The parish of Lostwithiel, (Cornish: Lostwydhyel), is in the Deanery and Hundred of Powder. It is bounded on the east by St Winnow and on the north, south and west by Lanlivery, with which parish it is closely identified. Lostwithiel town is situated in a pleasant hollow at the head of the estuary of the River Fowey to which point it is tidal. The town is now on the A390 highway, which is part of the southern route into Cornwall; it is encircled by surrounding hills.

The parish name means 'tail of the forest'. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Lostwithiel was once the capital of Cornwall. Edmund, Earl of Cornwall built the Duchy Palace with its shire hall, exchequer and coinage hall, where tin was assayed and duty paid. The frontage of the Palace still exists by the river. Another Earl made Lostwithiel, including Penkneth, a free Borough. Restormel Castle, about a mile away, was rebuilt by the Black Prince, the first Duke of Cornwall, but after his death the castle and town decayed, the river silted up and barges could no longer use the quays.

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)



The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line Monumental Inscriptions for:

  • The Parish Church - 609 entries
  • Castle Hill Cemetery - 720 entries
  • Restormel Road Cemetery - 1079 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:


Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX1059, and is dedicated to St Bartholomew. It consists of a chancel, nave, north and south aisles and a vestry. The arcades each consis of five pointed arches supported on an octagonal pier of Penwentan stone; above each are four clerestory windows. There are north and south porches.
    The tower is strongly buttressed at the base. It is surmounted by a spire which rises from a graceful octagonal lantern of hansome open tracery. It the 19th century the tower was reduced in height by several feet.
  • Non-Conformist. There are chapels for the Wesleyan Methodists, Independents and the United Methodist Free Church in the parish.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1609 - 1947, Burials 1609 - 1949, Marriages 1609 - 1980, Boyd's Marriage Index 1609 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1790 - 1812, Non-Conformist records 1812 - 1837.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of:
    • Pre 1813 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Burials.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1813 to 1905 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Marriages.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1609 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Phillimore's Marriages 1609 to 1812, and parish marriages 1813 to 1901 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 Burials 1813 to 1837, which is available in CD or Book format.
    • Burials 1813 to 1901 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).

Civil Registration

The parish of Lostwithiel was originally in the Bodmin Registration District; there were sub-districts at Bodmin, Egloshayle, Lanlivery and St Mabyn but these have now been abolished. It is now in the Registration District of St Austell. Parishes within the district were: Blisland, Bodmin, Bodmin Borough, Cardinham, Egloshayle, Endellion, Helland, Lanhydrock, Lanviet, Lanlivery, Lostwithiel, Luxulion, St. Kew, St. Mabyn, St. Minver Highlands, St. Minver Lowlands, St. Tudy, St. Winnow, Temple, Wadebridge, Warleggon, Withiel.

The Superintendant Registrar of St Austell can be contacted at: 12 Carlyon Road, St Austell, PL25 4LD. Tel: 01726 68974. Fax: 01726 68974.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Lostwithiel which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"LOSTWITHIEL, a parish, market town, and municipal borough, in the eastern division of the hundred of Powder, county Cornwall, 6 miles S. of Bodmin, 21 S.W. of Launceston, and 246 from London, on the Cornwall line of railway. It is situated in a vale on the banks of the river Fowey, and on the road from Plymouth to Falmouth. It was at one time the county and stannary town, and was a parliamentary borough with Penkneth, in the parish of Lanlivery, returning two members to parliament from the reign of Edward II. till the passing of the Reform Bill, by which it was disfranchised. It is said to have been founded by Richard Earl of Cornwall, who built the palace, in which the stannaries court was held, as well as Restormel Castle, in the reign of Edward I. In 1644 a battle was fought between the Royalists and Parliamentarians on the Broad Oak and St. Winos Downs, when the former were victorious. The latter retreated into Lostwithiel, while the Royalists encamped on the adjoining hills. The Earl of Essex, commander of the Parliamentarians, was accommodated at Lanhydrock, the seat of Lord Robartes, one of his officers, afterwards Earl of Radnor. A charter of incorporation was granted in the reign of George II., by which the local government was vested in a mayor, six aldermen, 17 common councilmen, with the usual officers. The mayor is chosen annually by the council. Property and money matters are managed by the aldermen; and a court is annually held when the inspectors of weights and measures and other officers are appointed. The corporation, by virtue of its charter, has jurisdiction over the river Fowey, which is navigable to the quay at spring tides, and is crossed by a commodious stone bridge. The borough includes part of the parish of St. Winos, and in 1861 had a population of 1659. It contains a market-house, townhall, a mechanics' institute, and the Lostwithiel Book Club. The houses are built of stone and roofed with slate, which abounds in the district.



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.


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 Lostwithiel ecclesiastical parish:



The Manorial Documents Register (MDR) maintained by the Historic Manuscripts Commission notes that, so far as can be established, the parish of Lostwithiel contained but one manor, also called Lostwithiel.

  • The MDR contains the following information for this manor:
    • Ministers' accounts 1341-75, 1458-1630, receivers' accounts 1400-1660, court rolls 1627-84 and surveys 1338, 1649, 1660, 1789 in the Duchy of Cornwall Office, 10 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LA. (Access to the Duchy of Cornwall Office is restricted.)
    • Court rolls temp Edward III-Charles I, ministers' accounts and other records 13th-16th cent, extents 1329, 1361 and parliamentary survey c1650-60 in the Public Record Office, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.
    • Accounts with other manors 1563-86, 1663-1801 and rentals 1749-96 in the Cornwall Record Office, Old County Hall, Truro TR1 3AY (ref: Acc. Jul-Sept 1967, Acc. Oct-Dec 1958).
  • Lease book 1717-42 and rentals with other manors 1759-1861 in Cornwall Record Office (collection ref: DD.WH).
  • Rentals 1756, 1758. In private possession.
  • A survey of Lostwithiel Borough with other manors 1710-50 in Devon Record Office, Castle Street, Exeter EX4 3PU.

However, there is also a separate manor named "BRIDGE", centered on St Winnow, that held land in Lostwithiel parish.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX100599 (Lat/Lon: 50.407987, -4.675729), Lostwithiel which are provided by:




Poor Houses, Poor Law

Lostwithiel parish was part of the Bodmin Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief. Overseers' Accounts (1777 to 1830), Settlement Papers (1620 to 1814, 1801 to 1864) and Bastardy Bonds (1672 to 1780, 1804 to 1834) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.



  • Population in 1801 - 743 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 825 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 933 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 1548 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 1186 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 1053 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 1017 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 922 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 1441 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 1379 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 1331 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 1373 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 1307 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 1327 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 1935 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 1955 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 1905 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 2005 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 2470 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 2739 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 2899 persons

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 Lostwithiel are available on-line.



The Lostwithiel Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line.



The parish comprises 106 acres of land.