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The parish of

BODMIN

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General Description Maps
Census Parish Registers
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Bodmin
Bodmin, © Simon Lewis, 2003

The parish is situated in the deanery of Trigg Minor and was formerly part of the Hundred of Trigg. Mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Bodmine, it was probably named after the Old Cornish for 'Dwelling near the Church' and is situated in a small valley in roughly the centre of Cornwall, south-west of Bodmin Moor. In 2001, Bodmin was enumerated under two civil parishes: St Mary and St Petroc, and had a population of 12,778. It was formerly the county town of Cornwall until the Crown Courts moved to Truro which is now the administrative centre (before 1835 the county town was Launceston).

Historically Bodmin was the centre of three Cornish uprisings. The first was the Cornish Rebellion of 1497 when a Cornish army, led by Michael An Gof, a blacksmith from St. Keverne, and Thomas Flamank, a lawyer from Bodmin, marched to Blackheath in London where they were eventually defeated by 10,000 men of the King's army under Baron Daubeny. Then, in the Autumn of 1497, Perkin Warbeck tried to usurp the throne from Henry VII. Warbeck was proclaimed King Richard IV in Bodmin but Henry had little difficulty crushing the uprising. In 1549, Cornishmen, allied with other rebels in neighbouring Devon, rose once again in rebellion when the staunchly Protestant Edward VI tried to impose a new Prayer Book. The lower classes of Cornwall and Devon were still strongly attached to the Catholic religion and again a Cornish army was formed in Bodmin which marched across the border into Devon to lay siege to Exeter. This became known as the Prayer Book Rebellion. Proposals to translate the Prayer Book into Cornish were suppressed and in total 4,000 people were killed in the rebellion.

Bodmin-Wenford
Bodmin-Wenford Railway
© 2001, Chas. Winpenny

The Borough is served by the main railway line from London to Penzance, the branch which originally connected it to the Town having been preserved as the Bodmin & Wenford Steam Railway, a small privately owned heritage line.

The County Lunatic Asylum was built in 1820 on the site of an old leper hospital dating from before the 1500s, about a mile west of the town. St. Lawrence's Hospital was built on the site in 1906, eventually absorbing the Asylum buildings by 1983. The hospital closed in 2002 and was demolished in 2014. The nearby Church of St Leonard served the Asylum and Hospital.

Bodmin Gaol, operational for over 150 years but now a museum and tourist attraction, was built in the late 18th century, and was the first British prison to hold prisoners in separate cells (though often up to 10 at a time) rather than communally. Over fifty prisoners condemned at the Bodmin Assize Court were hanged at the prison. It was also used for temporarily holding prisoners sentenced to transportation, awaiting transfer to the prison hulks lying in the highest navigable reaches of the River Fowey. During World War I the prison held some of Britain's priceless national treasures including the Domesday Book and the Crown Jewels.

The Municipal Cemetery situated at the top of Rhind Street serves the town; there are no Mortuary chapels. St. Leonard's chapel-of-ease and burial ground, situated at the western end of the town and in ruins for more than two hundred years, was rebuilt and reopened in 1871; it is a small rectangular building of stone. At the south-east extremity of the town was the chapel and burial ground of St Nicholas.

Bodmin
Church of St. Petroc, © Simon Lewis, 2003

The Anglican parish church, situated at the east end of the town, was dedicated to St Petroc prior to the Norman Conquest in 1066. The material used for the pillars and arches, and all interior dressings is St Stephens porcelain stone. Attached to the church is the chapel of St Mary in which is St Petroc's shrine with an ivory casket supposedly containing the bones of the saint. There is a website for St Petroc's church.

The existing church building dates from 1469-72 and was, until the building of Truro Cathedral the largest church in Cornwall. The tower which remains from the original Norman church and stands on the north side of the church (the upper part is 15th century) was, until the loss of its spire in 1699, 150 ft high. The building underwent two Victorian restorations and another in 1930 and is now listed Grade I. There are a number of interesting monuments, most notably that of Prior Vivian who died in 1533 and which was formerly in the Priory Church (Thomas Vivian's effigy lying on a chest: black Catacleuse stone and grey marble). The font of a type common in Cornwall is of the twelfth century: large and finely carved.

The Chapel of St Thomas Becket is the ruin of a 14th-century building in Bodmin churchyard. The holy well of St Guron is a small stone building at the churchyard gate. The Berry Tower is all that remains of the former church of the Holy Rood and there are even fewer remains from the substantial Franciscan Friary established ca. 1240: a gateway in Fore Street and two pillars elsewhere in the town.

Lanhydrock House
Lanhydrock House, Bodmin - a National Trust Property
© 2004, Simon Lewis

The Roman Catholic parish of Bodmin includes a large area of North Cornwall and there are churches also at Wadebridge, Padstow and Tintagel. In 1881 the Roman Catholic mass was celebrated in Bodmin for the first time since 1539. A church was planned in the 1930s but delayed by World War II: the Church of St Mary and St Petroc was eventually consecrated in 1965; it was built next to the already existing seminary. There are also five other churches in Bodmin, including a Methodist church. The Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion in Honey Street built a chapel in 1804 which was rebuilt in Fore Street in 1870 as a plain stone building. The Bible Christian chapel in Fore Street was built in 1851, and the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Fore Street was built in 1834. The Wesleyan Methodist Association chapel in Poole Street was built in 1842.

Lanhydrock House is a Victorian country house, but with some features dating from the 1600s.

The parish is hilly, with wooded valleys around the town and a number of small villages and hamlets. Farming and tourism are the main industries.


Cornwall Online Parish Clerks

The Online Parish Clerk (Genealogy) for Bodmin is Kay Halley, who can be contacted at eastcornwallopc@gmail.com.

For information about, and contact details for, the current town council please see this website.
Contact details for the church can be found here.


PARISH INFORMATION

CENSUS:

Information can be found at COCP - the Cornwall Online Census Project - which is complete for 1841 to 1891 and has been verified, FreeCens at Rootsweb, which has a very good search engine and information from COCP, as well as GenUKI, which has more reference information and alternative resources.

REGISTERS:

Our searchable database (C-PROP) is updated frequently and contains full transcriptions.

The LDS Church batch numbers for Bodmin are: E002751, P002751/2, M002751/2, Wesleyan C065001, Providence Chapel, Lady Huntingdon's C065011. These are searchable by surname at FamilySearch where coverage for this parish is 1558 - 1876.
 
The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1588 - 1963, Burials 1558 - 1983, Marriages 1559 - 1983, Boyd's Marriage Index 1559 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1790 - 1812, Non-Conformist records 1804 - 1837. Bible Christian Circuit areas include: Bodmin, Lanivet, Roche, Luxulyan, Withiel, and St Breock.

DIRECTORIES:

  1791, Universal British Directory 1830, Pigot's for Bodmin & Wadebridge

Other Trade Directories for Cornwall can be searched online here. For other information, see GenUKI.

OTHER:

1. Bastardy Bonds:

  1. dated 3 Oct 1741, naming William NORTHY and William NORTHY the Younger, of the Borough of Bodmin.
  2. dated 13 Sep 1778, naming John and William WHITEFIELD of the Borough of Bodmin.

2. For details of the allotting (29 Apr 1818) and transfer (22 Jun 1822 and 20 Sep 1842) of a pew in the Parish Church, click here.

3. A permit to view the Cornwall Asylum, from the 1800s

4. Settlement Papers:

  7 Aug 1734, Thomas LEGOE & family 2 Aug 1803, Grace SECOMBE (& Luxulyan)
  13 Mar 1787, Titus SECCOMBE 27 Oct 1818, Mary ROBINS (& Luxulyan)
  21 Jan 1792, Ann BURROWS (& St Breock) 8 Dec 1848, Rebecca EADY (& Luxulyan)

4. Voters Lists:

5. Indentures: mainly involving land and buildings, often naming owners and tenants

  • an agreement, dated 1685, concerning the Manor of Lancarfe and naming Richard Bullocke and Dorothy his wife and Thomas Bullocke and Jane his wife.
  • a memorandum, dated 13 Dec 1756, naming Ursula ARNOLD, William ARNOLD, Thomas & Catherine POOR, Sarah ARNOLD and Richard BLIGH.
  • dated 29 Sep 1789, naming Robert FLAMANK, Samuel FLAMANK and Nicholas PHILLIPPS.
  • dated 11 Oct 1810, involving Charles RASHLEIGH, Sarah HAMLEY, John POMEROY, Catherine PENNINGTON, George HUNT, Hender MOUNTSTEVEN, John MOUNTSTEVEN,  John BELLING the Younger, Samuel STONE and George John BLEWETT.
  • dated 12 Oct 1810, naming Charles RASHLEIGH, Sarah HAMLEY, William HAMLEY, John POMEROY, Elizabeth CORY, John and Frances KEMPE, John and Elizabeth TREFUSES, Bridget and Catherine CORY, Hoblyn PETER, John MOLESWORTH and George John BREWER.
  • dated 27 Dec 1813, naming Elizabeth PETER of Padstow and Joseph HAMLEY of Bodmin, plus several of the others mentioned above.
  • dated 28 Dec 1813, naming the same as (c).
  • dated 4 Jun 1816, naming Thomas COMMINS and William STEPHENS, James RUNNALLLS and John MARSHALL amongst others.
  • documents, dated 29 Sep 1824 and 29 Sep 1828, naming Robert Bradlick EDYVEAN of the Borough of Bodmin and William KENT and William VARCOE of the parish of St Dennis.
  • dated 20 Dec 1824, involving Lewis & Elizabeth RESCORLA, John WALLIS, Richard COOMB and several other Parish residents.
  • dated 7 Feb 1827, involving Joseph HAMLEY of the Borough of Bodmin.
  • dated 28 Jun 1827, mentioning several members of the COMMINS family, Thomas and Catherine (formerly HOCKEN) WEST and several tenants.
  • dated 12 Jun 1829, naming Edward PEARCE, John Martyn BLIGH and members of the COMMINS family.
  • dated 13 Jun 1829, mentioning Edward PEARCE, John Martyn BLIGH, members of the COMMINS family, Richard MARSHALL, John MARSHALL, James RUNNALLS, Charles COODE, Edward COODE and James SEARLE.
  • dated 12 Mar 1835, naming Joseph HAMLEY, Samuel WRIFORD, John and Elizabeth POMEROY, Catherine PENNINGTON, George John BLEWETT and William HAMLEY.
  • dated 15 Apr 1843, involving Thomas COMMINS the Elder & Younger, Richard BURROW the Younger and some other Parish residents.
  • dated 17 Jun 1843, naming Richard HOCKING, grocer, of this parish and Thomas PEARCE, the younger, of Helland.
  • dated 26 Aug 1854, relating to a. to d. above, additionally mentioning Francis Gilbert HAMLEY, Edmund Gilbert HAMLEY, Joseph Osbertus HAMLEY, Peter Edward SCOBELL, Christopher SLOGGATS, Nicholas SIBLEY, Richard COOM and William COURTENAY.
  • dated 25 Mar 1855, relating to k. above, naming similar persons as in m. above, by which time Joseph Osbertus HAMLEY was living in Wellington, New Zealand.
  • dated 31 Dec 1855, naming Edmund Gilbert HAMLEY, other members of the HAMLEY family and Mary Ann PHILLPPS.
  • dated 31 Oct 1856, concerning land known as Pophams and mentioning Edmund Gilbert HAMLEY, Richard HENDER, Charles PHILP and Anne, Baroness GRENVILLE of Dropmore, Bucks.
  • dated 21 Sep 1861, concerning Bassett's Tenement in the Parish of Ladock, but naming Richard COOM and Felix Elford COOM of Bodmin.
  • dated 11 Dec 1873, involving land and buildings and mentioning members of the MICHELL and CLARKE families, as well as their tenants.
  • dated 21 Sep 1878, naming Robert EDYVEAN and Charles Fleetwood PELLOW, concerning property in Fore Street.
  • a Statutory Declaration, dated 28 Feb 1893 and naming Richard COOM and Felix Elford COOM of Bodmin regarding Power of Attorney for Stannaway's Tenement and Bassett's or Latcher's Tenement.
  • An Indenture, dated 13 Sep 1895, between Robert Phillipps EDYVEAN, Bernard Flamank EDYVEAN and JANE WILLIAMS, also naming Jenny Beer PHILLIPPS and William PASCOE.

There are also indentures involving people from Bodmin amongst those for multiple parishes linking from here.

6. Wills:

A list of available Wills and Probate Documents. Copies of those marked as CRO can be ordered from here using the appropriate reference.  For those marked as NA enter the reference in the search box on this page and follow the onscreen instructions.

  29 Aug 1547, William BODY 28 Mar 1834, John Martyn BLIGH
  12 Feb 1556, John THAWDYE 4 Mar 1843, Will naming John Basset COLLINS of this parish.
  1567?, William MARCOMB 18 Sep 1848, Nicholas STEVENS
  15/19? Jul 1590, Christopher WALKER 26 Jun 1851, John Cole GROSE the younger
  22 Sep 1591, Thomas CORIE 26 Dec 1856, Mary Elizabeth EDYVEAN
9 Nov 1723, William PHILLIPPS 30 Nov 1863, Selina HAMLEY
  11 Dec 1742, Margery VOSPER 7 Jun 1867, William SARGEANT
  21 May 1744, Benjamin ELLIS 12 Apr 1870, Ann Julia WALLIS
  26 Jan 1745, William HANCOCK 9 Jun 1870, Susanna HAMLEY
  5 Apr 1746, John POPHAM 25 Nov 1870, William John/Tom? ELLERY
  5 Jan 1747, Catherine BRADLICK 15 Nov 1871, Richard FOWLER of Nanstallon
  30 Nov 1768, Thomas BEARD 21 Oct 1874, Probate document, Catherine BAKER
  28 Apr 1792, Robert HOOPER 6 Nov 1874, George WRIGHT
  15 Sep 1793, Grace MARSHALL 23 Oct 1875, Mary BUZZA
  21 Mar 1795, Robert EDYVEAN 30 Jan 1884, William STEVENS
4 Oct 1823, Thomas MUDGE 20 May 1885, William ROWSE
  17 Jun 1833, Elizabeth TRUSCOTT 8 Apr 1892, Gilbert SINCOCK
  13 Mar 1834, Walter Raleigh GILBERT 24 Jul 1897, Susanna OKE

7. Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway, purchase of land, dated 13 Nov 1834. Bodmin residents mentioned include John WALLIS and James LOBB.
 
8. A voting paper, dated 1 Nov 1854, naming Edmund Gilbert HAMBLY, James LIDDELL, John HARRIS and Charles Pearse TONKIN.
 
9. Directive from Bodmin Union to the Overseers of the Poor, dated 9 Nov 1895. Payment to be made to Mr Henry Durette FOSTER (Treasurer, signed by H SYMONS (Chairman), W PHILIPS and J LEAWRNE (Guardians) and P G W (Clerk).
 
10. A poem entitled Lord Lovell, by R EDYVEAN, undated. Possibly Robert, Capt. and Adjt. Artr. Volunteers, who lived at Windsor House in 1871.
 
11. Particulars of an auction of a dwellinghouse in Gaol Lane, tenant Mrs BUSCOMBE, on behalf of the estate of Matthew BUNNY, on 8 Jan 1889. View here.
 
12. Bodmin Gas Consumers' Co., Limited, Rules to be observed by the Company's Employees, undated.

Other documents mentioning several parishes, including Bodmin, can be found here.

For more information regarding history, population, etc., visit GenUKI.

MAPS:

For a zoomable and printable map of Cornwall please visit Cornwall Council’s mapping website. To see the Parish boundaries, click on the Layers Tab for Government Boundaries.

For maps and satellite images use Google Maps.

To enjoy a "walk" around this parish, search for Bodmin at http://maps.google.co.uk/, then drag the person icon from above the zoom commands and place it at a specific location on the map.

ADJACENT PARISHES:

St Breock, Egloshayle, Helland, Cardinham, Lanhydrock, Lanivet and Withiel.

CHURCHES:

Photographs and details are available on a separate page.

ONLINE BOOKS:

  1. Bodmin is included in The Parochial History of Cornwall, Volume I by Davies Gilbert, William Hals, Thomas Tonkin, Henry Samuel Boase, originally published in 1838 (page n112). Also downloadable as a pdf.
  2. Some early details of the Priory at Bodmin are included in The Parochial History of Cornwall, Volume IV.
  3. The Parochial and Family History of the Parish and Borough of Bodmin, by John Maclean, Esq., F.S.A., first published in 1870.
  4. The Cornwall Register by John Wallis, A.M. F.S.S., then Vicar of Bodmin, printed 1847. If the in-built search produces no results, use the index pages (474-476) to find your parish of interest. Tables of statistics and other data can be found at the beginning of the book, starting at page n9.
  5. Phillimore's Marriages Vol XI transcripts including Bodmin (transcribed and in our database)