Mine Manager at South Crofty for almost 30 years
1871 - 11th January 1947
The approach from the east to the church in Tuckingmill, at the edge of Camborne, is rather dramatic: a steep valley lined with houses, and the spire of the church prominent in the tree-brushed skyline. Despite the road being busy with cars, it is easy to imagine this area how it was one hundred or more years ago.
Before our visit
After our visit
Turning in to the churchyard from the busy road outside, the slightly rusty metalwork gate creaks gently. The first impression is that of the beauty of the red-hued church, and the contrasting colour of the grey granite carved stone porch which faces the road. An imposing war memorial just in front of it, commemorating the fallen from the First and Second World Wars, looks fresh and clean, and wreaths of poppies placed two months ago persist.
Groundwork for the church here began in 1843, and the church was consecrated in 1845. At that time, the mining industry in this area was very active, so the congregation here would have been drawn from a very tight-knit community of miners and their families, who lived and worked in close proximity to one another. The close proximity of the headstones in the churchyard here, are reminiscent of this, and the church with its buttressed tower, stands amidst them.
The body of the church is built from iron-stained volcanic rock, and weathers to a mottled, bubbly texture, which glints with hidden quartz infill in the low mid-winter light. Corners, windows and details on the tower are picked-out in contrasting grey granite, and the position here, towards the top of the hill, give beautiful views of Carn Entral to the south east, across open land which would look familiar to someone from 100 years ago, or maybe more. A path along to the west of the churchyard leads to a playing field dedicated to the memory of King George V; another aspect that ties this area to the time when is was at the centre of a busy mining community.
Heading towards the resting place of Josiah Paull, one passes to the west of the church tower and along a made path, southwards. The granite headstone for Josiah, and his wife Julia (who died ten years after Josiah) is immediately adjacent to the path, with the text facing west - presumably to make the task of finding the site easier. Perhaps due to the westerly-facing direction of the text, which must bear the brunt of the horizontal, wind-blown rain which is a specialty of Cornwall, the text was clean and easy to read, and the granite itself only covered with a light covering of lichen. I gave the text a simple wipe with water, prior to placing the Cornish-theme stone here, where its dark colour made an agreeable contrast to the the pale grey of the granite.
After placing the stone for Josiah, I wandered a little through the elongate, peaceful churchyard, enjoying the shapes of the leafless trees against the steely grey sky. Then, the rain that had been threatening all day arrived in earnest, and further thoughts of gazing up in to the tree branches were forgotten! A quick application of my hood, and rapid stowing of my notebook, and I made a dash for the shelter afforded by the walls of the church until the showers had passed by.
Thank you for sending a painted stone to commemorate the life and contribution of Josiah Paull, Mine Manager at South Crofty from 1903 until 1930. I hope you have enjoyed reading of our visit here, and that the stone placed here attracts passing people to pay attention to this important figure in the mining community here, 100 years ago.