The parish of Penwerris, (Cornish: Pennweres), was created from the northern part of Falmouth in 1848 to serve an increasing population, although this land was then part of Budock parish. Most of Penwerris's Beacon estate was built in the early part of the 19th century to house the 3,000 employees of Falmouth's once thriving docks, which now employ only 300 casual workers. The residential area was built up with council-provided accommodation. In 1995 the Beacon and Old Hill estate was the poorest in Cornwall.

The Beacon Community Regeneration Partnership was set up in 1995 as a multi-agency group, led by the tenants. The results are now there for all to see. The low-rise blocks on Old Hill are now painted in vibrant colours, all chosen by the tenants who want to re-name it Rainbow Hill. The grim terraces are no longer grey, but have been transformed by bright cladding. Recladding and energy conservation measures have been carried out on the properties and most of the homes now have central heating.

The parish is situated on the south coast of Cornwall and is now really part of Falmouth town. Falmouth is the largest port in Cornwall and is sheltered by the natural harbour of Carrick Roads.

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)



Penwerris parish did not have its own burial ground; it generally used Budock.



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 SW8032 and was originally dedicated to the Holy Trinity. It is now dedicated to St Michael & All Angels.
    It is a plain rectangular building of stone erected in 1827 and opened on 9th January 1828. It consists of a nave only and a western gallery. The registers date from 1848.

Church Records

  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1848 - 1988, Marriages 1848 - 1984.
  • Marriages. Marriages 1848 to 1911 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).

Civil Registration

The parish of Penwerris is in the Falmouth Registration District, and has been since its creation.

The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Berkely House, 12-14 Berkeley Vale, Falmouth, TR11 3PH. Tel: 01326 312606.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Penwerris which are provided by:





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 maps centred on OS grid reference SW799333 (Lat/Lon: 50.159085, -5.082163), Penwerris which are provided by:


Poor Houses, Poor Law

The parish of Penwerris became part of the Falmouth Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief on its creation.



Penwerris was created from the northern part of Falmouth Town in 1848.Its population is now enumerated as part of Falmouth.

  • Population in 1851 - 567 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 882 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 2578 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 918 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 1017 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 1008 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 1141 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 1232 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 3964 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 5437 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 6193 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 0 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 0 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 5566 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 0000 persons (enumerated as part of Falmouth)


The parish comprised 240 acres of land.