Marriages for the Cornish Parish of St Stithians



This page will be used to compile information about Stithians and post readers' questions and surname interests.

Contents :

The Origin of the Parish Name

Census Results 1801 -11- 21

Surname Interests


Charges on the Parish


      St. Stithians - Where did the name originate?

                There appears to be  some confusion regarding the origin of the name of St. Stithians Parish. Ancient authorities claim the parish is dedicated to St Stithian, or St Stedian, or St Stedianus, who, some assure us ,was a woman. However, no such person by these names, nor any derivative of these names, is listed on any Catholic Church roll of the Saints. Nor can I find any reference to Stithian being used as a forename, in any language.

                Not to be outdone, others say the church was dedicated to St. Thomas a Becket, thereby explaining the Stithians Feast Day being held on the 7th of July. However, no contemporary record is given as evidence and nor is any explanation given for the name Stithian. Furthermore, the current St. Stithian's feast day is July 13th.

                The parish was not specifically mentioned in "Domesday" (1086).  In 1268 we have "Ecclesie Sancte Stethyane". In 1291; "Ecclesie Sancte Stediane",1421; "Stythiane", 1733; "Stedians, or Stythians"; indicatiing some question about the correct pronunciation of the name.

                It surprises me that no one seems to have considered St. Swithun as the patron saint of the parish and the person to whom the church was originally dedicated. 

                Born about the year 800 AD, St. Swithun rose from ordained priest to Bishop of Westminster in 852, under the patronage of Egbert of the West Saxons. He died in 862 after having built several churches and was beautified (made a saint), sometime around 971. His name was recorded in various Anglo-Saxon documents as  Swiððhun, Suuiðun, Swyðun, and Suitthun.  His feast day is July 15 as opposed to St Stithians July 13.

               It's not hard to imagine a couple of Anglo-Saxon missionaries venturing into Cornwall in the late 10th century, building a church and dedicating it to St. Swithun, or Swithin. Time, isolation and the Cornish tongue may very well have transformed the name.  

               If anyone has a better explanation I'd like to hear it.



   Census Results 1801 - 1811 - 1821  

        The number of Houses and Inhabitants as in ye parish of Stithians taken in ye year 1801. By order of Parliament.

       228 houses inhabited by 238 families. Total of Inhabitants 1269. Males 622. Females 647. Employed in Agriculture 165. In trade, manufactures and handicraft 28. The remainder chiefly Miners and their families 1076.

        The above account was taken by George Martin and Thomas Spargo, overseers of ye poor.

        The numbers as above in 1811

       Inhabited Houses 183. Inhabited by 255 families. Houses now building 3. Other houses uninhabited 5. Families chiefly employed in agriculture 122. Families chiefly employed in trade, manufactures and handicraft 117. All other families not combined in ye two preceding classes 16. Males 630. Females 764. Total of Persons 1394.

        Taken by Thomas Martin of Burncoose Constable.

         The numbers, taken in 1821

.         Inhabited houses 277 - families 299. Houses now building 2. Other Houses unhabited 23. Families employed in agriculture 91. In trade, manufactures 42. Other families not included in ye two preceding classes 166. Males 794. Females 894. Total 1688.

           The above taken by Tristram Bath of Sawrath, Overseeer.


      Surname Interests

 Ron Reed is reseaching....

REED - all Cornwall, TRELOAR - Wendron, Sithney etc., CURNOW - Mawgan-in-Meneage, St Martin-in-Meneage etc., WEARNE - Wendron, Constantine etc., CHEGWIDDEN - Constantine, ROBERTS - Wendron, Constantine, etc., MOYLE - Wendron, DOWAR/DOWAH - Wengron, Helston etc., EDDY - Wendron, Stithians, etc. GUNDRY - Wendron.   


      Michael Bath is researching English and Irish Baths, anywhere, anytime.


     Brian McLean   (EMail address available upon request to persons of interest - contact OPC.)

Hello from ?&%$/"!& Australia, I hope you can give me  some guidance.   I am searching for any records for a James Williams whom I think moved to Stithians from Wales pre 1654. He is said to have built a home he named Bushahan (not sure of spelling) at Stithians. I also think that it is his Grandson John Williams, born c 1685 who managed the Poldice mine and who purchased Burncoose in 1715. I am hoping that you can advise me on where to look to find imformation on James, his spouse and children so that I can try to connect James to John.  I note on the Poll Tax records 1660 there are a couple of Jam. Williams on the 1 shilling list. Is there any way of investigating these on line?  Any suggestions would be gratefully received.
                                                                Regards, Brian.

    Ida Stockwell, nee Orchard   (EMail address available upon request to persons of interest - contact OPC.)

Hello, My name is Ida Stockwell, nee Orchard. My Aunt Dorothy left me some notes several years ago and as I am now 72 and in the winter of my years I am interested in trying to get more details.This is what I have:-  The Orchard’s – 1600

 Edmond Orchard was Curate of Camborne, 1613-14. Became Vicar of St.Stithians 1614 until his death in 1667. He was the brother of William Orchard Vicar of Breage with [???] Ceury… and Gunwalloe from 1608.  Another brother Richard Orchard of Breage in his will dated 1634 made a bequest to the Parish of Week St. Mary from which the family originated. The above is exactly and all that my Aunt wrote.I found all the following information in the St.Stithians Death Register notes for the Orchard’s:-  16/01/1639 Breage – Johan Wife of William vicar of this Church of Breage.

  24/08/1680   “  James      29/091681    “  Walter       23/08/1682   “   Mary          22/02/1683   “  Alexander       15/12/1686   “  Elizabeth die Hendra 16/05/1692    “   Catherine Junior   28/01/1698   “          Jane als Brenfiell

 I also have some items from the marriage register:-  Orchard, Edmundus 12/11/1610 - Sparnon, Jana

                                                                              Orchard,    “             07/02/1613 - Harding, Jana

                                                                              Orchard, Gabriel      15/06/1629  - William, Katerina

                                                                              Orchard, Georgius    26/04/1625 - Cood, Dorcas

                                                                              Orchard, John          28/03/1649 - Peers, Margaret

                                                                              Orchard, John          28/03/1649 - Peers, Jane daughter of Benet Peers

                                                                              Orchard, William       27/04/1648 - Sparnon, Anna daughter of Edward Sparnon

                                                                              Orchard, William       23/04/1649 – Teag, Christian

                                                                              Orchard, Gabriel       23/06/1656 -  Humbrel, Jane

 My Grandfather Thomas Robert Orchard [one of eight children] was born at Penlean, Poundstock on January 31st 1890 and married Elsie Constance Congdon, who was born at Penfound Manor [which is, I believe, mentioned in the Doomsday book], near Bude. I am am looking into joining one of the Ancestry search sites, but have to be careful as I am on a fixed and tight income!!!  I don’t know whether you could help me to fill in any of the gaps, but I thought as I found Edmond mentioned a couple of times on your web-site, Poll tax 1660 [clerk??] and Hearth tax 1664, you may be interested in the above anyway. It would appear that they are all my ancestors and I think it’s quite exciting.

 Thankyou, Ida E, Stockwell


 John Bath  (EMail address available upon request to persons of interest - contact OPC.)

Dear Michael
My name is John Bath and I live in ?%$/"!, *&?(%$/. I hope you don't mind me contacting yourself, as I found your name on the web site.I am currently researching my family tree and I have strong evidence of  family connections in Cornwall , especially in Stithians and Perranarworthal. Please find attached an excel page showing my family tree. The last record I have is William Henry Bath born 26/09/1822 from Stithians and married on  13/05/1854 to Sarah Jane Stephens born  04/04/1822 from Deveron William's son Robert John Bath was a foreman at the Perran Foundary. I wonder if yourself as the Parish clerk can help me or guide me in anyway to proceed further with my family tree.
Much appreciate if you can help. PS - Are we related !!!!!! 
John Bath

                                                 (OPC note- John Bath and I branched off some 10 generations ago)



   Michael J McCormick (EMail address available upon request to persons of interest - contact OPC.)

Hello Michael

I wonder if you can help me.  I am researching a twig called  WILLS.   It is possible that Harry Wills married Sarah ???? in the  period  1841-51.  On the 1841 census there is the following entry  in Mabe:

1841 census Mabe
Carverth,1,Caleb Bath,39,,Farmer,In county,
,,Elizabeth Bath,,35,,In county,
,,Joshua Bath,14,,,In county,
,,Jane Bath,,12,,In county,
,,Caleb Bath,10,,,In county,
,,James Bath,7,,,In county,
,,Elizabeth Bath,,5,,In county,
,,Mary Bath,,2,,In county,
,,William Wills,16,,Male Servant,In county,
,,Sally Oppy,,15,Female Servant,In county,
,,Maryann Thomas,,20,Female Servant,In county,

Given that Sally & Sarah are interchangeable, I am wondering if the  15  year old Sally Oppy became Sarah Wills.  Especially as there is  a  William Wills in this household as well.  In 1851, Sarah Wills  is a  widow, although she seems to have continued having children  after  1851.   Sarah Wills seems to switch her birthplace between  Mabe &  Stithians.  Harry Wills was a miller and lived in Stithians.

Hello Michael

I have made some progress with this line and I thought I would update  you in case you could offer any help.  Also, I thought perhaps you  could file it away in case anyone else turns up researching this  line.  I have also copied it to Lorraine, because they seem to be in  Mabe as often as Stithians.  Most of the recent information has come  from Diane Donohue.

Sarah Wills was born Sarah (or Sally) Oppy in about 1820 in  Stithians.  Her parents were James and Mary Ann Oppy.  She married  William Wills in Mabe in 1844.  She had two children I know of,  Lavinia born in 1845, baptised in Mabe in 1850; and Sarah Ann, born in  Mabe in 1850, also baptised in Mabe in 1850.  William Wills died in  1850 and was buried in Mabe 31 May 1850.  Lavinia was born in  Stithians according to the census returns.

In 1866, Lavinia, who doesn't seem to have ever married, had a child  named Harry Wills in Penryn.  No father was named.  However, in 1899,  Harry married Mary Jane Sharrock (my wife's main line) in Falmouth.   On his marriage certificate he named his father as Harry Wills,  deceased, a stone mason.  I have yet to identify this Harry Wills  anywhere.

I haven't, as yet, looked for James & Mary Oppy.  The Harry Wills born  to Lavinia in 1866 was a miller in and around the Stithians/Ponsanooth  area.

These ladies don't appear to have been as good as they should have  been!  But I expect times were hard and there wasn't any television!




Janet Ralph (EMail address available upon request to persons of interest - contact OPC.)

Hello Michael

I wonder if you could help me in your role of OPC for Stithians?

I am researching the MARTEN (& var) families. I understand that there are many MARTIN families in Stithians, so this could be difficult!

An Elizabeth MARTIN married John MICHELL In Perranarworthal on 4th March 1815.  We think this is our direct ancestor.

I have a copy of the marriage entry  from CON record office. (record Office Reference FP/182/1/5: Perranarworthal mar John MICHELL Elizabeth MARTIN). The copy is not clear but I believe reads as follows:

John MICHELL, sojourner otp, bachelor & Elizabeth MARTIN sojourner otp spinster married by Banns 4th March 1815 by Edward (Edmund?) Nankiwell. Both John & Elizabeth made mark.  Witnesses Nicholas BAILEY & Timothy MARTIN (mark?)

Elizabeth MICHELL died in Coombe Gwennap & was buried 11th Oct 1833, aged 37, in child birth. It is unfortunate because she died pre 1841 census.

Her age at death would make her birth 1796, and I believe that she may be the Elizabeth MARTIN bapt 26th Dec 1796 Stithians.  This info comes from IGI, no batch number. IGI gives the parents of this Elizabeth as David MARTEN & Elizabeth, probably Elizabeth COLLINS, married 21st May 1786 (IGI) Stithians.

IGI Batch number P016841 (Stithians) gives the other children of David & Elizabeth MARTEN as:

David bapt 20th Aug 1786
William bapt 26th Dec 1798
Joseph bapt 1st Jan 1792
Timothy bapt 13th April 1794 (possibly the witness at the marriage of Elizabeth MARTIN & John MICHELL?)
Thomas bapt 12th June 1803.

I would be grateful if you could confirm this info from IGI from the Stithians Parish Registers & mail me any additional info provided from the Stithians Records, together with any other children of David & Elizabeth.

I wonder if you have any records of any other families with children Timothy & Elizabeth (1796)?

I understand also that there are various books on the MARTIN families of Stithians. However, I have been unable to resource the books in UK.  Are you able to tell me if the books are only available in US, or whether you know of an UK supplier?

Thank you in advance for your time & assistance

Best regards


West Sussex


Pam Vivian (EMail address available upon request to persons of interest - contact OPC.)

Hello Michael

I found your name on the Cornwall OPC website.
My grandmother Elizabeth Melville (Nee Collins)'s family are originally from Stithians.
At the moment I am researching the Collins family who lived in Stithians during the 19th Century, and probably a long time before that too. The people I have found are William J Collins (1858 - ??), his father William Collins (1831 - ??), his father James Collins (1807 - ??) along with wifes and siblings. This is where I get stuck!!
I have been using Ancestry and now need to use the parish records. Could you help me?
My husband is researching his family in St Eval, Susan Old has been helping him.
We have visited Stithians in the past and had a look around the churchyard, and found some graves. My husband and I are planning a weekend in Cornwall at the end of Feb to continue the search.
I would be very grateful for any help you could give me in my search.
Pam Vivian
P.S. My husband is also researching his Canadian family (Vivians and Sandersons of Thurlow, and Winnipeg).




   On Mining

      From everything I've read so far, St. Stithians is and always has been primarily an agricultural community. Despite most of the parish having a substrata of granite Stithians did not share in the wealth of tin and other metals that its near neighbours enjoyed. Perhaps that's for the best as Gwennap is described as an industrial wasteland in the mid 19th century.

       John Daniell's 1880 "Compendium of the History of Cornwall" states "...formerly a mining parish, it has yielded large quantities of tin in times past- very little is however obtained at present, indeed very few mines are still at work in the locality." 

       One exception appears to have been the copper mine at Tresavean that had reached 1572 feet in 1837 and 2112 feet by 1858, making it the deepest in Cornwall at that time.

       An 1838 report to the Royal Institute of Cornwall states that, " ...recent examination of registers of Gwennap and Stithians by Mr. Blee... gives the average longevity for miners as 46 and 60 for other males."


       Charges on the Parish

     Destitute individuals became a "charge on the Parish". This was particularly the case of women that became pregnant out of wedlock when their families rejected them and the biological father could not be identified. For obvious reasons many women refused to name their lovers and the churchwardens sometimes went to extreme lengths to to force it out of them, so that the man could be obligated to support his child. The parish officials also tried, whenever possible, to claim the destitute individual as belonging to another parish, to which they could then be transferred, sometimes forcibly. Barring that, they might compel a local tradesman or farmer to accept a parish charge as an apprentice, servant or farm worker and thereby relieve the parish of the responsibility of supporting them.

      Some cases from the Quarter Sessions Order Books:

 Sessions held at Lostwithiel -  date: 13th July 1802
       Appeal by James Martin against apprenticeship indenture by which Elizabeth Odgers apprenticed to him by churchwardens of Stithians. Also appeal by J.M. against order to pay £10 to Stithians for refusing to receive E.O. as his apprentice, and also for refusing to execute the counterpart of the indenture: appeal dismissed.
 Appeal by Nicholas Bailey against apprenticeship indenture by which Mary Collins apprenticed to him by churchwardens of Stithians, and against order to pay £10 to Stithians for refusing to accept M.C. as his apprentice and refusing to execute the counterpart of the indenture: appeal dismissed.
Appeal by Peter Murton against apprenticeship indenture by which Thomas Collins apprenticed to him by churchwardens of Stithians, and against order to pay £10 to Stithians for refusing to accept T.C. as his apprentice and for refusing to execute the counterpart of the indenture: appeal dismissed.

Sessions held at Lostwithiel -  date: 10th January 1804
 Appeal by Gwennap against order of 9 Nov. last for removal of Elizabeth Odgers from Stithians: held over.
Sessions held at Truro - date: 10th April 1804
Continued appeal by Gwennap against order of 9 Nov. last for removal of Elizabeth Odgers from  Stithians: order reversed.Stithians to pay Gwennap £2. 12s. 0d. costs and maintenance.
Sessions held at Truro - date: 15th April 1806
 Richard Oppy committed to bridewell for want of sureties to indemnify  Stithians in case of bastardy: discharged.   

Sessions held at Lostwithiel - date: 12th January 1808
Child; M.; When born; 10 Dec.; Parish; Mother; Alleged father.; Stithians; Mary Penlernick, singlewoman; Joseph Kerkin of Perranarworthal, lab.
Sessions held at Lostwithiel - date: 16th July 1811         
          Child; M.; When born; 17 June; Parish; Mother; Alleged father.; Stithians; Mary Penlenick, singlewoman; Zacharias Williams of Perranarworthal, clothier

Sessions held at Lostwithiel - date: 11th January 1814
Appeal by Stithians against order of 20 Nov. last for removal of Lavinia Dunstone from Wendron: order quashed.
Sessions held at Truro - date: 23rd April 1816
            Name: William Johns; Parish:  Stithians; Court's decision: To remain in custody. Child not yet born.
 Sessions held at Truro - date: 15th April 1817
Appeal by  Stithians against order of 6 Feb. last for removal of Grace Gill, widow and her dau. Alice (12) from St. Gluvias: held over.