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CORNWALL

"Cornwall - maritime County of England, forming its SW extremity; is bounded by Devon on the East, and washed on all the other sides by the sea; length, NE and SW, 75 miles; average breadth, 22 miles; coast line, about 200 miles; area, 863,065 acres, population 330,686. The South coast is much and deeply indented, and has some good harbours. The principal openings from West to East are Mounts Bay, Falmouth Bay and Harbour, St Austell Bay, Fowey Harbour, Whitsand Bay, and Plymouth Sound. Falmouth is one of the finest harbours in Britain. The indentations on the North consist of shallow bays with few or no harbours. The chief promontories are Land's End, where the granite cliffs are about 60 ft. high; and the Lizard, the most southerly point of England. The Isles of Scilly lie off Land's End, 25 miles to the SW. The Devonian range extends NE and SW, rising in Brown Willy to an altitude of 1368 feet.  The streams are numerous, but small. The principal are the Tamar (which forms the boundary with Devon), Lyhner, Fowey, and Camel. There is much barren moorland, but the soil in the valleys is fertile. The prevailing rock is granite, of a grey or bluish-grey colour, which often rises above the surface in huge, rugged masses; clay slate also abounds. The tin and copper mines of Cornwall have been celebrated from remote ages, having been known, it is supposed, to the Phoenicians. Some of them are of very great depth, and have been carried beneath the sea. Silver, lead, zinc, arsenic, antimony, and bismuth are also found in considerable quantities. The fisheries, especially of pilchard and mackerel, are extensive and valuable. The county comprises 9 Hundreds, plus the Isles of Scilly, 219 parishes, the parliamentary borough of Penryn and Falmouth (1 member), and the municipal boroughs of Bodmin, Falmouth, Helston, Launceston, Liskeard, Penryn, Penzance, St Ives, and Truro. It is entirely in the diocese of Truro."
From Bartholomew's Gazetteer 1887.

Cornwall is watered by six principal rivers: the Tamar, Lynher, Fowey, Camel (or Alan), Fal and Hayle. There are numerous minor rivers and streams in the county which serve to drain the land.

INFORMATION RELATED TO ALL OF CORNWALL

Map showing position of Cornwall

Archives & Libraries

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Bibliography

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Cemeteries

Most records for cemeteries are held by the Local District Council, NOT the Cornwall Record Office. There are few monumental inscriptions (MIs) in existance (comparatively speaking) that are dated before 1800 and only about 30% of graves had stones. In Cornwall, since about 1950, cremation has been an increasing alternative for burials but this has been an option in England since about 1930.
The Cornwall Family History Society has a name index to monumental inscriptions from many Cornish churchyards. This is computer-based in order to provide a search service. The CFHS has transcribed over 90% of Cornish parish churchyards. There are a large number of non-parish burials grounds and, whilst many of these have not been covered, the CFHS have set up a project to identify those missing and transcribe and data enter the information from them. Some Burial Grounds contain data from as early as 1259, with many starting in the 1600's.
The Cornish Cemeteries project began with an effort to provide on-line access, in the form of one index, to the work of Suezan James (now Elliott). During 1998-99 Suezan transcribed the details on headstones in a number of cemeteries in the West Penwith area of Cornwall. An estimated 20,000 inscriptions were transcribed by the end of 2001, although the number of deaths recorded is significantly higher when it is considered that there are often three or more individuals included on a single headstone. This work continues.

See also:
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Census

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Chronology

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Church History

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Church Records

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Civil Registration

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Correctional Institutions

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Court Records

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Description & Travel

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Directories

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Emigration & Immigration

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Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Abbreviations Occurring in 17th Century Records are explained on-line. This list, additionally, gives the explanation to other more common abbreviations, including honours and awards, given to, or used by, British servicemen/women and civilians.
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Folklore

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Gazetteer

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Genealogy

If you are having problems researching your family history in Cornwall, or you want to contribute to this corporate knowledge base, there is a HELP page available.
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Handwriting

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Heraldry

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Historical Geography

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History

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Jewish History

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Land & Property

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Language & Languages

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Manors

Information on Manorial records is available. The Cornwall County Council have listed Cornish Manors in their parishes on-line. Detailed information at parish level, where known, will be found on the appropriate parish page.
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Maps

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Medical Records

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Merchant Marine

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Military History

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Military Records

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Names, Geographical

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Names, Personal

Surnames, as we know them today, did not always exist. In celtic times, names usually consisted of a single name with the appendage relating to 'son of'. With the growing population and small number of Christian names then in use, surnames were introduced in France in the 11th century. It was not until much later, as taxation became more widespread, that they came into use in England. Various methods were used in giving surnames: the placename or geographic location in which a person lived, one's occupation (Carpenter, Mason, Chapman -- a travelling salesman), the employer's name, physical characteristic (Redhead, Armstrong) or even a nickname. Dr. Stoate has written that, certainly in West Cornwall, the father's Christian name was sometimes used as a surname for a son; he quoted the 1522 "Subsidies" which showed a Richard Jacka and a John Richard living at the same address in St. Keverne. By 1524 they had become Richard Jacka and his son John!
Celtic nations have an unusually large number of surnames stemming from a first name e.g. Andrews, Arthur, Edwards, Harry, Jane, Johns, Martin, Peters, Richards, Sarah, Thomas, Williams, etc.
From an analysis of the 19th century censuses and parish registers, the most common surname in Cornwall is WILLIAMS.
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Newspapers

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Nobility

The Duke of Cornwall. The Dukedom of Cornwall was the first dukedom created in the peerage of England. The dukedom is the last in the United Kingdom still associated with an actual duchy: the Duchy of Cornwall. The Prince of Wales became the 24th Duke of Cornwall on The Queen's accession to the throne, in 1952. When he was 21 in 1969, he became entitled to the full income of the Duchy and took over its management. The Duke of Cornwall is not, therefore, dependent on any public funding.
The Duchy of Cornwall is one of the largest and oldest landed estates in Britain. It was created in 1337 by Edward III for his son, Prince Edward (The Black Prince). A charter ruled that each future Duke of Cornwall would be the eldest surviving son of the monarch - and the Heir to The Throne of the United Kingdom.
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Occupations

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Officials & Employees

There was a Reeve (law officer) for every Hundred, presided over by the Shire (County) Reeve of Cornwall. The office of Shire Reeve (Sheriff) is the oldest law office in the world; it dates from Saxon times. A list of the High Sheriffs of Cornwall from 1139 up to 2012 is available.
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Periodicals

THE GENTLEMAN's MAGAZINE was published monthly from 1731 until the late 19th Century. The early editions of the magazine are of interest to genealogists because they contain details of many births, deaths and marriages. Frequently, biographical details were also included. Also, under the heading of "Accidents & Occurrences" are recorded the daily mishaps which befell individuals and which were recorded in the press. If you are lucky, you might find an interesting anecdote about an ancestor that you will not find elsewhere. Finally, there's a grim record of many executions. The contents of this magazine which relate to Cornwall can be found on-line courtesy of the Bodlean Library, Oxford. You must enter the search term: Cornwall.
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Politics & Government

Information on the modern Stannary Parliament of Cornwall is available.
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Poorhouses, Poorlaw, etc.

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Population

At the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086, the entire population of Cornwall was reckoned to be around 25,000.

In the middle of the 14th century, the population of Cornwall suffered badly from the effects of The Black Death (Bubonic Plague), which had reduced it by nearly two-thirds. In 1377 a poll-tax census was taken, when it was found that, exclusive of children under 14 and mendicants, the entire population of Cornwall did not exceed 34,960 persons (Polsue).

By 1570 the population has been calculated at just less than 70,000 which had grown to almost 108,000 by the time of the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.

The recorded population figures of Cornwall in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries are:
  • In 1801 the population of Cornwall was 188,269 persons.
  • In 1811 the population of Cornwall was 216,667 persons.
  • In 1821 the population of Cornwall was 257,447 persons.
  • In 1831 the population of Cornwall was 300,938 persons.
  • In 1841 the population of Cornwall was 341,279 persons.
  • In 1851 the population of Cornwall was 355,558 persons.
  • In 1861 the population of Cornwall was 369,390 persons.
  • In 1871 the population of Cornwall was 358,356 persons.
  • In 1881 the population of Cornwall was 330,686 persons.
  • In 1891 the population of Cornwall was 322,571 persons.
  • In 1901 the population of Cornwall was 318,591 persons.
  • In 1911 the population of Cornwall was 328,098 persons.
  • In 1921 the population of Cornwall was 320,705 persons.
  • In 1931 the population of Cornwall was 317,968 persons.
  • In 1951 the population of Cornwall was 345,442 persons.
  • In 1961 the population of Cornwall was 342,301 persons.
  • In 1971 the population of Cornwall was 381,672 persons.
  • In 1981 the population of Cornwall was 418,631 persons.
  • In 1991 the population of Cornwall was 468,425 persons.
  • In 2001 the population of Cornwall was 501,267 persons.
  • In 2011 the population of Cornwall was 535,300 persons
Source: Office of National Statistics.
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Probate Records

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Public Records

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Religion & Religious Life

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Schools

Before the Education Act of 1902 the training of teachers was largely carried out under a pupil-teacher system, first established in 1846, but after the Elementary Education Act 1870 their instruction was undertaken at separate establishments called pupil-teacher centres, run by local school boards, with teaching practice at their elementary schools.
Pupil-teachers were prepared for the Queen's/King's Scholarship Examination........Successful Queen's (King's) scholars had the opportunity of attending training colleges for 2 or 3 years. These were residential colleges, mostly Church of England, run by voluntary societies with some government subsidy and modelled on Battersea Normal School. Building grants for training colleges were authorised by Privy Council Minutes of 1843 and 1844. The Church of England founded many Diocesan Teachers Training Colleges as early as the 1840s.

(See National Archives Leaflet 110 for further details of available records for teachers.
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Social Life & Customs

A Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs to 1516 was compiled by Dr Samantha Letters at the Centre for Metropolitan History, and is organised by county. It includes a brief summary of the early history of many large and small places, with details of markets and fairs and the people granted the right to hold them.
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Societies

In addition to numerous local and family history societies which operate at parish or regional level, there a a number of societies operating at county level. Those concerned with Cornwall are:
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Statistics

Information Statistics. GBHGIS - A Vision of Britain through Time is a website containing information about local areas from the 2001 census, and from every earlier British census back to 1801. In time, it will contain a systematic historical gazetteer covering the administrative units of Great Britain over the last two centuries.

There are also a number of statistical themes: Population, Life and Death, Industry, Work and Poverty, Social Structure, Housing, Learning and Religion. You can, for example, compare infant mortality in 1851 in a chosen area with infant mortality in the same area today.
Area Statistics. The area of Cornwall has, over the years, varied; this is mainly due to the effects of boundary changes on its eastern border with Devon. The area was not recorded in the censuses of 1801 to 1821, so the following lists the area as recorded in the various censuses from 1831:
  • In 1831 the county of Cornwall consisted of 854,770 acres.
  • In 1841 the county of Cornwall consisted of 854,770 acres.
  • In 1851 the county of Cornwall consisted of 873,600 acres.
  • In 1861 the county of Cornwall consisted of 873,600 acres.
  • In 1871 the county of Cornwall consisted of 885,541 acres.
  • In 1881 the county of Cornwall consisted of 863,665 acres.
  • In 1891 the county of Cornwall consisted of 868,208 acres.
  • In 1901 the county of Cornwall consisted of 886,304 acres.
  • In 1911 the county of Cornwall consisted of 868,167 acres.
  • In 1921 the county of Cornwall consisted of 868,167 acres.
  • In 1931 the county of Cornwall consisted of 868,167 acres.
  • In 1961 the county of Cornwall consisted of 868,167 acres.
  • In 1951 the county of Cornwall consisted of 868,167 acres.
  • In 1961 the county of Cornwall consisted of 868,167 acres.
  • In 1971 the county of Cornwall consisted of 880,319 acres.
  • In 1981 the county of Cornwall consisted of 880,734 acres.
  • In 1991 the county of Cornwall consisted of 880,828 acres.
  • In 2001 the county of Cornwall consisted of 000,000 acres.
Source: Office of National Statistics.
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Visitations, Heraldic

The Heralds' Visitation is the process of checking 'achievement' (or entitlement to bear a coat-of-arms). The heralds were sent out by the Royal Court to ascertain whether a person was entitled to a coat of arms or not. They would visit an area and set up what amounted to a court and all the armigers of the area had to present proof of entitlement by showing lineage to the original armiger who obtained the arms. Those who could, kept their entitlement; those who could not had their arms (achievement) struck down. The Visitation contains full pedigrees (tree diagrams) of some families, in alphabetical order, as at the Visitation date. (An index is included, as each family also contains names of other people marrying into the family). The Visitation may also include transcripts of parish registers and other notes relating to some families. The pedigrees in many cases go back many generations before 1620 to Norman times.
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Information on Cornwall's Towns & Parishes are listed on a separate page

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This county is maintained by Ian Argall with help and information provided by a number of assistants.

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