Week St Mary


The parish of Week St Mary, (Cornish: Gwig Sen Maria), is situated in the Deanery of Trigg Major and the Hundred of Stratton. It is bounded on the north by Marhamchurch, on the east by Whitstone, North Tamerton and Boyton, on the south by North Petherwin (which was in Devon) and a detached part of Jacobstow, and on the west by Jacobstow and Poundstock.

The name has Anglo-Saxon origins: wic meaning settlement. The word "Week", "Wyke" or "Wick" which is found in so many English place names is an Anglo-Saxon form of the Latin "vicus" meaning dairy farm or village, and St Mary is the dedication of the village church, so that Week St. Mary was in the old days know as St. Mary Week to distinguish it from other villages, like Pancrasweek a few miles away in Devon. It seems to have been of some importance for centuries; just west of the village is a flat topped circular hill know as Ashbury - all round it can be seen earthworks which surrounded a prehistoric fort dating from the Iron Age. Later the Normans settled in what was then hostile country.The parish is in north-east Cornwall between the Devon border and the coast.

It is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086:
Richard also holds WICH. Cola held it before 1066, and paid tax for ½ hide; 1 hide there, however. Land for 8 ploughs; 3 ploughs there; 4 slaves. 6 villagers and 10 smallholders. Woodland, 2 acres; pasture, 1 league long and as wide. Formerly 20s; value now 30s. [2 cattle; 8 pigs; 40 sheep; 20 goats. Exon].

In the 15th century a shepherdess, Thomasine Bonaventure, lived here. She attracted the attention of a wealthy London merchant who took her back to London to work in his household, and on the death of his wife married her. After his death Thomasine married two more weathy men in succession; the last being Sir John Percival who became Lord Mayor of London in 1497. After being widowed for the third time she returned to Cornwall and used her money for good causes. She built a school which has now become a group of cottages, she endowed a chantry in the parish church and left the vicar of Liskeard a beautiful chalice.

The village of Week St Mary is the only village in the parish.

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 inscriptions from headstones, in the Parish Churchyard (PC) and Methodist Cemetery (MC), are available on-line.
  • The details of those inscribed on the War Memorial are listed on-line.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for the Parish Church.


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. The 1841 Census of Week St Mary (HO107/151), Enumeration Districts 3 to 5, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1851.
    • The 1851 Census of Week St Mary (HO107/1897), Enumeration Districts 2a and 2b, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
    • The New Zealand Society of Genealogists have compiled separate surname indexes of the 1851 Census for each Cornish registration district; Week St Mary is listed in Volume 5. The booklets are available in Cornwall at the Cornwall Centre, (formerly known as the Cornish Studies Library), and is also available in the Cornwall FHS Library.
  • 1861. The 1861 Census of Week St Mary (RG9/1514), Enumeration District 7B and 8C, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1871. The 1871 Census of Week St Mary (RG10/2217), Enumeration Districts 7b and 8b, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1881. The 1881 Census of Week St Mary (RG11/2271), Enumeration Districts 7 and 8, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1891. The 1891 Census of Week St Mary (RG12/1798), Enumeration Districts 3 and 4, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.

Church History

  • Anglican. There was formerly a chapel at Goscote, dedicated to St. Lawrence. This chapel of St. Laurence at Goscote was licensed in 1380. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX2397; it is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. It comprises a chancel, nave, and north and south aisles. The north arcade has five four-centred arches, with monolith granite pillars; the south arcade also has five arches, three of which are obtuse pointed, and two obtuse four-centred. The pillars are of Polyphant stone and granite. The entrances are a south porch and a priest's door; the north door is not used. The tower is of granite ashlar; it has three stages and is 99 feet in height, including its pinnacles. It was built in 1643, contains five bells, and is finished with battlements and crocketed pinnacles which terminate with crosses.
    The parish is now united with Poundstock and Whitstone.
  • Non-Conformist. The Wesleyan Methodists had a chapel at Week Orchard (built pre-1800), and the United Methodist Free Church (built in 1844) had a chapel in the Churchtown. The Bible Christians built the Zion chapel within the village in 1843, and another at Bakesdon (Bakesdown) in 1833. The year 1907 saw the demise of the title "Bible Christian Society" when it combined with the "United Methodist Free Church" and the "Methodist New Connexion" to form "The United Methodist Church". This union, and the later one in 1932 when "United Methodists", "Weslyans" and "Primitive Methodists" formed "The Methodist Church", produced little real change. At Week St. Mary the two chapels (Week St. Mary Bible Christian and Week Green United Methodist Free Church) continued their respective societies following the 1907 and 1932 amalgamations until 1934 when the Week Green chapel was closed and the premises converted for use as a caretaker's bungalow.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for Week St Mary are: C053281, C032731, M032731. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage for this parish is 1602 - 1812.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1602 - 1981, Burials 1602 - 1982, Marriages 1602 - 1978, Boyd's Marriage Index 1602 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1790 - 1812.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of:
    • Pre 1813 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Burials.
  • Other Non-Conformist Records. OPC Coverage of Non-Conformist records of this parish is available.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1754 to 1911 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Week St Mary Bible Christian Chapel baptisms 1838 to 1879, and 1870 to 1911, are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD baptisms 1740 to 1843 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest.
  • Marriages.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Marriages in the Parish 1602 to 1837, which is available in CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Phillimore's marriages 1602 to 1812, and parish transcripts 1754 to 1911, in this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD marriages 1754 to 1812 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest.
  • Burials.

Civil Registration

The parish of Week St Mary is in the Stratton Registration District, and has been since 1st July 1837; there were sub-districts at Kilhampton, Stratton and Week St Mary but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Jacobstow, Kilkhampton, Launcells, Marhamchurch, Morwenstow, Poughill, Poundstock, St. Gennys, Stratton, Stratton and Bude, Week St. Mary, Whitstone. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: The Parkhouse Centre, Ergue Gaberic Way, Bude, EX23 8LF. Tel: 01288 353209.


Description & Travel

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



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"WEEK ST. MARY, a parish in the hundred of Stratton, county Cornwall, 7 miles S. from Stratton, its post town, and 10 from Launceston. This place, which was formerly of more importance than at present, is situated on the road from Launceston to Stratton, and is in old records called a borough. The surface is hilly. The principal residence is Morris, formerly the seat of Lord Rolle. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Exeter, value £388, in the patronage of Sydney Sussex College, Cambridge. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. There is a National school for both sexes. The Bible Christians, Wesleyans, and Association Methodists have each a chapel. A chantry, with a free school, was founded and endowed by Dame T. Percival in the reign of Henry VIII., but was suppressed in the reign of Edward VI."



  • 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.
  • The OPC has produced a family history website for the parish.

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 Week St Mary ecclesiastical parish:

You can see the administrative areas in which Week St Mary 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 SX237976 (Lat/Lon: 50.750957, -4.500877), Week St Mary which are provided by:


Military Records

The Muster Roll for Weeke Mary of 1569 is available on-line.



Apprenticeship Indentures for Week St Mary (1768 - 1827) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.


Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Week St Mary parish was part of the Stratton Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
  • Overseers' Accounts (1709 to 1742), Settlement Papers (1741 to 1849) and Bastardy Bonds (1755 to 1821), are available in the Cornwall Record Office.
  • Some snippets relating to events (such as bastardy orders, maintenance payments, etc.) in Week St Mary and surrounding parishes, are available on-line.


  • Population in 1801 - 566 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 612 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 782 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 769 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 788 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 641 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 611 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 570 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 519 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 518 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 538 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 522 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 452 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 460 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 402 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 410 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 385 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 470 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 525 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 550 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 657 persons

Religion & Religious Life

  • In the May of 1641 it was agreed and ordered that every Member of the House of Commons and House of Lords should make a protestation (declaration of loyalty) to the crown. The Protestation was printed and then distributed by the Members to their counties. The Protestation was to be made by everyone and the Rectors, Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor, had to appear before the Justices of the Peace in their Hundred to make their protestation and, on returning to their parishes, any two of them were to witness the taking of the Protestation Oath by all males over the age of 18 years. All names were listed and anyone who refused was to be noted.
  • A list of the Rectors' of Week St Mary is available on-line.




The Bude, Stratton and District OLD CORNWALL SOCIETY covers the parishes of Morwenstow, Marhamchurch, Kilkhampton, Launcells, Poundstock, Week St. Mary, Warbstow, Whitestone, St. Gennys, Poughill and, of course, Bude & Stratton.



The parish comprises 6123 acres of land.