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St Hilary

St Hilary, (Cornish: Gorlynn), is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Penwith. It is bounded on the north by the parish of St Erth, on the east by Breage and Germoe, on the south by Perranuthnoe and the sea, and on the west by Ludgvan. It is name after the dedication of the local church to St Hilary of Poitiers, a 4th century bishop.

This former little mining village of granite cottages lies north-east of Marazion. Like other mining areas in the past it became notorious for drunkeness and unruly behaviour. In the 1920's the local public house was turned into a children's home for deprived Londoners, and nowadays the village is a much quieter place.

St Hilary has abounded in mines, especially in the manors of Treveneage and Tregurtha, but the most remarkable was a mine called Wheal Fortune which extended into the adjoining parish of Ludgvan. From this mine, the principal shareholders derived a small fortune. The parish of Marazion was created from part of this parish in 1813, but the civil parish of St Michael's Mount has always remained part of this parish ecclesiastically.

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 Family History Society have not yet published Monumental Inscriptions for this parish.


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 St Hilary 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 of St. Hilary is about two miles and a half from Marazion; but there was a chapel-of-ease provided in that town, which later became its parish church when that parish was formed in 1813.
    The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW5531 and was dedicated to St Hilary of Poitiers. He was Bishop of Poitiers in the 4th Century; the Church keeps his Feast day on January 13th. Though born a pagan, he was converted to Christianity through his own study of the prophets. He wrote extensively on the Arian controversy, being a staunch opponent of that heresy. His most important work was that on the Trinity.
    By the mid-19th century, the church had become very dilapidated, and was regarded as almost past restoration. On the night of Good Friday, 25th March 1853, most of the original church was destroyed by a disastrous fire. The whole building was burnt down; only the Tower and Spire remained. The original church seemed to have contained much beautiful workmanship; it was probably the second on the site and was of Tudor date. It had consisted of a nave, chancel, two side aisles, tower & spire. The church was rebuilt and in 1855 the present church was consecrated. Like its predecessor, it comprises a chancel, nave, and north and south aisles. The chancel arcades each have three pointed arches of native porcelain stone, supported on slender monolith granite columns. There is a south porch, a north door and a priest's door. The tower, which had belonged to a much earlier cruciformed church prior to that destroyed by the fire, is of one stage, and strongly buttressed on the square; it is surmounted by a spire 39 feet in height, making the whole tower and spire 78 feet and 9 inches high. The spire is 269 feet above sea-level; it was used as a sea-marker for which purpose it was periodically whitewashed. Following trouble in the 1930's the church was left barren. In the 1970s, through the efforts of the Friends of St Hilary, much restoration took place and is still continuing. In 2003 the church roof, which had deteriorated badly, was replaced.
  • Non-Conformist. There was a chapel "each belonging to the Methodists and the Baptists. There were also places of worship for Independents, Wesleyan Methodists, and the Society of Friends." (from the Pigot & Co Cornwall 1844 Directory). The Wesleyan Methodists have chapels at Relubbas, Halamaning, Tregurtha, Kennegy, and Rosudgeon.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for St Hilary are: P020981. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage of this parish is 1687 - 1875; it is NOT believed to be fully included in the LDS Church's International Genealogical Index (IGI).
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1687 - 1889, Burials 1677 - 1954, Marriages 1679 - 1975, Boyd's Marriage Index 1609 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1800 - 1812, BTs 1609 - 1673.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
    • Pre 1813 Marriages.
    • 1813-1837 Marriages.
    • 1813-1959 Burials.
    They also have transcriptions of 1874-1959 Baptisms and 1860-1959 Marriages.
  • Baptisms.
  • Marriages.
  • Burials.

Civil Registration

The parish of St Hilary 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

  • ePodunk's Cornwall page - providing general, plus some historical and genealogical information, about Cornwall and its parishes, together with links (mainly relating to general sites and services, rather than ones that are specific to Cornwall or particular parishes).
  • Photographs of St Hilary are available on-line.
You can see pictures of St Hilary 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.
    • The OPC for St Hilary has produced a genealogical website for the parish to help researchers.
  • There is a separate genealogical website for St Hilary containing records.
  • There is also a a message board on the website. It is only for those with a genealogical interest within the area of St Hilary, Germoe, Marazion and St Michael's Mount.

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which St Hilary 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 SW550310 (Lat/Lon: 50.128306, -5.429419), St Hilary which are provided by:

Names, Personal

Some family trees are available on-line for St Hilary surnames.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • St Hilary parish was part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
  • Overseers' Accounts (1753 to 1766, 1769 to 1800 and 1826 to 1851) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


Marazion was created from part of this parish 1813.

  • Population in 1801 - 990 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 1248 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 1558 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 1728 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 3649 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 1642 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 1914 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 2797 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 957 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 956 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 771 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 728 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 694 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 658 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 682 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 552 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 577 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 645 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 708 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 785 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 922 persons


The parish comprises 2923 acres of land.