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The parish of Lostwithiel, (Cornish: Lostwydhyel), is in the Deanery and Hundred of Powder. It is bounded on the east by St Winnow and on the north, south and west by Lanlivery, with which parish it is closely identified. Lostwithiel town is situated in a pleasant hollow at the head of the estuary of the River Fowey to which point it is tidal. The town is now on the A390 highway, which is part of the southern route into Cornwall; it is encircled by surrounding hills.

The parish name means 'tail of the forest'. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Lostwithiel was once the capital of Cornwall. Edmund, Earl of Cornwall built the Duchy Palace with its shire hall, exchequer and coinage hall, where tin was assayed and duty paid. The frontage of the Palace still exists by the river. Another Earl made Lostwithiel, including Penkneth, a free Borough. Restormel Castle, about a mile away, was rebuilt by the Black Prince, the first Duke of Cornwall, but after his death the castle and town decayed, the river silted up and barges could no longer use the quays.


The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line Monumental Inscriptions for:

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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:

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Church History

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Church Records

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Civil Registration

The parish of Lostwithiel was originally in the Bodmin Registration District; there were sub-districts at Bodmin, Egloshayle, Lanlivery and St Mabyn but these have now been abolished. It is now in the Registration District of St Austell. Parishes within the district were: Blisland, Bodmin, Bodmin Borough, Cardinham, Egloshayle, Endellion, Helland, Lanhydrock, Lanviet, Lanlivery, Lostwithiel, Luxulion, St. Kew, St. Mabyn, St. Minver Highlands, St. Minver Lowlands, St. Tudy, St. Winnow, Temple, Wadebridge, Warleggon, Withiel.

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

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Description & Travel

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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.

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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 Lostwithiel ecclesiastical parish:

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The Manorial Documents Register (MDR) maintained by the Historic Manuscripts Commission notes that, so far as can be established, the parish of Lostwithiel contained but one manor, also called Lostwithiel.

However, there is also a separate manor named "BRIDGE", centered on St Winnow, that held land in Lostwithiel parish.

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Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

Lostwithiel parish was part of the Bodmin Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief. Overseers' Accounts (1777 to 1830), Settlement Papers (1620 to 1814, 1801 to 1864) and Bastardy Bonds (1672 to 1780, 1804 to 1834) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.

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  • Population in 1801 - 743 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 825 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 933 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 1548 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 1186 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 1053 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 1017 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 922 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 1441 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 1379 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 1331 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 1373 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 1307 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 1327 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 1935 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 1955 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 1905 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 2005 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 2470 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 2739 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 2899 persons

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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 Lostwithiel are available on-line.

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The Lostwithiel Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line.

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The parish comprises 106 acres of land.

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