Saltash, (Cornish: Essa), was originally in the Hundred of East, but the ecclesiastical parish of Saltash was not formed until 1881. Saltash was founded as a market town by the Lord of Trematon Castle in the 12th century. The town was sited at a point where an ancient highway crossed the Tamar estuary by means of a ferry. By the end of that century Saltash had achieved borough status. Saltash also developed as a port, the first to be established on the system of estuaries reaching far inland from Plymouth Sound. In consequence, the borough was entrusted with jurisdiction over all those waters, an arrangement that was challenged many times but was not terminated until 1901. Trade on the estuaries invigorated rural life in St Stephens and other adjoining parishes.

The early history of the Borough of Saltash is closely identified with that of Trematon Castle, to which it was for many years appended. Its name has undergone many modifications. Formerly called Villa de Esse, Ash or Asheborough, Saltash is a municipal borough and a corporate town and parish near the south of the Cornwall/Devon border. It is separated from Plymouth by the River Tamar. The name is of English origin: 'Salt' from the production of salt, and 'ash' from the ash tree. Its status as a borough was confirmed by Richard II in 1381. From 1642 to 1646, during the Civil Wars, Saltash, important as one of the entrances into Cornwall, was taken and retaken several times by both Royalists and Parliamentarians.

The town is picturesque, built on a steep slope of land that juts out into the Tamar. It was an important port in medieval times, but the rise of nearby Plymouth took away more and more of her trade. There was a slight revival during the mining age, but its use as a port has now finished. Its fame now is based upon Brunel's Royal Albert railway bridge which spans the estuary of the Tamar. There are many neat and tasteful villas and cottages in the parish. Saltash now offers moorings for leisure craft, and is a centre for maritime sporting activities.

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)


Archives & Libraries

The Saltash Heritage Museum and Local History Study Centre provides an interesting place to find a wealth of information about the history of this town, its people and places. The Museum and Local History Study Centre were formally opened on the 14th July 2000 and hold over 20,000 items in their collection, including 6,500 photographs.





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:


Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX4158 and was dedicated to St Nicholas & St Faith. The church, which was built about 1225, is of granite. It comprises a chancel, nave, north aisle and a north chapel, south transept and a south porch. In the north wall of the transept are three stout piers and two closed arches which seem to mark the former junction of the church with the former monastic building to which it once belonged. The church was well restored in 1869. The modern ecclesiastical parish was formed in 1881. The register dates from the year 1694.
  • Roman Catholic. The patron of the Roman Catholic parish of Saltash is The Blessed Virgin and a copy of the thirteenth century Byzantine picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour adorns the Marian altar. (The original is in the Redemptorist Church of St. Alphonsus in Rome.) There is quite a story to the original painting which was initially housed in a Church in Crete. In the fifteenth century it was stolen by a merchant and transported to Rome ending up in St. Matthew's Church in the Hermitage of St. Augustine where it remained for three hundred years. When Napoleon ordered his troops into Rome in 1798, many churches (including St. Matthew's) were demolished and used to strengthen defences. The picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour was safely concealed by the monks, but not forgotten. It was later placed with the Redemptorists whose Novena, in honour of Our Lady, under this invocation is perpetual and said from east to west!
    On 1st May 1884 French Franciscans came to open a novitiate in Saltash. Their new church was called "Our Lady of the Angels". The Catholic Parish of Saltash had begun. In 1896, the Franciscans left the area and returned the Mission to the Bishop who purchased the property. At the beginning of the twentieth century a Fr. Morford was the Parish Priest. He was a talented musician, a former pupil of the renowned Abbe Franz Liszt. When he departed in 1916, the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul arrived. They intended to use the buildings at Port View as a country house for St. Teresa's Orphanage in Plymouth. At this particular time the parish was served from St. Joseph's in Devonport, until a Fr. Northcote became Parish Priest in 1919 and bought himself a house in North Road. Two years later the Sisters of the Good Shepherd settled in Saltash and founded St. Ann's Convent. On 4th November 1935 Bishop Barrett laid the foundation stone for the present Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, attached to the Convent. The Church was opened in 1935. When the Sisters left Saltash in October 1959 they kindly sold the Church, part of the Convent for a presbytery, and a portion of land to the Diocese.
    Our Lady's is part of the Tamar Group of (Roman Catholic) Parishes
  • Non-Conformist. The Baptists had a chapel at Culver Road and the Wesleyans had one in Fore Street.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • This parish is NOT included in the LDS Church's International Genealogical Index (IGI).
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for Saltash are: Saltash Wesleyan Methodist C045711.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1697 - 1957, Burials 1753 - 1864, Marriages 1881 - 1975.
  • Baptisms. Baptisms 1851 to 1911 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Marriages. Marriages 1881 to 1911 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Burials. The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Burials 1813 to 1837, which is available in Book or CD formats.

Civil Registration

The parish of Saltash is in the St Germans Registration District and has been since 1st July 1837; there were sub-districts at Antony, St Germans and Saltash but they have now been abolished. It is now part of the Cornwall County, Council for civil purposes.
Parishes within the district were: Antony, Botusfleming, Landrake, Landulph, Maker, Millbrook, Pillaton, Quethiock, Rame, St. Erney, St. Germans, St. John's, St. Mellion, St. Stephen's, Saltash, Sheviock, Torpoint.

The Superintendant Registrar of St Germans can be contacted at: Ploughastel Drive, Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 6DL. Tel: 01752 842624.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Saltash which are provided by:





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.


Historical Geography

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



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX431588 (Lat/Lon: 50.408068, -4.209427), Saltash which are provided by:


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Saltash parish was part of the St Germans Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.



The parish was created from part of St Stephens-by-Saltash parish in 1697.

  • Population in 1801 - 2154 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 2599 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 2873 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 3092 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 1541 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 2998 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 3287 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 2293 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 3984 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 4294 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 5466 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 6552 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 6558 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 6330 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 7477 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 7425 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 9926 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 12985 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 14137 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 14964 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 16184 persons


The Saltash Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line.



The parish comprised 5335 acres of land.