From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

For the community in Cochrane District, Ontario, Canada, see: Calstock, Ontario
Calstock from train.jpg

Calstock village from the viaduct
Calstock is located in Cornwall
Calstock shown within Cornwall
Population 6,253 (2011 Census including Albaston , Dimson and Latchley)
OS grid reference SX4368
Civil parish
  • Calstock
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CALSTOCK
Postcode district PL18
Dialling code 01822
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Cornwall
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°29′49″N 4°12′36″W / 50.497°N 4.210°W / 50.497; -4.210Coordinates: 50°29′49″N 4°12′36″W / 50.497°N 4.210°W / 50.497; -4.210

Calstock (Cornish: Kalstok[1]) is a civil parish and a large village in south east Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, on the border with Devon. The village is situated on the River Tamar 6 miles (9.7 km) south west of Tavistock and 10 miles (16 km) north of Plymouth.[2]

The parish had a population of 6,095 in the 2001 census.[3] This had increased to 6,431 at the 2011 census.[4] The parish encompasses 5,760 acres (23.3 km2) of land, 70 acres (0.28 km2) of water, and 44 acres (0.18 km2) of the tidal Tamar.[5]

As well as Calstock, other settlements in the parish include Albaston, Chilsworthy, Gunnislake, Harrowbarrow, Latchley, Metherell, Coxpark, Dimson, Drakewalls, Norris Green, Rising Sun and St Ann's Chapel.[6]

Calstock village is within the Tamar Valley AONB, is overlooked by Cotehele house and gardens, and lies on the scenic Tamar Valley railway. Calstock railway station opened on 2 March 1908. The village is twinned with Saint-Thuriau in Brittany, France.

Early history[edit]

Basic ideal plan of a Roman castrum. (1) Principia; (2) Via Praetoria; (3) Via Principalis; (4) Porta Principalis Dextra; (5) Porta Praetoria (main gate); (6) Porta Principalis Sinistra; (7)Porta Decumana (back gate).

There is evidence of human settlement in Calstock from Roman, or pre-Roman times, settlers attracted by the rich source of minerals, such as tin, in the area. A Roman fort, only the third known in Cornwall, was discovered next to the church in 2008.[7]

In Saxon times Calstock was in the Kingdom of Cornwall, which resisted the spread of Wessex from the east. In 838 CE Wessex had spread as far as the Tamar, and a battle for independence was fought near Calstock. Following the Norman Conquest, Calstock manor was recorded in the Domesday Book. The Saxon manor (held by Asgar) was taken over, and in the 14th century became part of the Duchy of Cornwall: one of the 17 Antiqua maneria. At the time of Domesday Book (1086) the manor was held by Reginald from Robert, Count of Mortain. There were two and a half hides of land and land for 12 ploughs. Reginald held one virgate of land with 2 ploughs and 12 serfs. 30 villeins and 30 smallholders had the rest of the land with 6 ploughs. There were 100 acres of woodland, 3 square leagues of pasture and 3 pigs. The value of the manor was £3 sterling though it had formerly been worth £6.[8] The manor was sold by the Duchy to John Williams of Scorrier House circa 1807.[9]

Mining and transport[edit]

Mining was important in Calstock from Mediaeval times, with the Duchy mining silver. The industry was booming in the late 19th century, and the discovery of copper, coupled with nearby granite quarrying, made Calstock a busy port. The rapid population boom due to the growth of industry led, in 1849, to an outbreak of cholera. The industry declined in the early 20th century due to foreign competition, and now only the ruined pump houses that dot the landscape remain.

Calstock had much mining activity, such as;

  • Cotehele Consol (Cu & As)
  • Calstock Consol (Cu)
  • Okeltor Consol (Cu, Sn & As), mined Silver and Copper up until 1877
  • Wheal Trelawny (Cu), very close to Okeltor Consols
  • Dansecombe Mines (Cu, Sn & As)
  • Wheal Zion (Cu)
  • Wheal Edward (Cu & As)
  • Wheal Arthur (Cu & As), directly east of Wheal Edward
The railway viaduct and the Tamar Inn

The Tamar is navigable to boats past Calstock some 3 miles (4.8 km) upstream to Morwellham Quay with some 10 feet (3.0 m) or even 20 feet (6.1 m) of water at extreme spring tides. Calstock Quay and Danescombe Quay were once important for transporting goods, and in the Victorian era when steamers brought tourists to the village, Calstock was visited by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1846. The importance of the river as a transport route declined with the construction of the 14 miles (23 km) Tamar Valley railway at the start of the 20th century. The village is still dominated by the railway's viaduct. The viaduct, constructed entirely from precast concrete blocks, was first crossed by truck on 8 August 1907 and first used by passengers on 2 March 1908.

Calstock had two main Boat Building Yard, that of Goss's Yard, which built the Garlandstone, now moored at Morwellham, and May's Yard, in the Danescombe Valley.

Parish church of St Andrew[edit]

St Andrew's Church, after the grave stones were moved in 1967


The church is said to have been consecrated about 1290. Nothing obvious remains of this period, but the pillars and arches to the north of the centre aisle of the present building are early 14th century. About 1420 the south aisle was added, and the whole church re-roofed. There were presumably several later restorations, but in 1861 an architectural survey of the diocese of Exeter noted that

the whole church is in a sad state, chocked with pews of all heights . . . encumbered with hideous gallery and collection of rubbish within.

This resulted in the thorough restoration of 1867, carried out at a cost of £600, and under the direction of Mr James Piers St Aubyn (1815-95). St. Aubyn, a relative of the well-known family residents of St Michael’s Mount, had an architectural practise in London and Devonport, and was responsible for the restoration (some would say butchering) of many West Country churches. Here at Calstock the floor levels were altered, the existing tiles laid, the chancel given its present roof, and the buildings furnished with its plain pitched-pine benches. However, severe though the restorations was, many of interesting features of the church were preserved.


The large granite blocks (e.g., in the tower and porch) generally denote 15th century work. The north and south wall appears to have been largely rebuilt at some time, and it is likely that the intersecting window mullions were introduced some time in the 18th century to replace the original cusped lights. Note the 15th century turret projecting from the north wall, and containing a rood staircase. Note also that east of this turret are granite quoins which mark the original end of the north aisle. East of this, and composed of quite different stone, is the Edgcumbe Chapel of 1558. The initials R.E. (Richard Edgcumbe) appear on the hood mould of the door. The south aisle of the church had also been extended to match the north aisle. The south aisle extension contains a vestry which was inexistence before 1861.


Arms of the family of Scorrier, Vair, three crescents or

The fine tower, of three stages, buttressed and battlemented, is an impressive land marks. Pinnacles once surmounted the turrets, and according to the Exeter Mercury of November 24, 1790:

"a storm of thunder and lightning happened ... The lightning fell on the tower, threw down the western pinnacles, and made a breach in the steeple down to the belfry. From the tower the electric fluid took its direction through the church and tore the altar piece to shivers."

The second stage of the Tower has a large stained glass window, facing west. At the top of the stained glass window there are four crests, the first crest are that of the family of Scorrier; The Scorrier family owned Harewood Estate just 1km East of the church.


The porch contains interesting features: (1) Remains of a holy water stoup can be seen in the north east corner. (2) There is a fireplace in the south west corner with granite lintel and jamb. A few comparable porch fireplaces exist in Devon, but they are rare. The purpose of such fireplace is uncertain. It may have been used for the kindling of the Easter fire. It was more probably used in accordance with the old-time notions of hygiene, and to keep disease out of the building. (3) The stone threshold contains traces of brass nails embedded in the surface, which suggests the stone once held an effigy, and was perhaps part of an altar tomb.


Granite cross[edit]

Arms of Trelawny: Argent, a chevron (insignia) sable[10]

A granite cross at the eastern end of the churchyard marks the grave of Sir William Lewis Salusbury-Trelawny, 8th Baronet, of Harewood Estate, part of Salusbury-Trelawny baronets. Who was for sometime the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall and M.P. for East Cornwall. He died at Harewood in 1856, aged seventy five years. Folklore says that Sir William didn't want his body ever to leave his estate and so he was carried in through the back gate to his current resting spot, closest to his estate. Inside the church, just north of the pulpit, are two plaques:

  1. At the top of one is inscribed "Laus Deo" ("Praise God"). Below that is inscribed the names of the four children of Sir William, the oldest living to just 28.
  2. At the top of the other is an image of the cross, inscribed "Beneath The Cross"; below, Sir William and his wife are depicted. Below them is their fifth child, whom also died in middle age.

Other gravestones[edit]

Other gravestones can be found which record deaths from mining and other industrial accidents. Though now set in quiet rural countryside, the church during the 19th century was surrounded by industrial activity, and the people of the parish were much involved in quarrying, brickmaking, lime burning and boat building, as well as copper mining. The adit of one not very successful copper mine, Wheal Trelawny, still runs underneath part of the churchyard. Also in the graveyard is the gravestone of two brothers, from the house of Shadrak, that attempted to emigrate to Canadian mines after the collapse of Tamar Valley Mine. They were two of the 3,000 doomed souls on board the Titanic on her maiden voyage.

Edgcumbe Chapel[edit]

Arms of Edgcumbe, Earls of Mount Edgcumbe: Gules, on a bend ermines cotised or three boar's heads couped argent

The Edgcumbe Chapel is located in the east end of the northern aisle. It contains two monuments of the late 17th century: to Piers Edgcumbe (1666) and to Jemima, Countess of Sandwich (1674). it is no longer a chapel, but used by ministers to store religious items.


The rectory is the work of Decimus Burton, 1853–54.[11]

Other churches in the parish[edit]

St. Annes, Gunnislake[edit]

The land was bought on the 29th January 1879. The total cost of the building was £2,400 of which the Duke of Bedford gave £500 and the Church building society gave £200. The foundations stone of the church were laid by the Dowager Countess of Mount Edgcumbe, at 3pm on Tuesday, 30th September 1879. The building was designed by Mr J Piers St Aubyn and was consecrated by Edward Benson, the Bishop of Truro in 1880. It was dedicated to St. Anne because of a ancient local Holy Well, close by the site of the church. The Church seats up to 225 worshippers In 1918 Gunnislake appealed to become its own separate parish, but fail to raise the necessary funds.

All Saints, Harrowbarrow[edit]

In 1870 a parishioner presented the rector a piece of land, near the Prince of Wales Mine, and then the church was again designed by Mr J. Piers St Aubyn and was built as a school and a mission chapel for £700. The church seats up to 80 worshippers.

Albaston Chapel[edit]

The graveyard in front was consecrated in 1888. Outside the chapel, just inside the main gate, there is a large granite memorial cross commemorating 132 men who made the supreme sacrifice in war. The cross bears the following inscription;

Thanks be to god which giveth us the victory. In glorious memory of the men from the parish of Calstock who fell in the Great War 1914–1918. Greater Love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends

Latchely Church[edit]

In 1879 the "foundation stone of our long wished for church was laid". Latchely church was designed by Piers St Aubyn, the same architect as Gunnislake. It was built three years later than Gunnislake at a cost of £1,147 as a chapel of Ease dedicated to St Micheal and All Angels. It was opened by the Bishop of Truro on the 20th July 1883. After a bad attack of wood worm to the chapel in August 1968 the chapel was closed to worshippers and in 1985 it was sold and used for a dwelling.

Cotehele's Chapels[edit]

Cotehele House Chapel[edit]

In Cotehele, on the west side of Hall Court is the Vicarage and the Chapel, the chapel is connected to the main building via a small passageway leading to the Dinning Room. The patron saints are that of St. Katharine and St. Anne. The chapel is among the most oldest rooms in the house, along side the Great Hall. In the chapel, there is a very rare and the original clock, still in operation today, it dates back to the Tudor period.

Cotehele Woodland Chapel[edit]

In the grounds of Cotehele, directly East of the House close to the River Tamar, lies a peaceful basic chapel. inside there are pews going around the walls, two minister's benches and a very ornate table. the patron saint of the chapel is that of St. Thomas Becket.

Primary school[edit]

Calstock Community Primary School was built in 1901 and opened on 6 January 1902. At that time the school consisted of just two main classrooms. It has since been extended with the addition of the infant suite. The infant suite extension won an award for architectural design, in keeping with the remainder of the school. The centenary of the school was celebrated in the summer of 2002.[12]


East Cornwall Mineral Railway[edit]

Map of the East Cornwall Mineral Railway

The East Cornwall Mineral Railway was a 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge railway line, opened in 1872 to connect mines and quarries in the Callington and Gunnislake areas in east Cornwall with shipping at Calstock on the River Tamar. The line included a rope-worked incline to descend to the quay at Calstock. Wagons with goods from the mines around Gunnislake and Callington were brought down the hillside on a 0.4 miles (0.6 km) cable-worked incline with a gradient of 1 in 6 (17%).

Following the opening of a main line railway at nearby Bere Alston, a connecting line from there to Calstock was opened, and the existing line converted to standard gauge, opening throughout as a passenger line in 1908. When rural lines in the area were closed in the 1960s, a short section of the original ECMR line was retained to keep open a connection from Plymouth to Gunnislake, and that section remains open.


A train to Gunnislake

Calstock is served by trains on the Tamar Valley Line from Gunnislake to Plymouth. Connections with main line services can be made at Plymouth, although a small number of Tamar Valley services continue to or from Exeter St Davids.[13]

Literary associations[edit]

The poetry publisher Peterloo Poets, founded by Harry Chambers, was based in Calstock from 1976 until it closed down in 2009.[14]

Cornwall Council election, 2017[edit]

The 2017 Cornwall Council election was held on 4 May 2017 as part of the 2017 local elections in the United Kingdom 122 councillors were elected from the 121 electoral divisions of Cornwall Council.

Gunnislake and Calstock
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Dorothy Kirk 800 44.4 +10.0
Conservative Sydney Booth 660 36.7 +6.6
Liberal Democrat Theo Brown 340 18.9 +7.9
Majority 140 7.7 +3.4
Turnout 1,800 50.0 +12.4
Labour hold Swing

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "List of Place-names agreed by the MAGA Signage Panel" (PDF). Cornish Language Partnership. May 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 July 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 201 Plymouth & Launceston ISBN 978-0-319-23146-3
  3. ^ Office for National Statistics & Cornwall County Council, 2001. Parish population statistics Archived 25 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "2011 census". Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Calstock Online Parish Clerk, 2005. Calstock Parish Archived 26 November 2005 at the Wayback Machine..
  6. ^ Cornwall; Explore Britain
  7. ^ Smart, Chris; et al. "Calstock Roman Fort". Department of Archaeology, the University of Exeter. Retrieved 10 October 2016. 
  8. ^ Thorn, C. et al., ed. (1979) Cornwall. Chichester: Phillimore; entry 5,2,12
  9. ^ "The Rise of the Williamses, of Scorrier". The Cornishman (37). 27 March 1879. p. 8. 
  10. ^ Kidd, Charles, Debrett's peerage & Baronetage 2015 Edition, London, 2015, p.B796
  11. ^ Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall; 2nd ed., revised by Enid Radcliffe. Harmondsworth: Penguin; p. 49
  12. ^ "Our School". Calstock Community Primary School. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  13. ^ Table 139 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  14. ^ Peterloo Poets. "Harry Chambers". Retrieved 29 March 2015. 

External links[edit]