My Trip to Cornwall

As a young girl, I loved reading classics by Dickens and Bronte, and after reading Wuthering Heights, I would often exclaim to my bff or my husband, “Take me to the moors, Heathcliff!” In 2009, my husband took me to the moors! We spent four glorious days in Cornwall so I could visit my family origins.

I have always had a longing to visit England. I was a true Anglophile, but had no clue until visiting a cemetery in Ontario that I was connected through my ancestors to Cornwall. While visiting the St. Thomas Cemetery, in Elgin County, I noticed the “Billing” [without the “s”] surname on some of the older gravestones. Once I returned home, I found some birth and death records that connected me to the couple: Edward and Elinor Billing, my great-great-grandparents. Edward was from St. Breward, Cornwall. 

We started our adventure with an overnight stay in London, and then drove to St. Breward where we stayed at a beautiful, quaint cottage at Hellagenna Farms, and it was perfect!

Here are some photos from day 1.

St. Breward, Cornwall – Hellagenna Farms

These photos are from day 2, when I visited the St. Breward Church. I took photos of the surroundings and some of the tombstones. It was amazing to touch the stone on the church and know that it had existed through centuries and that my ancestors had walked the same path. I thought of all the baptisms, marriages, and burials that had taken place there.

St. Breward Church, Cornwall

On day 3, we explored St. Breward, and then visited the Old Inn, which was owned by my family in the 1700s.

The Old Inn at St. Breward

I went back to the cemetery and took a photo of every tombstone, in hopes of transcribing them all some day. Of course, that day has not happened yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will accomplish the task now that I am retired.

St. Breward Church Tombstones

On day 3, we also explored Tintagel by the coast.

Tintagel, Cornwall, England

On day 4, just before leaving, we had time to visit the area where my Billings lived at Penquite Farms. I actually met the current owner and she introduced me to a local down the lane who knew a lot about the history of the area. We spent a wonderful couple of hours chatting. I sure wish I had met them on day one!

Here is the family as listed in the 1841 census – St. John and Catherine Billing are my ggg-grandparents, and Edward Billing, 18 is my gg-grandfather.

Cornwall Online Census Project—1841, Transcript of Piece HO107/152 (Part 3), Enumeration District 4, Civil Parish of Blisland


Higher Penquite