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"PETHERWIN, (NORTH) is a large village and parish, in the Archdeaconry of Cornwall and Deanery of Trigg Major, 5 miles N.W. of Launceston. It contains 1066 souls, and about 8000 acres of land, bounded on three sides by Cornwall, and including the hamlets of Holscott, Brassacott, and Maxworthy, and many scattered houses. It is mostly in the Duke of Bedford's manor of Werrington, but D. Kingdon, Esq., and many smaller freeholders and leaseholders, have estates here. The Church (St. Paternus,) is an ancient structure, with a tower and five bells. It contains memorials of the Yeo and other families. The vicarage, valued in K.B. at £9. 10s. 10d., and in 1831 at £135, is in the patronage of the Duke of Bedford, and incumbency of the Rev. G.T. Kingdon, M.A. The patron is impropriator of half of the great tithes, and one fourth belongs to Mr. J. Veale, and the rest to the land owners. . . . There are five small chapels in the parish, two belonging to Wesleyans, two to Bible Christians, and one to Association Methodists. The National School is partly supported by subscription. " [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]
A parish in Black Torrington Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Cornwall and the Diocese of Exeter. It was transferred from Devon to Cornwall in 1966. The parish is named after the Welsh patron saint of the church, St Padern. The Dukes of Bedford have been prominent land owners in this area. The seventh Duke drained the land and built new farmhouses and cottages which provided distinctive homes that are still appreciated today. The village is today mainly residential with people commuting out of the parish. Other hamlets are Holscott, Brassacott, and Maxworthy, and there are also many scattered houses.


The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for:
the Parish Church - 823 entries
Methodist Chapel - 19 entries
Copthorne Methodist Chapel - 120 entries
Petherwin Gate Methodist Chapel - 62 entries


Counted as in Cornwall for the census:

1841 HO107/258 Black Torrington Hundred
1851 HO107/1899i Launceston/North Petherwin ED 5
1861 RG9/1518 Launceston/North Petherwin
1871 RG10/2223 Launceston/North Petherwin
1881 RG11/2275 Launceston/North Petherwin
1891 RG12/1802 Launceston/North Petherwin ED 1-3

Census information for this parish (1841 - 1891) is held in the Cornwall Centre.

A growing number of transcriptions for various census years (to date 1841-61, and 1891) for North Petherwin are becoming available as a result of the FreeCEN project - they can readily found by using a browser to search for "North Petherwin" in the Cornwall Online Census Project - Table of Contents.

Ray Woodbine has compiled the 1851 Census for many Cornish parishes. Entries for North Peterwin are contained in Volume 9-2. This is available in the Library of the Cornwall Family History Society, from which it can be purchased.

The 1871 Census of North Petherwin is available from the Cornwall Family History Society.

A search facility for a transcription of the 1871 Census of Cornwall, including North Petherwin, is available.

The 1871 Census of North Petherwin (RG10/2223) (Enumeration Districts 1B, 2B, 3B), is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.

The 1891 Census of North Petherwin (RG12/1802) (Enumeration Districts 1 to 3), is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.

Church History

The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SX2889 and was dedicated to St Padernus. The Church is an ancient structure, with a tower and five bells. It contains memorials of the Yeo and other families.

Craddock, S.T. North Petherwin church. Launceston: Launceston Ptg Co. (1962) 8p. [Westcountry Studies Library - p726.5/NOR/CRA]

Church Records

The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1653 - 1899, Burials 1653 - 1862, Marriages 1653 - 1837.

North Petherwin Marriages, 1813-1837, have also been published by the Devon Family History Society.

The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: 1813-37 Marriages and 1813-37 Burials.

The Devon FHS publishes indexes covering (as of June 2004): Marriages 1754-1837 - for details see their book list.

Marriages (1653 - 1911) and Burials (1672 - 1874) are included in the Cornwall OPC searchable parish register database.

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1606-1850 (from Bishops' Transcripts).

Thompson, Gillian Anne (ed.). Parish of North Petherwin: 1813-37: marriage transcripts. Cornwall Family History Soc. (1994) i, 3p [ISBN 1858691893]

Civil Registration

The parish of North Petherwin is in the Launceston Registration District and has been since 1st July 1837.


Copy provided by Val Henderson of the entry (description and names) in Morris and Co's Commercial Directory and Gazetteer of Devonshire 1870.


The transcription of the section for this parish from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.


The Online Parish Clerk scheme's representative for this parish is Karen Start, who invites queries and lookup requests. (Resources: Bastardy Records 1764-1800; Baptisms 1760-1812; pre-1837 Marriages; burials 1813-37; 1841, 1861 & 1871 censuses; apprentice papers 1741-1802; settlement papers 1702-1843; Militia List 1816; Freeholders List 1816 & 1823; Paupers Lists 1836/7; Grand Jury List 1819.)

Karen Start also acts as the Online Parish Clerk for North Petherwin under the Cornwall OPC Scheme.


Williams, H. Fulford. Notes on the parish of North Petherwyn, Devon. Typescript (1964) 7p. [Westcountry Studies Library - sB/NOR 8/0001/WIL]


Map of the Launceston Registration District in which the parish lies.


Apprenticeship Indentures for North Petherwin (1741 - 1829, 1720 to 1796 register) can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.

Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

North Petherwin parish was part of the Launceston Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief. Overseers' Accounts (1736 to 1741), Settlement Papers (1702 to 1843) and Bastardy Bonds (1764 to 1800), are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


  • Population in 1841 - 997 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 655 persons

Probate Records

Wills for this parish were proved in the Court of the Archdeacon of Cornwall, and are now held by the Cornwall Record Office. They are listed in:
Glencross, R.M. (ed.). Calendar of Wills, Administrations and Accounts Relating to the Counties of Cornwall and Devon in the Connotorial Archdiaconal Court of Cornwall (with which are included the records of the Royal Peculiar of St. Burian) now preserved in the District Probate Office at Bodmin. Index Library, vols. 56 & 59.
Alcock, N.W. Surviving Devon Wills and Inventories, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, vol. 31, (1968-70) pp.182.
Moger, O.M. Some Notes on the Whereabouts of Devon Wills, Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, vol. 25, (1952-53) pp.9-10.
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Last updated: 19 Jul 2015 - Brian Randell

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