St. Just in Penwith, as you can see from the map above, is towards the western end of the county of Cornwall, with nearby places including Sennen, Pendeen, Morvah, St. Buryan and Sancreed.
My most recent ancestor from St. Just in Penwith is mum’s birth father, my grandfather, born in the area in 1926 to Robert Maddern and Harriet Elizabeth (Hettie) Thomas, who married in 1913 at the United Methodist Church at Tregerest, Sancreed. Non Conformists seemed to be pretty strong throughout Cornwall.
In the past, the area, and, indeed Cornwall as a whole, was known for fishing, tin and copper mining in particular. With many Cornish families throughout the years moving to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other countries for work.
Robert Maddern appears on the 1911 census aged 19 as a “stamp tin dresser”, his dad, Matthias being a farmer, and married to Eliza Jane Hocking, daughter of Richard Henry Hocking and Amelia Ann Eddy.
On Hettie’s side, her dad, John Thomas, had been a fisherman, born in Sennen in about 1866, married Jane Dungey, daughter of William Henry Allen Dungey and Peggy (or Margaret) Richards on the 3rd May 1892 at St. Just in Penwith.
Sadly, it seems life was too much for John, of Kenidjack, who apparently ended his own life on the 14th July 1925. There is quite a lengthy report of an inquest from the Cornishman newspaper from the time.
Interesting and useful websites related to St. Just in Penwith and the local areas (some relate more widely to Cornwall) include: