Constantine, Cornwall

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For the village in St Merryn Parish, see Constantine Bay.
For other uses, see Constantine.
Cornish: Lanngostentin
Constantine is located in Cornwall
 Constantine shown within Cornwall
Population 1,789 (Civil Parish, 2011)
OS grid reference SW732291
Civil parish Constantine
Unitary authority Cornwall
Ceremonial county Cornwall
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town FALMOUTH
Postcode district TR11
Dialling code 01326
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Cornwall
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Camborne and Redruth
List of places

Coordinates: 50°07′05″N 5°10′26″W / 50.118°N 5.174°W / 50.118; -5.174

Constantine's 15th-century church
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 (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.[1] The electoral ward also bears the same name but includes Budock Water and the surrounding area. The population at the 2011 census was 4,709 in the ward whereas the civil parish had a population 1,789 only[2] The parish of Constantine is bounded by the parishes of Mabe, Mawnan, Gweek, Wendron and the north bank of the Helford River.[3]

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: no-one knows its purpose.

The ancient name of Constantine, "Langostentyn", implies that the settlement was monastic, with the "Lan" prefix. Dr Lynette Olson (1989)[4] 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]

Little remains of the Norman church, which was rebuilt between 1420 and 1480: the tower has been called impressive.[5] 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.[6] One restoration (costing £1,200) commenced in 1874, with the re-opening ceremony held on 22 January 1879 by Edward Benson the Bishop of Truro.[7]

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]

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.[9] Trewardreva Manor House was built circa 1600 and remodelled in 1719–49; the west wing was demolished in 1860.[10] It is now Grade II* listed.

Extractive industries[edit]

The settlement called Constantine Churchtown grew up around the church. Mineral extraction led to a massive increase in population and the village expanded down what is now called Fore Street, during the 19th-century.[11] However, one property, "The Bow Window", is thought to be a 300-year-old farmhouse.

The villageparish had three main industries: agriculture; mining for tin and copper, and iron;[12] and quarrying granite.[13][14]

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.[15] 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.[16]


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,[17] in memory of her husband, Charles Hawkins Hext, who died in 1917. She supported the development of the Sport and Social Club until her death in 1939.[18]

In 1933, overhead cables, providing electricity to homes were installed in the village.[19]

Port Navas has an ancient oyster farm.[20]

Government and politics[edit]

Constantine Parish Council has prepared a Parish Plan as a framework for future development/conservation.[21]


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".[22]

Education and language[edit]

A British School was opened in 1836 at Ponjeravah.[23] 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.[24] There is also a pre-school,[25] 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,[26] 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,[27] 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.[28] 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.

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 residents[edit]


  1. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 204 Truro & Falmouth ISBN 978-0-319-23149-4
  2. ^ "2011 Census". 
  3. ^ For a map of the boundaries, zoomable to plan detail, use Cornwall County Council's Interactive Map of Cornwall.
  4. ^ Early monasteries in Cornwall, page 105
  5. ^ Harris, Ida and David (1975). The Church of Saint Constantine in Cornwall: a brief guide, compiled and illustrated by Ida and David Harris. 
  6. ^ Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall; 2nd ed. Penguin Books; pp. 55–56
  7. ^ "Falmouth". The Cornishman (28). 30 January 1879. p. 5. 
  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 hold 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. ^ Henderson, Charles (1937). A History of the Parish of Constantine in Cornwall. Truro: Royal Institution of Cornwall; pp. 71–210
  10. ^ Pevsner (1970); p. 56
  11. ^ Ordnance Survey 6 inch map, 1888, surveyed in 1878 Sheet LXXVII NW shows the street complete.
  12. ^ Mining history at Constantine Village website
  13. ^ history at Constantine Village website
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ Cornish Mines
  16. ^ The story of the local mines is covered in detail in pages 40–43 of the Book of Constantine
  17. ^ The book of Mawnan (2002)
  18. ^ Minute Book of the Constantine Sport and Social Club (in private hands); review of the year 1940
  19. ^ Electricity supply: West Briton, 17 November 1933.
  20. ^ Constantine Village website on Oyster farming at Port Navas
  21. ^ Constantine Parish Council information
  22. ^ Constantine Twinning Association webpage
  23. ^ Notes on Schools in Constantine 1957
  24. ^ Primary School website
  25. ^ Pre-school website
  26. ^ Constantine Enterprises Company website
  27. ^;
  28. ^ Calor Best Village Press Release
  29. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article by R. E. Anderson, ‘Hellins, John (d. 1827) ’, rev. Adrian Rice, [1] accessed 30 May 2007
  30. ^ kw:Vanessa Beeman
  31. ^ "Cornish Gorseth site". Gorseth Kernow. 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) ISBN 1-900147-13-0 (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]