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Saltash, (Cornish: Essa), was originally in the Hundred of East, but the ecclesiastical parish of Saltash was not formed until 1881. Saltash was founded as a market town by the Lord of Trematon Castle in the 12th century. The town was sited at a point where an ancient highway crossed the Tamar estuary by means of a ferry. By the end of that century Saltash had achieved borough status. Saltash also developed as a port, the first to be established on the system of estuaries reaching far inland from Plymouth Sound. In consequence, the borough was entrusted with jurisdiction over all those waters, an arrangement that was challenged many times but was not terminated until 1901. Trade on the estuaries invigorated rural life in St Stephens and other adjoining parishes.

The early history of the Borough of Saltash is closely identified with that of Trematon Castle, to which it was for many years appended. Its name has undergone many modifications. Formerly called Villa de Esse, Ash or Asheborough, Saltash is a municipal borough and a corporate town and parish near the south of the Cornwall/Devon border. It is separated from Plymouth by the River Tamar. The name is of English origin: 'Salt' from the production of salt, and 'ash' from the ash tree. Its status as a borough was confirmed by Richard II in 1381. From 1642 to 1646, during the Civil Wars, Saltash, important as one of the entrances into Cornwall, was taken and retaken several times by both Royalists and Parliamentarians.

The town is picturesque, built on a steep slope of land that juts out into the Tamar. It was an important port in medieval times, but the rise of nearby Plymouth took away more and more of her trade. There was a slight revival during the mining age, but its use as a port has now finished. Its fame now is based upon Brunel's Royal Albert railway bridge which spans the estuary of the Tamar. There are many neat and tasteful villas and cottages in the parish. Saltash now offers moorings for leisure craft, and is a centre for maritime sporting activities.

Archives & Libraries

The Saltash Heritage Museum and Local History Study Centre provides an interesting place to find a wealth of information about the history of this town, its people and places. The Museum and Local History Study Centre were formally opened on the 14th July 2000 and hold over 20,000 items in their collection, including 6,500 photographs.

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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:

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Church History

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Church Records

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Civil Registration

The parish of Saltash is in the St Germans Registration District and has been since 1st July 1837; there were sub-districts at Antony, St Germans and Saltash but they have now been abolished. It is now part of the Cornwall County, Council for civil purposes.
Parishes within the district were: Antony, Botusfleming, Landrake, Landulph, Maker, Millbrook, Pillaton, Quethiock, Rame, St. Erney, St. Germans, St. John's, St. Mellion, St. Stephen's, Saltash, Sheviock, Torpoint.

The Superintendant Registrar of St Germans can be contacted at: Ploughastel Drive, Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 6DL. Tel: 01752 842624.

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Description & Travel

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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.

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Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

Saltash parish was part of the St Germans Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.

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The parish was created from part of St Stephens-by-Saltash parish in 1697.

  • Population in 1801 - 2154 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 2599 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 2873 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 3092 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 1541 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 2998 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 3287 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 2293 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 3984 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 4294 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 5466 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 6552 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 6558 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 6330 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 7477 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 7425 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 9926 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 12985 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 14137 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 14964 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 16184 persons

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The Saltash Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line.

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The parish comprised 5335 acres of land.

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