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Help and advice for Breage

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Originally called St Breock-in-Kirrier (Kerrier), St Breaca or St Briack, the parish is now just called 'Breage' (Cornish: Eglospennbro). It is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Kirrier (Kerrier), and is bounded on the north by Crowan, on the east by Sithney, on the west by St Hilary and Germoe, and on the south by the sea. The parish of Breage is named after Saint Breage and is either pronounced 'Braig', or 'Breeg' as it is now more often heard.

Tregoning Hill (596 feet) and Godolphin Hill (495 feet) are in this parish. On the top of the former are the remains of a large Iron Age fort. It appears to have been of great strength and was one of the largest of the kind in Cornwall. The granite on Tregoning was of two types: one was used for ornamental building under the name of Breage stone; the other, abounding in talc, was worked as china clay.

Besides the Churchtown, the principal villages in this parish are: Ashton, Trew, Rinsey, Kenegy, Hendra, Tregunno, Trescow, Trevervas and Herland (where the Godolphin church stood). The fishing village of Porthleven was partly in this parish and partly in Sithney. The two new parishes of Godolphin and Porthleven were created from parts of this parish in 1846.

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)

Archives and Libraries


  • A book entitled Story of an Ancient Parish - Breage with Germoe, Index & Chapter 8, is available on-line.



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:


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Breage area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

  • Anglican. The parish Church is located in OS Grid Square SW6128 and was dedicated to St Breaca in 1130. The church boasts one of the most remarkable wall paintings belonging to a style which has been labelled "Christ as Piers Plowman". It depicts a crowned near naked and wounded figure of Christ surrounded by the tools of husbandry, fishing, cloth and metal-working trades. In the many wounds is, perhaps, a message about man's sins and the continuing Passion of Christ.
    Breage has a fine 15th century Church; it stands on a hill with views across to the sea. It comprises a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, and north and south transepts. The arcades are each of seven semi-circular arches and pillars of granite. The north transept has a flat massive roof of oak, with well-carved bosses. This was the burial place of Margaret, the wife of Sidney, first Earl of Godolphin, and daughter of Col. Thomas Blague. The tall tower is embattled with pinnacles at each corner. The porch is of granite, inside the nave and aisles with carved beams give a feeling of space. A large carved walnut reredos hangs on the east wall of the chancel.
  • Non-Conformist. There were chapels in Breage belonging to the Wesleyan Methodists, Bible Christians, and the Methodist New Connexion.
    Some Bible Christian Magazine Transcripts 1841 & 42 are on-line, courtesy of the OPC. These include some obituaries for Breage.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1603 - 1918, Burials 1559 - 1966, Marriages 1559 - 1982, Boyd's Marriage Index 1559 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1800 - 1812, Non-Conformist records 1821 - 1837.
  • Baptisms. Baptisms beginning with 1603 ending with 1700 are imperfect for the first six years, deficient in the years 1657-1678, deficient from 1683 to 1697, but regular from 1697 to 1700.
    • Church baptisms 1597 to 1718 and 1722 to 1902, together with Bible Christian baptisms 1821 to 1837 and Bishop' Transcripts (BTs) 1676 to 1684 and 1697 to 1724, are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - C-PROP.
    • Breage Bible Christian baptisms 1821 to 1837, Breage Trenwheal Wesleyan Methodist baptisms 1866 to 1901, ands Breage Wesleyan Methodist baptisms 1893 to 1900, are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The OPC of Breage has transcribed registers in the non-conformist Breage Circuits:
      • Bible Christian Births & Baptisms 1821 to 1837. Parishes mentioned include: Breage, Crowan, Gwinear, Helston, Mullion, Porthleven, St Anthony, St Hilary, St Keverne, Sithney and Wendron. These can be searched on-line.
      • Praze Wesleyan Methodist baptisms 1893 to 1900 by Year or surname, are available on line.
      • Trenwheal Wesleyan Chapel, Breage Baptisms 1866 to 1906 by Year or Surname are available.
      • Nancegollan, Crowan Baptisms 1848 to 1899 By Year or By Surname, are also available.
      • Praze, Crowan, Wesleyan baptisms 1864 to 1883 by year or surname are available. Surname giving a Breage abode is NANKERVIS, but it's worth checking others.
      • PRAZE, Crowan Wesleyan Baptisms 1892 to 1902 By Year or by Surname, are also available.
      The non-Breage registers listed above are added here because of proximity and the number of Breage families present in register. Surnames giving a Breage abode include: Bennett, Carter, Faby/Fabey, Jacka, James, Jewell, Pheby, Rowe, Symons, Vingoe.
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD baptisms 1724 to 1839 for this parish and these are available for purchase on Parish Chest.
    • The OPC has transcribed baptisms at Breage 1827 to 1901. These can be searched as follows:
  • Banns.
  • Marriages. Marriages from 1559 to 1650 both inclusive, deficient from thence to 1654, and deficient from 1656 to 1678. Irregular from 1678 to 1682, and again deficient to 1699.
    • Some additional marriages at Breage 1663 to 1672 are available on-line, courtesy of the OPC. At beginning of this register are the marriages, with this note "Marriages which do not occur in the Breage Register, (are) taken from the Bodmin Register by Mr Martin Furge of Falmouth".
    • Phillimore's Marriages at St Breage - 1559 to 1812 are also available on-line from UK Genealogy Archives.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1559 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Phillimore's Marriages 1559 to 1812, and parish marriages 1663 to 1911, are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The OPC has transcribed marriages at Breage 1564 to 1900 as follows:
  • Burials. Burials from 1559 to 1564 are deficient from thence to 1569 to 1641.
  • Other Non-Conformist Records. OPC Coverage of Non-Conformist records of this parish is available.

Civil Registration

  • The parish of Breage was originally in the Helston Registration District; there were sub-districts at Breage, Crowan, Helston, St Keverne and Wendron. It is in the Helston (now Kerrier) Registration District. Parishes in this registration district are: Breage, Crowan, Cury, Germoe, Gunwalloe, Grade, Helston, Landewednack, Manaccan, Mawgan-in-Meneage, Mullion, Ruan Major, Ruan Minor, St. Anthony-in-Meneage, St. Keverne, St. Martin-in-Meneage, Sithney, Wendron.

    The address of the Registration Office is: The Willows, Church Street, Helston, TR13 8NJ.
    Tel: 01326 562848.
  • The OPC has transcribed the WIDOW's BOOK 1843 to 1912 (Cornwall Record Office: AD 894/1/2). This lists some personal details of Widows in Breage parish around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries.

Description and Travel

  • The story of an ancient parish, Breage with Germoe, with some account of its armigers, worthies and unworthies, smugglers and wreckers, its traditions and superstitions by H.R. Coulthard (Published 1913) is available on-line, courtesy of the Old Cornwall Society.
  • ePodunk's Cornwall page - providing general, plus some historical and genealogical information, about Cornwall and its parishes, together with links (mainly relating to general sites and services, rather than ones that are specific to Cornwall or particular parishes).
You can see pictures of Breage which are provided by:


  • 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.
    • The OPC has produced a family history website for the parish.
  • Strays. Persons living in a parish but born elsewhere are known as "Strays".

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Breage has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


A Parochial History of Breage (PAROCHIAL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF CORNWALL VOLUME 1, 1867. Pages 132 to 140 [S. BREOCK IN KIRRIER, OR BREAGE]) is available on-line.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW610280 (Lat/Lon: 50.103818, -5.343742), Breage which are provided by:

Names, Personal

  • A list of surnames being researched in Breage, and email links to their researchers, are available on-line.


Newspaper extracts from THE WEST BRITON AND CORNWALL ADVERTISER (by Julia Symons Mosman and Rita Bone Kopp) relating to events in Breage are available on-line as follows:


Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • Breage parish was part of the Helston Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
  • Overseers' Accounts (1762 to 1772, 1775 to 1784, 1793 to 1813, 1806 to 1812) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


The parish of Porthleven was created from parts of this parish and Sithney parish in 1846.

  • Population in 1801 - 2534 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 2888 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 3668 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 5149 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 6166 persons in Breage Village
    and 80 persons in Breage Workhouse
  • Population in 1851 - 4543 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 5173 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 4449 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 3017 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 2751 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 2475 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 2349 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 2171 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 2202 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 2174 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 2230 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 2380 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 2620 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 2850 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 2955 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 3151 persons

Probate Records

Religion and Religious Life

  • A list of the Vicars and Curates of Breage parish 1147 to 1907 are available on-line.
  • St Breaca Church, BREAGE - Seating Plan as at 12th May 1666 is available on-line.
  • 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 Breage are available on-line.


The parish comprises 7257 acres of land, 9 acres of water and 121 acres of foreshore. The two parishes of Godolphin and Porthleven were created from parts of this parish in 1846.


Cornwall Subsidies in the reign of Henry VIII were a form of taxation. There were a number of subsidy rolls, although the main ones are those for each of 1524 and 1543, each listing my name those who were taxed. A man could be taxed on: Goods, Wages or Land; whichever had the biggest revenue. Any woman included in the rolls were widows. The process involved assessment by Assessors, then sub or petty collectors in each parish. This money was then passed to the High collectors, who would deliver the monies to the Exchequer. The OPC has placed those for Breage parish on line as follows: