Mr. Westlake’s generous donation

On this day in 1896, James Stevens wrote in his Diary…

The offertory last Sunday was £5 11s 2d for the debt on Churchyard, Mr. Westlake gave the £5 note. (Sunday 9th August 1896)

This was Professor Westlake, who had a Summer home in Zennor called ‘Eagle’s Nest’.* Born in Lostwithiel in 1828, John Westlake was Professor of International Law at Cambridge. He had previously given financial support to the restoration of the local church (St. Senara’s) in 1890.

To put the £5 donation into context, in 1902 James’s farm labourer (Fred Thomas) earned £4 5s for 3 months work!

James also records that the Westlake family and their guests were sometimes involved in Zennor entertainments…

Attend harvest tea in schoolroom and the Westlakes’ entertainment showing enacting the milk maid, Bluebeard etc. (Saturday 17th September 1892)

At the entertainment given by Mrs. Westlake and friends… (Saturday 14th September 1895).  Of interest, Mrs. Alice Westlake (nee Hare) was an artist, and a key supporter of the women’s suffrage movement.

At harvest tea took at tables and door about £4 4s. Westlakes party gave the concert. (Saturday 11th September 1897)

 *’Eagle’s Nest was later the home of the artist Patrick Heron.  His daughter, Katherine, talked about it in this interview.




Author: Ann - Editor of James Stevens's Cornish Diary

My interest in family history began in 2010 and eventually led to the discovery of my Cornish ancestors. One of these was my Great-great-grandmother's sister, Honor Stevens, and her husband, James. Having read a copy of his published Diary I realised how useful it could be to other family and local history enthusiasts, so I spent the next few years re-transcribing it and producing a PDF version. I finished the transcription in August 2016, although it's clear it's going to be a continuing project as I add more background information. As I live about 5 hours drive from Cornwall, I'm able to holiday in the beautiful County of Kernow (or should that be Country!) at least once a year, visiting and photographing the places connected with the Stevens family. I've also been lucky to have the support of direct descendants of James & Honor, as well as local residents and organisations, who have helped with information and photos.

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