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"VIRGINSTOWE, a small village, pleasantly situated in the valley of the Carey rivulet, 6½ miles N. by E. of Launceston, has in its parish 167 souls, and 1274A. 2R. 39P. of land. H. Hawkes, Esq., owns part of the soil, and the rest belongs to several smaller owners. The Church (St. Bridget,) is a small ancient delapidated structure, which is about to give place to a new one, to be erected in the early lancet style, at a cost of about £500. The new church will have a bell gable, and 137 sittings, of which 83 will be free. The rectory, valued in K.B. at £5. 6s. 8d., and in 1831 at £103, is in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. Ponsford Cann, B.A., who built the handsome Rectory House in 1845, supports the schools, and is a liberal contributor to the new church, to which Mrs. Morrison, of Yeo Dale, has presented a valuable silver-gilt service of communion plate. The glebe is 56A. 11P., and the tithes have been commuted for £119 per annum." [From White's Devonshire Directory (1850)]

A parish in Lifton Hundred, the Archdeaconry of Totnes and the Diocese of Exeter. The parish was originally in Cornwall but was transferred to Devon in 1936. Some records are held at the Cornwall Record Office.


Cornwall burial index 1813-1837: Virginstow. Cornwall Family History Soc. (1996) 2p. [ISBN 185869423x]


Counted variously in Devon and in Cornwall for the census:

1841 HO107/233 Lifton Hundred
1851 HO107/1896 Holsworthy/Broadwoodwidger
1861 RG9/1519 Launceston/St. Stephen
1871 RG10/2224
1881 RG11/2276
1891 RG12/1803 Launceston/St. Stephen ED 6

Census information for this parish (1841 - 1891) is held in the Cornwall Studies Library. The Cornwall Family History Society offers a census search service for its members.

Census records for Virginstow in 1851 (HO107/1896 Enumeration District 1b), 1861 (RG9/1519 Enumeration District 7a) and 1871 (RG10/2224 Enumeration District 2) are available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.

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

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

Church History

The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW3792.

Church Records

According to Peskett, the parish registers - dating from 1730 - are still with the incumbent, but the Devon Record Office has the BTs from 1609.

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

BTs (1609 - 1729), Baptisms (1730 - 1911), Banns (1824 - 1911), Marriages (1730 - 1911), and Burials (1730 - 1936) are included in the Cornwall OPC searchable parish register database.

Nothing entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993).

Parish of Virginstow: 1813-37: marriage transcripts. Cornwall Family History Soc. (1994) i, 1p. [ISBN 1858691834]
Parish of Virginstow: 1720-1850: baptism and marriage register index. Microfiche, Cornish Forefathers Soc. [SoG Library - DE/REG/90939]
The Deanery of Tavistock, CD008, Devon Family History Society, Exeter (2007). [Contains indexes: Bradstone - Baptisms 1813-1840, Marriages 1755-1838, Burials 1813-1837; Brentor - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1755-1834, Burials 1801-1845; Bridestowe - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Broadwoodwidger - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1836, Burials 1813-1837; Coryton - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1755-1837, Burials 1806-1860; Dunterton - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1836, Burials 1752-1837; Kelly - Baptisms 1813-1842, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1838; Lamerton - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1844, Burials 1812-1838; Lewtrenchard - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1840; Lifton - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1650-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Lydford - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1780-1841; Maryystow - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1755-1837, Burials 1792-1837; Milton Abbot - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1838; Princetown - Baptisms 1813-1839, Burials 1815-1853; Sourton - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1723-1837, Burials 1814-1838; Stowford - Baptisms 1811-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Sydenham Damerel - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1755-1837, Burials 1750-1837; Tavistock - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Thrushelton - Baptisms 1813-1840, Marriages 1755-1837, Burials 1813-1837; Virginstow - Baptisms 1813-1839, Marriages 1755-1836, Burials 1813-1839.]

Civil Registration

The parish of Virginstow was originally in the Broadwoodwidger sub-district, in the Holesworthy Registration District of Devon. (GRO volumes : X (1837-51); 5b (1852-1930)). In 1853, the parish moved under the control of the St Stephen-by Launceston sub-district of the Launceston Registration District of Cornwall, where it remained until 1901 when it became part of the North Petherwin sub-distrct. In 1936, it moved back to the Holsworthy Registration district of Devon. In 1998, Holsworthy became subsumed into the Torridge Registration District of Devon.


Transcription by Neil Stanton of the entry for Virginstow in White's Devonshire Directory of 1850.


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


General historical and descriptive information, area map from 1765, details about administrative boundaries, etc., about Virginstow from the Devon Library's Local Studies Service.

Williams, H. Fulford. Notes on the parish of Virginstowe, Devon. Typescript (1963) 5p. [Westcountry Studies - sB/VIR/0001/WIL]


Map of the Launceston Registration District in which the parish once lay.

Names, Personal

Virginstow contributors to a 1678 brief for the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral.

Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

St Giles parish was part of the Launceston Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.


Population in 1841 - 167 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.
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Last updated: 23 Jul 2015 - Brian Randell

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