The parish and Borough of Fowey (Cornish: Fowydh) is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Powder. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Tywardreath and St Sampson (Golant), on the east by Fowey Harbour which separates them from Lanteglos-by-Fowey, on the south by the English Channel, and on the west by Tywardreath. Fowey was rated in the Domesday survey of 1086 under the parish of Tywardreath. The market was first granted to the Prior of Tywardreath in 1316. The trade of Fowey in the 19th century was principally in the importation of timber, coals and lime; there was also a small fishery here. Fowey was a 'Rotten Borough' until the Reform Act of 1832. Up to this date, it had returned two members of parliament from 1570. The Dutch admiral, De Ruyter, made an unsuccessfull attempt on Fowey harbour in 1667.
Today, Fowey is a busy, sheltered, deep water working port offering extensive facilities for the visiting yachtsmen, popular with tourists. It is now a busy place, with an harbour full of pleasure craft in Summer. Fowey Town itself clings to the hill side. It is full of character having many narrow streets.
- A Municipal cemetery was formed in 1873 on hills above the town which was under the control of a Burial Board of five members.
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for the Parish Church - 193 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:
- 1841. The 1841 Census of Fowey (HO107/145), Enumeration Districts 8 to 11 (including Workhouses), is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1851. The 1851 Census of Fowey (HO107/1906), Enumeration Districts 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d and 1e, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1861. The 1861 Census of Fowey is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- RG9/1545. Enumeration Districts 3 to 6 [including some Merchant Shipping}.
- In the 1861 census, Merchant Shipping was treated peculiarly. Shipping Returns have been placed on-line by the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- RG9/4453. Shipping Returns for Fowey, Truro and some of Penzance.
- RG9/4455. Shipping Returns for Fowey.
- 1871. The 1871 Census of Fowey (RG10/2258) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- The 1881 Census of Fowey is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1891. The 1891 Census of Fowey (RG12/1821), is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- Anglican. A Norman church was first built here in the 12th century. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX1251 and was initially dedicated to St. Finn Barr (Fimbarrus). Possibly the Church was destroyed by pirates and it had to be rebuilt in 1328. It was re-dedicated on 3rd July 1336 by the Bishop of Exeter. In reprisal for raids on the French coast by Fowey seamen, the town was attacked by the French in 1456 and was set on fire; during this action the Church was partially destroyed. The attackers were repulsed at "Place", the neighbouring great house, by Elizabeth Treffry (a member of the family who still live there), and she is reputed to have had molten lead poured over them! Some 130 years later, a major restoration took place. This work of restoration began about 1460 with the help of the Earl of Warwick, the Lord High Admiral of England, and lasted into the next century. The tower (the 2nd highest in Comwall) and the wagon roof date from this period The pulpit was made in 1601 from the panelling of the captain's cabin of a Spanish galleon. In 1876, another important restoration took place removing the western gallery, providing a new roof for the north aisle, a clergy vestry, choir stalls, as well as pews for the congregation.
The church now comprises a chancel, nave, and north and south aisles. The chancel is lit by clerestory windows. The south arcade has one granite arch adjoining the chancel, and four lofty pointed and heavily champered arches of Pentewan stone, supported on octagonal piers without caps. The north arcade has four similar arches and piers of the same material. The tower is in four stages and is about 100 ft high to the tops of the pinnackles; it is strongly buttressed on the square. The tower contains six bells and a chiming clock.
- Non-Conformist. In the parish are:
- A Congregationalist chapel built in 1797.
- A Bible Christian chapel built in 1883.
- A Wesleyan chapel built in 1801.
- LDS Church Records.
- The LDS Church batch numbers for Fowey are: C023261/2, M023262, Mount Zion Independent C065131. These are searchable by surname.
- The IGI coverage of this parish is 1543 - 1804.
- The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1543 - 1967, Burials 1603 - 1970, Marriages 1568 - 1936, Boyd's Marriage Index 1568 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1790 - 1812, Non-Conformist records 1798 - 1836.
- Some parish baptisms, marriages and burial (1568 to 1929) for this parish are on the Connors Genealogy Website.
- Baptisms 1681 to 1804 (Bishop's transcripts), and 1851 to 1875 (church registers), for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Wesleyan Methodist (North Street) baptisms 1838 to 1914 in this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- The SOCIETY of FRIENDS (Quakers) - Christenings taken from Fowey Circuit Records, is available on-line, courtesy of the St Austell OPC. These include individuals from Fowey.
- The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD, baptisms 1730 to 1843 for this parish and these are available for purchase on Parish Chest.
- Banns. Banns at Fowey 1803 to 1838 are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1568 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
- The Bishops transcripts of marriages 1681 to 1804, Phillimore's marriages 1568 to 1812, and parish marriages 1702 to 1901, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
The parish of Fowey has been in the Registration District of St Austell continuously from 1st July 1837. There were sub-districts at Fowey, Grampound, Mevagissey and St Austell, but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district were: Creed, Fowey, Gorran, Grampound, Mevagissey, Roche, St. Austell, St. Blazey, St. Dennis, St. Ewe, St. Mewan, St. Michael Carhays, St. Sampson, St. Stephen in Brannel, Tywardreath. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: 12 Carlyon Road, St Austell, PL25 4LD. Tel: 01726 68974. Fax: 01726 68974.
- The Old Foye days, being the true story of a Cornish haven, is available on-line, courtesy of the Old Cornwall Society. This was published by Com. Hom. Henry N. Shore R.N.in 1896.
- Some pictures of Fowey are available.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from Fowey 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 by email.
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 Fowey ecclesiastical parish:
You can see the administrative areas in which Fowey has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
- Map of the St Austell Registration district in which the parish lies.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX124518 (Lat/Lon: 50.335874, -4.637347), Fowey which are provided by:
- Google Maps
- StreetMap (Current Ordnance Survey maps)
- Bing (was Multimap)
- OldMaps (Old Ordnance Survey maps.)
- Old Maps Online (Other old maps.)
- 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.)
- In 1894, Fowey parish was added to the St Austell Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
- Overseers' Accounts (1765 to 1794) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.
These population figures include Polkerris.
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)