St Germans Cornwall Family History Guide

St Germans is an Ancient Parish in the county of Cornwall.

Other places in the parish include: Minerd, Seaton, Rowle, Terule Foot, Downderry, Deviock, and Cross.

Alternative names:

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1590
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1608

Nonconformists include: Presbyterian, Society of Friends/Quaker, Wesleyan Methodist, and Wesleyan Methodist Reform.

Adjacent Parishes

  • Hessenford
  • Sheviock
  • Tideford
  • Landrake with St Erney

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

GERMANS (St.), a small town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district in Cornwall. The town stands in a romantic dell, on the borders of a creek formed by the river Lynher, adjacent to the Cornwall railway, 10 miles W by N of Plymouth. It was known at Domesday as Abbytone; and it takes its present name from St. Germaine or Germanus bishop of Auxerre in France, who vigorously opposed the Pelagian heresy, and made a visit to Cornwall in 429. The bishopric of Cornwall had its seat here; is said by Whitaker to have been founded so early as 614, but is not traceable in history till 910; and it continued to have its seat here till its union with the bishopric of Crediton about 1049. A college of secular priests was founded here by King Athelstan; was changed into an Augustinian priory by Bishop Leofric; and was given, at the dissolution, to the Champernownes. The town sent two members to parliament from 1562 till the reform act of 1832; and was then disfranchised. It is now little more than a village; and consists chiefly of one street, built on the slope of the dell. It is a sub-port to Plymonth; it has a head post office, a railway station with telegraph, a good inn, a parish church, a Wesleyan chapel, and a free school; and it gives the title of Earl to the family of Eliot. The church, in its oldest part, is of about 1150; lost its chancel in 1592; measures 104½ feet by 67½; has a very fine Norman W front, with two towers, which were originally octagonal; possesses portions of very beautiful decorated English; presents exteriorly a most venerable appearance; and contains a seat called the Bishop’s chair, a magnificent monument to Edward Eliot by Rysbrach, and other monuments to the Eliots and the Glanvilles. The ancient burying-ground, connected with the church, was converted into a lawn; and a new one of 1768 is situated a short distance to the W. Markets were formerly held, but have long been disused; and fairs are now held on 28 May and 1 Aug. The chief employment of the inhabitants is agriculture.

The parish is upwards of 20 miles in circuit; and contains the hamlets of Cross, Terule-Foot, Minerd, Deviock, Seaton, and Downderry, and the old mansions of Bake, Catchfrench, and Coldrenick. Acres, 10,317, of which 320 are water. Real property, £12,392. Pop., 2,842. Houses, 589. The property is not much divided. The manor belonged anciently to the bishop and the monks; and belongs now to Earl St. Germans. Cuddenbeck, supposed to have been the bishop’s seat, is now a ruined farm-house. Port Eliot, the seat of Earl St. Germans, includes parts of the ancient priory, and occupies the site of other parts; possesses a fine collection of paintings; and stands amid beautiful grounds. Charming scenery occurs along the shores and flanks of the Lynher’s creeks. Limestone and slate are found. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter. Value, £150. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Windsor. The p. curacies of Hessenford and Tideford are separate benefices. The sub-district includes also the parish of Sheviock. Acres, 12,944. Pop., 3,513. Houses, 711. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Antony, containing the parishes of Antony, Rame, Maker, and St. John; and the sub-district of Saltash, containing the parishes of St. Stephen-by-Saltash, Botusfleming, Landulph, Pillaton, Quethiock, St. Mellion, and Landrake with St. Erney. Acres, 47,148. Poor-rates in 1862, £7,083. Pop. in 1851, 16,545; in 1861, 17,631. Houses, 3,236. Marriages in 1860, 76; births, 570, of which 26 were illegitimate; deaths, 391, of which 135 were at ages under 5 years, and 19 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 893; births, 5,398; deaths, 3,538. The places of worship, in 1851, were 21 of the Church of England, with 7,568 sittings; 2 of Independents, with 800 s.; 3 of Baptists, with 65 4 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 120 s.; 20 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 3,133 s.; 2 of Bible Christians, with 180 s.; 1 of the Wesleyan Association, with 50 s.; 1 undefined, with 80 s.; and 1 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 60 attendants. The schools were 20 public day schools, with 1,227 scholars; 32 private day schools, with 736 s.; 35 Sunday schools, with 1,869 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 12 s. The workhouse is in Antony, and has accommodation for 250 persons.

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


People declared bankrupt and the date of bankruptcy.

Toll William, St. Germains, Cornwall, corn factor & miller, March 9, 1818.


Vision of Britain historical maps


  • County: Cornwall
  • Civil Registration District: St Germans
  • Probate Court: Court of the Peculiars of the Court of the Bishop of Exeter (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Exeter
  • Rural Deanery: Pre-1848 – None, Post-1847 – East
  • Poor Law Union: St Germans
  • Hundred: East (Cornwall)
  • Province: Canterbury