St Cleer


The parish of St Cleer, (Cornish: Ryskaradek), is named after its patron, Saint Clarus. It is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of West. It is bounded on the north by Altarnun and North Hill, on the east by Linkinhorne and St Ive, on the south by Menheniot amd Liskeard, and on the west by St Neot from which it is separated by the River Fowey. It was once a mining parish where 'On Saturday nights after pay-day, the populous villages of Caradon Town, Pensilva, Minions and Crows Nest were crowded with men, and resembled in character the mining camps of Colorado and the Far West' (of the USA). (A.K. Hamilton Jenkin.

About a mile to the north of the Church stands the Trevetheye Quoit (Stone). This primitive unwrought monument has occupied its present position for over 2000 years. It is of granite and consists of six upright stones and one large slab covering them in an inclined position. Its place name of Trevethy, Trevedi or Trevithy signifying, in the Cornish language, 'the place of the graves', indicating it was once a burial chamber from the Bronze Age.

Although a great part of the parish consists of wild and extensive moors and commons, there are a number of good and well-cultivated estates in it. St Cleer was once an eminent mining parish with some of the richest and best-paying mines in Cornwall. It is now a dormitory area within Caradon District Council; the vast majority of the inhabitants are commuters to Liskeard or Plymouth. Besides the Churchtown, the main villages are Tremar, Tremar Coom, Common Moor, Railway Terrace (now known as Darite), and Crow's Nest.

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)



  • St Cleer was quite a large parish so some people were buried at St Neot churchyard as it was closer (and some from St Neot were buried at St Cleer). There is also a Bible Christian Chapel on the Outskirts of St Cleer which has a few graves.
  • Some individuals from St Cleer/St Neot area were buried at the Trenant Bible Christian Chapel in St Neot. St Cleer also has a large Non-Conformist Cemetery close to the school. Details about the St Cleer General Cemetery, including the Burial Books from 1860, a graveyard plan and some photographs of individual gravestone, are available on-line. The cemetery accommodates both nonconformist and other sects.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published St Cleer General Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions on CD. The CD consists of 696 pictures of headstones with an index and full information, a map and section photographs, 2511 burial book entries including those without headstones, and the War Memorial with personal details and service information (where possible) of 36 men who died in both World Wars.
  • Some transcriptions from the St Cleer churchyard are available on the Cornish Cemeteries site.


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:


Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX2468 and was dedicated to St Clarus - an English missionary who was martyred near the River Epte in Normandy in 894. It comprises a chancel, nave, and north and south aisles. The north arcade has large segmental arches supported by octagonal pillars with plain caps. The south has similar arches supported by clustered columns with richly sculpured capitals. The font is of early English character with some Norman features. There is a south porch, a chancel door and a good early Norman doorway on the north side, ornamented on the outside with a zig-zag moulding. The tower is one of the handsomest granite structures in the county; it is 97 feet high, of three stages and buttressed on the square. It contains six bells. The church underwent a major reconstruction during the early part of the 19th century.
  • Non-Conformist. There were many Non-Conformist chapels in the area:
    • St Cleer Village. Bible Christian's had a chapel built on the west of the village in 1836 is now disused and falling into disrepair. In the tiny yard at the front are several burials with memorial stones. There was also a Free Methodist chapel in the centre of the village which was converted to a dwelling some time ago.
    • Tremar Coombe. This had a Wesleyan Reform and a Primitive Methodist Chapel.
    • Tremar. There was a Wesleyan Chapel here.
    • Darite (Railway Terrace). Darite had a Bible Christian Chapel.
    • Crows Nest. Crows Nest had a Wesleyan Chapel.
    Most of these chapels survive as they have been converted to dwellings, but a few had their own burial grounds.

Church Records


Civil Registration

The parish of St Cleer has always been in the Liskeard Registration District. There were sub-districts at Callington, Lerrin, Liskeard and Looe, but these closed in the 1930s. Parishes within the district are: Boconnoc, Broadoak, Callington, Calstock (1837-60), Duloe, East Looe, Lanreath, Lansallos, Lanteglos, Linkinhorne, Liskeard, Liskeard Borough, Menheniot, Morval, Pelynt, St. Cleer, St. Dominick, St. Ive, St. Keyne, St. Martin's, St. Neot, St. Pinnock, St. Veep, Southill, Talland and West Looe. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Graylands, Dean Street, Liskeard, PL14 4AH. Tel: 01579 343442.


Description and Travel

    You can see pictures of St Cleer 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.
      • The OPC has produced a genealogical website for St Cleer to assist those researching their ancestry.
    • Mailing Lists. There is a mailing list for anyone with a genealogical and or historical interest in Bodmin Moor and its surrounding villages. Villages covered are: Advent (Tresinney), Alternun, Blisland, Bodmin, Boventor, Camelford (Lanteglos), Cardinham, Davidstow, Egloshayle, Helland, Laneast, Lanteglos by Camelford, Launceston, Lewannick, Liskeard, Michaelstow, North Hill, St Breward, St Breock, St Cleer, St Clether, St Mabyn, St Neot, St Tudy, Temple, Tresinney, Trewen, Wadebridge (Egloshayle & St Breock), and Warleggan. See the list  administration page

    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 Cleer ecclesiastical parish:

    You can see the administrative areas in which St Cleer 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 SX248709 (Lat/Lon: 50.511479, -4.472095), St Cleer which are provided by:


    Military Records

    The Muster Rolls for 1569, in respect of St Cleer, are available on-line, courtesy of the OPC.



    • Information about the Caradon and Liskeard Mines is available on-line.
    • Apprenticeship Indentures for St Cleer (1768 - 1841) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.

    Poor Houses, Poor Law, etc.

    • St Cleer parish was part of the Liskeard Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
    • Overseers' Accounts (1772 to 1837), Settlement Papers (1741 to 1862) and Bastardy Bonds (1792 to 1834), are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


    • Population in 1801 - 774 persons
    • Population in 1811 - 780 persons
    • Population in 1821 - 985 persons
    • Population in 1831 - 982 persons
    • Population in 1841 - 1412 persons
    • Population in 1851 - 2343 persons
    • Population in 1861 - 3931 persons
    • Population in 1871 - 3835 persons
    • Population in 1881 - 2865 persons
    • Population in 1891 - 2124 persons
    • Population in 1901 - 1652 persons
    • Population in 1911 - 1648 persons
    • Population in 1921 - 1585 persons
    • Population in 1931 - 1516 persons
    • Population in 1951 - 1616 persons
    • Population in 1961 - 1524 persons
    • Population in 1971 - 1802 persons
    • Population in 1981 - 2580 persons, including 2015 persons in St Cleer & Tremar Villages
    • Population in 1991 - 3100 persons, including 2470 persons in St Cleer & Tremar Villages)
    • Population in 2001 - 3257 persons
    • Population in 2011 - 3339 persons

    Religion and 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 parish comprised 10927 acres of land and 16 acres of water.