Verran, Michael

The second of eight sons of a family from Carnon in the parish of Kea, Cornwall, who were members at Hicks Mill Bible Christian chapel. He became something of a celebrity when in August 1842 he survived an underground explosion in the copper mine in which he was working at Caradon, near Liskeard. Two of them accidentally ignited a fuse. Only one of them could be hauled to safety immediately. Recognising the danger, he urged his companion to return to the surface, expecting to be killed himself by the blast. He saw his miraculous survival as the work of divine providence. His courage in the face of disaster came to the notice of Thomas Carlyle through the Foxes, a Quaker family of Falmouth and a subscription was raised enabling him to set up as a dairyman in Callington. He became one of the first trustees of the Bible Christian chapel there and died in 1862.


'November 19 [1842]. Heard that the Caradon miner Verran is saving up his money, till he has got £30 oe £40, in order to leave off work and get six months' learning - a good fact.'

'January 21 [1843]. Fanny Allen sends a very interesting account of a visit she and her father paid to Michael Verran. He is a thorough Methodist, who sometimes feels so full of joy that his skin seems too small for him, and he is obliged to lie down and pray that he may be enlarged, to make room for his bursting happiness. He gave a simple, quiet account of the Caradon affair, during which, it seems, his mind was so full of the prospect of being soon with his Saviour, that the idea of death and its suffering hardly occurred to him; and on coming to the surface, he fell down on his knees in the shed and "gave glory". He is not getting on very brilliantly at school, but is steady and persevering, and means to be a dairyman or an ore-dresser.'

'February 11. Strong Methodist letter from Michael Verran - very grateful to God and man. Three years ago he found peace, a month later he received the second blessing, and the day following the third; his path is now like that of the Just, shining brighter and brighter to the perfect Day. He finds spelling "asier than at first, and has got to the Rule of Three in refimatics".'

The Journals of Caroline Fox 1835-71 (1972), pp.140-43

  • Isaac Foot, Michael Verran of Callington and Thoms Carlyle (1946)
  • The Journals of Caroline Fox 1835-71 (1972)


Category: Person
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