The parish of Roche, (Cornish: An Garrrek), is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Powder. It is bounded on the north by St Wenn and Withiel, on the east by Lanivet and Luxulyan, on the south by St Austell and St Stephens-in-Brannel, and on the west by St Dennis and St Columb Major. It is named after the prominent granite tor, known as 'Roche Rock', upon the top of which, according to the legend, a hermit decided to build his cell. It was only accessible by ladders and there are many versions as to who was its occupant. It is now delapidated; portions of the north wall have fallen and the fragment of tracery that remained in the east window has disappeared.
Roche parish is located on high ground north of St Austell, surrounded by moorland wastes. The clay-mining villages of Stenalees and Bugle (also once known as Carn Rosemary) are to the south-east. Tin was also once mined on the Goss Moor. Both the rivers Par and Fal rise in this parish. The chief villages were the Churchtown, Belovely, Tregoss and Tresease.
Most parish and church description(s) on these pages are from Lake's Parochial History of the County of Cornwall by J Polsue (Truro, 1867 - 1873)
Census information for this parish (1841 - 1901) is held in the Cornwall Record Office. The Cornwall Family History Society offers a census search service for its members.
Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:
Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW9859 and was dedicated to St Goemandus, Conandus, Conant or Gonnet. It was originally arcaded as most of the neighbouring churches are, but was rebuilt in 1822 and is now a plain parallelogram with a north transept, entered through a chamfered pointed arch. The west end is travered by a low gallery. The church has a fine Norman font of the Bodmin pattern made from Pentewan stone. The entrances to the church are a south porch and a priest's door. The 15th century tower of moorstone granite ashlar rises to a height of some 85 feet and forms a well-known landmark; it consists of three stages, is buttressed on the square and embattled. It once had pinnacles, the octagonal bases of which, springing from angel corbels, still remain. It carries a peal of eight bells.
It is likely that there was a Saxon building before the Norman Church was built by the Lords of Tremodrett. The Norman Church was largely rebuilt in the 14th century and restored in 1820-2 and again in 1890.
Non-Conformist. There was a large Wesleyan Methodist chapel, with a cemetery adjoining, in the Churchtown; it was built in 1833. There were Bible Christian chapels as Tresease, Tremonds, Tregoss, Belovely, and Mount Pleasant; at the last named place there is also a cemetery.
The parish of Roche has been in the Registration District of St Austell continuously from 1st July 1837. There were sub-districts at Fowey, Grampound, Mevagissey and St Austell, but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Creed, Fowey, Gorran, Grampound, Mevagissey, Roche, St. Austell, St. Blazey, St. Dennis, St. Ewe, St. Mewan, St. Michael Carhays, St. Sampson, St. Stephen in Brannel, Tywardreath.
The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: 12 Carlyon Road, St Austell, PL25 4LD. Tel: 01726 68974. Fax: 01726 68974.
The Domesday Settlements of Cornwall, a study undertaken by the Cornwall Branch of the Historical Association, has identified and located settlements listed in the Exeter and Exchequer Domesday Survey of AD 1086. The following places have been identified in Roche ecclesiastical parish: