Bodmin, Cornwall

bodmin cornwall towns

Bodmin was once the county town of Cornwall, and has a long history. Its name comes from the Cornish "bod" (dwelling) and "monegh" (monks). St Petroc's Monastery was founded here in the 6th century by St Guron and St Petroc. By 1086, The Domesday Book records that it was the only town in Cornwall to have a market. It has Cornwall's largest parish church (Truro has the cathedral), and had the judicial Crown Court from 1835, until they were transferred to Truro in 1988. Bodmin saw a number of Cornish rebellions down te centuries, particularly with Thomas Flamank's march to London in 1497 protesting against tax. Today Bodmin has declined in commercial importance, does not attract much tourist trade.

St Petroc’s Church in Bodmin town centre, is mainly 15th century church, the largest in Cornwall (with remains of monastery and priory) and holds St Petroc's Casket (c1170). The present Church was built between 1469 and 1472

Bodmin Gaol , notorious over the years and hosting many public executions, is now no longer a prison, and is open to the public. It was built in 1777 to replace replaced the old Debtor’s Prison (now the Hole-In-The-Wall Pub). The Prison was rebuilt over the years to increase its cell space (in the 1840sand in the 1850s). 55 hangings took place here (51 were public hangings,that being the custom at the time). The last public hanging was in 1909 , and the prison closed in 1922. The Crown Jewels and Doomsday Book were stored at the gaol during the First World War.

The stone cross by the prison wall marks the start of the Camel Trail Cycle Way .

Turret Clock, marks the site of the ancient Butter Market.

Bodmin was linked to the port at Wadebridge by one of the earliest railways in the country . And today you can ride on a steam train on the private Bodmin and Wentford Steam Railway. This railway is Cornwall's only standard gauge railway which is still operated by steam locomotives. The Railway shows you a typical branch line in the 1950's, before Dr Beeching made his cuts. Great Western steam tank engines are the main locomotives. The main station on the line is at Bodmin General. An intermediate station at Boscarne Junction gives a direct link with the "Camel Trail", which in fact follows the route of the old Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway. Bodmin Parkway station is on the main rail line from London to Penzance and you can walk along the old carriage drive to Lanhydrock House from here.

Mount Folly on which Shire Hall and The Town Museum stand is pleasantly landscaped with seating, trees and hanging baskets.

Bodmin Town Museum (charts the history of Bodmin up to the end of the second world war). This local history museum displays photographs and exhibits covering geology, WWI and WWII memorabilia, agricultural history, and among other things a 1770 fire engine. Entrance is free, and the museum can be found on Mount Folly, 100 yards from the main car park.

Shire Hall is on Mount Folly, and is Grade 11* Listed building. Shire Hall once housed the Assize Courts and remained the County Court until 1988. It was built in 1837-38. In 1988, the Courts moved to Truro and Shire Hall remained empty until in 1999. It was fully restored and re-opened by the Queen in June 2000 as part of the town’s Millenium Celebrations. The Hall now houses Bodmin's Tourist Information Centre plus interesting attractions such as the 'Charlotte Dymond Court Room Experience'.

The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Museum (history of the regiment from 1702, plus a military library). The original barracks of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry are now the Regimental Museum and was founded in 1925. A fine collection of small arms and machine guns, plus maps, uniforms, paintings. At The Keep, Lostwithiel Road (a 5-minute walk from the town centre).

Bodmin Beacon is a 144 ft obelisk to Lt.-Gen. Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert (1785-1853). He was a descendant of Sir Walter Raleigh, and it commemorates his services in India.It can be seen from most places in the town. The Beacon was erected in 1856. In 1994, the Beacon was declared a Local Nature Reserve. 18,000 trees have been planted to develop a community woodland.

Bodmin Moor is of course beyond the town, and you may want to read about the Beast of Bodmin Moor

Bodmin Town Council - The town council have this page with a full history of the town
Camel Trail
Cardinham Woods Nature Trails
Lanhydrock (National Trust)
Pencarrow House

Bodmin, Cornwall Genealogical information from Genuki

Around Bodmin (Archive Photographs: Images of England S.) John Neale

Return to Map of Cornwall - Gazetteer