Difference between revisions of "Charlestown, Cornwall Genealogy"

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=== Poor Law Unions  ===
=== Poor Law Unions  ===
[[Helston Poor Law Union]]
=== Probate records  ===
=== Probate records  ===

Revision as of 10:34, 8 August 2010


Charlestown Parish, occupying a very large section of the St. Austell Bay coastline, and the town of Charlestown, originated from the tiny hamlet of West Polmear, population 7. In 1769, Charles Rashleigh, a successful lawyer and mining adventurer, saw the need for a port to handle china clay shipments from St. Austell's upper quarter. He bought the land, and hired men to carve out a port by hand from where the tiny fishing hamlet once stood. In time, his project became a model Georgian "new town", and took the name of its founder. Mount Charles was also named for him.

The town flourished along with the china clay trade. In 1847, it became the hub of a new parish, carved from St Austell parish. It encompasses land from Porthpean to Par (which was formed into its own parish circa 1845). The parish church, St. Paul's (Church of England), was established in 1846 but built in 1851; it was completed in 1971, with the fibreglass spire being lowered by helicopter.

As transport ships grew ever larger, use of the port slowly declined until today, when it is used only occasionally by "coastal vessels", but the village is open for tourists as well as movie crews at all times. It is the part-time home of 3 sailing "tall ships" which occasionally sail out into the bay.

Par harbour, just east of Charlestown, was built by J. T. Austen (Treffry) commencing in 1820, and continues today as the main port for shipping china clay.

Other churches in the parish include St. Levan, a C. of E. chapel which was built at Porthpean by the Sawle family to serve their nearby manor of Penrice. Although tiny, the church today acts as a community centre for the village.

Pentewan's All Saints Church of England church, built in 1821 by Sir Charles Hawkin, remains active.

Tregrehan Mills Primitive Methodist church built in 1830, is still active, Bethel Methodist, and the London Apprentice chapel remain open, too.

Chapels which have closed include Polgooth Methodist, Penwithick Methodist, Mount Charles Victoria Road Wesleyan Methodist, and Carclaze Methodist.

Church registers have been transcribed, and are available for free on the [St. Austell Genealogical and Historical Website], as well as on the [OPC Free Database website]. LDS has filmed these registers, which are available through their Family History Centres; please see their Library section. Cornwall Record Office sells micro-fiche of them for a small sum. CFHS has included transcriptions of the registers in their data at Find My Past, for a fee. Please remember that records previous to 1850 are found under St. Austell parish, in all reference material.

There were also Baptist chapels, and a Society of Friends circuit included this area.

Campdown cemetery serves the parish, and is still open.

Online Parish registers

Images of parish registers are available online in historic records (formerly Record Search) Images refer to Cornwall County Record Office reference: P31


Civil Registration

Births, marriages and deaths were kept by the government from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD listed below.

Census records

Overview, Include any unique information, such as the census of X year was destroyed, Collection in FHL and link to catalog, Online sites.

Poor Law Unions


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


"CORNWALL and It's People", A.K. Hamilton-Jenkin, David & Charles, London, 1945 & 1988

"ST. AUSTELL: Church, Town, and Parish", A.L. Rowse, H.E. Warne, LTD, 1960

"ST. AUSTELL, A Cornish Parish" Canon Joseph Hammond,L.L.B., Skeffington & Son, London, 1897

"A CORNISH CHILDHOOD" A.L. Rowse, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc/Crown Publishers Inc, New York. 1942 & 1979

"HISTORIC CORNWALL - St. Austell" , Kate Newell, Historic Environmental Service, Cornwall County Council, 2004, at http://www.historic-cornwall.org.uk/csus/towns/staustell/staustell [If this address does not work, go to historic-cornwall.org.uk, and click on Cornwall and Scilly Urban Survey, then "towns"; you can then enter "St. Austell" to see the reports and download a map of the area circa 1907]

"The Archaeology of the St. Austell China Clay Area" P. Herring and J. Smith, Historic Environment Service, Cornwall County Council, 1991


St. Austell Genealogy and History {http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~staustell

Cornwall Online Parish Clerks (http://cornwall-opc.org

   Cornwall Online Parish Clerks database (http://cornwall-opc.org

Rootsweb - FreeBMD (http://freebmd.com.uk)

Rootsweb - FreeCens (http://freecen.rootsweb.com)