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Polperro Family History

The LANGMAID family of Polperro

Langmaids are recorded in both Talland and Lansallos parishes as well as the neighbouring parish of Pelynt as far back as the 17th century. One of the oldest branches of this old Polperro family appears to have settled in the Lansallos hamlet of Trenewan.

During the 18th century, several Langmaids were involved in the smuggling trade that flourished at Polperro. One, John Langmaid, stood trial at the Old Bailey in 1795 for assaulting a Customs Officer and only escaped execution when Zephaniah Job won a reprieve on condition that he served in the Navy.

More recent members of the Polperro Langmaids were mostly descended from Samuel Langmaid who married Catherine Rowe in 1800. Many of their sons and grandsons became fishermen, including Joseph (1836-1911) and his cousin William (1836-1901).

Other Langmaid men became Customs officers to help prevent the very smuggling trade that earlier generations of the family had actively engaged in. Reginald Langmaid (1800-1859), whose father John had been convicted of assault in in 1795, joined the service in 1820 and eventually became a Chief Boatman near Plymouth. His son, Thomas Stap Langmaid, followed his father's example and joined the crew of the Revenue cruiser Skylark in 1840, later joining the Royal Navy.


Joseph Langmaid (1836-1911) photographed in the 1860s

Four members of the Langmaid family were among those fishermen photographed by Lewis Harding, a local Polperro photographer who pioneered the art of collodion wet plate photography in Cornwall in the 19th century. His surviving photographs include the portrait of Joseph Langmaid (left). Their portraits can be seen today in the Polperro Heritage Museum.

See also Lewis Harding - Cornwall's Pioneer Photographer - click here.

 Further details of the Langmaid 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 © 2001

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