Bodmin, Cornwall

Historical Description

Bodmin, a municipal borough and a market and union town, the capital of Cornwall. It has a station on the L. & S.W.R., 272 miles from London. There is also a branch of the G.W.R. from Bodmin Road to Bodmin. The town stands in a hollow between two hills near the centre of the county. A hermitage of St Guron stood here before the 6th century, and gave place about 518 to a monastic cell founded by St Petroc. This is thought by some, but erroneously, to have become the first seat of the bishopric of Cornwall; it was occupied by old British or Benedictine monks till 926, and gave place then to a Benedictine priory, founded by King Athelstan. This was destroyed by Danish pirates in 981, yet continued to be a centre of monks till about 1120, and was then succeeded by an Augustinian monastery, founded by one Algar; and this passed at the dissolution to Thomas Sternhold, one of the translators of the Psalms. A Grey friary, founded by John of London, a merchant, and augmented by Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, was given at the dissolution to William Abbot, and passed about twenty years after to the corporation. Part of the refectory was afterwards used as the town hall. A lazar-house was founded at an early period in the north-western vicinity; refounded and incorporated by Queen Elizabeth, and endowed with property yielding £140 a year, which came to be transferred to the infirmary at Truro; and some remains of the building, including several pointed arches, were not long ago standing. No fewer than thirteen churches or free chapels were at one time in the town and its environs, and one of these, an ivy-clad structure, called the Chapel of St Thomas, still adjoins the chancel of the parish church, while a tower which belonged to another, called the Chapel of the Holy Cross, stands on a hill about½ a mile to the N. The town was so populous in 1351 as to lose 1500 persons in that year by pestilence; and it was one of the places which had authority to stamp tin, but it lost that privilege in 1347. It owed its consequence mainly to the number and influence of its ecclesiastics; and it sank suddenly at the Reformation into much decay; but it revived during the last century, was then made the seat of the assizes for the county, and has since enjoyed some prosperity as a provincial metropolis. Perkin Warbeck commenced his rebellion here, preparatory to his attack on Exeter; the Cornish and Devonshire men also commenced their insurrection here in the time of Edward VI.; and Fairfax took the town.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient County Cornwall
Ecclesiastical parish Bodmin St. Petrock
Hundred Trigg
Poor Law union Bodmin

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Bodmin from the following:


Online maps of Bodmin are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Cornwall papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

We have a copy of The Visitations of Cornwall, by Lieut.-Col. J.L. Vivian online.

RegionSouth West
Postal districtPL31
Post TownBodmin