Roger Donne’s Miscellany
This page provides transcripts of wills relating to the Donne family from St. Erth in Cornwall, dating from the 17th century. Copies of these wills in their original format, from which the transcriptions were made, were provided by the Cornwall Record Office, Truro.
Names did not have a standardised spelling in the 17th century. The 'Donne' name is pronounced as 'Dun', meaning 'dark' or 'swarthy'. Various phonetic spellings appear in parish records including Dunn, Dunne, Done or Dune. No attempt has been made to standardise any of the name spellings in the documents, and they are listed under the form of the name generally used in the will (although there are sometimes variations within the document).
The earliest reliable record of the family so far discovered is the marriage in the parish of Camborne between Paskow Dun and Christian Ellis in 1581, and where parish records list a 'Pascowe Donne' as one of the two wardens of the Communion at Camborne in 1583, 1584 and 1585. The family appear to have resided in Camborne for some 30 years, where the six children who survived to adulthood were born. These were three boys, William, Alexander and John,and three girls, Richowe, Alice and Jane. In about 1610, the family removed to St Erth, when Paskow leased the barton of Trewinnard from the then owner, Sir Reynold Mohun. At that time, Paskow also held Trewinnard Mill, and the tenements of Tremelling and Porthcollum (modern spellings), the former being leased from George Payne of St Ives and St Erth, and who it appears was also Pascow's son-in-law.
A recent photograph of Camborne Parish Church, taken in 2008;the building has been much extended in the 18th and 19th centuries to serve the needs of the prosperous industrial town which developed from the village known by Pascow and Christian.
Paskow and his wife Christian died in 1630 and 1642 respectively, and the wills of both are extant. The family remained centred in St Erth for most of the 17th century, although a passage from Christian's will indicates that at the time of writing, son William was in Ireland. No reason has yet been discovered for his trip to Ireland, but his name is certainly missing from the Protestation Returns of 1641, which are signed only by Alexander (in the capacity as an overseer) and John, in this case styling themselves as 'Dunne'. In 1615, William married Jane Payne, the daughter of George Payne, and the inventory of George Payne's will (1616) lists several items (a bed, bolster and blankets) in the possesion of Paskow Dunn at Tremellin (Paskow is appointed one of the 'overseers' of George Payne's will). William did eventually return from Ireland and his will (proved 1662) and that of his wife Jane (proved 1674) are extant; William's will mentions a house in St Erth Churchtown which he held, occupied by William Christopher at the time of preparation of the will in 1656.
A recent phtotograph of the exterior of St Erth Parish Church, taken in 2008
Pascow's second son, Alexander married Sephronia Nennys in 1620 (New Style). It is through a deposition made in 1672 by Alexander to Thomas Hawkins, the then owner of Trewinnard and the first of his line to settle there, concerning the ownership of a certain watercourse that some of the early history of the Dun family in St Erth is made apparent, including the lease of Trewinnard Mill. The watercourse in question may have been the one serving the mill; on the 1896 OS map, a corn mill is marked which could be on the site of the Tudor mill, just to the east of Trewinnard Manor House . Alexander's will, written in 1672, is the only other family will surviving from this generation.
The 'Hawkins of Trewinnard' Family tomb at St Erth Parish Church, situated at the east end of the church. A deposition made from Alexander Donne to Thoams Hawkins, recorded in the handwriting of Thomas Hawkins was copied and catalogued by the historian, Charles Henderson.
Pascow youngest son, John, married Mary Noye in 1624. Although no will survives from either of them, there is a link to this family though through the admon of John's son Richard and the will of his wife Margery, the daughter of James Christoper (this was Margery's second marriage, the first being to John Taubyn).
Although most DUN names and their variants in St Erth of this era are probably related to this family, the use of similar given names often makes the untangling of relationships difficult. In the course of time, the family spread from its roots in St Erth to neighbouring parishes, notably Crowan, Gulval, Breage and Ludgvan, but it would appear that the prosperity of subsequent generations declined from the high spot established by Paskow and Christian at the beginning of the 17th century.
Early gravemarkers in St Erth churchyard are difficult to find, and none relate to the Dunn family. This photograph shows the memorial to William DUNN, who died in 1824, and who may be a descendant of Pascow and Christian
The transcripts aim to preserve the original format of the documents as far as possible in terms of line length and overall layout, and indicate words crossed out or inserted as superscript. They are provided as pdf files and require a pdf reader for viewing.
I have adopted (hopefully, consistently!) the following conventions when transcribing the documents.
The transcripts available are listed below. To avoid confusion, the dates listed are all New Style dates i.e they take 1st January as New Year's Day. In the period covered by the wills, before the calendar changes of 1752, New Year's Day was generally taken as 25 March. This should be borne in mind if there appears to be an inconsistency between the New Style dates in the listing and an date written into a document.
Each pdf file will open in a separate window and should be displayed if you have the appropriate viewer installed.
|Transcript of Will of Paskow Dun 1625 and Inventory 1631
|Transcript of Will of Christian Dun 1642 (Nuncupative)
|Transcript of Will of William Dun 1656 and Inventory 1661
|Transcript of Will of Jane Dunne 1668 and Inventory 1674
|Will of Margery Donne 1682 and Inventory 1685
|Transcript of the Admon for the Estate of Richard Donne 1666 and Inventory 1666
|Transcript of the Will of Alexander Donne 1672 and Inventory (undated)
My best efforts have been used in transcribing these Wills, but errors are sure to remain, and I continue to refine the transcriptions. I have tried to transcribe what I see even if the meaning is not apparent to me. Copies of the originals are available from the Cornwall Record Office, or on LDS film, and the interested researcher should refer to these for clarification.
These transcripts are provided for the use of fellow genealogical reasearchers of the families of St Erth in Cornwall. They are not to be used for any commercial purpose whatsoever. The photographs were taken by me during a visit to Camborne and St Erth in May, 2008
If you have any comments, please use the email form
This page last updated on 2 June 2008