Grenfell Family History

The Cornishman 14 April 1887

                             DEATH OF MR HENRY GRENFELL, SURGEON, PENZANCE.

All Penzance heard with much concern on Saturday afternoon that Mr H Grenfell, surgeon, Morrab-road was so seriously ill that his recovery would be little short of miraculous; with true sorrow, on Sunday morning, that he was no more. Born at St Just – the son and grandson of mine agents of good repute, who had been identified with St Just’s great industry for many a year – Mr Grenfell had no sooner creditably passed his examinations in surgery and medicine in 1861, than he commenced practice in Penzance. Thenceforward his plodding work, his close attention to professional duties, and his house-surgeonship of the West Cornwall infirmary gradually increased his connection, and as surely, his fame spread as a cool, reliable and skilful operator. Possessed apparently of robust health and not yet at his meridian of life many years of useful labour, for the alleviation of suffering and his own advancement seeded before him; but an apparently trivial ailment suddenly assumed a severe character and in a few hours Mr Grenfell was no more.

A pain at the back of the head was accompanied by slight discharges from the ear. The last ceased, and for three weeks Mr Grenfell suffered much. He said little about this, however, from an unwillingness to alarm his wife, family and friends, until his son came from London to spend Easter, and to him he imparted, on the morning of Good Friday, how great occasionally had been the pain in the head. On the evening of that day he retired to rest, unwell, but to all appearances, not seriously so. On Saturday morning he rose and dressed but was now suffering so severely that he again lay down for a short space. With an effort he got downstairs, and it was only then that Mrs Grenfell and his sons and daughters saw how great was his suffering and that he was only half conscious of what was going on. He rested in an armchair and seemed sleepy. It was thought that the quietude was best and he was, for a little while, left undisturbed. That was the beginning of our esteemed neighbour’s , tranquil last sleep. A small piece of the inside of his skull had become detached and for days had been putting deadly pressure on the brain. That pressure had produced insensibility, and, even now, all pain was over. Medical aid was sought when it was found that Mr Grenfell could not be roused. Mr Quick and Dr Montgomery were soon with their colleague; other brother professionals joined them; but consciousness was never regained, and, early on the bright morning of Easter Sunday, the spirit returned to God, who gave it.

Contributed by Bob Bolitho