THE BOOK OF SPOURE by Edmund Spoure (1694/5)

In 1688 the squire of Trebartha Hall, Edmund Spoure, returned with his wife and daughter from the funeral of his only son and heir, Henry. Henry was just 10 years old when he died and unless Edmund and his wife, Mary, could have another son, the name of Spoure at Trebartha Hall would die out after 200 years of occupation.

By 1694 when Edmund and Mary were both about 40, the son and heir they hoped for had not arrived and they became reconciled to the end of the Spoures at Trebartha Hall. Edmund and Mary had had a daughter around 1680 and they named her after her mother. Of course, when young Mary eventually married her name would change.

Edmund was not to know that his life was to be cut short in a few years, but fortunately for us he used the time to record the heritage and legacy of the Spoure family. He did this in two ways, he commissioned a memorial to Henry to be erected in the Spoure Chapel at St Torney's Church in North Hill and he wrote, with some help from John Hellier, a handcrafted 330 page tome, the Book of Spoure. In its day, the book was rustic and primitive in its art, poetry and prose. Today, it is a historically important masterpiece that tells the story of a family that would otherwise be lost to us after the passage of almost 300 years. Edmund dedicated and introduced the book as follows:

"To my ever dear, and Intirely belov'd Daughter Mary Spoure,
Grace Health Peace, and Wealth in this World
And everlasting happiness, and glory In the world to come,
Trebartha: July the 24th 1694

Dear Daughter,
[I he]re present this book unto thee; as a gift; being the product of my Leasure houres, that thou mayst att [tim]es remember thy Father when he is in his grave; for I have no one that is neerer; or Deerer; to me in [rela]tion; or blood, than thy self ..."
Edmund Spoure
Mary Grylls, formerly Bellott, nee Spoure

Edmund died in 1696 and his wife Mary, nee Rodd, died in 1724 leaving young Mary as the last surviving member of the family. She died in 1729 and left the Trebartha estate to her cousin and fiancee Francis Rodd; you can read more about this story. The book also passed into the possession of the Rodd family.

When the Rodd family sold Trebartha Hall in 1940 they lodged many of the family documents with the Cornwall County Record Office (now Kresen Kernow) but they retained the original Book of Spoure. The book remains with the family and in 2012 they created a set of digital images of the book. These images have been shared with us at the North Hill Local History Group who are curating the book. The Rodd family have been very generous in allowing us to see the imaged version of the book and we have written to them to formally ask for permission to allow the use of images from the book by the North Hill Local History Group, Kresen Kernow (Cornwall's county archive) and other serious researchers, notably "Heraldry of the West of England" and "The Church Monuments Society". When the analysis of the book is further advanced and upon receipt of the relevant permissions, this page will grow as our knowledge from the book also grows.

The images that make up the banner at the top of this page are The Book of Spoure in its modern binding and four images taken from the book: (L-R) Edmund Spoure; the title page showing the arms of Spoure, Trebartha, Wallis, Callaway, Roose, Giffard, Downe, Speccott and Spoure which is repeated; Mary Grylls, nee Spoure, being Edmund's daughter; Trebartha Hall.