Cardinham, Cornwall Genealogy

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Parish History

Cardinham (Cornish: Kardhinan; Archaic English: Cardinan; More recent obsolete English spelling: Cardynham) has existed for more than 1000 years and is one of the Cornish parishes not carrying the same name as the saint for whom the church is named (St Meubred).  The name is Cornish from "Car" or "Caer" which means "enclosure" or "fort," and "dinas" which may also mean "fortress."  It is assumed from the name that there has been a castle or fortress there since ancient times, and it is thought that the castle was built there about 1080 by Robert of Mortain, a half-brother to William the Conqueror.  The castle was occupied by Robert Fitz-Turold and his descendants for about 200-300 years.  The family used the family name "de Cardinan," taken from this place.  The castle was a very short distance to the south and east of the church.  It is on private land, but almost nothing remains there. 

The present church dates from about the 15th century, and was repaired after some damage from an errant bomb during World War 2.  The church and parish maintain their own identity with regular services, but currently share a vicar with Warleggan and St Neot parishes.

It is sparsely populated without commerce or significant industry.  The land area is more than 9000 acres, and the population during the past 200 years has been generally between 400-800 persons.  Most of the properties are farm land, with small clusters of houses near the church and at Millpool, about 1½ miles to the north. 

Neighboring Parishes

Beginning on the north and moving clockwise around the boundaries of the parish are the ecclesiastical parishes of Temple, Warleggan, Broadoak (Braddoc), St Winnow, Lanhydrock, Bodmin, Helland, and Blisland.



There are two cemeteries, the original being the church yard of the Parish Church of Cardinham (St Meubred's Church).  There is a newer cemetery nearby, only a few meters down the hill southward and on the opposite side of the road.  The parish registers include the burials in both locations without distinguishing which burial ground.  The OS grid reference is approximately 123687

Civil Registration

Births, marriages and deaths were kept by the government from July 1837 to the present day. Cardinham has been in the Bodmin Registration district since the inception of civil registration. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is Free BMD

Parish Records

Images of some of the parish registers were posted briefly on the Family Search Record Search site mid-2010, but quickly disappeared.  It is unknown when they might reappear on the Historic Records Collection of Family

The parish registers of baptisms, banns, marriages, and burials are extant beginning in 1701.  Earlier records were apparently lost and are not known to exist.  There are a few Bishops Transcripts dating back to 1675, but coverage is not complete.  Phillimores marriage transcripts cover 1701-1812.  The Cornwall Family History Society has published the marriages 1701-1812, the marriages 1813-1837, and the burials 1813-1837.   All parish registers (baptisms, marriages, and burials) from 1813-1911 have been transcribed  and posted on the database of the Cornwall Online Parish Clerks.  These are indexed and searchable on that website without cost.

Parish registers have been filmed by the GSU almost to the present time and are available on microfilm in the Family History Library.  The Cornwall Record Office also holds many of the registers. 

Although Fletchers Bridge, Turfdown, and Margate are in Bodmin Borough, most of the church events for those living there were in the Cardinham Parish.

The Cornwall Online Parish Clerks organization has a clerk for Cardinham who can be contacted through their website at and information can be obtained by correspondence from the OPC.  He has access to images of all existing parish records from 1701-1960 and transcripts of Methodist/Bible Christian records up to 1900.  Inquiries are welcome and are answered as time permits without cost.

Non-conformist records are also available at the Cornwall Record Office, and transcriptions are available on CD from commercial sources, including Cornwall Legacy.  Both Wesleyan Methodists and Bible Christian adherents lived in the parish, but jurisdictions do not follow Anglican boundary lines.  Most records are to be found in the Bodmin Wesleyan Circuit, the Bodmin Bible Christian Circuit, and the Liskeard Bible Christian Circuit, although baptisms were occasionally perfomed by someone farther afield, especially among the Bible Christians.  There have been non-conformist chapels in the hamlets of Millpool and Fletchers Bridge, as well as Cardinham.  The Methodist Chapel at Millpool holds regular services, while no services are currently being held in the chapel at Cardinham village, and the chapel building at Fletchers Bridge has passed into private hands. Some records of the Methodist congregations are in the LDS Family History Library catalogue. 

Census records

The census records are part of the England and from 1841-1911 are readily available from multiple sites, both commercial (such as Ancestry and FindMyPast) as well as free sites.  The most accurate census transcriptions (because they were done by Cornish people familiar with the names and places) are found at the Cornwall Online Census Project at  The UK Census Online (FreeCEN), while not uniquely Cornish, is also valuable and will often yield positive results when other sites providing the census fail to find the person sought, because the search function allows a phonetic search of surnames.

Poor Law Unions

Bodmin Poor Law Union

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to [county] Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

There are many maps and gazetteers showing English places. Valuable web sites are:

  • 1851 Jurisdiction Maps
  • Vision of Britain

Web sites

Excellent information specific to the parish is found on the GENUKI pages for Cardinham at

One should also note the links on the main page for Cornwall, as well as an overview of Cornish research on the sub-heading page of this wiki at