Calstock

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Calstock, in Cornish, Kalstock, is a parish in south east Cornwall, with its main village on the banks of the River Tamar

Calstock village lies within the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Tamar Valley railway passes through Calstock. Its railway station opened in 1908. Calstock viaduct, on the Gunnislake to Plymouth branch line, is a striking feature dominating the area.


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In 2008, the remains of a Roman fort were found adjacent to the church. This is quite a rare discovery as this is only the third Roman fort discovered in Cornwall. It suggests that this area was settled as long ago as Roman times and quite possibly before that. This could in part be due to the abundance of minerals here such as tin.

During the Saxon period, Calstock was in the Kingdom of Cornwall, which resisted the spread of Wessex.

By 838 AD Wessex had spread to the Tamar. An important battle for Cornwall's independence was fought near Calstock the Battle of Hingston Down. The Cornish were allied with the Danes but were defeated. See Cornwall History Timeline for more information.

Calstock manor was recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) as 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.

In the 14th century the manor became part of the Duchy of Cornwall.

Mining was an important industry in Calstock from Mediaeval times. The Duchy of Cornwall mined silver here. By the late 19th century industry was booming as copper, and nearby granite quarrying made Calstock a busy port. The parish was also famous for its fruit and flower cultivation.

Not only was Calstock Quay important for transporting goods but during the Victorian era steamers also brought tourists to the village. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Calstock in 1846.

In 1849, the rapid growth of the population in Calstock, fuelled by these booming industries and the failure to match this with adequate sanitary provision led to an outbreak of cholera.

The building of the Tamar Valley railway at the beginning of the 20th century put an end to Calstock's importance as a river transport route. The 14 mile (23 km) railway line took over the transportation of goods and people. The viaduct was constructed from precast concrete blocks. It saw its first freight traffic on 8 August 1907 and its first passengers on 2 March 1908.

In the early 20th century, Industry went into decline due to competition from overseas. Today the ruined engine houses are a picturesque reminder of the areas past glory and they are part of the Cornwall Mining World Heritage Site.

The Tamar can still be navigated by boats for around 3 miles (4.8 km) above Calstock. During high spring tides the river can still have 20 feet (6.1 m) of water. At high water the river is navigable for the 14 miles to Plymouth Sound. The village has a small boat yard.

Calstock Parish church is dedicated to St Andrew. The church was built in the 15th century. It has a granite tower of three stages. The Edgcumbe Chapel contains two monuments from the late 17th century, one to Piers Edgcumbe (1666) and the other to Jemima, Countess of Sandwich (1674). The rectory was constructed by Decimus Burton.

Peterloo Poets, the poetry publisher, founded by Harry Chambers, was based in Calstock from 1976 until it closed in 2009.

Within the parish are a number of settlements including Albaston, Chilsworthy, Coxpark, Dimson, Drakewalls, Gunnislake, Harrowbarrow, Latchley, Metherell, , Norris Green, Rising Sun and St Ann's Chapel.

The village is twinned with Saint-Thuriau in Brittany, France.


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