Jeremy Howe, in his article “The Cornish Duncalfs” [Dossier Vol. 3 No. 6 page 81] suggested a possible connection between the Cornwall and Cheshire Duncalfs. The question how and why a Thomas Duncalf may have travelled from Cheshire to Cornwall may only be guessed at. The children of Thomas and Margaret nee Coffin, formerly Tremayne, are also shown in the Dossier mentioned above. These children were born at St Neots, and nothing more is heard of them, nor of any other Duncalfs at St Neots. Meanwhile, it is known that another family of Duncalfs appeared in Gunwalloe, some distance from St Neots. Any connection between these two groups of Duncalfs was unknown. [See end of this article]
I regularly check the A2A website mentioned above, and among the new references recently found were several regarding land in Cornwall. The extracts are long, and cannot be fully set down here, but several useful names are mentioned. The Manor of Winnington lay within Gunwalloe, and on the 20th March 1601 Thomas Duncalfe junior, John Duncalfe and William Duncalfe son of Thomas Duncalfe senior were admitted to a cottage in Chynale (Chinalls in Gunwalloe) formerly held by John Bonythan esq. “lately deceased” for their three lives. The annual rent was 6d, the fine 20 shillings. Thomas Duncalfe junior made fealty, and admission was by copy of court roll.
In a document of 20 October 1602 we learn that John Arundell of Lanherne Esq. was Lord of the Manor of Winnington, and on that day a licence was given to Thomas James alias Chepye of Gunwalloe to let to Thomas Duncalf, of Gunwalloe, Gent one meadow in Gunwalloe, part of Chepe in Gunwalloe, three acres adjoining the village of Toll in Gunwalloe for seven years or the life of Thomas James.
Between 22 February 1691/2 and 3 January 1716/17 there are several leases that mention Duncalfs. The first (1691/2) mentions a house called Choycastle, adjoining the church (which is on Gunwalloe beach) “sometime held by Henry Duncalf (deceased)”. The same is also mentioned in 1723, each time with a list of previous holders of the same house always going back to Henry. The 1716/17 lease mentions “several lands and tenements called Chinalls, and also Capson House, now in the tenure of Richard Greeby of Gunwalloe, Gentleman and Elizabeth Duncalf of Gunwalloe, widow”. Richard Greeby married Margaret Duncalf, daughter of Henry Duncalf and Willmot Tonkin in 1676 at Gunwalloe. Henry’s father is unknown, but we know from a will that his mother’s name was Ann, and that his parents would have been born before 1590.
Thomas Duncalf and Margaret nee Coffin/Tremayne had six sons, Radagon, Thomas, John, Phillip, William and Charles born between 1575 and 1585. Could Thomas the father be the Thomas senior who appears in the lease of 1601 with his sons Thomas, John and William (who appear in the order of their birth in the lease)? And was one of the three sons the father of the Henry (born about 1610) mentioned in the later leases?
It is by using documents such as these that the early families may be unravelled. More and more early sources are being made available through websites like A2A and TNA. It is to be hoped that more pieces of the jigsaw will gradually be found and the many mysteries surrounding these early families will finally be solved.
[End note] After I wrote this I discovered on the Cornwall OPC site the burials for two of the children baptised at St Neots. Prudence Duncalfe daughter of Thomas was buried 15 September 1576 and Charles Duncalfe son of Thomas was buried 12 March 1585. There were no burials for the other sons or for the parents. Either the burial records are not all extant or the family moved elsewhere - to Gunwalloe??