St Sampson, Cornwall Genealogy

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Parish History

SAMPSON'S, ST., a parish, in the union of St. Austell, E. division of the hundred of Powder and of the county of Cornwall, 4 miles (S. S. E.) from Lostwithiel.[1]

St Sampson is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Cornwall, created in 1737 from chapelry in  Tywardreath, Cornwall Ancient Parish.

Although Cornwall has more saints than any other county in the UK, Saint Sampson is one of the better known ones. He sometimes stayed in Golant while travelling to Brittany and became the archbishop of Dol. Many Cornish saints travelling from Ireland to France via the south Cornish coast stopped on the way (sometimes in or near the village). There is now a footpath, the Saints' Way, popular with walkers which runs from Padstow on the north coast to Fowey passing through the village and past the church.

Golant, a small waterside village on the banks of the River Fowey that has associations with Kenneth Graham and the story of Tristan and Iseult. The east bank is owned by the National Trust and it is said that Kenneth Graham wrote 'Tales of the Riverbank', the precursor to The Wind in The Willows, after a trip along this river in 1907. Golant lies in the parish of St Sampson, whose life is one of the earliest recorded of all the saints. Sampson travelled from Dublin to Wales and then on to Cornwall, probably utilising parts of the Saint's Way. He established for himself a church after having made a shelter near a holy well which can still be seen by the south door of the church. Legend has it that the church of St Sampson was the site of the tragic wedding between King Mark of Cornwall and Iseult, who was by then in love with Mark's nephew, Tristan.


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 204

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 the parish Sue Mutton.

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. The first film number is 241268.

Cornwall Online Census Project

Poor Law Unions

St Austell 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:

Web sites

Add here any relevant sites that aren't mentioned above.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 11-15. Date accessed: 25 March 2013.