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The parish of Launcells, (Cornish: Lannseles), is situated in the Deanery of Trigg Major and the Hundred of Stratton. It is bounded on the north by Kilkhampton, on the east by Pancrasweek in Devon from which it is partially separated by the river Tamar, on the south by Bridgerule West and Marhamchurch, and on the west by Stratton and Poughill. Originally called Lanceles, the small parish of Launcells is located just inland from Bude and Stratton and contains a few scattered hamlets. The meaning is taken from Lann (church site) plus unknown word. However, in this parish was a cell of the Austin Canons, belonging to Hartland Abbey, which was leased by Henry VIII in 1537 to Sir John Chamond. It had been supposed that this cell gave its name to the parish, but there is also evidence that it was a family name. In the reign of King John (1199-1216) that Matilda, the widow of William Launcell, granted her wood in Launcell Manor to Hugo, Abbot of Hartland Abbey, for which she received ten shillings. Launcells Manor was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086 and so indicates a Norman church was here at that time.

Launcells is set in a secluded valley three miles east of Bude; it is away from everywhere, charming in its loveliness among the fields. There is no Launcells village; the Church is located at Launcells Barton, and the chief hamlets are Grimscott and Butsber or Butsbeer, (now called Buttsbear).


The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for


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 Launcells is in the Stratton Registration District, and has been since 1st July 1837; there were sub-districts at Kilhampton, Stratton and Week St Mary but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Jacobstow, Kilkhampton, Launcells, Marhamchurch, Morwenstow, Poughill, Poundstock, St. Gennys, Stratton, Stratton and Bude, Week St. Mary, Whitstone. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: The Parkhouse Centre, Ergue Gaberic Way, Bude, EX23 8LF. Tel: 01288 353209.

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.

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 Launcells ecclesiastical parish:


Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.


  • Population in 1801 - 647 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 672 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 891 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 848 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 855 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 728 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 693 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 594 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 551 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 547 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 512 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 517 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 493 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 478 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 421 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 390 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 372 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 415 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 408 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 563 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 531 persons


The parish comprises 6186 acres of land.

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