St. Austell (Cornish: Austol) is a civil parish and major town in Cornwall, England. It is situated on the south coast approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of Bodmin and 30 miles (48 km) west of the border with Devon.
St. Austell is one of the largest towns in Cornwall: in the 2011 Census the civil parish had a population of 19,958, with a total of 34,700 living in the wider area comprising several other civil parishes. [See subsection "Local Government" in Wikipedia.]
Despite its size St. Austell was never made a municipal borough until 1968 when it merged with Fowey. The civil parish was separated into St. Austell Urban and St. Austell Rural (covering the china clay mining area north of the town as well as a detached area to the south) in 1894. In 1934 it was expanded by gaining a large section of St. Austell Rural District, namely the civil parishes of Mevagissey, St. Austell Rural, and St. Blazey, as well as parts of the civil parishes of Roche, St. Ewe, Gorran or St. Goran, St. Mewan, and Tywardreath. (See the map from A Vision of Britain through Time.)
St. Austell includes the former mining hamlet of Boscoppa, and also Edgcumbe or Edgcumbe Green, Porthpean and Chy-an-Gwal.
One of the earliest references to St Austell is in John Leland's Itinerary, where he says "At S. Austelles is nothing notable but the paroch chirch".
Not long after William Cookworthy discovered china clay at Tregonning Hill in west Cornwall [circa 1750], the same mineral was found in greater quantity in Hensbarrow Downs north of St Austell. Clay mining soon took over from tin and copper mining as the principal industry in the area, and this eventually contributed enormously to the growth of the town. The clay industry really only came into its own during the mid 19th to early 20th century, at a time when the falling prices of tin and other metals forced many mines to close down or convert to clay mining. The success and high profitability of the industry attracted many families whose breadwinner had been put out of work by the depression in the local metal mining industry, and increased the population of the town considerably. This meant that more shops and businesses took root, providing more jobs and improving trade. This, along with other factors, led to St. Austell becoming one of the ten most important commercial centres of Cornwall.
One of the many maps available on A Vision of Britain through Time is one from the Ordnance Survey Series of 1900 illustrating the parish boundaries of Cornwall at the turn of the 20th century. This map blows up to show all the parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets.
The following websites have pages explaining their provisions in WeRelate's Repository Section. Some provide free online databases.
In addition a rootsweb page titled St. Austell Area: Parishes, Genealogy includes a large number of transcriptions from baptisms, marriages, and burials registers, and associated documents such as the Tithe Apportionment Index of 1841, Manorial Documents, workhouse census records, amd directory transcriptions from 1783 to 1873 for the parish of St. Austell, St. Blazey, Tywardreath, Par and other local places.