Davidstow (Cornish: Lanndhewi)is situated in the Deanery of Trigg Major and the Hundred of Lesnewth. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Lewnewth, St Juliot and Otterham, on the east by Warbstow, Treneglos and St Clether, on the south by St Clether and Advent, and on the west by Lanteglos-by-Camelford and Minster. Named after David, Bishop of Menevia, to whom the parish church is dedicated, Davidstow is a small village on the northern edge of Bodmin Moor. In the past the parish was called 'Dewstow' from the Cornish for David: 'Dewy'. The parish lies about 12 miles to the West of Launceston. There are a few isolated farms in the area and farming is the main industry. An imposing church which is beside the busy main road from Camelford to Launceston, there is an unusual holy well near the church which was restored in 1871.

The commons around Davidstow were permenantly scarred when a World War II aerodrome was built, and the disused runways still criss-cross the moor. The air base was used mainly by the Americans and Canadians for training in the run up to D-Day and were visited by General Eisenhower during 1944. However the frequent moorland mist rendered the base unusable for alot of the time and after the war the military discontinued its use. The airfield then enjoyed another slice of unique history when it became the venue for various motor racing events in the 1950's including three Formula 1 races, but a lack of sponsorship and increasing safety regulations brought this to a close within a few years. The disused airfield is still used for balloon ascents.

St Kitt's Hill, on the western side of the parish, is 985 feet above sea-level. The villages of this parish are Trewassa, Trevivian, and Tremeal (Tremail).

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 published Monumental Inscriptions for:
    • The Parish Church - 537 entries
    • Tremail Methodist Chapel - 122 entries
  • Pictures of the War Memorial, including the inscriptions, are available on-line courtesy of the OPC.


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 Davidstow (HO107/140) (Enumeration District 8), is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1851.
    • The 1851 Census of Davidstow (HO107/1898), Enumeration District 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
    • The New Zealand Society of Genealogists have compiled separate surname indexes of the 1851 Census for each Cornish registration district; Davidstow is listed in Volume 4. The booklets are available in Cornwall at the Cornwall Centre (formerly known as the Cornish Studies Library), and is also available in the Cornwall FHS Library.
  • 1861. The 1861 Census of Davidstow (RG9/1516) (Enumeration District 8), is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1871. The 1871 Census of Davidstow (RG10/2220), Enumeration District 8, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1881. The 1881 Census of Davidstow (RG11/2273), Enumeration District 8, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1891. The 1891 Census of Davidstow (RG12/1800) (Enumeration District 4) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.

Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX1587 and was dedicated to St David de Treglast in the 1294. It comprises a chancel, nave, and north and south aisles. The arcades are each of five obtuse arches, supported by tall monolith pillars which are held together by wooden tie beams across the nave. There is a south porch and a blocked north door. The tower is later than the church; it is of three stages and is buttressed on the square. The parapet is without crenellation, and is surmounted by stump pinnacles. The parish is now part of Boscastle-with-Davidstow eccesiastical parish.
  • Non-Conformist. The Wesleyan Methodists had a chapel at Tremail.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1708 - 1977, Burials 1708 - 1980, Marriages 1709 - 1971, Boyd's Marriage Index 1608 - 1811, Pallot's Marriage Index 1790 - 1812, BTs 1608 - 1673.
  • Baptisms.
    • Parish baptisms 1708 to 1903, and Bishop's Transcripts (BTs) of baptisms 1669 to 1773, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD, baptisms 1717 to 1856 for this parish and are available for purchase on Parish Chest.
  • Banns. Banns in the parish 1880 to 1901 are also available on-line through the OPC Search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Marriages.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1676 to 1836, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Marriages 1754 to 1901, and Phillimore's marriages 1676 to 1811, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Burials.

Civil Registration

Although originally in the Camelford Registration District, the parish of Davidstow is now in the Bodmin Registration District; there were sub-districts at Boscastle and Camelford. Parishes within the Camelford district were: Advent, Davidstow, Forrabury, Lanteglos, Lesnewth, Michaelstow, Minster, Otterham, St. Breward, St. Clether, St. Juliot, St. Teath, Tintagel, Trevalga.

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


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Davidstow which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"DAVIDSTOW, a parish in the hundred of Lesnewth in the county of Cornwall, 3½ miles N.E. of Camelford and 14 W. of Stratton. This parish, which is fertile and pleasantly undulating, is watered by the Inny, which takes its rise near the church. Petty sessions for, the division are held once a month at the village of Hollworthy, in this parish. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Exeter, value £192, in the patronage of the Prince of Wales. The church, dedicated to St. David, is an ancient stone structure. The great tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £166, and the vicarial for one of £240; besides which there are 18 acres of glebe. The charities amount to £1 per annum. H.R.H. the Prince of Wales is lord of the manor. There are several barrows in this parish. Treseat, Treslay, Trevivian Handall, Tredwen, Treglasta, Tremail, Trebleary, Trehane, Trelay, Treworra, Butterwell, Colcade, Hendraburnick, Penhole, Abbotshendra, Halwell, Halworthy, Churchtown, and Trewinnow, are places here."



  • 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 Davidstow ecclesiastical parish:



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX156851 (Lat/Lon: 50.636615, -4.609462), Davidstow which are provided by:




Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Davidstow parish was part of the Camelford Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
  • Overseers' Accounts (1820 to 1837) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


  • Population in 1801 - 217 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 262 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 363 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 389 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 408 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 472 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 394 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 410 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 406 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 393 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 371 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 384 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 430 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 393 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 426 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 368 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 384 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 385 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 448 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 470 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 433 persons


The parish of Davidstow comprises 6849 acres of land and 4 acres of water.