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Mostly Coombe in Australia &

Coumbe in North Hill, Cornwall

Family History & Genealogy

Mostly Coombe - Coumbe of North Hill, Cornwall


North Hill village and church of St TorneyResearch into the Coumbe (also Combe and Coombe) family of the parish of North Hill (also known as Northill) in Cornwall England.


Topics on this page (scroll down):

Coombe, Coumbe or Combe Yes!

The research (includes links to further information)

Coumbe Masons

Coumbe Innkeepers

Coumbe Farmers


The Parish


Further details are available on other pages:

Cemetery Headstones

Henry Coumbe, Margery Northey and 3 generations

Trebartha, Latham's book.


Coombe, Coumbe or Combe? Yes!


In the 1841 census most families in the parish had their name spelt Coumbe. But on migration to Australia in 1849, the author's ancestral family adopted the Coombe spelling. Even now in Cornwall, Coombe vastly outnumber Coumbe (by about 50 to 7 entries in the telephone book), so it seems that over time the standard spelling has changed. The spelling of the surname as Coumbe was adopted in North Hill parish sometime between 1703 and 1723; before that the name was spelt as Combe. Interestingly in adjacent Altarnun and Linkinhorne parishes, the standard spelling is Coombe.


The Research


The author's Coombe ancestors originated in North Hill before migrating to South Australia. The migrants were the family of James Coumbe, a stone mason. He was the third generation of masons; a further generation back was Henry Coumbe, a yeoman farmer. In the parish cemetery, two headstones are of the mason family branch and three belong to the inn-keeper branch; all are descendants of Henry.


Main results of research are published in:

Coumbe headstones in North Hill parish cemetery

Henry Coumbe and Margery Northey and their great-grandchildren


Aspects of a history of the Trebartha estate (which includes North Hill parish) are found in Trebartha, Latham's book (as relating to the Coumbe's).


Coumbe Masons


The first found mention of a Coumbe mason is John (1747-1806, son of Henry and Margery), who was described as such in his 1774 marriage. The occupation of stone mason continued through his son Edward (1780-1864). All three of Edward's sons were masons: John Philpe (1804-1887), James (1811-1881) and Thomas (c.1815-1896). Little more is known of the first son; the second migrated to Australia and is a major subject of this research. The third, Thomas, had two sons - James (b.1837), a mason and John (b.1841) a house carpenter. James lived at Trebartha Mill Cottages and one of his sons, James (b.1863) was also a mason.


Thus the masonry trade continued through five generations.


Coumbe Innkeepers and Coopers - The Ring o' Bells


The first mention found of a Coumbe innkeeper is Edward Coumbe (1754-1830), brother of John the stone mason, who was described as such in the 1804 death of his first wife. The innkeeping and coopering continued with his second wife Jane (c. 1779-1850), their son James Coumbe (1810-1851), his son George Coumbe (1836-1900), his daughter Mary Ann Cowling Jewell nee Coumbe, b. 1864 and her husband William H Jewell.


Thus the innkeeping and coopering trade continued through four generations.


The present-day "Racehorse Inn" in North Hill village used to be a school and is not the inn kept by the Coumbes. That inn was known as the "Ring o Bells", which is marked as such on old maps. It is now a private dwelling, following relocation of the modern brewery to Launceston.


According to the later brewery, the Ring o Bells started trading in the 13th century as a cider farm come alehouse for the stonemasons of St Torney Church, North Hill. The Ring o Bells closed in 1918 after an orgy of violence which led to the death of a man after he was thrown from his cart and killed.


Research question: The latest known innkeeper of the "Ring o' Bells" was William H Jewell (c.1858-?) in the 1901 census. He was the son-in-law of George Coumbe (1836-1900) and wife of Mary Ann Cowling Coumbe (1864-?). Are there descendants of William Jewell who can cast light on the innkeeping history? William and Mary's children at the 1901 census, with ages, were Alice W Jewell 2, Gladys M Jewell 8, William F Jewell 10, Beatrice E Jewell 12 and George A Jewell 14.


Coumbe Farmers


There were many farming Coumbe families, including Henry mentioned above. In the 1841 census:

 * John and Sarah Coumbe and family were farming at Halfacre,

 * William and Eliza Coumbe and family were farming at East Tremollett,

 * John and Elizabeth Coumbe and family were farming at Symons (Simmons)

 * John and Harriet Coumbe and family were farming at Stonaford (Stanaford)

 * Henry and Jane Coumbe and family were labouring, living at Basstreet Cottage near Bowda (later migrated to Australia)

 * Henry and Jane Coombe were labouring at Underway.


Other Coumbe farm locations include: Addicroft (Addacroft), Tolcarne (Tolcairne) and (East) Lawn.


The Parish


Excellent descriptions are available of the parish ( and there was one with good photos by K. Wasley of Saint Torney's church. The principal villages of the parish are the Churchtown, Coads Green, Bathpool, Middlewood, Congdons Shop, Illand or Yeiland, Newtown and Trebartha. (Source: Genuki, above).


Resources and Contact


Other useful links: North Hill Local History Group with many North Hill resources.


To add, contribute, comment, contact David Coombe


Updated: 18 Nov 2014