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Help and advice for Marazion

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The parish of Marazion, (Cornish: Marghasyow), is located on the south-west coast of Cornwall directly opposite St Michael's Mount. The parish was created in 1813 from St Hilary parish. Its modern name derives from the important fairs and markets that were held here. The origin of name, "marghas byghan", means 'little market' and "marghas Yow", or Jew (Thursday Market). Time has blurred the pronunciations to Marazion.

The town of Marazion is situated on the shore of Mount's Bay. The oldest record in which it is named is a charter of Richard, King of the Romans and Earl of Cornwall, circa 1250, where it is called Marhasgon. As already stated, it has also been known as Margas-jewe or Marhas-gou, Markasion. The appellation of Market-Jew has led to the supposition that it once had a market, chiefly attended by foreign Jews, for the purchasing of tin.

This quaint town can claim to be the oldest town in Britain, called Ictis by the Romans. In 1170, it was sending two members to Parliament in London; this continued until the dissolution of the Priory of the Mount. The first charter of incorporation was granted by Henry III in 1257. This charter of incorporation was reaffirmed by Elizabeth I on 13th June 1595. This permitted a mayor, eight aldermen and twelve capital burgesses. It also granted a market on Saturdays, and a fair on 11th June and another on 30th November. It appears that at that time, the town was run-down having been laid waste during a rebellion in the time of the reign of Elizabeth's brother, King Edward VI. Marazion was the major town in West Cornwall until the late medieval period when it was overtaken by Penzance.

Towards the end of the 18th century, the town was prospering and villa residences were being built, which increased in number during the 19th century. The town was surrounded by many mines, some having such enigmatic names as Wheal Prosper, Wheal Crab, Wheal Rodney, Tolvadden and South Neptune. These and other mines in the area remained active until the depression in the tin and copper industries in the late 19th century. Some of these mine names are still preserved in some form or other today.

Marazion has always attracted visitors; many came as pilgrims to the Benedictine Monastery or Priory on St Michael's Mount, and who stayed in the town until the causeway was revealed by the ebbing tide. Nowadays, it is possible to walk or take a ferry, depending upon the tide, to St Michael's Mount - the island home of the St Aubyn family. Interest is centred on the excellent beach and the splendid sailing and windsurfing waters, but there are also some lovely coastal and inland walks. When the priory was founded on St Michaels Mount in the tenth century, both Marazion and the Mount were thriving ports, and even as late as the eighteenth century there was a trade in cured fish, tin, copper and coal.

The mild climate has encouraged an important local agricultural industry; crops such as potato and broccoli can be harvested early in the season. Bulbs and flowers are another major part of the local economy and wild flowers add to the beauty of the stone-hedged fields. At the start of the 21st century, Marazion still attracts many tourists who are drawn to visiting St Michael's Mount.

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)



Census information for this parish (1841 - 1891) is held in the Cornwall Record Office. The Cornwall Family History Society offers a census search service for its members.
Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:

  • 1841. In 1841, Marazion was enumerated as part of St Hilary.
  • 1851.
    • The 1851 Census of Marazion (HO107/1918), Enumeration Districts 3a, 3b and 3c, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
    • The New Zealand Society of Genealogists have compiled separate surname indexes of the 1851 Census for each Cornish registration district; Marazion is listed in Volume 26. The booklets are available in Cornwall at the Cornwall Centre, (formerly known as the Cornish Studies Library), and is also available in the Cornwall FHS Library from which it can be purchased.
  • 1861. The 1861 Census of Marazion (RG9/1591), Enumeration Districts 1, 2 [including Merchant Shipping], and 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1871.
  • 1881. The 1881 Census of Marazion (RG11/2343), Enumeration Districts 1 to 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1891. The 1891 Census of Marazion (RG12/1855), Enumeration District 1 to 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Marazion area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW5130 and was dedicated to All Saints. There was an old church which was dedicated to St Hermes, and a licence was granted from Bishop Stapeldon on 22nd March 1309 to have divine services on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
    A new church was built in 1861 to replace the former one which had become dilapidated. It comprises a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, and a vestry. The chancel has a polygonal, buttressed apse of five sides, each side having a single light window, three of which are filled with painted glass. The nave is separated from the aisles by arcades of four pointed arches each, springing from moulded caps and octagonal pillars, made from Bath stone.
  • Non-Conformist. There were chapels for the Wesleyan Methodists, United Methodist Free Church, Bible Christians and Baptists.

Church Records

Civil Registration

The parish of Marazion has been in the Penzance Registration District continuously from 1st July 1837. There were originally sub-districts at Marazion, Penzance, St Buryan, St Just, St Ives and Uny-Lelant but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Gulval, Ludgvan, Madron, Marazion, Morvah, Penzance, Perranuthnoe, St. Buryan, St. Erth, St. Hilary, St. Ives, St. Just in Penwith, St. Levan, St. Michael's Mount, St. Paul, Sancreed, Sennen, Towednack, Uny-Lelant, Wolfe Rock Lighthouse, and Zennor. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Alphington House, Alverton Place, Penzance, TR18 4JJ. Tel: 01736 330093.

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Marazion which are provided by:


  • 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.
    • There is a genealogical website which covers Marazion.
  • There is also a a message board on the website. It is only for those with a genealogical interest within the area of St Hilary, Germoe, Marazion and St Michael's Mount.

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Marazion has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW510300 (Lat/Lon: 50.117664, -5.484626), Marazion which are provided by:

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

Marazion parish was part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.


The parish was created from part of St Hilary parish in 1813.

  • Population in 1821 - 1253 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 1393 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 1682 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 1379 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 1037 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 1255 persons, plus 12 on shipping
  • Population in 1881 - 1294 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 1342 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 1251 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 1237 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 1126 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 1126 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 1293 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 1352 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 1475 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 1400 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 1395 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 1466 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 1440 persons


The parish comprises 716 acres of land, 3 acres of water and 78 acres of foreshore.