Hessenford (Cornish: Rys an Gwraghes) is in the Hundred and Deanery of East. Originally called Hestonford, believed to mean the 'witches' ford/place in the woods'. There was a mill at Hestonford here in 1286; there were still mills here up until the mid-20th century. It is a charming village in picturesque scenery situated about five miles west of St Germans; it contains a pretty cluster of late 17th/18th century lying on the main road from Looe to Plymouth. It is located at the foot of a well-wooded valley crossing the Seaton river.
The parish was created from part of St Germans parish in 1834. Hamlets within the parish are: Seaton, Downderry, Polbathic, Deviock and Narkurs.
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)
Monumental inscriptions for this parish have not yet been recorded. However Burials are recorded by the Cornwall Family History Society under 'St Germans', and 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. In the 1841 Census, Hessenford was enumerated as part of St Germans.
- 1851. The 1851 Census of Hessenford (HO107/1900), Enumeration Districts 2e and 2f, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project..
- 1861. The 1861 Census of Hessenford (RG9/1524), Enumeration Districts 4c, 5c and 6a, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1871. The 1871 Census of Hessenford (RG10/2230), Enumeration Districts 4 to 6, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1881. The 1881 Census of Hessenford (RG11/2281), Enumeration Districts 4 to 6, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1891. The 1891 Census of Hessenford (RG12/1807) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- Anglican. There are two Anglican Churches in this former ecclesiastical parish:
- Parish Church. The parish church is situated in OS Grid Square SX3057, and is dedicated to St Ann. It was originally built in 1832 as a district chapel-of-ease in St Germans parish to serve the growing population in Hessenford. It was consecrated on 26th September 1833. In 1871 it was rebuilt as a church, in the early English style and has a fine barrel-vaulted roof. The church now comprises chancel, nave, aisles, with a small tower and spire. It did not contain a bell, so the church became renowned for its shotgun weddings because a volley was fired in lieu of a peal. The stained west window is a memorial to a Mrs Abraham. The registers date from 1832.
- Downderry. There is also a separate mission church of St. Nicholas at Downderry, built in 1883-4, at a cost of £1,000, by the Rev. J.T. Fisher B.A. vicar of Hessenford, 1851-85. It is an edifice of stone in the Early English style, and has a belfry containing one bell, erected as a memorial to the Rev. J.H.S. Staveley, a former curate; an oak pulpit was provided in 1893, and in 1905 a stained window was given by the widow of Col. Phillips in memory of two sons. There are 100 sittings. In 2001, a new wing with kitchen and toilets was added.
- Non-Conformist. There was a Methodist chapel here which is now closed.
- The parish was stated as St Germans until 1873. The Cornwall Record Office holdings are: Marriages 1834 - 1980, Baptisms 1834 - 1916, Burials 1834 - 1980.
- Baptisms. Baptisms 1834 to 1911 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Banns. Banns 1902 to 1911 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Marriages. Marriages 1852 to 1867 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Burials. Burials 1834 to 1936 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
The parish of Hessenford is in the St Germans Registration District, and has been since 1st July 1837; there were sub-districts at Antony, St Germans and Saltash but they have now been abolished. Parishes within the district were: Antony, Botusfleming, Landrake, Landulph, Maker, Millbrook, Pillaton, Quethiock, Rame, St. Erney, St. Germans, St. John's, St. Mellion, St. Stephen's, Saltash, Sheviock, Torpoint.
The Superintendant Registrar of St Germans can be contacted at: Ploughastel Drive, St Germans, Cornwall. Tel: 01752 842624.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from Hessenford 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.
You can see the administrative areas in which Hessenford 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 Germans Registration District in which the parish lies.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX309574 (Lat/Lon: 50.391776, -4.380672), Hessenford which are provided by:
- Google Maps
- StreetMap (Current Ordnance Survey maps)
- Bing (was Multimap)
- 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.)
Hessenford parish became part of the St Germans Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
The parish was created from St Germans parish in 1834; population figures before this date are included with St Germans.