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Paul, Cornwall

Historical Description

Paul, a parish in Cornwall, on Mounts Bay, 2½ miles S of Penzance station on the G.W.R. It has a post office under Penzance; money order and telegraph office, Newlyn. It took its name from Pol de Leon, a Brittany saint; suffered devastation from the Spaniards in 1593; and contains the villages of Monsehole and Newlyn. Acreage, 3442; population of the civil parish, 5977; of the ecclesiastical, 2639. Paul is an urban district whose boundaries are conterminous with those of the civil parish, and has its own district council, insisting of nine members. Paul Hill rises with steep ascent, and commands a charming view. There are several ancient granite crosses, and some remains of an ancient British camp. Pilchard and mackerel fisheries are carried on. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Truro; net value, £310 with residence. Patron, the Lord Chancellor. The church was given by Richard, king of the Romans, to Hailes Abbey; has a fine granite tower, serving as a conspicuous landmark; contains monuments of the Godolphins, the Pendarveses, and others; and has been restored. The churchyard contains the grave and monument of Dolly Penbreath, who died at the age of ninety-one in 1777, and is said to have been the last person who used ancient Cornish as a language. Fragmentary Cornish is still known. The vicarage of Newlyn is a separate benefice. There are Wesleyan and Methodist chapels and some almshouses.

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 parishPaul St. Paul 
Poor Law unionPenzance 

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

Church Records

The register dates from the year 1595; the registers previous to this date are said to have been destroyed by the Spaniards, when they set fire to the church.


Church of England

St. Paul (parish church)

The church of St. Paul is an ancient building of granite in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch, and an embattled western tower with turret containing 3 bells: the register records that "The Spanyer burnt this church in the year 1595": a small portion of the old church is still standing, and bears traces of the fire: between the nave and north aisle, at a height of about three feet, is a small arched opening, perhaps originally a hagioscope; fixed in the churchyard wall is a monument with inscriptions in English and Cornish, erected in 1860 by Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte and the late Rev. John Garrett, vicar, to the memory of Dorothy Pentreath, who died in 1778, aged 102, and who was supposed to be the last person who spoke the ancient Cornish, the peculiar language of this county: affixed to the wall is also the quatrefoiled head of a cross, with a figure of the "Crucifixion": there is a stained window in each aisle, and others presented by the Osborne and Pentreath families, and by the parishioners: in the south aisle is a flat stone to John Millett, of Bosavern St. Just, who fought with Nelson at Trafalgar, and afterwards resided at Paul, where also he was buried: among numerous mural tablets is one in the south aisle to Capt. Stephen Hutchens, who died at Jamaica in 1769, with an epitaph in old Cornish, the only one now extant: in the north aisle is the tomb of William Godolphin of Trewarveneth, ob. 1689, above which hang a sword, helmet, and other armour: the south-east window was erected in 1909 in memory of a former vicar: the church was restored in 1886 at a cost of £600, partially restored internally in 1892 and new roofed in 1894. In 1913 a carved granite pulpit was erected in memory of the Rev. R. Aitken, vicar, 1876-1911: there are 850 sittings.

St. Paul, PaulNave of St. Paul, Paul

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Paul from the following:


Online maps of Paul 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 districtTR19
Post TownPenzance