The parish of Lansallos, (Cornish: Lannsalwys), also anciently called Lansalewys, is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of West. It is bounded on the north by Pelynt, on the east by Talland, on the south by the sea, and on the west by Lanteglos-by-Fowey and Lanreath. The parish name means 'Church site (lann) of unknown name'. Lansallos is a small village on the south coast of Cornwall between Fowey and Polperro, situated above the scenic Lansallos Cliffs. When Talland civil parish was abolished in 1934, the area was distributed between Looe and Lansallos parishes.

The town of Polperro itself used to be divided between the two parishes of Lansallos and Talland by the River Pol,though in 1875 the boundaries were re-drawn and the whole of Polperro is now entirely within Lansallos ecclesiastical parish, in which it is still located today.

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)





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:


Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX1751; it is dedicated to St Ildierna. The present church building was dedicated on 16th October 1321. It consists of a chancel, nave, and north and south aisles. The south arcade has six four-centred arches, and the north arcade has three. There is a south porch and a north door. The tower is of three stages and is 60 feet in height; it is buttress at the angles and finished with battlements and crocketed pinnacles surmounted with crosses. The church is situated on an elevated position some 514 feet above sea-level.
    The church at Lansallos is of ancient foundation, going back to the time of the Celtic missionary monks who evangelized Cornwall in the early centuries of the first Christian Millennium. About a hundred years after it was built, such extensive reconstruction was undertaken, including the aisles and the tower, that one wonders whether it should not be called a 15th century church. With capacity for 150, one of the church's outstanding features is its English oak medieval pews, with the carvings on the bench ends mostly crafted between 1490 and 1520. In 2005 a distasterous fire seriously damaged the church building.
    The present church succeeded a Norman church on the same site, and before that there had been a Celtic establishment here. The place was the "Lan" or monastery of St. Salwys, about whom nothing is known. He probably lived some time in the 9th century. (In the Domesday Survey of 1086, the manor of Lansalhas is one of the 288 manors given to the Earl of Mortain).
    Although St. Salwys gave his name to the parish, the church building is dedicated to St. Ildierna. Again, nothing definite is known about St. Ildierna - we do not even know for certain whether 'he' was a man or a woman. The saint is referred to in an account by William of Worcester, who visited Fowey in 1478 and heard that Saint Hyldren, a bishop, lies in the Parish of Lansalux, near the parish of Lanteglys; his feast is held on the first day of February, that is on the vigil of the Purification of the Blessed Mary. However, there are other, older documents which refer to St. Ildierna as a virgin.
    In the early 21st century, Lansallos parish came together with Lanteglos parish to form the united ecclesiastical parish of Lanteglos-by-Fowey with Lansallos.

    The church of St John's in Polperro is now regarded as wholly within Talland parish.
    Further information on the St Ildierna church is available here.
  • Non-Conformist. The United Methodist Free Church built a chapel in the Churchtown, to which a large cemetery was attached. The Wesleyan Methodists, Wesleyan Association, the Independents, and the Bible Christians, built chapels in Polperro. There was also a Bible Christian chapel at Trenewan.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1600 - 1812, Burials 1600 - 1812, Marriages 1600 - 1946, Boyd's Marriage Index 1607 - 1672, BTs 1607 - 1672.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
    • 1813-37 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Burials.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1682 1772 (Bishop's transcripts), and 1813 to 1901 (parish transcripts) for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Polperro United Methodist Free Church baptisms 1868 to 1901, Polperro Wesleyan baptisms 1818 to 1837, Wesleyan-Methodist baptisms of the Polperro and Looe Circuit 1872 to 1908, are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD, baptisms 1737 to 1846 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest..
  • Banns. Banns in this parish 1827 to 1911 are available on-line through the OPC Search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Marriages.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1600 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Marriages 1682 to 1772 (Bishop's transcripts), and 1802 to 1904 (parish transcripts) for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Burials.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Burial 1559 to 1837, which is available in CD format.
    • Burials 1682 to 1772 (Bishop#s transcripts), and 1813 to 1901 (parish transcripts), for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).

Civil Registration

The parish of Lansallos has always been in the Liskeard Registration District. There were sub-districts at Callington, Lerrin, Liskeard and Looe. Parishes within the district are: Boconnoc, Broadoak, Callington, Calstock (1837-60), Duloe, East Looe, Lanreath, Lansallos, Lanteglos, Linkinhorne, Liskeard, Liskeard Borough, Menheniot, Morval, Pelynt, St. Cleer, St. Dominick, St. Ive, St. Keyne, St. Martin's, St. Neot, St. Pinnock, St. Veep, Southill, Talland and West Looe. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Graylands, Dean Street, Liskeard, PL14 4AH. Tel: 01579 343442.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Lansallos which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"LANSALLOS, a parish in the hundred of West, county Cornwall, 6 miles S.W. of West Looe, its post town. It is situated on the coast near Lantivet Bay, and contains the township of Polperro, and the hamlets of Crumplehorn and Ternewan. It was held by the Earl of Mortaigne, from whom it passed to the Bolighs, Kelliows, Speccots, Longs, &c. The soil is chiefly loam upon a subsoil of slate. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £500. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Exeter, value £500. The church, dedicated to St. Alwy, is situated on a hill, and was selected as a station for the trigonometrical survey. There is also an episcopal chapel, erected in 1839. The charities produce about £1 per annum. The Wesleyans have two chapels. Francis Howell, Esq.', is lord of the manor."

"CRUMPLEHORN, a hamlet in the parish of Lansallos, in the county of Cornwall, 6 miles S.E. of Lostwithiel."

"POLPERRO, a seaport and market town, partly in the parish of Lansallos and partly in that of Talland, hundred of West, county Cornwall, 5 miles E. of Fowey, 3 W. by S. of West Looe, and 9 S. by W. of Liskeard. It is a small fishing town and coastguard station situated on the slopes of two rocky hills, divided by a ravine through which flows a small rivulet to the English Channel. It has a fishing harbour, capable of admitting vessels of 150 tons burthen. The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in the fisheries and in the coasting trade; the imports being coal, culm, and limestone, and the exports grain and fish, including large quantities of whiting, turbot, plaice, dace, pipers, and pilchards. A rare lancelot fish, known to naturalists as the "comphioxus lanceolatus," was rediscovered here in 1835 by Mr. Crouch. There was formerly a chapel-of-ease, dedicated to St. Peter, on the western hill above the town, but now in ruins.



  • 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.
  • Because of its isolated situation, the indigenous families living within the two parishes, Talland and Lansallos, tended to inter-marry among themselves until the 19th century thus making it easier for family historians to trace their Polperro ancestors. In addition, a remarkable record of over 50 Polperro family pedigrees was compiled at the beginning of the 20th century by a local historian, Frank Perrycoste. A copy of his work is now deposited with the Polperro Heritage Museum; extracts can be viewed on microfiche and copies obtained.
  • Compiled information on local families is available 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 Lansallos ecclesiastical parish:



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX188522 (Lat/Lon: 50.341852, -4.547954), Lansallos which are provided by:



Apprenticeship Indentures for Lansallos (1756 - 1829) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Lansallos parish was part of the Liskeard Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief. Settlement Papers (1741 to 1831) and Bastardy Bonds (1770, 1794) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.



Talland civil parish was abolished in 1934; the area was distributed between Looe and Lansallos parishes and this partially accounts for population variations from 1951.

  • Population in 1801 - 847 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 804 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 880 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 884 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 828 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 699 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 659 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 667 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 707 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 691 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 663 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 607 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 568 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 570 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 1504 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 1427 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 1491 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 1585 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 1623 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 1584 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 1685 persons


The Polperro Family History Society has recently been formed. Members of the Society have special access to the exclusive Members' area on thier website which include a Message Board for exchanging information and contact details for other members. In addition, the Society publishes a Journal for members twice a year. The first issue, published in October 2002, contained a number of articles about Polperro families, a contact list and other useful information.

A Membership Application Form is available. For further details, you can email the Society.



The parish comprises 4776 acres of land.