Torpoint, (Cornish: Penntorr), is a small town situated on the Rame peninsular on the banks of the River Tamar some two and a half miles from Plymouth. It is the Deanery and Hundred of East. It was created from part of Antony parish in 1819. The Carew-Pole family lived here in Antony House.
The parish is situated on the Rame peninsula on the south-east coast of Cornwall. Its history has been closely linked with the ferry service to Devonport and Plymouth which began in the 18th century. In 1700 Torpoint did not exist but, with the building of the naval dockyard at Devonport, it grew rapidly, with workers there choosing to live across the river near the ferry. In 1939 the naval shore establishment of H.M.S. Raleigh was established here; its purpose was to provide training for new entrants to the Royal Navy. It is still very much a Naval town with families coming and going.
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 Torpoint Archives have a great deal of useful information to help those researching their Torpoint ancestry. Such information includes the Torpoint Censuses 1841 - 1891, local parish (baptisms, marriages and burials) records, Trade Directories from 1830, and, for the late 18th century, there are extracts from the Antony Estate records showing many residents in Torpoint in the 1770/1780s. In addition, there are many other local civic records. There is a large collection of Family Trees donated by those with Torpoint/Antony connections and the collection continues to grow with all names indexed. There is also a very fine photographic collection with over 12,000 photographs on a wide range of subjects - school photographs, Weddings, Events, Locations, Personalities and Sport.
Although primarily concerned with the history of Torpoint, there is a gradual build-up of knowledge of the rest of the Rame peninsular - Antony, St John, Maker with Rame, Sheviock and St Germans all have records in this Archive. Recently, terminals/PCs containing information from the Cornwall Family History Society have been provided.
The archives are open twice a week, manned by volunteers; Tuesday 2 - 4 pm and Fridays 10 am till noon and 2 - 4 pm. Some limited researches can be carried out by post; relevant charges can be obtained by first contacting the Archives. Admission is free. Researchers can contact the Archives during opening hours on 07530976981. To contact the Archives by post, write to: Torpoint Archive, Council Offices, 3 Bullers Road, Torpoint, Cornwall PL11 2LQ.
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. In the 1841 Census, Torpoint was enumerated as part of St Germans.
- 1851. The 1851 Census of Antony with Torpoint (HO107/1900), Enumeration Districts 5a, and 5b [including Workhouses], 5c and 5d, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1861. In 1861, the Census of Torpoint (RG9/1523) seems to be recorded under Antony St Jacob. This is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1871. In 1871, the Census of Torpoint (RG10/2299) seems to be recorded under Antony. This is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1881. The 1881 Census of Torpoint (RG11/2280) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1891. The 1891 Census of Torpoint (RG12/1806) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX4355 and was dedicated to St James. It is a very plain building of stone which is located in the middle of the town. It was opened on 11th April 1819. A gallery surrounds three sides of the church. The chancel is within the building. The church has a bell turret containing a single bell. The registers date from 1819.
There is a separate Anglican church at Merifield (Maryfield). This church is a small building of stone in the Decorated style, consisting of chancel, nave, transept and north aisle; there are several stained windows. The church can seat 100 persons.
- Roman Catholic. Before the Reformation, Torpoint did not exist as a parish, but there were parish churches at Antony, St. John and St. Germans. By the middle of the 20th century a few Catholic families in the area had to travel to the Cathedral or to Mutton Cove in Devonport for Mass each Sunday, in all weathers; without public transport, Midnight Mass was something of an adventure as there was no all-night ferry, it meant finding accommodation on the other side of the river. Some years later a police boat was made available for the little Catholic Community returning from Midnight Mass. Eventually the Catholic population had grown sufficiently to promote the idea of a Mass centre in Torpoint. Priests came from Devonport and offered House Masses. Later, the British Legion Hut in Torpoint was used for the Eucharistic Celebration. As fervour increased a church building fund was initiated. In 1932 Bishop Barrett laid the foundation stone of the Church of St. Joan of Arc. The solemn opening took place in March of the following year.
There is a further chapel, dedicated to Our Lady Star of the Sea, at the Royal Naval base, HMS Raleigh, in Torpoint.
- Non-Conformist. The Congregationalists, Wesleyan Methodists and Bible Christians all had chapels here.
- See under Archives above.
- LDS Church Records.
- The LDS Church batch numbers for Torpoint are: Bethel Chapel (Independent) C065431. These are searchable by surname.
- There is NO IGI coverage of this parish as such.
- The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1819 - 1968, Burials 1928 - 1972, Marriages 1873 - 1975.
- Baptisms. Torpoint baptism registers start 1819.
- Baptisms 1819 to 1913 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- The Plymouth Record Office holdings: Bible Christian Methodist Baptisms 1884-1887.
- Banns. Banns 1901 to 1911 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Marriages 1873 to 1913 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Burials 1928 to 1938 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
The parish of Torpoint 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. The parish is now part of the Cornwall County Council.
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.
- Pigot's Directory for Torpoint 1830 on the OPC site
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from Torpoint to another place.
- 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.
You can see the administrative areas in which Torpoint has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
- Map of the St Germans Registration District in which the parish lies.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX435553 (Lat/Lon: 50.376722, -4.202344), Torpoint which are provided by:
- Google Maps
- StreetMap (Current Ordnance Survey maps)
- Bing (was Multimap)
- Old Maps Online
- 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.)
From 1904, Torpoint parish became part of the St Germans Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief. The St Germans Union workhouse was built in 1837-8 at Torpoint. It was designed by Charles Lang who was also the architect of the Launceston Union workhouse. The Poor Law Commissioners authorised the sum of £4,300 on construction of the building which was intended to accommodate 250 inmates. The workhouse location and layout are shown on the OS map of 1894.
The parish was created from part of Antony parish in 1819.
The Rame Peninsula History Group was formed at its inaugural meeting on 30 January 2003. Its aim is to research, record and promote interest in the heritage of the Rame Peninsula.