ASt. Kew

St. Kew


A quiet saintly village

St. Kew Parish Council


The village of St. Kew is located three miles north-east of Wadebridge and about one mile north of the A30 Atlantic Highway road. The population of the village was 1,094 at the 2011 census.

St. Kew is mentioned in history earlier than any other place in Cornwall since it appears in the Life of St. Samson. The life includes an account of the saint visiting from Wales a monastery called Docco which was over the seas. Docco is said to have come with his sister Kew from Gwent in south Wales to Cornwall and founded at St. Kew a religious centre known as Lan Docco. St. Samson first visited Lan Docco when he came to Cornwall in the early 6th century, was greeted by Junavius and well treated there. This implies that Kew and Docco were either dead or not in charge of the centre by that time.

In 974, St. Kew was conveyed to Plympton priory "for the support of two canons". There was a chapel in this churchyard dedicated to St. Kew, remains being still evident in 1745 and also a holy well in the vicarage garden.

There is a Cornish cross at Polrode Mill; its original site is unknown and the head has been damaged. Job's Cross is on the road from Trewethern to St. Kew.

St. Kew was a large manor at the time of Domesday Book. There were five hides of land which included land for 22 ploughs. There were 59 villagers and 26 smallholders with 20 ploughs between them. Also one acre of meadow, 40 acres of pasture and a large woodland; the livestock were nine cattle and 120 sheep. The annual value was £6.

At Bokelly there are a Tudor barn and a house which was apparently re-fronted in the late 17th century. The farmhouse at Bokelly was built in the 16th century and re-modelled in the 18th; the outbuildings include a 16th century barn and 19th century granary and pigsties. In the late 16th century it was the home of William Carnsew who wrote about his visits to other important houses in Cornwall.

Pengenna is a 17th century manor house. The estate of Treharrack was submitted for public auction, by the owner Rev Gustavus Basset, on 8th October 1879; the estate consisted of approximately 230 acres, a mansion, stables, coach-house, walled garden, greenhouse, etc. Basset had purchased the property, some years previous, for £11,000 and in 1879 was bought by Mr Magor of Lamellyn for £7,700. The manor, which was dismembered in circa 1700, belonged to the Treharrick family many years before the Reformation and passed by marriage to the Cavell family. A new house was built on the site in 1820.

Spoil-tips survive of Trevinnick mine which produced antimony, lead and zinc in the latter part of the 19th century.

The 15th century parish church of St. James has important stained glass windows, including one depicting the Passion of Christ, which were restored in 2005. The windows were the most "memorable" part of Nikolaus Pevsner's visit. He also praised the pulpit: "Uncommonly good, Elizabethan, with ornamental panels ... ". He notes the carved capitals, the wagon roof, the 15th century font, bench ends, a 15th century cross-head and the Royal Arms, in stone. There is a curious Ogham stone, found in a local farm, in the church. According to Charles Henderson, writing in the Cornish Church Guide of 1925, the tracery and stonework of some windows at St. Kew may have been transferred here from Bodmin Parish Church. The dedication was originally to St. Docco but in the mid 15th century the patroness of a chapel nearby was transferred to the parish church when the church building was enlarged. Edward Benson, the Bishop of Truro re-opened the church on 24th July 1883 following a restoration.

St. Kew Highway railway station on the North Cornwall Railway opened on 1st June 1895, and had a passing loop and a single siding with head-shunt that served a goods shed and loading dock. Both lines through the station had platforms although the down platform had no buildings and was only accessible via a foot crossing at the down end of the station. The station building itself, like the goods shed, was substantially constructed out of local stone, as was the locking room of the signal box. The passing loop was extended in 1939, but the up loop, sidings and signal box were taken out of use on 21st November 1965 as goods services had ceased on 7th September the previous year. Traffic was never very heavy and by the late 1930's was averaging five passengers per day, less than a third of that ten years earlier. The station was unmanned from 6th December 1965 and closed on 3rd October 1966, although the building functioned for some time as a guest house but is now a private residence: it is partially visible from the A39.

The Cornwall Birdwatching and Preservation Society owns the Walmsley Sanctuary which covers over 49 acres on the River Amble, a tributary of the River Camel, with two bird-hides for use by its members. The sanctuary is nationally important for wintering waders and wildfowl. The sanctuary was purchased in 1939 with a legacy from Dr Robert Garrett Walmsley (d. 1939). The legacy was on condition that the society undertook "to provide and administer a Sanctuary for Migrating Waders within the Duchy of Cornwall".

The St. Kew Community Primary School campus includes an infant playground with sandpit, large general playground with quiet garden, playing field with adventure equipment and science garden. The building is all on one level and comprises three classrooms and additional teaching space. There is a work/artroom, library, reception and hall, with kitchen facilities. St. Kew School, originally located in the Parish Hall at the turn of the 20th century, moved to its present location in 1928. Further extension and improvement in 1991 added a complete new wing providing the school with a new kitchen, hall/dining room/gymnasium and workroom, staffroom, library and offices.

Notable Residents

Sir Edward Braddon, (1829-1904) premier of Tasmania, was born in St. Kew.

Rev Thomas Hutton, (1565–1639), Vicar of St. Kew (January 1607 until his death in December 1639) and author of "An Answer to Several Reasons for Refusall to Subscribe to the Book of Common Prayer" (1605).


Potteries in St. Kew


Cafes in St. Kew


Pubs in St. Kew

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