Bodmin Cornwall Family History Guide

Bodmin is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Cornwall.

Alternative names: Bodmin Borough

Other places in the parish include: Nanstallon.

Status: Ancient Parish

Parish church: St. Petrock

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1558
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1608

Nonconformists include: Bible Christian Methodist, Countess of Huntingdon Methodist, Independent/Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Wesleyan Methodist, and Wesleyan Methodist Association.

Parishes adjacent to Bodmin

  • Egloshayle
  • Lanhydrock
  • Helland
  • Cardynham
  • Lanivet
  • St Breoke
  • Withiel

Historical Descriptions of Bodmin

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BODMIN, a town, a parish, a subdistrict, and a district in Cornwall. The town stands in a hollow between two hills, near the centre of the county, 3½ miles WNW of Bodmin-Road r. station, and 22 SW of Launceston. A hermitage of St. Guron stood here about the beginning of the 6th century; and gave place, about 518, to a monastic cell founded by St. Petroc. This is thought by some, but erroneously, to have become the first seat of the bishopric of Cornwall; was occupied by old British or Benedictine monks till 926; and gave place then to a Benedictine priory, founded by King Athelstan. This was destroyed by Danish pirates in 981; yet continued to be a centre of monks till about 1120; and then was succeeded by an Augustinian monastery, founded by one Algar; and this passed, at the dissolution, to Thomas Sternhold, one of the translators of the Psalms. A Grey friary was founded by John of London, a merchant, and augmented by Edmund, Earl of Cornwall; was given, at the dissolution, to William Abbot; and passed, about twenty years after, to the corporation. Part of the refectory was afterwards used as the town hall. A lazar-house was founded, at an early period, in the north-western vicinity; refounded and incorporated by Queen Elizabeth; and endowed with property, yielding £140 a year; which came to be transferred to the infirmary at Truro; and some remains of the building, including several pointed arches, were not long ago standing. No fewer than thirteen churches or free chapels were at one time in the town and its environs; and one of these, an ivy-clad structure, called the chapel of St. Thomas, still adjoins the chancel of the parish church; while a tower, which belonged to another, called the chapel of the Holy Cross, stands on a hill about ½ a mile to the N. The town was so populous in 1351 as to lose 1,500 persons in that year by pestilence; and it was one of the places which had authority to stamp tin, but it lost that privilege in 1347. It owed its consequence mainly to the number and influence of its ecclesiastics; and it sank suddenly, at the Reformation, into much decay; but it revived during last century, was then made the seat of the assizes for the county, and has since enjoyed some prosperity as a provincial metropolis. Perkin Warbeck commenced his rebellion here, preparatory to his attack on Exeter; the Cornish and Devonshire men also commenced their insurrection here in the time of Edward VI.; and Fairfax took the town. Powers were obtained, in 1864 and 1867, to make railways from Bodmin to the Cornwall railway and to Wadebridge.

The town consists chiefly of one long street, running E and W; and a good view of it is got from Beacon-hill to the S. The county-hall contains two handsome courthouses, grand jury-room, indictment-room, and other offices. The mayoralty-house, with judges’ lodging, was built in 1838. The county jail was rebuilt in 1859, at a cost of £40,000; and has capacity for 155 male and 42 female prisoners. The county lunatic asylum, as also the jail, stands in the outskirts of the town. The market house was opened in 1840, and is commodious. The county militia barracks are a recent erection. The parish church measures 151 feet by 63; was, save the tower and part of the chancel, rebuilt, in the perpendicular style, in 1472; has a square tower, formerly surmounted by a lofty spire, which fell by lightning in 1699; and contains a Norman font, some curiously carved old oak seats, and a large sculptured monument of Thomas Vyvyan, a prior who died in 1533. There are chapels for Wesleyans, Bible Christians, and Lady Huntingdon’s Connexion. The town has a head post office,‡ a banking office, a literary institution, and two chief inns. There used to be annual races and occasional assemblies. A weekly market is held on Saturday; and fairs on 25 Jan., the Saturday before Palm Sunday, the Tuesday before Whit-Sunday, 6 July, and 6 Dec Bone-lace was formerly made in considerable quantity; and shoe-making is now carried on. The mines of Restormel, Messer, Carnvivian, Boconnoc, Great Treveddoe, West Fortescue, Wheal Fortescue, and Wheal Mandlin are near enough to have some influence on the trade. The town was incorporated by Edward III.; and it sent two members to parliament from the time of Edward I. till 1867, but was reduced, by the act of that year, to the right of sending only one. Its municipal boundaries comprise only the town, but its parl. boundaries comprise four parishes. It is governed by a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors; and it is the seat of all the assizes and quarter sessions for the county and of county courts. Direct taxes in 1857, £2,481. Electors in 1868, 403. Pop. of the m. borough, 4,466; of the p. borough, 6,381. Houses, 794 and 1,191.

The parish comprises 6,191 acres. Real property, £14,675; of which £11,940 are in the borough. Pop., 4,809. Houses, 864. The property is not much divided. Bodmin priory, on the site of the ancient monastery, passed from Thomas Sternhold to successively the Pescodes, the Rashleighs, the Penningtons, and the Gilberts. A trigonometrical station, 1 mile E of the town, is 645 feet high. A monument to the late General Gilbert, 144 feet high, is on the Beacon to the S. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter. Value, £350. Patron, J. F. Basset, Esq. The subdistrict contains the parishes of Bodmin, Lanhydrock, Lanivet, and Withiel. Acres, 16,347. Pop., 6,524. Houses, 1,222.  The district comprehends also the subdistrict of Lanlivery, containing the parishes of Lanlivery, Luxulion, St. Winnow, and Lostwithiel; the subdistrict of St. Mabyn, containing the parishes of St. Mabyn, St. Tudy, Helland, Cardinham, Warleggon, Temple, and Blisland; and the subdistrict of Egloshayle, containing the parishes of Egloshayle, St. Minver, Endellion, and St. Kew. Acres of the district, 88,981. Poor-rates in 1866, £10,710. Pop. in 1861, 19,691. Houses, 4,019. Marriages in 1866, 100; births, 605, of which 42 were illegitimate; deaths, 365, of which 93 were at ages under 5 years, and 25 at ages above 85 years. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,498; births, 6,385; deaths, 4,025. The places of worship in 1851 were 24 of the Church of England, with 6,065 sittings; 23 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 3,817 s.; 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 40 attendants; 19 of the Wesleyan Association, with 3,697 sittings; 14 of Bible Christians, with 1,659 s.; 1 of Lady Huntingdon’s Connexion, with 364 s.; 1 undefined, with 30 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 250 s. The schools were 28 public day schools, with 1,234 scholars: 50 private day schools, with 893 s.; 41 Sunday schools, with 2,482 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 12 s. The workhouse is in Bodmin.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Bodmin, 234½ miles S.W. London. Market, Sat. P. 4643

Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850.


Below is a list of people that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843 extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.

Glynn Edmund John, Bodmin, Cornwall, banker, Nov. 4, 1823.

Harvey Samuel, Bodmin, Cornwall, builder, June 1, 1830.

Pearce William, Bodmin, Cornwall. chemist and druggist, March 5, 1830.

Searl Hugh, Bodmin, Cornwall, linen and woollen draper, Nov. 15, 1836.

Wright Edward and George. Bodmin, Cornwall, spirit dealers, Feb. 21, 1843.

Wright Thomas Mountsteven, Bodmin, Cornwall, linen draper, Dec. 11, 1829.

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  • County: Cornwall
  • Civil Registration District: Bodmin
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop (Consistory) of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall
  • Diocese: Exeter
  • Rural Deanery: Trigg Minor
  • Poor Law Union: Bodmin
  • Hundred: Trigg
  • Province: Canterbury