The parish and town of Newquay, (Cornish: Tewynn Pleustri), is a thriving tourist resort on the north coast of Cornwall. This one-time fishing village, was originally called Towan Blystra and unknown apart from its pilchard catch. The shoals of fish were sighted by the huer perched in the Huer's Hut on the headland - giving rise to the expression "hue and cry' as he shouted to the villagers to direct them to the pilchards off the coastline. The quay here was first recorded in 1439. This pilchard industry has now gone, and the town is now famed for its large beaches and surfing. The international surfing championships are held here on Fistral Beach from time to time.
The cliffs on this part of the coast are lofty and interesting. The town has a railway station and the nearby RAF St Mawgan military air base also doubles as Newquay's civil airport. During the summer months the town is very busy with visitors from all over the UK and many from Europe and the rest of the world.
The ecclesiastical parish of Newquay was created 1882 from part of St Columb Minor parish. In 1960 Newquay formally subsumed St Columb Minor civil parish, which has become a suburb of Newquay.
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 Monumental Inscriptions for OLD Cemetery - 542 entries.
Census information for this parish from its creation, and that for St Columb Minor (1841 - 1901) is held in the Cornwall Record Office. In the 19th century it was always enumerated under St Columb Minor.
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, Newquay was enumerated under St Columb Minor.
- 1851. In the 1851 Census, Newquay was enumerated under St Columb Minor.
- 1861. In the 1861 Census, Newquay was enumerated under St Columb Minor.
- 1871. In the 1871 Census, Newquay was enumerated under St Columb Minor.
- 1881. In the 1881 Census, Newquay was enumerated under St Columb Minor.
- 1891. In the 1891 Census, Newquay was enumerated under St Columb Minor.
- Anglicans. The first Anglican chapel was built in Newquay in 1858 as a chapel-of-ease, in a fine Cornish Perpendicular style; it was known as St Michaels due to the dedication of a side chapel. The parish itself was created 1882 from part St Columb Minor parish. By 1896 St Michael’s Church had been twice enlarged, a north and a south aisle being added, and its capacity increased to 500. By the turn of the 19th century, however, it was quite inadequate to hold the summer congregation. The cramped and inconvenient site meant that no further enlargement was possible, and it seemed inevitable that a new church would have to be built on a new site. The old church is now demolished. The present church in Newquay, dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, was originally designed by Sir Ninian Comper and built in 1910-11, but the tower not completed until the 1960’s. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW8161. Disaster struck St Michael on St Peter’s Day, 29th June 1993. There was a massive fire destroying large sections of the church. The restoration project which followed received major funding from English Heritage, and in collaboration with English Heritage experts, the practice used its expertise in architectural conservation to complete a substantial repair of the church, restoring it to its former glory.
- Roman Catholics. There is a record of Mass being celebrated at Newquay, occasionally, in 1897, in a private chapel of "The Tower" (now the Golf Club), a house owned by Lady Molesworth. Great efforts were made to organise a weekly Mass. In 1902, the Canons Regular from Bodmin agreed to send a priest every Sunday. In 1903, Lady Molesworthy donated part of her estate for a Church and Miss Ellis of Hayle donated five hundred pounds for the building.
With great joy on Trinity Sunday 1903, the Catholic Church of the Most Holy Trinity was opened. In 1918, Newquay was made a Roman Catholic parish. The Lady Chapel was built in 1935 and the Parish Hall in 1938. In 1981, the Church was extended by the provision of a narthex. Although for some time the Parish continued to be served by the Bodmin Fathers, in 1985 it was transferred to the Diocese of Plymouth. The induction of the first diocesan priest in Newquay by His Lordship Bishop Christopher Budd took place in January 1988.
- Non-Conformist. The Wesleyan Methodists and Bible Christians both had chapels here. Newquay has several non conformist churches: Wesleyan Chapel (Now Elim Church Cafe); United Methodist Chapel, also known as ‘Steps Chapel’ (1865), now a funeral directors; Claremont United Methodist Church (1892), which is currently (in 2017) for sale; Newquay Methodist Church (1904), now part of the Elim Newquay Christian Centre; Crantock Street Methodist chapel (1833) which by 2017 housed the Salvation Army; Newquay Congregational chapel (1888), still active in 2017 as Newquay United Reformed Church; a Baptist Church, more recently has become an Adult Education centre; Ebenezer Baptist Chapel (1822); Current Baptist chapel. The first Methodist preaching at Newquay was recorded by Richard Treffy in 1802, the Innkeeper Carter being the host. In 1810, preacher William O’Bryan came to Newquay and formed the nucleus of the first Methodist Society. The Society, later known as the Bible Christians or ‘Bryanites,’ built a Chapel in the Deer Park, now Sydney Road. The next Chapel was built in 1833 at the junction of Crantock Street and St Georges Road (Crantock Methodist Church now the Salvation Army in 2017). The Wesleyan Conference, which took place in the middle of the nineteenth century proved responsible for dividing the Newquay Methodists into two groups: The Wesley Methodists and the Reformist Methodists. The more wealthy members of the Wesley Methodists ultimately decided to build their own Wesley Methodist Chapel in 1852 on 'Wesley Hill' (possibly the chapel on Marcus Hill which in 2017 is an Elim cafe). By the end of the century this Chapel had become totally inadequate, and this together with the expansion of Newquay meant that further accommodation must be provided and funds were raised to build a large church on East Street which opened in 1904 (Wesley Campus NCC). By 1865 the Reform Methodists had again changed their name, this time to the United Methodist Free Church, and moved into their new Chapel, the ‘Steps Chapel’ at the bottom of Marcus Hill (now, in 2017, a funeral Undertakers). When this became too small, a church, known as Claremont Methodist, was built (Claremont United Methodist). This building opened in 1892 to replace Steps Chapel but soon faced competition from the new East Street church above. With loss of congregations, there was a (controversial) joining of the 3 Methodist churches and closure of the chapels in 2009. The chapels were then intended to be sold to raise money for a new Methodist centre. At that time, the Claremont Church was the main place of worship for the new congregation; the last service there was held on October 4th 2015, and the congregation moved into a school awaiting a new build out of Newquay at Nansledan (2017). This church is still (in 2017) awaiting sale.
- The Cornwall Record Office holdings of Newquay parish are not known.
- Baptisms 1882 to 1911 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- See also under St Columb Major. Wesleyan Methodist baptisms at Newquay (St Columb Circuit) 1857 to 1902, Newquay Claremont United Methodist baptisms 1908 to 1911, and Newquay Wesleyan Methodist baptisms 1904 to 1911, are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Banns. Banns 1911 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Marriages. Marriages 1882 to 1911 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Burials. Burials 1911 to 1936 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Other Non-Conformist Records. OPC coverage of other Non-Conformist records of this parish is also available.
The parish of Newquay was originally in the St Columb Registration District. It is now in the Registration District of St Austell. There were sub-districts at Newlyn, Padstow and St Columb Major, but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the old St Columb district were: Colan, Crantock, Cubert, Little Petherick, Mawgan-in-Pydar, Newlyn, Newquay, Padstow, St. Breock, St. Columb Major, St. Columb Minor, St. Enoder, St. Ervan, St. Eval, St. Issey, St. Merryn, St. Wenn.
The Superintendant Registrar of St Austell can be contacted at: 12 Carlyon Road, St Austell, PL25 4LD. Tel: 01726 68974. Fax: 01726 68974.
- The Notebook of James Edward Veal of Newquay (b 1880, d.1961) Compiled by Merv Davy Published 2008 is available on-line (dud link 8/2018), courtesy of the Old Cornwall Society.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from Newquay 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 Newquay 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 Austell Registration district in which the parish lies.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW814615 (Lat/Lon: 50.412565, -5.07753), Newquay which are provided by:
- Google Maps
- StreetMap (Current Ordnance Survey maps)
- Bing (was Multimap)
- Old Maps Online
- 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.)
Newquay parish was part of the St Columb Major Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
The parish was created 1882 from part of St Columb Minor parish. From 1961 the figures include those of St Columb Minor parish which is no longer separately enumerated.
The Newquay Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line.