On this Day 10th May 1714

William Limbrey of Zennor

In the PLHG publication Women of West Cornwall Jean Nankervis wrote on Zennor Women and Wills 1600-1750. What Jean was looking for was evidence of how men treated the women in their families. This was a time when a woman's possessions became the property of her husband upon marriage and she became totally dependant upon him for maintenance, even after his death. The terms of wills therefore have the potential to throw some light on how men regarded their wives since they were making arrangements for their welfare into the future.

Kerrow farmhouse, Zennor. Picture - Jean NankervisWilliam Limbery (Limbrey) was buried in Zennor on 10 May 1714. He was survived by his wife Susannah to whom he left £6 a year which was to be paid out of their farm at Kerrow. He also left Susannah the room in the house referred to as the inner kitchen and the chamber above it together with their furniture, which he stipulated she was not to sell or otherwise dispose of. The rest of the house was left to their son Richard but William also stipulated that Susannah was to have “her cow”, two heifers, pasture for one milk cow and fuel for her own use.

The picture shows Kerrow farmhouse. The far end is an extension and the first chimney (in the centre of the roof) is the chimney which served Susannah's room.

William Limbrey was one of three men of Zennor between 1600 and 1750 who were described as a gentleman. This is a statement of status and implies that he would not have been expected to do manual work but William did “behave like a gentleman” towards his wife, securing for her both an income and dwelling as well as milk and fuel.

When William and Susannah married is not presently known but there is a marriage in Zennor for a William Lyberie in 1674 (possibly 29 July) to a St Ives girl. William was the son of John Limbrey and his wife Margery Berriman who married in Zennor on 30 April 1649.

William Limbrey was one of the more well off men in Zennor, he was tenant of two thirds of the tenement of Kerrow and clearly lived in a two storey house.

  • To his son William he left Penance, the neighbouring property.

  • To his son Vyvian he left the house that had been rebuilt - we do not know which house this was.

  • To his daughter Agnes, wife of William Champen, he left £5

  • To his other daughter, Margery wife of Thomas Cornish, he left only 1s, possibly because he had already made a settlement upon her when she married but still wanted to remember her in his will

  • His grandchildren (number unknown but his son William had three little girls by 1714, Margery and Thomas Cornish may have two children, and Agnes and William Champen may have had two little girls and a boy) were all bequeathed one ewe each

  • All else was left to his eldest son Richard.

William lived in Zennor until he died in 1757, having lost his wife Luce in 1733. His brother Vivian is probably one of the two Vivian Limberys to be buried in Zennor in the 1780s, the other probably being William and Luce's son.

Richard was buried in Zennor in 1764 and Margery in 1751. The last family birth in Zennor was in 1732, the last marriage in 1709 and the last burial in 1788.


Jean Nankervis, Zennor Women in Wills 1600-1750 in Women of West Cornwall, Penwith Local History Group, 2016

Jean Nankervis, The Hamlet of Kerrow in Zennor in Homes and Households in West Cornwall, Penwith Local History Group, 2010. (this is really about Kerrow after the Limberys have left)

Additional genealogical research was conducted using the Cornwall Online Parish Clerk for Zennor.

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"Growing Up in West Cornwall"

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