St Thomas by Launceston


The parish of St Thomas, (Cornish: Sen Tommas), (often referred to as St Thomas the Apostle) is situated in the Deanery of Trigg Major and the Hundred of East. It is bounded on the north by St Stephens, on the east by St Stephens and Launceston, on the south by South Petherwin, and on the west by Trewen and Egloskerry.
In the 1841 and 1851 Censuses, the parish was split between the borough of Launceston and a rural part which, for some reason had always been known as St. Thomas Hamlet or St. Thomas Street (or both); however, it is a part of St Thomas-by-Launceston parish. This became an enumeration district in these early censuses, and it is in these that its inhabitants recorded their origins.
St Thomas-by-Launceston is now a parish wholly within the borough of Launceston. This ancient town guarded the gateway to Cornwall in medieval times, being on the main northern route into the county. There is only one village in this parish and that is Tregadillet.

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 - 769 entries
  • Tregadillet Methodist Chapel - 129 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. There are two Anglican churches in the parish:
    • Parish Church. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX3384 and was dedicated to St Thomas the Apostle. It comprises a chancel, nave, south aisle, and vestry. The arcade consists of five four-centred arches supported on monolith granite pillars. The font is unusually large and of fine proportions constructed of polyphant stone. This massiveness and superior character is because of the church's past history in support of a late Norman or early medieval Leper hospital, and the religious establishment which controlled that. The entrances are a south porch, a priest's door, and a vestry door. The tower has three stages, the parapet being embattled; the belfry contained three bells. The churchyard was consecrated Bishop Granddisson on 6th November 1333. The church was completely restored in 1871.
    • Tregadillet. The mission church of St. Mary the Virgin, situated at Tregadillett, about 2 1/2 miles from the church, was erected in 1875, at a cost of £1,000, for the use of those who resided in that part of the parish; it consists of an apsidal chancel and nave, and is so arranged that, by means of a moveable partition , the nave is utilized as a school on weeks days.
  • Non-Conformist. There was a Wesleyan Methodist chapel at Tregadillet.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for St Thomas are: P021001. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage of this parish is 1681 - 1804.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1672 - 1943, Burials 1672 - 1890, Marriages 1672 - 1971, Boyd's Marriage index 1623 - 1672, BTs 1623 - 1672.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
    • 1813-37 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Burials
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1702 to 1900 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Launceston, St. Thomas United Methodist Free Church Baptisms 1868 to 1909 are also available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published baptisms 1729 - 1863 for this parish on CD which can be purchased on Parish Chest.
  • Marriages.
  • Burials.

Civil Registration

The parish of St Thomas-by-Launceston is in the Launceston Registration District, and has been since 1st July 1837. There were sub-districts at Altarnun, Launceston, North Hill, North Petherwin and St Stephen-by-Launceston, but these are now all closed. Parishes within the district were: Altarnun, Boyton, Egloskerry, Laneast, Launceston, Lawhitton, Lewannick, Lezant, Northill, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Stephens by Launceston, St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Thomas Street, South Petherwin, Stokeclimsland, Tremaine, Treneglos, Tresmeer, Trewen, Warbstow.

The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Hendra, Dunheved Road, Launceston, PL15 9JG. Tel: 01566 772464.


Description & Travel

    You can see pictures of St Thomas by Launceston 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.
    • British-Genealogy have a mailing list for those wanting to discuss ancestry in Launceston, (including St Thomas-by-Launceston and St Stephen-by-Launceston).

    Historical Geography

    You can see the administrative areas in which St Thomas by Launceston 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 SX328851 (Lat/Lon: 50.641541, -4.366049), St Thomas by Launceston which are provided by:



    Apprenticeship Indentures for St Thomas-by-Launceston (1794 - 1802) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.


    Poor Houses, Poor Law

    St Thomas-by-Launceston parish was part of the Launceston Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.



    Population totals vary. There were two generally taken: one for the parish of St Thomas the Apostle (Urban) and one for St Thomas Street (Rural).

    • Population in 1801 - 355 persons
    • Population in 1811 - 459 persons
    • Population in 1821 - 608 persons
    • Population in 1831 - 826 persons
    • Population in 1841 - 1125 persons
    • Population in 1851 - 1004 persons
    • Population in 1861 - 887 persons
    • Population in 1871 - 955 persons
    • Population in 1881 - 736 persons
    • Population in 1891 - 352 persons (Urban) and 924 persons (Rural)
    • Population in 1901 - 332 persons (Urban) and 746 persons (Rural)
    • Population in 1911 - 887 persons
    • Population in 1921 - 266 persons (Urban) and 671 persons (Rural)
    • Population in 1931 - 0 persons
    • Population in 1951 - 0 persons
    • Population in 1961 - 0 persons
    • Population in 1971 - 0 persons
    • Population in 1981 - 665 persons
    • Population in 1991 - 820 persons
    • Population in 2001 - 815 persons
    • Population in 2011 - 836 persons


    The parish comprises 2158 acres of land.