The parish of Liskeard, (Cornish: Lyskerry), which also includes the borough, is situated in the
Deanery and Hundred of West. It is bounded on the north by St Cleer, on the
east by Menheniot, on the south by Morval, St Keyne, Duloe and St Pinnock, and
on the west by St Neot. The origin of the name 'lys', means court or
seat of Justice, and 'Kerryt', means a local chief or king.
This suggests that Liskeard has always been an important local administrative
The town is mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086:
Merleswein held it before 1066, and paid tax for 2 H; 12 h. there, however.
Land for 60 ploughs; in lordship, 3 ploughs; 20 slaves; 1h.
35 villages and
37 smallholders with 13 ploughs & 11 h. A market which pays 4s.; a mill
which pays 12s; woodland, 400 acres; pasture, 4 leagues long and 2 leagues
wide. Formerly £8; value now £26, less 20d. 8 unbroken mares; 10 cattle; 250
From 1294, Liskeard returned two members to
The town is situated on the A38 which is the main southern
route into Cornwall. The town's early growth was fostered by the wool trade
with Tavistock and later became the main mineral market for south-east
Cornwall. The town of Liskeard stands on a hill, the summit of which is divided
into two eminences; on the eastern eminence stand the church and churchyard,
and on the western and intervening valley the chief or business portion of the
town. The ancient village of Dobwalls was in this parish; however in the 20th
century a separate civil parish of 'Dobwalls and Trewidland' was created.
Other villages in Liskeard parish are Trevelmond, Moorswater, Trewidland, and
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)
The Liskeard and District Museum have a database of
parish records for Liskeard and St Keyne. They can be contacted by e-mail; the address is: email@example.com.
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:
- The 1841 Census of Liskeard (HO107/153) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1851. The 1851 Census of Liskeard (HO107/1902), is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census
project as follows:
- 1861. The 1861 Census of Liskeard is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1871. The 1871 Census of Liskeard Borough is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1881. The 1881 Census of Liskeard Borough (RG11/2286) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1891. The 1891 Census of Liskeard Borough is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- Anglican. There are three Anglican churches in the parish:
- Parish Church. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX2564, and is dedicated to St Martin. The church is the largest in Cornwall, apart from Bodmin. It consists of a chancel, nave, north aisle, south aisle, extreme south aisle (or
Lady Chapel), and vestry. The north and south arcades each have seven four-centred arches; five of lofty proportions on each side of the nave, and two much lower on each side of the chancel. The extreme south arcade consists of three lofty four-centred arches. The chancel and the chancel ends of the north and south aisles are separated from the other parts of the church by transverse arches. The material throughout is chiefly granite. The whole length
of the extreme south aisle is occupied by a second floor of seating called the
Ladies' Gallery; in the nave is the organ loft. There is a south porch. The
tower is of four stages, and is 57 feet in height; like the church, the tower
- Dobwalls. There was a separate chapel of ease at Dobwalls, attached to Liskeard. It is a building of stone in the Early English style, consisting of chancel and nave, and a turret containing one bell, and was opened for divine service in 1839, at a cost of £640, of which about £220 was raised by subscription, and the remainder defrayed by the Bev. James Frederick Todd, then vicar.
- Merrymeet. The chapel of ease of St Mary the Virgin, situated in Merrymeet, was erected in 1905, at a cost of about £750. It was licensed and opened for divine worship in February 1st of that year; there are about 100 sittings.
- Roman Catholics. The Church of Our Lady and St. Neot was the first to be built following the 1829 Catholic Emancipation Act. A helpful coincidence occurred around that time: the conversion to the Catholic faith of Sir Harry Trelawny of Trelawne (between Poperro and Looe) and a commencement of a mission there. The Trelawny's French chaplain, Fr. Oleron, purchased a house in Redcow Lane (now West Street) in 1830 and this became the original foundation, sufficing as a place of worship and a school. When Fr. Oleron departed, Liskeard was served by visiting priests. Eventually the Misses Trelawny handed over Sclerder Farm, Looe, to the Franciscans, and one of the friars came to Liskeard each Sunday to say Mass.
In 1863, due to the influx of Irish miners, the Catholic population needed a larger Church. The present building adjoins the original, which now acts as a small hall and overflow seating area. The design and specification of the 1863 Church were by Mr. Joseph Hansom. The first regular parish priest was Fr. George Poole of Torquay. Bishop Cyril Restieaux consecrated the Catholic Church in Liskeard, together with its new granite altar, on 17th September 1983.
- The Independents, or Congregationalists, re-opened an
old chapel in 1806; this chapel had been used as a Presbyterian chapel since
1701. In 1867-68, the Congegationalists built a new Gothic chapel in Dean Street to where the previous chapel was removed.
- The first Wesleyan Methodist chapel was built near Dean Street in 1800; two other chapels were built in succession in Lamellion Street. There were also chapels belonging to the
Wesleyan Methodists at Trevelmond, and the Wesleyan Methodist Free Church had chapels at Trewidland
and Green Bank.
- The Wesleyan Association chapel near Five Lanes was built in 1838.
- The Bible Christians also built a chapel in Lamellion Street in 1855.
- In the same street there was also a Baptist chapel.
- The Primitive Methodists also had a chapel at Roseland Vale.
- A Presbyterian Church was built in 1701.
- There has been a Citadel of the Salvation Army in Liskeard since 1887.
- The Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah's Witnesses is a 20th century addition in the south of the town.
- Quakers. The Quakers were one of the earliest dissenters in this district. Quakerism was introduced here by George Fox himself. They built a chapel here in 1688-89, and was used until a new chapel was built in 1796; this was enlarged in 1826. Until it burned down in 1899, the Friends Meeting House stood in Friends Place, off Pound Street.
- Further information on
Liskeard's churches at the beginning of the 21st century is available.
- LDS Church Records.
- The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1539 - 1911, Burials 1539 - 1940,
Marriages 1539 - 1958, Boyd's Marriage Index 1597 - 1665, BTs 1597 - 1665, Non-Conformist records 1806 - 1837, Liskeard Bible Christian registers 1863 - 1870, Liskeard Primitive Methodist Registers 1856 - 1924.
- The Cornwall Family History
Society have published on-line transcripts of the:
- 1813-37 Marriages
- 1813-37 Burials.
- Baptisms 1695 to 1773 (Bishop's transcripts), 1669 to 1729 and 1771 to 1815, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Callington Area Heritage Centre have placed on-line baptism records for Liskeard Wesleyan Circuit 1819 to 1834.
- Liskeard Wesleyan-Methodist Chapel baptisms 1834 to 1836 are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP). NOTE: Liskeard Bible Christian chapel baptisms can be found under the page for St Neot.
- The Parish Chest have published, on two CDs, baptisms 1669 to 1840 for this parish.
- Cornwall Legacy have published on CD, records of the Liskeard Bible Christian Circuit. These comprise baptisms (1837 to 1900). The areas cover Liskeard, St Ive, St Cleer, Altarnun, Menheniot, St Neot, Broadoak, and certain other parishes.
- Cornwall Legacy have published on CD, records of the Liskeard Primitive Methodist Circuit. These comprise LIskeard Primitive Methodist Circuit baptisms 1856 to 1900, Greenbank Chapel baptisms 1870 - 1900, and Trenant Chapel burials 1843 - 1900. The areas cover Liskeard, St Ive, St Cleer, Menheniot, Callington, Calstock, Lezant, Linkinhorne and Landrake.
- Cornwall Legacy have published on CD, records of the Liskeard Wesleyan Circuit. These comprise baptisms 1834 to 1900. The areas cover Liskeard, Boconnoc, Broadoak, Callington, Linkinhorne, Looe, Menheniot, Morval, Pelynt, Quethiock, St Germans, St Ive, St Martins, St Neot, St Pinnock, St Veep, St Winnow, South Hill and Talland.
- Cornwall Legacy have published on CD, records of the Looe Bible Christian Circuit. These comprise baptisms 1848 to 1900. The areas cover Looe, St Keyne, St Pinnock, Lansallos, Talland St Veep, Duloe, Liskeard, Lanreath, Boconnoc, Pelynt, St Martins, and Polperro.
- Banns. Banns 1887 to 1911 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Burials 1695 to 1773 (Bishop's transcripts), 1669 to 1687 and 1882 to 1911, 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 CD or Book formats.
The parish of Liskeard has always been in the Liskeard
Registration District. There were sub-districts at Callington, Lerrin,
Liskeard and Looe, but these closed in the 1930s. Parishes within the district are: Boconnoc, Broadoak, Callington, Calstock (1837-60), Duloe, East Looe, Lanreath, Lansallos, Lanteglos, Linkinhorne, Liskeard, Liskeard Borough, Menheniot, Morval, Pelynt, St. Cleer, St. Dominick, St. Ive, St. Keyne, St. Martin's, St. Neot, St. Pinnock, St. Veep, Southill, Talland and West Looe. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Graylands, Dean Street, Liskeard, PL14 4AH. Tel: 01579 343442.
- 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).
of Liskeard are available.
21st August 1858
Front page, 1st column
THE STATE OF LISKEARD
(Letter to the Editor of The Times.
Sir, I perceive in the Registrar General's quarterly report, just issued,
the following:- Liskeard - Deaths during the quarter ending June 1856, 146.
1857, 186. 1858, 248. I beg to offer you the following remarks from my diary
of June 1858, as to this Cornish town, made during my 14 days holyday in
"Liskeard seemed under a cloud; it is sickly, and
children are sent out of it to save their lives. The town stands well - upon
seven hills, they say; it is not flat in the midst of a flat. Nature has not
forgotten Liskeard, but man has; well, the law says, 'He shall suffer'.
In this little town, getting richer and larger from the proximity of
successful mines, the open pond receives and retains the refuse of houses and
slaughtering places; and the hot weather in telling its tale in the shameful
destruction of human life. It is the old story, the rulers sin, and the
pestilence visits the people. Here are gullies badly formed and full of solid
filth steaming in the sun; here semi-solid refuse slowly runs down before the
houses, and well-nigh all is evaporated and taints the air before it can reach
the equivocal gully. In one house I found one child dead, one also dead in the
next house, another in one of these houses hopelessly ill with a putrid
disease; the house is close, the roof very low, the ventilation scanty; six
families live here; the three houses drain into one large cesspool, which also
receives a tributary drain from a neighbouring street. The opening of this
great pool of filth stands untrapped at the door, and sends its pestilential
messages in where the head and dying children are; a vile smell often comes up,
is in fact coming up now; there is a well in the yard; the people have ceased
to use it; it stands almost under the same roof, side by side with the privy
pit. In front of this poor mans house is a very characteristic drain, so rough,
so wide, that, although this 'tanyard hill' is steep, the liquid evaporates and
leaves a black, offensive deposit putrefying in the sun. The very prosperity of
the place is against it; money is obtained, but health is sacrificed, the
people are sadly overcrowded, and the doctors are from these causes powerless
in the presence of disease they could otherwise most readily cure. Such was
Liskeard at my visit a few weeks since. No wonder that measles is putrid, that
this new low charactered disease of the throat prevails. If the pestilence
would but stalk in and press his hand upon a few leading men of the place,
these evils might be attended. I fear not else. I am glad to get out of
Liskeard, and I pity my friends there."
Such were my words; and I
now hear that the deaths are occurring amongst the better classes. Lest the
cause of these visitations should be overlooked and disregarded, I pray you,
sir, to give this note a place in your column, it will reach even Liskeard
your most obedient servant,
Medical Officer of Health, St George's Southwark August
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 Liskeard ecclesiastical parish:
The following Newspapers covered this region:
- 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.
- Mailing List. There is a mailing list for Liskeard. The list discusses all genealogy to do
with the town and parish. To join or leave a list, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
with the single word 'subscribe' or 'unsubscribe' (as appropriate)
in the text. The subscribing/unsubscribing (joining/leaving) process is entirely
automatic. It should be realised that there isn't any person involved in adding
or subtracting list members, so such messages should not be sent to the mailing
list itself; they will not be actioned.
- There is a mailing list for anyone with a genealogical and or historical interest in Bodmin Moor and its surrounding villages. Villages covered are: Advent (Tresinney), Alternun, Blisland, Bodmin, Boventor, Camelford (Lanteglos), Cardinham, Davidstow, Egloshayle, Helland, Laneast, Lanteglos by Camelford, Launceston, Lewannick, Liskeard, Michaelstow, North Hill, St Breward, St Breock, St Cleer, St Clether, St Mabyn, St Neot, St Tudy, Temple, Tresinney, Trewen, Wadebridge (Egloshayle & St Breock), and Warleggan. This list is in support of the OnLine Parish Clerk system. You can also subscribe to the ENG-CON-BODMINMOOR-L for the List version, or ENG-CON-BODMINMOOR-D (digest) for the Digest version.
Acknowledgements are made to the British Library Board for permission to reproduce the gist of this text.
- Cornish Times. (December 1856-1859). This newspaper was published in Liskeard and Callington, with a free supplement of the Launceston News. The Cornish and Devon Post offices hold copies from May 1857, but will not allow filming. The newspapers are wrapped in brown paper parcels, which are rather dirty and crudely wrapped, but the newspapers themselves are in quite good condition.
- East Cornwall Times. (1859-1877). This newspaper was a continuation of the Cornish Times, but is now published in Launceston. An incomplete set for three years out of the first eight was found in the Cornish and Devon Post offices; there may be more, but the bundles were large and dirty, and the missing years could not be found. The British Library Online Newspaper Archive (BLNL) holds the last 10 years, i.e. 1867-1877, and it would be desirable to get a microfilm of the first eight years, and of its predecessor the Cornish Times; it should be noted that, as with the early years of the Launceston Weekly News, only the first page held any local news - the remainder was a pre-printed sheet from London, containing only national and international news.
- Cornish and Devon Post. (1877-to date). This is a continuation of the above, this can only be filmed to 1934 as the offices have refused permission to film more recent editions. The BLNL hold a set from 1877, which would require approximately one reel/year to film, i.e. approximately 57 reels, to 1934. The offices hold a complete set, including the BLNL's missing year (1895), but this set is in poor condition.
- Cornish Times and General Advertiser. (1857-to date). This title has been filmed, complete, by Wessex Microfiling from a set in very poor condition now held in inaccessible store in the Cornwall County Library. Unfortunately the film is poor, the originals were poor and unprepared, and the reduction is too great. The Cornish Times offices hold a file "complete from the 1900s" but this has not been examined as the BLNL holds a complete file (lacking 1872 and 1897) which years are available at the Cornwall Centre, (formerly known as the Cornish Studies Library) in Redruth.
- Apprenticeship Indentures for Liskeard (1696 - 1833) can be found in the Cornwall
- Information about the Caradon and Liskeard Mines is available on-line.
- Liskeard Borough and parish were part of the Liskeard
Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief. 1881 Census
information on the staff and inmates of the Workhouse are available.
- The Workhouse was located in Station Road, and was built in 1839 at a total cost,
including the site, of about £7,500. It stood on about 2½ acres of land and was
intended to hold 350 inmates.
- Overseers' Accounts for the parish (1722 to 1842), Settlement Papers (1727 to 1835) and Bastardy Bonds (1747 to 1826) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.
- Population in 1801 - 2708 persons
- Population in 1811 - 2884 persons
- Population in 1821 - 3519 persons
- Population in 1831 - 4042 persons
- Population in 1841 - 4287 persons
- Population in 1851 - 4386 persons
- Population in 1861 - 4689 persons
- Population in 1871 - 4700 persons
- Population in 1881 - 4536 persons
- Population in 1891 - 3984 persons
- Population in 1901 - 4010 persons
- Population in 1911 - 4371 persons
- Population in 1921 - 4377 persons
- Population in 1931 - 4071 persons
- Population in 1951 - 4467 persons
- Population in 1961 - 4524 persons
- Population in 1971 - 4741 persons
- Population in 1981 - 6345 persons
- Population in 1991 - 7657 persons
- Population in 2001 - 8656 persons
- Population in 2011 - 9301 persons
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.
Protestation Returns of 1642 for Liskeard are available on-line.
The parish comprises 8223 acres of land.
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