Polperro Family History
The MARK family of Polperro
The Mark family of Polperro appears in the parish registers as early as 1657. One branch of the family adopted the spelling Marks, but by far the most notorious member of this clan is Robert Mark the smuggler who met an untimely death in 1802 at the age of 40.
Robert was the son of Robert and Susanna Mark but in later life was one of the crew of the Lottery, a Polperro boat was involved in an episode off Cawsand in December 1798 in which a Customs official was killed. The Lottery was eventually seized by the Revenue cutter Hind and Robert, along with the rest of the crew, was tried and sentenced to two year hard labour for his part in the incident.
Robert evidently succeeded in escaping from the prison hulk on the Thames where he was serving his sentence for only a matter of months later he was aboard another smuggling lugger which was also pursued and captured by the Hind. On this occasion however, Robert was struck by a shot from the Revenue vessel and killed outright.
body was brought ashore and buried at Talland church where the inscription
on the headstone can be seen today:
Robert Mark's tombstone at Talland
Robert Mark's cutlass, inscribed R.Mark, Polperro 1789, was recently
discovered in the Royal Armouries at Leeds and has been returned to
Polperro where it is now on display at the Heritage Museum.
Further information on the family would also be welcomed.
Jeremy Rowett Johns, Polperro Heritage Museum © 2001