Originally a Saxon settlement and probably called Celliwic, the town of Callington (Cornish: Kelliwik) grew to a community of 200 by the time of the Norman conquest. Callington (Calweton, Calvington, Killington, Killiton) is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of East. It is bounded on the north by Stoke Climsland, east by Calstock and St Dominick, south by St Mellion and St Ive, and on the west by Southill. The parish is named after the Old English for 'Bare Hill'. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Calwetone. In 1584, Callington became a Parliamentary Borough, and continued to send two members to Parliament, until disenfranchised under the Reform Act of 1832.

The town of Callington is situated on a general declivity, but the prospects from it are neither extensive nor picturesque, more especially in some directions where the boundaries are fixed by the more elevated hills. Behind it rises Hingston Downs, some of the highest land in Cornwall; at a distance the hill of Carraton (or Carradon) is visible. Frogwell was the only village in the parish.

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

Callington Museum and Heritage Centre is situated in the former chapel building on Liskeard Road, Callington. It opened on 2nd June 1994 and since then has attracted over 7,000 visitors. Its exhibits span all aspects of the social and economic history of Callington and its surrounding parishes. As well as being a place of interest to visit, the Museum aims to provide a resource for those interested in our local history, whether professional or enthusiast. The Museum has a permanent display of prehistory, mining and models of Callington town centre circa 1840, and Callington Railway Station. There is also a changing display of artefacts and documents. Three exhibitions are staged from April to October each year.



  • Transcriptions from Callington churchyard (St Mary's) are available on the Cornish Cemeteries site.
  • The Gravestone Photographic Resource project have recorded the names of 99 persons in 39 graves for St Mary's Churchyard, Callington, and others in Callington's Bible Christian churchyard.
  • Callington Area Heritage Centre (broken link) have placed on-line monumental inscriptions for St Mary's Churchyard (completed 1988), Civic Cemetery (completed 1987), Plymouth Brethren and Kelly Bray Methodist Church.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line Monumental Inscriptions
    • the Parish Church - 2326 entries
    • Plymouth Brethren Chapel - 48 entries.


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 The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX3569 and was dedicated to 'The Blessed Virgin Mary' on 31st August 1438. In 1436, Bishop Lacy had been petitioned on burial rights, the petitioners stating that from 'time immemorial there had been a parochial chapel of St Mary at Calyngton, where all sacraments and sacramentals were duly administered, and praying that they '(the inhabitants)' may be allowed a cemetery because of the expence and inconvenience of conveying their dead to South Hill, a distance of three miles'.
    The medieval church, said to be built by Sir Nicholas Assheton, stands in the centre of the town with its battlemented porch with an 18th century sundial and 15th century tower with pinnacles springing from angels. It comprises chancel, nave, and north and south aisles. The inside of the nave is spacious with high arcades with the original clerestory. The tower is of three stages and contains six bells and a clock. The font is typical Norman decorated with head at each corner. There are a number of tombs, two of note, the first is that of Sir Nicholas Assheton, who had been a judge and whose portrait is in the chancel floor. The second is of a knight, the first Lord Willoughby de Broke, who was on Bosworth Field at the birth of the Tudor dynasty in 1485, and was a Marshal in the army of Henry VII. He had been steward of the Duchy of Cornwall and died in 1502.
    Externally the church presents an imposing appearance, being built almost entirely of large blocks of granite, and is battlemented throughout. In the 19th century it was closed for a period whilst it was extensively renovated; it reopened for divine service on 12th May 1859.

    There is a separate church at Trevigro which was opened in 1871; details about the plans of this church are also available on-line.
  • Roman Catholic The original Catholic Church of Our Lady of Victories, a small green corrugated iron building, was erected in 1931 on a plot of high ground at the junction of Greenbank and Launceston Roads. During the Second World War, the congregation was amplified by the additional attendance of Polish soldiers and Italian prisoners-of-war. In later years, the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales took over, and Callington became part of the Tavistock parish. The little church served as a Mass centre for local Catholics until 1954, when the local council decided to widen the road. This required the demolition of the little Catholic Church! However, the council provided a new site in Lower Coronation Street, and the second Church of Our Lady of Victories was opened in 1954 by Bishop Grimshaw.
  • Non-Conformist. Within the Borough, there were chapels for the:
    • Wesleyan Methodists.
    • Bible Christians.
    • The United Methodist (Wesleyan) Free church.
    • The Primitive Methodists.
    • The Plymouth Brethren. This latter has its own burial ground.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for Callington are: P006381. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage of this parish is 1676 - 1773.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1558 - 1900, Burials 1558 - 1900, Marriages 1597 - 1673, Boyd's Marriage Index 1597 - 1673, Callington Wesleyan Registers 1843 - 1896, Callington Bible Christian registers 1863 - 1870.
  • Baptisms.
    • The Bishop's transcripts of baptisms at Callington (1676 to 1773) and those in the Callington Bible Christian Circuit (1863 to 1870) are available on-line through the OPC Search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Callington Area Heritage Centre (broken link) have placed the following baptism records for the parish on-line:
      • Parish baptisms 1558 to 1852.
      • Bible Christian Circuit baptisms 1863 to 1890.
      • Wesleyan Circuit baptisms 1846 to 1896.
    • Parish baptisms 1558 to 1603 and 1676 to 1773 are also available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Parish Chest have published on CD baptisms 1705 to 1843 for this parish.
  • Banns. Banns 1861 to 1911 are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Marriages.
    • Callington Area Heritage Centre (broken link) have placed on-line marriage records 1558 to 1858 for the parish on-line
    • Marriages 1677 to 1773 (Bishop's Transcripts), and 1837 to 1911 (with late gaps), 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.
    • Callington Area Heritage Centre (broken link) have placed on-line burial records for the parish 1588 to 1975.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Burials 1813 to 1837, which is available in Book or CD formats.
    • Burials 1558 to 1803, 1676 to 1773 (BTs), and 1891 to 1911 are available on-line through the OPC search Facility (C-PROP).
  • Other Non-Conformist Records. OPC Coverage of Non-Conformist records of this parish is available.

Civil Registration

The parish of Callington was originally in the Liskeard Registration District. There were sub-districts at Callington, Lerrin, Liskeard and Looe. It is now in the St Germans Registration District. Parishes within the Liskeard district were: Boconnoc, Broadoak, Callington, Calstock (1837-60), Duloe, East Looe, Lanreath, Lansallos, Lanteglos, Linkinhorne, Liskeard, Liskeard Borough, Menheniot, Morval, Pelynt, St. Cleer, St. Dominick, St. Ive, St. Keyne, St. Martin's, St. Neot, St. Pinnock, St. Veep, Southill, Talland, West Looe.

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


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Callington which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"CALLINGTON, (or Kellington), a parish and market town, in the middle division of the hundred of East, in the county of Cornwall, 11 miles to the S. of Launceston, 9 miles from the Saltash and Liskeard stations on the Cornwall railway, and 213 miles from London. It is situated under Kit Hill, on Hengeston Down, which is 1,067 feet above the sea, and commands a magnificent prospect. Granite, greywacke, and trap are the prevailing rocks, and there are mines of tin, copper, lead, and manganese in the neighbourhood. The town, which consists chiefly of one broad street, is lighted with gas, and of late years has been much improved, containing some good shops and private houses. A few persons are employed in the woollen manufacture, which was once carried on extensively. There is a convenient courthouse, bank, market-place, and an excellent hotel with assembly-room. Petty sessions are held, and polling for the county elections takes place in the town. Callington was formerly a borough, having obtained the elective franchise in the reign of Elizabeth (1585), from which time it continued to send two representatives to parliament until disfranchised under the Reform Act in 1832. A portreeve is still annually appointed at the court-leet of the lord of the manor, Lord Ashburton, who retains in his possession, as a badge of authority, the ancient silver mace, inscribed with the armorial bearings of the Assheton family, and the date 1583. The magistrates hold petty sessions on the first Thursday in every month. There is a literary institution, with reading-room, and lectures are delivered weekly during the season. The living is a rectory united to the mother church of Southill, in the diocese of Exeter. There are glebes in both parishes, and the tithes have been commuted at £750; Lord Ashburton is patron The church, dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, has been tastefully restored under the direction of J. P. St.



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.


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 Callington ecclesiastical parish:



Callington Area Heritage Centre (broken link) have placed on-line a webpage for the history of Callington parish.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX362695 (Lat/Lon: 50.502277, -4.311329), Callington which are provided by:



The following Newspapers covered this parish:

  • Cornish Times. (December 1856-1859). This newspaper was published in Liskeard and Callington, with a free supplement of the Launceston News. The Cornish and Devon Post offices hold copies from May 1857, but will not allow filming. The newspapers are wrapped in brown paper parcels, which are rather dirty and crudely wrapped, but the newspapers themselves are in quite good condition.
  • Callington and Gunnislake Post. This is a little-changed edition of the Cornish and Devon Post, but the changes are irregular. The newspaper offices did not know when it was first published and have not kept a complete file of it.
  • Callington Gazette. (1978-1982). This short-lived title was published by the Tavistock Gazette offices. It was not taken by the British Library Online Newspaper Archive (BLNL), but there is an almost complete set in the Cornwall Centre, (formerly known as the Cornish Studies Library) in Redruth; the Cornwall County Library could ask the BNLB to film these four years, which would require probably only four reels.

Acknowledgements are made to the British Library Board for permission to reproduce the gist of the text.




Poor Houses, Poor Law

Callington parish was part of the Liskeard Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.



  • Population in 1801 - 819 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 938 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 1321 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 1388 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 1685 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 2142 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 2202 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 2173 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 1925 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 1888 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 1714 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 1712 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 1634 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 1987 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 2212 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 2209 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 2801 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 2970 persons (including 2560 in Callington town)
  • Population in 1991 - 4264 persons (including 3790 in Callington town)
  • Population in 2001 - 4783 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 5665 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 Callington are available on-line.



The parish comprises 2528 acres of land and 3 acres of water.