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Altarnun

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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)

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Cemeteries

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Census

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.
  • 1851.
    • 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.
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Church History

  • 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.
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Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
  • 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.
  • Baptisms.
    • 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.
    • Non-Conformist:
      • 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).
  • Banns. Banns 1787 to 1818 are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Marriages.
    • 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).
  • Burials.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Burials 1813 to 1837, which is available in CD or book format.
    • Burials 1611 to 1673, 1679 to 1686 (BTs), 1689 to 1699, 1712 to 1936 (parish registers), are available on-line through the OPC search Facility (C-PROP).
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Civil Registration

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.

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Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Altarnun which are provided by:

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Gazetteers

The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"ALTARNUN, (or Alternon), a parish in the hundred of Lesnewth, in the county of Cornwall, 7 miles to the S.W. of Launceston. It is the largest parish in Cornwall, and comprises the curacy of Bolventer and the hamlets of Trewint, Tredawl, Trelyn, Treveage, and four others. It is pleasantly situated on the river Inny, not far from the fine granite peak and seamark named Brown Willey, which rises to the height of 1,360 feet, and on which most of the streams in the district take their rise. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Exeter, value £320, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. The church is dedicated to St. Nunn, or Noneth, whose burial-place it was, and who was the mother of St. David of Wales. The tower of this church is loftier than any other in Cornwall, except that of Probus. The Wesleyan Methodists and Bible Christians have chapels here. There is also a district church at the village of Bolventer, and a chapel for Bible Christians. Tregune Consols is a copper and tin mine. In this parish is Trelawney, the ancient seat of the family of that name. A little to the north of Altarnun is a pool, or lake, called Dosmery Pool, the only lake in the county, and concerning which some "strange conceits "were held of old. It is in the midst of the moors, and is about a mile in circumference, having no visible spring, nor any outlet. Cattle fairs are held at Five Lanes, one of the hamlets in this parish, on the second Monday after the 7th of July, and the last Thursday in October.

"BOLVENTOR, a chapelry in the parish of Altarnun, hundred of Lesnewth, in the county of Cornwall, not far from Alternon. Launceston is its post town. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Exeter, of the value of £7 5, in the patronage of F. Rodd, Esq."

"FIVE-LANES, a hamlet in the parish of Altarnun, hundred of Lesnewth, county Cornwall, 8 miles S.W. of Launceston. Hornblende is obtained here.

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Genealogy

  • 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.
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Historical Geography

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:

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.

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Land & Property

  • 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.
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Maps

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX224812 (Lat/Lon: 50.603179, -4.510446), Altarnun which are provided by:

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Occupations

  • Information about the Caradon and Liskeard Mines is available on-line.
  • Apprenticeship Indentures for Altarnun (1752 - 1831) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office. Some are on-line, courtesy of the OPC.
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Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • 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.
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Population

  • Population in 1801 - 679 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 784 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 885 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 1069 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 1334 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 1382 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 1389 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 1200 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 1150 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 1078 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 911 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 879 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 847 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 823 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 700 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 680 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 718 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 815 persons
    (including 720 persons in Altarnun,
    Five Lanes & Trewint Villages)
  • Population in 1991 - 860 persons
    (including 770 persons in Altarnun,
    Five Lanes & Trewint Villages)
  • Population in 2001 - 976 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 1084 persons
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Statistics

The parish comprises 15014 acres of land.

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Voting Registers

The following Voters' Lists for Altarnun are available, courtesy of the OPC: