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St Keverne, Cornwall

Historical Description

Keverne, St, a village and a parish in Cornwall. The village stands on the coast, opposite the Manacles Rocks, 8 miles S by W of Falmouth station on the G.W.R., and has a post, money order, and telegraph office, and fairs on 10 Jan., 5 March, 19 June, and 2 Oct. The parish contains also the seaport villages of Coverack, Porthonstock, and Porthalla or Pralla. Acreage, 10,294 of land and 205 of water and foreshore; population, 1630. Lannarth belonged to the Sandys family, one of whom with seven men in 1702 in an open boat was driven by a storm to the Normandy coast, and was sent home by Louis XIV. Ireland was the seat of the Hyames family. The rocks include hornblende, diallage, felspar, shale, soapstone, serpentine, and magnesian limestone, and possess much interest for geologists and mineralogists. Search for ore has frequently been made, but without success. A legend prevails that St Keverne, the patron saint, put a ban on the parish for his having been disrespectfully treated, and that in consequence "no metal will run within the sound of St Keverne's bells." But a belt of land between the village and Coverack is so remarkably fertile as to have been called the Garden of Cornwall, and appears to owe its richness to the mingled disintegration of hornblende, diallage, and felspar. The ship Despatch was lost in 1809 off Coverack, and the emigrant ship John was wrecked in 1855 at the Manacles, with the loss of 191 lives. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Truro; value, £240 with residence. The church belonged to Beaulieu Abbey, was struck with lightning in 1770, is now in very good condition, has a tower and spire, and contains several interesting monuments. There are Baptist, Wesleyan, and Bryanite chapels, an endowed school, and charities. Incledon the singer was a native.

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 
Poor Law unionHelston 

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

Church Records

The register of baptisms dates from the year 1580; marriages, 1608; burials, 1605.


Church of England

St. Kevern or Akebron (parish church)

The church, dedicated to St. Kevern or Akebron, was founded about 1266, and in 1330 appropriated to the abbey of Beaulieu, Hants; it is a building of stone, chiefly in the Perpendicular style, with portions of Early English on the north side and west corner, and consists of chancel, with aisles, nave of five bays, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower of three stages, about 60 feet high, surmounted by all octagonal ribbed spire 38 feet high, and originally contained 3 bells, dated respectively 1731, 1831 and 1795; these were, however, melted down in 1907 and eight new bells substituted for them; at the same time a clock with two faces was provided: on February 28th, 1770, the tower was struck by lightning and was subsequently rebuilt: the church retains many carved bench ends bearing the arms of Bogan, Achdeckne and Pincerna: there are memorials to Robert Hill esq. ob. 1637; Thomas Toll, of Pennare, gent, ob. 1668, and a large number of modern monuments, including one to three officers and sixty-one non-commissioned officers and privates of the 7th Hussars who were drowned in the wreck of the "Despatch" troopship in Coverack Cove, January 22, 1809, on their return from Corunna: there is also a memorial window to all who were lost in the wreck of the "Mohegan," October 14th, 1898: the church was thoroughly restored in 1893, at a cost of £3,000, under the direction of Mr. Edmund Sedding, architect, of Plymouth, when it was new roofed: there are carved oak screens between the chancel and aisles, erected in 1896: the church is capable of seating 850 persons: the churchyard has been much enlarged, and contains the graves of many persons buried here from the numerous wrecks which have occurred on this coast, and several fine monuments, including a granite cross commemorating the loss of the "Mohegan," October 14, 1898, when 106 lost their lives: the churchyard is entered by a lych gate, over which is a loft known as the "Deadhouse," which was used as a mortuary for bodies cast up by the sea. The rectorial tithes were sold by the Hill family about the middle of the eighteenth century on a 999 years lease. The parish originally contained six chapels of ease, but they are now in ruins.

Church of St. KeverneNave of the Church of St. Keverne

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for St Keverne from the following:


Online maps of St Keverne 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 districtTR12
Post TownHelston