The parish of Altarnun (Cornish: Alternonna) is in the Hundred of Lesneweth, in the deanery of Trigg-major and is eight miles west of Launceston. It is surrounded by the parishes of Trewin, Lewanick and Northill on the east, St Cleer and St Neot on the south, Blisland and St Breward (Simonward) on the west, and St Clether and Laneast on the north. The name means Altar [church altar] of St Nonna. The village is to the east of Bodmin Moor situated on a tributary of the River Inney, it is not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. Altarnun Parish is now in the North Cornwall district and part of it lies within Bodmin Moor. Part of the new parish of Bolventor is in the south-west of the older Altarnun parish.
The area is mainly moorland but there are areas of farmland to the East and animals graze the moorland areas. The river Lynher rises in this parish. The principal villages in this parish are the churchtown, more properly called Penpont, Tredaule, Five Lanes, Gunnon, Treveage, West Carne, Trethyn, Treween and Trewint. At Five Lanes, large cattle fairs were held; John Wesley preached at Trewint.
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 (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:
- 1841. The 1841 Census of Altarnun (HO107/140) (Enumeration Districts 1 to 4, including a detached part of Enumeration District 2d), is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- The 1851 Census of Altarnun (HO107/1899), (Enumeration Districts 1a, 1b, and 1c) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- Part of the 1851 Census of Altarnun is available from the West-Penwith resources as part of the 1851 British Census 2% sample - Cornwall.
- Another part of the 1851 Census of Altarnun is also available from the West-Penwith resources as part of the same 1851 British Census 2% sample - Cornwall.
- 1861. The 1861 Census of Altarnun (RG9/1517), (Enumeration Districts 1 to 3), is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1871. The 1871 Census of Altarnun (RG10/2222), Enumeration Districts 1 to 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1881. The 1881 Census of Altarnun (RG11/2274), Enumeration Districts 1 to 4, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1891. The 1891 Census of Altarnun (RG12/1801), Enumeration Districts 1 to 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX223813 and was dedicated to Saint Nonna. St Nonna was the mother of St.David and left Wales in 527 and was one of many who travelled to Cornwall on their way to Europe. Alternun means the altar of St.Non (Nonna), and is believed that the church is her burial-place. A Norman church was built here in the twelth century; the present church was built in the early fifteenth century.
The present church comprises a chancel which embraces the eastern ends of the side aisles, and the communion rails traverse the whole width of the church. The side aisles are separated from the nave by arcades of depressed four-centred arches, supported on monolith granite pillars. The tower is 110 feet in height and is the highest in Cornwall after Probus. It was much damaged by storms in 1790 and 1810.
The Bolven Tor district church was originally another within this parish; it was consecrated on 3rd July 1848 and was dedicated to the Holy Trinity.
- Non-Conformist. There is a Wesleyan Methodist chapel in the village of Altarnun, which replaced an older chapel which had been converted into a schoolroom.
- LDS Church Records.
- The LDS Church batch numbers for Altarnun are: C053311, E006241, E053311, M006241, M053311, P006241. These are searchable by surname.
- The IGI coverage of this parish is 1610 - 1875.
- CRO Record Holdings. The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1611 - 1980, Burials 1611 - 1963, Marriages 1610 - 1973, Boyd's Marriage Index 1611 - 1673, BTs 1611 - 1673.
- Anglican Church:
- Baptisms 1611 to 1673 (Bishop's Transcripts), 1679 to 1686, and 1688 to 1911 (parish transcripts), are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD baptisms 1725 to 1841 for this parish.
- Wesleyan Chapel Baptisms 1846 to 1912, and Bowithick Wesleyan Methodist Baptisms 1872 to 1912, are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Anglican Church:
- Banns. Banns 1787 to 1818 are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1610 to 1837, which is available in CD or downloadable .pdf file format.
- Marriages pre-1679 (Bishop's Transcripts), 1679 to 1716, 1703 to 1913 (parish registers), and 1855 to 1913 (other transcriptions), are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
The parish of Altarnun is in the Launceston Registration District and has been since 1st July 1837. There were originally sub-districts at Altarnun, Launceston, North Hill, North Petherwin and St Stephen-by-Launceston, but these are now all closed. Parishes within the district are: Altarnun, Boyton, Egloskerry, Laneast, Launceston, Lawhitton, Lewannick, Lezant, Northill, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Stephens by Launceston, St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Thomas Street, South Petherwin, Stokeclimsland, Tremaine, Treneglos, Tresmeer, Trewen, Warbstow.
The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Hendra, Dunheved Road, Launceston, PL15 9JG. Tel: 01566 772464.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from Altarnun to another place.
- 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.
The Domesday Settlements of Cornwall, a study undertaken by the Cornwall Branch of the Historical Association, has identified and located settlements listed in the Exeter and Exchequer Domesday Survey of AD 1086. The following places have been identified in Altarnun ecclesiastical parish:
- Bowithick (Bowidock, Bowidock), Grid Reference 182929.
- Halvana (Hirmeneu, Ermenhev), Grid Reference 215787.
- Landinner (Landiner, Laniliner, Lanliner), Grid Reference 237834.
- Penpont (Penponta, Penponte), Grid Reference 224812.
- Tredaule (Tredaual, Tredaval), Grid Reference 234812.
- Trevague (Treuagan, Trevagav), Grid Reference 238797.
- Trewint (Trawint, Travvint), Grid Reference 220806.
You can see the administrative areas in which Altarnun has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
- The parish and town tithe maps, and accompanying survey books of c1840, provide a fascinating snap-shot of land use and ownership in the 19th century. In order to preserve the documents and improve access to them, the Cornwall Record Office are digitising these maps and survey books. The CD ROM tithe package include a map and survey books, together with a reader, for this parish; it is now available from the Cornwall Record Office. Details are on their website.
- Map of the Launceston Registration District in which the parish lies.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX224812 (Lat/Lon: 50.603179, -4.510446), Altarnun which are provided by:
- Google Maps
- StreetMap (Current Ordnance Survey maps)
- Bing (was Multimap)
- Old Maps Online
- National Library of Scotland (Old Ordnance Survey maps)
- Vision of Britain (Click "Historical units & statistics" for administrative areas.)
- English Jurisdictions in 1851 (Unfortunately the LDS have removed the facility to enable us to specify a starting location, you will need to search yourself on their map.)
- Magic (Geographic information) (Click + on map if it doesn't show)
- GeoHack (Links to on-line maps and location specific services.)
- Altarnun parish was part of the Launceston Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief. Overseers' Accounts 1796 to 1817, Settlement papers (1714 to 1824) and Bastardy Bonds (1704 - 1825), are available in the <Cornwall Record Office.
- Some Bastardy/Filiation documents have also been transcribed and are on-line.