The parish name derives from Saint Branwalader. Until the 19th century it was commonly known by the corrupt form of the name: Simonward. There were in the mediaeval period three chapels in the parish: at Hamatethy the manorial chapel of the Peverells, St Michael's Chapel, Roughtor, and another at Chaple. Thomas Taylor the historian was vicar here and edited the parish registers.
In the 17th century St. Breward was two separate villages, Churchtown (higher) and St. Breward (lower). More houses were built and slowly the villages merged into one. There are several main parts to the village: Churchtown, Rylands, Row, Limehead, Wenford, Penvorder, Higher Penquite and Lower Penquite. A Vision of Britain through Time mentions Lanke or Lank as a place located in the parish. All italicized places have been redirected here.
The bridge and hamlet of Wenfordbridge lies on the River Camel at the boundary of St Breward parish with the neighbouring parish of St. Tudy. The parish includes a moorland area which contains the hills Rough Tor and Brown Willy, whose peak is the highest point in Cornwall.
St. Breward was part of the Camelford Rural District from 1894 until 1974.
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.
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