The parish of Bodmin (Cornish: Bosvenegh), including the municipal borough, is situated in the Deanery of Trigg Minor and the Hundred of Trigg, in the centre of the county. It is bounded on the east by Cardinham, on the south by Lanhydrock and Lanivet, on the west by Withiel, St Breock and Egloshayle, and on the north by Helland. The parish is probably named after the Old Cornish for 'Dwelling near the Church'. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Bodmine. Many Guilds were quartered in Bodmin; many having their own chapels and places of worship. In 1179, the burgesses paid a fine of one hundred shillings for mis-reprenting themselves and for setting up a Guild without licence. The Guildhall is still in Fore Street.

The town of Bodmin is the County Town of Cornwall, although the City of Truro is now the administrative Capital and thus the de facto County Town. The town formerly housed a Jail (built in 1779), and the County Assizes were held here. Bodmin was also formerly the registry for wills, and index to these registers are held in the various libraries and record offices across the Duchy. It is a market town which is situated in a small valley in roughly the centre of Cornwall. Its earliest Charter was confirmed in 1285 by King Edward I. A number of insurrections have taken place in the town and in 1497, Thomas Flamanck and Michael An Gof led a rebellion against the taxes imposed by Parliament to fund the war with Scotland. They marched with their followers to London and after a battle were taken prisoner and executed for their 'crimes'. In the same year a pretender to the Throne of England, Perkin Warbeck, had himself proclaimed Richard IV at Bodmin. During the Civil War the town was held by both sides at various times. The town is basically one main street with others leading off. there is a large obelisk on Beacon hill called the Gilbert Monument. Bodmin is said to have been one of the old coinage towns which had the priviledge of stamping tin, but this appears to have been lost before 1347. The town has a small railway which is now privately run; details of the Bodmin and Wenford Railway are available. The area is hilly with wooded valleys around the town and a number of small villages and hamlets. Farming and tourism are the main industries.

The County Lunatic Asylum was built in 1820. It was renamed the St Lawrence's Hospital, when it joined the National Health Service in 1948. St Lawrence's Hospital closed in 2002. It has been partly demolished and the remainder has now been converted into residential accommodation. The site is located within the parish, about a mile from the church, to the west of the town (see also under Medical Records below).

In 2001, Bodmin was enumerated under two civil parishes: St Mary and St Petroc.

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)


Archives & Libraries

  • The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Museum:
    The Keep, The Barracks, Bodmin, Cornwall PL31 1EG.
    Tel 01208 72810 - Overseas +44 1208 72810.
  • Cornwall District Probate Office.

    Post-1858 wills for the whole of Cornwall can be seen at the District Probate Registry, Market Street, Bodmin, PL25 2VW.
    Tel 01208 72279 - Overseas +44 1208 72279
  • The Bodmin Town Museum covers the town's local and social history from earlist times to the 1950s.


A Municipal Cemetery, situated at the top of Rhind Street, belongs to the town, but there are no Mortuary chapels. The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for:

  • The Municipal Cemetery and the Parish Church - 3592 entries.
  • The Methodist Chapel.


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:


Church History

  • Anglican There were once several Anglican churches in this parish:
    • Parish Church. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX0767 and was dedicated to St Petroc prior to the Norman Conquest in 1066.
      The parish church is situated at the east end of the town, and was comparatively isolated. It was wholly rebuilt during the time of Edward IV. It comprises a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, separated by arcades of nine four-centred pointed arches. the chancel and chancel aisles are divided transversly from the body of the church by three semi-circular moulded arches. The material used for the pillars and arches, and all interior dressings is St Stephens porcelain stone. The northern chancel aisle and the tower appear to be of a much earlier date than the other parts of the church. Attached to the church was the chapel of St Mary in which was St Petroc's shrine, and in it the mortuary chapels of St Andrew, St Martin, and King Harry built and endowed in 1494. A website for St Petroc's church is available.
      St Leonard's chapel-of-ease and burial ground is situated at the western end of the town which had been in ruins for more than two hundred years. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1871; it is a small rectangular building of stone. At the south-east extremity of the town was the chapel and burial ground of St Nicholas. Details about the plans of this church are available on-line.
    • There was a chapel of St Thomas in Bodmin which is now in ruins, and a church of St Leonard.
    • The Anglican Team Ministry of Bodmin now comprises the Church of Saint Lawrence with Saint Leonard, Bodmin (formally the Chapel of St. Lawrence's Hospital), together with the Parish Church of Saint Hydrock, (Lanhydrock), the Parish Church of Lanivet, and the Church of Saint Stephen, and Nanstallon (Mission Church within the parish of Lanivet).
  • Roman Catholic The Canons Regular of the Lateran returned to Bodmin on the feast of St. John the Baptist, June 24th 1881. Before the reformation, the Canons were at the other end of the town - adjoining the present Anglican church, known as the Priory. Mass was celebrated on that day for the first time since the suppression of the monastery by King Henry VIII in 1539. On the 56th anniversary of the Canons Regular coming back to Bodmin, June 24th 1937, the foundation stone of the new church was laid by Bishop John Barrett. The plan was to create a conventual church on the lines of a pre-reformation Cornish Church. Construction work was abandoned during the war, and for fourteen years after that. Then, new plans were made. The present Church, built of local stone, was blessed and opened by Bishop Cyril Restieaux on 24th June, 1965.
  • Non-Conformist.
    • There was a chapel for the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion in Honey Street which was built in 1804, and rebuilt in Fore Street in 1870. It is a plain stone building.
    • The Bible Christian chapel in Bore Street was built in 1851, and the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Fore Street was built in 1834.
    • The Wesleyan Methodist Association chapel in Poole Street was built in 1842.
    • There is also a Pentecostal Church in Bodmin.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
  • Cornwall Record Office. The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1588 - 1963, Burials 1558 - 1983, Marriages 1559 - 1983, Boyd's Marriage Index 1559 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1790 - 1812, Non-Conformist records 1804 - 1837.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1813 to 1841 and 1893 to 1900 are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Bodmin Wesleyan baptisms 1805 to 1837 are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD, baptisms 1730 to 1841 for this parish and these are available for purchase from Parish Chest.
  • Marriages.
    • Phillimore's Marriages 1559 to 1812, and parish registers 1771 to 1812 and 1884 to 1900 are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1559 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
  • Burials.
    • Burials 1558 to 1752 and 1813 to 1900 (with small gaps) are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Burials 1813 to 1837, which is available in Book or CD format.
  • Other Non-Conformist Records. OPC Coverage of Non-Conformist records of this parish is available.

Civil Registration

The parish of Bodmin is in the Bodmin Registration District, and has been since 1st July 1837; there were sub-districts are Bodmin, Egloshayle, Lanlivery and St Mabyn but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Blisland, Bodmin, Bodmin Borough, Cardinham, Egloshayle, Endellion, Helland, Lanhydrock, Lanviet, Lanlivery, Lostwithiel, Luxulion, St. Kew, St. Mabyn, St. Minver Highlands, St. Minver Lowlands, St. Tudy, St. Winnow, Temple, Wadebridge, Warleggon, Withiel.

The Superintendant Registrar of Bodmin can be contacted at: Lyndhurst, 66 Nicholas Street, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL31 2AG. Tel: 01208 73677.


Correctional Institutions

  • The first Bodmin Gaol was built in 1779, and the execution of condemned men took place in a number of different places, since that time.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts in CD format of:
    • Bodmin Bridewell and its inmates 1821-1848.
    • Debtors Imprisoned in Bodmin Gaol 1831-1853 & 1868-1879.
    • Prisoners in Cornwall County Gaol Vol 01 - 1831-1836 (1409 entries).
    • Prisoners in Cornwall County Gaol Vol 02 - 1836-1841 (1410 entries).
    • Prisoners in Cornwall County Gaol Vol 03 - 1846-1851 (1770 entries).
    • Prisoners in Cornwall County Gaol Vol 04 - 1851-1857 (1770 entries).
    • Prisoners in Cornwall County Gaol Vol 05 -1856-1859/60 (1836 entries).
    • Prisoners in Cornwall County Gaol Vol 06 - 1860 - 1863 (1891 entries).
    • Prisoners in Cornwall County Gaol Vol 07 - 1862-1865 (970 entries).
    • Prisoners in Cornwall County Gaol Vol 08 - 1863-1867 (1930 entries).
    • Prisoners in Cornwall County Gaol Vol 09 - 1866-1870 (2030 entries).
    • Prisoners in Cornwall County Gaol Vol 10 - 1869 - 1872 (2472 entries).
    • Prisoners in Cornwall County Gaol Vol 11 - 1872-1875/6 (2250 entries).

Description & Travel

  • Parochial and family history of the parish and borough of Bodmin, in the county of Cornwall, by Sir John Mclean (Published 1870), is available on-line, courtesy of the Old Cornwall Society.
You can see pictures of Bodmin which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"BODMIN, a parish and market town, municipal and parliamentary borough, in the hundred of Trigg, in the county of Cornwall, 20 miles to the N.E. of Truro, and 234 miles from London. The town is about 5 miles from the Bodmin Road station of the Cornwall and West Cornwall railway. It is now the county town of Cornwall. The name of the place-the first syllable of which, "Bod," is the same that is found in many names of towns, &c., in Wales, and signifies "house "or "abode "-is shortened from the ancient form found in the charters, Bodminian or Bosmana, signifying "house of monks." Another form also occurs-Bosvenna, or " houses on the hill."-The pleasant valley in which the town stands at a very early period attracted religious recluses. St. Petroc, whose settlement here is assigned to the early part of the 6th century, is said to have found St. Garen already residing on the spot, and to have enlarged and adapted his hermitage for the abode of himself and his companions, who had resolved to live after the rule of St. Benedict. St. Petroc died and was interred here about the middle of the 6th century. The house he founded appears to have existed till the 10th century, occupied by a few brethren of the order. In the year 936 a priory of the Benedictine order was founded by King Athelstan on or near the site of the ancient house. Although disused for a time, and appropriated to secular uses, the priory continued to exist, and was occupied in succession by various religious orders and classes of persons. It appears to have been in a flourishing condition at the time of the Norman survey, when the prior possessed several important privileges. He received the profits of a market and fair, and had, probably, with his pillory and his gallows, the power of inflicting the punishment of death. Early in the 12th century the monastery was refounded, for monks of the Augustine order, by one Algar, with the royal licence, and that of Warlewas, Bishop of Exeter.



  • 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.
  • Mailing List. British-genealogy.com operate a mailing list for anyone with a genealogical and or historical interest in Bodmin Moor and its surrounding villages. Villages covered are: Advent (Tresinney), Alternun, Blisland, Bodmin, Boventor, Camelford (Lanteglos), Cardinham, Davidstow, Egloshayle, Helland, Laneast, Lanteglos by Camelford, Launceston, Lewannick, Liskeard, Michaelstow, North Hill, St Breward, St Breock, St Cleer, St Clether, St Mabyn, St Neot, St Tudy, Temple, Tresinney, Trewen, Wadebridge (Egloshayle & St Breock), and Warleggan.

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 Bodmin ecclesiastical parish:



Lancarffe. The manor of Lancarffe or Lancoff, held of the honor of Bodmin, or of S. Petrock, belonged, temp. Richard II, and for several years afterwards, to the family of Whalesborough, who then held it under the Bevilles; it is now in severalties. In the XVth century the barton belonged to the family of Opie; afterwards successively to the Crossmans and Bullocks. It was purchased of the latter family, in 1685, by John Mounsteven, Esq., secretary to the Earl of Sunderland, when secretary of state; his descendant, Mr. Hender Mounsteven sold it in 1787, to Francis John Hext, Esq., father of Admiral William Hext, of Tredethy, the present proprietor. The mansion has latterly been occupied as a farm house. (From a History of Cornwall (pg. 99).



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX058674 (Lat/Lon: 50.47381, -4.737725), Bodmin which are provided by:


Medical Records

Archived mental health records from St Lawrence's Hospital for the period 1860s to 1983 are in the Cornwall Record Office. These comprise minute books, financial papers, patient admission, discharge and treatment records, and archives of the hospital farm. However, much of the information is protected under Data Protection legislation.



  • Some indentures of Bodmin people are listed on the OPC site.
  • Apprenticeship Indentures for Bodmin (1704 - 1749) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bodmin Borough and parish were part of the Bodmin Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
  • There was an old workhouse built in 1769 which was replaced by a new workhouse which was located near the top of Rhind Street, and built in 1842, at a cost of about £5,000. It was a plain but substantial stone building and able to hold 250 inmates.
  • Settlement Papers (1677 to 1732) and Bastardy Bonds (1673 to 1726), are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


  • Population in 1801 - 1951 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 2050 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 2902 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 3375 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 4205 persons in Bodmin parish,
    plus 165 persons in Bodmin Asylum,
    195 persons in Bodmin Gaol,
    94 persons in Bodmin Union Workhouse
  • Population in 1851 - 4327 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 4466 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 4672 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 5061 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 5151 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 5353 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 5734 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 5526 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 5608 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 6057 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 6214 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 9207 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 12195 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 12640 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 12881 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 14543 persons

Religion & Religious Life

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 Bodmin are available on-line.



The parish comprised 3395 acres of land and 22 acres of water.