History of Wadebridge

Wadebridge was formerly in two parishes. St Breock and Egloshayle. One parish on each side of the River Camel.

St Breock in Pyder


S. Breock is situate in the hundred of Pyder, and hath upon the north, S. Issy ; east, Wadebridge, on the Alan river ; south, S. Wenn and Withiel ; west, S. Columb Major. The name is derived from S. Breock or Briock, the patron of this church, of one in the island of Gurnsey, and perhaps of Breage near Helston.

This S. Breock was a native of Ireland, born at Cork about the fifth century. A man famous in his day, for the most strenuous support of the orthodox faith in opposition to Arianism, the hersey at that time distracting the Latin Church. He was bishop of a diocese in Armorica, now called Brittany, where the place of his residence is at this day distinguished by his name.

This parish does not appear in the Bishop of Lincoln's valuation ; but in that of Wolsey it is rated at £41 10 6.

In the Domesday survey this parish was rated under the district of Pelton, or Penpow, now Powton. This Powton was the voke lands of a manor given to the See of our Cornish Bishop ; afterwards to the Bishop of Kirton, (Crediton) and then to Exeter ; finally to the Priory of S. Petroc at Bodmin. After the dissolution of monasteries, this barton, together with the extensive manor to which it belonged, passed through a great variety of hands by sale, so that the manor had sixteen lords of different families in about sixty-two years ; a mutability not to be instanced in any other lands in Cornwall, except Fentongollon in S. Michael Penkivell, which also contained a religious house, but in 26 Henry VIIL was converted to secular purposes.

This manor of Pelton has always possessed a court-leet, where writs might be entertained without any limit of amount ; but the lord of the manor having suffered from various escapes of persons confined for debt, the prison, and with it the judicial functions of the court, have been discontinued. Sir William Morice, the secretary of state and friend of General Monk, acquired this manor by purchase. His second danghter, Barbara Morice, married Sir John Molesworth of Pencarrow, and brought this property into that family, where it still remains.

Hurston in this parish, which I take to be from the Saxon, and to mean wood town, is still situated in a wood, and formerly belonged to the Carmynews of Fentongollon.

Tredinick gave name and origin to an ancient family of gentlemen. Christopher Tredinick was sheriff of Cornwall in 22 Henry VIII. ; he gave for his arms, in a field Or, on a bend Sable three bucks' heads caboshed Argent. His family and name are now, I take it, both extinct. In the time of Charles II. this property came by purchase to Lord Robartes.

Trevorder, meaning the further town, or the one most distant ; also Trevorder Bickin, the far-off becon-town, belonged to the Carmynews of Fentongollon, having come to them by the heiress of Trenowith, as Trenowith had acquired it by the heiress of Tregago. It passed by sale from the Carmynews to Vyell, and has subsequently split between six co-heiresses, who married Prideaux, Vyvyan, Dennis, Grenville, Kisden and Smith.


Dunveth, a place belonging once to Tredinick, and situated near the churchyard, and therefore named the hill of graves ; ' beth ' being a grave in Welsh and Cornish, and the labials b and v perpetually changing into each other.


THE parish of S. Breock is situated in the deanery and hundred of Pyder, and is separated from S. Minver on the north by the river Camel, and by the same river, and its tributary Ruthern river, from Egloshayle and Bodmin on the cast ; on the south it is bounded by Withiel and S. Wenn ; and on the west by S. Issey. The whole parish comprises 8017a. 2b. 21r., of which 6846a. 0r. 24p. are titheable, namely: arable, 4145a. 3r. 28p. ; pasture, 398a. 0r. lr. ; woodland, 525a. 1r. 39p. ; orchard, 56a. 3r. 5p ; common, 970a. 3r. lp. ; waste, 7 19a. 0r. 27P roads and water occupy 154a. 2r. I 0p. and the Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway, including the station and wharves, 5a. 3r. 32p. Attached to the rectory is a good glebe of 92a. 3r. 16p. Of the woodland subject to tithes 433a. 3r. 15p. are coppice, of which 222a. 0r. 24p. belong to the representatives of the late Sir William Molesworth, bart., 197a. 2r. 31 p. to Charles Prideaux-Brune, Esq., and to others 14a. The tithes have been commuted at £966 3 11; and the present incumbent, the R«v. George Sayle- Prior, is both rector and patron.

The church, which was dedicated to S. Breaca or S. Briocus in 1259, is situated in a dell immediately below the little church village, and the road to it is a considerable declivity. A stream of pure water passes through the churchyard in a deep channel. The church comprises a chancel, nave, south aisle, south transept, called the Trevorder aisle, and a north transept called the Pawton aisle. The arcade is of six arches of Bath stone, supported by monolith granite pillars and enriched capitals. Near the chancel is a good vestry with a priest's door. The font is of Catacleuse stone, and in good preservation ; it is ornamented with quatre-foils and gothic tracery, and is supported by a circular shaft on a square plinth. In the west window of the aisle are the arms of Molesworth, Treby, and Buller. The south porch, which is little used, has three steps of descent to the church ; the north porch is the chief entrance, and retains its original open roof ; over the doorway arc some remains of arabesque work. The tower arch is quite plain, and is hidden from the church by a gallery; between the gallery and the tower is a sort of lumber room, through which by a side door is the only entrance to the tower. A few good bench ends are preserved, on one of which are the initials B. E. The tower is of three stages, and battlemented ; it contains five bells cast by the Rudalls in 1828.

Against the wall at the east end of the aisle stands a fine old priest's tomb, ornamented with the profile of a skull in relief; on the chamfer is the following inscription: — t TOMA P- -E VICARIE : DE NANSETN GIT: ICI: DEU: SA ALME : EIT: M'C'I A slate stone with a shield of arms of many quarterings is thus inscribed : 1578. Gloria, mundi, vitru', est, cum, splendit, frangit, qd, C. T.

1. Yow chyldren whych on earth remayne, Beholde of man the bryttell state : knowe tbys of trewthe, judge all thyngs vayne. what in thys woreld dyd God create, But that we see ryght every daye ; Eche thynge to change and passe away.

2. Yea, man, I saye, most perfecte wrought, whom God created pryneypall, Dothe he not quyckcly turne to nowght ; when God agayne hys spyryte doth call, Then all hys thowghtts porysshe eche on. Nothyng on earthe can comforte than.

3. loe, where his body dothe nowe lye, whose lyfe of late was helde so deare, well worthye of good memoryo. Thow happye Charelse Tredeneck, esquier ; whose vertuse yf they had byn knowen, were many mo' then erste were showen.

4. Knowe yow tborefore deathe taryeth not ; and how the covenante of the grave Ys showed to us for flesshe ye woto, No powre nor strength at all can have ; ffor when departs awaye hys breathe, He turnes agayne unto hys earthe.

5. Do good therefore, whyles you have lyfe : Holde vertue of the cheffeste pryse. In wysedomes lore be alwayes ryfe : These are the counsels of the wyse : Depende not then on thyngs moste vayne, Nothinge but vertue shall remayne.

1578, and the XII of Maye.

Under this monument are four brasses and the socket of a fifth. The brasses are said to represent the above-named Charles Tredeneck, one of his wives, and his two families; one of seven children and the other of five.

A large slate tablet, on which are carved numerous coats of arms, shewing the marriage connexions of the family, is said to be a part of the tomb of William Viell and Jane his wife, daughter of Sir John Arundell, of Trerice. The chief coat bears Viell impaling Arundell. The following portion of the inscription remains. 1598. William Dennes of Orleighe, (in Devon), maried Marie Viell, ye eldest. George Granvile of Penhele, (in Egloskerry) , maried Juliane, ye second daughter. Nicholas Predeaux of Soldone, (in Devon), maried Chesten, ye third daughter. George Arundell of Lanherne, maried Dorothe, ye fourth daughter. Peter Bevill, of Blat , ? maried Grace, ye feifth daughter. Gillese Risdon of Boblye, fin Devon), maried Elizabeth, ye sixe daughter. Thinges that be ecciding excelent Be not comenli longe permanent. Arms of Tredinick. 1640. When life & death contended which should have Both wife and husband, heaven this sentence gave, And did bequeath (to end this doubtfull strife,) To death the hushand, and the wife to life. His soule unto bis Maker did ascende, Here rests his corps, Christ's coming to attend. 1643. Here lie buried John, Nicholas, Grace & Frances, sons and daughters of Nicholas Tredencck, son of Walter, son of Thomas Tredeneck, of Trelill, gent., who was the son of Cristopher ye son of Robert,' the son of Ralph Tredeneck, of Tredeneck, Esq. John was buried the 17th of Aprill, 1635. Nicholas was buried ye 27th Decbr, 1642. Grace was buried ye 14th of March, 1630.

Here lieth buried John Tregagle, of Trevorder, Esq., and Elizabeth his wife, who was the daughter of. Sr. Wm. Hooker, Alderman of London, ye sa. Elizabeth was buryed the 19th daye of Maye, 1679 ; and the sd. John Tregagle was buried ye 7th of February, Ano. Dom. 1679. Near this place lyeth ye body of Jane ye wife of John Tregagle, Esq., of Trevorder, and daughter of Sr. Paull Whichcote, Knt., & Barront., of Quy Hall, in Cambridgeshire, who departed this life ye 19th day of March, 1708 ; in yo 28th year of her age. Here Lieth The Body of Mrs. Alice Whiteborne, Widdow, And Relict of The Reverend Mr. Joseph Whiteborne, late Rector of This Parish, who died the 15th of March, 1724. (Brass.) Here lyeth the body of John, the son of John Pearce, gent., of this parish, who dyed May ye 22, 1759; aged 28. (Brass.) " Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast." Heb. vi. 19. Sacred to the memory of Montague Troby Molesworth, a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, and second son of the Reverend William Molesworth, Rector of this parish ; and also of James Jacobs, J ames Hardiman, Murdock Macdonald, Thomas Brown, Hyde M. Brown, Richard Hill, and Michael White, seamen of H.M.S. Cleopatra, who, while engaged in the execution of their duty, were barbarously killed in an affray with the natives on the Western coast of Madagascar, March 23, 1844. This monument was erected by their shipmates as a token of esteem for their characters, and regret for their melancholy fate. " And the sea shall give up the dead which are in it." In memoriam Montacuti Treby Molesworth, armigeri, duas hasce intra cancellos fenestras, ex stipendio reetauratas, quod ipse patrice navans operam lucratus est illis autem moriens testamento legavit, fratres et soror intempestiua morte abreptum graviter desidcrantes Deo dicaverunt, A.D. 1845. (Brass — Chancel window.)

This window was renewed and presented to the parish of St. Breoke, A.D. 1848, by the Reverend William Molesworth, M.A., Rector, in grateful acknowledgment of the mercy of God in the restoration of his sight. (Brass — window near north entrance.) In memory of the Reverend John Molesworth, Rector of this parish, who was buried in the chancel, September 26, 1811. And of Catherine Molesworth, his wife, the daughter of Sir John St. Aubyn, Bart.,' of Clowance, who was buried beside him, October 28, 1836. This window was erected by their affectionate children. 1846.

On the 7th of July, 1216, Richard Blondy, bishop of Exeter, confirmed the gift of this church to Hayles Abbey, by Richard, Earl of Cornwall. In the Register of Thomas de Brantyngham, bishop of Exeter, 1370, is a petition to the Holy See, praying that the churches of Bridestowe, Poweton alias Nansent, now S. Breock, may be assigned and appropriated for ever to the maintenance of the Bishop's table.

A dissenting Chapel was built at White Rock, near Wadebridge, by a Mr. Hall, who preached in it for some time. Of him or his representatives it was purchased by Miss Molesworth, who generously placed it to the use of the rector of S. Breock as a chapel- of-ease for the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood of Wadebridge, and divine service is gratuitously performed there on Sunday evenings.

Wadebridge is a town of some little consideration. There has been a market here ever since the year 1312, when it was granted by Edward II to Walter de Stapledon, bishop of Exeter, to be held within his manor of Pawton, on Friday, and two fairs, one on the festival of S. Vitalis the martyr, the other at Michaelmas. The market, although of no great importance, is still held, and there are four annual fairs, held March 1 3, May 1 4, June 22, and October 10 ; there are also cattle markets held on the second Tuesday in January, February, April, July, August, September, November, and December, and they are generally well attended.

Before the bridge was built here there was a ford, which at times was very dangerous. This circumstance induced Thomas Loveybound, then vicar of Egloshayle, to project the building of the present bridge, 1485. In addition to the great expense of such an undertaking, he had to encounter many difficulties. In attempting to lay open the ground to procure a foundation for the piers, the workmen found it to be so swampy, that after several unsuccessful efforts, they were obliged to desist. Defeated in his primitive design, the patriotic undertaker had recourse to another expedient, which was to buy large packs of wool, and to lay the foundation on them. This answered his expectation, and the bridge continues to the present day, a lasting monument of what a daring mind may accomplish by perseverance.

The whole weight of this vast undertaking, however, did not rest exclusively on the personal property of this patriotic individual. The prevailing superstitions of the day were laid under contributions to his great design, in addition to the donations which he received from the liberality of the public. It was built in the latter end of the reign of Edward IV, and the beginning of Henry VII, and the expense was partly paid by collections and commutations of penance for sins committed. The licence for all spiritual benedictions, collections, and commutations of penance throughout the counties of Cornwall and Devon, was granted by Dr. Peter Courtenay, bishop of Exeter, to Thomas Loveybound, then vicar of Egloshayle, his chaplain or vicar, in 1485, who raised a considerable sum by that means, namely absolution ; as also from charitable well-disposed christians. With the sums of money thus raised, be forwarded the building of the bridge, himself being the treasurer, and John de Harlyn the builder.

After the bridge was erected, Loveybound gave a small parcel of land, for the future repairs which time or accidents might render necessary. This property he is said to have vested in twelve principal men of the parish, and their successors in trust for ever. It was valued at £20 per annum. The management of this revenue was afterwards under the direction of the lords of the manors of Pendavy and Pawton, the rector of S. Breock, and the vicar of Egloshayle. Some lands were also given in the parish of S. Breock, for the support and repairs of the bridge ; besides which the tolls were let at £10 per annum, and they have only been abandoned within memory.

In closing the personal history of Thomas Loveybound, it is said, that after he had seen this vast undertaking completed, with the money and stones that remained, he caused the tower of Egloshayle to be erected as it now stands. And at the spring of the arch of the belfry door, on the nothern side, is still to be seen his arms, namely, three human hearts banded together by a ribbon, on an escuteheon, superscribed ' Lovybound.'

This justly celebrated bridge is .'120 feet long, crosses the Camel on fifteen arches, and connects the two parishes of S. Breock and Egloshayle together.

The inhabitants of those parishes were exempted from the toll. About twenty years ago, the bridge was widened to the extent of six feet, under the superintendence of Mr. Pease. Three feet were added on each side by segmental arches, resting on the cutwaters of the piers. The whole building is strong and substantial, and presents an interesting spectacle. For many years it has been a county bridge. The tide regularly flows through the arches, and, in conjunction with the river on the inland side, it enables boats and barges to convey to various places sand for manure, together with many necessary commodities. On the flux and reflux of very high tides, the rapid movement of the immense body of water is very grand. and the vicar of Egloshayle.

Below the bridge the river is navigable from Padstow, for vessels about sixty tons. The importation comprises coals, slate, lime, timber, and various other articles of merchandise ; the exportation : iron ore, granite, and recently, china clay.

At the time of the Domesday survey, the paramount manor of Pawton belonged to the Bishops of Exeter. By some exchange it is probable, and at a period not much earlier than the Reformation, Pawton was the property of the prior of Bodmin, who had his seat and deer park on it. To this manor were added the manors of Ide and Trevose, including all the lands of a pious gentleman, who bequeathed his property either to the prior of Bodmin, or to the bishops who were previous possessors, upon condition that they should pray for the souls of him and his relatives, and appropriate the income to the maintenance of the worship of God. This bequest was granted under the common curse or execration denounced on all such persons as should presume to violate or infringe his donation.

These consolidated manors, thus guarded by the curse, continued in the possession of the prior of Bodmin until the days of Henry VIII.; when that King, bidding defiance to its execration, seized this property and connected it with the crown ; in which connexion it continued until the year 1606. During this year it was granted by James I. to Sir Arthur Gorges ; after which it passed by successive sales to the families of Opie, Fownes, Gibbons, Briggs, Viscount Dunlace and the Duchess of Buckingham, his wife. By their trustees it was sold to the Dawes, and from them it again returned to the Opies, in 1650. By Opie one moiety was sold to Lobb, and by Lobb and Opie the whole was again sold to Sir William Morrice, secretary of state to Charles II., for about £16,000. By his death it passed to his son, from whom it descended to Sir Nicholas Morrice, the last baronet of the family. From him it passed to his sister Barbara, who brought it in marriage to Sir John Molesworth, bart. The barton which was anciently connected with this manor, and also partook of the same name, remained for many years in the Opie family, after the manor had been alienated. In the year 1701, it was sold by Air. Nicholas Opie to Dr. Vincent, of Plymouth, who possessed it in 1730. But since that time it has been re-united with the manor, and both are the property of the heirs of the late Sir William Molesworth, bart.

Hurston, or Hurstyn, supposed to be the Thersent of Domesday, a small manor held under that of Pawton, belonged at an early period to the Carminows, from whom it passed to the family of Viell, or Vyell. Chesten, one of the co-heiresses of Viell, carried it in marriage to Nicholas l'rideaux, of Soldone, in Devon, and it is now the property of C. P. Prune, Esq., of Place, Padstow. The ancient mansion belonging to this manor was a seat of the Carminows, and had a chapel.

Part of a small manor called Padstow-Penkevill, belonging also to the Prideaux family, lies within this parish.

The manor of Penlees, which belonged to the Arundells, became the property of Thomas Rawlings, Esq., of Padstow, from whom it passed to Mr. William Paynter.

Trevorder was anciently the property and seat of the family of Tregago, Treiago, or Trejago, from whom it passed, by successive female heirs, to the families of Trenowith, Carminow, and Viell. William Viell, who married Jane, daughter of Sir John Arnndell, of Trerice, made Trevorder the place of his abode ; but having no male heir, he left his estates among his six daughters and co-heiresses. Chesten Viell, the third daughter, carried this estate also in marriage to Nicholos Prideaux ; by one of whose descendants it was sold to John Tregagle, but his descendant re-selling it to Prideaux, in the reign of George I., it became stationary in that family, and is now the property of C. Pridouux- Brune, Esq.

Tredinick, or more properly Tredeneck, was the seat of the ancient family of that name, which became extinct in the reign of Charles II. (so far as regarded this place), when it passed by sale to Lord Robartes. The Earl of Radnor, his descendant, was possessed of it in 1736. It is now the property of the heirs of Sir W. Molesworth. The ancient mansion at this place is spoken of as having been a stately pile of buildings, and the hall windows as the largest of the kind in the kingdom. It has long ago been destroyed, and the site occupied by a farm house.

Dunveth was also a scat of the Tredenecks. It was sold by Lewis Tredeneck to Robert Wilton ; whose grandson, in 1702, conveyed it to Sir John Molesworth, in whose family it still remains, as does Treraven, formerly a seat of the Pierces, , as lessees.

Trevanion was formerly the property of the Phillipps family, of Rosemellin, in Roche. It was sold by the late Rev. William Phillipps-Flamank, rector of Lanivet, the represen tative of that family, to Mr. Thomas Werry, from whom it has passed to Mr. Thomas Cleave.

The principal landowners of this parish are Charles Prideaux-Brune, Esq.; the repre sentatives of the late Rev. Francis Cole, vicar of S. Issey ; the heirs of the late Sir W. Molesworth, bait.; and the Messrs. Key.

The villages are Burlorne-Eglos, Hay, Penhale, Tredrusson, Trelill, and Trevanson. In a small field on the western side of the parish, stands a magnificent Kist-Vaen, or stone chest, in good preservation. Its elaborate structure marks the dignity of the person whom it commemorates. An artificial barrow appears to have been first raised, about forty paces in circumference, in the centre of which was left an oblong depression, three feet deep, inclosed by upright stones, leaving a vacant place for the body, eight feet in length, by three and a half over. On the outside of these, nine stones were placed in a perpendicular position, which supports a flat horizontal one, of irregular form, fourteen feet and a half long, eight feet in breadth in the broadest part, and about two feet in depth. A large fragment of this covering has been broken off, and lies at the foot of the parent mass. This Kist-Vaen, or Cromlech, may be considered as one of the finest remains of rude antiquity in the county.

At Penquean in this parish, a slate quarry of some consideration has been worked for many years. Articles in slate are manufactured to a considerable degree of perfection, especially chimney pieces, water tanks, and drains. Flooring is also prepared, as well as roofing slate, &c.

The following list of rectors is preserved: — John Wylbor, 1536; William Peterson, D.D., ejected during the interregnum ; James Innis, during the usurpation ; William Peterson, D.D., restored 1660, died 1661 ; William Reade, 1090; Joseph Whiteborne, 1703 ; Charles Pole, 1718 ; Robert Brynsker, 1737 ; R. Dennis, M.A., 1762, died- 1771 ; James Cory, 1772 ; John Molesworth, 1788 ; John Rouse, A.B., 1816; William Moles- worth, M.A., 1817 ; Joseph Benson, D.D., 1851 ; George Sayle-Prior, A.B., 1861, the present rector.

On the north and north-east parts of this parish, in the vicinity of the Camel, the land is fertile, resting on a rock which sometimes resembles a caleareous schist, but more commonly that kind of clay slate which abounds in the caleareous scries. This slate at Penquean splits into very thin leaves, and is quarried as a roofing slate, but is softer, and has less lustre, and is not so durable as that raised at Delabole. The south and south west parts of the parish consist of barren downs ; the rocks forming the substratum is, however, very similar in appearance to what occurs in the other division ; but it contains more silex and is less laminated, does not easily cleave, and is less susceptible of decomposition than the former, and therefore produces only a meagre arenaceous soil.

Wadebridge History Timeline

1312 Licence granted for Wade to hold a market.
1460 Reverend Thomas Lovibond commenced building the bridge.
1646 Oliver Cromwell and his men arrived at Wadebridge to take control of the bridge.
1793 A shipping canal from Wadebridge to Fowey was surveyed.
1834 The Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway carried its first passengers.
1845 The Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway became part of the London and South Western Railway
1852 The Bridge was widened from 3m to 5m.
1888 The Town Hall (then known as the Molesworth Hall) was completed.
1888 The Bodmin and Wadebridge railway was connected to the Great Western Railway.
1894 Wadebridge Town Football Club was founded.
1895 The London and South Western Railway, reached Wadebridge from Halwill Junction and Launceston.
1897 A serious outbreak of typhoid in the town led to better water supplies being implemented.
1899 The Bodmin and Wadebridge railway was extended to Padstow.
1930 The Cinedrome (now the Regal) opened to its first customers.
1955 Wadebridge Camels RFC was founded.
1960 Wadebridge was chosen as the permanent site of the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Show.
1963 The Bridge was widened from 5m to 12m.
1967 The railway line was closed to passengers.
1991 The Challenge Bridge was completed.
1993 The Wadebridge Bypass was completed.



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