Two sisters and a Catholic priest
Posted by Vic on 18/9/2019, 9:55 pm
The Cowling sisters, Jane (b 1808) and Joanna (b 1822), grew up in West Blackdown on the Brentor/ Mary Tavy boundary. |
In 1828, as Ann Jane Couling, Jane married John Bastian in Falmouth. I have settlement examination, removal order, marriage certificates and a will to confirm her identity. In 1830 a son was born and in 1832 her husband died. In 1835 she married George Pashbee in Falmouth.
In 1841 Jane was living alone in Falmouth. Her husband was at sea and her son was with his grandmother. Joanna, aged 17, was living as a servant in the house of Rev Robert Pratt, R C priest, in Falmouth. Thereafter Joanna returned to Plymouth and her own colourful life.
George Pashbee died in New Zealand in 1850 and in 1851 Jane Pashbee, widow, was a servant in the household of Rev Robert Platt, living in Bridgetown, Totnes. Jane married George Gill in 1852 in Totnes.
In 1861 Jane Gill was again recorded as Robert Platt's servant, living in Cannington, Somerset. They were still together in 1871 but had then moved to Fairford, Gloucestershire. George Gill, who had described himself as widowed in 1871, died in 1876, as did Robert Platt. He was then living in near Stroud, Glos. By 1881 Jane had moved back to Cannington and her death was registered in Taunton in 1889.
Robert Platt was born in Oxford 1795. He entered into the priesthood in 1824 and was appointed to the Axminster Mission. He moved to Newquay in 1826 and year later transferred to Falmouth. He was in Swansea between 1831-33 before returning Falmouth. In 1843 he was removed from Falmouth and ordered to retire. After some temporary work in Dorset, he was appointed to Follaton, Totnes, in 1845.
My question is this: where, when and in what circumstances did the sisters, and particularly Jane, develop the connection to Robert Platt. I firmly believe they came from a committed non-conformist family (Bible Christian/Methodist). What motivated them move over 70 miles to Falmouth?
I would be surprised, and delighted, if there is any relevant documentary evidence to provide an answer, but I would be quite happy to hear anyone speculative or fanciful answers.