West Penwith at the Time of Charles II
Hearth Tax Returns of 1664 plus wills and inventories are the main sources for this volume. What emerges is that most people lived in accommodation with either no hearth or one hearth. In Penzance less than half of the houses examined were listed for the tax. Glebe terriers provide more detailed accounts of vicarages as described by their residents and while the parsons of Gulval, Ludgvan, Paul, Sancreed, Zennor and St Just were by no means the poorest residents of West Penwith at the time of Charles II, it's fair to say that they did not dwell in the lap of luxury though some of these houses e.g. Ludgvan, were quite well appointed. As well as the vicarage the terriers also describe the gardens and glebe lands and afford a view into the wider life style in the area.
Agriculture was the mainstay of the parish of Zennor and the farming families of the parish are looked at in some detail while another essay focuses on West Penwith sheep and their origins and uses. Somewhat less rural is the essay on Penzance merchants, which contains a seating plan for St Mary's Chapel for 1674. As with the account from terriers we see evidence of change in the wake of the restoration and of a good deal of new building e.g. St Mary's Chapel and the Coinage Hall.
A short account of the Sennen Quakers reminds us that religious tensions have not entirely died away while the tensions and conflicts of life in a secluded rural parish are revealed in an account based upon Towednack inventories. Andrew Rosewall seems to have been the 'rich man' of Towednack while further west, in St Just, Richard Angwin is the subject of a biographical essay which reveals him as one of the last speakers and writers of Cornish and also as owner of tin bounds and stamping and crazing mills. The subject of the last essay, Francis Paynter of Boskennal, was a somewhat wealthier man than either Rosewall or Angwin.