The parish and town of Padstow, (Cornish: Lannwedhenek), is situated in the Deanery of Pydar. It is bounded on the north by the sea and the entrance to Padstow harbour, on the east by the estuary of the River Camel and Tregonce Creek which separates it from St Minver and St Issey, on the south by Little Petherick (alias St Petroc Minor), and on the west by St Merryn. The original meaning of the name 'Padstow' was the holy place of St Petrock, an important Cornish saint. In the 14th century this became confused with St Patrick, hence the present name, 'stowe' being the English for holy place.
The town of Padstow grew on a sheltered inlet on the west side of the Camel estuary, being the only reasonable harbour on the north Cornish coast between St.Ives and Bideford. When St Petrock arrived in the 6th century there was already a settlement here. It has always been an important trading port as well as prospering from fishing and boatbuilding. It was from here that many Cornishmen and their families embarked for a new life in the North America after the collapse of the Cornish Tin mining industry.
Padstow is an important fishing port and harbour of refuge on the North Coast of Cornwall, a haven for many visiting yachtsmen. A well-known fish restaurant owned by Rick Stein is now to be found in Padstow and he has appeared many times on television. The railway line to Padstow was closed in 1967 and is now the 'Camel Trail', where it is possible to walk or cycle from Padstow to Bodmin, via Wadebridge. On May Day every year there is a festivity called the Obby-Oss where the junior inhabitants assemble in the street and process through the town following a painted effigy of a horse, and singing in praise of St George. The origin of this event is propably pagan.
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 Padstow Museum is a small but interesting museum situated just 50 metres from the harbour side. Initially set up in 1971 by an enthusiastic group of local residents headed by retired boat builder Bill Lindsey, it holds an interesting collection of artefacts giving an insight of Padstow over the past two centuries.
The address is:
- A Municipal Cemetery of 2 acres was formed in Padstow in 1881.
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions on-line for the Parish Churchyard.
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:
- 1841. The 1841 Census of Padstow (HO107/150), Enumeration Districts 1 to 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1851. The 1851 Census of Padstow (HO107/1905), Enumeration Districts 4a, 4b, and 4c, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- . The 1861 Census of Padstow (RG9/1540) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- In the 1861 census, Merchant Shipping was treated peculiarly. Shipping Returns for St Ives and Padstow (RG9/4454), have been placed on-line by the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1871. The 1871 Census of Padstow (RG10/2253) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1881. The 1881 Census of Padstow (RG11/2294), Enumeration Districts 1, 2 and 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1891. The 1891 Census of Padstow (RG12/1818), is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW9175 and is dedicated to St Petroc who lived here from AD 518 and afterwards settled at Bodmin where he died in AD 564. The church consists of chancel, nave, and north and south aisle. The north arcade consists of seven arches, five of which are pointed and the material Caen stone; the other two, which are separated from the former by a stone pier, are four-centred and the material granite. The south arcade is similarly arranged, but the material throughout is Caen stone. There is south porch, a north door, and a priest's door. The tower, which inclines to the south, is buttressed and embattled; it contained six bells. Adjoining the tower on the western side is the Prideaux-Brune family mausoleum. The church is buttressed throughout.
According to Bishop Bronscombe's registers, Edmund Stafford, Bishop of Exeter, licensed services in this church on 28th September 1415. There were a number of chapels in this parish from the medieval period.
There is a separate chapel in this parish at Trevone, which was dedicated to St Saviour, and which was opened in 1928; details about the plans of the modern church are available on-line.
- Roman Catholic. Saviour is a particularly appropriate dedication for it is the the dedication of the Papal Cathedral, the Lateran, the namesake of the Canons Regular who came from Bodmin and served Padstow for many years. St. Saviour is the title too of a long defunct pre-reformation chapel in the town. The patronage of St. Petroc is also quite apt. The saint founded a monastic church in Padstow late in the sixth century. King Alfred the Great (849-901 A.D.) inaugurated and historical record of contemporary events "The Anglo Saxon Chronicle". It Was the formal document which mentioned the name Petroc's Stowe meaning the church or monastery of St. Petroc. For about fifty years Padstow Catholics worshipped in a humble wooden edifice. Then in 1962 John Prideaux Brune kindly donated a plot of land for a Church near the site of the ancient Celtic Monastery of St. Petroc. Bishop Cyril Restieaux gave his blessiing to this new church on 1st June 1975.
- Non-Conformist. The Wesleyans built a chapel here in 1827 and the Bible Christians built a chapel in 1840.
- LDS Church Records.
- The LDS Church batch numbers for Padstow are: C146197, P002181, Baptist C065491, Wesleyan Methodist C065261. These are searchable by surname.
- The IGI coverage of this parish is 1600 - 1812; it is NOT believed to be fully included in the LDS Church's International Genealogical Index (IGI).
- The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1599 - 1933, Burials 1599 - 1934, Marriages 1599 - 1951, Boyd's Marriage Index 1599 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1790 - 1812, Non-Conformist records 1820 - 1837.
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
- Pre 1813 Marriages
- 1813-37 Marriages
- 1813-37 Burials.
- Baptisms 1599 to 1830 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Padstow Wesleyan-Methodist Chapel baptisms 1853 to 1880, and WM and Particular Baptist baptisms 1820 to 1837, are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD, baptisms 1670 to 1840 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest.
- Phillimore's marriage 1599 to 1812, 1599 to 1640, and 1653 to 1911 (parish 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 Marriages 1599 to 1837, which is available in CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
- Other Non-Conformist Records. OPC Coverage of Non-Conformist records of this parish is available.
The parish of Padstow was originally in the St Columb Registration District. It is now in the Bodmin Registration District. 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 Bodmin can be contacted at: Lyndhurst, 66 Nicholas Street, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL31 2AG. Tel: 01208 73677.
- Pictures of Padstow are available.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from Padstow 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.
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 Padstow ecclesiastical parish:
- Padstow (Languihenoc, Lanwenehoc), Grid Reference 915754.
You can see the administrative areas in which Padstow has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
- The parish and town tithe maps, and accompanying survey books of c1840, provide a fascinating snap-shot of land use and ownership in the 19th century. In order to preserve the documents and improve access to them, the Cornwall Record Office are digitising these maps and survey books. The CD ROM tithe package include a map and survey books, together with a reader, for this parish; it is now available from the Cornwall Record Office. Details are on their website.
- Map of the Bodmin Registration District in which the parish lies.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW919752 (Lat/Lon: 50.539781, -4.938271), Padstow 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.)
- Since the time of Edward I (1272) central government has exerted a measure of control over shipping for tax purposes. The records that resulted from this include Receipts of duty paid on import and export, information on the examination of cargoes in the coasting trade, and the issuing of bonds for unloading in ports of the realm. These documents normally mention the Merchants involved and the name of the Master of the ship. Typically the information they will contain will be Name of ship, and its Master, Description of goods, Duty paid (if import or export) and Places to/from which shipment is made. Listing of Clovelly Entries in Padstow Coastal Port Books (1602-1719) are available.
Apprenticeship Indentures for Padstow (1680 - 1838) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.
- Padstow parish (both Urban and Rural) was part of the St Columb Major Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
- Overseers' Accounts (1728 to 1788, 1825 to 1837), Settlement Papers (1719 to 1852) and Bastardy Bonds (1708 to 1840) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.
The Padstow Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line.