St Breward


St Breward, (Cornish: Havosti), commonly called Simonward, is situated in the Hundred of Trigg and Deanery of Trigg Minor. It is bounded on the north by Advent and St Clether, on the east by Altarnun, on the south by Blisland and St Mabyn, and on the west by St Tudy and Michaelstow. The parish is named after St Breueredus. The parish is often referred to as Simonward and this is possibly a corruption of the saint's name.

The village of St Breward boasts the highest Church in Cornwall at about 700ft above sea-level, and is well known for granite and china clay quarries. Within the parish lie two of Cornwall's best known landmarks: Roughtor and Brown Willy. St Breward is also famous for its granite. It had three quarries: Tordown, Hantergantic and De Lank. Moorland Granite has been used for centuries to build local houses and churches, and stone from the De Lank Quarry was used for important and famous landmarks, such as the Eddystone Lighthouse (1882), the Beachy Head Lighthouse (1900) and London's Tower Bridge (1890). The river De Lank rises and passes through the parish; it is a tributary of the river Camel.

The villages of the parish are the Churchtown, Treswallock, and Higher and Lower Lank.

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 - 446 entries.



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:

  • 1841. The 1841 Census of St Breward (HO107/152), Enumeration Districts 5 and 6, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1851.
    • The 1851 Census of St Breward (HO107/1898), Enumeration Districts 7a and 7b, 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; St Breward is listed in Volume 4. 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 St Breward (RG9/1516), Enumeration District 5 and 6, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1871. The 1871 Census of St Breward (RG10/2220), Enumeration Districts 5 and 6, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1881. The 1881 Census of St Breward (RG11/2273), Enumeration Districts 5 and 6, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1891. The 1891 Census of St Breward (RG12/1800), Enumeration District 9, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.

Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX0977 and was dedicated to St Brueredus in 1278, although it is not clear by whom. By the middle of the 19th century, the church had fallen into a considerable state of decay. In 1863 the church was re-roofed and the walls rebuilt and replastered as necessary.
    The church comprises a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, and a north transept and a vestry. The south arcade has five obtuse granite arches, supported on pillars of the same material; the north arcade has five segmental arches supported on circular piers with cushion capitals. This arcade is purely Norman, and one half of it it constructed of Caen stone. The tower is of three stages, embattled with stump crocketed pinnacles.
  • Non-Conformist. The Wesleyans and Bible Christians both had chapels here.

Church Records


Civil Registration

Although originally in the Camelford Registration District, the parish of St Breward is now in the Bodmin Registration District; there were sub-districts at Boscastle and Camelford. Parishes within the Camelford district were: Advent, Davidstow, Forrabury, Lanteglos, Lesnewth, Michaelstow, Minster, Otterham, St. Breward, St. Clether, St. Juliot, St. Teath, Tintagel, Trevalga.

The Superintendant Registrar of Bodmin can be contacted at: Lyndhurst, 66 Nicholas Street, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL31 2AG. Tel: 01208 73677.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of St Breward which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"ST. BREWARD, (or Simonward) a parish in the hundred of Trigg, in the county of Cornwall, 6 miles to the N. of Bodmin, its post town. The lofty hills, called Rough Tor (or Rowtor) and Brown Willy, which command a view over an extensive district in the N.W. part of the county, and as far as the English and Bristol Channels, are in this parish Brown Willy has an elevation of 1,370 feet, and is said to be the highest ground in Cornwall. Granite and slate are abundant. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Exeter, of the value of £335, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. The church, an ancient building, partly in the Norman style, is said to have been founded by William Brewer, Bishop of Exeter, about the middle of the 13th century, and is dedicated to St. Bruard. There are a logan stone and some stone circles on Rough Tor.



  • 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 genealogical website for the parish to assist researchers.

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 St Breward ecclesiastical parish:

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


Land & Property

  • The Land and Farm auctions of 1912 is available.
  • The Land and Farm auctions of 1920 is available.
  • 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 town; it is now available from the Cornwall Record Office. Details are on their website.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX126780 (Lat/Lon: 50.571941, -4.648305), St Breward which are provided by:


Military Records




Poor Houses, Poor Law

St Breward parish was part of the Camelford Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.



  • Population in 1801 - 513 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 506 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 554 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 627 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 724 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 627 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 705 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 815 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 728 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 779 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 863 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 845 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 862 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 881 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 809 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 762 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 776 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 735 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 885 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 880 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 886 persons

Probate Records

Wills/Indentures/Documents From the Malcolm Mc Carthy Collection and relating to St Breward, are available on-line.


Religion & Religious Life

In the May of 1641 it was agreed and ordered that every Member of the House of Commons and House of Lords should make a protestation (declaration of loyalty) to the crown. The Protestation was printed and then distributed by the Members to their counties. The Protestation was to be made by everyone and the Rectors, Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor, had to appear before the Justices of the Peace in their Hundred to make their protestation and, on returning to their parishes, any two of them were to witness the taking of the Protestation Oath by all males over the age of 18 years. All names were listed and anyone who refused was to be noted.

The Protestation Returns of 1641 for St Breward are available on-line.



The parish comprises 9415 acres of land and 20 acres of water.