The parish of
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.
© 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
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
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.
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, 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.
The Online Parish Clerk (Genealogy) for Bodmin is Kay Halley,
who can be contacted at
For information about, and contact details for,
the current town
council please see
Contact details for the church can be found
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.
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.
Universal British Directory
1830, Pigot's for Bodmin & Wadebridge
Directories for Cornwall can be searched online
other information, see
1. Bastardy Bonds:
- dated 3
Oct 1741, naming William NORTHY and William NORTHY the Younger, of the
Borough of Bodmin.
- 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,
A permit to view the
Cornwall Asylum, from the 1800s
4. Settlement Papers:
4. Voters Lists:
Indentures: mainly involving land and buildings, often
naming owners and tenants
- an agreement,
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
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
- 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
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,
28 Mar 1834, John Martyn
1556, John THAWDYE
4 Mar 1843, Will naming John Basset COLLINS of this parish.
18 Sep 1848, Nicholas STEVENS
1590, Christopher WALKER
26 Jun 1851,
John Cole GROSE the younger
22 Sep 1591,
26 Dec 1856, Mary Elizabeth EDYVEAN
Nov 1723, William PHILLIPPS
30 Nov 1863, Selina HAMLEY
1742, Margery VOSPER
7 Jun 1867, William SARGEANT
21 May 1744,
12 Apr 1870, Ann Julia WALLIS
Jan 1745, William HANCOCK
9 Jun 1870, Susanna HAMLEY
5 Apr 1746,
25 Nov 1870, William John/Tom? ELLERY
Jan 1747, Catherine BRADLICK
||15 Nov 1871, Richard FOWLER of Nanstallon
||30 Nov 1768, Thomas BEARD
21 Oct 1874, Probate document,
28 Apr 1792, Robert HOOPER
6 Nov 1874,
Sep 1793, Grace MARSHALL
23 Oct 1875, Mary BUZZA
21 Mar 1795, Robert EDYVEAN
30 Jan 1884, William STEVENS
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
Jul 1897, Susanna OKE
7. Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway,
purchase of land,
dated 13 Nov 1834. Bodmin residents mentioned include John WALLIS and James LOBB.
A voting paper,
dated 1 Nov 1854, naming Edmund Gilbert HAMBLY, James LIDDELL, John HARRIS and
Charles Pearse TONKIN.
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).
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.
12. Bodmin Gas Consumers' Co., Limited,
to be observed by the Company's Employees, undated.
Other documents mentioning several parishes,
including Bodmin, can be found
For more information regarding history,
population, etc., visit GenUKI.
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
To enjoy a "walk" around this parish, search for Bodmin at
drag the person icon from above the zoom commands and place it at a
specific location on the map.
Photographs and details are available on a separate page.
- 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.
Some early details of the Priory at Bodmin are included in
The Parochial History of Cornwall, Volume IV.
The Parochial and Family History of the Parish and Borough of Bodmin,
by John Maclean, Esq., F.S.A., first published in 1870.
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
Phillimore's Marriages Vol
XI transcripts including Bodmin
(transcribed and in our