Callington, Cornwall

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Callington 1.jpg
Fore Street, Callington's main street
Callington is located in Cornwall
Callington shown within Cornwall
Population 5,786 (Census 2011)
OS grid reference SX359696
Civil parish
  • Callington
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district PL17
Dialling code 01579
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Cornwall
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°30′11″N 4°18′58″W / 50.503°N 4.316°W / 50.503; -4.316Coordinates: 50°30′11″N 4°18′58″W / 50.503°N 4.316°W / 50.503; -4.316

Callington (Cornish: Kelliwik[1]) is a civil parish and town in south-east Cornwall, England, United Kingdom about 7 miles (11 km) north of Saltash and 9 miles (14 km) south of Launceston.[2]

Callington parish had a population of 4,783 in 2001, according to the 2001 census. This had increased to 5,786 in the 2011 census.[3]


The town is situated in east Cornwall between Dartmoor to the east and Bodmin Moor to the west. A former agricultural market town, it lies at the intersection of the south-north A388 Saltash to Launceston road and the east-west A390 Tavistock to Liskeard road.

Kit Hill is a mile north-east of the town and rises to 333 metres (1,093 ft) with views of Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor and the River Tamar.

The hamlets of Bowling Green, Kelly Bray, Frogwell and Downgate are in the parish.[4]

Railway station[edit]

Callington railway station was the terminus of a branch line from Bere Alston, the junction with the Southern Railway's Tavistock to Plymouth line. The railway line beyond Gunnislake to the Callington terminus was closed in the 1960s, due to low usage and difficult operating conditions on the final sections of the line due to several severe gradients and speed restrictions. One can still travel by rail on the Tamar Valley Line from Plymouth as far as Gunnislake via Bere Alston, where trains reverse. For most of its journey the line follows the River Tamar. The nearest railway station to Callington is at Saltash.


Food manufacturers Ginsters and Tamar Foods (both wholly owned subsidiaries of Samworth Brothers) are the largest employers in the town and employ hundreds of locals[citation needed] as well as many immigrants who have arrived as a consequence of the recent accession to the EU of a number of Eastern European countries.[citation needed]

Ginsters uses local produce in many of its products, buying potatoes and other vegetables from local farmers and suppliers.[5]

Cornwall is a predominantly low wage economy with a high proportion of its income being derived from agriculture and tourism.[citation needed]


St.Mary's Church, viewed from SE
Tomb and effigy of Robert Willoughby, 1st Baron Willoughby de Broke(d.1502), St.Mary's Church, Callington, north wall of chancel

Callington has been postulated as one of the possible locations of the ancient site of Celliwig, associated with King Arthur.[6] Nearby ancient monuments include Castlewitch Henge with a diameter of 96m[7] and Cadsonbury Iron Age hillfort,[8][9][10] as well as Dupath Well built in 1510 on the site of an ancient sacred spring.

Callington was recorded in the Domesday Book (1086); the manor had four hides of land and land for thirty ploughs. The lord had land for three ploughs with eleven serfs. Twenty-four villeins and fourteen smallholders had land for fifteen ploughs. There were also one and a half square leagues of pasture and a small amount of woodland. The income of the manor was £6 sterling.[11]

In the 19th-century, Callington was one of the most important mining areas in Great Britain.[citation needed] Deposits of silver were found nearby in Silver Valley. Today, the area is marked by mining remains, but there are no active mines. Granite is still quarried on Hingston Down.

The former Callington constituency, a rotten borough, elected two members to the unreformed House of Commons but was abolished by the Reform Act 1832. The town is now in the South East Cornwall constituency.

St Mary's Church was originally a chapel of ease to South Hill; it was consecrated in 1438 and then had two aisles and a buttressed tower; a second north aisle was added in 1882. Unusually for Cornwall there is a clerestory; the wagon roofs are old. The parish church contains the fine brass of Nicholas Assheton and his wife, 1466.[12][13]


Callington is one of a small number of towns to continue to appoint a Portreeve; originally a medieval revenue officer and now an honorary title given to the chariman of the town council.[14] Callington Town Council has twelve members and covers the civil parish of Callington. At the Council elections in 2013 only ten candidates stood, eight Independents and two Mebyon Kernow Councillors.


In recent years, the town has seen much residential development with more, including social housing, planned for the next few years.[citation needed] The neighbouring village of Kelly Bray has almost doubled in size in recent years with houses still being built in the area.


Callington is twinned with Guipavas in Brittany, France, and Barsbüttel near Hamburg in Germany.[citation needed] It also has unofficial friendship links with Keila in Estonia and a suburb of Malaga, Spain.


Callington has both football and cricket teams. Callington Town Football Club (established 1989) has four adult teams playing in the South West Peninsula League, East Cornwall League, Duchy League and South West Regional Women's Football League. They all play at Marshfield Parc. Callington Cricket Club has three teams playing in the Cornwall Cricket League and play their games at Moores Park.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "List of Place-names agreed by the MAGA Signage Panel" (PDF). Cornish Language Partnership. May 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-11. 
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 201 Plymouth & Launceston ISBN 978-0-319-23146-3
  3. ^ 2011 Census for Callington ward
  4. ^ Cornwall; Explore Britain
  5. ^ "Ginsters' pasties 'Cornish through and through' thanks to Objective One". Objective One - Press Release. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  6. ^ Pearce, Susan M. (1974), "The Cornish Elements in the Arthurian Tradition", Folklore, 85 (3): 147, JSTOR 1260070   – via JSTOR (subscription required)
  7. ^ The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map. "Castlewitch Henge Henge : The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map:". Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  8. ^ "Flying Past - The Historic Environment of Cornwall: Power and Authority". Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  9. ^ The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map. "Cadson Bury Hillfort : The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map:". Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  10. ^ "Domesday Reloaded: CADSON BURY". BBC. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  11. ^ Thorn, C. et al. (1979) Cornwall. Chichester: Phillimore; entry 1,10
  12. ^ Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall, 2nd ed. Penguin Books; pp. 48-49
  13. ^ Dunkin, E. (1882) Monumental Brasses. London, Spottiswoode; pp. 16-18, pl. XV
  14. ^ "Portreeve". Callington Town Council. Retrieved 22 June 2017. 

External links[edit]