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The parish of Colan (Cornish: Lannwydhek) has sometimes been called Little Colan or St Colan; it is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Pydar. It is bounded on the north and west by St Columb Minor, on the east by St Columb Major, and on the south by St Enoder and Newlyn East. The parish, which is located towards the North Cornwall coast, is named after its patron: Saint Colanus.

The principal villages are Besoan or Besoughan (Bosoughan), Melancoose, and Mountjoy.


The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for the Parish Church - 297 entries.


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 Colan 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 SW8661 and was dedicated to St Colanus. The church erected in 1250 by Walter Bronscombe, Bishop of Exeter, who annexed it to the office of the sacristan of Glasney College on 7th September 1276. It was dedicated on 14th July 1336 by John de Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter. The church comprises a chancel, nave, north aisle, and south transept. The arcade has five four-centred arches of St Stephen's china stone, supported on pillars of the same material. There is a south porch and a north door. The tower is of two stages, embattled, and of the turrets only the pinnacles remain. There are three bells.
  • Non-Conformist. There was a Wesleyan Chapel in Colan, with a Sunday School attached.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1747 - 1949, Burials 1747 - 1812, Marriages 1754 - 1836, Boyd's Marriage Index 1600 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1800 - 1812, BTs 1600 - 1673.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1682 to 1773 (BTs with gaps), and 1813 to 1911, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Marriages.
  • Burials.
    • Burials 1682 to 1773 (BTs), and 1813 to 1902, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Burials 1813 to 1837, which is available in Book format.

Civil Registration

The parish of Colan was originally in the St Columb Registration District. There were sub-districts at Newlyn, Padstow and St Columb Major, but these have now been abolished. It is now in the Registration District of St Austell. Parishes within the old St Columb district were: Colan, Crantock, Cubert, Little Petherick, Mawgan in Pyder, Newlyn, Newquay, Padstow, St. Breock, St. Columb Major, St. Columb Minor, St. Enoder, St. Ervan, St. Eval, St. Issey, St. Merryn, St. Wenn.

The Superintendant Registrar of St Austell can be contacted at: 12 Carlyon Road, St Austell, PL25 4LD. Tel: 01726 68974. Fax: 01726 68974.

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).
  • Pictures of Colan are available on-line.
You can see pictures of Colan 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.

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 Colan ecclesiastical parish:

You can see the administrative areas in which Colan has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW860610 (Lat/Lon: 50.409735, -5.013314), Colan which are provided by:


Apprenticeship Indentures for Colan (1781 - 1827) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • Colan parish was part of the St Columb Major Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
  • Settlement Papers (1826) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


  • Population in 1801 - 191 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 221 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 259 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 261 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 217 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 254 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 255 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 231 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 243 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 222 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 192 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 140 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 158 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 157 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 1017 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 1165 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 718 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 1400 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 1780 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 1766 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 1759 persons


The parish comprises 2047 acres of land, and 2 acres of water.