St Breward, Cornwall Genealogy

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England  Gotoarrow.png  CornwallGotoarrow.png  Cornwall Parishes

Parish History

BREWARD, ST., or Simonward (St. Bruard), a parish, in the union of Camelford, hundred of Trigg, E. division of Cornwall, 6¾ miles (N. by E.) from Bodmin. [1]

St Breward (Cornish: Sen Branwalader) is an Ancient Parish in the county of Cornwall.Other places in the parish include: Lower Lanke. Until the 19th century it was commonly known by the corrupt form of the name: 'Simonward'.
The church was dedicated to St Brueredus in 1278 and is the highest church in Cornwall.. It is a substantial building of the Norman period to which a south aisle and western tower were added in the 15th century (these additions are of granite). It was restored in the 19th century, and only parts of the Norman north arcade remain. There were in the mediaeval period three chapels in the parish: at Hamatethy the manorial chapel of the Peverells, St Michael's Chapel, Roughtor, and another at Chaple. Thomas Taylor the historian was vicar here and edited the parish registers.

The village of St Breward boasts the highest Church in Cornwall at about 700ft above sea-level, and is well known for granite and china clay quarries. Within the parish lie two of Cornwall's best known landmarks: Roughtor and Brown Willy. St Breward is also famous for its granite. It had three quarries: Tordown, Hantergantic and De Lank. Moorland Granite has been used for centuries to build local houses and churches, and stone from the De Lank Quarry was used for important and famous landmarks, such as the Eddystone Lighthouse (1882), the Beachy Head Lighthouse (1900) and London's Tower Bridge (1890).


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 Free BMD.

Church records

Overview, Include information for parish registers and Bishop's Transcripts, Contact information for the office holding the original records, Links to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection.

Images of parish registers are available online in historic records (formerly Record Search) Images refer to Cornwall County Record Office reference: P 20

The baptismal register book for Baptisms 1813-1866 vol P 20/1/3 contains an anomaly. The recorded baptisms end in December 1832 on page 46 of the register at entry number 362. The numbers 363-368 are then left blank. The register resumes baptismal entries in 1850 on page 47 at number 369.

It is not clear whether records for the gap were kept and where. 

Thomas Taylor was vicar at St Breward. During his time at St Breward he found the parish registers to be complete from 1599 to 1812: his work editing the registers brought him into contact with W. P. Phillimore, a publisher of books relating to Ecclesiastical Law, who in 1905 appointed him editor of the Parish Marriage Registers throughout the diocese: by 1916 he had published twenty-five volumes. It is for this work, much used by genealogists and family historians, that he is probably most widely known.

He contributed to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Victoria County History of Cornwall, of which he was local editor. His standard works Celtic Christianity and Life of St Samson of Dol are still sources of reference.

Cornwall Online Parish Clerks

An extremely useful resource is the Cornwall Online Parish Clerks page for the parish

The history registers and much more have been contributed by the Online Parish clerk for St Breward . Her website is a valuable resource.

Census records


Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.

Cornwall Online Census Project

Poor Law Unions

Camelford 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


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 357-362. Date accessed: 20 March 2013.

Add here any relevant sites that aren't mentioned above. for information about the church and parish British History Online British Listed Building