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Boconnoc

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The parish is named after the Old Cornish for 'Dwelling place of Conoc' (Cornish: Boskennek). It is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Bochenod. At that time, it is recorded as having land for 8 ploughs but only one plough there with one slave. There were 2 villagers and 6 smallholders. The parish then consisted of 100 acres of woodland and 40 acres of pasture.

Boconnoc is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of West; it has on its north Broadoak (Braddock), on the east Lanreath, on the south St Veep, and on the west St Winnow. The parish essentially covers the Park and Estate of Boconnoc House, of which the parish church is part. The parsonage and glebe of Boconnoc were annexed to the park and grounds of Boconnoc House, by Act of Parliament, in 1806 when a new rectory house was built at Broadoak (Bradock) to serve both parishes. The old parsonage became the home of the Steward of the Boconnoc Estate, and is located behind Boconnoc House in a secluded valley, among majestic trees.

Three miles east of Lostwithiel, Boconnoc can trace its history back to the Normans. The estate and house were taxed in the Domesday Roll A.D.1087. The first recorded owners were the De Cant family (1268) and in 1320 - 1386, the Manor was owned by the Carminows. Latterly by Sir Oliver Carminow who married a daughter of Joan Holland (The Fair Maid of Kent), a grand-daughter of Edward I who then married the Black Prince as her second husband, for whom the Duchy of Cornwall was created. Through the centuries, Boconnoc has been associated with many of this country's famous names and history-makers including Lord Russell, Earl of Bedford who sold Boconnoc in 1579 to Sir William Mohun who rebuilt it. Later, Thomas Pitt purchased the estate with the proceeds of the famous Pitt Diamond which he sold to the Regent of France where it ended up in the hilt of Napoleon's sword. Pitt's grandson, William, became Prime Minister. Eventually, the estate was bequeathed to the Fortescue family who still own it although, since 1969 the house has not been lived in due to deterioration and subsidence.

During the Second World War, Boconnoc House and the surrounding buildings were occupied by American troops and the grounds used as an ammunition dump in preparation for the invasion of Europe in 1944. In the grounds (actually the largest park in Cornwall) can be seen the church, of which the dedication is unknown, but was thought to have been consecrated in 1413. The most prominent monument is the Obelisk which is 123 feet high and was erected in 1771 by Thomas Pitt, 1st Lord Camelford, in memory of his wife's uncle and benefactor, Sir Richard Lyttelton. It is situated between Boconnoc and Braddock churches in the middle of an old military entrenchment near to where the Battle of Braddock Down was fought in the Civil War 1642-1646. During this period Boconnoc was involved in two significant battles. In January 1643 the Parliament forces under Col. Ruthven impatiently attempted to enter Cornwall, which was strongly Royalist. The opposing forces met near Braddock Church, the Royalists being commanded by Bevil Grenville and Ralph Hopton (both subsequently Knighted) marching from Boconnoc Park where they had bivouacked overnight. In a short time the Parliament forces were routed. A more important clash took place the following year when the King's cause was beginning to wane. Lord Robartes of Lanhydrock (a sour Puritan) had indicated to the Earl of Essex, then commander-in-chief of the Parliament Army, that the Cornish were ready to surrender. Essex marched into the west, to be met by a strong force under Richard Grenville and Lord Goring and found he was pursued from the east by no less a person than the King with an a army of several thousands. The King made his headquarters at Boconnoc and the unfortunate Roundheads were gradually squeezed into Lostwithiel and Fowey, to their ultimate surrender at Castle Dore.

There are approximately 100 head of deer in the Deer Park contained within the grounds and also a garden of 20 acres which is open in the Spring for various charities. Boconnoc House and Park have been used for numerous film locations including the BBC Poldark series and scenes from the 1993 film of The Three Musketeers.
The village of Couches Mill lies three-quarters of a mile south of Boconnoc House and 3 miles east of Lostwithiel.

Cemeteries

The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for the Parish Church - 420 entries.

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Census

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. The Cornwall Family History Society have also published on-line census detail by surname on the FamilyHistoryonLine site.

Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:

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Church History

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Church Records

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Civil Registration

The parish of Boconnoc has always been in the Liskeard Registration District. There were sub-districts at Callington, Lerrin, Liskeard and Looe. Parishes within the district are: Boconnoc, Broadoak, Callington, Calstock (1837-60), Duloe, East Looe, Lanreath, Lansallos, Lanteglos, Linkinhorne, Liskeard, Liskeard Borough, Menheniot, Morval, Pelynt, St. Cleer, St. Dominick, St. Ive, St. Keyne, St. Martin's, St. Neot, St. Pinnock, St. Veep, Southill, Talland and West Looe. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Graylands, Dean Street, Liskeard, PL14 4AH. Tel: 01579 343442.

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Description & Travel

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Genealogy

OPC Assistance. The On-line Parish Clerk (OPC) scheme operates a service to help family historians; the OPC page for this parish is available on-line, from where the OPC can be contacted by email.

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History

Boconnoc can trace its history back to the Norman Conquest.

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Historical Geography

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 Boconnoc ecclesiastical parish:

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Maps

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Occupations

Apprenticeship Indentures for Boconnoc (1802 - 1828) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.

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Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

Boconnoc parish was part of the Liskeard Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief. Overseers' Accounts 1812 to 1837 are available in the Cornwall Record Office.

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Population

  • Population in 1801 - 212 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 236 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 253 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 259 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 312 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 343 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 323 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 338 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 267 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 314 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 221 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 249 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 231 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 237 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 189 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 159 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 141 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 140 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 125 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 121 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 96 persons

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Religion and Religious Life

In the May of 1641 it was agreed and ordered that every Member of the House of Commons and House of Lords should make a protestation (declaration of loyalty) to the crown. The Protestation was printed and then distributed by the Members to their counties. The Protestation was to be made by everyone and the Rectors, Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor, had to appear before the Justices of the Peace in their Hundred to make their protestation and, on returning to their parishes, any two of them were to witness the taking of the Protestation Oath by all males over the age of 18 years. All names were listed and anyone who refused was to be noted.

The Protestation Returns of 1642 for Boconnoc are available on-line.

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Statistics

The parish contains 2230 acres of land.

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