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The parish of

ST STEPHEN BY LAUNCESTON

PARISH INFORMATION

BRIEF DESCRIPTION:

St Stephen by Launceston
Sketch Plan showing approximate location of nearby Parishes
 
St Stephen by Launceston lies between Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor on the border with Devon and is approximately equidistant between the north and south coasts. The parish is also bounded on three sides by rivers: on the south by the Kensey, on the east by the Tamar and on the north by the Ottery.
 
The Parish is in the Launceston Registration District.
 
It is located in the Anglican Diocese of Truro and is attached to the Deanery of Trigg Major in the Archdeaconry of Bodmin. The Parish of St Stephen-by-Launceston is now part of the United Parish of Launceston, the other parts being St Mary Magdalene, Launceston and St Thomas-by-Launceston.
 
The parish contains the villages of Langore, Truscott, Yeolmbridge, Newport, Dutson and St Stephens.
 
It is mainly an agricultural area but there has been manganese mining and limestone quarrying in the Kensey valley as well as a stone quarry near Truscott (for further information see 'Mining and Quarrying in the Kensey Valley' details in the Suggested Reading Section at the bottom of this page). There were a number of tanneries by the river Kensey near Newport, none of which operate today, a serge factory at Town Mills and several wash-houses and other
woollen and combing establishments both nearby in the parish of St Thomas-by-Launceston and up the hill in Launceston. There was also employment in straw hat making and at Eyre’s Mineral Water factory in the early 19th century in Launceston. Before the Norman Conquest St Stephens was previously known as Lanscauestone, while across the valley to the south-east lay Dunhuet. It was at Lanscauestone that St Stephens’s church stood, a college of secular priests flourished with its own mint and market, and a community thrived around it.

Robert de Mortain, William the Conqueror’s half-brother, was given substantial property throughout the country but his greatest strength lay in Cornwall with 247 manors. Dunhuet was a site of great strategic importance, standing on high ground and near the main crossing point into Cornwall at Polson. So it was here that Robert built a wooden castle (which was replaced by the present castle made of stone in the 13th century) and where he set up his court and administrative centre.
 
The town grew in size around the castle and when first the market and then the mint, which was operating from its old
St Stephen by Launceston
The Church of St Stephen
location until the end of the 12th century, were transferred from Lanscauestone to Dunhuet, the former settlement’s importance diminished as the latter’s increased, and in time Dunhuet became known as Lanscauestone, while the former settlement became known as St Stephens.
 
There has been a church dedicated to St Stephen on the site since the 10th century. The present church was built in the early 13th century. In about 1100 St Stephen’s college was converted into a foundation of regular canons. Forty or so years later it was involved in disputes between King Stephen and the landowning barons. As a result the tower was destroyed by the Earl of Cornwall as it was being used as a currency store. Following this it was decided to build a new priory down in the valley by the river Kensey and the canons moved there in 1155.
 
St Stephen’s church was re-consecrated in 1259 and the tower was rebuilt in the early 1500’s with a legacy of forty marks from Dame Thomasine Percival, Lady Mayoress of London, and formerly Thomasine Bonaventure, a native of Week St Mary.
 

The Online Parish Clerk (Genealogy) for this parish is Janet Thomas, who can be contacted by email.

For information about (and contact details for) the current rural parish council, please see this website.
Contact details for the church can be found by searching here.


CENSUS:

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

REGISTERS:

For Parish Register information and other resources, please see our online searchable database (C-PROP) which is updated frequently. The parish coverage page is here.

DIRECTORIES:

  1830, Pigot's Directory for Launceston & Newport  

For more information, see GenUKI or visit the University of Leicester's Historical Directories website.

OTHER:

Settlement Papers:

  1. 9 Sep 1746, John HAWKIN
  2. 28 Jun 1785, William & Catherine CREEPER
  3. 28 Jun 1785, William & Catherine TUCKER

Voters Lists:

  1. 1851/52
  2. 1852/53
  3. 1856/57
  4. 1864/65

Wills:

  19 Mar 1738, John EDGCOMBE 15 Sep 1750, William HODGE

For more information regarding History, Population, and much more, 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 Launceston 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:

Egloskerry, St. Thomas by Launceston, Launceston, Lawhitton, Lifton (Devon), Werrington and North Petherwin.

SUGGESTED READING:

A series of well researched and informative monographs written by Launceston U.3.A., Local History Group and Friends of Lawrence House Museum, Launceston, are available from ‘The Book Shop’, Church Street, Launceston or Lawrence House and cover a range of interesting topics.
Because the parishes of St Mary Magdalene, Launceston, St Thomas-by-Launceston and St Stephen-by-Launceston are interrelated I include the entire list.

A Thousand Years of Launceston. Compiled by Patrick Hutton.
 
Mary, Mary Magdalene, A History of the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Launceston. Compiled by Patrick Hutton.
 
Education Launceston’s Children. Compiled by Margaret Jarvis.
 
No 1. Two Geniuses of Alternun, The Story of the Mathematician and Astronomer, John Couch Adams and the Sculptor, Neville Northey Burnard. Compiled by Basil Ward.
 
No 2. Lepers at St. Leonard’s. A history of the Leper Colony at Gilmartin from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Compiled by Margaret Jarvis.
 
No 3. Of Lakes and Leats. The development of the water supplies for Launceston Town. Research by Jim Edwards.
 
No 4. Cornish Convicts. Information on the Cornish men and women who sailed to New South Wales, Australia with the First Fleet of convicts in 1787. Research by Basil Ward
 
No 5. Philip Gidley King 1758 – 1808. Third Governor of New South Wales 1800 – 1806. Research by Carol Bunbury.
 
No 6. Religious Persecution in Launceston. Agnes Prest, Cuthbert Mayne & George Fox. Research by Ann Raymont.
 
No 7. Prisoners of War in Launceston 1940 – 1945. Research by Jake Jackson & Basil Ward.
 
No 8. The Launceston Union Workhouse, 1838 – 1948. Research by Patrick Hutton.
 
No 9. Parliamentary Representation in Launceston, 1295 – 1832. Research by Jake Jackson.
 
No 10. Launceston Priory 1126 – 1539. Research and illustrations by Arthur Wills.
 
No 11. The Pearses of Lawrence House. Research by Margaret Jarvis.
 
No 12. The Public Houses of Launceston. Research by Miriam Mincher. Background material by Margaret Jarvis.
 
No 13. Mining and Quarrying in the Kensey Valley. Research by Diana Sutherland. Illustrations by Norman Preston.
 
No 14. Launceston Shops 1902 – 2003. Research by Launceston U3A Local History Group and compiled by Carol Bunbury.
 
No 15. Reminiscences of Launceston by John Ching. Researched and edited by Jake Jackson.
 
Launceston: Some Pages in History (A local interest book with a lot of Launceston history supported by black and white photographs) by Joan Rendell. Landfall Publications.
 
The archive photographs series - Around Launceston (A pictorial history of Launceston and the surrounding area, from South Petherwin to Yeolmbridge, with nearly 200 old photographs) compiled by Joan Rendell. Tempus Publishing.
 
Old Launceston (local interest book with 52 black and white photographs of old Launceston) by John Neale. Stenlake Publishing.

ONLINE BOOKS:

  1. St Stephen by Launceston is included in The Parochial History of Cornwall, Volume III by Davies Gilbert, William Hals, Thomas Tonkin, Henry Samuel Boase, originally published in 1838 (page 456). Also downloadable as a pdf from here.
  2. Phillimore's Marriages Vol XXIII transcripts including St Stephen by Lainceston (transcribed and in our database). For the Contents page, keep clicking Next until page 7/153 appears.