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The parish of Paul, (Cornish: Brewynni), (alias St Paul) is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Penwith. It was bounded on the north by Madron, on the east by Mount's Bay, on the south by St Buryan, and on the west by St Buryan and Sancreed. It is located south of the fishing port of Newlyn, and contains the small village of Paul with its fishing port of Mousehole, (pronounced Mowzel), which was originally called Port Ennis.

In the 16th century three Spanish galleys landed a raiding party which left a trail of destruction in the surrounding area. It has been claimed that Dolly Pentreath, who lived in Mousehole in the 18th century , was one of the last people to speak only in the Cornish language. She died in 1778 in her 102nd year.

Many a local lifeboatman has lost his ife in attempting rescues at sea from here. The most recent event was in 1981 when the entire crew of the lifeboat Solomon Browne were lost in going to the aid of the Freighter Union Star.

The parish of Newlyn St Peter was created partially out of Paul in 1851. Villages in the parish are Tredavoe and Sheffield.

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)


  • Anglican. The main details of Paul Anglican cemeteries are:
    • The Paul Parish Churchyard headstone details are available on-line. These only record those up to 1837. After that you have to rely on M.I. records.
    • The burial ground referred to as the "Plague Burial-ground" is in a separate publication under Cholera Burials. The Cholera Field Churchyard inscriptions are also on-line. Please note these are ONLY a list of the headstones moved there in the clear-up of the Church Hall yard in the 1950's; it is NOT a list of those buried therein during the great Cholera Epidemic circa 1833. Those burials are listed in the CFHS Burials. There was a list in the church of those buried in the cholera graveyard.
    • Those buried in the Paul New Churchard "Schoolroom Churchyard" could be included in the M.I. lists as they tend to be after 1850. This burial ground is an extension to the churchyard across the road and on the same ground as the Pub. The headstone inscriptions for this cemetery are also on-line. The burial ground can be missed even if visiting the Church itself. It can be reached through the gateway at the side of what is now the Parish Hall to the field behind. Most of the grave-stones have been removed and laid down as a pathway to the more modern burial ground higher up.
    Bob Harrison did the research on these 3 Anglican Church graveyards, copies of which are held in the Church and in the "King's Arms" Public House across the road.
    The Anglican Cemeteries all look in a very sad state as the grass is growing through and around the weak points in the memorial stones splitting many, especially those made of slate. They will become worn and illegible in a short time, more so than if they had been placed upright around the perimeter, as they were in the cholera graveyard from the very first.
  • Municipal Cemetery. The other large burial ground in Paul is called 'Sheffield Road', which the Cornwall Family History Society (CFHS) have recorded. This cemetery is quite large and is situated a few minutes walk from the centre of the village in the direction of Sheffield hamlet. A visit to the church gives no indication that many parishioners lie buried here. If you request a surname print-out from the CFHS it will tell you in which location those listed are buried although it could be confusing if you try to visit the actual site.
    It is not known if a record exists of the allocation of plots at the municipal cemetery as not all of them have headstones. It was taken over by Penzance Council when the villages of Newlyn & Paul were amalgamated into the Borough of Penzance in about 1936.
    If looking for a date of death the GRO index is a better reference point and then go to the census record to try and confirm the area in which the name lived. Most of those living in Paul parish were buried at Sheffield Road unless members of the Paul Church congregation. The later church of St Peters in Newlyn, created in 1866, never had a burial ground of its own so if there was to be burial the service would take place in St. Peters and then the mourners and deceased would travel to the municipal cemetery at Sheffield Road. Only rarely were plots available in Paul Churchyard to members of St. Peter's Congregation. Please note that some missing persons records appear separately in CFHS publications on-line.
    Sheffield Road Cemetery was then the usual burial site for most non-conformists, having not been baptised into the Anglican Faith. If the deceased were non-conformist the vicar could refuse to bury them in the consecrated ground of the churchyard, even if there was a family plot available. There were some ugly scenes in the early days when children were refused burial in consecrated ground and burials taking place outside of the churchyard where suicides were condemned to lie in the verges adjoining the boundary walls of the church. There were a cases of sextons taking bribes to bury dead children at night and in secret and unmarked spots as the parents could not bear the thought of their child lying alone and apart from the rest. No Chapel in the area of Newlyn/ Paul had a burial ground, although in some areas such as Stithians and Sennen there are.
    Those living on the east side of the Newlyn river were in Madron parish and could be buried either in Madron churchyard or later Penzance, St. Mary's churchyard. If non-conformist, there was also the municipal cemetery at Penzance on the road to Heamoor. Very early on baptisms could take place, chapels could even be licensed for weddings but burying had to be in consecrated ground and with the approval of the Anglican clergy.
  • Other Denominations. The only sects which had the right to provide burial grounds for there own were the Society of Friends, familiarly called The Quakers, and the Jews. Burial grounds for these were in Penzance. [Sandra Pritchard]
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for:
    • The Parish Church - 1495 entries.
    • Cholera Cemetery - 350 entries.
    • Sheffield Road Cemetery - 5026 entries
  • Information on War Memorials in the parish is available. This includes full biographical details of the individuals listed.
  • War Memorial inscriptions for Paul parish are separately available.


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.
Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Paul 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 SW4627 and was dedicated to St Paul. It was dedicated by Bishop Grandisson on 11th July 1336 to St Paulinus, the first Archbishop of York, who was sent to England by Pope Gregory I shortly after the mission of St Augustine. Previous the Reformation it was attached, together with Breage, to the mitred Abbey of Hailes in Gloucestershire. The church was burnt to the ground in 1595 during an attack by Spanish forces but was rebuilt.
    There is a separate history of the church available on-line. Additionally, 'The History of the Church in Paul Parish' by G. M. Trelease, is a book on Paul and Mousehole, and their churches. It contains a lot of information about the manors and people of these areas - it has 18 Chapters. Details are on the updated church website. It can also be obtained on a world-wide basis from
    The building is constructed from granite in the perpendicular style; it comprises a chancel, nave, and north and south aisles. The arcades consist of nine four-centred arches each, but the third arch of the north arcade is very small and is raised by solid masonry 4ft 6ins from the floor. The arcades are supported on octagonal monolith pillars of native granite. The tower arch is well-proportioned and is open to the church. There is a south porch, with a doorway in Catacleuse stone, a north door and a priest's door in the south chancel aisle. The tower is built of granite ashlar; it consists of three stages, is double-buttressed at the angles, and is finished with battlements and pinnacles. The belfry contained three bells. The church was restored in 1995.
    Details about the plans of the modern church are available on-line.
    In 1851 the parish of Newlyn, St Peter was created out of Paul parish.
  • Non-Conformist. There were chapels in Mousehole for the Wesleyans and the Bible Christians.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for Paul are: C023411/2, C053401, M053401/2. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage for this parish is 1595 - 1875.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1595 - 1870, Burials 1595 - 1932, Marriages 1595 - 1981, Boyd's Marriage Index 1595 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1800 - 1812.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
    • Pre 1813 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Burials.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1595 to 1626, and 1695 to 1901 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC Search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD, baptisms 1738 to 1838 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest.
    • Baptisms at Paul 1844 to 1904 are available on-line courtesy of Diane Donahue.
  • Marriages.
  • Burials.

Civil Registration

The parish of Paul 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 Paul 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.

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Paul 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 SW465271 (Lat/Lon: 50.089728, -5.545525), Paul which are provided by:

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

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


Newlyn, St Peter was created from part of this parish in 1851. In 1974, boundaries were redrawn as part of local government reorganisation.

  • Population in 1801 - 2937 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 3371 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 3790 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 4191 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 4664 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 5408 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 5072 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 5748 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 2690 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 5997 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 5997 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 6332 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 6014 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 5398 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 5814 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 231 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 174 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 185 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 230 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 234 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 296 persons


The Penwith Local History Group aims:

  • To encourage and sustain public interest in the history of Penwith to provide mutual support and encouragement to members in their individual research projects, whether related to Penwith or of wider historical interest.
  • To work as a group on specific research projects, with the aim of publication to an academic standard.
  • To encourage the strong link with the Morrab Library, supporting the Library in its aims and activities.


The parish comprised 2153 acres of land.