The parish of Gerrans, sometimes called 'St Gerrans' (Cornish: Gerrens), is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Powder. It is bounded on the north by Philleigh, on the east by Gerrans Bay, on the south by St Anthony-in-Roseland, and on the west by St Just-in-Roseland.

From the hilltop village and church of Gerrans there is a stunning view of Gerrans Bay with Gull Rock and Nare Head in the distance. At the bottom of the hill lie the white-washed cottages and tiny harbour of Portscatho. The name Gerrans is believed to be derived from Gerent, an early Cornish king/saint who lived in the 8th century. There is a local legend he was buried with a boat made of gold at Carne Beacon, near Veryan. His name was written in the Latin form of Gerontius by early scribes, and the name still exists today in Wales as Geraint. He has been woven into the legends of King Arthur and Knights of the Round Table, but there is little historical evidence to support this. The church has a spire on top of the tower and this stands as a very prominent landmark for sailors.

The chief villages are the Churchtown, Porthscatho, and Trewithian. The two villages of Gerrans and Portscatho have now virtually merged into one, although there is still some local rivalry between the two villages. Gerrans Bay, which faces due east, is often used as a shelter from south-westerly winds by shipping and a ridge of land to the south and west of the villages protects them from the worst of the prevailing winds and means there is an equitable climate, except of course when the 'east wind doth blow'. The bay was the depository of Smugglers of Porthscatho and its neighbourhood during the 18th century. By having their scouts on the adjoining hills they had early notice of the approach of any revenue cutters.

In 1934, the parish of St Anthony-in-Roseland united with Gerrans to form a single civil 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 History of the Parish of Gerrans 1800 - 1914 has been written in 3 parts by Hillary Thompson. Details are 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 Gerrans (HO107/147), Enumeration Districts 10 and 11, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1851.
    • The 1851 Census of Gerrans (HO107/1909), Enumeration Districts 4a and 4b, 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; Gerrans is listed in Volume 17. 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 Gerrans (RG9/1553), Enumeration Districts 2 and 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1871. The 1871 Census of Gerrans (RG10/2274), Enumeration Districts 2 and 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1881. The 1881 Census of Gerrans (RG11/2307), Enumeration Districts 2 and 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1891. The 1891 Census of Gerrans (RG12/1827), Enumeration Districts 2 and 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1901. The 1901 Census of Gerrans (RG13/2217), Enumerations Districts 2 and 3, is available on-line courtesy of the OPC.
  • 1911. The 1901 Census of Gerrans (RG14/13814), Enumerations Districts 1 and 2, is available on-line courtesy of the OPC.

Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW8735 and was dedicated to St Gerent. In 1334, the church was regarded as a chapelry of St Anthony-in-Roseland, and was confirmed to the Priory of St Peter and St Paul at Plympton, Devon, by John de Grandisson, the then Bishop of Exeter. The church was almost wholly rebuilt in 1848/9. It comrises a chancel, nave, south aisle, north transept, and vestry. The arcade has seven four-centred arches of granite supported on monolith pillars of the same material. There is a south porch in which there are remains of a stoup, a north door, and a vestry (or priest's door, which is blocked. The tower, which is of two stages, is buttressed at the angles and battlemented, and is surmounted by a spire.

    From THE WEST BRITON dated 6 June 1851: CONSECRATION OF NEW CHURCHES - GERRANS. The consecration of the new church at Gerrans took place on Saturday, the 24th ult.; the foundation of the building was lad on the 26th of April, 1849, and it was opened for public worship on Easter Sunday, 1850.
    It consists of a north and south aisle, with small north transept, the chancel separated by a light screen. The seats are open throughout; the east windows fitted with neat stained glass; the roof open, the chancel roof being at present plain, as it is intended that it shall be blue, powdered with stars. There are sittings in the church for 376 persons, only 120 of which are appropriated. The cost was met by private contributions, together with GBP 90 granted by the Incorporated Church Building Society, and the same amount by the Diocesan Society.
    The new church is in design a restoration of the old building, which was greatly dilapidated, and which it became the object of the vicar, the REV. W. D. LONGLANDS, on his appointment in 1844, to repair. The usual ceremonial of consecration was performed by the Bishop, and the sermon on the occasion was preached by the REV. H. T. RODD, vicar of Gwinear, from Haggai, 1st chap. 8th verse. There were twenty-two clergymen present, including the Chancellor of the Diocese and the Archdeacon of Cornwall.
  • Non-Conformist. There were Wesleyan Methodist and Bible Christian chapels in the Churchtown, and also in Porthscatho, where there was also one for the Independents. There was also a Wesleyan Methodist chapel at Trewithian.

Church Records


Civil Registration

The parish of Gerrans has been in the Truro Registration District continuously from 1st July 1837. There were sub-districts at Kea, Kenwyn, Probus, St. Agnes, St. Clement and St Just-in-Roseland, but these have now been abolished. Parishes in this registration district are: Cornelly, Cuby, Feock, Gerrans, Kea, Kenwyn, Ladock, Lamorran, Merther, Perranzabuloe, Philleigh, Probus, Ruan Lanihorne, St. Agnes, St. Allen, St. Anthony in Roseland, St. Clement, St. Erme, St. Feock, St. Just in Roseland, St. Michael Penkevil, Tregavethan, Tregony St. James, Truro St. Mary, Veryan.

The address of the Registration Office is: Dalvenie House, New County Hall, Truro, TR1 3AY.
Tel: 01872 322241.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Gerrans which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"GERRANS, (or Gerrance), a parish in the hundred of West Powder, county Cornwall, 7 miles S.E. of Truro, and 4 N. of St. Mawe's. It is situated at the upper extremity of St. Mawe's Harbour, being bounded on the E. by the English Channel. It formerly formed part of the demesne of the bishops of Exeter. It includes the hamlets of Porthskaths and Trewithan. The land is rich, and the soil chiefly arable. Slate occurs in some parts. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Exeter, value £258, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is situated on an eminence commanding a fine prospect. It is dedicated to St. Guron, and contains a handsome monument to the Hobbs family. The Independents and Wesleyans have chapels. There is a parochial school. On the estate of Trewithan are remains of an ancient fortress called Dun-gerein, reported by tradition- to have, been the castle of King Gerennius.



  • 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 has built a parish website on which genealogical information relating to Gerrans is published.
  • There is also a a list of surnames of those researching Gerrans' Families giving email and website addresses.
  • Strays. Persons living in a parish but born elsewhere are known as Strays. Strays from Gerrans who have been found elsewhere are separately listed on-line.

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 Gerrans ecclesiastical parish:





You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW876359 (Lat/Lon: 50.184555, -4.976474), Gerrans which are provided by:


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Gerrans parish was part of the Truro Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.



From 1951, the population figures include those of St Anthony-in-Roseland.

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)

  • Population in 1801 - 771 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 698 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 732 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 766 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 816 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 888 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 935 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 954 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 892 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 790 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 835 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 747 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 768 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 707 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 934 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 909 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 967 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 940 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 965 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 933 persons
  • population in 2011 - 867 persons

Probate Records

Some Gerrans & St Anthony-in-Roseland Wills are available on-line.


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 Gerrans are available on-line.



The admission/leaving records for Gerrans School, covering admissions from 1876 with the latest departure in 1936 are on-line. The information includes the date of admission, name of pupil, name of parent/guardian, address, date of birth, name or previous school, starting class and ending class, date of leaving and the reason for leaving (which often includes relocation information).



The St. Gerrans & Porthscatho Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line.



The parish comprises 2460 acres of land.



A transcription of the Hearth Tax returns for Gerrans & St Anthony is available on-line..