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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 centre.

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 sheep.

From 1294, Liskeard returned two members to Parliament.

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 Lamellion.

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:



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 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.

Description & Travel


21st August 1858
Front page, 1st column
(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 Cornwall:-

"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 through you.

I am,
your most obedient servant,

Medical Officer of Health, St George's Southwark August 14th.


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 Liskeard ecclesiastical parish:



The following Newspapers covered this region: Acknowledgements are made to the British Library Board for permission to reproduce the gist of this text.


Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.


  • 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

Religion and Religious Life

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.

The Protestation Returns of 1642 for Liskeard are available on-line.


The parish comprises 8223 acres of land.

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