Part of The Acorn Archive

Rosemorran (Gulval) and the

SS Rosemorran of Newcastle

(a Temperley ship)

Norden’s Injustice, The John family,

the connection to the Millett family and the Grylls family



Not too far north from Vellanhoggan, past another mill (which was owned by the Bazeleys, who also owned the shipping company based in Penzance), is Rosemorran. A beautiful house and associated cottages and farm.


Rosemorran appears on Norden’s map as Rosmorran, described as “a hamlet”; Norden began the survey of Cornwall in 1584, compiled his survey in 1597, although it was not published until 1728. I will digress here on an important part of printed history, one about which I feel very strongly. Norden had been accused of plagiarism and so his manuscript had been held back in favour of Carew’s  Survey of Cornwall. The matter of copyright was a burning issue at that time and one guided by having the King’s ear. Carew was not himself free of lifting other’s work, although he properly credited Mr Camden; Richard Carew first published the Survey of Cornwall in 1602. Although encouraged to revise and broaden his Survey, to include corrections and some oversights, Richard Carew does not appear to have left any such manuscript (after 14 years of being under such notice and not having produced anything, I have my own thoughts on that subject). As such, the edition that I have is dated 1723 and remains as it originally was written. The much maligned John Norden however, suffered the loss of his Survey, to my mind unjustly, for his Survey is of a much wider concept and set out in greater detail. John Norden was born in 1548 of humble background, a scholar, he became Surveyor to the Duchy of Cornwall from 1605 to 1626, he had a distinct and intimate knowledge of the county, unlike Richard Carew, of the gentry and of Antony. It appears that a copy of Richard Carew’s manuscript had been passed to John Norden in 1602 for comment, and John Norden is thus accused of deliberately copying parts of Richard Carew’s work. The dates do not justify these claims. Could it have been that Richard Carew could have read John Norden’s 1597 manuscript and had used that in the 1602 manuscript, who knows? However, unlike Richard Carew’s Survey which remained intact and published, John Norden’s manuscript became stored, split, passed and copied. John Norden’s presentation copy was completed in 1604 and presented to King James I. It was at this point that Richard Carew placed a ban on the publication of Norden’s Survey. The manuscripts were then held in the Royal Library until 1642. The result of this was to deny the general public of access to a wide and detailed history and particulars of the county of Cornwall. This only added to the misunderstandings already prevalent as to the Cornish and of Cornwall. There then followed a series of sales and copies and divisions of the manuscripts and the maps. Finally (after an edition by Christopher Bateman was printed in 1728 by William Pearson) a set of manuscripts was lodged with the British Museum in 1753, as part of the Harleian Collection; however the original manuscript maps (loaned to the 1728 publishers) remained from 1720 with the Roger Gale’s copy (made in 1680), that copy with original maps went to Trinity College Library Cambridge in 1738. There was a third copy made of the text only but that disappeared from 1710. Christopher Bateman sums up a great deal as he opens his notes as preface to the 1728 edition “It has been just matter of complaint in all ages, that those who have most eminently distinguished themselves in behalf of Mankind, have generally met with unworthy treatment; having been forced to an unequal combat with neglect and poverty while living, and even when envy against their merit has ceased, the memorial of their virtue has been buried in the same grave.”. John Norden died 1625. The next significant Survey of Cornwall after Norden appeared with Lyson’s in 1814.    To return …..


Rosemorran came into the ownership of the Harris family of Kenegie, and it was all sold off (after the last male of the line died), in 1796 to George John, together with Resoon, Trenow, Poniou, Pleming & Hellnoweth, all a part of the ancient Manor of Linisley (formerly known as Landicle). Why the interest? Well, besides the fact that I have worked on designs at Rosemorran and that, later, cousins live there, there is the small question as to just why a ship owned by the Temperleys of Newcastle should have been named the same as this little group of buildings in the back of Gulval. The name has later been copied elsewhere,  it has to be said, and even found in Australia but, at that time, it was the only one, after all it dates from before 1584. Briefly the SS Rosemorran was built in 1888 for J Temperley & Co of Newcastle, by Palmers SB & Co Ltd of Newcastle. The connection deepens, for Samuel John (partner in the solicitors George & Samuel John of Penzance in 1812) on 23rd January 1810 married Mary Millett Grylls, daughter of Thomas Grylls of Helston. So now the question is also, is there any connection to the Rev Henry Grylls of St Neot? Around 1810 Samuel John built The Orchard, a house still standing in Alverton today, Penzance. George and Samuel John were the leading lawyers in Penzance. The brothers were the sons of William John and Catherine (nee Williams), who had 14 children, in all. George John was born 24th August 1759, became Town Clerk and Mayor in 1812 and 1818. Rosemorran became his home and he invested in mines of the region, which resulted in him gaining a vast fortune. He married Jane Arundell Harris of Kenegie. They had seven children. Their second child, a daughter, Wilmot married John Robyns of the Treneere Manor, and their only child Wilmot Robyns married the Rev Richard Malone. George John died 28th October 1847, his son George Dennis John (in life described as being a tall handsome man) having died 21st September 1847; Jane John died 4th August 1850, leaving the estate in legal uncertainty. It was to the Malone family that Rosemorran passed, around 1880, amidst a lengthy legal dispute.


Father of Mary Millett Grylls, Thomas Grylls (baptised 5th June 1760) was the 3rd son of Richard Gerveys Grylls. Thomas Grylls built Bosahan House (another house that I have worked on). Thomas married Mary Millett, daughter of Humphry Millett 8th May 1786 at Madiera. They had seven children including Humphrey Millett Grylls [partner with John Borlase, John Vivian and William Trevenan; he died 1834, the arch at Helston bowling green is to his memory] and Thomas Grylls (born 19th November 1790), who was baptised 3rd March 1791 in Helston and married Sarah Willyams 4th January 1815. Their eldest, James Willyams Grylls married on 14th September 1848 at Camberwell, Caroline Jane Millett (born 1st October 1822, eldest daughter of Rev John Curnow Millett, of Penpol (Hayle), father of John Curnow Millett of Penzance, thus JL Vivian Millett and Mabel Millett were well aware of aunt Caroline Jane, uncle James Willyams Grylls, and uncles Samuel John (of The Orchard) and George John (of Rosemorran). James Willyams Grylls died at Camborne and was buried 14th November 1861; Caroline Jane Grylls (nee Millett) re-married later to William Haworth of Mexico. Go to the Hearts of Oak index, and visit the pages on Captain J L Vivian Millet, and his family; his sister Mabel married Joseph Temperley.


One of the heroes, upon the loss of the SS Amazon, was Lt Charles Grylls [full name Charles Gerveys Grylls], son of Reverend Henry Grylls of St Neot and grandson of Rev Richard Gervys Grylls, and great nephew of Thomas Grylls (baptised 1760). I have no doubt that cousin Charles Gerveys Grylls came into the conversation, on more than one occasion, in the Millett and Temperley households. Go to the Hearts of Oak index, and visit the pages on the SS Amazon.


The development of Penzance Harbour is an interesting and lengthy subject.

The part that George John played in that story was taken up from the proposals in 1809, to extend the pier a further 150 feet. It was completed between 1811 to 1813, and presented a further protection from the sea, and extra quay space. The borough too the opportunity to revise the harbour dues, as since 1728, very little change had taken place. It was said to cover the new forms of cargo and handling necessary. And here is the reason for a ship being Measured and Registered, for the purposes of calculating dues and taxes. Penzance had fought hard to prevent other harbours being built or extended, and now she faced difficulties in preserving the use of the harbour, as so many disputes were raised. The dues were raised by 50% and much objection was raised by the business people in the town, who were on the paying end of the charges. An Act of Parliament was sought to settle the Dues as being Right and Legal. George John (an Alderman) was asked to make the application; assisting the matter in Parliament was Davies Gilbert (formerly Giddy) the MP for Bodmin, a great man of Penzance. More backing was provided in The Lords by Viscount Falmouth. George John had to make two visits to London, each took four or five days each way, for it was before the advent of the Railway of 1859, and his fees amounted to £850. And so winning the case, the Harbour Dues Bill was introduced in 1817. Work continued in 1817 on the pier, encouraged by the donation of a dram to the workers to press on during the Spring tides, despite the coldness of the weather. Pollard & Son were paving the quay, but were pressing for more money than was considered reasonable by the Mayor. 13th May 1817 consultations were commenced with Edward Hamilton to construct the house for the Geological Museum and on the 23rd May 1817; advice was given in a letter from George John that the tariff bill had been passed and had been read for the first time in The Lords, the 26th May the letter from George John confirmed the passing of the Harbour Dues Bill in The Lords, and the next day it was announced to the Town. George John having returned to Penzance, an Excise meeting was held on the 4th June 1817, where he laid forth his full report on the passing of the Harbour Dues Bill.




Raymond Forward