The Cornwall-Devon Connection

There have been a variety of discussions over the years that pondered whether the Cornwall Babbs relate to the Devon Babbs. The idea causes joy in one direction and consternation in the other. It’s essentially age-old question of “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

A link has finally been found between Cornwall and Devon, but it’s not one that you might expect.

Back in September of 2020 I used an interesting photo that I came across while exploring the Cornwall Babb trees. It was for William and Grace Babb and the discussion was about how Color Correction techniques can help your research. Here is a link to the original article: William & Grace (Halls) Babb and the Power of Color Correction – Babb Unabridged.

Well, as it turns out the answer was there staring me in the face at the time and I didn’t realize it until today when I was reconciling Court documents from Devon. William and Grace’s son William Tregear Babb left his birthplace of Calstock, Cornwall and raised his family in Exeter. He was a second son and thus would likely not receive an inheritance. So, he struck out on his own and after a brief stop in Chagford, Devon, he landed in the neighborhood of Foxhayes, which was itself a part of Exwick. In our modern world both have been completely absorbed into Exeter as it grew.

The reason the info was there all along is that many of William Tregear Babb’s 10 children were born in either Foxhayes or Exwick. The family is also spotted in this Census record which lays bare the connection. This 1891 Census shows that William claimed his birthplace as Calstock in Cornwall but shows a series of Devon birth locations for the remainder of his family.

1891 Census of William Treagear Babb family

I already had this census on file, but at times you can’t see the deer for the moor.

This certainly is no proof of which families came first. after having reviewed the available records of both counties, I can honestly say that I don’t currently see a connection between the two counties. I can say that the DNA Proven Lineage to which William belongs is the Celts of South Petherwin, which is very close to the county line with Devon. It would not be surprising that a small move could have taken him over the county line.

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