The parish of Talland, (Cornish: Tallann), is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of West; it is bounded on the north by Pelynt and Duloe, on the east by the estuary of the River Duloe which separates it from St Martin's-by-Looe, on the south by the English Channel, and on the west by Lansallos and Pelynt. Talland is located on the south coast of Cornwall at the head of Talland Bay, between Polperro to the west, and West Looe to east, and surrounded by beautiful cliff scenery. A short distance to the north is the village of Pelynt. According to O.J.Padel, the name is probably derived from tal-lann, meaning a 'hill-brow church site'. The Saint Talland, to whom the church is dedicated, was an invention of the 15th century. Despite its peaceful appearance today it has many stories of smugglers and shipwrecks in the past. One Parson Dodge who was involved in smuggling in the 18th century kept the lanes clear at night by spreading tales of demons and ghosts. John Bevill, sheriff of Cornwall in the 16th century, lived at the nearby former manor house of Killigarth.

The main town of the parish is Polperro. The town of Polperro itself used to be divided between the two parishes of Lansallos and Talland by the River Pol,though in 1875 the boundaries were re-drawn and the whole of Polperro is now entirely within Lansallos ecclesiastical parish, in which it is still located today.

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)





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 Talland parish:
    • Parish Church. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX2251 and was dedicated to St Tallanus. St. Tallanus was the name of the hermit who made his home here sometime in the fifth century AD. The name "Talland" is thought to be derived from this name, although it is suggestive also of the Cornish "Tal Lan" which means the Holy Place (lan) on the brow of the hill (tal). As the Church is on the side rather than the brow of the hill, this may be just coincidence.
      The church consists of a chancel, nave, south aisle called Killygarth aisle, and a north transept. In the course of the summer of 1848, the church was extensively renovated. The arcade consists of six four-centred arches supported on monolith granite pillars. There is a south porch and a transept or vestry door. The porch has two lateral entrances, the southern end being attached to the tower, to which is forms a covered way. The tower has three stages and is 55 feet in height, its south wall resting on a rock 25 feet above the level of the church. It is buttressed and embattled, and the belfry contains six bells. Further information on Talland Church is available. A comprehensive recording of all the visible grave markers, tombs, memorials and ledger stones within the church and grave yard is available here.
    • Polperro. St. John the Baptist Church is located in Polperro (OS Grid Square SX2050); as its name implies, it is dedicated to St John the Baptist. It was built in 1838 by the then Rector of Lansallos, to enable the villagers, and particularly the fishing community, to have easier access to worship. This church was built on a plot of land clinging to the valley side, and is reached by climbing Little Laney, a fairly steep but mercifully short path from Lansallos Street. The church seats just under a hundred people, although it has held far more than that for some services.
      Between 1812 and 1813 a fraudster came as curate at Talland, and performed services illegally. When the news of the former curate's real identity reached Polperro, there was considerable consternation for he had officiated at many baptisms, marriage ceremonies and funerals during his time at Talland. Seven couples who had been married by the bogus curate came back to be married again, fearing their first ceremony had been invalid and they were 'living in sin'. The parents of eight babies baptised by the 'Rev. Mr. Whitmore' between July and November 1812 brought them back to be baptised afresh. (The vicar, Nicholas Kendall, wrote a note in the Talland parish register explaining the double entries: "..it being suspected that Mr. Whitmore, the late curate of this parish, was not a minister of the Church of England."). The full story of this situation is available on-line.
  • Non-Conformist. It is currently not clear what the arrangements in Talland were for Non-Conformists.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1653 - 1882, Burials 1653 - 1978, Marriages 1653 - 1988, Boyd's Marriage Index 1617 - 1673, Pallot's Marriage Index 1790 - 1812, BTs 1617 - 1673, Non-Conformist records 1818 - 1837.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
    • 1813-37 Marriages.
    • 1813-37 Burials.
  • Other Non-Conformist Records. OPC Coverage of Non-Conformist records of this parish is available.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1685 to 1773 (BTs with gaps), and 1813 to 1911, in this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Baptisms for the Polperro Wesleyan Church 1818 to 1837 are available on-line through the OPC search Facility (C-PROP).
    • Pallot's Baptism Index (1780-1837) of Talland parish is on-line courtesy of Ancestry. However, access requires a subscription to Ancestry.
    • The Parish Chest have published on CD baptisms 1735 to 1840 for this parish.
  • Banns. Banns 1824 to 1910 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Marriages.
    • Callington Area Heritage Centre (broken link) have placed on-line marriage records for Talland parish 1813 to 1837.
    • Marriages 1685 to 1773 (BTs) and 1837 to 1911 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 1607 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Pallot's Marriage Index (1780-1837) of Talland parish is on-line courtesy of Ancestry. However, access requires a subscription to Ancestry.
  • Burials.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Burials 1813 to 1837, which is available in Book format.
    • Burials 1685 to 1773 (Bishops transcripts), and 1672 to 1936 (parish registers), in this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (CPROP).

Civil Registration

The parish of Talland was in the Liskeard Registration District. There were sub-districts at Callington, Lerrin, Liskeard and Looe, but these closed in the 1930's. 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 & Travel

You can see pictures of Talland which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"TALLAND, a parish in the hundred of West, county Cornwall, 7 miles S. of Liskeard, its post town, and 2 S.W. of West Looe. The parish is bounded on the S. by the English Channel, and on the E. by a small estuary of the sea called the Looe river, the channel of which is nearly dry at low water. The parish includes the town of West Loos, and part of the fishing town of Polperro. At the former place is an ancient bridge communicating with the old borough of East Looe, also an earthwork, and at Portlooe are traces of Lammana Priory. A canal was constructed in 1830 from Moor's-water, near Liskeard, to within 2 miles of Looe, forming a communication with the Looe river. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter, value £110. The church, dedicated to St. Tallan, has recently been restored. The interior contains several helmets with the crest of the Beville family, and an effigy of John Beville, who died 1574. There are a Roman Catholic chapel, erected by aid of a bequest of the late Sir Harry Trelawney, two chapels for Wesleyans, and one for Independents at Polperro; also a school for both sexes, endowed with an annuity of £10, and a National school at West Looe. There are two circular camps at Berry Park, measuring 122 paces in diameter, and a kistaven was discovered near Fivebarrow field."

"WEST LOOS, a town in the parish of Talland, hundred of West, county Cornwall, 7 miles S. of Liskeard, its post town and nearest railway station. It is situated on the western shore of Looe Bay, or Creek, opposite East Loos, with which it communicates by a modern bridge. It formerly was a market town and borough, returning two members to parliament, but was disfranchised at the same time as East Loos. The market has fallen into disuse. The corporate government is nominally vested in a mayor and burgesses, according to the charter granted in the reign of Elizabeth. There are a townhall and prison.



  • 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.
  • Polperro Families. Because of its isolated situation, the indigenous families living within the two parishes, Talland and Lansallos, tended to inter-marry among themselves until the 19th century thus making it easier for family historians to trace their Polperro ancestors. In addition, a remarkable record of over 50 Polperro family pedigrees was compiled at the beginning of the 20th century by a local historian, Frank Perrycoste. A copy of his work is now deposited with the Polperro Heritage Museum; extracts can be viewed on microfiche and copies obtained.
  • Compiled information on local families is available on-line.

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 Talland ecclesiastical parish:



A webpage giving short histories of all the most famous and celebrated people of Polperro is available on-line.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX227526 (Lat/Lon: 50.346549, -4.493805), Talland which are provided by:


Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Talland parish was part of the Liskeard Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
  • Overseers' Accounts (1695 to 1784) are availabe in the Cornwall Record Office.


Talland civil parish was abolished 1934; the area was distributed between Looe and Lansallos parishes.

  • Population in 1801 - 760 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 801 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 839 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 841 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 834 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 859 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 800 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 830 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 778 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 776 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 794 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 730 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 704 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 765 persons


The Polperro Family History Society has recently been formed. Members of the Society have special access to the exclusive Members' area on thier website which include a Message Board for exchanging information and contact details for other members. In addition, the Society publishes a Journal for members twice a year. The first issue, published in October 2002, contained a number of articles about Polperro families, a contact list and other useful information.

A Membership Application Form is available. For further details, you can email the Society.



The parish comprised 2569 acres of land.