs with them. continuing to celebrate the Feast of St. Piran, the patron saint of Cornish miners, and St. John's Day (Midsummer's Eve) when logs and hundredweights were exploded. 
The following were some of the Pascoes who left:

To Canada
  • Richard Pascoe left Truro for Oxford in Ontario (where he married Harriet Greenway and they had three children).
To America
  • Jeremiah Pascoe for Georgia (he died in Cherokee County in 1867 and his descendants moved onto Arkansas)
  • William and Mary Pascoe to Illinois in 1845 and then onto California during the Gold Rush.
To Australia
  • James Pascoe to Sydney in the 1830's
  • various Pascoes heading for the South Australian copper mines in the 1840's
  • John and Christina Pascoe and their two sons on the Sea Quest to South Australia
  • Michael Pascoe on the Elgin to Sydney in 1854
  • Henry and Grace Pascoe from St. Keverne to Australia in 1865
  • and Martin Prist Pascoe from Wendron to Victoria in 1867.
To New Zealand
  • Hugh and Harriet Pascoe from Truro in 1872 as part of Brogden's navvies to build the railways.  They settled in Herbert, Otepopo in South Island.
To South Africa
  • John Richard Reed Pascoe was born in Cork where his Cornish father, Henry, was working in the Allihies mines.  He and his brothers emigrated to South Africa in 1879 and settled in Pietermaritzburg.
  • John Pascoe from Helston arrived two years later and started a branch of the Salvation Army.  He and his family were among the pioneers who trekked northwards to Rhodesia in 1891.

John and Kate Pascoe - Missionary Pioneers

The Salvation Army followed the London Missionary Society and the Jesuits in sending missionaries to Africa. John Pascoe led a group of Salvationists by ox wagon to Fort Salisbury in what was then Mashonaland.  The early going was tough.   They faced a major insurrection in 1896 when many died.  John and his wife Kate and their growing family decided to stay.  John supplemented his tiny Army income with work as a builder. Kate, a true pioneer, was Mayoress of Salisbury in 1905.  There are descendants still in Harare.


Bruce Pascoe's Identity

Bruce Pascoe, author of Convincing Ground and member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, told The Australian of the creation of his identity.

"My life was like a plane wreck.  It was 1982 and I'd just moved from Mallacoota to Melbourne to work as a drama resource teacher.  My relationship was imploding.  I had no money, and I'd just started the Australian Short Stories magazine.  And at the same time I was trying to track down my Aboriginal heritage.

I tend to bite off more than I can chew.  Under pressure I blame everyone else but myself.  So I grab my swag and take myself off walking or camping somewhere.  It might seem like a Koori instinct to go walkabout, but I suspect it's a human instinct.

Mine is only a remote Aboriginal heritage, going back to my mother's grandmother.  But ever since I was a boy, Aborigines have asked me who I was.  I always said: 'I'm Alf Pascoe's son.'  It wasn't until I was eighteen that i realized that wasn't what they were asking."

A Pascoe Fisherman From Newlyn

For the third generation of a Newlyn fishing family, fishing is a way of life for Andrew Pascoe.  As a young boy there was nothing else he wanted to do.  As soon as he could walk, all his spare time was spent messing about in boats and around Newlyn harbor.

As one of Cornwall's younger fishermen, he understands the need for sustainable fishing, to respect and conserve fish stocks and to sell a quality product.  Far from the perceived image of a fisherman who spends weeks at sea indiiscrimately trawling the ocean floor, he has spent his life developing a range of methods that suit the seasons and the abundant and diverse range of fish and shellfish found around the Cornish coast.  "Sustainability is the way forward, and it has to be really," he says.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Andrew Pascoe has two boats.  The first is Cynthia, a small 18 foot cove boat open to the elements, which he uses for handlining.  The second, the 38 foot Lamorna, he owns jointly with his brother James.  This boat is used for netting, fishing for crawfish, lobster, monkfish, and turbot in the summer, along with handlining for pollack.  Later in the year they switch to fishing for tope and ling.  The static nets have large mesh sizes that virtually eliminate any by-catch of undersized fish.

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