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PARISH OF ST. MENEFREDA, ALIAS ST. MINFRE,

ALIAS ST. MINVER. Pages 1 and 2

Parochial and Family History of the Deanery of Trigg Manor,

Volume 3, Sir John Maclean (1879)

This copy kept in Wadebridge Library

The parish of St. Minver, which is large and compact, is bounded on the south, for a short distance, by the parish of Egloshayle, from which it is separated by a small tidal creek, and, afterwards, by the hayle or estuary of the Alan; on the west by Padstow harbour; on the north by the Atlantic Ocean; and on the east by the parishes of St. Endellion and St Kew. The boundary line between this parish and the last named is particularly described in the terrier printed, ante vol. ii, p. 77. The total area of St. Minver, is 7578 acres, 2 rods 27 and a half perches (including water and sea coast 8683 acres), of which the greater part is arable.

INDUSTRIES AND CONDITION OF THE WORKING CLASSES.

Formerly a great deal of corn was shipped at Rock, but during the last twenty-five years the sand has so much encroached as to render the access of vessels to the pier difficult, and shipments have almost ceased.

For some years lead mines were worked at Pentireglaze, Polzeath, and Trebederick but without much success, and they have now been for a long time closed.

Except that a few persons earn a livelihood by gathering cockles from the sands in Padstow harbour, which are estimated to produce about 600 a year, there is no other industry practised besides the cultivation of the soil.(1)

The chief landowners are: H. R. H. The Duke of Cornwall in respect to the manor of Penmayne, Edward Stephens, Esq. for the Trewornan Estate, Mrs. Stephens for the Sandys Estate, Colonel Tremayne, W. Arundell Yeo, Esq., Lord Robartes, Hon. G. M. Fortescue, and Mrs. Potter.

The wages of agricultural laborers are 12s. a week; they are also provided with wood for fuel and an allotment for vegetables, which is ploughed and prepared for them by the farmers. This is considered equivalent to 1s. a week more. The rate, by the year, for men not enjoying these advantages is 2s. 6d. a day. A few men hold cottages rent free, but in respect to these additional services are given.

The villages in the parish, beside the Church Town, which contain more than ten dwellings are: Rock and Stop-a-tide, Tredrizzick, Penmayne, and Polzeath.

The parish, for local purposes, is divided into two townships called highlands and lowlands.

The number of dwelling houses and the population, as shown in the census returns at the several decennia in the present century, are as under:

1801

1811

1821

1831

1841

1851

1861

1871

HIGHLANDS

Population

7881

589

713

711

683

757

2622

568

Inhabited houses

1571

101

123

130

131

140

117

119

Unhabited houses

41

-

8

11

12

1

15

12

Building

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

LOWLANDS

Population

-

262

315

399

456

468

485

421

Inhabited houses

-

56

70

81

101

112

116

113

Unhabited houses

-

1

5

4

12

10

16

15

Building

-

2

5

-

3

2

3

-

1 Including both highlands and lowlands.

2 There has been a gradual decrease of the agricultural population in the highlands and lowlands since 1821, arising from the introduction of machinery and consequent decreased demand for manual labour. In the lowlands the decrease from those causes was more than counterbalanced by the introduction of miners to work the lead mines. These mines were closed before 1861, since which the population has decreased in both districts.


(footnote)

The Rev. William Sandys, writing to Lysons in 1812, says: "the parish is famous for its sheep and its wool, the quantity of the latter being about 70,000lbs. yearly." He adds: "Annual tillage of grain, including about 100 acres of oats and 1700 acres Cornish measure (2021 acres statute measure) of wheat and barley, exceeded by none in the kingdom, which is owing, principally, to the facility of procuring the best sea manures, a circumstance which augments the value of the land."

Through the kindness of Mr J D Bryant to whom we are indebted for much other valuable information concerning the present state of the parish, and of Mr. S. Symons, both of St. Minver, we have been favoured with the following details of the present annual production of the parish for comparison with the above figures:-

About 34,000lbs. of wool, 424 bullocks, averaging each 4 and a half cwt., 2040 quarters of wheat, 2300 quarters of barley and 250 quarters of oats. The basis of the statements not being alike, the comparison is not so apposite as it might otherwise have been. The production of wool, it will be observed, is about half the quantity it was in 1812. The system of farming has been changed. In 1812, with the exception of a few cows and working oxen, no cattle were kept. Sheep formed the only stock. So that the introduction of improvements in agriculture has been the means of producing, at present prices, 5000 worth of beef in lieu of 1800 worth of wool. The acreage of corn we presume to be much the same, and as Mr. Sandys does not state the yield we have no means of comparison.

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