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13 November 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > History > Historic Walks > Bodmin Historic Walk

Bodmin's Shire Hall

Bodmin Historic Walk

BBC Cornwall takes a walk around the historic town of Bodmin. Learn more about the buildings and some of the people of the area. Listen to our audio walk and view the photos of the different places of interest within the town itself.

When the Doomsday survey was published Bodmin was registered as the most important religious centre in Cornwall.

Earlier still Bodmin is believed to have been known as Dinurrin and to have been the seat of the Cornish Bishop Kenstec.

Priory Park in Bodmin

The word 'Bodmin' is generally interpreted as 'dwelling of or by the sanctuary of monks' from the Cornish 'Bod-meneghy'.

Local Historian Peter Davies has lived in Cornwall since the end of the '60s. He was born in Wales but re-traced his family back to the county. In 1969 he moved to Bodmin and has lived there ever since.

A passionate supporter of the town, Peter regularly leads walks through the streets of Bodmin.

Peter took our reporter Matt Shepherd on a walk around Bodmin. Hear our weekly series by clicking on the links below. An additional part will be added to this page each week:

During the walk Peter and Matt stopped off at the various places of interest. Click on the link below to see the pictures:

Other facts about Bodmin

In 1086 Bodmin was the largest town in the county, with a market and 68 dwellings.

In the reign of Edward I in 1285 Bodmin became a Borough.

The wealth of the town in the late medieval period is demonstrated by the rebuilding of the parish church from 1469-72; it is the largest parish church in Cornwall.

A swan in Bodmin

A swan glides through Priory Park's pond

The Reformation and Civil War period brought a period of relative stagnation and in 1538 the town's Priory and other institutions were dissolved with the buildings re-used or demolished.

With the basic strength of the economy derived from trade in such as wool and leather Bodmin survived and in 1563 received a Royal Charter from Elizabeth I establishing it as a self governing town.

In the mid 18th century communications improved significantly when the moorland road to Launceston was adopted and improved by the Turnpike Trust. Several coaching inns were established and by 1801 there were 278 town houses and a population of almost 2000.

In the late 19th century Bodmin began to lose county functions to Truro when that town became Cornwall's cathedral city and the newly formed County Council was established there.

St Petroc's Church

The parish church of St Petroc

Bodmin's fine legacy of public buildings of the Georgian and early Victorian period were thus progressively abandoned rather than redeveloped. The courts finally closed in 1988.

Over the past few years, Bodmin has enjoyed something of a renaissance with the refurbishment of the Shire Hall and conversion from courthouse to busy heritage and visitor centre and the townscaping of the Mount Folly area.

Today Bodmin is the largest town in North Cornwall and is located near the geographical centre of Cornwall.

Bodmin is often referred to as the 'Gateway to the Moor'.

Find out more about Bodmin on the link below:

last updated: 15/08/2008 at 14:05
created: 01/08/2008

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