Place:Minster, Cornwall, England

Alt namesForrabury and Minster
TypeCivil parish
Coordinates50.684°N 4.692°W
Located inCornwall, England
See alsoLesnewth Hundred, Cornwall, Englandhundred in which it was located
Camelford Rural, Cornwall, Englandrural district of which it was a part 1894-1918
Camelford Registration District, Cornwall, Englandregistration district of which it was part 1837-1918
source: Family History Library Catalog

The ecclesiastical parishes to which the Forrabury and Minster parish churches belong were united in 1779 to form Forrabury and Minster ecclesiastical parish, within Cornwall, England. The main settlement in the parish is Boscastle. Minster remained a civil parish independent of Forrabury until 1918.

The original Forrabury / Minster boundary crossed the river so the harbour end of Boscastle was in Forrabury and the upriver area in Minster. The churches were established some time earlier than the settlement at Boscastle (in Norman times when a castle was built there).

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Minster from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"MINSTER, a parish in Camelford district, Cornwall; near the coast, 5 miles N of Camelford, and 15 W by N of Launceston [railway] station. It contains part of the village of Boscastle, which has a post office under Camelford. Acres: 3,222. Real property, with Forrabury: £4,123. Rated property of [Minster] alone: £2,150. Population: 505. Houses: 114. The property is divided among a few. The manor was anciently called Talcarne; belonged to the Norman family of De Bottreaux; went, in the time of Henry VI., to Lord Hungerford; passed to the Earls of Huntingdon and to the Marquis of Hastings; and belongs now to T. R. Avery, Esq.
"A castellated baronial mansion was built by William de Bottreaux, and is now represented by a green mound. A black priory, a cell to Tywardraeth, was founded also by W. de Bottreaux; gave rise to the name Minster, by corruption of the word "monasterium; and has left some vestiges. A battle between the Britons and the Saxons is said to have been fought, in 525, at Slaughter-Bridge; and a stone, supposed to be commemorative of it, and bearing some rudely sculptured characters, was brought thence to the grounds of Worthyvale. An ancient cross, embellished with sculpture and delicate markings, is on Waterpit Downs. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Exeter. Value: £224. Patron, T. R. Avery, Esq. The church stands in a secluded nook among hills, 1 mile N of Boscastle; is ancient but good; has lost part of its tower; and contains an old circular font, and monuments to the Henders and the Cottons. There are a Methodist chapel, a national school, and alms houses for six persons. Some remains exist of an ancient chapel."

Finding vital records for people who lived in the area before 1918 may involve searching two or three registers.

Research Tips

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.

  • GENUKI makes a great many suggestions as to other websites with worthwhile information about Cornwall as well as providing 19th century descriptions of each of the ecclesiastical parishes.
  • FamilySearch Wiki provides a similar information service to GENUKI which may be more up-to-date.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has
  1. organization charts of the hierarchies of parishes within hundreds, registration districts and rural and urban districts of the 20th century
  2. excerpts from a gazetteer of circa 1870 outlining individual towns and parishes
  3. reviews of population through the time period 1800-1960
  • More local sources can often be found by referring to "What Links Here" in the column on the left.