The City of Truro is the administrative capital of Cornwall. The name Truro, (Cornish: Truru), is thought to have been taken from a castle that once stood here.

The City contains the only Cathedral in Cornwall. Truro is a pleasant shopping centre, and has the advantage of being surrounded on most sides with open countryside. Situated at the junction of the Kenwyn and Allen rivers and having an outlet to the sea on the south Cornish coast, it was for a long time a busy port and centre of commerce. Truro was also the chief coinage town of the county and much tin raised in the county was shipped from its quays. Its decline as a port has also led to the disappearance of some industries. The status of town borough was granted by charter in 1140, but a small settlement had existed in the area for a long time before that. As a borough it had sent 2 members of Parliament to Westminster from 1218. The borough consisted of St Mary's parish and a very small portion of Kenwyn. In 1835, the municipal franchise was extended into St Clement and an additional portion of Kenwyn.

In 1877 it was granted city status and three years later the foundation stone of the cathedral was laid. This was the first cathedral to be built in England since 1710, a site being chosen right in the centre of the town incorporating part of the 16th century parish church of St.Marys. The three spires dominate the skyline. Truro was formally granted the status of a city in the early part of the 20th Century. The County Courts are in the city as well as the County Record Office. A famous steam train, The City of Truro, was the first to exceed 100mph in the first decade of the 20th Century.

Further information on the history of Truro is available on wikipedia


Archives & Libraries

  • The Cornwall Record Office is located in the County Hall, Truro. (See the information on the county page.)
  • The Royal Cornwall Museum, Royal Institution of Cornwall, is located in River Street, Truro. (See the information on the county page.)


  • There is a public (municipal) cemetery for the city, and a separate crematorium at Penmount.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions on-line for the municipal (public) cemetery - 4096 entries, and the Quaker Meeting House - 44 entries. The full records of burials, which include details of those whose gravestone did not exist or have been lost but who were buried in the public cemetery, are held by the City Council.


  • Available census information for Truro is given mainly on each ot its parish pages (see CHURCH HISTORY below).
  • RG9/4453. In the 1861 census, Merchant Shipping was treated peculiarly. Shipping Returns for Fowey, Truro and some of Penzance have been placed on-line by the Cornwall Online Census project.

Church History

  • Anglican. The City of Truro now consists of four ecclesiastical Anglican parishes in addition to its cathedral:
    • St Mary's. This is the original parish covering Truro. Truro Cathedral was grafted onto St Mary's Church during the latter part of the 19th Century. Its three spires now soar over the city and are a well known landmark. The cathedral is located in OS Grid Square SW8244 and is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
    • St George's. This is a modern parish in Truro, created 1847, and is situated in the north-west part of the city. It is named after the 19th century church of St. George.
    • St John's. St John's parish is a relatively modern parish of Truro, situated in the southern part of the city. It was created from part of Truro in 1852. It is named after the 19th century church of St. John to whom the church is dedicated.
    • St Paul's. This is another relatively modern parish of Truro, created 1865. It is situated in the eastern part of the city, and is named after the 19th century church of St. Paul.
    Other parishes which are now being incorporated within Truro City are Kenwyn and St Clement.
    The Diocese of Truro was created in 1876. Before this date Cornwall had been included in the diocease of Exeter. However the new Bishop decided that his new diocease then merited a new cathedral, and work on demolishing St Mary's church began in 1880 and the new cathedral was completed in 1910. The south aisle of St Mary's church was rebuilt into the cathedral using the original stone and wood; it is now known as St Mary's aisle.
    The central tower rises to 250 feet high, as Cornwall's memorial to Queen Victoria, whilst the two western towers reach a height of 204 feet and are known as Edward VII and Alexandra Towers. The north west tower houses a peel of 10 bells.
  • Roman Catholics. The dedication resurrected the medieval devotion to Our Lady of the Portal. A chapel dedicated to Mary once stood at the gate (porta) of Truro, recalling her who is "Gate of Heaven. In the fifteenth century Truro was the only place in England that had a church dedicated to Our Lady of the Portal. It was supported by its own Guild. The origins of the devotion came from Rome as far back as the sixth century. The third most important Marian shrine in Rome is the Church of Santa Maria in Portico. There, King (!) James III founded a daily Mass; its intention the restoration of English Catholicism. One of the icons of Mount Athos, venerated since the ninth century, is that of Our Lady of the Portal. (The icon is part of the religious milieu of Byzantium preserved in a monastery on this Holy Mount in Greece.) Our Lady of the Portal also became a popular icon in Moscow when a seventeenth century replica was enshrined in one of the portals" of the Kremlin. In 1964 devotion to Our Lady of the Portal was revived in Truro and the medieval Guild was firmly re-established on Sexagesima Sunday 1965.
    The dedication to St. Piran invokes the patronage of a sixth century Celtic saint whose missionary activity covered the area of the parish. His name is recognised in the name of Perranporth in the north, and Perranwell and Perranarworthal in the south of the parish. This notable Cornish saint is the patron saint of tin miners.
    In the nineteenth century a Catholic Church, dedicated to St. Piran, existed in Chapel Hill, Truro. It had been built in 1884/85 by Fr. John Grainger. Later it was served by the Canons Regular of the Lateran from Bodmin. As congregations expanded and more space was needed, some property known as "Polpeor" was purchased near the site of the Medieval Chapel of Our Lady of the Portal. Construction of a new Church began in January 1972, and the solemn blessing and opening took place on 17th May 1973.
    On each side of the main altar there is an icon painting: one portrays the Old Testament Trinity, after the style of Rublev's Ikon of 1411, and the other shows the Annunciation. (Andrei Rublev was a monk in the monastery at Zagorsk, which became one of the most renowned centres for icon painting in Great Russia, under the spiritual and cultural direction of St. Sergius of Radonezh.) This Church in Truro may be the only one in the country with a well in it. A plaque in the floor over the well suggests "Tons mariae matris pastoris et agni". Here also is a special Shrine to Our Lady of the Portal, and an unusual sixteenth century Basque statue of the Holy Mother feeding her Child.
  • Non-Conformist. Within the City, there were chapels for the Wesleyan Methodists, Wesleyan New Connexion, Independents, Baptists, United Methodist Free Church, Bible Christians, Primitive Methodists, and Society of Friends (Quakers).

Church Records

  • The surviving church records for Truro parishes are listed on each of the four parish pages.
  • LDS Church Records.
  • Non-conformist Baptisms.
    • Truro Methodist New Connexion baptisms 1857 to 1906 in this city are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Truro United Methodist (St Clement Street) baptisms 1909 to 1914 in this city are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Truro Ebenezer New Methodist baptisms 1834 to 1837 in this city are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Truro Bible Christian Chapel baptisms 1838 to 1901 in this city are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Truro Wesleyan Methodist Circuit baptisms 1838 to 1898 in this city are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Non-conformist Marriages. Truro, St Mary Wesleyan (now St Mary Clement Street), marriage registers are in the CRO; these start at 1905. These are the only Non-Conformist records for Truro in the CRO.

Civil Registration

The City of Truro has been in the Truro Registration District continuously from 1st July 1837. There were sub-districts at Kea, Kenwyn, Probus, St. Agnes, St. Clement and St Just-in-Roseland, but these have now been abolished. Parishes in this registration district are: Cornelly, Cuby, Feock, Gerrans, Kea, Kenwyn, Ladock, Lamorran, Merther, Perranzabuloe, Philleigh, Probus, Ruan Lanihorne, St. Agnes, St. Allen, St. Anthony in Roseland, St. Clement, St. Erme, St. Feock, St. Just in Roseland, St. Michael Penkevil, Tregavethan, Tregony St. James, Truro St. Mary, Veryan.

The address of the Registration Office is: Dalvenie House, New County Hall, Truro, TR1 3AY.
Tel: 01872 322241.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Truro which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"TRURO, comprising the parishes of St John, St George, St Mary, and St Paul; it isa seaport, market town, municipal and parliamentary borough, in the W. division of Powder hundred, county Cornwall, 11 miles N. of Falmouth, and 21 S.W. of Bodmin. It is a station on the Cornwall and West Cornwall railway. Truro, which is first mentioned in the 12th century under the name of Triueru, occupies the point of land between the two small rivers Kenwyn and Allen, at the head of Truro Creek, a branch of Falmouth Harbour. This river or creek at spring tide swells into a lake 2 miles in length, and of sufficient depth to be navigable for vessels of 100 tons burden, giving to the town the advantages of a capacious port. It is supposed to have obtained its first charter of incorporation about 1130, which was confirmed by Queen Elizabeth in 1589, and has returned two members to parliament since the year 1294, the mayor being the returning officer. The borough was formerly limited to the parish of St. Mary, but since the improvement Act obtained in 1794, comprises the whole town, extending into the parishes of St. Clement's and Kenwyn. By the municipal Act it is now divided into two wards, and is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors. Within the present century it has greatly increased in size and prosperity, and is considered the largest and neatest town in Cornwall. The population of the borough in 1851 was 10,733, and in 1861, 12,000. The streets are well paved, lighted with gas, and regularly built.



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.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW826448 (Lat/Lon: 50.26307, -5.05167), Truro which are provided by:



  • The Royal Cornwall Gazette 1803-1950. Copies 1803-1810 are in the in the Courtney Library, Royal Institution of Cornwall (RIC), except 5 issues from 1806. Four of these can be found in the Somerset Record Office. From 1808 copies can be found in the RIC, Cornish Studies Library (CSL) (incomplete), and the Morrab Library in Penzance. From 1811, it has been microfilmed by the British Newspaper Library except 64 scattered issues all before 1923. The CSL web site claims this was published from 1801 but they may be refering to the Cornwall Gazette above. In 1951 it merged with the West Briton.
  • West Briton 1810-now. This is published in Truro with county coverage. Originally it was a rival to the Royal Cornwall Gazette. A set, complete but for the first 10 issues, is in the RIC. The British Newspaper Library holds a complete set to 1830. The CSL and Truro Library have a complete set.


Apprenticeship Indentures for Truro (1770 - 1837) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.


Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • The Truro Union workhouse was actually located in the parish of St Clements for Poor Law administration and parish relief. The Union Workhouse was erected 1849-1850 on Union Hill from designs by the Architect William Harris. Union Hill in Truro is now known as Tregolls Road. The Union Workhouse became St Clement's Hospital, under the National Health Service, in 1948.
  • Overseers' Accounts (1764 to 1837), Settlement Papers (1761 to 1843) and Bastardy Bonds (1687 to 1834), relating to Truro, are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


Population figures are for the whole town/city.

  • Population in 1801 - 7074 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 7446 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 8136 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 8468 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 9901 persons in the parish, and 68 persons in the Union Workhouse
  • Population in 1851 - 10733 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 11337 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 11049 persons, plus 144 on shipping
  • Population in 1881 - 10619 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 11131 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 11562 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 11325 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 10843 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 11801 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 12860 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 13336 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 14849 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 16490 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 16740 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 17431 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 19134 persons




The Cornwall Family History Society is the Genealogical Society for the county; it was formed in 1976 to assist its members in tracing their Cornish family history. Its offices are at: 5 Victoria Square, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 2RS. (UK Telephone: 01872 264044. Overseas +44 1872 264044. General enqiries can be emailed to the Secretary). There is a research library available, but it has restricted opening hours.



The City of Truro occupies some 190 acres of land.