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Lostwithiel, Cornwall

Historical Description

Lostwithiel, a town, a municipal borough, and a parish in Cornwall. The town stands in a deep valley, on the river Fowey, with a station on the G.W.R., 271 miles from London, and 5 SSE of Bodmin. It was originally called Lestwithiely signifying the "lofty palace;" was founded, together with "a palace" or stannary court at it, by Richard, Earl of Cornwall; sent two members to Parliament from the time of Edward II. till disfranchised by the Act of 1832; was visited by Charles I. in 1644, prior to the flight of Essex to Fowey, and by the-Prince of Wales in 1864. It is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors; was long the seat of the county courts of Cornwall; retains a monument of its former importance in the stannary court or county buildings; and has. a head post office, two banks, a good inn, a picturesque old bridge, a town-hall, a market-house, a church, three dissenting chapels, and a mechanics' institute. The stannary court is in good preservation; was an oblong massive structure flanked by graduated buttresses, and ornamented with the duchy arms; is built chiefly of local slate, without ashlar; has semicircular arches, constructed of thin slate laminae; and includes portions which were used as the Shire-hall and the prison. The town-hall is a neat edifice of 1740. The church is chiefly of the 14th century; has an Early English tower, with a Decorated octagonal lantern and spire; has also a fine E window; and contains a curious octagonal sculptured font and several old monuments; it was well restored in 1879, and considerable alterations made in it in 1894-95. A weekly-market is held on Friday, and a cattle market on the third Tuesday in each month. Some business is done in wool stapling. Acreage of the parish, 106; population, 897; of the municipal borough, 1397. The manor belonged to the Duchy of Cornwall, was purchased about the end of the 18th century by the Earl of Mount Edgecumbe, and was conveyed to the corporation. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Truro; net value, £100. A House of Mercy, about half a mile from the town, was founded in 1862. The fine ruin of Eestormel Castle crowns an eminence about 1 mile to the N.

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 CountyCornwall 
Ecclesiastical parishLostwithiel St. Bartholomew 
Poor Law unionBodmin 

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

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Lostwithiel from the following:


Online maps of Lostwithiel 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 districtPL22
Post TownLostwithiel