Truro Parishes

Truro Cathedral by Ennor
St Mary's was the original parish covering Truro. It was build in the Reigns of Henry V11 and Henry V111, and was completed about 1518. It comprised of a chances, nave, north and south aisles, organ loft, Grammar school gallery, north gallery and vestry. Agains the Grammar school gallery were the Boscawen arms, and at the west end of the aisle was a tablet bearing the following inscription -

Be it remembered that James Kempe, Senr. member of the Corporation of Truro, did by will give an annual Donation of Five Pounds to be distributed yearly on Christmas Eve by the Rector of Truro, in payments of Five Shillings each to twenty Poor Persons, resident within the Borough of Truro, or adjoining Streets of St Clements and Kenwyn.

The east window in the south wall was filled with painted glass, and inscibed to the  memory of Sara Harvey. Another is in memory of Leudovici Caroli Daubuz, and a third to Wilmot, wife of Lewis Charles Daubuz; died 1814, aged 44. A fourth painted window is inscribed to the memory of Lewis Charles Daubuz, who died in 1840 aged 89. The north aisle was built at the expense of William Lemon, Esq.m who also presented a fine organ, said to have been built for the Chapel Royal.

The tower with it's spire measured 125 feet in height, built of granite and finished in 1796, from the design and under the supervision of Mr Thomas Edwards, at a cost of 900 pounds. The belfry contained two bells, the larger weighing nearly a ton, was presented in 1770 by Hugh 2nd Viscount Falmouth, and the smaller one presented by the parishoners. A clock and chimes were placed in the tower at the expense of Miss Carlyon.

Truro Cathedral was grafted onto St Mary's Church during the latter part of the 19th Century. An act was passed by Parliament, on the 11th August 1876, choosing Truro as the place for a Cathedral for Cornwall. The site chosen in Truro was where the Parish Church of St Mary’s stood in the centre of town. A number of properties on the northern site of the old Parish Church were bought and demolished by 1880 and the building began - the foundation stone being laid in 1900. Its three spires now soar over the city and are a well known landmark.

St Mary's:
St George's is a modern parish in Truro, created 1847, and is situated in the north-west part of the city. It is named after the 19th century church of St. George.

In 1845 the Church Extension Act came into force, under which 19 new ecclesiastical districts were authorised in Truro. Bishop Phillpots appointed Revd. William Haslam, curate at Perranzabuloe, to prepare maps for these districts - each allotted to areas of 2000 - 3000 people. The Parish of St George's was formed in 1845 in the northern part of Truro in memory of an earlier 15th century namesake.

The first Curate appointed was William Fontaine Addison and to him was given the responsibility of building the church. Initially a large room was used, but the congregation grew and a more permanent church building was needed. The meantime the Bishop granted permission for a temporary building to be erected, and a site was rented in Back Lane now known as City Road from a tenant of Viscount Falmouth. This first wooden church was built at a cost of £250 (to which Lord Falmouth granted £50). Designed by a local architect Mr White. Low moveable benches that provided for a congregation of 300, and the church was opened on St George's Day, 23d April 1849.  A day school and Sunday schools were then started and were attended by about 200 children.

On 1st October 1852 W Woodard was appointed but resigned soon after, and P.E. Wrench, late curate of Overton, was appointed. He held the position for the next 34 years before resigning on 1st November 1886. Soon after he arrived this energetic Parson appealed for funds in a letter to the West Briton newspaper –

Sir, The well-known wooden church in this parish, and the schools in connection therewith, situated in one of the dirtiest localities in England, the former liable to be burnt down by children playing with fireworks, and the latter to be broken up by caprice; are surely worth the favourable consideration of a Christian public and the description thereof of a place in your paper … No woman can have access to this Church in safety without being shod with a pair of shooting boots and no man in possession of an ordinary sense o f humanity can behold with complacency the infants on their way to and from school laying the foundations of premature old age by continual wet feet. A fortnight ago, I respectfully called the attention of Mr. Robins, the Waywarden, to the disgraceful condition of Back Lane; and I do not perceive that it has been to any purpose at present. I do then most humbly and sincerely hope that your readers will give me the benefit of their heads, hands and pockets.

His method worked and enough funds were received to build a new Church and a school as well.The church designed by William Haslam, was built of Cornish granite and local stone and consisted of a nave, with south porch and transepts, a chancel with fine stained glass windows, and tower of 3 stages, with crooked pinnacles and the roof decorated with gold stars on a blue ground. It was opened in 1855.

St George's:
St George's Church by Ennor
St. Paul's was built in 1844. Up till that time the area was serviced by the parish of St. Clement. As Truro expanded across the river and up the hills in terraced rows of small, poor housing, and rich families had constructed large mansions with spacious grounds along the lower parts of what is now Tregolls Road, Tremorvah, Tregolls and Alverton it became evident there was a need for another church in this area.  William Mansell Tweedy, who lived in one of these mansions and whose father had a  bank in Boscawen Street was responsible for the construction of the first church, on the site of St. Paul's to serve as a chapel-of-ease for the Parish of St. Clement.

In 1864 this church with a single aisle, to the south of the nave became the separate Parish of St. Paul. was carved out and the Parish Church was consecrated at last, 20 years after its completion. Edgar Dumbleton was appointed Vicar of St. Paul's in 1869.

In 1879 F.E. Gardiner became the sixth Vicar of St. Paul's. In January 1883 the foundation stone was laid for a new church just east of the original Church. A chancel with aisles was constructed over the crypt and included the base of the tower. The church was opened by Bishop Wilkinson on January 7th 1884. In May 1888 work began to demolish the old nave of St. Paul's. The south aisle was retained, with its arcade [in which each pillar is now a granite monolith]. The new nave was much wider and was completed by a north aisle separated from it by six arches.

F.E.Gardiner, Vicar at St Paul's from 1879 until 1888 presented a screen in memory of his wife, Jessica who died after childbirth in April 1881. The east window in the clergy vestry commemorates their child who died seven months later and the south window in the clergy vestry is in memory of his brother who died while on holiday in Truro in 1883..The choir stalls, were installed in 1893, at the same time as the screen by the tower which is a memorial to Mrs Fanny Polwhele, and wooden screens to the left of the sanctuary and in front of the organ are a memorial to Thomas Polwhele and Thomas Barrett, church wardens. A carved wooden pulpit was installed in July 1901, in memory of Lady Protheroe Smith of Tremorvah, who was a benefactor of St Paul's. The tower was completed in 1910.

St John's. St John's parish is a relatively modern parish of Truro, situated in the southern part of the city. St John's was built in 1828 at the top of Lemon Street Truro. It was a rectangular with a whitewashed interior and balconies on the north and south sides. The architect was Philip Sambell of Devonport. St Mary’s and nearby Kenwyn churches were overflowing so a new one was needed.

In 1860 alterations in the form of a curved Italian style apse designed by William Henry Reid of Plymouth. The Parish was formed in 1865.
1884 saw further alterations made. A wooden ornamental ceiling was constructed, an organ and case installed, and new stained glass windows - two in the south of Moses and Melchizedek, while those in the North depicted David, and those in the apse showing Jonah and Elijah in resurrection. 

Frank Edward Lewis, the Minister in 1892, was responsible for the painting in the apse and  paintings in the baptistry, and installed a cross and the altar.

Other parishes which are now being incorporated within Truro City are Kenwyn and St Clement.

The Roman Catholic Church, in St Austell Street, has been used since 1972.

St Mary's Church
St John's:
St John's Church
thanks to Ian Self
St Paul's:
St Paul's Church
thanks to Ian Self
Parish Records
Parish Records
This page was last updated: February 28, 2014
Truro Methodist Church
Thanks to Steve Beezley
We have been kindly given some parish records and will be transcribing others as we are able
Parish Records
Parish Records
The following IGI batch numbers are available to search for Truro

Go to this page  -  Scroll down the page to 'Truro". Click on the batch number.
Put the name you are searching in the top right hand corner and press 'submit query'

  Saint Mary's:  1597-1875  -  P009631     
                          1597-1839  -  M009631      

  Bethesda Chapel Independent:  1769-1837  -  C065441   
  Bible Christian:  1821-1837  -  C065461       

  Kenwyn Street Calvinistic Baptist Births:  1760-1837  -  C091071   
  Methodist New Connexion Ebenezer Chaple Castle St:  1832-1837   -  C045791     
  Saint Marys Wesleyan:  1798-1837  -  C065451     

The Methodists have worshipped at Truro Methodist Church in Union Place since 1830 and the building was virtually unchanged until 2000 when substantial repair work and changes to the interior were carried out. The building in which Truro Methodist Church meets was first built in 1830 following the designs of renowned West Country architect Philip Sambell.

The first church to meet on the site was known as St. Mary’s, but when it amalgamated with the congregation from St. Georges Methodist Church, Truro (who moved from their premises in St. George’s Road) it was decided to name the new Church, Truro Methodist Church.

Truro Methodist Church
West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser.  Friday 27th April, 1849.

OPENING OF A NEW TEMPORARY CHURCH AT TRURO.  -  The district of St. George has been taken out of the populous parish of Kenwyn, under Sir ROBERT PEEL's Church Endowment Act.  The district contains about 2,500 inhabitants, and the first minister appointed was the Rev. WILLIAM FOUNTAINE ADDISON.  On the arrival of the minister a room was licensed for the celebration of divine service.  Sunday and day-schools were also established, there being connected with the latter about two hundred children.  The licensed room proved too small for the congregation; efforts were therefore made to obtain a site for a permanent church; but these being unsuccessful, it was determined, with the sanction of the Bishop of the Diocese, to erect a temporary building.  A site was rented from a tenant of the Earl of Falmouth, who with his usual liberality, gave GBP5 towards the cost of the structure.

  Mr. WHITE, architect, gratuitously gave his services, and the building being completed, was opened for divine worship on Monday last.  At the morning service there was a very full and respectable congregation from Truro and its neighbourhood, and about forty clergymen were present. 

The choir of St. Mary's church, Truro, were in attendance with Mr. HEMPEL, the organist, who performed on the seraphin.  There was a full choral service, and the Rev. E. SHUTTLEWORTH, vicar of Egloshayle, and the Rev. R. K. CORNISH chanted the prayers.  The first lesson was read by the Dean Rural, the Rev. F. WEBBER, of St. Michael Penkivel, and the second lesson by the Rev. TOWNSEND BOSCAWEN.  The venerable Archdeacon PHILLPOTTS read the communion service; the epistle was read by the Rev. R. K. Cornish, and the gospel by the Rev. Prebendary LAMPEN.  Before the sermon Handel's "Hallelujah chorus" was sung by the choir, and the sermon was then preached by the Rev. Prebendary Cornish, from the 1st of Corinthians 14th chap. And 40th verse.  "Let all things be done decently and in order."  The preacher discoursed of the excellency and stability of Episcopacy as compared with other systems; he traced its establishment to the apostolic age, and declared it to be of divine institution.  After the sermon the offertory sentences were read by the Rev. W. F. Addison, and the offerings of the congregation were received; the prayer for the church militant was also read by the Rev. W. F. Addison, and the blessing was pronounced by the Archdeacon.  At a quarter past six there was an evening service, and a very crowded congregation attended.  The prayers were chanted by the Rev. R. K. Cornish; the lessons were read by the Rev. J. HARDIE, and the Rev. G. L. CHURCH, and the sermon was preached by the Rev. W. F. ADDISON from Malachi 3rd chapter 3rd verse.  A considerable amount in pence was received at this service; and added to the sum received in the morning, the whole contributions, with one or two subsequent donations, amounted to about GBP33.  A gentleman also has desired Mr. Addison to make any addition to the present arrangements of the church to the amount of GBP20 cost, imposing as a condition that his name should not be mentioned.  In the afternoon the children of the schools, numbering about two hundred, marched to Kenwyn, and on their return took tea together in the school-room.  Having thus stated the proceedings of the day, we shall next describe the church.  It is constructed of wood, and the style is the first pointed, commonly called the Early English style.  The exterior is rigidly plain, with a bold cross at the eastern and western ends of the roof, and a wooden bell-cot surmounted with a banner cross, to mark the division between the nave and the chancel. 

The east window is a triplet, the side windows are couplets, and at the west end are two lancet windows.  The chancel is 19 feet by 20; the nave 56 feet by 20;  the height 10 feet to the wall-plate, and 25 feet to the ridge.  On the south side there is a sacristy, and a priest's door on the north side.  The chancel has returned stalls, at one of which, on the south side, prayers are said.  The lessons are read from the lectern in the centre of the chancel.  A plain open chancel screen extends to the eaves of the building, the lower part being boarded and finished with a row of pierced quatrefoils.  The pulpit is plain, but good, the panels being ornamented with well-executed decorative painting, of which the subjects are the monogram J.H.S., the Greek monogram X.R., and St. George's cross on a shield.  There is also some ornamental needle-work, namely, the cover of the communion table, the pulpit cushion and frontal cloth, and the hangings of the reading desk and lectern.  This needle work was the gift of ladies interested in the welfare of the church.  On the frontal cloth of the pulpit is a red floriated cross, worked in yellow silk, with four small crosses at the angles, in yellow and green wool.  The hangings of the stall from which prayers are said, and of the lectern, are of blue cloth, embroidered in green, yellow, and crimson silk.  The cover of the communion table is of crimson cloth, with a St. George's cross in the central division of the frontal.  The panels of the roof in the chancel are coloured blue, and the decoration over the communion table is painted in distemper, with appropriate taste.  Around the church are painted illuminated texts of scripture, and a painted string is continued around, carried under the windows and over the doors.  The nave is furnished with low moveable benches, with straw mats for kneeling; the building will seat about three hundred and thirty persons including the choir, and the cost has been about GBP230, towards which several gentlemen of the neighbourhood have contributed.  Daily service will be celebrated in this church.