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The parish of Morwenstow, (Cornish: Lannvorwenna), is situated in the Deanery of Trigg Major, and Hundred of Stratton. It is bounded on the north by the Devon parishes of Wellcombe and Hartland, on the east by the Devon parish of Bradworthy, on the south by Kilkhampton, and on the west by the sea. The parish name is of English origin: 'St Morwenna's holy place'. This most northerly parish of Cornwall is near the Devon border and has a rocky coast with high cliffs. The eccentric Robert Stephen Hawker was vicar here from 1834 to 1875. He wrote many poems and hymns, one of which is Trelawney, which is often regarded as the National Anthem of Cornwall. He is said to have had ten cats which sometimes followed him to church.

On the north-eastern quarter of the parish rise the rivers Torridge and Tamar. Tourism is replacing farming as the important industry in the area. Among the chief villages are the Churchtown, Gooseham, Woodford, Eastcot, and Wooley.



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 Morwenstow 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


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 Morwenstow ecclesiastical parish:



Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.


  • Population in 1801 - 874 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 940 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 1091 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 1102 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 1050 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 1094 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 868 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 847 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 810 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 701 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 633 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 603 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 597 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 584 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 1515 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 569 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 554 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 610 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 695 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 768 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 837 persons


The parish comprises 8196 acres of land, one acre of water, one acre of tidal water and 242 acres of foreshore.

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