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The First Fleet Piano: Volume One

Chapter 11

Why Did George Worgan Return to England?

Despite having formed a deep friendship with Elizabeth Macarthur, and having become a well-regarded member of colonial society, George Worgan decided to return to England after staying three years (a normal tour of duty) at Sydney Cove. He departed on Wednesday, 27 April 1791. What prompted his decision to leave? Could it have been a response to the death of his father, who died on Friday, 20 August 1790?

If a letter informing George of his father’s death had been sent to Sydney Cove immediately following Dr John Worgan’s demise, it may have taken approximately five to eight months to find its way into George’s hands; it could have arrived at Sydney Cove any time between January and April 1791. During the 1790s,

the cost of postage was determined by the distance and the letter size and was often paid by the recipient; with letters of more than one sheet being charged twice the rate, it is no wonder that for many [in the colony] … the cost of getting extensive news from home was exorbitant.1

No ships arrived at Sydney Cove between January and April 1791. When George Worgan departed from Sydney Cove on 27 April 1791, he cannot have known that his father had died, so the death of his father was not a catalyst for his leaving the colony.

Perhaps George had tired of the desperate conditions being experienced by the colony or of the climatic extremes, both of which had been unrelenting aspects of his antipodean tour of duty. His feelings may have been similar to those of First Lieutenant Ralph Clark, who, on Sunday, 10 February 1788, after only 15 days at Sydney Cove, wrote: ‘I could not stay longer than the three years for the world.’2 Clark’s statement strongly suggests that—as with George Worgan—returning to England had always been his intention. Most of the official members of the First Fleet viewed the expedition to Botany Bay as a short-term assignment, in many cases driven by the necessity of finding employment after the American War of Independence.3 The surrender of Lord Charles Cornwallis (1738–1805) to the American forces on Wednesday, 17 October 1781 ‘marked the virtual end of the war in America’.4

Nine years after Worgan departed Sydney Cove, he was ‘adjudged unfit for active service’.5 Perhaps his return to England was a response to the reasons for this evaluation beginning to exert their influence upon him. Perhaps he was homesick. Or perhaps there was simply no incentive to stay. Unlike the marines, George Worgan, as a member of the Sirius’s company, was not offered the opportunity to stay.6

In other British colonies, grants of land had been provided to officers who wished to remain and settle. No arrangements of this type had been made in New South Wales, perhaps because it was assumed that officers would see their service there simply as a term to be served and would not want to settle in a convict colony so far from England.7

These all may have been the realities that influenced George Worgan’s decision to leave for England. At the most mundane level, he may have had little choice in the matter, being sent back to England with ‘the officers and ship’s company of the Sirius … for the pro forma court-martial [of the captain] which always followed the loss of a British naval vessel’8—in this instance, Captain Hunter, for the loss of the Sirius at Norfolk Island 13 months earlier.

George Worgan’s Return Journey to England

Worgan’s journey back to Portsmouth would have been an intensely uncomfortable one. Prior to the ship’s departure, Captain Lieutenant Watkin Tench observed that the Waaksamheyd was ‘totally destitute of every accommodation and every good quality which could promise to render so long a voyage either comfortable or expeditious’.9 Considerable time had elapsed within which Tench could have formed his opinion; the Waaksamheyd had been anchored at Sydney Cove for more than three months, having arrived from Batavia (Jakarta) in December 1790.

Upon her departure on Wednesday, 27 April 1791, the Waaksamheyd was given an official send-off. Governor Phillip and ‘the marine officers were rowed alongside her as far as the Heads, and as she left Port Jackson she saluted the colony with nine guns’.10 That Governor Phillip was personally involved in the send-off is not surprising; he held Captain Hunter and the officers of the Sirius—all of whom were returning to England on the Waaksamheyd—in high regard. The manuscript of his journal was also on board.11

John Easty, a marine from the First Fleet ship Scarborough, movingly recorded the departure in his journal:

On Sunday the 27 att day light she waid anchor and ran down the harbour she was again cheard by the marines which was returnd by the ships company and thar was two partys of men saparated which had spent 4 years together in the greatest love and frindship as ever men did in such a distant part of the globe … Both by officeers and men she was than accompanyed down the harbour by the Governer and all the marine officers which when thay parted she saluted them with 9 guns which was the last honour as could be confirrd on them and on Munday att 6 in the morning she went to sea and may god send them a good voige.12

Commonly, the voyage of the Waaksamheyd is regarded as a mere footnote to the epic story of the First Fleet; in navigational terms, however, it represented a significant achievement.13

The Eastern Pacific was at that time largely unknown to the British. To the published charts of the area that contained large and ominous empty spaces, Captain Hunter added relevant information from the accounts of earlier voyages by Captains [Philip] Carteret and [Louis Antoine de] Bougainville, and more recent journeys by Lieutenants [John] Shortland (1788) and [Henry Lidgbird] Ball (1790). Using his knowledge of the prevailing winds and his assessment of the limitations of the Waaksamheyd, Hunter chose an unconventional route that would pass north of New Guinea, descending … through the northern parts of what is now the Indonesian archipelago [to Batavia].14

George Worgan’s travelling companions were the crew of the Sirius, which had been wrecked on a reef about 750 metres from the shore of Sydney Bay, Norfolk Island, on Friday, 19 March 1790. The Waaksamheyd ‘wove a delicate path in clear warm seas among richly vegetated islands and coral reefs’. Between New Britain—the largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago of Papua New Guinea—and New Ireland—another large island in the archipelago—‘in May 1791, the officers and crew watched in awe as they sailed past an active volcano, probably Tavurvur [near Rabaul], which was hurling columns of black smoke high into the air’.15

Perhaps the most curious sighting of all occurred as the Waaksamheyd neared Java on [Saturday] 24 September 1791. The weather changed suddenly. From over the land, dark clouds streamed towards the Waaksamheyd on a rising wind; whirlpools formed around the ship. The whirlpools turned to mast-high waterspouts, which flitted across the ocean with foaming skirts. The ship fired two shots at the closest waterspouts—to no effect—and the storm passed over without damage …

The Waaksamheyd arrived in Batavia (Jakarta) on [Tuesday] 27 September 1791 and spent nearly a month there, and at the nearby island of Onrust, taking on supplies.16

Twenty-two … sailors had fever when they left Batavia, and three would die by Cape Town.17

On Tuesday, 22 November 1791,

the Waaksamheyd reached Cape Town. She had been delayed just outside Cape Town by several days of high winds, and had had to sacrifice most of her anchors in desperate manoeuvres to avoid being driven onto the reef near Robbin’s (now Robben) Island. Because of her lack of anchors she sailed into Cape Town flying the distress signal and was met with an overwhelming response. Three ships of the Royal Navy—the Providence, Assistant and Pitt—sent all their boats, bearing anchors and cables, and boats also arrived from British and American whaling ships in the harbour.18

The Colony’s First Pipe Organ

Four months before George Worgan’s arrival at Cape Town on his return journey to England, an event of musical significance for the colony at Sydney Cove had transpired at the Cape of Good Hope. In 1790, Lieutenant Philip Gidley King had left Norfolk Island for England on the instructions of Governor Phillip. King carried ‘dispatches from Phillip advising the British government of the desperate conditions of starvation, sickness, and lack of supplies being experienced in the colony’.19

King returned to Sydney Cove from England in 1791 on board the HMS Gorgon. Whilst at Cape Town, he acquired a pipe organ. King wrote from Cape Town, in a letter to James Sykes, his agent in London:

Cape July 29th 1791

Dear Sir,

I should be much obliged to you to send to the Cape of Good Hope a new chamber organ, with two barrells,20 by the first conveyance & ship it on-board any ship that is certain of touching at this port, & pay the freight of it, as it is a return for one I have got, from the person to whom it is addressed, as underneath

I am

Yours

Sincerely

P. G. King

direct it for Mr Peter De Wit at the Cape of Good Hope & be so good as to write him a line at the time—21

It is not known exactly what King’s ‘Chamber Organ, with Two Barrells’ was.

[W]as it actually a finger and barrel organ as he implies, or did he use the term ‘chamber’ to describe a barrel organ of the size and appearance of a chamber organ? King does not mention if the replacement barrels were to be pinned for secular or sacred tunes; this distinction would have been of less importance if the instrument were primarily a finger organ with barrel attachment.22

During the late eighteenth century, barrel organs ‘were known as singing or playing organs, sometimes as clock organs … They were used in country churches without an organist where they did not have to compete with a large choir’.23

The Gorgon, along with its precious musical cargo, arrived at Sydney Cove on Wednesday, 21 September 1791. King probably took the organ to the settlement at Norfolk Island.

On Sundays at 11am, King conducted a religious service in his own house, at which those attending were directed to be ‘clean, orderly, and behave devoutly’. The organ would undoubtedly have been useful for these occasions during the five years that he and his wife remained on Norfolk Island.24

Perhaps George Worgan, on board the Waaksamheyd at Cape Town during his return voyage to England, heard that Lieutenant King had departed the cape only about four months earlier with the colony’s first chamber organ. If so, this knowledge may have brought his piano to mind. He may even have had second thoughts in relation to having left the instrument at Sydney Cove with Elizabeth Macarthur; Worgan may have quietly, privately grieved over the absence of his piano.

George Worgan in England

After an uneventful five-month passage from Cape Town through the Atlantic, the Waaksamheyd arrived on a cold winter’s day at Portsmouth on Sunday, 22 April 1792: ‘In April that year, the snow reached Portsmouth.’25 ‘The ship’s company was not permitted to step ashore [for 12 days] until the court-martial of the Sirius’s crew (for the loss of the Sirius) was completed.’26 Lieutenant William Bradley reports:

Friday. 27th [April 1792]. A Court Martial was held on board of [the] … Brunswick to try Capt Hunter, the officers & crew of the Sirius for the loss of the … [Sirius]; when it appear’d that every thing was done, that could be done; to save the ship; Capt Hunter, the officers & crew were honorably acquitted & removed from the Waakzaamheydt to the Admiral’s ship, where they were paid off the 4th. May 1792.27

On Wednesday, 4 July 1792, an article in the periodical The Bee, or Literary Weekly Intelligencer reported the events:

A court martial assembled on board his Majesty’s ship Brunswick, in Portsmouth Harbour on the 27th April proceeded to enquire into the cause and circumstance of the loss of his majesty ship Sirius, and to try captain Hunter, her commander, her officers, and company, for their conduct on that occasion; and, having heard the evidence, and completed the enquiry, the court is of the opinion that the loss of the Sirius was not, in any respect owing to mismanagement, or a want of proper attention to her safety; but that captain Hunter, her officers, and company, did every thing possible to be done for the preservation of his majesty’s ship Sirius, and for the good of his majesty’s service; and the said captain Hunter the other officers, and company of the said ship are therefore honourably acquitted.28

Having been discharged on Friday, 4 May 1792 from any duties associated with the colony at Sydney Cove, Worgan continued on as a member of the navy’s medical profession. The employment context for some naval surgeons did not necessarily involve shipboard life.

The most prestigious posts for naval surgeons were not at sea, but in naval hospitals, such as Haslar, near Portsmouth. Here they received more generous payment than their seagoing colleagues with, of course, fewer natural hazards to contend with and free board provided. It was not simply a bed of roses, however. Hospitals in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, naval ones included, were notoriously filthy and uncaring institutions, often staffed by ill-trained, callous and frequently drunken nurses.29

When the Haslar naval hospital was completed in 1761, it was the largest hospital and largest brick building in England.

George Worgan is Embroiled

In 1793, Worgan joined the hospital ship Le Caton (originally of 64 guns, built in 1782)30 at Plymouth. Within this context of employment, he became involved in corrupt practices associated with victualling. We learn this from a naval inquiry whose origins can be traced to a letter dated Sunday, 1 May 1796, written to the Board of Sick and Wounded Seamen by a fictitious ‘T. Martyn’.31 Martyn writes:

Not only fresh meat, but those necessaries allowed purposely for the recovery of the sick, are daily purloined, to the detriment of the service, regardless to the sufferings of those who are pining under maladies which require those aids for their recovery … in a department where the exercise of humanity is particularly required … [the officers involved are] not only reprehensible, but highly criminal. The Surgeon and Lieutenant of the Caton are unworthy of their stations.32

Both the surgeon of Le Caton, Thomas Mein (1750–1815),33 and the purser, Samuel Keast, stood accused by Martyn’s letter. Subsequently, Keast was asked ‘to lay before’ the Board ‘any well-authenticated facts that came to his knowledge’.34 Keast completely ignored the Board’s request.

On Saturday, 3 February 1798, the pretended Martyn, two years after writing his first letter, wrote again to the Board of Sick and Wounded Seamen, probably as a result of the fact that Le Caton had been ‘placed on harbour service’—that is, converted from a moored hospital ship into a moored prison ship—possibly in late January or early February 1798:35

Gentlemen … you have recommended Mein, late Surgeon to the Caton Hospital Ship, to the Admiralty, for the first vacancy as surgeon to a ship of the line … Those peculations, openly and daily practiced on board the Caton to a system of theft, fully justified an enquiry, and your first application was to [Samuel] Keist, the Purser, over whose head … Surgeon [Mein] held the rod, and he was deterred from a declaration of the truth; he was privy to the depredations, but dared not discover them; however, to the benefit of the service, the floating hospital was discontinued, but instead of … [a] fine, or other public stigma imposed on the culprits, favour (to which meritorious acts only should lead) is bestowed on them, although the service has suffered much by their controul and perversion of those comforts allowed to the sick, and the consequent loss of lives by the deprivation, at which humanity shudders. Under malady and disease, hundreds have languished for the want of a small portion of those wines and other necessaries proper to their respective complaints.36

Again, Purser Keast disregarded requests from the Board to provide information.

On Saturday, 21 May 1803, Thomas Dawkins,37 a retired navy Purser Third Rate, who not only had known ‘Mr. Samuel Keast … intimately for forty years’,38 but also had been Keast’s assistant on Le Caton,39 wrote to John Jervis (1735–1823), First Earl of St Vincent, the First Lord of the Admiralty: Purser Keast had been contracted by the Board of Sick and Wounded Seamen ‘for victualling … the sick; [however,] a very extravagant [officers’] table was established on board, the expence of which … was to be [met using] … profits [from] … the contract’.40

Purser Keast was ‘much alarmed’41 that his profits were being diminished by the purchase of the comestibles associated with the maintenance of an ‘extravagant officers’ table’. George Bouchier Worgan made the following proposal to Keast: that Keast’s ‘[s]ituation … might be made not only comfortable but profitable’ if Keast would relinquish the victualling contract to him. In return, Worgan promised to pay Keast ‘[o]ne hundred guineas per annum, to be paid quarterly’.42

Keast accepted Worgan’s proposal, the agreement being formalised, by indenture, on Saturday, 1 March 1794.

Worgan was to receive the profits of the victualling contract. Worgan then invited Thomas Mein, the surgeon of the ship, to become a partner in his enterprise. Mein agreed, ‘and what profit came to [Worgan, Mein] … had the half of’.43

According to the victualling contract, the amount of money provided by the Board for the purchase of victuals was calculated using the formula:

One shilling per man [that is, per patient] per day … in May 1795, the Board increased the [amount] … to one shilling and four pence, and on the 25th October 1797, it was fixed at one shilling and three pence, at which rate it continued till the termination of the contract in January 1798 …

The profits … amounting to upwards of sixty-two pounds per cent. exceeded all reasonable bounds … [The funds] granted by the … Board in May 1795 … [were] not justified … [as] it appears that the cost to [Worgan] … did not amount to more than nine pence a man a day, and in the year 1794 to seven pence farthing only.

… [A] table was kept on board for the officers, furnished with wine and other articles … paid for out of the profits of the [victualling] contract.

… [I]t appears … that … provisions and Madeira wine were obtained by [Keast] … for his private use … and charged [against monies] … supplied for the use of the sick …

As it was the especial province of the Surgeon [Mein] and the Surgeon’s Mate [Worgan] to guard against the misconduct of the contractor [Keast], and to take care that the patients should enjoy every advantage that medical skill and nourishment could afford … their conduct in abandoning this serious and important trust, and placing themselves in a situation where their interest was in constant conflict with their duty, appears in the highest degree censurable.

The inticement of self-interest thus created … held out an inducement to … Surgeon [Mein] to retain patients longer on board the hospital ship than might be necessary for the cure of their diseases.44

At the naval inquiry, held in October–November 1803, George Worgan stated that he had served on board Le Caton at Plymouth ‘from 1793 … till some little time before she was converted into a prison ship’.45 The inquiry referred to Worgan variously as ‘Surgeon’s First Mate’ of Le Caton,46 ‘Surgeon’s Mate’47 and ‘Surgeon’.48

On Friday, 28 October 1803, the testimony of Thomas Dawkins implicated Worgan. Dawkins was asked: ‘Have you understood that the provisions paid for in the bills of the butcher and other tradesman, were entirely used for the sustenance of the sick, or was the expence of the table kept for the officers included in such bills?’ Dawkins replied: ‘I believe, part of the meat supplied was appropriated to the use of the officers table.’49 The officers’ mess comprised the purser (Keast), the surgeon (Mein), Worgan and ‘sometimes two or three other assistants’.50

On Tuesday, 8 November 1803, 11 days after Dawkins had given his testimony, the navy began its ‘[e]xamination of Mr. George Bourchier Worgan, Surgeon in His Majesty’s Navy, and late Surgeon’s Mate of His Majesty’s Hospital Ship Le Caton; taken upon oath’.51 Worgan was asked:

Do you know whether it was suggested to the late Mr. Samuel Keast, Purser of [Le Caton] … that he was to keep a table for the officers out of the profits of the contract which he had for victualling the sick that might be sent on board her?52

Worgan replied: ‘I never heard any such thing suggested to him.’53

It soon became clear, however, that Worgan was knowingly complicit in Keast’s racket. The commissioners of the inquiry asked Worgan: ‘Did Mr. S. Keast … pay all the bills for the supply of the sick of that ship?’ Worgan answered:

He did the chief part, but some trifling articles were paid for by me; but having reason to believe that Mr. Keast made out fictitious bills, i called upon some of the tradesmen, who said that Mr. Keast had ordered white biscuit and meal to his own house, which were charged for the use of the sick, and detracted from my profits. I have likewise found Madeira wine charged in the bills, which was not had for the use of the sick or mess [the officers’ mess].54

The inquiry continued: ‘Why did you permit this practice?’

Worgan: Mr. Keast used often to say, that if I would not allow it, he would give up his ship to deprive me of the contract.

Commissioners: Do you know if it was a general practice for the contractors for victualling the sick on board hospital ships to find a table for the officers?

Worgan: I do not know that it was a general practice, but it was done by Mr. James, the Purser and contractor on board the Tiger Hospital Ship, in the American War, of which ship I was Surgeon’s Mate [between 1775 and 1780].55

It appears that both George Worgan and surgeon Mein were aware that the luxury of Keast’s table—and doubtless also that of the mess—was sustained by monies that had been allocated for provisioning the sick. If observations conveyed in the letters of the fictitious ‘T. Martyn’—that is, Thomas Dawkins—are accurate, Worgan and Mein’s ‘turning a blind eye’ came at a terrible human cost, resulting not only in the ‘loss of lives by … deprivation’, but also in ‘malady and disease’, through which ‘hundreds … languished’.56

Worgan’s remark that he had experienced a similar context in relation to the mess maintained ‘on board the Tiger Hospital Ship’57 ‘by Mr. James, the Purser and contractor’58 suggests that his seemingly opportunistic and compassionless behaviour was not altogether unique in the Royal Navy. It appears that (at least whilst serving on Le Caton) Worgan was more concerned about profits than meeting the needs of patients who had been placed under his care. This, at the very least, reveals that he was a man of his time and context—an excuse that in no way justifies his actions.

For a time, Worgan’s partner in the victualling enterprise, Mein, lived with his family at Fowey,59 in Cornwall.60 Even though Worgan ‘had corresponded regularly’ with Mein,61 he ‘seems to have had no other apparent connection with Cornwall’.62 Following Worgan’s arrival in England in April 1792, he probably spent some of his time in Liskeard, Cornwall, for, only a year after his return from Sydney Cove, Worgan married Mary Lawry (1764–1846)63 of Liskeard at St Martin’s Church, Liskeard, on Thursday, 23 May 1793.64

Worgan’s period of service on board Le Caton commenced in the same year that he was married. A desire to provide for his wife may explain why, only about eight months after his marriage, Worgan entered into the victualling agreement with Keast (on Saturday, 8 February 1794). It may also explain why Worgan continued to knowingly take advantage of the navy65 until the victualling contract was terminated in January 1798. Sadly, for much of the period of his service on Le Caton, Worgan appears to have put profit before ethics.

There can be little doubt that Worgan would have been aware of the instabilities that made the 1790s a decade of tension for Britain. Not only was ‘the war against Revolutionary France going badly’, but there was also ‘disaffection in Ireland and an upsurge of radicalism in England’.66 Characteristically, however, English optimism did not die. For example, on Monday, 26 November 1798, The Times published the following announcement:

The French Government has ordered 16 sail of the line, 18 frigates, and 12 ships of war of a smaller size to be built. Good news this for Old England! It saves us the trouble and expense of building them ourselves, as they are sure to find their way into our ports.67

In England, during 1795–96, food (especially wheat) was scarce. The Times of Thursday, 23 July 1795 published the following set of rules that it suggested, if followed, would point

The way to peace and plenty.

Rules for the rich.

1. Abolish gravy soups, and second courses.

2. Buy no starch when wheat is dear.

3. Destroy all useless dogs.

4. Give no dog, or other animal, the smallest bit of bread or meat.

5. Save all your skim-milk carefully, and give it all to the poor, or sell it at a cheap rate.

6. Make broth, rice pudding, &c., for the poor, and teach them to make such things.

7. Go to church yourselves, and take care your servants go constantly.

8. Look into the management of your own families, and visit your poor neighbours.

9. Prefer those poor who keep steadily to their work, and go constantly to church, and give nothing to those who are idle, and riotous, or keep useless dogs.

10. Buy no weighing meat, or gravy beef: if the rich would buy only the prime pieces, the poor could get the others cheap.

Rules for the poor.

1. Keep steadily to your work, and never change masters, if you can help it.

2. Go to no gin-shop, or alehouse: but lay out all your earnings in food, and cloaths, for yourself, and your family: and try to lay up a little for rent, and rainy days.

3. Avoid bad company.

4. Keep no dogs: for they rob your children, and your neighbours.

5. Go constantly to church, and carry your wives, and children, with you, and God will bless you.

6. Be civil to your superiors, and they will be kind to you.

7. Learn to make broth, milk pottage, rice-pudding, &c. One pound of meat, in broth, will go further than two pounds boiled, or roasted.

8. Be quiet, and contented, and never steal, or swear, or you will never thrive.68

Regardless of the conditions that may have beset George Worgan following his return to England in 1792, during the late 1790s, Worgan ‘was adjudged unfit for active service and retired’ on half-pay (a navy pension) ‘to Cornwall where he took up two farms near Liskeard’.69 As a result, ‘one self was shunted off into the wings while a … second self, still blinking in the bright light, came out of hiding to take its first awkward steps around the stage’. As time and fate would show, the second self ‘was still very unsure of its lines’.70

George Worgan, the Farmer

In 1798, the Land Tax Register71 reveals that George Worgan was the leaseholder of two farms:

  1. one at Bray,72 approximately 5 kilometres south-east of the hamlet of Bodmin, Cornwall, and approximately 13 kilometres north-west of the town of Liskeard
  2. one at Hendra,73 in the parish of Morval, approximately 10 kilometres south-west of Bodmin, and approximately 25 kilometres south-west of the town of Liskeard.

    In England, many ship’s surgeons retired to the countryside. This was made possible by a decision of the House of Lords in 1704 as a result of which anyone licensed by the Society of Apothecaries could prescribe for a patient as well as dispense medicine. Many naval surgeons, upon their retirement from service, obtained an apothecary’s license in order to set up their own general practice.74

‘Unlike physicians, surgeons were permitted to be licensed as both surgeon and apothecary.’75 There is no record of Worgan having applied for an apothecary’s licence. Rather than taking up the dual role of surgeon and apothecary in his retirement, he took up farming instead. In fact, there is no evidence that Worgan ever again worked as a surgeon, even though ‘the Royal Cornwall Infirmary was erected in 1799 when it offered 52 beds’ in Truro,76 approximately 40 kilometres from Liskeard.

In late 1804, six years after Worgan leased his two farms at Bray and Hendra, he took up the lease of yet another farm, at Glynn, in the parish of Cardinham. Glynn is approximately 5 kilometres south-east of Bodmin, and approximately 14 kilometres west of Liskeard. The farm was owned by Edmund John Glynn (1764–1840).

Worgan’s three leased farms were not only situated apart from one another, but also each farm was located some distance from the nearest population centre.

  1. From Bodmin
    • Bray: approximately 5 kilometres south-east
    • Hendra: approximately 10 kilometres south-west
    • Glynn: approximately 5 kilometres south-east.
  2. From Liskeard
    • Bray: approximately 13 kilometres north-west
    • Hendra: approximately 25 kilometres south-west
    • Glynn: approximately 14 kilometres west.

What was the reason George Bouchier took up the lease of the farm at Glynn? Was it sheer optimism? Or did he need to convince himself that his ethics were intact, having—late in the year before he leased the farm at Glynn—been reminded of his shortcomings by the naval inquiry investigating his involvement with corruption and profiteering on Le Caton? We may never know what toll (if any) the naval inquiry took on Worgan’s psychological and emotional wellbeing.

In 1806, two years after moving his family to the farm at Glynn, Worgan, unable to make the farm profitable, broke the lease, owing two years’ rent, amounting to a not inconsiderable £360.77 Worgan and his family vacated the farm at Glynn. In order to pay a portion of what he owed, Worgan left ‘stock that included 250 sheep, two pairs of working oxen, ten horses and “several of Mr Worgan’s implements, entirely of new construction and superior to any yet made”’.78 In a letter to Arthur Young, the Secretary of the Board of Agriculture, Worgan explained how the compassionate Edmund Glynn ‘liberally gave us our own furniture’.79 Worgan ‘had in fact gone bankrupt’,80 and was forced to ‘quit’ his farms ‘with considerable loss’.81

Liskeard

Liskeard nestles on rocky hills above the deep Looe River Valley, 23 kilometres west of the Tamar River and 362 kilometres from London. It is surrounded by countryside of gently rolling emerald-green hills, steeple-peeping horizons and hillside fields separated by snaking hedgerows (Plate 72).

Plate 72 Liskeard: View of the town centre from the top of the tower of the Church of St Martin.

Source: Photo by the author.

In 1801, Liskeard was a town of 1860 people.82 By 1811, the population had increased to 1975. In 1821, the decennial census reveals that the population had yet again increased, to 2423.83 By 1830, the population had risen to 3519.84 During the 1840s, there was no large increase in Liskeard’s population, due to a ‘tide of emigration’85 to Australia.

That George Worgan decided to farm near Liskeard is not surprising. In 1799 the Universal British Directory described Liskeard as being ‘one of the largest and best-built towns in Cornwall, with the greatest market’. Liskeard was representative of a ‘later 18th century expansion [which] was a feature of most market towns in Britain’.86

Liskeard was the main market town for eastern Cornwall. In Liskeard, market day was every Saturday, and there were ‘six fairs held annually, viz. February 18th, March 25th, Holy Thursday, August 15th, October 2nd, and December 9th’.87

During the last decade of George Worgan’s life, Liskeard was prosperous enough to boast

  • eight attorneys
  • two auctioneers
  • six bakers
  • two banks
  • five blacksmiths
  • one bookseller/printer
  • eight shoemakers
  • two plumbers
  • seven builders/stonemasons
  • three butchers
  • three china/glass dealers
  • seven clergymen
  • two confectioners
  • five curriers/leather sellers
  • four druggists
  • three gardeners
  • 15 grocers
  • seven hat makers
  • four inns
  • three ironmongers
  • eight joiners/carpenters
  • six linen/woollen drapers
  • two brewers
  • four milliners/dressmakers
  • two millwrights
  • four painters/glazers
  • three heel makers
  • two rope makers
  • two saddlers
  • nine shopkeepers
  • six surgeons
  • three surveyors.88

    [U]ntil the end of the 1830s Liskeard had enjoyed a period of measured steady growth gradually evolving into a settlement with a clearly defined central core and an increasing number of services and public buildings. There were a growing number of professional people living in the town, specifically lawyers and bankers who managed the affairs of the newly prosperous farmers.89

Agriculture has always been the mainstay of Cornwall’s economy. Worgan would have relied on his own energy, the labour of his own family and, at certain times, hired labour to run his two small-acreage farms. During the times of year when hired labour was needed, ‘Liskeard would have presented a strange pedestrianised and reversed “rush hour”. Unlike now, when people travel into [Liskeard] … for work, the pattern in [Worgan’s day] … was the opposite, with a lot of people walking out of the town to their place of work in the countryside.’90

We know that Worgan grew Swedish turnips on his farms. Worgan states:

[F]requently the fly destroys the plants, even in highly manured seed-beds. This was precisely my own case, and with a view of remedying the evil, I spread, though late in June, a quantity of straw … all over the bed, and burnt it thereon; as soon … as it was a little cooled, I sowed and raked in the seed; the plants came up strong and quickly, and such was the growth of them, that by the end of July they were fit to be transplanted, and I secured a very tolerable crop.91

He grew potatoes as well:

I have raised many varieties from seed, some of which I continued to plant for several years, but after a fair trial have reduced my sorts to three. The golden dun, London kidney, or coppernose … is on the whole more esteemed for the table than any other … Farmer’s delight … they are not a bad potatoe for the table … and … Apple potatoes [which] have the advantage … of goodness for the table.92

Worgan also raised cattle, and fattened ‘several hogs every year’. He boasted: ‘At the market, my pork has been often admired for its quality; and for bacon, hams, cheeks, &c. &c, it has answered fully as well as the best … pork.’93

There may have been a garden located adjacent to Worgan’s house. Worgan states: ‘the gardens annexed to the residences of gentlemen, are specimens of taste and embellishment, and supply almost every kind of delicious fruit.’94

In Liskeard George Worgan was known as ‘Dally’ Worgan.95 The cries of seagulls,96 as they wheeled and spiralled over the town market, would often have greeted Worgan’s ears as he walked the steep, narrow unpaved streets of the closely packed town centre.97

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Liskeard, to the modern eye, ‘would have looked a shambles—heaps of animal and human waste [these dung heaps were known as “pounds”], open cess pits, no piped water supply, pigsties and slaughterhouses right in the middle of the town … essentially the same as [it] … had been in medieval times’.98 Like so many of his contemporaries, Worgan would have taken a complacent view of these conditions, regarding them as normal. In 1800, ‘the first granite curb-stones in the town were laid … and [some] … footways were … paved with large pebbles’.99

‘Liskeard was certainly no worse than any other Cornish town and considerably better off, at least in terms of water supply, than some.’100

According to a writer in 1824, Liskeard’s chief spring, commonly known as the ‘Pipe Well’ because of the four pipes through which the water flows, ‘was said to have lucky effects in matrimonial connexions, produced by drinking the water and standing on a certain stone in the well’.101

The Liskeard court roll of Friday, 20 October 1820 shows why the streets of the town were polluted with human waste (it seems that the force of law did not successfully act as a deterrent): Richard Austin, a watch and clockmaker,102 ‘and other inhabitants presented for a nuisance—throwing filth outside [the] house at the head of Tavern Hill’.103 Seven months later, on 1 May 1821, the hapless Austin was again presented to the Liskeard court to answer ‘for keeping the clock too backwards’.104

At the Inn

Whilst in town, Worgan (although not always being able to trust the town clock’s accuracy) may have spent time at the Old King’s Arms, at the top of Tavern Hill.105 He may even have had to negotiate the ‘filth outside [the] house at the head of Tavern Hill’106 deposited there with civic pride by ‘Richard Austin and other inhabitants’.107 The inn had been there since 1731, and ‘included a shop, workshop, stable and garden’.108

Worgan may also have spent time at The Bell, in Church Street. It is likely that during the leisure hours spent at these inns, Worgan watched Liskeard’s most popular entertainments: badger-baiting (until about 1800, when badgers became scarce), cockfighting, kayle (skittle) alleys and organised wrestling matches. (With badger-baiting, ‘it was the custom to drive a large nail through the tail of the badger, in order to hold him more firmly with a rope. When bitten and worried almost to death by great dogs, the unfortunate animal was supplied with water, and reserved till the next evening.’)109

In 1762, the English diarist and author James Boswell (1740–95) wrote:

The enemies of the people of England who would have them considered in the worst light represent them as … cruel. In this view I resolved today to be a true-born Old Englishman … I went at five o’clock to the Royal Cockpit in St James’s Park and saw cock-fighting for about five hours to fulfil the charge of cruelty.110

Speaking of the English in 1770, the German writer Eobald Toze (1715–89) observed that a ‘kind of savageness frequently prevails in their manners, manifesting itself in the bloody fights and diversions usual among them’.111

Even though an impressive alliance of English ‘evangelicals, magistrates, police [and] … employers … ranged against’112 such leisure activities, a

mixed alliance [arose] in defence of the rights of the poor to enjoy themselves as they would … Its finest spokesman … was William Windham [1750–1810], Secretary for War 1794–1801. ‘The common people’, he said, ‘may ask with justice, why abolish bull-baiting, and protect hunting and shooting? What appearance must we make, if we, who have every source of amusement open to us, and yet follow these cruel sports, become rigid censors of the sports of the poor, and abolish them on account of their cruelty, when they are not more cruel than our own?’113

In 1809, the Edinburgh Review published an article that was directed against the Society for the Suppression of Vice:

A man of ten thousand a year may worry a fox as much as he pleases,—may encourage the breed of a mischievous animal on purpose to worry it; and a poor labourer is carried before a magistrate for paying sixpence to see an exhibition of courage between a dog and a bear! Any cruelty may be practised to gorge the stomachs of the rich,—none to enliven the holidays of the poor.114

In Liskeard—as throughout England—badger-baiting, cockfighting and wrestling matches were usually connected with gambling, and publicans played the key role in organising them. Such leisure-time entertainments were ‘practiced at the inns and public houses, most of the principal persons of the town and neighbourhood giving it the sanction of their presence’.115 ‘Such spectacles [would have] … reeked of stale sweat, tobacco, bad breath, ale and old clothes.’116

As a patron of the Old King’s Arms and/or The Bell, George Worgan may have been pleased that the proposed legislation announced in The Times of Monday, 13 February 1797 did not become law; had the proposed bill been successful, and had Worgan been caught gambling on a Sunday, the irony of the prescribed punishment would not have escaped his attention (given his past adventures):

It is said, and we hope with truth, that the Archbishop of Canterbury, at the head, and with the concurrence of the Episcopal Lords, means to introduce a Bill into Parliament to prevent gambling on a Sunday. An act at present does exist against this pernicious practice; but the penalty amounts to a fine, that the Groom-porters at Hazard,117 or the Dealers at Faro,118 can with ease pay by the profits of an hour. The punishment for the offence of playing any game of chance on a Sunday is, by this new intended Bill, to be transportation for seven years to Botany Bay. The owner of the house, by a particular clause, is more severely dealt with. He, or she, permitting such gambling, shall be transported for life.119

Then, as now, pubs were not merely contexts within which drinking took place, but were also ‘centres of game and sports’.120 During the early nineteenth century, drinking at the inn played

a central role in people’s lives … Given the dubious nature of much of the water supply, it was often safer to drink beer than to drink water from the public springs … Alcohol was … used to seal bargains between businessmen and traders; and it provided an all too temporary relief from the harsh living conditions of the majority of the people. Drink was resorted to by both rich and poor at many points in their lives.121

In 1803, the botanist George Caley sanguinely wrote from Sydney Cove to Joseph Banks in London: ‘is not the drudgery or laborious work of the great towns in England done by the use of spirits or other fermented liquor?’122

In Liskeard, Webb’s Hotel, ‘a handsome, sizeable Neo-classical building’123 built in 1833, was ‘one of the finest … in the whole of Cornwall’.124 By 1847,125 ‘there were at least 16 inns, pubs and beer houses’ in Liskeard—’one for every 250 inhabitants’.126 Of these, only six remain: the Fountain (Plate 73); Webb’s Hotel (Plate 74); the Barley Sheaf, built in 1825 (Plate 75); the White Horse, ‘which probably dates from the seventeenth century’127 (Plate 76); the Red Lion (Plate 77); and the Albion, ‘an 18th century public house with a Delabole slate roof and an almost symmetrical three bay façade’128 (Plate 78).129 ‘Being so close to the town centre … [these] inns were built to accommodate those visiting the town for the markets and fairs.’130

Plate 73 The Fountain Inn, Liskeard (as it appears today).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 74 Webb’s Hotel, Liskeard (as it appears today).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 75 The Barley Sheaf Inn, Liskeard (as it appears today): the moulded cornice and wooden doorcase with pilasters and enriched entablature are original.

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 76 The White Horse Inn, Liskeard (as it appears today).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 77 The Red Lion Inn, Liskeard (as it appears today).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 78 The Albion Inn, Liskeard (as it appears today): as one of the oldest surviving buildings in the Dean Street/West area, it gives an impression of the scale of buildings that originally occupied this part of Liskeard.

Source: Photo by the author.

Apart from drinking and gambling at the inns of Liskeard, other public entertainments would have been available to George Worgan. During the late 1760s, Philip Astley (1742–1814) founded a circus in London. The circus had an equestrian emphasis, but also included rope-dancers, gymnasts and a clown. Astley’s circus had a profound impact

on the entertainment world, invading the boards of Covent Garden for the first time in 1811, and frequently thereafter, and made well known in the provinces by Astley’s winter tours.

Soon there were rivals. By about 1830 … [Cornwall was] travelled by … Saunder’s, Cooke’s, Samwell’s and Clarke’s … The visit of the circus was a memorable event in the life of any community; when the American lion tamer Van Amburgh visited Redruth in Cornwall in July 1842 he headed a procession of 40 horses and carriages, drove 8 horses in hand himself, and attracted a crowd of over 7,000.131

It is possible that George Worgan may have attended a performance given in Liskeard by one of the circuses that visited Cornwall during the 1830s.

Although public concerts would (on occasion) have taken place in Liskeard, these did not become popular and common leisure-time pursuits until the 1840s, after Worgan’s lifetime.

In 1805, the English physician and social critic Charles Hall (1740–1825) wrote: ‘Leisure in a poor man is thought quite a different thing from what it is to a rich man, and goes by a different name. In the poor it is called idleness, the cause of all mischief.’132 That George Worgan would have had free, non-obligated time for use in the pursuit of leisure activities at the inn (or within other public contexts) placed him in what was increasingly described during the early nineteenth century as the ‘leisured or leisure classes’.133

George Worgan Marries

A year after Worgan arrived back in England from Sydney Cove, and having been paid off by the navy, he married Mary Lawry134 of Liskeard, at St Martin’s Church,135 on Thursday, 23 May 1793 (Plate 79).136 George was 36 years old; Mary was 29. Some in Liskeard may have regarded the seven-year disparity in the couple’s age as verging on the inappropriate. ‘Such a discrepancy’—and markedly wider—’was common-place in aristocratic marriages … but less common in middle-class couples’.137 George and Mary were married by the vicar of St Martin’s, the Reverend William Hony.138

Plate 79 The Church of St Martin, Liskeard.

Source: Photo by the author.

In the ‘Introduction’ to his published report entitled General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall Drawn Up and Published by Order of the Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement,139 George Worgan provides us with a glimpse of his attitude to the women of Cornwall: ‘[Cornish] women are amiable, for the most part accomplished, and make excellent wives.’ Cornwall’s women are ‘diamonds … of the most beautiful lustre’.140 Mary Lawry was doubtless one such woman. Mary’s father, John, as well as her friend(?) Mary Watson, signed the marriage certificate as witnesses.141

At the time of George’s wedding, it is possible that the alterations that were made to the interior of St Martin’s in the same year had just been completed: amongst other things, the church’s beautiful carved oak rood screen was destroyed ‘and carved medieval pews’142 were replaced with high pitch-pine pews, which formed ‘horse-boxes and pens in which the congregation lay hidden’.143 The internal reordering meant that the church resembled ‘a chapel, where preaching was considered of paramount importance’.144

The installation of high pews suggests that Liskeardian society (revealing a conformance with English society in general) was a class-ridden minefield.

A serious example of discrimination was the custom of private pews, bought by the rich and reserved exclusively for their use, which often resulted in there being no room for the poor in the church at all. The idea of buying a place in church was taken for granted by most of the population [in England] at the beginning of the nineteenth century.145

In Brief Remarks on English Manners, an anonymous author describes high pews, stressing the iniquity of segregation in church based on socioeconomic class. Because of

the pernicious practice of dividing our churches into pews … the poorer classes are not only separated from their superiours, but in many instances they are shut out of the church for want of means to purchase a seat within its walls … In ancient times probably the great man of each parish had his family pew, but by degrees, as the influence of money prevailed, his rich neighbours continued to vie with him and with each other, till at last all our churches have become disfigured to the eye by their tasteless divisions, resembling pens for cattle, and many of them dishonoured by being made receptacles for the rich to the exclusion of the poor.146

Sadly, it appears that snobbery—upheld by the existence of high pews—was rife at St Martin’s.

Four bells in the thirteenth-century tower of St Martin’s (the treble and the next lowest-sounding bells having been cast in 1755, the third bell in 1735, and the tenor or fourth bell in 1753)147 would have rung out George and Mary’s joy.

George and Mary Worgan’s Children

For George Worgan, country life, with ‘its slower rhythms and the importance of children in its scheme of things’,148 appears to have been an attractive alternative to the unpredictabilities and intensities of his naval career.

Five years after her marriage to George, Mary Worgan (aged 34) gave birth to her first child, a daughter, named Mary. Baby Mary was baptised at St Wenna’s Church, in the parish of Morval, on Sunday, 6 May 1798.149 It seems odd that the Worgans selected St Wenna’s as the church within which to have their child baptised; when compared with St Martin’s, St Wenna’s is much further away from the Worgans’ farms. Parish boundaries may have influenced their decision. Baby Mary died 16 months later, on Thursday, 19 September 1799.150 Infant mortality was common at this time, and few families were strangers to childhood deaths.

George and Mary (at the age of 36) had a second child, George William, who was baptised (probably at St Wenna’s, Morval) on Thursday, 9 January 1800.151 With their recent history, there must have been considerable anxiety in George and Mary’s minds as to whether little George William would survive. (When Mary conceived, both she and her husband would have been ‘launched on a roaring wave of fate. No one could predict how easily she would bear pregnancy, how safely she would deliver, how robust would be her infant, or how long and healthy the life of her child.’)152 Happily, George William thrived.

The next year, the couple had their second daughter, Mary, who was baptised (probably at St Wenna’s) on Thursday, 17 September 1801.153

On Wednesday, 23 November 1803, George and Mary’s fourth child and their second son, John, was baptised (probably at St Wenna’s),154 but he died in infancy.

The couple’s fifth child and their second surviving son, John Parsons, was baptised at St Martin’s, Liskeard, on Tuesday, 12 March 1805.155 The selection of John’s middle name, Parsons, may have been influenced by the fact that 17 years earlier, in 1778, George Bouchier Worgan’s younger sister, Charlotte, had married Sir William Parsons.156

George and Mary’s surviving family therefore consisted of George William (their eldest son), Mary and John Parsons (their youngest son). Both George William and John Parsons eventually migrated to Australia. George and Mary’s daughter, Mary, lived out her life and died in Liskeard.

George Worgan, the Published Author

In 1793 the Cornwall Agricultural Society was formed. Meetings were held in various parts of Cornwall, with competitions for ploughing, for stock, and for machinery. Substantial prizes were offered—3 and 5 guineas—and some awards were made for growing crops, requiring the judges to travel from farm to farm.

The Society attracted the attention of the newly established Board of Agriculture, whose president in 1793 approached the Cornish Society with a request for ‘a complete account of the state of agriculture in so interesting a district’ as part of its aim to undertake a comprehensive survey of the agriculture of every county. Robert Fraser’s [fl. 1793–1822] ‘General Review’ was accordingly published in 1794,157 but it was considered less than adequate and it was hoped that a revision could soon be compiled by someone more qualified to do so.158

In 1808, George Worgan—’despite his somewhat doubtful credentials’159—wrote his General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall at the behest of the Secretary of the Board of Agriculture, Arthur Young (who paid him £100 for the privilege).160 The tome’s preface, entitled ‘Preliminary Observation’,161 is dated ‘Bodmin, Nov. 30 1808’.162

Unfortunately, the Board of Agriculture found Worgan’s efforts to be less than satisfactory, subsequently engaging three Cornish gentlemen—’all amateur and public spirited farmers’163—to revise Worgan’s research

  1. the Reverend Robert Walker, vicar of St Winnoe
  2. the Reverend Jeremiah Trist, vicar of Veryan from 1782 to 1829
  3. Vice-Admiral Charles Vinnicombe Penrose (1759–1830), of Ethy in the parish of St Winnoe, who was later knighted.

These gentlemen were Worgan’s friends, and had assisted him with the initial draft of his survey. In order to justify their involvement with the rewriting, the three gentlemen wrote: ‘When therefore it was proposed to us to revise [Worgan’s] … Papers, we thought we possessed a particular advantage, from the mere circumstance of having some knowledge of his plan and execution.’164

The three editors, however, appear to have taken only a brief moment to protect George from any ridicule; they admitted that they had (magnanimously) preserved ‘a large part of the original’.165 In almost the same breath, however, they also claimed to have taken ‘great liberties with his manuscript, and generally suppressed what was deemed redundant’.166 The editors confessed to having made ‘considerable erasements, alterations and additions’,167 and indicated (honourably) that they had taken ‘care that wherever we have made observations or stated facts, for which we alone are answerable, the initials of our respective names are subjoined’.168 Using these initials, it can be seen that the Reverend Robert Walker rewrote sections dealing with

  1. leases (Chapter 4, Section 5)
  2. crops commonly cultivated (Chapter 7, Section 4)
  3. crops not commonly cultivated (Chapter 7, Section 5).

The Reverend Jeremiah Trist rewrote sections dealing with

  1. woods and plantations: coppicing, timber and willow plantations (Chapter 10)
  2. improvements (Chapter 12): drainage (Section 1), eight sorts of manuring (Section 3)
  3. irrigation (Chapter 12, Section 4)
  4. population (Chapter 15, Section 8).

Vice-Admiral Charles Penrose rewrote sections dealing with

  1. implements (Chapter 5)
  2. gates (Chapter 6)
  3. labourers’ houses (Chapter 3, Section 3).

This left the bulk of the survey as Worgan had originally written it, his work comprising chapters and/or sections concerning

  1. the geographical state and circumstances of the county (Chapter 1): situation (Section 1), climate (Section 3), surface and scenery (Section 4), minerals (Section 5) and water (Section 6)
  2. the state of property (Chapter 2): estates and their management (Section 1)
  3. buildings (Chapter 3): houses of proprietors (Section 1), farmhouses and offices (Section 2) and cottages (Section 3)
  4. modes of occupation (Chapter 4): sizes of farms (Section 1), rent (Section 2), tithes (Section 3) and poor rates (Section 4)
  5. enclosing (Chapter 6): fences (Section 1)
  6. arable land (Chapter 7): tillage (Section 1) and fallowing (Section 2)
  7. grassland (Chapter 8): natural meadows (Section 1), pastures (Section 2) and hay harvests (Section 3)
  8. gardens and orchards (Chapter 9)
  9. waste (Chapter 11)
  10. improvements (Chapter 12): paring and burning (Section 2) and weeding (Section 5)
  11. livestock (Chapter 13): cattle (Section 1), sheep (Section 2), horses (Section 3), pigs (Section 4), rabbits (Section 5), poultry and pigeons (Section 6) and bees (Section 8)
  12. the rural economy (Chapter 14)
  13. the political economy (Chapter 15): roads (Section 1), canals (Section 2), fairs and weekly markets (Sections 3 and 4), commerce (Section 5) and the poor (Section 7)
  14. obstacles to improvements (Chapter 16)
  15. agricultural societies (Chapter 17, Section 1)
  16. weights and measures (Section 2).169

In his introduction, Worgan went to great pains to disprove the ‘very erroneous idea and illiberal aspersion’ that people in Cornwall ‘are nearly in a state of barbarism’.

Instances of their civility and benevolence the Surveyor [that is, Worgan] has to report from his own knowledge. Three several nights, in his tour through Cornwall, he missed his road, and was benighted, and each time, in the remotest part of the country, on gently tapping at the door of the cottager, the good man rose from his bed, left his home, and walked with him some miles, nor would leave him until he had conducted him to his place of destination. One of these good Christians, on taking leave of him, said, with a countenance that spoke his heart, ‘Health and a long and happy life to you Sir, and Heaven after death.’ Can a peasantry who will thus rise cheerfully from their beds at midnight, take the bewildered stranger by the hand, and conduct him safely through dangers, deserve the harsh appellation of barbarians?170

Following revision, Worgan’s survey was first published in London in 1811. In the first edition, the three gentleman editors state:

[W]e believe Mr. Worgan to have been very diligent in collecting materials for his Work. It happened however unfortunately, that he was obliged to perform the greater part of his Survey during winter, by which he not only endured much hardship, but was also forced to take many things upon trust, of which at a more favourable season, he might have been an eye witness.171

That the credibility of Worgan’s research was so publicly called into question must have been a bitter pill for George to swallow, especially when the criticism derived from his friends and colleagues. Sadly, things did not improve when his research was ‘described in the West of England Magazine in 1813 as “in many places extremely quaint and affected”; and in the chapter on livestock, “there is not much that is intended to any great utility in any respect whatever”’.172

Fortunately, the effect of these negative critiques on sales of the book was minimal; George Worgan’s General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall (1811) was reprinted in 1815.

George’s trudging around rural Cornwall in the depths of the winter of 1808 as a researcher would have cost him a considerable amount of money—money that he never recouped. It appears that in 1810 Worgan found himself in a precarious financial situation, for ‘he wrote to Henry Hawkins Tremayne of Heligan, thanking him for his kindness to ‘my poor afflicted family’’.173

Things did not improve. Two years later, in a letter dated Monday, 13 July 1812, Richard Rosedew, a local landowner, wrote to Philip Wynell-Mayow (1771–1845), Worgan’s former landlord of the farm at Bray:

About 10 days since I was accosted at my front door by a person somewhat in appearance of a broken gentleman and given an open note which I enclose. As I was reading it he took out of a case a long statement on parchment with a great number of names as subscribers, some as high as £10.174

During his discussion with Rosedew, Worgan indiscreetly and unwisely criticised his former landlord Wynell-Mayow, criticisms that Rosedew refused to accept. As a consequence, Rosedew chose not to give.

George Worgan, the Inventor

During the early nineteenth century, changes occurring within the contexts of industrial design and manufacturing stimulated experimentation in the design and manufacture of farming machinery. In Cornwall, the resultant spirit of innovation that attended farming practices was reflected in the competitions held by the Cornwall Agricultural Society. These competitions ‘included potato and turnip cultivation, the development of water meadows, cider orchards and cider making, essays on agricultural improvement, and “the person having the greatest number of children under 21, brought up without parochial assistance”’.175 Most importantly perhaps, the Society created an award for ‘new or improved husbandry implements’.176

It appears that George Worgan was something of an inventor. In 1806, the Cornwall Agricultural Society awarded the substantial sum of £3 to ‘“Mr Worgan of Glynn” [who] … designed and exhibited a great cultivator, a lesser cultivator, a shifting double plough and a combined roller and harrow’.177 (After having been awarded such a prize, it is no wonder that Worgan praised the virtues of the Cornwall Agricultural Society:

The Cornwall Agricultural Society has been … attended with very beneficial effects in the encouragement of agriculture throughout the county; and it has never been in a more flourishing state than at present.)178

A report concerning Worgan’s inventions was published in the Royal Cornwall Gazette:

The husbandry implements produced by Mr Worgan attracted the attention of a great many agriculturalists, and from their ingenious construction and easy draught with which they may be worked, appear to be deserving of further attention. However, the inspector, not having seen any of these implements in use, cannot speak as to the utility of them.179

George Worgan, the Schoolmaster

George Worgan was not a successful farmer. Unfortunately, ‘his introduction of new [farming] methods failed to pay off’.180 ’Being very theoretical in the management [of his farms], and having some difficulty in the holding, which he attributed to entails,181 he quitted [his farms] … with considerable loss.’182

The anonymous editor of the Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon by George B. Worgan, Surgeon of the Sirius states that Worgan, in order to augment his failing income, ‘was at various times schoolmaster and church organist’.183 Contemporaneous documentary evidence reinforces the fact that Worgan worked as a schoolteacher: Worgan’s will describes him as ‘schoolmaster, of Liskeard’.184 It was following the completion of his General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall in 1808 that Worgan ‘turned school-master’.185

We do not know if, as the years passed, George Worgan, as ‘a man of extensive reading’,186 found himself employed respectively by several schools in Liskeard or whether he was engaged by only one. If he taught at several schools, he may, for a period, have found himself at the Liskeard Grammar School, a ‘symbol of civic pride … conducted on Church of England principles’.187 Financially, this school was ‘supported mainly by members of the borough’.188

The Liskeard Grammar School comprised ‘one long room, gabled at both ends, and open to the rafters of the roof, with a smaller room at one side, where there was a fire place and where the boys said their lessons’.189 The boys ‘said their lessons’ out loud as part of rote learning. The school, open only to boys, was located on Castle Street, relatively near St Martin’s Church, on the site that is now Castle Park. ‘This led to the area becoming associated with education.’190

On a map of Liskeard dating from 1840, the site occupied by the building shown in Plate 80 is labelled ‘School’. It is probable that the building shown in Plate 80 was the grammar school.191 In the mid nineteenth century, the building ‘went through a … transformation from school to police station’.192

‘Like most small town grammar schools, Liskeard’s provided a classical education, largely based on Latin … taught to the sons of … squires and prosperous traders.’193 The ‘low, mean edifice’194 within which the students of Liskeard’s Grammar School were educated was ‘bad without and worse within’.195 On Tuesday, 1 March 1836 (two years and three days before George Worgan died), the town council decided to remove ‘the “town dung” … to “the garden near the school” where it was to be sold monthly. This was presumably not good news for the children attending the school!’196

Plate 80 The site, if not the building, of the Liskeard Grammar School (as it appears today).

Source: Photo by the author.

That Worgan may have been employed at the Liskeard Grammar School is pure conjecture; unfortunately, ‘where school records did exist, they have over the years completely disappeared’.197 If not at the Liskeard Grammar School, Worgan may have taught, on occasion, at one of the new private schools that had emerged in the town during the late eighteenth century. These schools taught middle-class boys and girls, providing a wide-ranging curriculum that included subjects such as ‘navigation, accounting, advanced arithmetic and good handwriting … the types of skills that the children of the rising commercial classes would find it useful to acquire’.198

One such Liskeard school with a fine reputation was the Windsor Academy, located in Golden Bank House on the southward Plymouth Road. In 1820, the school was advertised as being ‘at such a convenient distance from Liskeard, as to preclude the contaminations of a town’.199 The Windsor Academy

was a boarding and day school … The curriculum was wide, including the expected scripture, history, geography, arithmetic, grammar, penmanship, drawing, music and languages (Latin and French). But it also contained a strong scientific, and technical component, offering applied science, technical drawing, building and machine construction, and even ‘natural philosophy’ (described as astronomy, electricity, acoustics, geology, physiology, botany and physiography).200

The school ‘appears to have closed during the 1830s’.201

We know that Worgan was employed at one of the five schools that were established in Liskeard during the early nineteenth century specifically to cater for the children of poor, working-class parents. A report written in 1818 on education states: ‘many families [in Liskeard] are too poor to educate their children, without the aid of these schools.’202 ‘Liskeard’s poor were no more numerous than any other Cornish town … [but] were perhaps more fortunate than some in having a local professional and business class who professed a social conscience.’203

In 1812 the Central School was opened in Truro, partly to educate children, partly to train teachers for other schools to be set up in other parts of Cornwall.

By 1814 schools had been set up in various parts of Cornwall and over 500 children were being educated. By 1823 the school had trained 11 mistresses and 30 masters, including George Worgan.204

Worgan was recommended for training as a teacher by Reverend Athanasius Laffer, who was for a period headmaster of the Liskeard Grammar School. Worgan was ‘to be instructed as a schoolmaster for the Liskeard school’.205

In 1813, a boys’ school was set up (using money raised by subscription) under the auspices of the Anglican Church’s ‘National Society for the education of the children of the poor in accordance with the teaching of the Established Church’.206 The school was located in a house ‘accordingly built for the purpose’,207 owned by the National Society. The house was ‘situated on the “Castle Garden”, at the corner of the Castle Hill and Castle Street and immediately opposite the castle grounds’.208 The National Society’s Boys’ School nestled amongst the small houses and cottages near, and downhill from, Liskeard’s grammar school. A map dating from 1840 suggests that the school was located on the site that is now occupied by an apartment building (Plate 81).209

Plate 81 The site of the National Society Boys’ School, Liskeard (as it appears today).

Source: Photo by the author.

In 1813, George Worgan (at 56 years of age) was employed as headmaster of the newly established boys’ school. The school was run,

as all National Society schools were, using ‘Dr [Andrew] Bell’s [1753–1832] system’. It was a very economical method of teaching as only one master was needed. He taught the older children, who were known as ‘monitors’, and they in turn repeated the lesson to groups of younger children, all in the same room.210

The Bell system ‘had been used in England since 1811 and was developed as an alternative to that originated by the Quaker, Joseph Lancaster [1778–1838] in 1798 … Lancaster’s schools, run by the nonconformist British and Foreign Bible Society, offered non-denominational religious instruction’. In contrast, religious instruction within the context of the Bell system used ‘the Church of England catechism … The fact that … religious instruction [could be] non-denominational … [was] seen as a threat to the Church of England … the British authorities [decided] to replace the Lancastrian system with that of Bell … a clear indication that it was determined to guarantee the ascendancy of the Anglican Church’.211

The curriculum George Worgan taught would have included mathematics; perhaps he made use of William Cockin’s (1736–1801) textbook A Rational and Practical Treatise of Arithmetic,212 ‘published in [1766] … whose exercises caught the imagination and taught practical accounts in a memorable way’:213

Suppose a dog, a wolf, and a lion were to devour a sheep, and that the dog could eat up the sheep in an hour, the wolf in 3/4 of an hour and the lion in 1/2 an hour; now if the lion begins to eat 1/8 of an hour before the other two, and afterwards all three eat together, the question is in what time will the sheep be devoured?

A lad having got 4,000 nuts, in his return was met by Mad-Tom who took from him 5/8 of 2/3 of his whole stock: Raving-Ned light upon him afterwards and forced 2/5 of 5/8 of the remainder from him: Unluckily Positive-Jack found him, and required 7/10 of 17/20 of what he had left: Smiling-Dolly was by promise to have 3/4 of a quarter of what nuts he brought home: How many had the boy left?214

Initially—that is, from 1813—the school flourished; however, it foundered a few years after it opened because of ‘the falling off of subscribers as well as scholars’.215 Perhaps Liskeard’s philanthropists

could be forgiven for suffering from … donor fatigue … the satirical author of ‘Advice from a Father to a Son’ in the Gentleman’s Magazine (1760) suggests

… ‘as the mad extravagance of the age is charity, and you must meet with frequent temptations, and earnest solicitations, to squander your money in that way, I shall, in the first place, give you some instructions in the art of parrying a charitable subscription. The want of this necessary art has been a great misfortune to many people I could name you. For besides parting with their money against their will, they got the character of being charitable, which drew upon them fresh applications from other quarters, multiplying by success, and creating endless vexation.’

His answer? First rule, ‘to like the charity, but dislike the mode of it’. If that fails, the second rule, ‘to like some other charity better’ and lastly, ‘to insinuate (but without saying it in plain terms) that you either will contribute, or have already contributed handsomely, tho’ you do not subscribe.’216

During the period between the school’s closure and 1833, there was no school in Liskeard ‘for boys “of the labouring classes”, apart from “a small school for teaching lads to read and write for two or three hours in the winter evenings”’.217 ‘In 1835 … the building was subsequently leased as a private school.’218

Poor George. By 1820, not only had he failed as a farmer (necessitating that he train and seek employment as a schoolteacher), but also his research (published as General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall)219 had been publicly derided—and he had been a crucial part of an unsuccessful educational enterprise (even though the failure was through no fault of his own).

George Worgan, the Church Organist

The notion that Worgan was employed at various times as a church organist220 in order to supplement his income may be a fantasy. It is unlikely that Worgan was church organist in any parish church in or near Liskeard. This is because the largest and nearest churches—St Martin’s, Liskeard and St Petroc’s, Bodmin—did not at any time during Worgan’s life have organs. In the smaller churches in the Liskeard area (including those nearest to Worgan’s farms at Glynn near Bodmin), God may have been praised with unaccompanied congregational singing. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, however, ‘singing by the congregation was little practised in the Anglican Church, making a band and choir highly desirable’.221

During the period of Worgan’s retirement, St Martin’s, Liskeard—one of the largest churches in Cornwall—had a gallery at the western end of the nave containing ‘the choir, with violins, ’cellos, flutes, clarinets, bassoons and scorpions [that is, serpents] to make sweet music for the good people of Liskeard’. In 1844, six years after Worgan’s death and his subsequent burial at St Martin’s, an organ made by the highly respected organ builder James Chapman Bishop (1782–1854) ‘placed at the back of the choir gallery did away with the’ instrumental ensemble.222

That St Martin’s had an orchestra to accompany the singing was not unusual for many churches of the time, especially if they were large enough. During the late 1830s, for example, music for the services held in the Wesleyan Methodist Association chapel at Greenbank in Liskeard223 was supplied by a fine choir accompanied by ‘two cornets, three flutes, two violins and a double bass’.224 The Wesleyan Methodist Association chapel was opened in June 1838, at which time ‘the town was visited by a greater number of persons from Plymouth, Devonport, Callington, Camelford, Lostwithiel, and other places, than had ever been known on any similar occasion’.225

‘Methodism was seen as something of a threat to a quiet and somewhat lazy established [Anglican] church.’226

‘As early as 1833, the vicar of a Cornish parish had lamented that “in a few words, we have lost the people. The religion of the mass[es] is become Wesleyan Methodism.”’227

The success of Methodism owed a lot to its blatant poaching of music from secular traditions.

The rowdy singing of psalms and music around the bed of the dying was inherited, less the drink, from popular culture … in the preaching-house … they let themselves go; they shouted they wept, they groaned, they not seldom laughed aloud, with a laugh of intense excitement, a wonderful laugh …

Because it was attuned to popular culture … Methodism was more successful than the heavy hand of upper- and middle-class [Anglican] Evangelicalism. 228

The Anglican congregation of St Martin’s Church had not only an orchestra to accompany their singing, but also a choir. The choir was taken very seriously: in 1800, for example, the churchwardens of St Martin’s paid £47 10s (more than nine months’ wages) for the singing; in the following year the amount increased to £48 3s 2d.229 In ensuing years, the amount spent to maintain St Martin’s choir was similarly large.230 There is no evidence that George Worgan was involved with the training of the choir.

Despite Worgan’s (presumed) keyboard skills and understanding of music, it seems unlikely that he was ever a church organist in Liskeard, or in any of the churches in Liskeard’s outlying villages.

A fleeting literary reference, however, implies that a Mr Worgan may have been heard at some stage playing upon an organ. In 1893, John Brown MD wrote a small pamphlet in which the childhood of a certain Marjorie Fleming was described. Marjorie’s birth date is given as ‘15 January 1803; her death 19 December 1811’.231 In 1809 (at the age of six) Marjorie sang the following words:

[S]he and I in bed lies nice

And undisturbed by rats or mice;

She is disgusted by Mr. Worgan,

Though he plays upon the organ.232

Given the year in which Marjorie purportedly sang these lines, the ‘Mr Worgan’ to whom she refers could be either (and most probably is) George Worgan’s famous father, Dr John Worgan (who had died 19 years before, in 1790), or George Bouchier Worgan. Brown gives no explanation as to why ‘she’ should be disgusted by ‘Mr Worgan’ (despite the verse’s ensuing line, which may be construed to imply that organists are axiomatically virtuous). If the verse refers to George Worgan’s father, Dr John Worgan, Marjorie may not have been impressed by the fact that Dr Worgan had divorced his wife Sarah (for infidelity) in 1768 (divorce was uncommon and always scandalous), remarried a few years later, and, following the death of his second wife in 1777, remarried again in 1779 (Dr Worgan’s ‘morals were blameless’).233

It is not known if George Bouchier Worgan (having left his piano with Elizabeth Macarthur in 1791) purchased another square piano upon his return to England for use in his retirement. We can only wonder if he managed to maintain his technical proficiency—such as it may have been—as a pianist. No evidence has come to light suggesting that Worgan ever played the piano for anyone during the period of his retirement.

After he returned to England, George Worgan ceased contact with Elizabeth Macarthur. He made no inquiries concerning her pianistic progress or the fate of his Beck square piano, and Elizabeth Macarthur does not appear to have attempted to contact Worgan in order to provide him with such information. Worgan’s marriage to Mary Lawry, and the commitments associated with raising two sons and a daughter, probably diverted Worgan’s attention away from the need to maintain contact with Macarthur. His farming and teaching activities would also have taken up much of his time and energy.

Financial Hardship

In 1828, ‘having fallen on hard times, Worgan petitioned the Secretary of State for Colonies to give his [youngest] son John Parsons Worgan, aged about 22 years,234 employment in New South Wales’.235

Worgan’s financial difficulties arose from his having quitted his farms ‘with considerable loss’.236 The payment of rent, taxes and the leases of his farms had certainly been a burdensome part of Worgan’s rural life. In chapters two, four and 16 of his General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall, Worgan’s comments expose not only his own plight, but also that of many farmers:

Entailed Estates.—I was in hopes that I had been a singular sufferer in Cornwall, from this kind of deceptive tenure; it would then not have been worthy of notice; but in my excursions through the county, I have met with fellow-sufferers, and with others who are likely to become so. As such cases have occurred, and may occur again, it behoves every man, who is about to occupy a farm for a terra by lease, to make enquiry whether it be an entailed estate or not; because the possessor [the landlord] having the power of letting [a farm to a renter] for his own life only [that is, only for the period of the landlord’s life]; in case of his [the landlord’s] death, the occupier [the renter] is left entirely at the mercy of his [the landlord’s] successor … 237

Taxes were formerly generally paid by the landlord, but of late years, the tenant is usually bound to pay all taxes and assessments, the land tax often excepted. The tithes are almost every where considered as a tenant’s tax …238

Of late, some proprietors, or rather, perhaps, their stewards, in order to obtain a certain clear rent, have thrown the whole burthen, both of taxes and repairs, upon the tenant.239

Furthermore, the ‘assessment of the annual value of lands … subjects the industrious farmer to a varied and increasing taxation upon his improvements. And however politic it may be, as a measure of finance, it operates specially on the efforts of the … renter’.240

It seems that the ways of a compassionless world rife with opportunism raged against George Worgan the humble farmer.

In Europe during the eighteenth century, levels of taxation steadily increased ‘as armies and fleets grew bigger and as governments increased their commitment to education’.241 Although British governments did not

spend on education, Britain shared in the general trend … whereas national income doubled between 1700 and 1790, [taxation] revenue per capita increased more than two and a half times. In 1700, the government was taking some 9.1% of the national income, but by 1790 it had risen to 15.0%.242

Even though taxes were minimal compared with modern rates of taxation,

it was considered iniquitous to have to pay any at all. Britain was actually the first country in Europe to enact income tax: in 1799 the government, desperate for money to pay the armed forces, imposed a personal levy of two shillings in the pound on all incomes in excess of £200 a year. A descending scale of rates was applied to lower incomes, with exemption below £60 p.a.243

George Worgan was well acquainted with financial precariousness, and his anxieties would have been compounded by the burden of taxation.

Indirect taxation most affected the working and middle classes. Even the necessities of life were taxed … indirect taxation … cost the average labourer half his yearly income … based on a yearly income of £22 10s … [there were] taxes on malt (by far the highest, at £4 11s 3d), sugar, tea and coffee (regarded as luxuries, and taxed accordingly at £1 4s), soap, housing, clothes and even food (£3).

The window tax was another great cause of complaint, particularly, of course, amongst the landlords who owned whole villages as well as their various mansions … In 1784 the tax on a house with ten windows was more than doubled, from 11s 4d to £1 4s 4d and by 1808 it had risen to £2 16s: a house with thirty windows paid £19 12s 6d annually, with corresponding rises according to the number of windows … It was thus an obvious economy to block up some of the windows, so people began to live and sleep in rooms which had neither natural light nor air, with inevitable results for the health of the community. This was not, however, a consideration which was obvious at the time since most people, including doctors, regarded fresh air as lethal.244

Because disease was rife in the cities, one could say that, to a certain extent, fresh air was indeed lethal.

In England during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the profusion of taxes made life a misery. The English clergyman, critic and philosopher Sydney Smith (1771–1845) summed up the experience:

[E]very article which enters into the mouth, or covers the back, or is placed under the foot—taxes upon everything which is pleasant to see, hear, feel, smell or taste—taxes upon warmth, light and locomotion—taxes upon everything on earth, and the waters under the earth—or everything that comes from abroad, or is grown at home—taxes on the raw material—taxes on every fresh value that is added to it by the industry of man—taxes on the sauce which pampers man’s appetite, and the drug that restores him to health—on the ermine which decorates the judge and the rope that hangs the criminal—on the poor man’s salt and the rich man’s spice—on the brass nails of the coffin, and the ribands of the bride—at bed or board, couchant or levant, we must pay:—The schoolboy whips his taxed top—the beardless youth manages his taxed horse, with a taxed bridle on a taxed road:—and the dying Englishman, pouring his medicine which has paid 7 per cent., into a spoon that has paid 15 per cent.—flings himself back on his chintz-bed which has paid 22 per cent.—makes his will on an eight pound stamp, and expires in the arms of an apothecary who has paid a license of an hundred pounds for the privilege of putting him to death. His whole property is then immediately taxed from 2 to 10 per cent. Besides the probate, large fees are demanded for burying him in the chancel; his virtues are handed down to posterity on taxed marble; and he is then gathered to his fathers,—to be taxed no more.245

Ironically, despite the fact that during the first decade of the nineteenth century England was taxed to the hilt to pay for war with France, the English middle class slavishly followed Parisian fashion. As early as 1766, the English author Tobias Smollett (1721–71), in his Travels through France and Italy, observed:

The French, however, with all their absurdities, preserve a certain ascendancy over us, which is very disgraceful to our nation; and this appears in nothing more than in the article of dress. We are contented to be thought their apes in fashion; but, in fact, we are slaves to their tailors, mantua-makers [dressmakers], barbers, and other tradesmen.246

Many English aristocratic women were also devoted to French fashion. For example, on Friday, 2 January 1750, Lady Jane Coke (1706–61) wrote: ‘As for fashions, according to English custom we follow the French Ambassadress.’247 The French ambassadress Madame de Mirepoix ‘was a leader of fashion, and one of the principal ladies of society during her husband’s term of appointment’ in London.248 In England, ‘fashion had remained static for decades or more’. During the mid-eighteenth century, however, ‘it grew possible to identify specific styles for every passing year … in 1753 purple was in vogue for women, in 1754, it was the turn of white linen with a pink pattern and in 1755 of dove grey’.249

An observation made by the English physician John Bulwer (1606–56) in 1653 was still pertinent 100 years on in relation to the English aristocracy and middle class:

Our English ladies, who seeme to have borrowed some of their cosmeticall conceits from barbarous nations, are seldome known to be content with a face of gods making: for they are either adding, detracting, or altering continually, having many focusses in readiness for the same purpose. Sometimes they think they have too much colour, then they use art to make them look pale and faire. Now they have too little colour, then Spanish paper, red leather, or other cosmeticall rubriques must be had. Yet for all this, it may be, the skins of their faces do not please them.250

For George Worgan, the payment of farm leases would have represented yet another drain on his finances. Worgan informs us that farm leases ‘are mostly held for terms of fourteen years, a few for twenty-one years, and still fewer for seven’.251 A new single lease usually cost 14–18 years’ rent. The renewal of an existing lease usually cost three years’ rent (depending on the estate policy).252 Worgan took up his first leases ca 1800.253 It is probable that the cost of renewing the leases, combined with land taxes, acted as a catalyst for Worgan’s financial hardship.

Worgan’s landlord at the farm in Bray was Philip Wynell-Mayow (1771–1844), a man who, according to his obituary,

was very charitable and benevolent, and on several occasions … [was] known, when a needy offender against the revenue laws had been committed to gaol in default of payment of penalties imposed, out of his own resources to become a private donor to the family thus deprived of their ordinary means of support.254

It appears, however, that Wynell-Mayow’s benevolence did not extend to George Worgan.255

It is reasonable to assume that Worgan experienced financial difficulties from at least the time of the first publication of his General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall in 1811 (if not from the time that he finished writing the report in 1808), after which he ‘turned school-master’.256

In June 1822, Worgan’s address in Liskeard is given as Dean Street (Plate 82).257 Eight years later, in 1830, Pigot & Co.’s National Commercial Directory identifies George Worgan as one of Liskeard’s ‘gentry’, and lists his address in Liskeard as West Street,258 a road on the northern fringes of Liskeard, leading out of the town in a north-westerly direction (Plate 83).259 If Worgan was employed as a schoolteacher during the 1820s, it is likely that he would have been provided with accommodation as part of his employment. That there are no records regarding his payment of rent is the expected consequence.

That in 1828 Worgan petitioned the Secretary of State for Colonies to employ his youngest son in New South Wales260 suggests a failing financial context. It also reveals a loving, fatherly concern for the personal fulfilment and welfare of one of his children. Worgan’s actions expose the fortitude that was a necessity for those who had ‘embarked on the parental course’. For, as a parent, Worgan watched ‘the unfathomable waters of providence lapping ominously and relentlessly at [his] … undefended feet’.261

Plate 82 Dean Street, Liskeard (as it appears today).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 83 West Street, Liskeard (as it appears today).

Source: Photo by the author.

Wadeland House

In 1836 Worgan built ‘Wadeland House’ on New Road,262 a recently constructed road leading out of Liskeard, to Bodmin, in a westerly direction.263 Worgan’s Wadeland House was situated 20 metres from the northern side of New Road, approximately 0.5 kilometres from the town centre. Four years before, ‘the Liskeard-Looe Canal Company had cut the New Road [and footpath] from Moorswater into the town, saving the steep and hazardous descent’264 through Lady Park Wood265 to Moorswater (approximately 2 kilometres away) ‘by the Old Road’.266 In 1825, ‘the building of the Looe to Liskeard Canal … eased the transportation of coal from South Wales for use in the town, and the lime and seasand required by the surrounding farmers to fertilize the land’.267

A tithe map of 1840 reveals that two vacant blocks separated Wadeland House from the nearest houses; these houses, on Dean Street, defined the western outskirts of the town.268 For the Worgans at their idyllic Wadeland House, ‘the countryside was never too far away’;269 this is especially so because Wadeland House was part of a farm, comprising several acres of farmland behind and to the side of the building.

That Worgan had Wadeland House built in 1836 is both surprising and remarkable. Not only was Worgan 79 years old at the time, but also the enterprise would have cost him a considerable amount of money. Approximately ‘£300 was considered the cost of building such a house’;270 this was the equivalent of a prosperous tradesman’s yearly income. It is not clear where Worgan obtained the money to build Wadeland House. (Could it perhaps have been money inherited following the death of his wife’s parents?) In 1828, eight years prior to the construction of Wadeland House, Worgan’s youngest son, John Parsons, had immigrated to New South Wales. Five years later, in 1833, his eldest son, George William, may also have left Liskeard, in a somewhat fraught state of mind, for London.271 Ensuing contexts may have allowed Worgan to enjoy some relief from financial pressure; such contexts, combined with what appears to have been Worgan’s frugality during the period(s) of his employment as a schoolteacher, suggest that he exercised the financial prudence necessary for saving enough money to pay for the building project.

Worgan’s use of his resources to build Wadeland House strongly suggests that by 1836, not only was he committed to being a permanent part of Liskeard’s citizenry, but also (apart from seeking to provide generously for his wife) he was looking forward to spending his final years in security and comfort. Certainly, Worgan’s involvement in the building of Wadeland House would have kept him active in his advanced old age.

Wadeland House still exists, and in many respects remains unaltered since Worgan built it. The current owners are aware of the historical significance of their family home, and have made of it a haven of love and hospitality. Wadeland House comprises a two-storey building (Plate 84), with an attached service cottage (Plate 85), and a separate privy at the rear (Plate 86);272 the privy’s nine-pane casement is original.

Plate 84 Wadeland House (as it appears today).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 85 The service cottage attached to Wadeland House: in the foreground, a single-room pantry wing extends at the back of the house.

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 86 The separate privy at the rear of Wadeland House.

Source: Photo by the author.

At the back of the house, a north-facing single-room pantry wing extends behind the kitchen (Plate 87). The pantry wing has a dry-slate roof. The pantry’s orientation, and the fact that the room is in part below ground level, helps to keep it cool, thereby enhancing its function as a storage facility geared to the preservation of food.

The front and sides of the house are made of incised stucco on rubble. In typical Cornish fashion, the hipped tile roof (Plate 88), with projecting eves at the front (Plate 89), sweeps lower at the rear (Plate 90) than at the front. The original roof was replaced in 1968.

Some of the cast-iron gutters have an ogee decorative profile. Originally, there were two brick chimney stacks; there are now three (Plate 90).

Plate 87 Wadeland House: at the back of the house, a single-room pantry wing extends behind the kitchen.

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 88 Wadeland House: the hipped concrete-tile roof.

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 89 Wadeland House: projecting eves at the front.

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 90 Wadeland House: in typical Cornish fashion, the roof sweeps lower at the rear than at the front.

Source: Photo by the author.

The windows of the symmetrical three-window front (Plate 91) still have their original small-horned sashes and glazing bars (Plate 92).

The central doorway has its original four-panel door. At some stage after it was originally installed, the door’s two top panels were glazed; recently, stained-glass panels have replaced the glazing (Plate 93). The vertical section of the wall lying between the doorframe and the outer wall is panelled, as is the soffit (Plate 94).

Entrance to the central doorway is via a distyle Roman Doric porch (Plate 95). The porch suggests the facade of a nobleman’s country seat.273 Each of the porch’s plain columns has a moulded base and a Doric frieze to the entablature (Plate 96). The two front pillars were recently replaced. Those nearest the doorway are original.

Plate 91 Wadeland House: symmetrical three-window front.

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 92 Wadeland House: original small-horned sashes and glazing bars.

Source: Photo by the author.

Left: Plate 93 Wadeland House: original four-panel central doorway.Right: Plate 94 Wadeland House: original panelling of the left-hand vertical section of the wall lying between the doorframe and the outer wall.

Source: Photos by the author.

Left: Plate 95 Wadeland House: distyle Roman Doric porch.
Right: Plate 96 Wadeland House: each of the porch’s plain columns has a moulded base and a Doric frieze to the entablature.

Source: Photos by the author.

The front rooms and entrance hallway are imposing and elegantly proportioned. The dimensions of the rooms at the back of the house are much more modest. It is reasonable to assume that limitations on Worgan’s finances precluded him from making every room in the house an imposing one.

The interior of the house has many of its original features, including

  1. the bell-pull and bell for the central doorway (Plate 97)
  2. bell-pull (lever) mechanism for the ground floor right-hand front (drawing) room (Plates 98–100)
  3. moulded plaster ceiling cornices (Plates 99–101)
  4. internal window shutters (Plates 102 and 103)
  5. rear niches and cupboards in the right-hand front (drawing) room
  6. the open-well stair (Plate 104) with an exquisitely comfortable mahogany handrail scrolled over the newel post (Plates 105 and 106)
  7. the laterally sliding pantry window (Plate 107).

Left: Plate 97 Wadeland House: the original exterior bell-pull—located adjacent and to the left of the central doorway.Right: Plate 98 Wadeland House: the original bell-pull (lever)—located at the right-hand edge of the left-hand rear niche in the ground-floor right-hand front (drawing) room (detail).

Source: Photos by the author.

Plate 99 Wadeland House: original moulded plaster ceiling cornices in the ground-floor right-hand front (drawing) room—the bell-pull mechanism follows the right-hand exterior edge of the left-hand rear niche, and the lower edge of the cornice above the left-hand rear niche (detail).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 100 Wadeland House: original moulded plaster ceiling cornices comprising the right-hand rear corner of the ground-floor central entrance hallway (detail)—the original servant’s bell is operated via a bell-pull (lever) located in the ground-floor right-hand front (drawing) room.

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 101 Wadeland House: top-floor original moulded plaster cornice (detail).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 102 Wadeland House: original internal window shutters (right-hand, half-closed) in the left-hand ground-floor front room (detail).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 103 Wadeland House: original internal window shutters (closed) in the left-hand ground-floor front room (detail).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 104 Wadeland House: the original open-well stair.

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 105 Wadeland House: the original mahogany handrail, scrolled over the newel post (detail).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 106 Wadeland House: the original mahogany handrail, scrolled over the newel post (detail).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 107 Wadeland House: the original laterally sliding pantry window (detail)—a freshly cooked pie, for example, could be placed on a shelf underneath the window, with the sliding window open to aid cooling. Vertical metal bars on the inside of the window prevent the pie from being stolen when the sliding window is open.

Source: Photo by the author.

The Service Cottage

The attached single-room two-storey rubble service cottage has a dry-slate roof, with a rubble and brick lateral chimney stack (Plate 108).

The ground floor of the cottage contains one original window, incorporating a twentieth-century sash. Plate 109 shows the original slate sill at the bottom of this window.

The slate ground floor is original (Plate 110). In Worgan’s day, the ground floor was used for many purposes, and may sometimes even have housed animals.

The first floor originally comprised two chambers (it is now a single room), and functioned as servants’ accommodation. Access to the servants’ quarters was via an external doorway approached by a flight of stone steps (Plate 111). The stairway still has its original iron balustrade (Plates 111 and 112). The four-pane horned sash window at the left of the doorway is also original (Plate 111).

A privy was located a short distance from the service cottage (Plate 86).

The front gate piers and screen walls of the street entrance to Wadeland House are probably original. They comprise ‘coursed slatestone rubble with slate copings. The square-on plan gate piers [and end piers] flank cyma-on-plan screen walls’ (Plates 113 and 114).274

Plate 108 Wadeland House: attached service cottage—the cottage has a dry-slate roof with a rubble and brick lateral chimney stack.

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 109 Wadeland House: attached service cottage—the original ground-floor window’s slate windowsill.

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 110 Wadeland House: attached service cottage—original slate ground floor (detail).

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 111 Wadeland House: attached service cottage—access to the first-floor servants’ quarters is via an external doorway approached by a flight of stone steps. The iron balustrade is original.

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 112 Wadeland House: attached service cottage—the external stairway’s original iron balustrade (detail).

Photo by the author.

Plate 113 Wadeland House: original front gate piers and screen walls.

Source: Photo by the author.

Plate 114 Wadeland House: original right-hand front gate pier and screen wall (detail).

Source: Photo by the author.

A well is located at the back of the house. A feed pipe connects the well to a pump, which would have been operated by a servant. The pump feeds water through a channel located in the back wall up to a tank in the ceiling. Using gravity to create pressure, stored water from the tank was available inside the house. Such a luxury feature was rare in 1836, and is suggestive not only of George Worgan’s fascination for design innovation and invention,275 but also his liking for creature comforts.


1 Clarke and Spender, Life Lines, p. xxix.

2 Clark, Journal Kept on the Friendship during a Voyage to Botany Bay and Norfolk Island, Thumbnail p. 14, Frame 123 (10–12 February 1788).

3 I am indebted to Robert Clarke for this information, which comes from his preparatory research for Working the Forge.

4 Swan, To Botany Bay, p. 77.

5 Worgan, Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon by George B. Worgan, p. xi.

6 I am indebted to Robert Clarke for this information, which comes from his preparatory research for Working the Forge.

7 Egan, Buried Alive, p. 45.

8 Keneally, A Commonwealth of Thieves, p. 336.

9 Tench, ‘A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson’, pp. 179–80.

10 Parker, Arthur Phillip, p. 221.

11 See Hoskins, Sydney Harbour, p. 54.

12 Easty, Pt Jn° Easty, Thumbnail p. 14, Item 126 (a1145126).

13 See Groom, First Fleet Artist, p. 39.

14 Biography of George Raper 1769–1796 (Canberra: National Library of Australia, n.d.).

15 Ibid.

16 Groom, First Fleet Artist, p. 42.

17 Keneally, A Commonwealth of Thieves, p. 340.

18 Biography of George Raper 1769–1796.

19 G. D. Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales: The Instruments, their Makers and Players, 1791–1940 (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1988), p. 17.

20 A barrel organ sounds ‘by means of a rotating barrel or cylinder, powered manually or by clockwork. The notes of the music are represented usually by pins or staples fixed in the barrel. These operate the [playing] mechanism by means of levers when the barrel rotates.’ Burnett, Company of Pianos, p. 200.

21 Quoted in Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales, p. 18.

22 Ibid., p. 18.

23 Goold, Mr. Langshaw’s Square Piano, p. 101.

24 Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales, p. 18.

25 Keneally, A Commonwealth of Thieves, p. 340.

26 Biography of George Raper 1769–1796.

27 Bradley, A Voyage to New South Wales, Frame 302 (April–May 1792).

28 ‘Short Chronicle of Events May 23 1792’, in The Bee, or Literary Weekly Intelligencer [Edinburgh], Vol. 9 (4 July 1792), p. vi.

29 Brooke and Brandon, Bound for Botany Bay, p. 195.

30 See ‘A Complete Alphabetical List of the Royal Navy of Great Britain, 1791’, in Barfoot and Wilkes, The Universal British Directory of Trade and Commerce, p. xcv.

31 Martyn was probably Thomas Dawkins, an assistant to Samuel Keast, the purser of Le Caton.

32 ‘No. 23. Letter to the Sick and Wounded Board; Signed ‘T. Martyn’’, in Pole, The Seventh Report of the Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, p. 625.

33 In 1795, Mein was appointed inspector of hospital ships. See M. E. Fowler, ‘Mein, Susan (Sibbald)’, in Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (Toronto: University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2000).

34 ‘Commissioners of Naval Enquiry. Le Caton Hospital Ship’, in Pole, The Seventh Report of the Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, p. 557.

35 ‘French Ship Caton (1779): Career (UK)’, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia (n.d.).

36 ‘No. 24. Letter to the Sick and Wounded Board; Signed ‘T. Martyn’’, in Pole, The Seventh Report of the Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, pp. 625–6.

37 Dawkins may have been the fictitious ‘T. Martyn’ who had written letters to the Board of Sick and Wounded Seamen complaining about corrupt victualling practices on board Le Caton.

38 ‘No. 25. The Examination of Mr. Thomas Dawkins, of Modbury; Taken Upon Oath, at Plymouth Yard, 28th October 1803’, in Pole, The Seventh Report of the Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, p. 626.

39 See ibid., p. 627.

40 ‘Commissioners of Naval Enquiry. Le Caton Hospital Ship’, in Pole, The Seventh Report of the Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, p. 557.

41 Ibid., p. 557.

42 Ibid., p. 557.

43 Ibid., p. 630.

44 Ibid., pp. 558–60.

45 Ibid., p. 630.

46 Pole, The Seventh Report of the Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, pp. 557, 627.

47 Ibid., pp. 558, 560, 626, 630.

48 Ibid., p. 630.

49 Ibid., p. 627.

50 Ibid., p. 630.

51 Ibid., p. 630.

52 Ibid., p. 630.

53 Ibid., p. 630.

54 Ibid., p. 630.

55 Ibid., pp. 630–1.

56 Ibid., pp. 625, 626.

57 Ibid., p. 631.

58 Ibid., p. 631.

59 Fowey (pronounced ‘Foy’) is a small town and cargo port on the west bank of the mouth of the River Fowey, on the south coast of Cornwall (England’s most coastal county), between Looe and Mevagissey. In Worgan’s day, Fowey was a trading and naval town.

60 Edwards, ‘George Bouchier Worgan’, p. 4.

61 Ibid.

62 Ibid.

63 See ‘George Worgan Marries’, below.

64 ‘Marriage Certificate of George Bouchier Worgan and Mary Lawry’, Record #604016, Cornwall Online Parish Clerks Database.

65 ‘Commissioners of Naval Enquiry. Le Caton Hospital Ship’, in Pole, The Seventh Report of the Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, pp. 558–60.

66 J. Cannon, Aristocratic Century: The Peerage of Eighteenth-Century England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 164.

67 The Times, 26 November 1798. Quoted in Ashton, Old Times, pp. 91–2.

68 The Times, 23 July 1795. Quoted in Ashton, Old Times, pp. 144–5.

69 Worgan, Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon by George B. Worgan, p. xi.

70 R. Dessaix, Arabesques: A Tale of Double Lives (Sydney: Pan Macmillan Australia, 2010), p. 33.

71 Land Tax Register 1798, Inv. no. AD 103/228 (Truro: Cornwall Record Office).

72 R. Menneer, ‘George Worgan’, in Post-Mediaeval Hedges in Cornwall (1580–1840) (Cornish Hedges Library, 2007), p. 12. See also J. Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity (London and Liskeard: William & Frederick G. Cash & J. Philip, 1856), p. 526, in Cornwall Online Parish Clerks: Suggested Reading.

73 Edwards, ‘George Bouchier Worgan’, p. 4.

74 I. Bruijn, Ship’s Surgeons of the Dutch East India Company: Commerce and the Progress of Medicine in the Eighteenth Century (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2009), p. 205.

75 ‘Student Paper on 19th-Century Medicine’. See Sanborn, ‘Doctors and Medical Care in the Regency Era’.

76 S. Pocock, ‘History Abounds in Society’s New Home: Archives and Research to Follow Long Line of Doctors’, in The Cornwall Family History Society, No. 142 (December) (Truro, Cornwall: The Cornwall Family History Society, 2011), p. 28.

77 I am indebted to Robert Clarke for this information, which comes from his preparatory research for Working the Forge.

78 Edwards, ‘George Bouchier Worgan’, p. 5.

79 British Library, Add MSS 35129. I am indebted to Robert Clarke for this information.

80 Edwards, ‘George Bouchier Worgan’, p. 5.

81 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity, p. 526.

82 Data acquired from an exhibition label in the Liskeard Museum, Forester’s Hall, Pike Street, Liskeard, on Wednesday, 13 April 2011.

83 See J. Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, revised and edited by William Paynter (Marazion and Penzance: Wordens of Cornwall Limited, 1967), p. 76.

84 J. Pigot, ‘Liskeard, Cornwall’, in Pigot & Co.’s National Commercial Directory (London: J. Pigot & Co., 1830), p. 149.

85 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, pp. 76–7.

86 Quoted in B. Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century (Redruth, Cornwall: Bernard Deacon, 1989), p. 2. In his footnote 2, Deacon identifies the source of the quotation as: P. Barfoot and J. Wilkes, Universal British Directory of Trade, Commerce, and Manufacture, Comprehending Lists of the Inhabitants of London, Westminster, and Borough of Southwark; And of all the Cities, Towns, and Principal Villages, in England and Wales; With the Mails, and Other Coaches, Stage-Wagons, Hoys, Packets, and Trading Vessels … Together with an Historical Detail of the Antiquities, Curiosities, Trade, Polity, and Manufactures of Each City, Town, and Village. The Whole Comprising a Fund of Useful and Important Information, Equally Interesting to the Nobleman, the Gentleman, and Man of Business (London: Champanye & Whitrow, 1799), p. 743.

87 Pigot, ‘Liskeard, Cornwall’, p. 149.

88 Ibid., pp. 149–50.

89 B. Gillard, Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey: Liskeard—Historic Characterisation for Regeneration HES Report Number 2005R049 (Truro: Historic Environment Service, Cornwall County Council, 2005), p. 21.

90 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 39.

91 ‘Crops Commonly Cultivated, Swedish Turnip’, in G. B. Worgan, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall Drawn Up and Published by Order of the Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement (London: B. McMillan, 1811), Internet Archive, Chapter 7, Section 4.

92 ‘Crops Commonly Cultivated, Potatoes’, in ibid.

93 Ibid.

94 ‘Gardens and Orchards’, Chapter 9, Section 1, ‘Gardens’, in ibid.

95 Worgan, Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon by George B. Worgan, p. xii.

96 This soundscape is still a prominent feature of the town.

97 A drawing of Liskeard by Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827), dated early 1800s, is housed at the Liskeard Museum. It is feasible to conclude that this drawing depicts a view of the road on Tavern Hill (this road is now Pike Street) in the centre of town. At the lower right-hand corner of the image, an army officer and drummer can be seen seeking recruits in order to swell the ranks of the British forces fighting in the Napoleonic wars.

98 Worgan, Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon by George B. Worgan, p. 13.

99 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, p. 146.

100 Worgan, Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon by George B. Worgan, p. 14.

101 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, p. 142.

102 See J. Pigot, Pigot & Co.’s National Commercial Directory (London: J. Pigot & Co., 1830), p. 18.

103 ‘Extracts from Liskeard Borough Court Rolls’, Liskeard Museum (n.d.).

104 Ibid.

105 A drawing entitled The Old King’s Arms, at the Top of Tavern Hill, by an unknown artist, dated 1833, is housed at the Liskeard Museum.

106 ‘Extracts from Liskeard Borough Court Rolls’.

107 Ibid.

108 The Old King’s Arms at the Top of Tavern Hill (Behind Red Cart), Now the Museum Anonymous Watercolour 1833, caption for image on display at the Liskeard Museum (viewed 13 April 2011).

109 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, p. 139.

110 Quoted in Riding, Mid-Georgian Britain 1740–69, p. 59.

111 Quoted in ibid., p. 59.

112 Cunningham, Leisure in the Industrial Revolution c. 1780 – c. 1880, p. 46.

113 Ibid., p. 46.

114 Ibid., p. 46.

115 Allen, History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity, p. 243. Quoted in Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 78.

116 Goold, Mr. Langshaw’s Square Piano, p. 148.

117 ‘Hazard was a game of pure chance, in which the players threw dice against a particular number between five and nine, which was chosen by the “caster”. It could be played by any number of people, who took it in turns to “call the main”. Since the odds were well known, it was a game of pure chance, similar to the modern American game of craps.’ Murray, An Elegant Madness, p. 163.

118 ‘Faro was a variation on the theme of roulette, but eventually fell into disrepute because it was so easy for the bank to cheat, and was succeeded by a craze for macao, another game involving several players.’ Ibid., p. 163. ‘Faro could be played by any number of people … Players placed bets with a banker on the likelihood of their cards being the same as cards that were put in a special box by the dealer. It was a risky game partly because the players could bet on a number of outcomes, partly because they could choose how much to bet and partly because the banker enjoyed a built-in advantage. So, unless everyone took a turn at being the banker, players were statistically bound to lose.’ Tillyard, Aristocrats, p. 106.

119 The Times, 13 February 1797. Quoted in Ashton, Old Times, p. 178.

120 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 80.

121 Ibid., p. 87.

122 Quoted in Hoskins, Sydney Harbour, p. 70.

123 Gillard, Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey, p. 20.

124 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 4.

125 That is, nine years after George Worgan’s death.

126 Gillard, Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey, p. 48.

127 Ibid., p. 48.

128 Ibid., p. 32.

129 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 87.

130 Gillard, Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey, p. 55.

131 Cunningham, Leisure in the Industrial Revolution c. 1780 – c. 1880, p. 33.

132 Quoted in S. Pollard, ‘Factory Discipline in the Industrial Revolution’, in The Economic History Review (Oxford: Blackwell on behalf of the Economic History Society, 1963), (NS), Vol. 16, No. 2, p. 269, fn. 2.

133 See ibid.

134 Mary Lawry was the daughter of John and Anne Lawry. Mary was baptised at St Gluvias’s Church, Penryn, Cornwall, on 4 November 1764. See ‘Parish Records Collection 1538–2005 Baptism’.

135 ‘St. Martin’s is one of the three largest churches in Cornwall … It is the most dominant feature of the area and all the surrounding roads lead to it.’ Gillard, Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey, pp. 67–8.

136 ‘Marriage Certificate of George Bouchier Worgan and Mary Lawry’.

137 Howard, Gluck, p. 29.

138 See W. H. Paynter, The Parish Church of St. Martin Liskeard (Liskeard, Cornwall: Parochial Church Council, 1966), p. 31.

139 Worgan, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall. Worgan’s report ‘occupies 182 octavo pages, with a map of the soils of Cornwall, some drained grounds, fences, implements, cottages, farm offices, and front elevations. The portraits of swine and a Devon bull are complete caricatures.’ ‘CCCL.—Worgan, 1811’, in J. Donaldson, Agricultural Biography: Containing a Notice of the Life and Writings of the British Authors on Agriculture, from the Earliest Date in 1480 to the Present Time (London: Printed for the Author, 1854), p. 101.

140 ‘Introduction’, in Worgan, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall, p. xi.

141 ‘Marriage Certificate of George Bouchier Worgan and Mary Lawry’.

142 Paynter, The Parish Church of St. Martin Liskeard, p. 20.

143 Ibid., p. 20.

144 Gillard, Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey, p. 19.

145 Murray, An Elegant Madness, p. 243.

146 Brief Remarks on English Manners, and an Attempt to Account for Some of Our Most Striking Peculiarities. In a Series of Letters to a Friend in France. By an Englishman (London: John Booth, 1816), pp. 76–7.

147 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, p. 73. The treble and next lowest-sounding bell, as well as the tenor (or fourth bell), ‘were cast by Pennington, Bell-founder of Stoke Climsland, near Callington’. Ibid., p. 73.

148 Tillyard, Aristocrats, p. 116.

149 ‘Research Area’, in Parish Births, Marriages, Death Records: Baptism Records (Truro, Cornwall: Cornwall Family History Society, n.d.).

150 ‘Burial Data of Mary Worgan’, Record #1612412, Cornwall Online Parish Clerks Database.

151 ‘Baptism Record’, in The Genealogist (n.d.). See also ‘England, Births & Christenings, 1538–1975, George William Worgan, 1800’, in FamilySearch (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2012).

152 Vickery, The Gentleman’s Daughter, p. 96.

153 ‘Research Area’. See also ‘England, Births & Christenings, 1538–1975, Mary Worgan, 1801’, in FamilySearch (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2012).

154 ‘Baptism Record’.

155 ‘Birth Certificate of John Parsons Worgan’, Record #1910227, Cornwall Online Parish Clerks Database (n.d.).

156 See Ancestry.com.au.

157 R. Fraser, General View of the County of Cornwall. With Observations on the Means of its Improvement. By Robert Fraser, A.M. Drawn up for the Consideration of the Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement (London: C. Macrae, 1794).

158 Edwards, ‘George Bouchier Worgan’, pp. 4–5.

159 Menneer, ‘George Worgan’, p. 12.

160 I am indebted to Robert Clarke for this information, which comes from his preparatory research for Working the Forge.

161 Worgan, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall, p. v.

162 Ibid., p. vi.

163 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity, p. 365.

164 Worgan, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall, p. vii.

165 Ibid., p. viii.

166 Ibid.

167 Ibid.

168 Ibid., p. ix.

169 See Edwards, ‘George Bouchier Worgan’, pp. 6–7. See also Worgan, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall, pp. xiii–xvi.

170 ‘Introduction’, in Worgan, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall, p. xii.

171 Ibid., immediately following Worgan’s ‘Preliminary Observation’, p. viii.

172 Menneer, ‘George Worgan’, p. 12.

173 Edwards, ‘George Bouchier Worgan’, p. 5.

174 Bray Papers, BRA1737/45 (Truro: Cornwall Record Office). I am indebted to Robert Clarke for this information, which comes from his preparatory research for Working the Forge.

175 Edwards, ‘George Bouchier Worgan’, p. 5.

176 See ibid., p. 5.

177 Ibid., p. 5.

178 ‘Agricultural Societies’, in Worgan, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall, Chapter 17, Section 1, p. 180.

179 Royal Cornwall Gazette, 31 May 1806. Quoted in ibid., p. 5.

180 Menneer, ‘George Worgan’, p. 12.

181 An ‘entail’ is a legal restriction to the ownership and inheritance of property.

182 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity, p. 526.

183 Worgan, Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon by George B. Worgan, p. xii.

184 Cornwall Council, ‘Archdeaconry of Cornwall, Probate Court’, Reference no. AP/W/4081 (Truro: Cornwall Council, n.d.).

185 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, p. 99.

186 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity, p. 526.

187 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 151.

188 Pigot, ‘Liskeard, Cornwall’, p. 149.

189 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, p. 99.

190 Gillard, Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey, p. 60.

191 I am indebted to Daphne James and Jay Johnson of Liskeard for providing access to the 1840 map.

192 Gillard, Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey, p. 61.

193 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 151.

194 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, p. 99.

195 Ibid., p. 99.

196 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, pp. 14–15.

197 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, p. 99.

198 R. Jago, ‘Some Notes on the Windsor Academy’ (Unpublished, 1984). Quoted in Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 152.

199 Royal Cornwall Gazette, 8 July 1820. Quoted in Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 152.

200 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 152.

201 Ibid., p. 152.

202 Cornwall Record Office, ‘FS3/1017: Select Committee on Education of the Poor 1818’, in British Parliamentary Papers, Vol. 9 (1819), pp. 91–114. Quoted in ibid., p. 155.

203 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 55.

204 Edwards, ‘George Bouchier Worgan’, p. 9.

205 Cornwall Record Office, ‘D/CS 1: Minute Book, Truro Central Schools, 1811 Onwards’ (Truro: Cornwall Record Office). Quoted in ibid., p. 9.

206 See Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 154.

207 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity, p. 183.

208 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, pp. 154–5.

209 I am indebted to Daphne James and Jay Johnson of Liskeard for access to the 1840 map.

210 Edwards, ‘George Bouchier Worgan’, p. 9.

211 Fletcher, ‘Religion and Education’, p. 87.

212 W. Cockin, A Rational and Practical Treatise of Arithmetic (in Two Parts). Containing All that is Necessary to be Known in this Art, to which is Added, in the Manner of Notes, the Reason and Demonstration of Every Rule and Operation, as they Occur, on Principles Purely Arithmetical, or Such as Will Easily be Comprehended by a Beginner (London: W. Nicoll, 1766).

213 Goold, Mr. Langshaw’s Square Piano, p. 137.

214 Quoted in ibid., p. 137.

215 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, p. 99.

216 Riding, Mid-Georgian Britain 1740–69, p. 71.

217 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 155. Quoting Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity, p. 184.

218 Edwards, ‘George Bouchier Worgan’, p. 10.

219 Worgan, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall.

220 Worgan, Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon by George B. Worgan, p. xii.

221 Jordan, ‘Music and Civil Society in New South Wales’, p. 195.

222 Paynter, The Parish Church of St. Martin Liskeard, p. 20. This organ is currently housed in the church of St Ive (pronounced ‘ee-v’), a short distance from Liskeard.

223 The Greenbank Chapel was, and still is, located in Green Bank Road (a road leading out of Liskeard, to Callington, in a north-easterly direction).

224 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, p. 64.

225 West Briton, 8 June 1838. Quoted in Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 60.

226 Goold, Mr. Langshaw’s Square Piano, p. 214.

227 J. Rule, The Labouring Miner in Cornwall, c1740 to 1870, Unpublished PhD dissertation (University of Warwick, 1971), p. 217. Quoted in Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 64.

228 Cunningham, Leisure in the Industrial Revolution c. 1780 – c. 1880, p. 40.

229 See Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, p. 84.

230 Ibid., p. 84.

231 J. Brown, Marjorie Fleming: A Sketch being the Paper Entitled ‘Pet Marjorie: A Story of Child Life Fifty Years Ago’ (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1893), p. 29.

232 Ibid., p. 20.

233 Charles Burney, quoted in Bacon, ‘Memoir of the Life and Works of John Worgan’, p. 131.

234 Based on John’s date of baptism (12 March 1805), he would have been 23 years old. See ‘Birth Certificate of John Parsons Worgan’.

235 Worgan, Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon by George B. Worgan, p. xii.

236 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity, p. 526.

237 ‘Tenures’, in Worgan, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall, Chapter 2, p. 22.

238 Ibid., ‘Mode of Occupation, Section 2: Rent’, Chapter 4, p. 32.

239 Ibid., Section 5, Chapter 4, p. 36.

240 Ibid., Chapter 16, p. 178.

241 Cannon, Aristocratic Century, p. 142.

242 Ibid., p. 142.

243 Murray, An Elegant Madness, p. 86.

244 Ibid., p. 87.

245 S. Smith, ‘ART. III. Statistical Annals of the United States of America. By Adam Seybert. 4to. Philadelphia, 1818’, in The Edinburgh Review: Or Critical Journal: For Jan. 1820 … May 1820 (Edinburgh and London: Archibald Constable & Co. and Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, 1820), Vol. 33, pp. 77–8.

246 Riding, Mid-Georgian Britain 1740–69, p. 45.

247 ‘Letter from Lady Jane Coke to Mary Eyre, 2 January 1750’, in A. Rathbone (ed.), Letters from Lady Jane Coke to Her Friend Mrs. Eyre at Derby 1747–1758 (London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1899), p. 43. Quoted in Tague, Women of Quality, p. 143.

248 Ibid., p. 34. Whilst in Paris, the English politician, art historian and man of letters Horace Walpole wrote of Madame Mirepoix: ‘Madame de Mirepoix … has read, but seldom shows it, and has perfect taste. Her manner is cold, but very civil; … Nobody in France knows the world better, and nobody is personally so well with the King. She is false, artful, and insinuating beyond measure when it is her interest, but indolent and a coward. She never had any passion but gaming, and always loses. For ever paying court, the sole produce of a life of art is to get money from the King to carry on a course of paying debts or contracting new ones, which she discharges as fast as she is able.’ C. D. Yonge (ed.), Letters of Horace Walpole Volume II (London: T. Fischer Unwin, 1890), Letter 91.

249 A. de Botton, Status Anxiety (Camberwell, Vic.: Penguin Books, 2005), p. 35.

250 J. Bulwer, Anthropometamorphosis: Man Transform’d, or the Artificial Changeling. Historically Presented, in the Mad and Cruel Gallantry, Foolish Bravery, Ridiculous Beauty, Filthy Fineness, and Loathesome Loveliness of Most Nations, Fashioning & Altering their Bodies from the Mould Intended by Nature. With a Vindication of the Regular Beauty and Honesty of Nature, and an Appendix of the Pedigree of the English Gallant (London: J. Hardesty, 1653). Quoted in J. S. Cox, Hair and Beauty Secrets of the 17th Century with a 17th C. Conversation between a Periwig-Maker and a Gentleman Buying a Periwig (Guernsey: Toucan Press, 1971), p. 2.

251 ‘Mode of Occupation, Section 5: Leases’ in Worgan, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Cornwall Drawn Up and Published by Order of the Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement, Chapter 4.

252 See Menneer, ‘George Worgan’, p. 13.

253 Worgan, Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon by George B. Worgan, p. xi.

254 S. Urban, ‘Obituary’, in The Gentleman’s Magazine (London: John Bower Nicols & Son, 1845), (NS), Vol. 23 (March), p. 316.

255 See ‘George Worgan, the Published Author’, above.

256 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard, p. 99.

257 Cornwall Council, ‘Copy of Release, Liskeard, 21 June 1822’, in X793 Pethybridge Collection, Ref. no. X793/205 (Truro: Cornwall Council, 1822).

258 Pigot, ‘Liskeard, Cornwall’, p. 149.

259 Worgan lived in one of the houses that spread along West Street as far as the present Westbourne car park.

260 See Worgan, Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon by George B. Worgan, p. xii.

261 Vickery, The Gentleman’s Daughter, p. 125.

262 Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity, p. 452.

263 On 15 November 1993, Wadeland House was listed as a Grade II English Heritage Building (ID 382226).

264 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 4; and Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity, p. 382.

265 ‘Ladye Park, Cornwall, was in Medieval times a great place of Christian Pilgrimage. The shrine and chapel of Our Ladye of the Park was dissolved at the reformation.’ ‘Ladye Park or Our Lady in the Park Liskeard—Cornwall’, (2001, last updated 2 May 2009).

266 Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 4; and Allen, The History of the Borough of Liskeard and its Vicinity, p. 382.

267 Gillard, Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey, p. 20.

268 See Deacon, Liskeard & Its People in the 19th Century, p. 3.

269 Ibid., p. 4.

270 Pocock, ‘History Abounds in Society’s New Home’, p. 27.

271 See ‘Whispers and Rumours: Who Was Charles Parsons Worgan?’, in Chapter 12, this volume.

272 The following description of the house and service cottage is based on (and includes quotations taken from) ‘Listing Text’, in British Listed Buildings, History in Structure: Daniel’s Cottage, Attached Walls and Earth Closet, Liskeard (n.d.).

273 See L. James, The Middle Class: A History (London: Little, Brown, 2006), p. 174.

274 ‘Images of England, Number 382226’, in English Heritage National Monuments Record (n.d.).

275 See ‘George Worgan, the Inventor’, above.


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