The parish of Sithney, (Cornish: Merthersydhni), is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Kerrier. It is bounded on the north by Crowan, on the east by Wendron and Helston and the Looe Pool which separates it from Gunwalloe, on the south by the sea, and on the west by Breage. It is named after the patron saint of the church, who chose to be the patron saint of mad dogs (in preference to young women). The parish lies about three miles north west of the town of Helston in a mainly agricultural area. In the 19th century there were at least eight tin mines in the area, none of which are working today. There are the ruins of an old farmhouse Plane-an-Gwary, meaning 'place of the plays'. Here Cornish Miracle plays were acted in medieval times, and later Cornish wrestlers were seen here on feast and fair days.

The principal villages are the Churchtown, Porthleven, St Johns, Penrose, Mellangoose, Lower Prospidnick, Dowga, Sithney Common, Sithney Green, Coverack, Crown Town (or Gudna), Lowertown, Chyreen and Lower Tregadjack. Porthleven, which was originally part of this parish, became a separate parish in 1844.

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)





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 SW6328 and was dedicated to St Sidinius (Siduinus, or Sithuinus). The existing church was consecrated in 1497, and was built on the site of a Norman Church. It comprises a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, shallow north transept, and a south transept. The arcades each consists of six four-centred arches of granite. There is a south porch, the north porch is used as a vestry, and there is a priest's door. The tower has three stages, and is finished with battlements and pinnacles. It is 50 feet in height or, including the pinnacles, 67 feet. The belfry contains three bells.
  • Non-Conformist. There was a Wesleyan Methodist chapel in the Churchtown which was built in 1861, and another at Lower Prospidnick. The United Methodist Free Church had a chapel at Crown Town, built in 1835, and others at Tregathenan and Tuckingmill. A Bible Christian chapel was located at Gwavas.

Church Records


Civil Registration

The parish of Sithney was originally in the Helston Registration District; 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 & Travel

You can see pictures of Sithney which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"SITHNEY, a parish in the hundred of Kerrier, county Cornwall, 2 miles N.W. of Helston, its post town, and within which borough the parish is included. The village, which is large, is situated on the high road to Penzance, Camborne, and Redruth. The parish includes the chief part of Porthleven fishing coves, and part of Loon Pool in Mount's Bay. There is a small harbour at Porthleven capable of floating vessels of 200 tons. The soil is of a loamy and sandy nature, with a subsoil of marl and granite. A large portion of the inhabitants are engaged in agriculture, and some in the mines. The substratum abounds with minerals, and there are mines of lead, copper, and tin, the two last being still worked. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter, value £368, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, dedicated to St. Sithney, is an ancient stone structure with a square tower and three bells. The interior contains several mural monuments, &c., and some remains of stained glass. There is also a district church at Porthleven, erected in 1841, and dedicated to St. Bartholomew. The living is a perpetual curacy, value £206. The parochial charities produce about £8 per annum. There is a National school for both sexes, also a Sunday-school held at the church. The Wesleyans and Baptists have each a place of worship. A parochial feast occurs on the first Sunday in August. On Longstown Down was the M?n-amber logan stone, and many stone battleaxes have been found at Venton Vedna."

"PORTHLEVEN, a village and fishing cove in the parish of Sithney, hundred of Kerrier, county Cornwall, 3 miles W. of Helston. It is situated on the northern shore of Mount's Bay in the English Channel. It has a small harbour capable of admitting vessels of 200 tons, which land coals and timber, the chief imports of the place. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Exeter, value £160, in the patronage of the Vicar of Sithney.



  • 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 OPC has produced a website for Sithney to help those researching in that parish.
  • Stray. Persons living in a parish but born elsewhere are known as "Strays". Strays found in Sithney/Porthleven in the 1861 Census are available on-line, as are those strays found only in Sithney.

Historical Geography

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 Sithney ecclesiastical parish:


Land & Property

  • 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.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW635290 (Lat/Lon: 50.114084, -5.308887), Sithney which are provided by:


Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Sithney parish was part of the Helston Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
  • Overseers' Accounts (1744 to 1788, 1805 to 1823) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


The parish of Porthleven was created from parts of this parish and Breage parish in 1846.

  • Population in 1801 - 1420 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 1552 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 2238 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 2772 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 3362 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 2768 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 3306 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 3561 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 1457 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 3290 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 3075 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 2691 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 2540 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 2519 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 765 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 772 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 736 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 695 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 710 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 767 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 836 persons

Probate Records



Sithney/Porthleven Board School Admissions - 1886-1921 are on-line, courtesy of the OPC.



The parish comprises 4028 acres of land.