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The parish is named after the Old Cornish
for 'Dwelling place of Conoc'. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book of
1086 as Bochenod. At that time, it is recorded as having land for 8
ploughs but only one plough there with one slave. There were 2 villagers
and 6 smallholders. The parish then consisted of 100 acres of woodland and
40 acres of pasture.
Boconnoc is situated in the deanery and Hundred of West; it has on its
north Broadoak (Braddock), on the east Lanreath, on the south St Veep, and
on the west St Winnow.
The parsonage and glebe of Boconnoc were annexed to the park and grounds
of Boconnoc House, by Act of Parliament, in 1806 when a new rectory house
was built at Broadoak (Bradock) to serve both parishes. The old parsonage
became the home of the Steward of the Boconnoc Estate, and is located
behind Boconnoc House in a secluded valley, among majestic trees.
Three miles east of Lostwithiel, Boconnoc can trace its history back to
the Normans. The estate and house were taxed in the Domesday Roll
A.D.1087. The first recorded owners were the De Cant family (1268) and in
1320 - 1386, the Manor was owned by the Carminows. Latterly by Sir Oliver
Carminow who married a daughter of Joan Holland (The Fair Maid of Kent), a
grand-daughter of Edward I who married the Black Prince as her second
husband, for whom the Duchy of Cornwall was created. Through the
centuries, Boconnoc has been associated with many of this country's famous
names and history-makers including Lord Russell, Earl of Bedford who sold
Boconnoc in 1579 to Sir WilliamMohun who rebuilt it. Later, Thomas Pitt
purchased the estate with the proceeds of the famous Pitt Diamond which he
sold to the Regent of France where it ended up in the hilt of Napoleon's
sword. Pitt's grandson, William, became Prime Minister. Eventually, the
estate was bequeathed to the Fortescue family who still own it although,
since 1969 the house has not been lived in due to deterioration and
During the Second World War, Boconnoc House and the surrounding buildings
were occupied by American troops and the grounds used as an ammunition
dump in preparation for the invasion of Europe in 1944. In the grounds
(actually the largest park in Cornwall) can be seen the church, of which
the dedication is unknown, but was thought to have been consecrated in
1413. The most prominent monument is the Obelisk which is 123 feet high
and was erected in 1771 by Thomas Pitt, 1st Lord Camelford, in memory of
his wife's uncle and benefactor, Sir Richard Lyttelton. It is situated
between Boconnoc and Braddock churches in the middle of an old military
entrenchment near to where the Battle of Braddock Down was fought in the
Civil War 1642-1646. During this period Boconnoc was involved in two
significant battles. In January 1643 the Parliament forces under Col.
Ruthven impatiently attempted to enter Cornwall, which was strongly
Royalist. The opposing forces met near Braddock Church, the Royalists
being commanded by Bevil Grenville and Ralph Hopton (both subsequently
Knighted) marching from Boconnoc Park where they had bivouacked overnight.
In a short time the Parliament forces were routed. A more important clash
took place the following year when the King's cause was beginning to wane.
Lord Robartes of Lanhydrock (a sour Puritan) had indicated to the Earl of
Essex, then commander-in-chief of the Parliament Army, that the Cornish
were ready to surrender. Essex marched into the west, to be met by a
strong force under Richard Grenville and Lord Goring and found he was
pursued from the east by no less a person than the King with an a army of
several thousands. The King made his headquarters at Boconnoc and the
unfortunate Roundheads were gradually squeezed into Lostwithiel and Fowey,
to their ultimate surrender at Castle Dore.
There are approximately 100 head of deer in the Deer Park contained within
the grounds and also a garden of 20 acres which is open in the Spring for
various charities. Boconnoc House and Park have been used for numerous
film locations including the BBC Poldark series and scenes from the 1993
film of The Three Musketeers.