Morwenstow, Cornwall Genealogy

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Cornwall Parishes

Guide to Morwenstow, Cornwall ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Morwenstow, Cornwall
St Morwenna, Morwenstow.jpg
St Morwenna, Morwenstow
Type Ancient Parish
Civil Jurisdictions
Hundred Stratton
County Cornwall
Poor Law Union Stratton
Registration District Stratton
Records begin
Parish registers: 1558
Bishop's Transcripts: 1597
Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions
Rural Deanery Trigg Major
Diocese Exeter
Province Canterbury
Legal Jurisdictions
Probate Court Court of the Bishop (Consistory) of the Archdeaconry of Cornwall
Location of Archive
Cornwall Record Office

Parish History

MOORWINSTOW (Morwenstow) (St. Morvenna), a parish, in the union and hundred of Stratton, E. division of Cornwall, 7¼ miles (S. E. by S.) from Stratton. Here is a place of worship for Wesleyans. [1]

Morwenstow is an Ancient Parish in the county of Cornwall. Other places in the parish include: Coombe, Crosstown, Eastcot, Eastcott, Gooseham, Goosham, Woodford, and Woolley.

Morwenstow is the one-time home of the eccentric vicar and poet Robert Stephen Hawker (1803–1875), the writer of Cornwall's anthem Trelawney. Hawker is also credited with reviving the custom of Harvest Festival.  There is an article on Robert Stephen Hawker with civil certificates in the publication of Family History The Bi Monthly Journal of The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies August 1970 Vol 5 Nos. 32/33 New Series Nos. 8/9 Publications through familysearch

The Church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist, Morwenstow is dedicated to Saints John the Baptist and Morwenna and is of the Norman period. The Vicarage was built for Hawker and has chimneys in the form of the towers of various churches associated with him.

The nearby coast is hazardous to shipping and the corpses of drowned sailors were laid out in the churchyard and then buried. Hawker buried over forty who were washed up within the parish boundaries.

One of the memorials in the churchyard was the white figurehead of the "Caledonia", a 200 ton ship from Scotland which sank on the perilous rocks of Higher Sharpnose in 1842. The captain and crew are buried in the churchyard. In 2004 the figurehead was removed for conservation, with the intention of placing a replica in the churchyard and the conserved original inside the church.


Civil Registration

Births, marriages and deaths were kept by the government from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is Free BMD.

Church records

Morwenstow, Cornwall Genealogy parish registers of christenings, marriages and burials are available online for the following years:

BIVRI = British Isles Vital Records Index (Ancestry) - (£)[2]
BOYD = Boyd's Marriage Index (findmypast) - (£)[3]
COPC = Cornwall Online Parish Clerks - free[4]
FMP = findmypast - (£)[5][6][7]
FREG = FreeREG - free[8]
FS PRs = England, Cornwall and Devon Parish Registers, 1538-2010 (FamilySearch) - free[9]
IGI = International Genealogical Index (FamilySearch) - free[10]
PALL = Pallot's Marriage Index (Ancestry) - (£)[11]
Morwenstow, Cornwall Genealogy Online Parish Records


Indexes Images Indexes Images Indexes Images
BIVRI 1876-1906


COPC 1558-1913
FMP 1558-1877 1558-1837 1700-1837
1558-1812, 1837-1903

FS PRs 1837-1903
IGI 1558-1875 1558-1895

The parish registers for Morwinstow were filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah Cornwall Record Office: P/158/1/5. in different filmings 1960-2005.

Parish registers for Morwinstow, 1558-1960

Christenings and burials, 1558-1777. Marriages, 1558-1958.
Christenings, 1778-1959. Burials, 1778-1960.
Baptisms and burials, 1558-1812 (another filming).
Baptisms, 1847-1956 (another filming).
2276161 Item 10

There are at present no online images for the parish registers in FamilySearch Historical Records

Bishop's transcripts

Bishop's transcripts for Morwinstow, 1676-1772, 1805 Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1952 Microfilm of original records at the District Probate Court, Bodmin, Cornwall.

Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1676-1681, 1684-1692, 1695-1696, 1691-1692, 1700-1701, 1703-1704, 1702-1709, 1712-1719, 1716-1721, [no date], 1723-1737, 1742-1751, 1753-1756, 1758-1772, 1795, 1805.
90260 Item 7

Cornwall Online Parish Clerks

An extremely useful resource is the Cornwall Online Parish Clerks page for the parish.

The history, registers and much more have been contributed by the Online Parish clerk for Morwenstow .

Census records

Overview, Include any unique information such as, the census for X year was destroyed, Collection in FHL and link to catalog, Online sites. Cornwall Online Census Project

Poor Law Unions

Stratton Poor Law Union

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Cornwall Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

There are many maps and gazetteers showing English places. Valuable web sites are:


Morwenstow in GENUKI


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 340-342. Date accessed: 18 March 2013.
  2. 'British Isles Vital Records Index - 2nd Ed. Breakdown of Records', Genoot, accessed 21 November 2013.
  3. Percival Boyd, A List of Parishes in Boyd's Marriage Index (London: Society of Genealogists, 1987). Digital version at FamilySearch Books Online.
  4. 'Coverage by Parish,' Cornwall Online Parish Clerks, accessed 3 December 2013.
  5. 'Cornwall Baptisms', Find My Past, accessed 22 November 2013.
  6. 'Cornwall Marriages', Find My Past, accessed 25 November 2013.
  7. 'Cornwall Burials', Find My Past, accessed 25 November 2013.
  8. 'Cornwall Coverage', FreeREG, accessed 18 November 2013.
  9. 'England, Cornwall and Devon Parish Registers, 1538-2010', FamilySearch, accessed 26 November 2013.
  10. Hugh Wallis, 'IGI Batch Numbers for Cornwall, England,' IGI Batch Numbers, accessed 22 November 2013.
  11. Pallot's Marriage and Birth Indexes, Guide to Parishes. Digital version at FamilySearch Books Online. British Listed Bulidings


Morwenstow and its surroundings feature heavily in the plot of the mystery thriller novel "Set in Stone" (1999) by the British author Robert Goddard.

The Wreck at Sharpnose Point by Jeremy Seal (June 2003) is a novel based on the wrecking of the 'Caledonia' (first published in New York, 2001 ISBN 0330374656]]