The original parish of Redruth, (Cornish: Rysrudh), was situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Penwith. It is bounded on the north by Illogan and St Agnes, on the east by Gwennap, on the south by Gwennap and Illogan, and on the west by Illogan. Redruth was formerly the capital of the largest and richest metal mining area in Britain. The town's setting is dominated hy the granite heights of Carn Brea and Carn Marth. Granite is an igneous rock formed from molten material generated at great depth below the surface. Vapours from the granite carried minerals into the rock's fissures before it finally set. In later ages the granite was lifted by earth movements, and exposed to weathering.
On Carn Brea can he seen the remains of one of the oldest and largest human settlements in Cornwall, a 46-acre Neolithic hillfort. Minerals were probably worked here since the Bronze Age, and by the Middle Ages mining was well-established. Tin was obtained from deposits in the flats of streams the ore found in material produced by the weakening of veins in the granite. By 1300, streamers were working along the brook that ran along the bottom of Fore Street. The iron oxide from the workings discoloured the water. The red river in turn gave its name to the ford from which the town derives its Cornish name (rhyd= ford, ruth = red). There were a great number of mines in this parish, many of which were highly productive in both copper and tin.
A charter for two weekly markets and two annual fairs was granted in 1324, and the Stannary Courts were sometimes held here in the the later Middle Ages. From Tudor times control of the mining industry passed increasingly into the hands of the gentry, as more costly underground working developed. In 1591, Redruth was visited by the plague which occasioned the death of 91 of the then population of around 1000 people. The main villages are the Churchtown and Plain-an-guare (Plain-an-Gwarry) were already suburbs of Redruth in the mid 19th century. Highway and North Country are also areas near the town.
In the past the town of Redruth and its neighbour Camborne served the important areas of tin mining area in south-west Cornwall. There has been a long tradition of rivalry between the two towns. In the early days of mining Redruth thought it was a cut above Camborne, because it was the place where the better classes lived. Today, Redruth is a small industrial and commercial centre that is by-passed by the A30 trunk road.
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)
The Cornwall Centre, (formerly known as the Cornish Studies Library),
Alma Place, Redruth TR15 2AT
contains much background information to help family historians including runs of Cornish Nespapers.
Tel 01209 216760 - Overseas +44 1209 216760
Fax 01209 210283 - Overseas + 441209 210283
Videophone 01209 210510 - Overseas + 441209 210510
Opening Hours Mon-Fri 1000-1800, Sat 1000-1600
Census information for parishes in this town (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:
The parish of Redruth was originally in the Redruth Registration
District. There were sub-districts at Camborne, Gwennap, Illogan, Phillack and
Redruth which have now been abolished. It is now part of the Registration
District of Camborne-Redruth. Parishes in this registration district are: Camborne, East Phillack, Gwennap, Gwinear, Gwithian, Illogan, Phillack, Redruth, St. Stithian's, West Phillack.
The address of the Superintendant Registrar is: Roskear, Camborne, TR14 8DN. Tel: 01209 612924.
In 1591 a plague broke out in Redruth and lasted well into the following year. It carried off 97 victims which was an appalling blow to the town, the inhabitants of which at that time numbered less than a thousand. [Source: Doidge's Directory of Redruth 1866].
The Muster of 1500 for Redruth parish is available on-line, courtesy of the OPC.
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 Redruth are available on-line, courtesy of the OPC.
The original Redruth parish comprised 3630 acres. The civil parish now (in 2002) comprises 4080 acres of land.
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