I cannot determine the location of the place of residence for John and Jane Short, at the time of baptism of their son, also John Short, 9 July 1826 in Jacobstow Parish church, hundred of Stratton, North Cornwall, UK. The place of residence is given as "Barah," and John Short's occupation is Farmer. enter image description here

John Short Sr. was from Week St. Mary, and he and Jane were married at Whitstone parish church, both adjacent to the east of Jacobstow. I have no idea where Jane was from.

Have scoured the Ordnance historic maps from the Library of Scotland and can't find it. http://maps.nls.uk/view/105991630

Does anyone have knowledge of this place?

  • I find questions like this one very interesting and hope you will feel free to ask many more of them. However, I get a little nervous when images are posted here that include more than the detail being asked about because I am unsure of any copyright implications. I think we are always on firmer ground when we crop to just the information needed (in this case the single row related to the baptism of John Short). If a potential answerer needs to see more they can always ask or you can provide a link/reference to the image of the full pages.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 23:36
  • For some ideas on where old Cornwall place names may be uncovered see genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/9286/… and genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/10482/…
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 23:45
  • 1
    Thanks PolyGeo, and large image has been replaced by clipped image.
    – user5836
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 0:51
  • 2
    Something of a long shot - there's Bearah Tor in Cornwall, near Henwood on Bodmin Moor. About 25 miles from Jacobstow, so further than I'd expect, unless perhaps one of John and Jane grew up there, or were visiting family. Do you know where they were born or married?
    – AndyW
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 9:10
  • Great! All of these suggestions are a huge help. To answer your question AndyW, John and Jane (Glasson) were married in Whitstone parish, about 7 km as the crow flies to the east. John Sr. was from Week St Mary, about halfway in between these two hamlets.
    – user5836
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 17:57

3 Answers 3


I suspect Barah to be a farm name rather than a hamlet; it wasn't large enough in 1851 to make it into Kain, R.J.P. & Oliver, R.R. (2001). Historic Parishes of England and Wales : an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata. [data collection]. (Unfortunately I only have the Gazetteer, not access to the maps).

However, I also can't find it in Jacobstow in An Index to the Historical Place Names of Cornwall: Vol 1 - A to K which you can find at Google books, and that does cover farm names; there is a Berry Court or Burycourt or Barry Court farm, which is a bit of a stretch.

One way of locating it would be to look at census records for the parish (and the order of entries) plus the enumerator's description of the boundaries of the area they covered. With that information, it may be possible to locate the property between two other properties by following roads/tracks between them on a map.

The 1837 tithe maps might also be useful. They're online at TheGenealogist but you need a subscription.

Keep an open mind about the possible spellings: Barah, Bara, Barra, Bearah, possibly even Bear.

I can't locate Barah as an address in Jacobstow in the 1841 census which suggests either that the farm was subsumed into another farm (in which case you might find a property transaction in the local Archives) or that Barah wasn't actually in Jacobstow. Were there other events for the same family in Jacobstow? Or might they have been visiting (Possibly her mother) at the time of the baptism.

Your best bet may be to contact the OPC for Jacobstow by email via their website and ask if they can help.

  • Wonderful, thanks for your suggestions. I had previously posted a question about this Jane here: genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/12451/… which should provide you with more information about the family. I will check out the tithe maps in the meantime.
    – user5836
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 18:04
  • So I've located the modern place name of Bury Court on Google maps, and it is halfway between Jacobstow parish church and Thinwood Farm, Week St Mary, where John Short Sr.'s parents settled in 1814 after he was apprenticed out to a farm up the road at the age of 8. Is "Barah" to Bury Court too too much of a stretch here?
    – user5836
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 22:58
  • @Dr.Short I personally think Bury COurt is too much of a stretch -- but you could look at the PRs and see if it's mentioned by name anywhere else -- or if Barah is mentioned.
    – user104
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 7:06

A potential answer from communication with the volunteer for this parish at Cornwall Online Parish Clerks: 'Barah' is likely a small farm adjacent to Headon Barrow in Jacobstow parish. The barrow itself is a prehistoric burial ground, which are quite common in Cornwall, but according to the 'online parish clerk', barrow would have been pronounced and heard as barah by a local Cornish person in 1826. The farm today is known as South Headon, but it is unnamed on the 1883 ordnance survey map available from the National Library of Scotland http://maps.nls.uk/view/105991654.

It seems a bit stretchy, but this appears to be the only barrow in this parish, so the farm may have been known at the time by its proximity to this well-known landmark.

  • That's how it's pronounced in London too! :)
    – AndyW
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 10:27

I came across this query recently during similar searches of my own.

I note that the original query was posted a wee while back and interest may have terminated but I wanted to add my musings in hope that they may still be picked up.

Might 'Barah, also be 'Bara'?

My 3X Great Grandmother THOMASINA PENFOUND was baptized in Jacobstow Parish Church on 30 Dec 1835. Parents residence is recorded as 'Bara in Jacobstow'. Thomasina's sister MARY ANNE RAKES PENFOUND was baptized in same church on 28 Dec 1833 and again Parents residence is recorded as 'Bara in Jacobstow'. Her father was an AgLab.

These are the ONLY baptisms recorded between 1813 and 1869 with parents residence recorded as 'Bara in Jacobstow' apart from a WILLIAM CONGDON on 7 Dec 1831 (mother Anne Bartin?).

As with previous poster I have been frustrated in not being able to identify such a place on old maps.

However, I found the OPC's suggestion to be intriguing and feel that they are correct. There is a small building shown on the 1883 map directly across the field from HEADON BARROW. Google street view images of the building I think add to the argument for it certainly being 'Bara' if not also 'Barah'.

Any (more) thoughts anyone?Composite image of views of proposed Bara

  • It looks like our ancestors may have occupied the same farm. Spelling was not at all standard in the early 1800's, and informal place names would have been spelled according to the whim of whomever wrote the records that day. Based on the info I obtained from the Online Parish Clerk, I still think that this is the place, but I doubt it could be proven.
    – user5836
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 15:54
  • I am reasonably happy with it being my 'Bara'. Many thanks to the OPC for pointing out geographical relationship with the Barrow. And a big thank you to yourself for making the initial query. As you say, not easy to prove. With there being only 3 (maybe 4?) mentions of such a place in the baptism records and NO records in the 1841 census it does not appear to have been a recognised placename. And as my 4X great grandfather was only a lowly AgLab it does look like the type of living accom that he could afford. I reckon that the family were living there from 1833-1836. Thanks again. Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 16:29

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