Bodmin's History

For history lovers, Bodmin must be a paradise. It is Cornwall’s county town and holds onto that status despite Truro being the cathedral city of Cornwall.

The name Bodmin is generally interpreted as “dwelling of or by the sanctuary of monks” from the Cornish “Bod-meneghy”.

The history of the town can be relived in some of the town’s visitor attractions. For example, the Shire Hall, where the Visitor Information Centre is based was the former county assize courts

Bod is the Cornish word for abode or dwelling. In c975 and 1086 it was spelt Bodmine; in 1100 Botmenei; in 1253 Bodmen; in 1337 Bodman; and in 1522 Bodmyn.

Old Bodmin

According to tradition, St Petroc travelled from Padstow to Bodmin early in the 6th century, where he took over an existing monastic settlement established earlier by Uuren, a hermit and later to be known as St Guron.

The monastery developed acquiring extensive land holdings and during the 9th century Bodmin is believed to have been known as Dinurrin and to have been the seat of the Cornish Bishop Kenstec.


By the time of the Domesday survey in 1086 Bodmin had become the most important religious centre in Cornwall, with the shrine housing the relics of St Petroc a focal point for pilgrims. Bodmin was then the largest town in the county, with a market and 68 dwellings. In the reign of Edward I in 1285 Bodmin became a Borough
Bodmin’s rich history is on show when you visit Bodmin today – From the interesting shop fronts in Fore Street to St Petrocs Church, the largest in Cornwall, there is plenty to give you a taste of what Bodmin was like in the past.

One way of delving a little deeper into Bodmin’s history is to go on a town trail – the Information Centre has a range of different ones available to buy either in advance of your visit or from the Information Centre shop when you arrive. The Information Centre also has some free trails like the Bodmin Well Trail which gives a fascinating tour around the town taking in all the ancient holy wells dotted around.

For more information or any advice please contact the Information Centre

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