The parish of Germoe (Cornish: Sen Germow) is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Kerrier. It is bounded on the north, east and south by Breage, and on the west by St Hilary. The name is derived from Saint Germoch or Germogh, about whom little is known. Germoe has been considered as a separate parish for many years, but the Church has been subordinate to that of Breage. It is located in the far south-west of Cornwall, sandwiched between the parishes of Godolphin and Breage. This was eminently a mining parish, but it also had some good farms. Originally, the houses and shops were built to satisfy the needs of miners digging for tin and china clay, but today both these industries have ceased and the village survives with about a third of the population that existed in 1841. A war memorial stands on Tregonning Hill, the highest point in the parish,.

The Godolphin family (the Dukes of Leeds) were the principal landowners in the parish. The chief villages were the Churchtown, Tresowes and Boscreege. There is a large sandy beach at Praa Sands, which is (was) within the parish (but now more closely related to Breage 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)



  • A book entitled Story of an Ancient Parish - Breage with Germoe, Index & Chapter 8, is available on-line.




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 Germoe (HO107/137), Enumeration Districts 12 to 14, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
    • The 1841 census for this parish has also been filmed by the LDS church - film No. 241260.
  • 1851.
    • The 1851 Census of Germoe (HO107/1913), Enumeration Districts 2a and 2b, 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; Germoe is listed in Volume 33. 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 Germoe (RG9/1574), Enumeration Districts 11 and 12, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1871. The 1871 Census of Germoe (RG10/2308), Enumeration Districts 11 and 12, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1881. The 1881 Census of Germoe (RG11/2326), Enumeration Districts 11 and 12, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1891. The 1891 Census of Germoe (RG12/1842), Enumeration Districts 10 and 11, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.

Church History

Germoe and Breage parishes have been closely linked over the ages, although they are now two distict church parishes.

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW5829 and was dedicated to St Germochus. No visible remains of the earliest period of the church foundations survive, and it is almost certain that the services would be held in the open air in the consecrated ground, and any building that there may have been would take the form of a small oratory built of rough timber or dry stone masonry by the priest, in which he would celebrate the sacred service of the Celtic Church. His congregation assembled outside in the open around the Celtic cross under which he stood to preach. In course of time a wooden erection was built to shelter the congregation from the elements. Later, as confidence grew and numbers increased, a small rough stone building followed and served until the advent of the Norman period, when a more permanent and well constructed building was erected. It appears that the services of those far off days were remarkable for their heartiness and volume of sound, and indeed the absence of loud singing was considered to indicate a want of interest and enthusiasm.
    The 12th century was remarkable for the building of stone churches and an examination of the stonework of Germoe church reveals indications of a Norman cruciform church building of about this year. Erected probably by William Fitz Robert , Earl of Cornwall. It is possible that this building superseded a small stone church which had been build several hundred years earlier. The south wall between the tower and the porch differs in construction from the remainder of the walls, and appears to be of an earlier date.
    The present church comprises a chancel, nave, north aisle, south transept, and a short north transept. The chancel was reconstructed in the mid-19th century, when a major refurbishment occured. The nave is separated from the north aisle by a low arcade of six four-centred arches of fine native granite supported on well-moulded pillars of the same material. At the east end of the north aisle was the Godolphin family pew. There is a south porch, and a north door. The tower is a well-built structure of granite ashlar; it is of three stages and is finished with battlements and pinnacles.
  • Roman Catholic. In 1961, Fr. A.P. Byrne C.R.L. had the opportunity to purchase a private Chapel on the main road at Praa Sands. (It is thought that this Chapel was first used for Sunday Mass in 1925). The Chapel had originally been opened and blessed by Bishop Barrett in 1935, and later abandoned. During the period of disuse, Mass was celebrated at "Seaforth", a house on the main road at Praa Sands. Thereafter, it was celebrated at Tregembo Manor, Relubbus.
  • Non-Conformist. The Wesleyan Methodists had a chapel at Balwest, which was built in 1829 to accommodate the growing population of miners and their families. It replaced the smaller 1798 chapel thought to have been sited close by; the chapel is still active at the beginning of the 21st century, having been refurbished by a grant of money from the EEC. The chapel has a burial ground attached. There was also another Methodist Chapel on Kenegy Common.

Church Records


Civil Registration

The parish of Germoe was originally in the Helston Registration District; there were sub-districts at Breage, Crowan, Helston, St Keverne and Wendron. It is now in the Kerrier Registration District. Parishes in this registration district are: Breage, Crowan, Cury, Germoe, Gunwalloe, Grade, Helston, Landewednack, Manaccan, Mawgan in Meneage, Mullion, Ruan Major, Ruan Minor, St. Anthony in Meneage, St. Keverne, St. Martin in Meneage, Sithney, Wendron.

The address of the Registration Office is: The Willows, Church Street, Helston, TR13 8NJ.
Tel: 01326 562848.


Description & Travel

  • The story of an ancient parish, Breage with Germoe, with some account of its armigers, worthies and unworthies, smugglers and wreckers, its traditions and superstitions by H.R. Coulthard (Published 1913) is available on-line, courtesy of the Old Cornwall Society.
You can see pictures of Germoe which are provided by:



  • Directories as below
    • Kelly's 1856 Directory of Germoe.
    • Kelly's 1873 Directory of Germoe.
    • Kelly'S 1873 Directory of Germoe.
    • Kelly's 1883 Directory of Germoe.
    • Kelly's 1893 Directory of Germoe.
    • Kelly's 1897 Directory of Germoe.
    • Kelly's 1902 Directory of Germoe.
    • Kelly's 1906 Directory of Germoe.
    • Kelly's 1914 Directory of Germoe.


The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"GERMOE, a parish in the hundred of Kerrier, county Cornwall, 5 Miles W.N.W. of Helstone, its post town, and 8 S.E. of Penzance. The main road between these towns passes through the village. Mining operations are carried on here, mostly in tin, giving employment to a large proportion of the inhabitants. The extensive Godolphin tin-mines have an expenditure of above £15,000 a-year for working. Stone is quarried for building purposes. The living is united with the vicarage of Breage, value £760, in the diocese of Exeter, and in the patronage of the crown. The church is an ancient stone structure dedicated to St. Germoe. It has an embattled tower and porch, about which there are some antique carvings, and contains a stone font and register chest. A curious seat on the N. side of the churchyard is called St. Germoe's chair. The register commences in the ear 1682. The charities produce annually about £3 for the relief of widows, and £10 for education. The Wesleyans have a chapel, and there is a National school. In the S. of the parish, near the sea-shore, are considerable remains of Pengersick Castle. The lords of the manor are the Duke of Leeds, H. M. St. Aubyn, and - Buller, Esqs."

"BALWEST, a village in the parish of Germoe, hundred of Kerrier, in the county of Cornwall, 4 miles from Helston."



  • 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 OPC for Germoe has produced a family history website for the parish.
  • Other Assistance.
    • There is also an additional genealogical website which covers Germoe.
    • There is also a a message board on the website. It is only for those with a genealogical interest within the area of St Hilary, Germoe, Marazion and St Michael's Mount.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW585300 (Lat/Lon: 50.120746, -5.379932), Germoe which are provided by:


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Germoe parish was part of the Helston Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.



  • Population in 1801 - 629 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 735 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 830 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 1175 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 1336 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 970 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 1015 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 953 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 588 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 497 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 347 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 392 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 334 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 313 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 451 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 399 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 403 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 435 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 502 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 508 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 549 persons

Probate Records



The parish comprises 1331 acres of land.