Pengelly (Pengilly) Family Information

Frederick (Fred) William Pengelly was born in the parish of Calstock, East Cornwall in early 1893 whilst his father was working in the area as a mining engineer.

Fred’s father, Frederick William Cardell Pengilly (sic) was born in 1861 in the village of Chacewater close to the intensive mining district of Gwennap near Redruth, Cornwall. He was the son of Charles Pengilly an arsenic manufacturer, arsenic being mined on a large scale in Cornwall at that time.

The 1891 census shows Fred’s father living and working at Gwennap. Described in the census as an assayer, his job would have involved the checking of the quality of metal, e.g. tin, copper or arsenic contained in the mined ore. Towards the end of that year he married at Gwennap to Elizabeth Jane (maiden surname not known).

Shortly following their marriage the couple moved to East Cornwall and settled at Calstock. It was here that their son, Frederick William Pengelly was born in early 1893.

Within a fairly short time the family left Calstock and returned westward to St Day, a village close by the mining district of Gwennap. It was here in the summer of 1899 that their second child, a daughter, Elizabeth Myra Pengelly was born.

The March 1901 census for their home at Buckingham Place has Frederick Pengilly (40), Elizabeth (32), Fred (8) and Elizabeth (1). Within 12 months Frederick Pengilly had died, he was buried in the St Day churchyard in February 1902.

It was commonplace for children as young as 9 or 10 to be employed at the mines so it can be assumed that Fred started work at about the time of his father’s death.

What happened immediately following his father’s death has not been established but it is known that by 1911/12 he had returned to the Calstock district of East Cornwall and was living in the small hamlet of Chilsworthy. It was whilst working in the mines there that he made the acquaintance of William Jeffery Ware of nearby Gunnislake who was to be his travelling companion on Titanic.

On 18 April 1912 the Western Morning News newspaper reported that Fred’s mother was living in Gunnislake and that she had remarried to a Mr G Reynolds who was away working in America. (This second marriage has yet to be substantiated). It is probable he was a miner and that Fred’s intention in travelling to America was to have met up with him there.

In early April 1912 Fred Pengelly and William Ware booked their Atlantic crossing with local White Star agent, Jeremiah Yeolton of Newbridge Hill, Gunnislake. They were due to travel on another steamer but as a result of the coal strikes had their passage transferred to Titanic. Their ultimate destination was to have been the copper mines of Butte, Montana.

They boarded at Southampton and travelled second class, their tickets each costing £10 10s. Neither survived the sinking and their bodies were not amongst those later recovered from the sea. Fred was barely 19 years old.

There is no mention of Fred in the Mansion House Relief Fund records which indicates that his mother neither claimed, nor automatically received any monetary assistance from the fund.

At some date following 1912 Fred’s mother left Greenhill, Gunnislake and settled at Redruth where she died aged 83 in 1953. She was buried with her husband at St Day churchyard where a gravestone marks their grave. There is apparently no memorial on it to their son Fred.

The following is taken from the Probate Index (note spelling of surnames)

PENGILLY Frederick William Cardell of Buckingham-place St Day Gwennap Cornwall mining-engineer died 1 February 1902 Probate Bodmin 1 March to Elizabeth Jane Pengilly widow. Effects £670

PENGILLY Elizabeth Jane of Somerleigh Gew-terrace East End Redruth Cornwall widow died 17 April 1953 Probate Bodmin 21 May to Elizabeth Myra Williams (married woman). Effects £510 9s 10d

Related Biographies:

Frederick William Pengelly


Steve Coombes

Comment and discuss

  1. Ronald Francis said:

    My last name is Francis. I recently learned some of my family history. I am so interested in finding all I can. My 8X's great grandpa was John Francis who was a miner from Gwennap in Cornwall. Thanks.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) Pengelly (Pengilly) Family Information ( ref: #2853, published 9 May 2004, generated 17th January 2021 09:51:25 PM); URL :