The parish of Sancreed (Cornish: Eglossancrekres), is named after the holy place upon which the church now stands. There is a legend St Sancreed, patron saint of the parish church, killed his father by accident and, in contrition, lived as a swineherd. This parish is in the centre of the Lands End peninsula. It is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Penwith, and is bounded on the north by St Just, on the east by Madron, on the south by Paul and on the west by St Buryan. Although not on the coast, there is the large stretch of water of the Drift Reservoir to the east of the village, which is now much used by visitors for fishing and bird-watching.

The advowson of Sancreed appears to have been attached originally to the Manor of Bosvenning, held by the Earl of Gloucester. Principal hamlets are the Churchtown, Drift, Sellan, Brane and Newbridge.

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:
    • The Parish Church - 987 entries; photographs of surviving gravestones in the churchyard are on-line courtesy of Mark Hattam.
    • Tregerest Methodist Chapel - 105 entries; photographs of surviving gravestones at Tregerest are on-line, courtesy of Mark Hattam.
      (There is a search box on Mark's main page).
  • War Memorial inscriptions for Sancreed parish are separately available on-line on the OPC site, and also on Mark Hattam's site.


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.
  • 1851.
    • The 1851 Census of Sancreed (HO107/1919), Enumeration District 2a, 2b and 2c, 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; Sancreed is listed in Volume 29. 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 Sancreed (RG9/1596), Enumeration Districts 2 to 4, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1871. The 1871 Census of Sancreed (RG10/2343), Enumeration Districts 2 to 4, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1881. The 1881 Census of Sancreed (RG11/2349), Enumeration Districts 2 to 4, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1891. The 1891 Census of Sancreed (RG12/1860), Enumeration Districts 2 to 4, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1901. The 1901 Census of Sancreed (RG13/2256), Enumeration Districts 2 and 3, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.

Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW4229 and was dedicated to St Credan (or Sancredus). Although there is a problem as to which St Credan as there were two or more Cornish Saints with this name. Some feel the dedication is to St Credan, a disciple of St Petrock, whose body, according to Leland rests in Bodmin; or others to St Credan, son of Illadham, who subsequently returned to Ireland and settled in County Wicklow.
    The circular configuration of the site together with the two old crosses, suggests not only the first church was probably monastic in character, but also that it was surrounded by a collection of huts or cells, housing a community of monks, manual workers and domestics by whom the story of the original founder would have been passed by word of mouth on from generation to generation. There was a Norman church here but the character of this church is only a matter of conjecture. The remains of the Font from this period can still be seen.
    The church comprises a chancel, nave, south aisle and north transept. The arcade consists of five four-centred arches supported on monolith granite pillars; the transept is separated from the nave by two similar arches sustained by a similar pillar. The inner half of the transept is used as a vestry. Entrances are a south porch, a north door and a vestry door; the original priest's door is blocked. The tower is a massive building of two stages and finished with battlements and pinnacles; it was probably designed in the first place for a spire. It was built of granite ashlar in large stones, the courses in the lower half being alternately deep and shallow. It contains three bells.
  • Non-Conformist. There were Wesleyan Methodist chapels at the Churchtown and Newbridge; Bible Christian chapels existed at Drift, Newbridge, Brahan and Grumbler - see also West Penwith Resources information. Further photographs of two of these chapels are available.

Church Records


Civil Registration

The parish of Sancreed has been in the Penzance Registration District continuously from 1st July 1837. There were originally sub-districts at Marazion, Penzance, St Buryan, St Just, St Ives and Uny-Lelant but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Gulval, Ludgvan, Madron, Marazion, Morvah, Penzance, Perranuthnoe, St. Buryan, St. Erth, St. Hilary, St. Ives, St. Just in Penwith, St. Levan, St. Michael's Mount, St. Paul, Sancreed, Sennen, Towednack, Uny-Lelant, Wolfe Rock Lighthouse, and Zennor. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Alphington House, Alverton Place, Penzance, TR18 4JJ. Tel: 01736 330093.

You can see pictures of Sancreed which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"SAN CREED, (or Sancreet), a parish in the hundred of Penwith, county Cornwall, 4 miles S.W. of Penzance, its post town. The parish, which is of large extent and chiefly agricultural, is traversed on the S. by the road from Penzance to the Land's End, and on the N. by that to St. Just. The soil consists of killas upon a subsoil of granite. The substratum abounds in mineral wealth, and granite of excellent quality is found. There are some ancient tin-works on Beacon Hill, and a stream work on Trevenyan Moor, but the latter is now exhausted. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £509 10s. 7d., of which £344 belongs to the vicarage, and the glebe comprises 152 acres, but the greater part is unenclosed. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Exeter, value £265, in the patronage of the dean and chapter. The church, dedicated to St. Creed, has a square embattled tower containing three bells. The interior of the church contains several monuments. There were formerly three chapels, of which some traces remain. A Sunday-school is held at the church. There are places of worship belonging to the Baptists, Wesleyans, and Bible Christians, also a mixed National school for both sexes. Viscount Falmouth is lord of the manor and principal landowner. In the churchyard is an ancient cross, and at Drift are two rude upright stones supposed to mark the grave of some ancient warrior. Near the village of Braham are remains of an ancient castle called Caer-bran, and at a place called Bodinnar is a monument consisting of two concentric walls, the larger 55 feet in diameter.



  • 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.
  • There is a genealogical website for the parish.
  • West Penwith Resources have also produced a genealogical website for Sancreed.


The Manorial Documents Register (MDR) maintained by the Historic Manuscripts Commission notes that, so far as can be established, the parish of Sancreed contained the manors of Bosvenning, Sancreed and Tregonebris. The MDR contains the following information for these manors:

  • Tregonebris Manor.
    Survey and rental 1620 and 1636. In private possession. Enquiries to Cornwall Record Office, Old County Hall, Truro TR1 3AY (ref: Carew Pole, HD/11/336 & 238).
  • Bosvenning and Sancreed Manors.
    The MDR has no note of manorial documents for Bosvenning or Sancreed.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW417300 (Lat/Lon: 50.113961, -5.614792), Sancreed which are provided by:


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Sancreed parish was part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.



  • Population in 1801 - 782 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 790 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 1001 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 1069 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 1248 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 1398 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 1233 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 1182 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 937 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 867 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 784 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 805 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 724 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 679 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 589 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 568 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 520 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 615 persons (including 425 in Sancreed and Drift villages)
  • Population in 1991 - 660 persons (including 455 in Sancreed and Drift villages)
  • Population in 2001 - 628 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 625 persons

Probate Records



The Penwith Local History Group aims:

  • To encourage and sustain public interest in the history of Penwith to provide mutual support and encouragement to members in their individual research projects, whether related to Penwith or of wider historical interest.
  • To work as a group on specific research projects, with the aim of publication to an academic standard.
  • To encourage the strong link with the Morrab Library, supporting the Library in its aims and activities.


The parish comprises 4608 acres of land.



Entries from the Hearth Tax 1662 - 1664 for Sancreed are available on-line.