Saltash, (Cornish: Essa), was originally in the Hundred of East, but the ecclesiastical parish of Saltash was not formed until 1881. Saltash was founded as a market town by the Lord of Trematon Castle in the 12th century. The town was sited at a point where an ancient highway crossed the Tamar estuary by means of a ferry. By the end of that century Saltash had achieved borough status. Saltash also developed as a port, the first to be established on the system of estuaries reaching far inland from Plymouth Sound. In consequence, the borough was entrusted with jurisdiction over all those waters, an arrangement that was challenged many times but was not terminated until 1901. Trade on the estuaries invigorated rural life in St Stephens and other adjoining parishes.
The early history of the Borough of Saltash is closely identified with that of Trematon Castle, to which it was for many years appended. Its name has undergone many modifications. Formerly called Villa de Esse, Ash or Asheborough, Saltash is a municipal borough and a corporate town and parish near the south of the Cornwall/Devon border. It is separated from Plymouth by the River Tamar. The name is of English origin: 'Salt' from the production of salt, and 'ash' from the ash tree. Its status as a borough was confirmed by Richard II in 1381. From 1642 to 1646, during the Civil Wars, Saltash, important as one of the entrances into Cornwall, was taken and retaken several times by both Royalists and Parliamentarians.
The town is picturesque, built on a steep slope of land that juts out into the Tamar. It was an important port in medieval times, but the rise of nearby Plymouth took away more and more of her trade. There was a slight revival during the mining age, but its use as a port has now finished. Its fame now is based upon Brunel's Royal Albert railway bridge which spans the estuary of the Tamar. There are many neat and tasteful villas and cottages in the parish. Saltash now offers moorings for leisure craft, and is a centre for maritime sporting activities.
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)