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Mevagissey

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The parish of Mevagissey, (Cornish: Lannvorek), anciently called Lamorrack or Laverack, is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Powder. Mevagissey derives its name from St Meva & St Issey. At one time the popular name for the village was 'Porthilly', which name is still in use as a part of the town. It is bounded on the north by St Austell and St Ewe, on the east by St Austell Bay, on the south by Gorran, and on the west by Gorran and St Ewe. This parish containing the ancient fishing port of Mevagissey is on the south coast of Cornwall, south-west of St Austell. The name is derived from two saints, Meva and Issey, in Cornish this would 'Meva hag Issey', hence the 'g' in the name.

A pier for the purpose of affording shelter for the fishing boats was constructed by the Trewollas family, who owned the manor of Trelevan; this was reconstructed about 1770-3 and subsequently improved again. At one time this port dealt with huge quantities of pilchards, but these unfortunately disappeared from the seas around Cornwall at the end of the 19th century. The picturesque narrow streets leading down to the harbour still retain some of the charm of an age when the horse and cart were the main method of transport, but unfortunately find it difficult to cope with modern traffic. In the 17th century smuggling and privatering were important sources of income for the people of Mevagissey.

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)

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Cemeteries

  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line Monumental Inscriptions for the Parish Church - 813 entries.
  • The Mevagissey War Memorial details are available on-line. (not available on line 8/18)
  • Gravestone inscriptions from Mevagissey are available on-line, courtesy of the OPC. (not available on line 8/18)
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Census

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:

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Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX0145; it was dedicated to St Meva & Issey (Ida), but is now dedicated to St Peter. There are traces of a cruciform Norman Church but the present church now comprises only the chancel, nave, north aisle, south transept and south porch. The arcade originally consisted of four four-centred arches, but only two with their pillars remain; they are built of Pentewan stone. This is mainly 15th century work, although the font is Norman. The Tower became ruinous during Commonwealth times and the bells were sold to a St Austell Quaker, named Grouden, to raise funds for taking the tower down. The tower then did not rise above the roof of the church, being capped at that time with a saddleback roof. The building was restored by JP St Aubyn in 1887-1888.
    The parish is now part of the Team Ministry of Mevagissey and St Ewe which has an on-line website.
  • Non-Conformist. There were chapels in Mevagissey for the Wesleyan Methodists and the United Methodist Free Church.
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Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
  • The Cornwall Record Office Holdings: Baptisms: 1590 - 1961, Burials: 1598 - 1967, Marriages: 1598 - 1961, Boyd's Marriage Index 1598 - 1673, Bishop's Transcripts: 1598 - 1673, Non-Conformist records 1786 - 1837.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
    • 1813-37 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Burials.
  • Baptisms.
    • Mevagissey Bible Christian Chapel baptisms 1837 to 1901, and Mevagissey Wesleyan-Methodist baptisms 1838 to 1912, are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Some baptisms from several Mevagissey Chapels (including Bible Christians and Primitive Methodists) are available on-line courtesy of the OPC.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Baptisms, which is available in CD format.
    • Those relating specifically to the Mevagissey Bible Christian Circuit 1838 to 1976 are separately on-line. (not available on line 8/18) These records relate to several parishes close to Mevagissey including Gorran, Veryan, St Ewe, St Austell, Gerrans, St Just in Roseland, Ruan Lanihorne etc.
    • The SOCIETY of FRIENDS (Quakers) - Christenings taken from Fowey Circuit Records, is available on-line, courtesy of the St Austell OPC. These include individuals from Mevagissey.
    • Transcription of the baptisms of the Mevagissey Bible Christian Circuit 1838-1907, taken from LDS film 2276210 images 1913-2413 (courtesy of the Church of Latter Day Saints). These records relate to several parishes close to Mevagissey including Gorran, Veryan, St Ewe, St Austell, Gerrans, St Just-in-Roseland, Ruan Lanihorne etc.
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD, baptisms 1720 to 1840 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest.
  • Banns. Banns 1827 to 18952 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 1598 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Mevagissey Marriages from 1837- 1912 are available on-line. (not available on line 8/18)
  • Burials.
    • Burials 1685 to 1773 (Bishop's transcripts) for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Burials, which is available in CD or Book format.
    • The OPC has placed on-line burials in Mevagissey, as follows:
      • Burials for Mevagissey 1685 to 1691. (These are in a number of different volumes - please note list on the webpage). (not available on line 8/18)
      • Burials at Mevagissey 1882 to 1905 (Books 1 to 17), which are also in a number of different volumes. These begin at: Book 1.(not available on line 8/18)
  • Other Non-Conformist Records. OPC Coverage of Non-Conformist records of this parish is available.
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Civil Registration

The parish of Mevagissey has been in the Registration District of St Austell continuously from 1st July 1837. There were sub-districts at Fowey, Grampound, Mevagissey and St Austell, but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Creed, Fowey, Gorran, Grampound, Mevagissey, Roche, St. Austell, St. Blazey, St. Dennis, St. Ewe, St. Mewan, St. Michael Carhays, St. Sampson, St. Stephen in Brannel, Tywardreath. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: 12 Carlyon Road, St Austell, PL25 4LD. Tel: 01726 68974. Fax: 01726 68974.

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Description & Travel

  • Old Photographs of Mevagissey are available on-line.(not available on line 8/18)
  • Mevagissey on wikipedia
  • More photographs of Mevagissey today are also available on-line.
You can see pictures of Mevagissey which are provided by:

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Gazetteers

The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"MEVAGISSEY, a parish, seaport, and market town, in the E. division of the hundred of Powder, county Cornwall, 6 miles S. of St. Austell, its post town, and 1 mile S.E. of Chapel Point. It is a small fishing and seaport town, situated on the English Channel near Porthmellin. The bay of the same name is sheltered on three sides by lofty hills, which form a natural harbour of great convenience. The parish includes the hamlets of Penwarne, Tregiskey, and Trelaven. Mevagissey for centuries past has been famed for the large quantity of pilchards taken in its bay; as many as 16,000 hogsheads were taken in 1724, but the quantity of late years has not, been nearly so great. The inhabitants chiefly depend, either directly or indirectly, on the fisheries. There is an import trade of coal, salt, timber, &c. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Exeter, value £200. The church, dedicated to SS. Mayan and Issi, is an ancient structure, and had formerly a tower which was pulled down. There is a National school for both sexes. The Independents, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists have each a place of worship. In 1849 this parish was so ravaged by cholera that the inhabitants moved into tents while it was thoroughly cleansed. Market day is on Saturday. A fair is held on St. Peter's Day."

"PENWARNE, a hamlet in the parish of Mevagissey, county Cornwall, 4 miles S. of St. Austle."

"TREGISKEY, a hamlet in the parish of Mevagissey, county Cornwall."

"TRELAVEN, a hamlet in the parish of Mevagissey, county Cornwall, 4 miles S. of St. Austell."

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Genealogy

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 also produced a Genealogical website for Mevagissey to help researchers. (not available on line 8/18)
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Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Mevagissey has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

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History

  • The dates of events important in the history of Mevagissey are available. (not available on line 8/18)
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Maps

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX014449 (Lat/Lon: 50.270691, -4.78768), Mevagissey which are provided by:

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Medical Records

In 1849, the town of Mevagissey was severly visited by cholera; this resulted in many fisherman and their families to embark in their boats and flee to neighbouring ports for refuge from the pestilence.

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Names, Personal

  • Some information about the Kendall family of Mevagissey is available on-line. (not available on line 8/18)
  • Some information about the Robins family of Mevagissey is available on-line. (not available on line 8/18)
  • Information and records of other families from Mevagissey are also available on-line. (not available on line 8/18)
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Occupations

  • Fishermen. Some detail relating to Fishery Report of Mevagissey in 1876 is available on-line.  (not available on line 8/18)     Deatils of some fishermen is also available.    (not available on line 8/18)
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Poor Houses, Poor Law

Mevagissey parish was part of the St Austell Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.

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Population

  • Population in 1801 - 2052 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 2225 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 2450 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 2169 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 2310 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 2022 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 1908 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 2073 persons, plus 6 recorded as living on shipping
  • Population in 1881 - 2186 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 2220 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 2088 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 1849 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 1745 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 2093 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 2212 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 2050 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 2151 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 1920 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 2290 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 2221 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 2015 persons
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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.
  • A list of the Vicar's of Mevagissey is available on-line, courtesy of the OPC.  (not available on line 8/18)
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Statistics

The parish occupies 1381 acres of land.