Constantine, Cornwall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saint Constantine Church in Constantine Village Kerrier Cornwall.JPG
Constantine's 15th-century church
Constantine is located in Cornwall
Location within Cornwall
Population1,747 United Kingdom Census 2011 including Halvaso [1]
OS grid referenceSW732291
Civil parish
  • Constantine
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtTR11
Dialling code01326
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
50°07′05″N 5°10′26″W / 50.118°N 5.174°W / 50.118; -5.174Coordinates: 50°07′05″N 5°10′26″W / 50.118°N 5.174°W / 50.118; -5.174
Constantine War Memorial, in the churchyard, carved from local stone by Elkana Symons
Trewardreva Cross from Arthur Langdon Old Cornish crosses,1896, page 282: Front and back of the Cornish Cross at the roadside, Trewardreva, near Constantine Churchtown.

Constantine (/ˈkɒns.tənˌtn/) (Cornish: Lann Gostentin, meaning church enclosure of St Constantine) is a village and civil parish in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is situated approximately five miles (8 km) west-southwest of Falmouth.[2] The electoral ward also bears the same name but includes Budock Water and the surrounding area. At the 2011 census, the population of the ward was 4,709 and the population of the civil parish was 1,789.[3] The parish of Constantine is bounded by the parishes of Mabe, Mawnan, Gweek, Wendron and the north bank of the Helford River.[4]

Constantine is named after Saint Constantine, a 6th-century Cornish saint possibly identified with a minor British king Constantine.


In pre-historic times, a fogou was constructed near Trewardreva: its purpose is unknown.

The ancient name of Constantine, "Langostentyn", implies that the settlement was monastic, with the "Lan" prefix. Dr Lynette Olson (1989)[5] has examined literary and archaeological evidence for all early monastic establishments in Cornwall and found significant doubts about the religious nature of Constantine before the Norman Conquest.

After the Norman conquest[edit]

The land holdings in the parish were the manors of Polwheveral, Trewardreva, Merthen (also a tithing and barton), Tucoys (also a tithing), Treworval and Treviades; the barton of Bonallack; and Trenarth and Budock Vean.[6] Trewardreva Manor House was built circa 1600 and remodelled in 1719–49; the west wing was demolished in 1860.[7] It is now Grade II* listed. Treviades Barton, also Grade II* listed, is a gentry house with historic garden.

Andrew Langdon (1999) lists twelve stone crosses, or parts of crosses located in the parish. One of these was carved and erected in 1991. Several have been transferred from other sites. The stone cross at the cross-roads in High Cross was found in 1992 and re-erected nearby.[8] Arthur Langdon (1896) recorded six Cornish crosses in the parish; in the churchyard, at Bosvathick, at Merthen, at Nanjarrow, at Trevease and at Trewardreva.[9]

St Constantine Church[edit]

Little remains of the Norman church, which was rebuilt between 1420 and 1480: the tower has been called impressive.[10] There is a brass of 1574 to Richard Gerveys and family.

The chancel was rebuilt in 1862 and there was other restoration work between 1859 and 1901.[11] Restoration of the roof timbers (costing £1,200) commenced in 1874, completed in 1878, with the re-opening ceremony held on 22 January 1879 by Edward Benson the Bishop of Truro.[12] In 1882 the north aisle was restored with a new roof of pitch pine and slates, as well as new seating.[13] The restoration of the Bosahan aisle was commenced in the summer of 1882 and completed the following May.[14]

The church was given a grade I listing on 10 July 1957.[15]

Extractive industries[edit]

The settlement called Constantine Churchtown grew up around the church. Mineral extraction led to an increase in population and the village expanded down what is now called Fore Street, during the 19th century.[16] However, one property, "The Bow Window", is thought to be a 300-year-old farmhouse. The parish had three main industries: agriculture; mining for tin, copper, and iron;[17] and quarrying granite.[18][19] The largest mine was Wheal Vyvyan, which was worked from 1827 to 1864. The production figures for copper 1845–1864 and for tin ore, 1855–1864, are given in Cornish Mines.[20] The value of copper raised peaked in 1845, 1850 and 1855. The peaks of value in tin ore production were in 1856 and 1863. In 1864, the value of tin raised was only a quarter of the previous year's value and the mine closed.[21]


View of the Church and the Recreation Ground, showing the Social Club on the left of the picture

In 1921, Alice Hext of Trebah gave the playing field and sports pavilion to the village, in memory of her husband, Charles Hawkins Hext, who died in 1917.[22] She supported the development of the Sport and Social Club until her death in 1939.[23]

In 1933, overhead cables, providing electricity to homes were installed in the village.[24]

Port Navas has an ancient oyster farm.[25]

Government and politics[edit]

Constantine Parish Council has prepared a Parish Plan as a framework for future development/conservation.[26]


Like many other Cornish places, Constantine Parish with Gweek, is twinned with a partner in Brittany in western France. In this case the village is twinned with Pont-Croix, Département Finistère. In Breton, "Pont-Croix" is "Pont-e-kroaz" and, colloquially, "Ar Pont".[27]

Education and language[edit]

A British School was opened in 1836 at Ponjeravah.[28] After 1957, the school moved to what is now the Church Hall and in 1966 to its present site, the building being refurbished and extended in 2005, as Constantine Primary School. The school is part of Kernow Learning Multi Academy Trust.[29] There is also a pre-school,[30] set in an eco-friendly building on the primary school campus. For secondary education, children have to travel to Helston, Mullion, Falmouth or Penryn.

Constantine parish is the home of five bards of the Cornish Gorseth, including a former Grand Bard, Vanessa Beeman.

Cultural activities[edit]

The Tolmen, formerly the Wesleyan Methodist Church

A social enterprise, Constantine Enterprises Company,[31] bought the former Methodist chapel in 1998. A wide range of social and cultural events happen there, all run by volunteers. The building is now known as the Tolmen Centre. The Tolmen Centre has hosted three editions of an international guitar festival,[32] that has attracted a range of concert performers including the Silesian Guitar Octet, Mick Abrahams, Andrea Dieci, Ben Salfield (who also directed the three festivals) and Stonephace (featuring Adrian Utley and Larry Stabbins).

The village has a number of choirs and a Silver band.

In September 2006, Constantine won the Calor Best Village in Cornwall 2006 competition.[33] Constantine was also judged the Best Village in the West of England 2007, in the Business Category.

Annual events[edit]

Saint Constantine's "Feast" is celebrated in the village, on or around 9 March. The Agricultural Society (founded 1900) and the Cottage Garden Society run shows early in July. The Constantine Social Club runs a carnival, usually on a weekend at the end of July. The Constantine Art Society has a two-week exhibition, starting at the end of July. An annual "Cornish Talk and Taste" festival takes place in January.

Historic estates[edit]

Within the parish of Constantine are situated various historic estates including:

  • Bosahan, the estate of a branch of the Trefusis family from Mylor.[14]
  • Carwithenack (Carwythenack), a seat of the Chapman family who had a vault in the Bosahan aisle in the parish church, also the Stapleton family and in the late 14th century of the Tremayne family later of Collacombe in Devon.[14][34][35]
  • Trefusis, the original estate of the Trefusis family.[14]

Place-names in the civil parish of Constantine[edit]


Bonallack, Bosahan, Bosanarth, Bosawsack, Bosvathick, Boswarch, Boswidjack, Bridge, Brill (a hamlet to the west of the village of Constantine), Brillwater, Calamansac, Carvedras, Goongillings, Groyne Point, High Cross, Job's Water, Lestraynes, Maen Pern, Merthen, Nancenoy, Penbothidno, Penwarn, Polpenwith, Polwheveral, Ponjeravah, Port Navas, Retallack, Scott's Quay, Seworgan, Trebarvah, Trecombe, Tregantallan, Treglidwith, Treleggan, Trenarth, Trengrove, Tresahor, Tresidder, Trevassack, Trevease, Treviades, Trewardreva, Trewince, Treworvack, Treworvall, Tucoyse.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Civil Parish 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 204 Truro & Falmouth ISBN 978-0-319-23149-4
  3. ^ "2011 Census".
  4. ^ For a map of the boundaries, zoomable to plan detail, use Cornwall County Council's Interactive Map of Cornwall. Archived 14 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Early monasteries in Cornwall, page 105
  6. ^ Henderson, Charles (1937). A History of the Parish of Constantine in Cornwall. Truro: Royal Institution of Cornwall; pp. 71–210
  7. ^ Pevsner (1970); p. 56
  8. ^ Stone Crosses: Andrew Langdon (Dyffresyas Crowson – Protector of Crosses) Stone crosses in West Cornwall (including The Lizard), The Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, 1999 (Cornish Cross series No. 5) ISBN 0-902660-28-4. Langdon holds that place-names starting "Lan" indicate the location of a Burial Ground, not a church or monastery (p. 3, section d). The items listed in the book in Constantine are numbered 18 to 29.
  9. ^ Langdon, A. G. (1896) Old Cornish Crosses. Truro: Joseph Pollard
  10. ^ Harris, Ida and David (1975). The Church of Saint Constantine in Cornwall: a brief guide, compiled and illustrated by Ida and David Harris.
  11. ^ Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall; 2nd ed. Penguin Books; pp. 55–56
  12. ^ "Falmouth". The Cornishman. No. 28. 30 January 1879. p. 5.
  13. ^ "Constantine". The Cornishman. No. 222. 12 October 1882. p. 4.
  14. ^ a b c d "The Restoration Of Constantine Church". The Cornishman. No. 255. 31 May 1883. p. 7.
  15. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Constantine (1142141)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  16. ^ Ordnance Survey 6-inch map, 1888, surveyed in 1878 Sheet LXXVII NW shows the street complete.
  17. ^ "Mining history at Constantine Village website". Archived from the original on 27 November 2006. Retrieved 29 January 2007.
  18. ^ "history at Constantine Village website". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2007.
  19. ^ See also pages 44–49 of the Book of Constantine. For more information on quarrying in the Constantine area, see Peter Stanier's South West Granite
  20. ^ Cornish Mines
  21. ^ The story of the local mines is covered in detail in pages 40–43 of the Book of Constantine
  22. ^ The book of Mawnan (2002)
  23. ^ Minute Book of the Constantine Sport and Social Club (in private hands); review of the year 1940
  24. ^ Electricity supply: West Briton, 17 November 1933.
  25. ^ Constantine Village website on Oyster farming at Port Navas
  26. ^ Constantine Parish Council information
  27. ^ "Constantine Twinning Association webpage". Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2008.
  28. ^ Notes on Schools in Constantine 1957
  29. ^ Primary School website Archived 12 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Pre-school website
  31. ^ "Constantine Enterprises Company website". Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2007.
  32. ^; Archived 9 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ Calor Best Village Press Release Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ Daniel Lysons and Samuel Lysons, 'Parishes: Constantine – Cury', in Magna Britannia: Volume 3, Cornwall (London, 1814), pp. 67–76 [1]
  35. ^ Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.730, pedigree of Tremayne
  36. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article by R. E. Anderson, 'Hellins, John (d. 1827) ', rev. Adrian Rice, [2] accessed 30 May 2007
  37. ^ kw:Vanessa Beeman
  38. ^ "Cornish Gorseth site". Gorseth Kernow. Archived from the original on 6 July 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2009.


  • Trethowan, Gerald; Moore, Liz (2001). The Book of Constantine. Tiverton, Devon: Halsgrove. ISBN 1-84114-102-X.
  • Henderson, Charles (1937). Doble, G. H. (ed.). A History of the Parish of Constantine in Cornwall. Truro: Royal Institution of Cornwall.
  • Scolding, Bill (2006). Five walks around Constantine. Constantine, Cornwall: Constantine Enterprises Company. ISBN 978-0-9552816-0-0.
  • Stanier, Peter (1999). South West Granite: a history of the granite industry in Devon and Cornwall. St. Austell, Cornwall: Cornish Hillside Publications. ISBN 1-900147-14-9. (Hardback) (paperback).
  • Burt, Roger; Burnley, Ray (1987). Cornish Mines. Exeter, Devon: University of Exeter with the Northern Mine Research Society. ISBN 0-85989-287-5.
  • Olson, Lynette (1989). Early Monasteries in Cornwall. Studies in Celtic History. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press. ISBN 0-85115-478-6.
  • The Mawnan History Group (2002). The Book of Mawnan: celebrating a South Cornwall parish. Tiverton, Devon: Halsgrove. ISBN 1-84114-148-8.

External links[edit]