Magna Britannia: Volume 3, Cornwall. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1814.
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Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Division of the County.
The county of Cornwall was anciently under the jurisdiction of Bishops of its own. It had been supposed, that their fee was originally at Bodmin; but the late learned Mr. Whitaker, in his elaborate work, intituled, "The Cathedral of Cornwall," has clearly shown that it was first established at St. Germans, and there remained, till the reign of Canute, when the sees of St. Germans and Crediton were united; and Cornwall and Devonshire were placed under the jurisdiction of one Bishop, who had his see at Exeter, as it has continued to the present day. The limits of the archdeaconry of Cornwall are nearly the same as those of the county (fn. n1), but within it are thirty-two parishes of exempt jurisdiction (fn. n2); it is divided into eight deaneries; East, Kirrier, Penwith, Powder, Pyder, TriggMajor, Trigg-Minor, and West. The archdeacon's visitations are held annually about a month after Easter, at Launceston, Liskeard, Bodmin, Truro, Helston, and Penzance.
The office of dean-rural, which, in many parts of the kingdom, is become merely nominal, is in Cornwall an efficient office. The deans-rural, who are appointed annually, make regular visitations to every church within their deanery, and report the state of the churches at the archdeacon's visitations.
The spiritual court for the archdeaconry was held at St. Neot, till about the year 1750, when it was removed to Lostwithiel, and from thence, shortly afterwards, to Bodmin, where it is still held. The courts are held once a fortnight, on Fridays; except during the holidays at Easter and Christmas.
Carew, in his Survey of Cornwall, says, "Of parishes this county hath 161, as Master Camden noteth; and, as others have, about 180." The former number, which was taken from Wolsey's list, must certainly have excluded all those parishes which had subordinate churches, called, in Cornwall, Daughter-churches; such as Cury, Germoe, and Gunwallo, are esteemed with respect to their motherchurch, Breage; yet these, and many others of the same kind, have long since been esteemed separate parishes. Hals, in his Parochial Survey, makes the number of parishes 203: among these, he includes the Devonshire church of Bridgerule, Helston, and St. Thomas, near Launceston. Martyn, in his alphabetical table, makes the number also 203; but in this number, he includes not only Bridgrule, but North-Petherwin, a parish solely in Devonshire, and St. Erney, which is not in Hals's list; whilst he omits Helston, Lostwithiel, Stratton, and Truro. Adopting St. Erney, Helston, and St. Thomas, as separate parishes, but omitting Bridgrule and North-Petherwin, the number will be the same as stated by Hals and Martyn, namely, 203. Of these, eighty-five are rectories, 100 are vicarages, and eighteen donatives or curacies; the great tithes of most of the two latter descriptions are now lay-impropriations.
Hals has given a calculation of the value of the several Cornish benefices in the early part of the last century, in which that of St. Columb is estimated at 400l. per annum, being the only benefice stated to have been then worth more than 300l. He values the deanery of Burian, the rectories of St. Breock, St. Michael-Carhayes, Southill, and Stoke-Climsland, at 300l. Two of the other benefices are valued at 220l., fifteen at 200l., one at 170l., nine at 150l., twelve between 100l. and 150l., and twenty-seven at 100l. per annum, the remainder under 100l. (fn. n3)
|Table of Parishes. (fn. n4)|
|Modern Names.||Rectory, Vicarage, or Curacy.||Ancient Names, where they can be ascertained.||Deanery.||Hundred.|
|(fn. n4) St. Agnes, commonly called St. Anns||Vicarage||Breanick||Pyder||Pyder.|
|St. Allen||Vicarage||Powder||Powder—West Division.|
|Anthony alias East-Anthony alias Anthony St. Jacobs||Vicarage||East||East—South Division.|
|St. Anthony in Roseland||Rectory||Powder||Powder—West Division.|
|St. Anthony in Meneage||Vicarage||Kirrier||Kirrier—East Division.|
|St. Austell, generally written St. Austle||Vicarage||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|(fn. n4)St. Blazey||Vicarage||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|St. Breock, pronounced as the above, Breage||Rectory||Pyder||Pyder.|
|St. Breward or Simon Ward||Vicarage||Trigg-Minor||Trigg.|
|Broadoak, sometimes called and written Bradock||Rectory||West||West.|
|Budock alias St. Budock||Vicarage||Kirrier||Kirrier—East Division.|
|St. Burian, otherwise Burian||Rectory||Penwith||Penwith.|
|(fn. n4)Callington||Rectory||Calweton||East||East—Middle Division.|
|St. Clement's||Vicarage||Moresk||Trigg-Major||Powder—West Division.|
|St. Columb Major||Rectory||Pyder||Pyder.|
|St. Columb Minor||Donative||Pyder||Pyder.|
|Cuby or Keby||Vicarage||Powder||Powder—West Division.|
|(fn. n4)Cury||Vicarage||Corantyn or Corington||Kirrier||Kirrier—West Division.|
|Davidstow vulgo Dewstow||Vicarage||Downstock, or St. David||Trigg-Major||Lesnewth.|
|St. Dennis||Rectory and Vicarage||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|St. Dominick||Rectory||East||East—Middle Division.|
|St. Enoder||Vicarage||Pyder||Powder and Pyder.|
|St. Erme||Rectory||Powder||Powder—West Division.|
|(fn. n5) St. Erney||Vicarage||East||East—South Division.|
|St. Erth||Vicarage||Lanhudnow||Penwith||Penwith—East Division.|
|St. Ewe, (sometimes written St. Tue)||Rectory||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|Feock vulgo Feage||Vicarage||Powder||Powder—West Division.|
|Filley or Filleigh, written also Philley or Philleigh||Rectory||Eglos-Ros||Powder||Powder—West Division.|
|St. Germans||Curacy||East||East—South Division.|
|(fn. n5)Germoe||Vicarage||Kirrier||Kirrier—East Division.|
|(fn. n5)Gunwalloe||Vicarage||Wynyanton||Kirrier||Kirrier—West Division.|
|Gwennap, (sometimes written Wennap or Winnap)||Vicarage||Pensignance||Kirrier||Kirrier—East Division.|
|Gwinnear, (sometimes written Winniar)||Vicarage||Penwith||Penwith—East Division.|
|(fn. n5)Gwithian, (sometimes written Withian)||Rectory||Conarton||Penwith||Penwith—East Division.|
|(fn. n5)Helston||Vicarage||Kirrier||Kirrier—West Division.|
|St. Hilary||Vicarage||Penwith||Penwith—East Division.|
|St. John (generally called St. John's)||Rectory||East||East—South Division.|
|St. Issey||Vicarage||Nansant and Eglos-Crock||Pyder||Pyder.|
|St. Juliot vulgo St. Jilt||Curacy||Trigg-Major||Lesnewth.|
|St. Just, in Roseland||Rectory||Powder||Powder—West Division.|
|St. Just, in Penwith||Vicarage||Penwith||Penwith—West Division.|
|St. Ive||Rectory||East||East—Middle Division.|
|(fn. n5)St. Ives||Vicarage||St. Eye||Penwith||Penwith—East Division.|
|St. Keverne||Vicarage||Lanachebran||Kirrier||Kirrier—West Division.|
|Ladock vulgo Laffick||Rectory||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|Landrake or Lanrake||Vicarage||East||East—South Division.|
|Lanhydrock vulgo Lanhetherick||Curacy||Pyder||Pyder.|
|Lantegloss, near Camelford||Rectory||Trigg-Minor||Lesnewth.|
|Lantegloss, near Fowey||Vicarage||West||West.|
|Launcells||Vicarage||Lanlohoc or Lannohoc||Trigg-Major||Stratton.|
|Launceston or St. Mary Magdalen vulgo Lanson||Curacy||Dunheved||Trigg-Major||East—North Division.|
|Lelant or Lalant||Vicarage||La Nant||Penwith||Penwith—East Division.|
|Lestwithiel or Lostwithiel||Vicarage||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|(fn. n6) St. Levan||Rectory||Penwith||Penwith—West Division.|
|Mabe||Vicarage||Lavabe or Lavapper||Kirrier||Kirrier—East Division.|
|Maddern, Madron or Maddron||Vicarage||Penwith||Penwith—West Division.|
|Manaccan or Manackan||Vicarage||Minster||Kirrier||Kirrier—East Division.|
|St. Martin near Looe||Rectory||St. Kaine||West||West.|
|*St. Martin in Meneage||Rectory||Dedimus||Kirrier||Kirrier—West Division.|
|Mawgan in Pyder||Rectory||Lanherne||Pyder||Pyder.|
|Mawgan in Meneage||Rectory||Kirrier||Kirrier—West Division.|
|St. Mellion||Rectory||East||East—Middle Division|
|St. Merrin or Merryn||Vicarage||Pyder||Pyder.|
|Mevagissey||Vicarage||Lamorrack or Lavorack||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|St. Mewan||Rectory||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|St. Michael-Carhayes||Rectory and Vicarage||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|St. Michael-Penkevil||Rectory||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|Milor or Mylor||Vicarage||Kirrier||Kirrier—East Division.|
|(fn. n6)Padstow||Vicarage||Aldestowe—Leland says it was called Lodenek by the Cornish||Pyder||Pyder.|
|Paul or St. Paul||Vicarage||Penwith||Penwith—West Division.|
|Pelynt vulgo Plint||Vicarage||West||West.|
|*Perran-Arwothall vulgo Perranwell||Vicarage||Kirrier||Kirrier—East Division.|
|Perran-Uthnoe||Rectory||Udno or Uthno||Penwith||Penwith—East Division.|
|South-Petherwin vulgo South-Pethern||Vicarage||Trigg-Major||East—North Division.|
|*St. Sampson's, or Golant vulgo Glant||Curacy||Golant||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|Sithney vulgo Sinney||Vicarage||Kirrier||Kirrier—West Division.|
|St. Stephen's near Launceston||Curacy||Trigg-Major||East—North Division.|
|St. Stephen's near Saltash||Vicarage||East||East—South Division.|
|*St. Stephen's in Brannell||Rectory and Vicarage||Brannell||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|Stoke-Climsland (commonly called Stoke)||Rectory||East||East—North Division.|
|Tamerton or North-Tamerton||Curacy||Trigg-Major||Stratton.|
|St. Thomas||Curacy||Trigg-Major||East—North Division.|
|Tremaine or Tremean||Curacy||St. Winwallow||Trigg-Major||East—North Division.|
|Tresmere||Curacy||Trigg Major||East—North Division.|
|Truro or St. Mary's||Rectory||Powder||Powder—West Division.|
|Tywardreth or Tywardreath||Vicarage||Powder||Powder—East Division.|
|Week St. Mary or St. Mary Week||Rectory||Wyke||Trigg-Major||Stratton.|
It may be observed that in most of the Cornish parishes the ancient secular name has been superseded by that of the patron-saint of the church; in most instances, indeed, it has been so completely superseded that the secular name is not recoverable, though it is probable that it was that of one of the principal manors in the parish. That there were many local saints whose names were never heard of beyond the confines of Cornwall, either natives of the county or devout persons who had migrated thither from Ireland and Wales, we are assured by several respectable historians; it seems probable that in process of time most of the parishes being called after the names of their patron-saints, the Cornish began to imagine that others, which perhaps retained the secular name, had been designated in the same manner, as St. Creed, St. Gluvias, St. Gorran, St. Gulvall, St Kenwyn, St. Mabe, St. Mawgan, St. Mawnan, St. Mewan, St. Newlyn, St. Pinnock, St. Sancred, St. Sithney, St. Wendron, &c. of whose history or whose festivals we know nothing, nor do we find their names in any of the martyrologies. Of late years, on the contrary, some parishes which take their names from saints, whose legends are well known, are generally spoken of and written without the addition of saint, such as Burian, Budock, Colan, Probus, Sennen, &c. Among the patron-saints of Cornish churches, who were known beyond the limits of Cornwall, were St. Blaze, Bishop and martyr, patron of the Wool-combers; St. David, Archbishop of Carleon, and his mother St. Nonnette; St. Dennis; St. German, Bishop of Auxerre; St. Wynwalloe, Abbot of Tauracum; St. Hilary; St. Martin; St. Neot; St. Paulinus, Bishop of Rochester; St. Olave and St. Nicholas, and a few other well-known saints of the Calendar.
Among the native saints were Keby, son of Solomon, King of Cornwall (patron of St. Cuby, &c.); Melianus, King of Cornwall, and his son Melor (patrons of St. Mellion and Milor); Gerennius, King of Cornwall (patron of Gerrans); and St. Columba, a virgin and martyr, who gave name to St. Columb. Among the Welch saints we have Carantoc, son of Careticus, a King of Wales; St. Colan; St. Rumon, a Bishop; and several of the twenty-four sons and daughters of Brechan, another King of Wales, mentioned by Leland and William of Worcester, such as Keyne, Nectan, Endelient, Menfrede or Menfre, Tetha, Maben, Wenna, Morwenna, Cleder, and Adwen; in whom we recognize the patron-saints of St. Keyne, St. Nighton's chapel, St. Endellion's church, St. Minver, St. Teath, St. Mabyn, St. Wenn, Marham-church, Morwinstow, St. Cleather, and Advent.
The most celebrated Irish saints were St. Petrock, patron of the priory of Bodmin; Fimbarrus, Bishop of Cork; St. Piran (fn. n7), patron of the Tinners; and St. Burienne the Virgin, who built an oratory on or near the church which now bears her name; Breaca, who appears to have been a noble female of high estimation, came attended, as Leland informs us from an ancient history of her life, by Germoch, an Irish King; Sennan, an abbot; Crewenne, the patroness of Crowan; Elwin or Allen; St. Moran or Marvanus; Helen; Ia, a nobleman's daughter, who gave name to St. Ives, and her brother St. Uny; St. Erghe, patron of St. Erthe; Fingar, supposed to be Gwinnear; Piala; Budoc; St. Austell, the Confessor; St. Enoder; St. Ervan, the Confessor; St. Eval; St. Willow or Winnow; and St. Withiel.
St. Paternus, the Bishop, gave name to the Petherwins; St. Probus the Confessor to Probus. Among the patron-saints not giving name to the churches or parishes with which they were connected, may be reckoned St. Pratt, patron of Blisland; St. Simphorian, patron of Forrabury, Tintagel, and Veryan; St. Brevit or St. Vorek, Lanlivery; St. Marnack, Lanreath; St. Cyric and St. Juliot, of Luxulion; St. Metherian or St. Mather, of Minster (perhaps the same with St. Maddern); St. Torney, of Northill; and St. Nunn (Nonnette before-mentioned), of Pelynt.
The chapels of ease in this county are few: at Grampound there is a chapel of ease to Creed; at Penzance to Maddern; at Marazion to St. Hilary; St. Mawes (fn. n8) to St. Just in Roseland; Trevenson, newly built by Lord de Dunstanville, to Illoggan; St. Enodoc and St. Michael to St. Minver; East-Looe to St. Martin; Saltash to St. Stephen; and St. Nighton to St. Winnow. St. Michael's Mount is extraparochial: its church is supposed to have been the mother-church of St. Hilary.
The ancient chapels, most of which have been wholly demolished, whilst of of others, generally speaking, small ruins only remain, were very numerous. Mention will be made of them under the parishes in which they were severally situated. Among them were chapels said to have been dedicated to the following Irish or British saints, whose names we have not met with as patronizing any of the parish churches: —
St. Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborn, in St. Kew; St. Bellarmin in Cardinham; St. Cannock, one of the sons of King Brechan, in St. Veep; St. Congar in Lanivet; St. Daye in Gwennap; St. Derwe in Camborne; St. Dillower in Burian; St. Elidius or St. Loy in Burian and St. Mellin; St. Elvan, Bishop of London, in Sithney; St. Ethelred, King and martyr, in St. Dominick; St. Ewin in Towednack; St. Henry, the hermit, in Wendron; St. Ildract (most probably Indract, a martyr, son of a King of Ireland who emigrated to Cornwall,) in St. Dominick; St. Illick in Endellion; St. Julian, or Ulian, in Tintagel; St. Laud (probably Laudatus, abbot of Bardsey,) in Milor; St. Sidwell in Launceston; and St. Wynnel in St. Germans.
Among the gilds at Bodmin was one dedicated to St. Anianus, the Bishop, of whom we find no mention in the Martyrologies; he was so called to distinguish him from St. Anian, a King of Cumbria, of whom there is mention. There was a gild also at Bodmin dedicated to St. Erasmus the Bishop.
Monasteries, Colleges, and Hospitals.
The principal monasteries in this county were the Austin priories of Bodmin, Launceston, and St. Germans; the Austin monks had also a cell at Launcels, subject to Hertland, in Devonshire, and another at St. Anthony's, in Roseland, subject to Plympton, in the same county. The Benedictines had an alien priory at Tywardreth, to which there was a cell at Anthony, in Meneage; another priory at St. Michael's Mount, a third at Minster or Talcarne, and a cell at Lammana, in the parish of Talland, subject to the abbey of Glastonbury. Dr. Borlase says, that there was a priory of Black Canons at Bonury, in Cornwall, but could not ascertain where Bonury was. The Cluniacs had a cell at St. Cyric or St. Carrock, in St. Veep, subject to Montaeute, in Somersetshire. The Cistercians had a cell at St. Keverne, subject to Beaulieu, in Hampshire. The Knights-Hospitallers had a preceptory at Trebigh, in St. Ive. The Black Friers had a convent in Truro; the Grey Friers at Bodmin. Carew mentions also a house of friers at Launceston, but of what order is not known. The Poor Clares had a nunnery at Liskeard, another at Truro, and there is said to have been a third at Tresilian-bridge. There were nunneries, but of what order we have not been able to ascertain, at St. Bennets in Lanivet, at Credis in Padstow, a cell to St. Bennets; and at Hellnoweth in St. Martins, in Meneage. Hals speaks of a nunnery at Trugan, in the parish of St. Michaels-Penkevill, but on very vague authority. At Padstow was a monastery, supposed to have been founded by St. Petrock, destroyed by the Danes in 981. There were colleges or collegiate churches at St. Burian, St. Columb, Constantine; at Penryn, called Glaseny college; St. Karantoc or Crantoc; Endellion; St. Neots; Probus; St. Piran, and St. Teath; besides the more modern short-lived college, founded by Thomasine Bonaventure, at Week-St. Mary, not long before the Reformation. Near Bodmin was the ancient hospital of St. Lawrence, and in the town those of St. Anthony and St. George; near Helston, in the parish of Sithney, an hospital under the government of a Prior, dedicated to St. John the Baptist. There were ancient hospitals also at Launceston, at Newport near Launceston, and in the parish of Menheniot, near Liskeard.