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The Ship Inn St Columb 1742 to 1772

Ship Inn (1742? - 1775?)[edit]

The Ship Inn, which in the 17th and 18th centuries probably occupied part of the Broad street site where Barclays Bank now stands.

  • 1749 - 1772 Landlady was Mrs. Catherine Johnston (died 1772).
  • 1772 -Landlord George Colwell (who later went to Red Lion from 1781 - 1789)


  • Renamed The White Horse.

The White Horse (1804 - 1817)[edit]

  • 1804; Coode and French: Manor of St Columb. The White Horse formally The Ship - William Tom - (Landlord)[1]
  • 1814; mentioned in sessions case.[2]
  • 1817; Married- Mr P. Cornish of White Horse[3]
  • 1816; Died - Richard Traher (53) late of the White Horse.[4]
  • 1818; Survey at the White Horse, house of William Tom.[5]

Tom Family[edit]

The landlord one William Tom begat a son John Nicholls Tom, who became one of the most notorious impostors of the century. Born on November 10 1799 Mad Tom as he was called, rebelled against his fathers remarriage after the death of his mother (nee Charity nee Bray) in the County lunatic asylum. And embarked on a career of impersonation. He met his death, shot by the Army as an insurrectionist, while leading a group of workers at Boughton near Sittingbourne in Kent on May 31 1838.[6]


The story of John Nichols Tom - (from book series The King's England - Cornwall by Arthur Mee)

Here at St Columb was born one of the astounding characters of last century, John Nichols Tom, whose imposture was attended by terrible consequences. Son of an innkeeper farmer who gave him a good education and put him into a lawyer's once, he married a wealthy wife, leaving her and a prosperous business three years later, to appear in Canterbury in 1832, dressed sometimes as an Italian, sometimes as an Oriental, and calling himself Sir William Courtenay, heir to the Devon earldom.

He assumed a succession of titles ; he was a Rothschild, a Kentish chieftain, and King of Jerusalem in turn; and he so impressed the neighbourhood that he was twice supported when standing for Parliament. When he appeared at Rochester Assizes, however, wearing a gold chain round his neck, and swore that men arrested for smuggling were innocent, he was sent to Barming Heath Asylum.

Security having been given for his good behaviour, he was released after four years, and settled near Boughton, where he gained an astonishing ascendancy over farmers and labourers, declaring himself able to grant the poor estates and good living, to abolish oppressive laws, and to lead his friends to power. He marched with 100 followers, declared himself the Messiah, professed to work miracles, and announced that he and his disciples were invincible and could never die. Riding a white horse, he led the way through the countryside, enticing labourers from their work, an act which brought the police on him. He shot one constable as well as the parson of Hernehill, then retreated with his force to Bossenden Wood in readiness for soldiers summoned from Canterbury.

As they approached, Tom left his hiding-place, shouting loudly to hearten his companions. Meeting Lieutenant Bennett at the head of the military he shot him, and was himself instantly shot dead by a soldier. A charge followed, in which eleven rioters were killed.

Of those captured some were transported and some imprisoned. Tom was buried at Hernehill, where his grave was guarded so that his friends should not be able to announce that he had risen again on the third day.[7]

Half Moon (1820 - 1824)[edit]

  • 1820 - Survey [8]
  • 1820 - Mr. J. Whitefield is patron[9]
  • June 29 1822 - Burned down daughter of Landlord (Mr Laurance) and maid killed, whole town endangered.[10]
  • 1824 - St Columb Great Cattle fair - Half Moon suppling set meal for farmers.[11]

Cornish Miners bank[edit]

Built in 1873 reputed to be the design of Sylvanus Trevail. It has polychrome brickwork, in a free Jacobethan style, nowdays it is Barclays Bank on Fore Street,

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cornwall Records Office papers
  2. ^ Cornwall Gazette, April 2 1814
  3. ^ The West Briton April 18th 1817
  4. ^ Cornwall Gazette, February 26
  5. ^ The West Briton, October 9th 1818
  6. ^ The book of St Columb and St Mawgan by Ivan Rabey (1979) page- 78
  7. ^ The King's England - Cornwall by Arthur Mee
  8. ^ Gazzette
  9. ^ West Briton
  10. ^ Gazzette
  11. ^ West Briton