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The Pendeen (Cornish: Penndin) parish name means 'headland of a fort' it was tranferred to the 19th century mining village on the south-west 'toe' of Cornwall. The Geevor tin mine incorporated part of the old Levant mine, with one gallery 2,000 feet below the sea-bed. Pendeen House was the birthplace of William Borlase, the antiquarian and writer on the history of Cornwall.
The parish of Pendeen encompasses several hamlets; Bojewyan, Boscaswell, Lower Boscaswell, Trewellard, Carnyorth and Levant being the main ones. Renowned for its copper and tin mines Pendeen grew in size to serve the mining community until the turn of the century. With the decline of the industry many of its sons emigrated seeking new lives in mines opening up all over the world and there are few old families without some connection to America, Australia, South Africa and other mining areas. The Pendeen Lighthouse, built in 1900, is open to the public. On the 29th October 1919, over 30 miners were trapped and killed in the Levant Mine disater when the man-engine, bringing up miners, failed; reports on this incident are available on-line.
The parish was created from part of St Just-in-Penwith parish on 9th January 1846.
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 (1851 - 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:
- 1841. In the 1841 Census, Pendeen was enumerated as part of St Just-in-Penwith.
- 1851. The 1851 Census of Pendeen (HO107/1519), Enumeration Districts 3a, 3b, 3c and 3d, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1861. The 1861 Census of Pendeen is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1871. The 1871 Census of Pendeen (RG10/2344), Enumeration Districts 7 and 8, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census Project.
- 1881. The 1881 Census of Pendeen (RG11/2349), Enumeration Districts 5 to 8, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1891. The 1891 Census of Pendeen (RG12/1860), Enumeration Districts 5 to 8, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1901. The 1901 Census of Pendeen (RG13/2257) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census Project as follows:
- Anglican. The ecclesiastical parish of Pendeen was formed in 1845 from St Just parish. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW3834 and was dedicated to St John the Baptist.
The ecclesiastical district was gazetted on January 9th, 1846. The church, which is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was built in 1854. It was designed by the then incumbent, the Rev. Robert Aitken, on the plan of the ancient cathedral of Iona. He was not only the architect but also the master builder, and the parishioners of the district their own masons and carpenters. This very fine cruciform church which is 135 feet long, and lofty in proportion, cost little more than the value of the materials. It was built entirely by the people of the village and chiefly in their extra hours. Such circumstances invest Pendeen church with an interest which attaches to no other modern church in the county. [More recent observers are less charitible both about the quality of the architecture and the exploitation of the parishioners in building it at their own expense.]. The church registers date from 1849.
The church comprises a chancel, nave, transepts and south porch. There is also an embattled western tower into which a clock was inserted in 1889. This tower contains 12 tubular bells which were installed in 1908.
- Non-Conformists. There were chapels here for the Wesleyans, built in 1838, the Bible Christians and United Methodists.
- LDS Church Records.
- The LDS Church batch numbers for Pendeen are: P021721. These are searchable by surname.
- Pendeen is covered under St Just-in-Penwith in the IGI.
- The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1849 - 1956, Burials 1854 - 1975, Marriages 1854 - 1984.
- Burials. Burials 1854 to 1901 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
Pendeen is in the Penzance Registration District, and has been since its creation. There were originally sub-districts at Marazion, Penzance, St Buryan, St Just, St Ives and Uny-Lelant but these have now been abolished.
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 Pendeen 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.
- Further information on Pendeen has been produced by the West Penwith Resources.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW380340 (Lat/Lon: 50.147971, -5.668845), Pendeen which are provided by:
Pendeen parish became part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief on its creation.
Up to 1981 the population figures were often included as part of St Just-in-Penwith. Those that have been recorded for Pendeen separately are as follows:
- Population in 1851 - 3200 persons
- Population in 1861 - 3513 persons
- Population in 1871 - 3243 persons
- Population in 1881 - 2311 persons
- Population in 1891 - 2281 persons
- Population in 1901 - 2265 persons
- Population in 1911 - 2265 persons
- Population in 1921 - 1927 persons
- Population in 1931 - 1700 persons
- Population in 1951 - 1483 persons
- Population in 1961 - 000 persons
- Population in 1971 - 000 persons
- Population in 1981 - 935 persons
- Population in 1991 - 1091 persons
- Population in 2001 - 000 persons
The St Just & Pendeen Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line.