The ancient parish of Madron (or St Madron), (Cornish: Eglosvadern), with Morvah is situated in the Deanery of Penwith, and in the western division of the Hundred of Penwith. Named after an unknown saint, this parish is located north-west of Penzance with pleasant views across Mounts' Bay and St Michael's Mount. It was formerly known as Madderne. It comprises two parts: the larger is bounded by Gulval to the north, to the east by the Borough of Penzance and the sea, to the south is Paul and Sancreed and on the west is Morvah. The lesser detached part is bounded on the east, south and west by Gulval and to the north by Zennor. Madron is not mentioned as such in the Domesday Survey of 1086; Madron Church, Tregwainton and Landithy were originally part of the Manor of Roseworthy in Gwinear. However the rest of the parish was taxed under the jurisdiction of the Manor of Alverton.

Its history goes back into the early middle ages. It possesses the mother church of Penzance and the famous holy well of St Madron, where it is claimed many miraculous cures took place. North of Madron is the prehistoric holed stone known as Men-an-Tol, also believed to have had the power of healing. Naked children suffering from rickets were passed through the hole three times in the hope of restoring their health.

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 illustrated Story of Madron (entitled Madron's Story) covering the history of the parish has been published by: Bossiney Books, Langore, Launceston, Cornwall PL15 8LD (ISBN 1-899383-48-4).



In addition to the churchyard, a municipal cemetery of three-quarters of an acre was formed at Heamoor in 1880. There is also a Private burial ground attached to, but not part of, Wesley Rock Methodist Church in Heamoor; the records of this ground have been recovered and published by Peter Doe. The following records are available:



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. Madron is the Mother Church of Penzance. Until the middle of the 19th century, the whole of the town on Penzance, and half of Newlyn, were in the parish of Madron. The Christian history of Madron can be traced back to the very earliest days of Christianity in Britain; no doubt it was a centre of worship in the Celtic Church. In Madron is the ancient domain of Landithy, meaning the "Lan" or sacred enclosure of Dithy. St Dithy is believed to have been one of the companions of St.Ia, who came to Cornwall in the 5th Century. Landithy is close to the parish church, which may stand on the ground where St Dithy built his little church.
    About 100 years later, in the 6th Century, St Maddern came to West Cornwall from Brittany. His name is variously spelled as Madern, Padern, Badern, Patern, etc., and some historians suggest that he may have been a Bishop. He was evidently a man of some influence, and it is his name which is preserved in the place-name of Madron, the official name of the parish which locally is often called Maddern.
    The chief town of the parish is Penzance, which became three separate parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW4531; it is dedicated to St Madernus (or Madderne) and is probably the third built on this site.
    A church had been here since the earliest of times. In 1203 Thomas de Chimelly had been appointed to the benefice of Madron for life. In 1309 the Knights Templar had turned the living of Madron from a rectory to a vicarage, which it has remained ever since. This arrangement allowed the church taxes to go to the Order. This income was used for their work in helping pilgrims and building Hospitals. The church remained with the Order until 1540 when it was supressed and its possessions confiscated by Henry VIII.
    A new church was begun during the time of the Templars, and the church building was consecrated on July 10th 1336 by the Bishop Grandisson of Exeter. However it was not finished before 1500 when the north aisle was added. During the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I, Madron Church became a Royal benefice.
    The church comprises a chancel, nave, and north and south aisle. In the base are 3 funeral hatchments: two of which are of the Borlase and Price families. The arcades each have six arches; those in the north are four-centred, those in the south are pointed. The material in both arcades and pillars of of Caen stone.
    The tower is in two stages, the second resting on a corbel table. It is finished with battlements and pinnacles; it contains five bells; these bells were refurbished and rehung in 2005.
  • In 1379 a Chapel in Penzance near the harbour, dedicated to St Mary, was licensed for Services. This was to remain a daughter church (which later became known as the Madron Chapelry, Penzance) for some 500 years. This is the historic basis for St Mary's parish in Penzance.
  • Heamoor. The Mission Church of St Thomas's was built in Heamoor in the late 19th century as a chapel-of-ease to serve those living in the outskirts of Penzance. The Church of St Thomas's is part of Madron parish and was dedicated in 1892. This Church was licenced for weddings in 1975.
  • Morvah. In 1390 a chapely at Morvah was licensed for Services, and the parish of Morvah has been united with Madron since the dawn of parochial history.

Madron is now part of the United Benefice of Gulval-Madron.

  • Non-Conformist. By 1884, there were five chapels for the Wesleyan Methodists in Madron parish. These were at: the Churchtown, Trenere Road, Tregevera, Boswarthen, and Bosullow. Pictures of Madron Methodist Church are available.
    There was a chapel for the Bible Christians at Hea Moor (Heamoor), and another for the Primitive Methodists in the Churchtown.

Church Records

The church registers for marriages and burials commenced in 1577; baptisms commenced in 1592. (there were earlier records but these have all been lost). They were kept tolerably well for the first 100 years or so, then confusion set in until about 1700. The records of Heamoor are combined with those of Madron; Morvah records were maintained separately.

  • LDS Church Records.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1592 - 1888, Burials 1577 - 1877, Marriages 1577 - 1870, Boyd's Marriage Index 1577 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1790 - 1812, Non-Conformist records 1812 - 1837.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
    • Pre 1813 Marriages.
    • 1813-1837 Marriages.
    • 1813-1837 Burials
    They also have transcripts of 1909-1953 Marriages.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1784 to 1901 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Madron Wesleyan-Methodist Circuit baptisms 1806 to 1837, and Madron Wesleyan chapel baptisms 1877 to 1911, are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD, baptisms 1700 to 1840 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest.
  • Marriages.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1577 to 1837, which is available in CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Phillimore's marriages 1674 to 1812, and parish transcriptions 1754 to 1901 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Marriages in Madron 1863 to 1903 have been transcribed by Diane Donohue which have now been placed on-line by the West Penwith Resources.
  • Burials.
  • Other Non-Conformist Records. OPC Coverage of Non-Conformist records of this parish is available.
  • Mixed Records.
    • The First Book of the Parish Registers of Madron, containing compiled baptisms, marriages and burials from the start of the registers in the parish until: 1726 (baptisms), 1678 (marriages) and 1728 (burials), is available on-line in .pdf format. It was edited by George Bown Millett, of Penzance, in 1877.

Civil Registration

The parish of Madron is in the Penzance Registration District and has been since 1st July 1837. There were sub-districts at St Buryan and at St Just but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Gulval, Ludgvan, Madron, Marazion, Morvah, Penzance, Perranuthnoe, St. Buryan, St. Erth, St. Hilary, St. Ives, St. Just in Penwith, St. Levan, St. Michael's Mount, St. Paul, Sancreed, Sennen, Towednack, Uny-Lelant, Wolfe Rock Lighthouse, and Zennor. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Alphington House, Alverton Place, Penzance, TR18 4JJ. Tel: 01736 330093.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Madron which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"MADRON, a parish in the hundred of Penwith, county Cornwall, 8 miles N.E. of the Land's End, and 17 S.W. of Redruth. It is situated to the N.W. of Mount's Bay, and the higher grounds command sea views. The parish includes the market and post town of Penzance. Mining operations are carried on here, chiefly in copper, lead, and tin. The principal portion of the tin is obtained from the Wherry mine, which extends for a considerable distance under the sea. Alumina, fire-clay, granite, and porphyry are also worked. The workhouse for the Penzance Poor-law Union is situated in this parish. Brickmaking is carried on in this neighbourhood, and the bricks are much esteemed for smelting-houses and furnaces, being capable of enduring an intense degree of heat. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £431 10s. 10d., and the vicarial for £660. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter, value with that of Morvah annexed, £740. The parish church is an ancient stone edifice in the Gothic style of architecture, with an embattled tower and porch. It contains several stained-glass windows, and is dedicated to St. Madern, whose sacred well is still shown. There is also a district church at Penzance, a perpetual curacy, to which is annexed St. Paul's chapel, value £150, in the gift of the vicar. The register dates far back. In the churchyard are numerous monuments of the Borlase, Nicholls, Trengwainton, and other families. The charities consist of endowments to Daniel's school amounting to about £100 annually. The Wesleyans have five chapels, and there are schools for boys and girls belonging to the Church and the Wesleyan body. The Rev. John Wesley preached here for about eighteen years.



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 West Penwith Resources has produced a website for Madron to help family historians.

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 Madron ecclesiastical parish:



Alverton Manor was in existence before 1066; it comprised the greater portion of the parish of Madron, Penzance, as well as part of Paul and Mousehole.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW438324 (Lat/Lon: 50.136382, -5.586655), Madron which are provided by:


Medical Records

The plague hit this part of Cornwall in 1647 as shown by these figures from the Madron burial register (thanks to Tom Hill on CORNISH-L 21 March 2003).

  • 1646 - 32 burials
  • 1647 - 170
  • 1648 - 48
  • 1649 - 19
  • 1650 - 26
    (approx figures).


Apprenticeship Indentures for Madron (Register 1759 - 1831, 1732 to 1835 Register) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.


Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Madron parish was part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
  • The Penzance Union Workhouse was erected in Madron in 1838 from designs by the Architects G. Gilbert Scott and W. Bonython Moffatt. It was located on Mount View, Penzance, and it later became the Penzance Institution and was closed on the Introduction of the National Health Service in 1948.
  • Overseers' Accounts (1757 to 1841), Settlement Papers (1797, 1803 and 1746 to 1837 - Register) and Bastardy Bonds (1769 to 1830, 1717 to 1840 Register) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


  • Population in 1801 - 1564 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 1819 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 2011 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 2058 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 2441 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 2529 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 2512 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 2765 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 2328 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 2629 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 3364 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 3584 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 3148 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 3167 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 1420 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 1333 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 1280 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 1285 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 1320 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 1533 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 1591 persons


  • The Madron Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line. The Penwith Local History Group aims:
    • To encourage and sustain public interest in the history of Penwith to provide mutual support and encouragement to members in their individual research projects, whether related to Penwith or of wider historical interest.
    • To work as a group on specific research projects, with the aim of publication to an academic standard.
    • To encourage the strong link with the Morrab Library, supporting the Library in its aims and activities.


The parish comprises 5589 acres of land.