William Henry Vingoe

 of Madron & Penzance.

His antecedents & descendants


     "Where did he come from where did they go? "

William Henry Vingoe baptised 07 May 1807 Madron, was a son of  Henry Vingoe & Alice Reseigh, who were married in Madron in 1806. His father Henry [b1780] was a son of Richard Vingoe and Alice Argall who were married in  Madron in 1763. The family of Argall were by this time a Madron family but originally they came from Argall, a place of that name between Falmouth and Penryn. Through this marriage the Vingoe family were related to those of Glasson,  Rodda and Branwell. Richard settled in Madron from the time of his marriage and his children were baptised in the parish church. It is assumed that the property he held in this parish came to him from the time of his marriage into the Argall family.

Richard Vingoe was a branch of a line that originated in the Land's End parishes of Sennen & St. Levan. This line almost died out with when his grandfather  " Richard the Fisherman" died in 1714,  leaving only a young son John age 11. This John in turn died intestate in 1762 when he and his younger son John were both drowned when their fishing boat capsized off St Just. This left a widow, Mary [nee Lanyon] a married daughter, Sarah, and his only surviving son, Richard, who was granted powers of  administration.  Sister Sarah had married Richard Buspidnick in 1750 and when she would have received her marriage portion . Her absence of mention in these legal proceedings  is not surprising.

John, the younger brother of Richard, was once a candidate as the groom of Margaret Ellis who married in St. Just in 1769. This would have made them the parents of my 3x g-grandfather Henry Vingoe. He was born  c1771  but the record of his baptism is missing. With the discovery of the burials of father and son John Vingoe in St  Just records this speculation ends. Another John Vingoe b1742 , a son of Henry Vingoe of St Just, is now the most likely candidate. Those bearing the name Vingoe at that time were all close cousins, having all descended from one couple c1630. The male names of John, William, Henry & Richard were used with repetitive monotony. Females varied a little with Mary, Margaret, Anne, Sarah & various versions of Jenifer/Jane/Joan/Joanna.

William Henry Vingoe, being the first born son of Henry Vingoe & Alice Reseigh, was named for his mother's father, William Reseigh [a blacksmith] & also after his father. He had an uncle and a maternal  g/grandfather [William Argall] also bearing that name. The next child was named Richard for his grandfather and an uncle, & the next  son was named John after a paternal  g/grandfather. Having then yet another son he is named Henry after his father. This naming pattern goes according to a Cornish naming tradition, prevalent at this time in some families. If there were enough sons one would eventually be named for the father, or another family member would  name their child in his honour. Close relatives that died young were often commemorated by children being  baptised with the name of the lately departed, if born soon after the demise.

It was also done if it looked unlikely that a male would marry and produce heirs. Henry had named a son for a brother that had died, and another for a brother John, who was single and not in good health. This John, however, did marry later at aged 38 and his wife bore him a son,  but both John and his son died within  months of each other in 1812. [see below Will of Richard]. Another brother of Henry, William, had  named his first son John and a second after himself. It was not until the third son that his  wife, Constance Rodda, named a son after her father, Thomas. The next was named Richard after both  paternal grandfather and newly deceased brother. It all seems a little morbid today but maybe they were trying to establish a continuity to life in an age when nothing was certain. It also made a statement as to which of the partners to a marriage had the name with the greatest importance. Some wives' families hardly got a look in -others were honoured first as with Henry and his firstborn son  William Henry.

Henry, husband of Alice Reseigh, was mentioned in his father's will of 1821. He only received 5 shillings.  We can assume that this was a token amount and that he was given his share when he married in 1806. His wife Alice may have brought some land or money to their marriage. Daughters  were often  the subject of marriage settlements. The son most fitted to follow in father's footsteps was not always the eldest. Other sons usually took money in compensation and went off to start up on there own account. This is what I believe happened in Henry's case. His brother William inherited the family farm at Boswarva: perhaps Henry was not cut out for farming. He set up as a builder & carpenter and all his sons followed him into the trade. By the time of his father's death he had a growing family and a growing business!

Below is  the Will  of Richard Vingoe dated 1821 which was a great help in confirming parentage of his various children and their deaths and   marriages. The one shilling left to members of the family or acquaintances was not a derisory sum but  inserted in the will as a recognition, on the part of the deceased.  In the past gold laced gloves or mourning rings were given but in this more practical age the gift of  money was thought more suitable as a token.. That was why the phrase  to be "cut off without a shilling" was thought  worthy of exclamation at any reading of a will. The relative or friend in this situation had been thought little of by the dear departed. Their value was assessed by the number of shillings given . Amounts above five are uncommon as  that was regarded as  "serious money."


Will of Richard Vingoe:  Born 1733 St. Just.  Died 1821 Madron. Age 88 years

"I give and  bequeath to my beloved  wife, Alice, the sum of Ten Pounds yearly to be paid every quarter by my executor during her lifetime.

To my daughter, Alice Vingoe, the sum of Eight pounds a year.....and the house that I now live in  with all my household goods to my wife and daughter during their lifetimes and sufficient fewel [fuel - probably furze and turf cut of the moorland] for their use during their lifetime.. free cost....If Alice my daughter do be married she is to have Four pounds a year every quarter to herself , and nothing else.(1)

To my daughter, Phyllis Thomas of St. Just, the sum of 30 Pounds to be paid six months after my decease. I give to my son-in-law, Martin Thomas, the sum of  one shilling, three months after my decease. (2)

To my daughter-in-law, Margaret Vingoe, widow of my son John Vingoe deceased, the sum of one shilling, six months after my decease. (3)

To my daughter, Sarah Bosence, wife of Richard Bosence, of the parish of St. Creet [Sancreed], the sum of Ten pounds after her husbands death, three months. If Sarah dies before her husband Richard Bosence, he is to have a shilling. (4)

To my son Henry Vingoe,  the sum of 5 shillings,  three months after my decease. 

There is then a long gap in the writing on the page as if it had been  left it blank for a time and then, in a changed script as with a thinner nib it  carries on:

Lastly. I give my son, William Vingoe, whom I make and ordain the sole executor of this my last Will and Testament, All and singular my Lands, Messuages and Tenements, by him freely to be possessed and enjoyed. And I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disannul all and every other former Testament ,Wills, Legacies, Bequests and Executors by me in any ways before named, willed and bequeathed; ratifying and confirming this ,and no other, to be my last Will & Testament.

In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal. this twenty-fifth day of January, one thousand eight hundred and fourteen .

Witnessed by 

Hugh Lawry           John Jenkin          Jno Stephens.


 Wife Alice died in 1826 still a widow. He wrote the will in 1814 when his wife was 67 and inserted no clause about her re-marrying. At her age perhaps he gave no though to it, although many husbands did and left their widows with little means of support without there sons total approval. His wife died before him in 1818 and the will was not re-written.

Daughter Phyllis Vingoe married Martin THOMAS  at St. Just in 1793 and they had three children: Phyllis 1800, Martin 1804 & John 1809.

Son John Vingoe married Margaret Stevens in 1809. In John's will  he leaves provision for his infant son by Margaret, his wife. His in-laws, Margaret and John Stevens were witnesses to the will, written when John was dying. He was a farmer and  left his widow well provide for , with  property and 100 in trust for his son to have at age 21. Thomas Glasson Jnr. of Trewidden was a trustee. Margaret, mother of his child was another. Their infant son  died before his father, so Margaret inherited everything. "My will is all the property shall fall to my wife Mary Vingoe" The will named no executor so was unlikely to have been drawn up by a lawyer. Margaret, as the sole legatee, was obliged to swear an  oath before the Archdeacon of Cornwall, William Short, that the document was "the true original and last Will and Testament of John Vingoe late if the parish of Madern, your late husband deceased, so far as you know or believe" and that the signature was his. This document was passed on to  William Borlase, Charles Valentine Le Grice and  Thomas Robyns, Commissioners for Oaths, who granted her "Letters of Administration". The order was signed by  William Borlase 24 July 1812. She promised to make an inventory of all the "goods and chattels of the deceased", pay any debts  and write a detailed list of all his credits,  and return in October to be granted Probate. It was almost as if John had died intestate. Witnesses to her oath were John Stevens and William Stevens both of the parish of St. Ives. [her father & brother?] Also in attendance was a John Stevens, the younger, perhaps another brother?]

She received a good income from these investments, enough to threaten her niece-according to the terms of her own  will. The niece, Elizabeth Richards, was living with her and was made well aware of the terms of her aunt's will. She was faced with the prospect of her aunt leaving everything to another brother, George Stevens, if Eliza ceased living with her. 

                   "If Eliza shall leave me before my death she shall forfeit the whole of the above and my brother,

                        George Stevens, shall enjoy the same that she is entitled to from me  if she stay till I die"                                                                          

Margaret remained a widow from 1812-1844, although no condition to remain so was written in her husband's will. This in itself was a very rare situation for a young, rich widow to find herself in. A second husband could lay claim to all the wealth a widow brought to a second union and husbands usually ensured that a second husband could not enjoy his wealth after he was dead and gone. They would ensure in their will that, if left  any property or money as a widow, other named beneficiaries could lay claim to it in the event of the widow re-marrying. This applied even if the widow had brought the property or money to the first  marriage. It seems as if Margaret was quite content to live in a comfortable, independent, widowed state for the rest of her life. She is last recorded living at Trew, a small hamlet in the parish of Breage: niece, Elizabeth Richards, is not living with her...she is living in the house of a Samuel Polkinghorne and his wife Ann [nee Boddinar of Paul]


      1841 Census
       Piece: HO107/136/3 Place: Kerrier -Cornwall Enumeration District: 6
       Civil Parish: Breage Ecclesiastical Parish: Folio: 44 Page: 17
       Address: Trew
       POLKINGHORNE   Samuel      M   45   Farmer             Cornwall       
       POLKINGHORNE   Ann            F    35       -                    Cornwall       
       VINGOE                   Margaret    F   55   Independent     Cornwall
       Deaths GRO Dec 1/4 1844  Penzance 9 162    Margaret  VINGOE 
       Bur: 10-Dec 1844  Madron   Margaret VINGOE  age 61 of Trenear [?]


      Piece: HO107/1913 Place: St Keverne -Cornwall Enumeration District: 1
      Civil Parish: Breage Ecclesiastical Parish: Breage
      Folio: 300  Page: 21 Schedule: 79     
      Address: Trew
      POLKENHORN   Samuel   Head   M   M   55   Grocer     Breage [c1796]      
      POLKENHORN   Ann         Wife    M   F    47        -          Paul [c1804]

       1861 Census

       Piece RG9/1574 Place: Helston -Cornwall Enumeration District: 4
       Civil Parish: Breage Ecclesiastical Parish: Godolphin
       Folio: 44 Page: 14 Schedule: 82
       Address: Huthnance
        POLKINGHORNE  Samuel Head  M  M 55  Farmer 7 Acres & Mine Carrier  Breage       
        POLKINGHORNE  Ann       Wife  M   F 57  Farmer's Wife     Paul

       I have not found any Vingoe link to this Polkinhorn family but Ann came from Newlyn in Paul.     

       Her mother was a Anne STEVENS. She married at Sennen by Licence on 10 Apr 1802 to 
       James Bodinnar, Yeoman of Paul.

       Ann BODINNAR: bt 08 Oct 1804 dau of James BODINNAR & Ann [nee STEVENS]

       Siblings: James, Elizabeth, Eliza, William, Charles, Stephen, Jane & Grace

       Anne's brother James has  also moved to Breage by 1841. Both he and Emma Moffat

        [nee Edwards] had been married before.

       Piece: HO107/136/3 Place: Kerrier -Cornwall Enumeration District: 7
       Civil Parish: Breage Ecclesiastical Parish: -
       Folio: 65 Page: 21
       Address: Little Ruthdower
       BODINNAR   James    M   35   Butcher   Cornwall       
       BODINNAR   Emma     F   40           -        Cornwall       
       BODINNAR   Eliza       F     2           -        Cornwall       
       BODINNAR   James    M    3m         -        Cornwall



       Marriages 04-Aug 1833 Breage

       Samuel POLKINGHORNE of Breage  Groom Marked
       Ann    BODINNAR         of Breage  Bride Signed
       Witnesses  James  Bodinnar &  Jane  Bodinnar





            Trew c 1887                                                                                            Trew 1907

 I have established that Probate was granted to Elizabeth Richards, although it was delayed until 1846. The niece was the beneficiary of her estate in the end: it sounds as if she deserved it!

Dau Sarah was the second wife of Richard BOSENCE when they married in 1792. They had six children: Henry  c1793-94:  William c1794: Henry  c1799: Henrietta b1806 died :  Maria 1808 died :  Maria b 1813

Father Richard had requested that he be buried close to his son Richard, who had been interred at Sennen  Sept 1812. As his wife Alice had pre-deceased him and was buried at Madron I expect the family thought it more fitting that he was buried alongside her. His other son John also died in July of 1812 and is buried at Madron. When he made his request in the will he was probably still depressed by the death of two of his sons within months of each other:  his children might never have known of his request until after the reading if the Will, or chose to ignore it  and bury him in the dame grave as his wofe

William, the third born son then  became the heir to the farm at Boswarva  but the next few years were to change the  lives of the scattered farming communities forever. Although passing down  the right to farm and let property & land they did not usually own the freehold. In William's case although he did own just over 22 acres he also leased 32 acres from the Hon Anna Maria Agar, and a further 17 from a member of the Pascoe family. This gave him a total farm of 71 acres. (Land Holding). The system used for these leases was known as a "three lives lease". The tenant could rent land from the landowner but these were often absent as they were heirs of the old Cornish landed gentry no longer in residence. Families such as the Arundel, St. Aubyn , Godolphin, Vyvyan, Boscawen and Bassett families held large tracts of land in Cornwall and the mineral rights that lay under them. For a lump-sum payment and a nominal annual rent, payable each quarter, the tenant could make use of the land and the agreement ended at the death of the last  "life" of the three persons nominated.  They could build dwellings, barns etc and improve and cultivate the land in anyway they chose.

At the end of the life  of the last nominee the lease was at an end and new negotiations took place. This often meant a large sum was required to renew it. If the existing tenant was unable to meet the sum demanded the landlord ordered him to quit and put a new tenant in who could pay! The family might have lived there for countless generations but as the demands increased leases went to the highest bidder. Sometimes too much was asked and the houses  were abandoned and fell into ruin and the land was reclaimed by the moor. The inhabitants had gone never to return. At a time of recession,  few poor tenant farmers could  afford to feed themselves let alone buy their leases. Later, land acts were passed to help sitting tenants borrow money on the strength of the value of the land they wished to purchase and any property built on it. There was no compensation paid  in 1870 for any houses or property that had to be left on the land at the death of the last life, even though it potentially increased the value to the landowner.

Two sons of William and  Constance, John and Richard, were still  living on the family farm of Boswarva in Madron in 1871, but their sons appear to have little prospects. John the eldest  had several children [he married 3 times] but all the sons  had to move away from the family home. One only went as far as the  nearby parish of Ludgvan but another two went to London and a fourth, the youngest James Henry  b 1869, travelled to and from Calumet, Michigan before and after his marriage to Bessie James in Madron in 1893. The last time he went out to Michigan was in 1900.  After this he settled in Madron and had children but later moved away to live in Constantine and then Stithians. He was a gardener on the first voyage in 1887at age 18 and later a miner as Calumet was a rich copper mining area. I think it possible that his father John b 1803 was the last named life of the lease purchased originally by his grandfather Richard, and so the lease came to an end with John's death in February 1884. Several of the female descendants of Richard and Alice were also to leave home for the new lands of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa: some meet personal tragedy on the way while others succeeded in their search for a better life. Few from this line went to USA or Canada. That was favoured more by the Newlyn and Sennen clans.

Henry Vingoe, the youngest son of Richard and Alice, remained in Madron and  made a name for himself and, although he probably fared better in the long run, no trace of this line remained in Penzance after 1900 . He was a respected member of Madron church and also made a good living as a local builder. There once was a terrace of houses opposite the church called Vingoe's Terrace which  he built. These were later knocked down  but there has been a new development recently on the eastern side of Madron Churchtown and a part of it has  been named Vingoe's Lane. There are references in Millett's book of Madron to the church records in particular to the "Parish Chest" they were kept in, described as being made by Henry Vingoe. He is also referred to in connection  with the church purchasing  a piece of land to extend the churchyard. The meadow taken over in order to pull the old wall down and re-establish the new boundary was Henry Vingoe's meadow. Whether he owned or leased it I have not been able to find out. Another member of the family has informed me that Henry was responsible for carrying out improvements to the dome of the Penzance Market House and that he has the original plans dating from about 1835. This is the dome that houses the clock with a beautiful setting but a hideous "CLANG", unmistakable to all who have ever heard it. The dome  looks out over the main street of Penzance and is clearly visible for miles around towering over all other buildings still !

Henry leased land at Lesingey, nr Gulval  from the Ellis family of Sennen, for building  houses and also at Victoria Place, Penzance, where he was  living by 1841 This was long before the Ross family sold off their estate in 1889 and the many houses  were built almost joining Penzance to the Western Green area of Newlyn, The Lidden & Mennaye and before the 'Promenade' or 'Cornwall Terr.' and 'South Terr.' were thought off. The last habitation then was  known as Captain's Row, as so many of that calling lived there. It was situated just after the docks and the Battery Rocks, to the west of the chapel  at the bottom of Chapel St. This was then only a Chapel of Rest, the main parish church being at Madron. 

Between this and Newlyn then were the dunes. At this time the view from the houses at the high western end of the town was incomparable. There was then a clear view of the Mount and  bay and the dunes that bordered it. Morrab is from the Cornish "Mor app" =  coast or dune next the sea. Part of the old Ross family  house and gardens was bought in 1889 by the Penzance Corporation for the benefit of the people. This is the Morrab Gardens and the house is now the home of the Penzance Library. This was first established in 1818 at a nearby  building in Parade Street Passage. It is now referred to as the Morrab Library so as to avoid confusion with the Penzance Public Library on Morrab Road. The view from the first floor windows of this library in a garden recaptures that elegant age of 200 years ago. You can study the books in the reading rooms and imagine how much past occupants of this house were indeed privileged. Henry chose to place his own home slightly set back from  this lovely position to the west of the town. This then was a very rural area away from the bustle of the main streets of Penzance and not far from the leafy lanes that led to Alverton  Farmhouse and Castle Hornick, home of the Borlase family. Closer still were  the orchard and farm where Edward Pellew and his brother Israel, famous for their acts of "daring do" in Nelson's Navy. Israel Pellew was at Trafalgar and captured Villeneuve, the French Commander-in-chief. Edward Pellew led the attack on the city of  Algiers in 1816, when  the final remnants of the Barbary pirates, which had plagued the seas around Cornwall for centuries, were finally wiped out.  The famous brothers spent some of  their childhood in their grandmother's home when their mother returned to Penzance to live when their father died. The thatched  farmhouse is still there "Hawkes Farm" together with the name of "The Orchard" given to a bungalow at the top of Alexander Road.

Henry died in 1858 his wife Alice in 1860 and both lie buried in Madron churchyard. William Henry had worked in the family business at first. He took out a patent  with his father  No 9984 AD 1843. Specification of H Vingoe and W H Vingoe of Penzance, builders for improvements in apparatus for planting or setting, drilling or dibbing, corn, grain, seed, pulse or manure; parts of which improvements are also applicable to the construction of wheels of carriages". His Uncle William's farm at Boswarva would have been the ideal place for testing and proving the invention. 


Publicity leaflets for William Henry's Seed Drill

seed machine.jpg (147021 bytes)  seed machine 2.jpg (163330 bytes)  seed machine 3.jpg (162252 bytes)


William's brothers, Richard, James and Henry also worked with their father in the family business but another son, John, tried his skill in London. Soon brother William H joined him and both worked in the fast expanding London building boom. However, when he met his future wife, Mary Ann Fletcher, they decided to return and settle back in Penzance. They married and had two sons, William Fletcher Vingoe and James Fletcher Vingoe but sometime after 1841 he returned once more to London to rejoin his brother in his building business, by now a very successful one. John drove about Chelsea in his own carriage to his various building sites. The brothers did return to their home town together when four  of William's children and two of John's were all baptised at Madron Church on the same day in  August of 1852. When his mother died in 1860 William H  moved  into the family home of  10 Victoria Place and two of his then unmarried brothers, James and Henry, appear to have moved out . His  unmarried sister Mary Jane  gives her address as 10 Victoria Place but as a lodger  not a sister! Brother Richard was married but with no children. He was living  two doors away at number 12 Victoria Place. Brother James seems to have removed altogether to "The Duke of Cumberland" a public house in Causewayhead.! He eventually married Sarah Champion Moorman on 15 Jan 1872. He was over 53 on marriage  and then lived at 12a Victoria Place, the former address of brother Richard, who had moved into three rooms at no 13. This might still have been  12a  but divided and re-numbered. Whether family relations were friendly or not would be hard to say, but it appears that father Henry had given preference to son William H as he was married and the father of sons. This was to be no guarantee of the name surviving. Brother Henry bt 1814 seems to have moved away altogether. In 1871/ 81 he is age 57/ 66 living as a lodger in Lifton, Devon...more on this line later..

The pace of change was now increasing and by the time of William's death in 1888 the area was absorbed into the commercial life of the town. The fields of the Ross estate became the site of  the Art School and Museum [later the Public Library]. The fine houses on Morrab Road were built soon after to house the new emerging middle classes and the boarding house proprietors who wished to provide accommodation for the fast growing number of "visitors" requesting rooms in "gentille establishments with all conveniences".

Daughter Emily had been granted probate of her father's estate. She had married  Richard Quance b 05 Feb 1846, parents Jane Trewavas of Mousehole and Richard Quance, a mariner from  Devon. The two had met in  Penzance  and had married. Richard exhibited his work in the West Cornwall Arts exhibition of 1877 giving Penzance as his address. The couple were students together  in London in 1879; he at the National Gallery and she at the Royal Academy of  Music. In 1880  they both went to Belgium to study; Richard art in Ghent and Emily music at the conservatoire  in Brussels. However, Emily QUANCE is  recorded staying with her family on the 1881 census, together  her two children. Richard & Ethel M.  In 1883 when Richard returned from Belgium he was the Hon. Sec. of the Penzance School of Art, whilst his father. also names Richard Quance, was a local councillor for the East Ward of the Borough. (Kellys Cornwall Directory 1883). Richard Jnr. exhibited  his work in Penzance 1885-6 and  later presented one of his paintings to the town of Penzance. At one time this was hanging in the Council Chamber at St. Johns Hall but it has since disappeared in the various re-organisations of local government. Emily Quance was recorded as living in Peckham, London in 1885 so perhaps the couple commuted until the death of both her parents when Emily was granted probate and her father's specimen collection was sold off.  On the 1891 census: Richard Quance age 42 artist : wife  Emily age 39  professor of music. Their children: Richard b 1873 age 17, Ethel Maude b1878 age13, and Violet b1882 age 9  all had their births registered in Penzance, so Emily was possibly living intermittently with her parents from 1873 onwards

 in the 1892 the family emigrated to South Africa  on the Spartan. The passenger list described Quance as an artist , but to keep his family at a better standard of living he also took work as a steward at the famous Victoria Falls Power Station, a huge hydro electric scheme.

He died aged 75 at the Government Hospital at Boksburg and his descendents still live in south Africa today. Other descendents later settled in Canada.  

The demise of  the children of William Henry & Mary Ann  is  as follows:-

 +  1 William Fletcher b1835-         Unmarried.  

 + 2 James Fletcher  b1837 - d1863  age 26 Unmarried.

 + 3 Sarah Ann 1840-1851+ age 11

 + 4 Henry Herbert 1841- died 1843 age 2 

 + 5 Henry Herbert 1849 -1878  Death at sea  age 29 Unmarried.

    Lived in London. Declared bankrupt in April discharged May of 1868 

   Emigrated on the Cospatrick to New Zealand when a fire on board ship killed all but 3 survivors [all ships crew].

   * Feature report

  + 6 Emily Jane  b1848 marr:  marr: Richard Quance 1873 - died in South Africa ?


The families of  William Henry's siblings were hardly any more successful when it came to leaving males to carry on the Vingoe name :-

Richard   b1809 & his wife Elizabeth Arthur.  NO ISSUE

John   b1811 & Josepha Mathews, who moved to London, had a boy and a girl. The boy Edwin went into the wine trade and in turn had two sons and a daughter one son producing male heirs which continue  the line down until today  * See report." John and the Coat of Arms".

Henry  b1814  NO ISSUE  - James  b1816  NO ISSUE

Alice  b1818 marr:  James Courtney. *see report " Family Connections" -Knill, Courtney and Stafford Cripps

Emily  b1821 marr:  Richard White, Organ builder, seller & teacher.  24 Clarence St. Penzance.

Mary Jane  b1826 Milliner & Dressmaker. Unmarried.  she was a writer of poetry according to Davey Australian cousins, who visited her in Penzance in 1905 on a trip 'back home'

There was little to show for the lives and loves of three generations of Vingoe family, save for the market house dome and few know who the architect was, let alone the builder. This is the oft repeated pattern with the different lines holding on, but only just. The males seem to be unfortunate in the family stakes whilst the females seem to have a propensity to produce many and healthy children, The bloodline, therefore, continues whatever the name. It serves as  a lesson to those who think that their existence continues after them in this world  with their name and their work  There is little left of either to remind us of William H and his family or their work. I was taken on  one of those rare days out after the war when we were allowed to visit the coast. They had started to clear the beaches of that massive, metal giant knitting otherwise known as anti-submarine netting. I found out that there was someone else  with my surname who carried on the strange trade of a taxidermist. I was suitably amazed when, on a visit to St. Michaels Mount my father pointed out to me the many glass fronted wooden cases arranged on shelves around the high walls of the old building, now pressed into hurried use as a "Tea Room"  

These  contained the remains of  once living wildlife in various forms. There was a strange, macabre sensation as I  observed one specimen more closely. Someone my father knew allowed him  to take down a case from a shelf. Never had I ever  seen such an  object at such close range and in such detail. It was  quite beautiful, if quite dead. As a child I should have been prepared for it to take on life again at any moment. I knew it was never going to come alive again ever . I had seen enough dead rabbits and birds hanging in the game shops to recognise a dead one when I saw it.  This said something to me even then about the difference between the skill of the creator of such a life form and the preserver of its dead body,: so exquisite and lifelike but totally lifeless. I can see it clearly now in my mind's eye, that bird of the high summer skies, the Buzzard, with it sparkling far-seeing eye, still sparkling but sightless. Since then I have never seen one as close in real life They are returning in greater numbers to our high moorland and if I am lucky they stay on their telegraph pole perch, undisturbed, as our car slowly  passes by. Anyway, the most beautiful experience is not the sight but the sound of their high pitched  cry as these high flyers drift up and up on the high thermals, soaring higher and ever higher, as if in competition for the rarest air. Now that is beautiful !

One year after his death, the collection of W H Vingoe of Penzance was sold at the famous auction rooms of STEVENS of COVENT GARDEN. Eleven specimens were obtained by the Natural History Museum. He was the most prolific of all  the local taxidermists when the craft was at the height of its popularity and  was responsible for most of the work in the RODD collection. A rare specimen of the Cream Coloured Courser taken locally found its way into the collection of Sir Vauncey Harpur Crewe of  Calke Abbey & now resides in that equally auspicious location the Booth Museum.

A Whites Thrush

This "cabinet card" shows a Whites Thrush by W. H. Vingoe, 1874 in the Rodd Collection.



Description: Mounted Scops Owl in glazed case, trade label by W. H. Vingoe, naturalist * Penzance

His work is still popular and the above example sold recently at auction for 115. 

* "Naturalist". We must bear in mind that this was a different age. Preserving wildlife then had a totally different connotation  

Sandra and George Pritchard are the authors of original work on this site.  They give permission to copy and use this information on the following conditions.
 1 It will not be used for profit.
 2. The source will be credited.
Copyright 2001. 2002. 2003 All rights reserved.
Revised: October 31, 2015 .