How to Sell you Wife in Callington and the end of the mining boom

By: Callington Heritage Centre
Added: 03 October 2014

From Life in Cornwall in the Mid-nineteenth Century, extracts from The West Briton newspaper compiled by R M Barton we find this entry:-

16th January 1846. "On Wednesday se'nnight, about nine o'clock in the evening, a man sold his wife in the open market at Callington for the sum of 2s. 6d. (12.5p). We do not learn that either the authorites or the public interfered to prevent so disgraceful a scene".

There is no further information about this incident but by 17th May 1867 the mining boom had come and  gone and the following is found in Life in Cornwall in the Late Nineteenth Centurey, compiled as the previous item, by R M Barton. 

17th May 1867. "During the last twelve months, Cornish miners to the number of 7,380 have left the county, 1,155 of whom have settled in America, 670 in Australia and New Zealand, 450 in California, while the iron mines of Scotland and the coal and iron mines of the North of England have absorbed 1,090; 1,390 have left the district of Redruth and Camborne, 880 the districts of Gwennap, Stithians, Illogan and Phillack; 1,590 the district of Lelant and St Just; 80 the district of Wendron and Stithney; 205 the district of St Agnes and Perran; 220 the district of St Austell; and 1,200 the districts of Liskeard and Callington. The returns from other districts are not so correctly ascertained, but must fall little short of 2,000".

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