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Polperro Family History

The LIBBY family of Polperro

There are Libbys recorded in Polperro as early as the 16th century, but other branches settled in the area much later including one descended from Jeremiah Libby whose family arrived there from Lanreath at the beginning of the 19th century.

Jeremiah, a farm labourer, married a local girl, Elizabeth Hodge at Lansallos church in 1821 and the couple had at least ten children, many of whom married into local families and gave rise to the large number of Libby descendants still living in Polperro today.

Jane Ann Libby photographed in the 1860s

One of Jeremiah's many grandchildren was Jane Ann Libby. Born in 1855, she became a favourite subject of Lewis Harding, a local Polperro photographer who pioneered the art of collodion wet plate photography in Cornwall in the 19th century. As a child she appears in many of his surviving photographs such as the one shown on this page. In 1876 she married John Puckey and produced more than a dozen children herself.

The menfolk in another branch of the Libby family descended from Henry Libby, born in 1773, were all seafarers, at first fishermen (and occasionally, perhaps, smuggling contraband ashore) while later generations helped to crew the Revenue cutters that patrolled the Channel coast to prevent smuggling, and some even joined the newly-formed coastguard service.

Yet another branch of Libbys who lived at Crumplehorn, then a small hamlet inland from Polperro itself, arrived from neighbouring parishes via Pelynt, some becoming farmers, others blacksmiths.

In later years, members of the Polperro Libby families have emigrated as far afield as South Africa and the USA.

 Further details of the Libby family of Polperro can be obtained from Jeremy Rowett Johns:

E-mail: jeremy.johns@polperro.org

Further information on the family would also be welcomed.

Jeremy Rowett Johns, Polperro Heritage Museum © 2000

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