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Ruan Major

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The parish of Ruan Major, (Cornish: Ruan Veur), was situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Kerrier. At a point on the north called Dry Trees, it met the parishes of Cury, Mawgan, St Martins and St Keverne. It is bounded on the east by St Keverne and a detached part of Grade parish, on the south by Ruan Minor, and on the west by Mullion and Cury. There was a detached portion of the parish called Bednas which measured only two furlongs in length by one and a half in breadth, which is bounded on the east and south by Landewednack, and on the west and north by Mullion.

Ruan Major was a thinly populated parish in the south-west 'heel' of Cornwall, known as the Lizard. It is named Major because it is larger than its neighbouring parish of Ruan Minor to the south-east, and takes the name Ruan after the patron saint of Ruan or Rumon. Dry Trees, on Goonhilly Downs, is now the site of the UK's main satellite communication Earth Station.

The main village of Grade-Ruan is Cadgwith, although this was not really ever in Ruan Major; other villages in this former parish are Treal and Ruan Vean. Because of falling population, in 1934, this parish was united with Ruan Minor and Grade to form the parish of Grade-Ruan.

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)



  • Some memorial inscriptions from the Ruan Major cemetery, and recorded by the CORNWALL INSCRIPTIONS PROJECT, found there were fifty three headstones in the churchyard with 114 names. There is one official war grave.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for the Parish Church - 110 entries.



Census information for parishes in this town (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 Ruan Major (HO107/138), Enumeration District 13, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1851.
    • The 1851 Census of Ruan Major (HO107/1913), Enumeration District 8, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
    • The New Zealand Society of Genealogists have compiled separate surname indexes of the 1851 Census for each Cornish registration district; Ruan Major is listed in Volume 32. The booklets are available in Cornwall at the Cornwall Centre, (formerly known as the Cornish Studies Library), and is also available in the Cornwall FHS Library.
  • 1861. The 1861 Census of Ruan Major (RG9/1573), Enumeration District 14, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1871. The 1871 Census of Ruan Major (RG10/2306), Enumeration District 14, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1881. The 1881 Census of Ruan Major, (RG11/2325), Enumeration District 7, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1891. The 1891 Census of Ruan Major (RG12/1841), Enumeration District 14, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Ruan Major area or see them printed on a map.


Church History

Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW7016 and was dedicated to St Rumon. It originally comprised a chancel, nave, and north and south aisles, the rood stairs in the north wall, a south porch, a priest's door, and a north door. Having become considerably dilapidated, it was pulled down around 1866, and rebuilt with chancel and nave only. The arcades which each had five four-centred arches, were with their pillars built into the walls. The original tower remains. It is 45 feet high, and has two stages and is finished with battlements and crocketed pinnacles. The building is now a ruin.


Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for Ruan Major are: C053041. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage of this parish is 1610 - 1837; it is NOT believed to be fully included in the LDS Church's International Genealogical Index (IGI).
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1682 - 1944, Burials 1683 - 1986, Marriages 1683 - 1903, Boyd's Marriage Index 1610 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1790 - 1812, BTs 1610 - 1673.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
    • Pre 1813 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Marriages.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1682 to 1911 are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD baptisms 1682 to 1841 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest
  • Marriages.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1611 to 1837, which is available in CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Phillimore's marriages 1681 to 1812, and parish marriages 1755 to 1903, are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Burials.

Civil Registration

The parish of Grade-Ruan was originally in the Helston Registration District as Grade, Ruan Major and Ruan Minor; there were sub-districts at Breage, Crowan, Helston, St Keverne and Wendron. It is now in the Kerrier Registration District. Parishes in this registration district are: Breage, Crowan, Cury, Germoe, Gunwalloe, Grade, Helston, Landewednack, Manaccan, Mawgan in Meneage, Mullion, Ruan Major, Ruan Minor, St. Anthony in Meneage, St. Keverne, St. Martin in Meneage, Sithney, Wendron.

The address of the Registration Office is: The Willows, Church Street, Helston, TR13 8NJ.
Tel: 01326 562848.


Description and Travel

    You can see pictures of Ruan Major which are provided by:



    Ask for a calculation of the distance from Ruan Major to another place.

    Click here for a list of nearby places.



    • 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.
    • Strays. Persons living in a parish but born elsewhere are known as "Strays". Strays found in Ruan Major in the 1861 Census are available on-line.

    Historical Geography

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


    Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

    Ruan Major parish was part of the Helston Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.



    Grade - Ruan parish was formed 1934 from an amalgamation of Ruan Major, Ruan Minor and Grade. After this date, population figures are given under Grade.

    • Population in 1801 - 142 persons
    • Population in 1811 - 167 persons
    • Population in 1821 - 187 persons
    • Population in 1831 - 162 persons
    • Population in 1841 - 163 persons
    • Population in 1851 - 173 persons
    • Population in 1861 - 141 persons
    • Population in 1871 - 109 persons
    • Population in 1881 - 94 persons
    • Population in 1891 - 79 persons
    • Population in 1901 - 97 persons
    • Population in 1911 - 88 persons
    • Population in 1921 - 78 persons
    • Population in 1931 - 55 persons


    The parish comprised 2325 acres of land.