CORNWALL ONLINE PARISH CLERKS - helping bring the past alive

The parish of


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© Alan Rowland

MORWENSTOW (Moorwinstow, Morwinstow, Morwenstowe) is the most northerly parish in Cornwall comprising 7,956 acres. It is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and shares its Devon borders with Welcombe parish to the north and Bradworthy to the east. Its only Cornish neighbour is Kilkhampton which is on its southern border. There was, and is, considerable movement between these four parishes and all must be considered in genealogical research. Both the Tamar and Torridge rise in the parish.
There is no village of Morwenstow, the Parish church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist stands in splendid isolation in a glen facing the Atlantic, its only neighbours being the Vicarage (built by the poet priest Robert Stephen Hawker) and Rectory Farm.
Those who do not live on isolated farms are gathered in the seven hamlets – Crosstown, Woolley, Eastcott, Gooseham, Shop, Woodford, and, until 50 years ago, Coombe. Each of these hamlets, with the exception of Crosstown which is close to the parish church, had its own Methodist Chapel. Bible Christian chapels were at Eastcott, Gooseham and Coombe; Wesleyan Methodist chapels were at Woolley, Shop and Woodford. Up to 1914, there were chapels to both denominations in Woodford.
The Parish church has a complete set of Parish Registers from 1558 and the Methodist chapels were either in the Kilkhampton Wesleyan or Kilkhampton Bible Christian Circuits and have, mainly baptismal, registers from 1838.
From a high population of 1,131 in 1831, emigration nationally and internationally has reduced numbers to around the 750 mark today. Newfoundland, Canada and Australia were favourite destinations and much inducement and encouragement was used to enable those worst off to move away from low wages and grinding poverty. Researchers should bear this diaspora in mind.

Cornwall Online Parish Clerks

The volunteer Online Parish Clerk (Genealogy) for Morwenstow is Alan Rowland, who can be contacted by Email.

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



The OPC has the following resources:

1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 (Morwenstow)
1841, 1851, 1881 (Welcombe)
1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 (Lundy)

The COCP (Cornwall Online Census Project) website and FreeCen have searchable databases.


The OPC has the following resources:

The Parish Church of St John and St Morwenna Morwenstow
Births 1558 - 1901
Marriages 1558 - 1900
Deaths 1558 - 1900
The Parish Church of St Nectan's Welcombe
The Parish Church of St Helen's Lundy

Methodist Registers:

Kilkhampton Wesleyan Methodist Circuit
Baptisms 1838 - 1927
Kilkhampton Bible Christian Methodist Circuit
Baptisms 1816 - 1909
Bude Wesleyan Methodist Circuit
Baptisms 1894 - 1935
Lower Darracott Methodist Chapel
Marriages (3 only) 1927 - 1942

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


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


The OPC has the following resources:

Monumental Inscriptions:

The Parish Church of St John and St Morwenna Morwenstow
Woodford Wesleyan Chapel
Woodford Bible Christian Chapel
Shop Methodist Chapel
The Parish Church of St Nectan Welcombe
Kilkhampton MIs (Headstones removed from Inside of Church 1500 - 1900 extracted by Rector Rev Dew c1920)
Grimscott (Launcells) Methodist Chapel
Kilkhampton Wesleyan Chapel
Edistone Wesleyan Chapel
The island of Lundy

Tithe Apportionment:

Morwenstow Parish 1842

St Mark's School:

Log and admissions register
Log Books 1871 - 1997
Admissions Registers 1871 -
Manager's Minutes 1894 - 1933
School photographs 1908 - 1877

Morwenstow Parish Council:

Minutes 1894 - 2000

Morwenstow Parish Vestry:

Vestry Minutes 1852 - 1893
Candlemas/Michaelmas payments 1838 - 1896

Indentures, Bonds etc:

Apprenticeship Indentures 1715 - 1841
Bastardy Bonds 1716 - 1819 (6 documents)
Poor Law Rates 1849 - 1851
Settlement Papers 1721 - 1844 (16 documents)


Apprenticeship Documents:

  1. 1715-1797 (re-size pdf for a better view)
  2. 1803-1841 (re-size pdf for a better view)

Bastardy/Filiation Documents:

25 Feb 1716, Mary & Elizabeth PETHERICK, William KING, sr & jr 13 Oct 1808, Grace CORNISH & William HAM
  30 Jun 1746, Grace TRICK 11 May 1819, Phillippa VINSON & Daniel DENNIS
  14 Nov 1758, Mary WILLIAMS/WILLAMS & Obadiah JOHNS 7 Sep 1819, Jane BADCOCK

Memorial Inscriptions:

  1. The parish church - old & new graveyards & church interior, plus plans.
  2. Shop Methodist Chapel - inscriptions & plan.
  3. Woodford Bible Christian Chapel - inscriptions & plan.
  4. Woodford Wesleyan Chapel - inscriptions & plan.

Settlement Papers:

  15 Apr 1721, Thomas DAVIE, wife & children 15 Oct 1793, Joan GRILLS
  20 Sep 1761, Richard FURSE 4 Aug 1815, Nicholas BAILEY
  12 Jun 1769, William WACKLEY 18 Dec 1815, John GREENAWAY (request for advice)
  7 Nov 1769, Edward SHUTE 26 Dec 1821, Thomas WAKLEY
  7 Nov 1769, George WALKEY 0 Mar 1844, John MAKER & family

Voters Lists:

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


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.

  7 Nov 1594, Sybell CRELACKE 22 Nov 1748, Julian GUY
  19 Feb 1605, John HILL, the elder 13 Sep 1766, Bridget WADDON
  2 Apr 1616, George BORROWE 24 Oct 1779, Oliver ROUSE, vicar
6 Mar 1619, John COLE 14 Apr 1785, Lawrance/Laurance BRAGINTON
  15 May 1643, Tymothy BROWNINGE 3 Aug 1785, Richard TUCKER
  6 Feb 1649, Peter HUSBAND als BARTHOLOMEW 14 Apr 1787, Ezekiel ROUSE of Welwyn, Herts
  1 Oct 1650, Honor VOSPER 12 Feb 1795, John TUCKER
1 Mar 1651, Thomas AMELY 22 Apr 1795, Elizabeth EASTCOTT
  28 Mar 1655, Thomas DEANE 29 Apr 1795, Elizabeth WADDON
  Nov 1655, Hugh DARKE (nuncupative) 26 Oct 1801, Zachariah HAMMETT
  30 Mar 1656, John CHIBBOT (nuncupative) 18 Nov 1801, Joseph BORROW
  20 May 1658, William CHING 1 May 1806, Ezekiel Athanasius ROUSE, proved 1822/1832
  16 Oct 1658, Thomas COOKE 3 Aug 1809, James MARTIN
  10 Aug 1695, John WADDON 6 Oct 1810, Henry ADAMS
  29 Aug 1726, Thomas WADDON 5 May 1820, Barbara TINNEY (proved 1830)
  13 Aug 1728, Grace CORYNDON 1821, Charles ADAMS, administration documents (intestate)
  19 Apr 1729, Peter BURROW 14 Aug 1823, John BURROW otherwise KITE
12 Jun 1735, Damaris BURROW 3 Mar 1835, William FRY
  4 Apr 1740, Laurence BRAGINTON 7 Dec 1837, Jane ADAMS
  19 May 1742, John CHOLWILL 6 Apr 1846, Catherine Clarke MANNNG
  27 Sep 1743, Joseph VINCENT, proved 1752 3 Nov 1846, Mary HUTCHINGS
  23 Jan 1746, John STANBURY 22 May 1856, Ezekiel Athanasius ROUSE
  14 Aug 1748, Jone GOODING  


A map of settlements, roads & footpaths within the parish.

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 Morwenstow at, then drag the person icon from above the zoom commands and place it at a specific location on the map.


Kilkhampton and Welcombe, Devon. For information on the latter, please contact Alan Rowland.


  1. Morwenstow is included in The Parochial History of Cornwall, Volume III by Davies Gilbert, William Hals, Thomas Tonkin, Henry Samuel Boase, originally published in 1838. Also downloadable as a pdf from here.
  2. Phillimore's Marriages Vol XVII transcripts including Morwenstow (Morwinstow) (transcribed and in our database).