Capt. John Trenear




In 1780 at Redruth a John TrenearTF1 married Elizabeth Luke who gave birth to a son, JohnTG1. The son grew up and married Elizabeth DaweTG7 in 1806. John became a successful miner and was a Mine Manager. Mining was run on the German style of industry management which had its base in the military. Mine Managers were given the title “Captain” and as John is an important link in this account he will be referred to as Captain John from here on.

In 1809 Capt. John's wife Elizabeth had a daughter also named Elizabeth but she died after a few months. Another ElizabethTH3 was born to them a year later and she was followed by JohnTH4 in 1813, and MarthaTH5 in 1816. Martha was baptised at St Mewan which suggests that John may have worked at Polgooth Mine which had been described as "one of the richest and largest mines in the world". 1821 saw the arrival of Ascot TrenearTH6, the youngest son, Asket was baptised at Madron because by this time Capt John had moved with his family to Truthwall near St Just.

Click on the names to read about the children.


To recap, John and Elizabeth had five children. The first daughter died in infancy. Captain John's wife Elizabeth died at the age of 47 in 1827. She was buried in St Just churchyard and her headstone can still be seen alongside those of her two daughters Elizabeth and Martha. The graves are situated on the west side of St Just Church close to the building. John died ten years later and was buried with her.


On 17th June 1830, three years after Elizabeth had died John married, by licence, Jane WilliamsTG8, the daughter of John and Marjory Williams. John was then 50 and Jane 41. Read about her here

Within two months, a daughter, Jane TrenearTH1 was born and it was she who later married John HarveyTH7 and started the practice of naming all offspring Trenear.

Capt John owned another house which he rented to Thomas Veale and a garden next to the "preaching house" - presumably the Methodist Chapel. On 6th July 1833 he witnessed the wedding of his friend Richard Oates to Sarah Grenfel. The certificate bears his signature and a copy can be found on microfilm at the Cornwall Records Office. It is worth noting that the service was conducted by the Rev. Buller who wrote "A Statistical Account of the Parish of St Just in Penwith" published in 1842. It is a beautiful little history of the area and gives some colour to life at that time.

Capt John died on 21st July 1837 at the age of 57 and was buried on the 28th. His death certificate gives the cause of death as a "slow decline" which was a euphemism for TB.

John's will

The meticulous nature of the man can be seen from his will. The will is a valuable document which describes in some detail his house at Carrallack. His death was noted in "The Cornishman" which just describes him as "late of Levant Mine" and in 1837 there was an advert in "Mining Journal" for his shares in mines. A similar advert was printed in the Royal Cornwall Gazette of Friday 6 October 1837.


I am sure that somewhere in my untidy researches I have seen something to the effect that John Trenear’s finances without the property were worth about £1500. That equates to about £124,287 in 2008 money.

A good idea of the social scene around the time of John’s death can be read in “A CORNISH SHOPKEEPER’S DIARY 1843  by Henry Grylls Thomas, Draper and Grocer, St Just in Penwith.”

These Trenears are the ones we are going to follow but before leaving Redruth it is worth noting that in St Euny churchyard lies a Peter Trenear who died in 1855 and his wife Jane who died in 1879. In the same churchyard is an Asket Trenear who died August third 1837 - a matter of weeks before John Trenear died at St Just. This particular Asket was the son of Arscott and Grace Trenear and he was six years younger than John. The names Asket and Arscott indicates that they were probably cousins.

- The Trenear-Harveys of St Just-in-Penwith -