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Hessenford (Cornish: Rys an Gwraghes) is in the Hundred and Deanery of East. Originally called Hestonford, believed to mean the 'witches' ford/place in the woods'. There was a mill at Hestonford here in 1286; there were still mills here up until the mid-20th century. It is a charming village in picturesque scenery situated about five miles west of St Germans; it contains a pretty cluster of late 17th/18th century lying on the main road from Looe to Plymouth. It is located at the foot of a well-wooded valley crossing the Seaton river.
The parish was created from part of St Germans parish in 1834. Hamlets within the parish are: Seaton, Downderry, Polbathic, Deviock and Narkurs.


Monumental inscriptions for this parish have not yet been recorded. However Burials are recorded by the Cornwall Family History Society under 'St Germans', and are 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. 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:

Church History

Church Records

Civil Registration

The parish of Hessenford is in the St Germans Registration District, and has been since 1st July 1837; there were sub-districts at Antony, St Germans and Saltash but they have now been abolished. Parishes within the district were: Antony, Botusfleming, Landrake, Landulph, Maker, Millbrook, Pillaton, Quethiock, Rame, St. Erney, St. Germans, St. John's, St. Mellion, St. Stephen's, Saltash, Sheviock, Torpoint.

The Superintendant Registrar of St Germans can be contacted at: Ploughastel Drive, St Germans, Cornwall. Tel: 01752 842624.

Description & Travel


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.


Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

Hessenford parish became part of the St Germans Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.


The parish was created from St Germans parish in 1834; population figures before this date are included with St Germans.

  • Population in 1841 - counted as part of St Germans parish
  • Population in 1851 - counted as part of St Germans parish
  • Population in 1861 - 963 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 968 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 896 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 948 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 807 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 782 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 838 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 824 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 896 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 0 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 0 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 125 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 135 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 170 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 000 persons


The parish comprises 6000 acres of land.

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