This book cannot be returned.
One of the untold stories of 19th century emigration from Cornwall is that of the thousands of wives 'left behind' by men leaving to work overseas. Known as 'married widows', these women singlehandedly managed family and homes, maintaining their husbands' interests and ties with their homeland. They are the unsung heroines of many Cornish families, especially in the mining communities.
The Married Widows of Cornwall brings together neglected evidence from the census, poor law records, newspapers and court cases, as well as family histories and letters, to explore the lives of these ordinary, but remarkable, women. From describing the resources they drew upon in the absence of their husbands, to the challenges they presented for the authorities, Lesley Trotter shows the wives not simply as the passive victims of emigration but active participants and influential voices in family strategies. However, from a time when married women had few rights or opportunities, she reveals poignant individual stories that also highlight the risks and vulnerability of being a 'married widow'.
Based on the author's ground-breaking research, and written for the general as well as scholarly reader, this books adds a new and hitherto almost entirely unexplored dimension to the history of Cornwall's 'great emigration', and offers a comparative study for those interested in emigration from the British Isles and Europe in the 19th century.
Gorsedh Kernow Hoyer an Gof Publishers' Awards 2019 nominee.