St Germans


The parish of St Germans, (Cornish: Lannaled), is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of East; in 1870, it is bounded on the north by Menheniot and Quethiock, on the east by Landrake, St Erney, St Germans Creek and Sheviock, on the south by the sea, and the west by St Martin-by-Looe, Morval and Menheniot. St Germanus was a well known missionary of Auxerre, but there has been some doubt as to whether he was the saint that gave his name to this parish. The village of St Germans is on the lower reaches of the River Tiddy that eventually flows into Plymouth Sound. Prior to the Norman Conquest the Saxon church was the cathedral of Cornwall. After the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century, the Eliot family bought the priory, which became known as Port Eliot. Although originally a busy fishing port, the major activity now is pleasure boating.

Villages in the parish were Tideford, Hessenford, Minard Cross, Polbathick, and Bethany.
Hessenford in 1834, and Tideford in 1852, were two new ecclesiastical parishes created out of this parish. In 1997, St Germans was split again to make two more parishes: St Germans and a new parish of Deviock. In consequence, the boundaries of the parish have frequently been changed due to this and various local government reorganisation initiatives.

St Germans is now surrounded by (starting on the west at the sea) Deviock, Morval, Menheniot, Quethiock, Landrake-with-St Erney and Sheviock.

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 on-line for the Parish Church - 1211 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 SX3557 and was dedicated to St Germanus. Prior to the Norman Conquest, the Saxon church was the cathedral of Cornwall. Following the Conquest a Cornish Bishopric was formed at St Germans and a group of secular canons were set up in the cathedral. The Norman cathedral was rebuilt in 1261 to become a church.
    The conventual church of St Germans was consecrated on August 28th, 1261. The present church comprises a chancel, nave, south aisle, north transept, vestry and a mortuary chapel for the family of Moyle of Bake, through which there is a private entrance from the adjoining mansion of Port Eliot to the church. There was formerly a north aisle but this was taken down at the end of the 18th century. It was divided from the nave by five short thick, round, columns, every one connected with a respond in the north wall by a low surbased arch.
    There are two western towers; the one on the north side has an upper part octagonal, and is finished with battlements, but until 1775 had neither floors nor bells. Six bells were installed in 1775, and a further two were added in 1913. The south tower was also octagonal in its upper stages, but is now square. The towers have each two massive pointed arches; those of the south tower open both into the church, one on the south aisle the other laterally into the nave. In consequence of the removal of the north aisle, the eastern arch of the north tower opens into the adjacent lawn. Between the towers is the ancient enriched entrance portal.
    In the village of Hessenford, a district chapel was consecrated on 26th September 1833.
    There was a Mission Church at Maryfield which was dedicated to St Philip & St James; details about the plans of this church is also available on-line.
    There was also a chapel of ease in Tideford; both Hessenford and Tideford eventually became a separate parishes.
    St Germans is now part of the united parishes of St Germans, Hessenford, Downderry and Tideford.
  • Quakers. There was a chapel belonging to the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Tideford with a cemetery attached.
  • Non-Conformists. There were also chapels for the Wesleyan Methodists and the Reformed Methodists in Tideford.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for St Germans are: C053151, E053151, M053151. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage for this parish is 1590 - 1837.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1590 - 1880, Burials 1590 - 1906, Marriages 1590 - 1837, Boyd's Marriage Index 1608 - 1675, BTs 1608 - 1675.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
    • 1813-37 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Burials.
  • Baptisms.
    • A baptism index from 1590 to 1837, and baptisms 1837 to 1880, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • (See also the on-line parish records for the Rame peninsular parishes).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD baptisms 1720 to 1840 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest.
  • Banns. Banns 1876 to 1900 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Marriages.
    • Marriages 1590 to 1901 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1590 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
  • Burials.
    • Burials 1590 to 1837, and 1906 to 1936, for this parish are 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.

Civil Registration

The parish of St Germans is in the St Germans Registration District and has been since 1st July 1837; there were sub-districts at Antony, St Germans and Saltash but they have now been abolished. Parishes within the district were: Antony, Botusfleming, Landrake, Landulph, Maker, Millbrook, Pillaton, Quethiock, Rame, St. Erney, St. Germans, St. John's, St. Mellion, St. Stephen's, Saltash, Sheviock, Torpoint.

The Superintendant Registrar of St Germans can be contacted at: Ploughastel Drive, Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 6DL. Tel: 01752 842624.


Description & Travel

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



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"ST. GERMANS, a parish and small market town in the S. division of the hundred of East, county Cornwall, 9 miles N.W. of Devonport, and 18 S. of Launceston. It is situated on Lynher Creek and the river Tidi, and is a station on the Cornwall line of railway. The parish includes the villages of Crafthole, Downderry, Hessenford, and Tideford. A priory appears to have been founded here in the early part of the 10th century, and in the following century it was made a bishop's see, afterwards annexed to Crediton. In the Domesday Survey it is called Abbytone. At the Dissolution the demesne of the priory was given to the Champernowne family, from whom it passed to the Eliots, who take from this place the title of Earl. It is the head of a Poor-law Union embracing 14 parishes, and of a superintendent registry. It is a subport to Plymouth, and returned two members to parliament till the passing of the Reform Bill, when it was disfranchised. Some of the people are employed in the fishery. Limestone and slate are obtained in various parts of the parish. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Exeter, value £150, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Windsor. The church, dedicated to St. Germanus, is an ancient structure, for the most part in the Norman style of architecture, and probably belonged to the monastery. It has two fine towers, and contains monuments of the Eliot, Glanvill, and Scawen families, and an ancient stone font. There are also two district churches-viz: Hessenford and Tideford, both perpetual curacies,* of the respective values of £100 and £46, in the gift of the incumbent of the parish. The parochial endowments for education and almshouses produce about £14 per annum. The Wesleyans have a chapel, and there are National and infant schools. Port Eliot, a fine mansion with good picture gallery, is the seat of the Earl of St. Germans, who is lord of the manor.



  • 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.

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 Germans ecclesiastical parish:



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX359578 (Lat/Lon: 50.397115, -4.310231), St Germans which are provided by:



  • Apprenticeship Indentures for St Germans (1722 - 1840) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • St Germans parish was part of the St Germans Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief. The Workhouse was actually sited in the parish of Antony, St Jacob.
  • Overseers' Accounts (1600 to 1667, 1768 to 1802), Settlement Papers (1734 to 1789) and Bastardy Bonds (1697 to 1789), are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


Two parishes were created from parts of this parish in the 19th century: Hessenford in 1834 and Tideford in 1852. Another new parish, that of Deviock, was created from St Germans in 1997.

  • Population in 1801 - 2030 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 2139 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 2404 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 2586 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 2843 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 2664 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 2842 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 2676 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 2307 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 2384 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 2126 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 2050 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 1986 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 2084 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 1877 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 1884 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 2305 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 2475 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 2425 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 1427 persons (plus 1341 in Deviock parish)
  • Population in 2011 - 1460 persons


St Germans parish comprises 10151 acres of land.