The Hole Story: The History of a Cornish House (Download)

In 2001 Richard Crow put together a history of the farm he had purchased in St. Neot, Cornwall. He began by researching who the previous owners of the property had been and then went on to research the genealogy for the Rundles (my ancestors) since they had owned the property for such a long time in the 1700’s and in to the 1800’s.

Recently Mr. Crow had an expressed an interest in making this great resource available to more people and I told him that I would be happy to help. I’ve scanned his original copy and converted it to a pdf file. I’ve uploaded the pdf to a filesharing site so that it is available for download by anyone interested. Click on the “Cover Image” below to download a copy:

Hole Story

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This book was a great help to me in researching my Rundle family. There were a few small errors, but for the most part Mr. Crow did a wonderful job with his genealogical research. The book includes copies of wills, property descriptions, family trees and many photos!

If you find this book interesting or helpful, please feel free to contact me and I’ll pass on your comments to Mr. Crow! Enjoy
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The Rundles and Hole Farm

*The following is an interpretation of Richard’s Crow’s research into the history of Hole Farm and in turn, the history of the Rundle family. I have picked out the pertinent parts referring specifically to the Rundles and have made comments where applicable. The basic content is that of Mr. Crow’s.*
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History of the Rundles at Hole Farm

Hole Farm
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The present owner of Hole Farm, Richard Crow, did extensive research into the history of Hole Farm. He was nice enough to share that report with me. The report contains info on the property from long before the Rundles arrived and extends past the time of their stewardship. In this paper I am extracting only the info pertinent to the time that the Rundle family lived at Hole Farm. All information comes directly from Mr. Crow’s research.

            The first of the Rundle family to inhabit Hole Farm seem to arrive around 1598 and remained until 1856. One of the first signs that the Rundles had arrived in the area is the listings of the marriage of William Hancock and Jone Rundle in the Parish Registers in 1599 and the marriage of James Rundle and Isabel/Elizabeth Bawden in 1603. Mr. Crow was able to establish that James was the son of Richard and Alice Rundle of Maker and Antony. James and his sister are mentioned in Alice’s will in 1609. Alice’s will lists James as having two children, which he did in 1609. The will also seems to make it clear that the family was not happy about Jone’s marriage to William Hancock.. Jone was left money that was controlled by her brothers Thomas and James. Alice mentions that as far as the money is concerned “..her husband shall have nothing to do therein but as the discretion of the executor shall think fit.” Jone even challenged the will in 1611 saying that she hadn’t received her fair share, but James maintained that he had fulfilled his requirements. Jone seems to have lost her case.

            Hole FarmWhen James and Jone and her husband came to Hole, they set up a very successul tannery. The Rundles of Antony were also in the tanning business, adding more proof of the connection between these families.

            Around the time that the Rundles moved in, there was a movement occuring called the “Great Rebuild”. Prosperous farmers were no longer content to live in the communal style in large one room homes. They were either completely demolishing old homes and rebuilding, or they were adding on. James seems to have decided to add on instead of demolish the original “long house” at Hole. He added on to the west side a massive hearth and chimney which remains today. South of that he built a lean-to section or linhay to accomodate a dairy and scullery in a cool place. On the first floor were the innovative (at that time) bedrooms. At the back of the house was a well house, which also remains today.

            While James was expanding the house and establishing the tannery, James also became churchwarden in 1611. During this time James seems to have been critical in the plans to cast a new bell for the church tower. The churchwarden’s books outline every detail of this project.

            Hole Farm LocationBy 1617, William and Jone Hancock had a family of three surviving children and James and Elizabeth Rundle had four. This was the beginnings of the next seven generations to live at Hole and vicinity. William Hancock died in 1629, and the inventory of his goods clearly shows that he was a woodsman. James died in 1637 and his inventory of goods lists all of the equipment necessary to run a tannery.

            Of James and Elizabeth’s five children baptized at St. Neot, the daughters Agnes and Jone married and the son James died in 1620, leaving the oldest and youngest children, John and Ellis (Elias) to inherit the estate. John was born in 1605 and was a tanner. He married Priscilla Hoskin in 1633. They had a son John born in 1634, and two daughters Joane b. 1637 and Winifred b. 1639. While John Jr. lived until 1697, both of the girls died young. John Sr.’s wife, Priscilla also died young in 1642. John Jr. married Loveday Libbye, daughter of Nicholas Libbye of Lanlivery, on the 30th of June 1664. Two months prior to this wedding, John Sr., with backing from the Libbye family, aquired the lease of Tredinnick Farm, some distance west of Hole. The understanding was that the lease would turn over to John Jr. upon his father’s death. Loveday died only seven years later in 1671, leaving John Jr. with three infants. Eighteen months later John Jr. married Epiphany Wills and started another family immediately.

            At some time during this period, John Sr. seems to have moved to Tredinnick, since he was listed as “of Tredinnick” at the time of his death in 1680. At about the same time, John Jr. had moved to Hole with his second family. The first family stayed at Tredinnick and remained there until 1921.

            We are not sure how the farms were being worked during this time. It is possible that both John Sr. And John Jr. were keeping both the farm and tannery running. John Sr. other son, Elias, may have been running Hole at this time. It seems that he was in the parish until 1694 when his will was dated, however he was in Cardinham at the time of his death in 1699. When John Jr. died in 1697 he was “of Hole”. John Jr.’s will is proof of how successful the family had become over the time of their occupancy at Hole. It also mentions the acquisition of Pengelly, which adjoins Hole and Tredinnick. Pengelly was a much larger land area and was a manor of great antiquity, presumably once part of the Manor of Fawintone. Pengelly remained a Rundle tenancy until at least the 1820’s.

            With the death of John Sr there was some complicating factors concerning the inheritance of Hole Farm. John Sr’s son, John, by his first wife had pre-deceased him in 1693. This “John in the middle”’s son’s were only 6& 7 and therefore determined to be too young to inherit the responsibility of Hole Farm. Instead, Jonathan, the son of John Sr and his second wife, Epiphany, was given the inheritance of the whole of Hole Farm and Pengelly. As a condition of the will, Jonathan’s brother, Benjamin, was asked to give up his rights to Pengelly. He did this and moved to Liskeard. The young John III was to inherit Tredinnick from his father. His brother, Charles died in 1711.

            In 1707, Jonathan of Hole, married Elizabeth Lyne of St. Cleer. She died in either 1722 or 1731 without bearing any children. In 1733, Jonathan married, at the age of fifty-eight, Jane Rowe aged only twenty-two. During this time, Jonathan added to the family holdings. He took the lease on neighboring Ley. Also, in 1726, Jonathan took the first steps towards aquiring the full ownership rather than leasehold of Hole.

            Jonathan was able to approach (or he was approached by) Charles Grylls about purchasing the half share of Hole that Mr. Grylls had inherited. On 15th March 1726 a formal agreement was signed conveying the half share of Hole for 300 pounds and three pieces of Gold commonly called “Broad pieces of Gold”. Details in the deed describe Jonathan as a tanner. One of the drawbacks of this deed was that the hold was divided in half North and South. However, this was not a line drawn merely through fields..the barn had been divided in half as had the house. Jonathan found himself in the predicament of living in a house which he owned the Northern half, but leased the southern half from three landlords.

            After this purchase, Jonathan proceeded to make improvements to Hole. He built a larger barn with a large hearth. He also built a free standing cottage to the north of the main house, which was joined with the main house in later years. At this same time, Jonathan was running Pengelly and beginning the acquisition process of nearby Tupton and Ley. Jonathan and his wife, Jane had two children. Elizabeth was born in 1737 and died young. John was born in 1736 and went on to inherit Hole from his father in 1740.

            Jonathan had become quite wealthy and left large sums to his widowed half sisterPriscilla Hancock. He is listed as “yeoman” in administration documents, but that was crossed out and “tanner” written in.

            John married Eleanor White, daughter of John White, the Vicar of Pillaton. A section of this prosperous family had come to St. Neot to settle at Woodland. In 1793’s “Survey of St. Neot” it appears that the Rundle family owned or leased properties that totalled nineteen, with total acreage of five hundred and thirty. In addition, they ahd interests in nine separate cottages. The farms were Coomhouse, Hambly’s Hill, Hobbs, Jenkins Tenement, Lakesyeat, Ley, Higher Lestow, Lower Lestow, East Lewarne, Pengelly, Higher Polscopp, Lower Polscopp, North Polmenna, South Polmenna, Trebinnick, Tredinnick, Trewindle, Tupton and Hole. This meant that the family had virtually consolidated their hold on the south-west part of the Parish of St. Neot. In 1803, John was finally able to aquire one third of the other half of Hole by an exchange of land. This third had actually been owned by three people: Christopher Sloggett, Mary White, widow, and Thomas Pomery, all of whom were related to each other and to John Rundle through the White family.

            John, now described as a “Gentleman”, died in 1806 without leaving a will. Of his family, John Jr had taken over Hole, Hugh Brice was at Pengelly and Elizabeth and Mary Ann were married to farmers, while Jeremiah Brice, Brice and Eleanor moved to Fowey to take a lease of Lankelly Farm.

            At this same time, the other branch of the family continued at Tredinnick. Like the relatives at Hole, this branch added four generations of Johns, followed by a Jonathan followed by another John. We have no idea how “close” these two Rundle families were in actuality.

            Back at Hole, John Jr. Born in 1762 having probably trained in Tintinhull, Somerset, an area well known for glove making and other leather work, married Mary of Tintinhull. They had one child, John 3rd, born 1781. John Jr. was listed in a deed dated 1808 as being “of Tintinhull”. This deed conveyed another third of that last moiety half of Hole. At this time John seems to have purchased the complete ‘third of a moiety” of the Manor of Trenay and put his lawyer in as a nominal tenant of Hole and then sued him for possession. It is not clear as to why such a complicated procedure was necessary.

            Finally in 1809 the third and final part of the moiety was acquired from Messrs. Rickard and their trustee. At last the Rundle had total possession of Hole with its fifty two acres and thriving tannery having lived there for two hundred and twenty years.

            John Jr. died in 1811 and his son John 3rd continued at Hole until 1832, when he moved, like his father to Tintinhull. At this time Hole was let to Thomas Lobb for fourteen years. Thomas was probably a relation through the White family.

            In 1836, John, still the owner of Hole, in an attempt to raise capital from under the ground, made Isaac Parkin, carrier, a sett or agreement for the latter to “search for metals and minerals on Hole, Tupton and Ley”. This “sett” gave Parkin and his fellow adventurers the right but also the obligation to “dig work search for and raise tin and tin ore, copper and copper ore, lead and lead ore, and all other metals and minerals whatsoever anywhere except in the gardens, orchards and plantations.” They were to bring the metals ” to the grass and there to stamp pick and dress and make merchantable and fit for sale.” They could dig work and make such shafts adits, pits, drifts, leats and watercourses as they thought necessary. John Rundle’s benefit from this was to be a twelfth part of all minerals raised, to be weighed in his or his agent’s presence.

            This agreement resulted in a real mining enterprise. There is still physical evidence of the mining operations on the property. In 1837 there was an advertisement for “Six-Eighths of Wheal Leather Tin & Copper Mine” in St. Neot.

            There is also evidence of mining at Pengelly. The owners were Francis Gregor and his wife. Joseph Austen and James Sibley were authorized to conduct the mining explorations. At the time that this operation began, Hugh Brice Rundle was probably still a tenant at Pengelly.

Hugh’s son, John, age 12, probably met his future wife, Margaret Sibley, while her father was working the mines at Pengelly.

            In the 1841 Census Thomas and Elizabeth Lobb are listed as occupants of Hole. John Rundle, owner of Lower Tredinnick, was tenant of East Lewarne and Hugh Brice Rundle Jr. Was at Ley with his family.

            An 1842 map shows that of the properties owned or leased by the Rundles in 1793, only Hole, Tupton, Ley, Trebinnick, Higher and Lower Hobbs and Trewindle remained to John Rundle of Hole. And John Rundle of the “other section” of the family retained only Lower Tredinnick. Around this time, John seems to have lost interest in Hole and in 1844 he took out a mortgage to raise cash. In the census of 1851, Thomas Lobb’s tenancy having expired, the tenant was John Crapp with his brother Thomas and sister Charlotte. They were probably there from 1845 to 1852.

            In 1856 John Rundle sold Hole for 2575 pounds to Richard Foster of Lanwithan, St. Winnow. It is probable that the other St. Neot properties were sold at the same time. John 3rd died in Tintinhull in 1861.

            The story continues with research into where all of the Rundles went following their tenure at Hole and surrounding area. According to Mr. Crow there is not a single Rundle in the parish now and has not been for some time. In the census of 1841 there were twenty two Rundles still in the parish, all descended from the original James of Hole.

Where Did all of the Rundles go?

            As mentioned above, Mr. Crow says that there are no Rundles left in St. Neot. This lead Mr. Crow to research where they may have gone. His research was going parallel with my own research. Most of what Mr. Crow found out is accurate. I have only found a few small facts that needed to be corrected. I have also been able to find more information on some of the branches of the family that Mr. Crow mentions.

            Basically, we know that there was a division of the family in the seventeenth century into those based at Hole and those based at Tredinnick. In the census of 1841, nine years after John Rundle of Hole (1781-1861) finally moved to Tintinhull, Somerset, there were twenty-two Rundles still in the parish, all descended from the original James Rundle of Hole.

            Mr. Crow came in contact with a Davey family researcher, Myra Davey of Canada, who had done extensive research on the Davey family of St. Neot and it’s Rundle connections. From Myra Davey, it was learned that Brice Rundle Davey, the son of Mary Ann Rundle (the youngest child of John Rundle of Hole (1736-1806) who married Peter Davey), emigrated to Pennsylvania and there are many descendents of that line in the USA and Canada.

            In 1993, Mr. Crow was contacted by Jill Thomas, a local St. Neot Historian, who related that she had found a book called the “Rundle Book 1796-1974″ which had been left there in 1978 by Donald Worth Rundle of Madera, California. Donald Rundle had researched the family forward from Hugh Brice Rundle ( 1778-1859). Mr. Crow was able to contact the family of Donald Rundle, who had died in 1991. Mr. Crow was able to travel to California to visit with the Rundle family. This California branch of the family is descended from Jonathan and Eleanor Rundle of Pengelly and their sons, William and Joseph, who emigrated to Baltimore, MD.

            Mr. Crow also did some research on Jeremiah Brice Rundle, who emigrated to New South Wales, Austrailia.

            At that time, Mr. Crow had not discovered all of the various descendents still living in England and the US, including my line descended from Nicholas and Agnes Clark Rundle, Nicholas being the son of Hugh Brice and Lydia Cock Rundle. Nicholas and Agnes emigrated to the US c. 1868 settling first in Michigan, then Mt. Hope, NJ and finally Wallingford, CT.

            My family history information posted on this site will hopefully fill in a lot of the blanks left by Mr. Crow’s wonderful research!

~Mary Stanford Pitkin~

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