St Hilary, (Cornish: Gorlynn), is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Penwith. It is bounded on the north by the parish of St Erth, on the east by Breage and Germoe, on the south by Perranuthnoe and the sea, and on the west by Ludgvan. It is name after the dedication of the local church to St Hilary of Poitiers, a 4th century bishop.
This former little mining village of granite cottages lies north-east of Marazion. Like other mining areas in the past it became notorious for drunkeness and unruly behaviour. In the 1920's the local public house was turned into a children's home for deprived Londoners, and nowadays the village is a much quieter place.
St Hilary has abounded in mines, especially in the manors of Treveneage and Tregurtha, but the most remarkable was a mine called Wheal Fortune which extended into the adjoining parish of Ludgvan. From this mine, the principal shareholders derived a small fortune. The parish of Marazion was created from part of this parish in 1813, but the civil parish of St Michael's Mount has always remained part of this parish ecclesiastically.
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 not yet published Monumental Inscriptions for this parish.
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 Hilary (HO107/144), including Marazion, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- The 1851 Census of St Hilary (HO107/1918), Enumeration Districts 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, and 2e, 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 Hilary is listed in Volume 26. 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 from which it can be purchased.
- 1861. The 1861 Census of St Hilary (RG9/1591), Enumeration Districts 8 to 12, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1871. The 1871 Census of St Hilary (RG10/2337),Enumeration Districts 8 to 12 [including Merchant Shipping].
- 1881. The 1881 Census of the UK can be searched on-line courtesy of familySearch.org.
- 1891. The 1891 Census of St Hilary (RG12/1855), Enumeration Districts 8 to 11, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- Anglican. The parish church of St. Hilary is about two miles and a half from Marazion; but there was a chapel-of-ease provided in that town, which later became its parish church when that parish was formed in 1813.
The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW5531 and was dedicated to St Hilary of Poitiers. He was Bishop of Poitiers in the 4th Century; the Church keeps his Feast day on January 13th. Though born a pagan, he was converted to Christianity through his own study of the prophets. He wrote extensively on the Arian controversy, being a staunch opponent of that heresy. His most important work was that on the Trinity.
By the mid-19th century, the church had become very dilapidated, and was regarded as almost past restoration. On the night of Good Friday, 25th March 1853, most of the original church was destroyed by a disastrous fire. The whole building was burnt down; only the Tower and Spire remained. The original church seemed to have contained much beautiful workmanship; it was probably the second on the site and was of Tudor date. It had consisted of a nave, chancel, two side aisles, tower & spire. The church was rebuilt and in 1855 the present church was consecrated. Like its predecessor, it comprises a chancel, nave, and north and south aisles. The chancel arcades each have three pointed arches of native porcelain stone, supported on slender monolith granite columns. There is a south porch, a north door and a priest's door. The tower, which had belonged to a much earlier cruciformed church prior to that destroyed by the fire, is of one stage, and strongly buttressed on the square; it is surmounted by a spire 39 feet in height, making the whole tower and spire 78 feet and 9 inches high. The spire is 269 feet above sea-level; it was used as a sea-marker for which purpose it was periodically whitewashed. Following trouble in the 1930's the church was left barren. In the 1970s, through the efforts of the Friends of St Hilary, much restoration took place and is still continuing. In 2003 the church roof, which had deteriorated badly, was replaced.
- Non-Conformist. There was a chapel "each belonging to the Methodists and the Baptists. There were also places of worship for Independents, Wesleyan Methodists, and the Society of Friends." (from the Pigot & Co Cornwall 1844 Directory). The Wesleyan Methodists have chapels at Relubbas, Halamaning, Tregurtha, Kennegy, and Rosudgeon.
- LDS Church Records.
- The LDS Church batch numbers for St Hilary are: P020981. 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 - 1889, Burials 1677 - 1954, Marriages 1679 - 1975, Boyd's Marriage Index 1609 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1800 - 1812, BTs 1609 - 1673.
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
- Pre 1813 Marriages.
- 1813-1837 Marriages.
- 1813-1959 Burials.
- Baptisms 1676 to 1812 at St Hilary are available on-line.
- Births & Baptisms 1841 to 1904 at St Hilary are available on-line.
- The OPC of Breage has transcribed Breage Circuit: Bible Christian Births & Baptisms 1821 to 1837. Parishes mentioned include: Breage, Crowan, Gwinear, Helston, Mullion, Porthleven, St Anthony, St Hilary, St Keverne, Sithney and Wendron. These can be searched on-line.
- The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD baptisms 1699 to 1840 for this parish and can be purchased on Parish Chest.
The parish of St Hilary has been in the Penzance Registration District continuously from 1st July 1837. There were originally sub-districts at Marazion, Penzance, St Buryan, St Just, St Ives and Uny-Lelant but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Gulval, Ludgvan, Madron, Marazion, Morvah, Penzance, Perranuthnoe, St. Buryan, St. Erth, St. Hilary, St. Ives, St. Just in Penwith, St. Levan, St. Michael's Mount, St. Paul, Sancreed, Sennen, Towednack, Uny-Lelant, Wolfe Rock Lighthouse, and Zennor. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Alphington House, Alverton Place, Penzance, TR18 4JJ. Tel: 01736 330093.
- Photographs of St Hilary are available on-line.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from St Hilary to another place.
- OPC Assistance.
- There is a separate genealogical website for St Hilary containing records.
- There is also a a message board on the website. It is only for those with a genealogical interest within the area of St Hilary, Germoe, Marazion and St Michael's Mount.
You can see the administrative areas in which St Hilary has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
- Map of the Penzance Registration District in which the parish lies.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW550313 (Lat/Lon: 50.131198, -5.42922), St Hilary which are provided by:
- Google Maps
- StreetMap (Current Ordnance Survey maps)
- Bing (was Multimap)
- OldMaps (Old Ordnance Survey maps.)
- Old Maps Online (Other old maps.)
- National Library of Scotland (Old Ordnance Survey maps)
- Vision of Britain (Click "Historical units & statistics" for administrative areas.)
- English Jurisdictions in 1851 (Unfortunately the LDS have removed the facility to enable us to specify a starting location, you will need to search yourself on their map.)
- Magic (Geographic information) (Click + on map if it doesn't show)
- GeoHack (Links to on-line maps and location specific services.)
Some family trees are available on-line for St Hilary surnames.
- St Hilary parish was part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
- Overseers' Accounts (1753 to 1766, 1769 to 1800 and 1826 to 1851) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.
Marazion was created from part of this parish 1813.
- Wills & Admons for St Hilary and Marazion parishes, 1660-1730 are available on-line.