Penzance St Mary Cornwall Family History Guide

Penzance St Mary is an Ecclesiastical Parish and a market town in the county of Cornwall, created in 1741 from chapelry in Madron Ancient Parish.

Other places in the parish include: Sheffield and Tredavoe.

Alternative names:

  • Buriton
  • Burriton

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1789
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: None

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Bible Christian Methodist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Independent/Congregational, Jewish, Methodist, Methodist New Connexion, Presbyterian, Primitive Methodist, Roman Catholic, Society of Friends/Quaker, Unitarian, Wesleyan Methodist, and Wesleyan Methodist Association.

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

PENZANCE, a town, a chapelry, a sub-district, and a district, in Cornwall. The town is in Madron parish; stands at the head of Mounts bay, and at the terminus of the West Cornwall railway, 9 miles NE of Lands-End, and 26 SW of Truro; derives its name, signifying "holy-headland," from a chapel of St. Anthony, which stood on a point adjoining the pier; is said to have had a castle on a site at the Barbican, near the quay; was burnt by the Spaniards in 1595, and plundered by Fairfax in 1646; was a coinage-town from the time of Charles II.till 1838, when the tin dues were abolished; witnessed the wreck of an Algerine corsair in its vicinity in 1760; was the birthplace of Lord Exmouth, Davies Gilbert, and Sir Humphrey Davy; received a charter of incorporation from James I.; is governed, under the new act, by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors; is a seat of petty sessions, a polling-place, a coast-guard station, and a head-port; enjoys a charming climate, delightful environs, and good bathing appliances; attracts multitudes of strangers, both as summer residents, and as visitors of hundreds of rich scenes and interesting antiquities for miles all around it; presents, both in itself, and in combination with Mounts bay and St. Michael's mount, a picturesque appearance; consists chiefly of several well-built streets, meeting in a market-place; underwent important street improvements in 1865-7; includes two esplanades, one of them the best in the W of England, 23½ feet above the railway, overlooking all Mounts bay, and designed, in 1867, to be lengthened 300 feet and otherwise improved; and has a head post-office, a railway-station with telegraph, three banking offices, six chief inns, a town hall and corn-market, an ancient market-cross, a public hall, a police station, a borough-jail, a custom-house, a magnificent pier, assembly and billiard-rooms, two churches, nine dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, public libraries and reading-rooms, a literary institute, a geological society and museum, a natural history society and museum, a school of art, a free school, alms-houses, and charities £28.

The market house was erected in 1838; and is a granite structure, with tetra style Ionic portico and a dome. The public buildings were built in 1866, at a cost of £15,000; and contain an organ much larger than that in St. James great hall, in London. The borough-jail has capacity for 9 male and 9 female prisoners. The pier is 600 feet long; was constructed in 1745-72, at a cost of more than £30,000; has an E arm, added in 1845; is protected from the sea by a cyclopean granite wall; abuts upon the railway -terminus; stands in a depth of from 9 to 13 feet of water; and has a lighthouse, erected in 1817, and showing a fixed light 29 feet high. A battery is on arising-ground, opposite the pier, and was completed in 1858. St. Mary's church was rebuilt in 1832; is in the later English style; has a lofty tower, to which a good peal of bells was added in 1865; and contains about 2,000 sittings. St. Paul's church was built in 1835, at a cost of £5,000; is in the early English style; and has transepts, an open roof, and excellent stained-glass windows. The Roman Catholic chapel was built in 1859; and is a fine structure, in the decorated English style. The house in which Davy was born still stands; and, though new-fronted, is otherwise unaltered.

Markets are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays; fairs are held on 25 March, Trinity Thursday, 8 Sept., and the Thursday before Advent; a weekly paper is published on Wednesday; races are held on the sands of the E Green in autumn; and a large trade is carried on in the import of timber, iron, tallow, hemp, and other commodities, and in the export of potatoes, early vegetables, tin, and pilchards. The vessels belonging to the port, at the beginning of 1864, were 18 small sailing-vessels, of aggregately 507 tons; 73 large sailing-vessels, of aggregately 8,689 tons, and 2 steam vessels, of jointly 216tons. The vessels which entered, in 1863, were 12 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 2,808 tons, from British colonies; 60 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 4,170 tons, from foreign countries; 87 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 12,297 tons, from foreign countries; 1 British steam-vessel, of 22 tons, from British colonies; 2,160 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 184,885 tons, coastwise; and 302 steam-vessels, of aggregately 49,658 tons, coast-wise. The vessels which cleared, in 1863, were 16 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 2,492 tons, to British colonies; 45 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 3,642 tons, to foreign countries; 56 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 9,298 tons, to foreign countries; 793 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 68,393 tons, coastwise; and 200 steam-vessels, of aggregately 22,846 tons, coastwise. The amount of customs in 1862 was £12,947. Steamers sail regularly to Scilly, to Liverpool, and to Falmonth, Plymouth, and London. Acres of the borough, 486; of which 85 are water. Real property in 1860, £31,999; of which £4,300 were in the railway, and £175 in gas-works. Pop. in 1851, 9,214; in 1861, 9,414. Houses, 1,941.

The chapelry is conterminate with the borough; and includes both the charge of St. Mary and that of St.Paul. The livings are p. curacies in the diocese of Exeter. Value of St. M., £300; of St. P., £120. Patron of St. M., the Bishop of Exeter; of St. P., Mrs. H. Batten The sub-district contains the parishes of Madron, Gulval, and Paul. Acres, 13,971. Pop., 18,741. Houses, 3,849. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Marazion, containing the parishes of St. Hilary and Perranuthnoe, and the extra-parochial tract of St. Michael's Mount; the sub-district of St. Ives, containing the parishes of St. Ives, Zennor, and Towednack; the sub-district of Uny-Lelant, containing the parishes of Uny-Lelant, Ludgvan, and St. Erth; the sub-district of St. Just-in-Penwith, containing the parishes of St. Just-in-Penwith, Sancreed, and Morvah; and the sub-district of St. Buryan, containing the parishes of St. Buryan, St. Levan, and Sennen. Acres, 65,092. Poor-rates in 1863, £7,975. Pop. in 1851, 53,517; in 1861, 54,554. Houses, 10,806. Marriages in 1863, 496; births, 2,069, of which 109 were illegitimate; deaths, 1,504, of which 808 were at ages under 5 years, and 28 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 4,314; births, 18,129; deaths, 11,134. The places of worship, in 1851, were 22 of the Church of England, with 11,780 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 630 s.; 4 of Baptists, with 1,045 s.; 2 of Quakers, with 280 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 100 s.; 68 of Wesleyans, with 17,912 s.; 10 of Primitive Methodists, with 2,595s.; 15 of Bible Christians, with 2,677 s.; 2 of the Wesleyan Association, with 640 s.; 2 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, with 600 s.; 2 undefined, with 200 s.; 1 of Roman Catholics, with 320 s.; and 1 of Jews, with 36. The schools were 27 public day-schools, with 2,493 scholars; 146 private day-schools, with 4,170 s.; 77 Sunday schools, with 8,903 s.; and 2 evening schools for adults. with 20 s. The workhouse is in the rural part of Madron parish; has accommodation for 400 persons; and, at the Census of 1861, had 147 inmates.

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


People who were declared bankrupt and the date of bankruptcy.

Broad Thomas, Penzance, Cornwall, linen draper, March 6, 1827.

Carne William, jun., Penzance, Cornwall, merchant, June 30, 1826.

Corin Philip Burne, Penzance, Cornwall, spirit merchant, March 20, 1838.

Harvey Andrew, Penzance, Cornwall, watchmaker, Jan. 23, 1835.

Harvey Vigurs Onesiphoras, Penzance, Cornwall, draper, Jan. 29, 1830.

Hawke Richard, Penzance, Cornwall, baker and flour-dealer, March 23, 1830.

Henwood Nicholas, Penzance, Cornwall, victualler, Dec. 4, 1832.

John Samuel, Penzance, Cornwall, money scrivener, Oct. б, 1829.

Joseph Abraham, Penzance, Cornwall, Hour dealer, Dec. 3, 1830.

Molyneux Henry, Penzance, Cornwall, linen draper, Aug. 21, 1835.

Sims William, St. Ive’s, Penzance, Cornwall, grocer and baker, Dec. 4, 1832.

Parish Records


England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010

Cornwall Online Parish Clerks

Cornwall Parish Register Index


Cornwall Burials A-Z index of surnames of people buried in Cornwall

Records for England

Births and Baptism Records

England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

Great Britain, Births and Baptisms, 1571-1977

England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Marriage Records

England Marriages, 1538–1973

Great Britain Marriages, 1797-1988

England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Death Records

England Death Records, 1998-2015

England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991

Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-1988

England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957

England and Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1640-1660

Non-Conformist Records

England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977


England and Wales Census, 1841

England and Wales Census, 1851

England and Wales Census, 1861

England and Wales Census, 1871

England and Wales Census, 1881

England and Wales Census, 1891

England and Wales Census, 1901

England and Wales Census, 1911


United Kingdom, Merchant Navy Seamen Records, 1835-1941

War and Conflict

Great Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935

United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners' Service Records, 1760-1913

United Kingdom, Royal Hospital Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners 1760-1887 (WO 122)

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915

United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920

United Kingdom, World War I Women's Army Auxiliary Corps Records, 1917-1920

Newspaper Archives

British Newspaper Archive, Family Notices

British Newspaper Archives, Obituaries


Vision of Britain historical maps


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