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Help and advice for Camborne

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Camborne

In 1867, Camborne (Cornish: Kammbronn) was situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Penwith. It was bounded on the north and east by the sea and Illogan, on the south by Crowan and Gwinear, and on the west by Gwithian. The parish is thought to take its name from the Cornish for a 'crooked hill', but it was also the site of a 'holy well' situated within it, from which the name could be derived.

Until the mining boom towards the end of the 18th century, which saw the Camborne and Redruth district become the richest mining area in the world at that time, Camborne was just a village. Influx of miners transformed the village into a town in a very short space of time. The town of Camborne is surrounded by numerous mine workings; it comprises several uniform streets which were filled with miners' cottages. The growth caused the parish to be spilt and three new parishes were created from Camborne to serve this boom: Tucking Mill in 1845, Treslothan also in 1845, and Penponds in 1854.

From the middle of the 19th century and into the 20th century, many mines closed which led to mass migration from the area. The last tin mine in Cornwall to close was the South Crofty mine in Camborne which ceased operations in 1998.

Richard Trevithick is probably Camborne's most famous son. He was born in a cottage a mile or so from Dolcoath Mine in Camborne, where his father was a mine Captain. His curiosity about the engineering aspects of the mining area in which he grew up, started at an early age, and this led to a career during which he pioneered the use of high pressure steam, and increased the efficiency of the engines used to pump water from the lower levels of Cornwall's tin and copper mines. Trevithick's inventive mind was never still - his ideas ranged from the first successful self-powered road vehicle, and a steam railway engine, to schemes for wreck salvage, land reclamation, mechanical refrigeration, agricultural machinery and for tunnelling under the Thames. Trevithick spent eleven years in South America, working for owners of silver mines. His memory is preserved in the annual Trevithick Day festival in the town.

Camborne became pre-eminent in the training of mining engineers; the Camborne School of Mines continues with this task into the 21st century.

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)

Cemeteries

  • Transcriptions from the Wesleyan Methodist Centenary Cemetery, Camborne, and Camborne parish church are available on the Cornish Cemeteries site.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions on-line for:
    • The Parish Church - 1145 entries
    • Centenary Methodist Chapel - 1468 entries

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.
Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:

Churches

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Camborne 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 SW6440 and was dedicated to St Meriadocus (Meriadoc or Meriasek), Bishop of Vannu, and St Martin in the 15th Century. Camborne church is a reminder of the parish's link with the important Cornish language Miracle Play Beunans Meriasek (The Life of St Meriasek) which was written about 1500.
    The church of St Martin appears to have been originally cruciform with transepts leading off what is now the nave and chancel aisle and may date from the 12th to 13th centuries. The north and south aisles and tower were added probably in the 15th century, in perpendicular Gothic style. From evidence in the churchwardens accounts it would appear that the east end of the north aisle was not added until the late 1530s, when the east wall of the chancel was also rebuilt incorporating a new window. The lower exterior walls of the chancel and its side wall to the north exhibit rubble masonry from the pre-15th century church. By 1671, - two churches stood within the churchyard walls, the main parish church as well as the chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was once an important shrine. During the reformation the chapel to the Blessed Virgin Mary fell into disuse. The Chapel was renovated only once again in 1630 to be neglected in the times of Cromwell. In 1671, the stones from the chapel were used to build the parish poorhouse in what is now Pendarves Road.
    In 1735, the Basset family of Tehidy added a small transept onto the south aisle for use as a family pew. The new outer south aisle, added in 1878-9, swallowed this up. In 1862 the existing church was gutted and the box pews and galleries removed; together with a new roof, this great restoration cost £1500. In 1879 the Vestry was erected. The porch also dates from this year, however it incorporates much of the 15th century stone work. The roof also includes 15th century carved timbers from the roof of the old south aisle. Finally in 1963, the church hall was added.
    The church comprises a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south transept and a vestry. Arcades are of seven depressed four-centred arches supported on granite piers. There is an elaborate altar-piece of sienna marble which was erected in 1761 at the expence of Samuel Percivall Esq. of Pendarves. There is a north door and a south porch. The tower is of three stages, with battlements and pinnacles; it is about 60 feet high and contains six bells and a clock.
    St James's chapel is said to have existed here in 1437.

    Other chapels known to have existed are: St Mary, St Anne, St Ye, St Derwe, and St Margaret. There is also another Anglican church at Pool.
    In the 19th century, the parishes of Treslothan, Penponds, and Tuckingmill, were created out of Camborne parish.
  • Roman Catholic. In about 1845, Richard Pike, a Superintendent of the New West Cornwall Railway Company, a Quaker, married a Catholic, Elizabeth Lesher, whose family came from Alsace. His own family were of the "landed gentry" in Cork, Ireland. He was also director of some of the tin mining companies in the area and when many of the Cornish miners left for foreign parts to mine for gold, he brought in a large number of Irish labourers. The nearest Catholic Church was in Penzance (opened in 1843). Richard Pike was so impressed by the labourers who walked sixteen miles to Penzance for Mass, and especially his own maid, that he became a Catholic. In 1852, three priests came to Camborne, and began a Mission in a store just north of the railway station in Trevu Road. A chapel was later assembled in a loft of Mr. Pike's coach house. In 1857, Mr. Charles Reynolds, a barrister, offered a portion of his own property as a site for a church. It was near the station. The foundation stone was laid on 24th June, 1858. Bishop Vaughan solemnly blessed the new Church on May 26th, 1859. The present church is dedicated to St John the Baptist.
  • Non-Conformist. In Camborne, there were chapels for the Wesleyan Methodists, Primitive Methodists, Bible Christians, New Connexion Methodists and United Methodist Free Church. Many of the Methodists' sects in Camborne are now united. The chapels in the Camborne-Redruth Methodist Circuit in the early 21st century are:
    • Barripper Methodist Church.
    • Beacon Methodist Church.
    • Brea Methodist Church.
    • Bridge Methodist Church.
    • Camborne Methodist Church.
    • Carn Brea Methodist Church.
    • Four Lanes Methodist Church.
    • Illogan Highway Methodist Church.
    • Kehelland Methodist Chapel.
    • Mawla Methodist Church.
    • Paynters Lane End Methodist Church.
    • Porthtowan Methodist Church.
    • Redruth Methodist Church.
    • Troon Methodist Church. In the West Briton on 23rd April 1852, appeared: FREE WESLEYAN CHAPEL - On Thursday the 15th instant, the Free Wesleyan Chapel, at Troon, in the parish of Camborne, was opened by the Rev. S. DUNN. A correspondent states that a report has been circulated to the effect that the present proprietors obtained possession of this chapel by fraud. This however, he asserts is not the case. It was he says "a perfectly just, upright, and honest transaction. On the expiration of the lease the chapel was valued by competent persons chosen by each party, and offered by the lessee to the Conference in their valuation. They however, would only give a quarter part of the sum, which of course was refused. It was then offered to the Free Wesleyans, who accepted it, and have now re-opened it for public worship".
    • Wall Methodist Church.

Church Records

Civil Registration

The parish of Camborne was originally in the Redruth Registration District. It is now in the Registration District of Camborne-Redruth. There were sub-districts at Camborne, Gwennap, Illogan, Phillack and Redruth which have been abolished. Parishes in this registration district are: Camborne, East Phillack, Gwennap, Gwinear, Gwithian, Illogan, Phillack, Redruth, St. Sithian's, West Phillack.

The address of the Superintendant Registrar is: Roskear, Camborne, TR14 8DN. Tel: 01209 612924.

Description and Travel

  • 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).
  • Photographs of Camborne are available on-line.
You can see pictures of Camborne which are provided by:

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

Historical Geography

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

Ask for a calculation of the distance from Camborne to another place.

Land and Property

  • The parish and town tithe maps, and accompanying survey books of c1840, provide a fascinating snap-shot of land use and ownership in the 19th century. In order to preserve the documents and improve access to them, the Cornwall Record Office are digitising these maps and survey books. The CD ROM tithe package include a map and survey books, together with a reader, for this town; it is now available from the Cornwall Record Office. Details are on their website.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW640400 (Lat/Lon: 50.212763, -5.309299), Camborne which are provided by:

Occupations

  • Information about the Camborne Mining Area is available on-line.
  • A website dedicated to the King Edward Mine in Camborne is available. King Edward is typical of many small Cornish mines of the first decade of the 20th Century. Remarkably it has survived almost intact and today is the oldest complete mine site in Cornwall. All of the buildings are Listed Grade 2 star which means that they are considered to be of national importance. The King Edward Mine Museum is 1½ mile from Camborne Station, and is located at Grid Reference SW 6645 3890.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

Camborne parish was part of the Redruth Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief. Overseers' Accounts (1648 to 1717) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.

Population

Three parishes were formed from parts of Camborne parish: Tuckingmill in 1845, Treslothan also in 1845 and Penponds in 1854.

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)

  • Population in 1801 - 4811 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 4714 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 6219 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 7699 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 10061 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 12887 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 14056 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 14929 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 13607 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 14700 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 14726 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 15829 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 14578 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 14160 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 13949 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 14125 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 16631 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 18590 persons (including 13965 in Camborne town)
  • Population in 1991 - 19335 persons (including 14765 in Camborne town)
  • Population in 2001 - 20010 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 21301 persons

Societies

  • The Carn-Brea Mining Society was formed in 1974 to encourage the study of all aspects of mining, geology and mineralogy in the South West of England. The Society is purposely based amid the traditional tin and copper area of Camborne and Redruth. Meetings and lectures are held at the Opie Building at the Cornwall College, and field meetings are also arranged. A news letter is published in June and December and a news sheet in March and September. The Society currently has 110 members. Membership of the Society is available to anyone.
  • The Gowethas Kernow Goth Cambron (Camborne Old Cornwall Society) is on-line.

Statistics

The parish comprised 6032 acres of land and 50 acres of foreshore.