Maureen Adams (née Sandercock) of Lostwithiel has put proverbial pen to paper to portray her famous Cornish artist ancestor, Henry ‘Ardmore’ Sandercock, but as she says in her family connections section at the end, “I have no idea what relation that makes him to me!”
Henry was baptised on the 24th February 1833 in St Torney’s Church, North Hill, a village on the east side of the River Lynher, approximately six miles southwest of Launceston. His parents, Philip and Catherine, lived at the School House.
As a teenager, Henry worked as an accountant in a copper mine office at Redruth but by 1861, he was staying at Trescow Farm, St Mabyn, with Thomas and Jane Olver (nee Sobey) and the census
recorded that he had forsaken accountancy and become an artist. Also living there was Jane’s sister, Elizabeth Sobey, and in the spring of 1862, she and Henry married. The newspaper report stated: On 11th February 1862 at St Andrew’s Church, Plymouth, Henry, 29, artist, resident of Highgate, Middlesex, married Elizabeth Sobey, 22, of George Place. Henry’s father was Philip, schoolmaster and Elizabeth’s father, John Sobey, yeoman. It was in London that their two children were born – Mary Elizabeth in Wandsworth in 1864 and Hugh in East Molesey in 1866.
Henry seems to have been a prolific artist. His drawings included humorous depictions of golfers and many were published in the Graphic magazine sometime around 1870.
These cartoons are in my possession
By 1871, the family had moved back to the west country and settled into what was to be the long-term family home at Ardmore in Northam, near Bideford. Later references to Henry’s artwork show that he had taken Ardmore as his middle name. Sadly, Hugh died there in 1878, aged just twelve years old.
In the 1871 census, Henry, thirty-eight, was living at Northam, Devon, his occupation was stated as Dividends and he was married to Elizabeth who was born in Menheniot. They had two children, Mary E, seven, born in Wandsworth, Surrey, and Hugh, five, born in East Molesey, Surrey. Also in the house was Catherine Cole, a domestic servant.
Henry’s ability to draw cartoons, sketch and paint was widely recognised and appreciated. In 1871, his cartoon skills were demonstrated in Tom Hood’s Comic Annual; this was reported in The Morning Post as “Mr Henry Sandercock tells, pictorially, ‘How I served my country and how my country served me’ – a very diverting bit of satire and none the less amusing because of its truth”.
These cartoons are in my possession: The Music of the Sweetest Lay and Out Damned Spot! Out, I say!
More examples of Henry’s work can be found on the internet by typing Henry Sandercock Painter or Henry Ardmore Sandercock Painter. He is listed in the Dictionary of the Royal Academy of Arts as Sandercock, Henry, painter. Ardmore, Northam, Bideford, Devon, 1872 and the Bideford Gazette of 3rd May 1877 reported that Henry Sandercock (brother of Mrs Burrow of West Country Inn) had two pictures hung at The Royal Academy.
In the 1881 census, Henry was forty-eight and listed as painter living at Northam, Devon, and residing with him were his wife, Elizabeth, daughter, Mary, and Susan Cawsey, domestic servant.
In 1884, Henry’s painting, A Siesta in Bideford Bay, was exhibited in Manchester and was described as striking and attractive. A notice in the same year stated: Henry Sandercock, a Cornish-born artist exhibited at the West Cornwall Arts Union. In 1893, Henry’s work was reviewed thus [his] style is well known, and the three bits of North Devon scenery … demonstrate his ability to deal with lights and shadows of grey and almost cheerless days.
In the 1901 census, Henry was sixty-eight, a painter (artist), living in Bay View Terrace, Bideford. Also resident was Elizabeth, his wife, Mary, his daughter and Eleanor Grouse, domestic servant.
Henry died during the April–June quarter of 1915, aged eighty-two, in Bideford, Devon, (strangely, some sources state his life span as 1838 to 1887 but I believe my dates to be correct). Elizabeth outlived him and died in 1923.
Bideford Museum have a lot of Henry’s work and in 2020 they held an exhibition for which my brother, Tony, and I received a special invitation. Mary, their daughter, was an artist in her own right and had good reviews on work submitted to local exhibitions.
I think Henry may have befriended Neville Northey Burnard during the sculptor’s sad end, but I cannot remember where I saw that information. It does seem likely as they both came from Altarnun.
How Henry Ardmore Sandercock links with me:
John Sandercock Jnr married Elizabeth Ebbott, the daughter of John and Wilmet Ebbott, on 29th March 1798 at Tresmeer. He was a land surveyor and later, the landlord of the Ring o’ Bells in Altarnun.
John and Elizabeth’s children:
John, baptised 12th May 1799 at Tresmeer.
Thomas, probably born 8th February 1802, at Tresmeer.
** Phillip, born 7th January 1803 and baptised 2nd May 1803 at Tresmeer.
*** Simon, baptised 26th January 1806 at Tresmeer.
William, baptised 10th July 1808 at Tresmeer.
Francis, baptised 3rd January 1811 at Tresmeer.
Catherine, baptised 12th December 1813 at Tresmeer.
Robert, born 6th August 1816 at Tresmeer and baptised on 23rd August.
** Phillip Sandercock married Catherine Heard at Treneglos on 17th July 1828. He was Parish clerk and schoolmaster at North Hill and later became the Postmaster at North Hill.
Phillip and Catherine’s children:
Mary Ann, 1831.
Henry, (later known as ‘Ardmore’), baptised 24th February 1833 at North Hill.
John, born 1835 at North Hill. In the 1851 census he is recorded as a carpenter, age 15.
Elizabeth, 1837, born North Hill.
Matilda, 1840, born North Hill.
Helen, 1842, born North Hill.
Lavinia, 1846, born North Hill.
*** Simon Sandercock married Mary Rowe Hora on 23rd April 1839 at Laneast.
Simon and Mary’s children:
Jane, baptised 2nd April 1840 at Altarnun.
John, baptised 12th August 1842 at Altarnun.
Emma, baptised 24th May 1847 at Altarnun.
Frances, baptised 21st April 1849 at Altarnun.
Henry, baptised 25th January 1853 at Altarnun – My line.
Ellen, born 1856 at Altarnun.
Fanney, born about 1858 at Altarnun.
How the line progressed:
Henry married Elizabeth Trezona in Camborne. They had a son, Ernest, born in Camborne.
The family moved to St Agnes where Ernest married Hannah Jane Rippon.
They had a son, Richard, who married Ivy May Mitchell.
They had a wonderful daughter called Maureen! That’s me.
Therefore, as my great grandfather Simon, and Philip were brothers, the two Henrys were first cousins.
Maureen Sandercock (later Adams)
I was born in Tremorvah Nursing Home, Redruth, and despite sounding like a crow, my parents, Richie and May Sandercock, agreed to take me home to St Agnes.
I spent the first 18 years of my life living in Goonown, attending St Agnes Primary School, the Methodist Chapel and Truro Grammar School. I still call myself a proper St Agnes maid.
In 1962, I reluctantly left home for teacher training college in Hertford. There, I met my future husband, a Lincolnshire farmer, and left my beloved Cornwall for foreign parts.
In 2002, after 37 years in Lincolnshire, we sold the farm, and when asked what I wanted to do, I replied, “I want to go home”. Cornwall draws her children back.
Back in the motherland, I began collecting family stories and started research on my family tree. Knowing my new passion, my daughter sent me a photo of a cartoon drawn by Henry Sandercock, asking if he was related. I was delighted to discover that he was: my great grandfather and Henry were first cousins.
I am so proud to be Cornish and to have a Cornish heritage going back hundreds of years. Kernow bys vyken!