St Dennis


The parish of St Dennis, (Cornish: Dinas), is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Powder. It is bounded on the north by the parish of Roche, on the east by Roche and St Stephen-in-Brannel, on the south by St Stephen-in-Brannel, and on the west by St Enoder and St Columb Major. It is named after St Denys the Martyr, although as the Church is on a hill top, the name may be a corruption of the Cornish word Dinas, meaning 'Hill Fort'. Dimilioc represents a smaller hillfort inland 20 miles south of Tintagel now occupied by the parish Church of St Dennis - it is within an estate listed as Dimelihoc in the Doomsday Book of 1086. In the reign of Henry VIII, St Denys was the only parish in Cornwall with the prefix 'Saint'.

The parish lies to the north-west of St Austell and is bounded to its north-west by the River Fal and the countryside consists of a number of small villages and hamlets. The main industry is china clay extraction in the south of the parish and farming in the north; most of the farmland is pasture. There is an area of moorland called Goss Moor to the north. The Churchtown was built up for miners and comrises numerous cottages. The villages are Hendra, Whitebait, Treleaver, and Ennis-Cavan.

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 on-line Monumental Inscriptions for the Parish Church - 935 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:


Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW9558 and was dedicated to St Dionisius (Dennis) before 1327. The church is a plain structure with few ecclesiastical features. There is a south porch and a north door. The Normans built a Church here at the end of the 11th century, but the present tower dates from the 13th century. This tower is of two stages, and is finished with stump pinnacles; it reaches a height 55 feet.
    The church stands on a conical hill and appears to have been originally a chantry chapel, and held by respective families of Cornwall: Hendowers or Tregarthin's of Courtnin Brannell, who afterwards appropriated it, together with the church of St Stephens-in-Brannel, to the rector of St Michael Caerhays.
  • Non-Conformist. In the village of Whitebait was a Wesleyan Methodist chapel; there was also a Brianite chapel near the church.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for St Dennis are: C022001. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage of this parish is 1687 - 1875; it is NOT believed to be fully included in the LDS Church's International Genealogical Index (IGI).
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1687 - 1985, Burials 1687 - 1985, Marriages 1687 - 1985, Boyd's Marriage Index 1610 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1800 - 1812.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
    • Pre 1813 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Burials.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms in the parish 1688 to 1899 are also available on-line through the OPC Search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD, baptisms 1687 to 1840 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest.
  • Marriages.
    • Marriages in the parish 1610 to 1812 (Phillimore's), and 1813 to 1912 (parish transcripts), are also available on-line through the OPC Search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1610 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
  • Burials.
    • Burials in the parish 1681 to 1773 (Bishop's Transcripts), and 1687 to 1912 (parish transcripts) are also available on-line through the OPC Search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Burials 1813 to 1837, which is available in Book format.
    • Burial records of individuals with a St. Stephen-In-Brannel connection, but who were buried in St. Dennis, has been provided on-line by the OPC for St. Dennis.

Civil Registration

The parish of St Dennis has been in the Registration District of St Austell continuously from 1st July 1837. There were sub-districts at Fowey, Grampound, Mevagissey and St Austell, but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Creed, Fowey, Gorran, Grampound, Mevagissey, Roche, St. Austell, St. Blazey, St. Dennis, St. Ewe, St. Mewan, St. Michael Carhays, St. Sampson, St. Stephen in Brannel, Tywardreath. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: 12 Carlyon Road, St Austell, PL25 4LD. Tel: 01726 68974. Fax: 01726 68974.


Description and Travel

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





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

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 Dennis ecclesiastical parish:

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


Land and 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 SW951581 (Lat/Lon: 50.3873, -4.88324), St Dennis which are provided by:


Poor Houses, Poor Law, etc.

St Dennis parish was part of the St Austell Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.



  • Population in 1801 - 318 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 478 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 592 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 721 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 828 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 888 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 993 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 1064 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 1235 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 1302 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 1632 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 2030 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 2158 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 2359 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 2534 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 2121 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 2180 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 2015 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 2249 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 2696 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 2810 persons


The St Denys & District Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line.



The parish comprised 3231 acres of land and 9 acres of water.