Truro St Mary


St Mary's, (Cornish: Truru Sen Maria), is the ancient parish of Truro; it now contains the cathedral and central part of the city. Originally it comprised the old municipal borough of Truro, which was situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Powder. The parish is 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. In 1877 Truro 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.




There was originally a church burial ground but this was very small. A new cemetery at the northern extremity of the borough was consecrated on 15th July 1780, to which an addition was made in 1805. The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for St Mary's Parish Church - 2986 entries. St Mary's cemetery no longer exists, and a municipal burial ground was opened in the 19th century (see Truro City).



Census information for parishes in this town (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. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW8244 and was dedicated to St Mary. The church was first consecrated on 28th September 1259 by Bishop Bronescombe, and on 6th November 1328, Bishop Grandisson dedicated a major rebuilding. The church was rebuilt again and completed around 1518. The 16th century church had comprised a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, an organ loft, a Grammar School gallery, a north gallery and a vestry. The church was dismantled in 1880 when the construction of Truro Cathedral was begun, the new building was grafted onto St Mary's Church. The remains of the church, incorporated into the Cathedral, are now known as St Mary's aisle. The Cathedral's three spires soar over the city and are now a well-known landmark.
    Details about the plans of St Mary's church (Catherdral) are available on-line.
  • Non-Conformist. The Wesleyan Methodists built a chapel in Union Place in 1830. (see also entries under Truro City).

Church Records


Civil Registration

Although originally Truro, St Mary was treated as its own parish, it became subsumed under the civil administrative arrangement of the City of Truro during the 19th century.


Description & Travel

    You can see pictures of Truro St Mary which are provided by:





    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.


    Land & Property

    • The parish and town tithe maps, and accompanying survey books of c1840, provide a fascinating snap-shot of land use and ownership in the 19th century. In order to preserve the documents and improve access to them, the Cornwall Record Office are digitising these maps and survey books. The CD ROM tithe package include a map and survey books, together with a reader, for this town; it is now available from the Cornwall Record Office. Details are on their website.


    You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW827448 (Lat/Lon: 50.263107, -5.050269), Truro St Mary which are provided by:


    Poor Houses, Poor Law

    Truro St Mary parish was part of the Truro Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.



    Truro St Mary is the original ancient parish of Truro. Population figures are listed under Truro City, which was known as Truro Urban District. The following figures are the population of the parish of St Mary's which are part of that total:

    • Population in 1841 - 3043 persons
    • Population in 1851 - 598 persons
    • Population in 1861 - 3105 persons
    • Population in 1871 - 2923 persons
    • Population in 1881 - 2766 persons
    • Population in 1891 - 2500 persons
    • Population in 1901 - 2443 persons
    • Population in 1911 - 2314 persons
    • Population in 1921 - 2056 persons
    • Population in 1931 - 1970 persons
    • Population in 1951 - 1387 persons


    The parish of Truro St Mary comprised 51 acres of land.