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Liskeard is an ancient stannary and market town
Market town
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the medieval period, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city...

 and civil parish in south east Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...


Liskeard is situated approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

, 14 miles (22.5 km) west of the River Tamar
River Tamar
The Tamar is a river in South West England, that forms most of the border between Devon and Cornwall . It is one of several British rivers whose ancient name is assumed to be derived from a prehistoric river word apparently meaning "dark flowing" and which it shares with the River Thames.The...

 and the border with Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

, and 12 miles (20 km) east of Bodmin
Bodmin is a civil parish and major town in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is situated in the centre of the county southwest of Bodmin Moor.The extent of the civil parish corresponds fairly closely to that of the town so is mostly urban in character...

. The town is at the head of the Looe
River Looe
The River Looe is a river in south-east Cornwall, which flows into the English Channel at Looe. It has two main branches, the East Looe River and the West Looe River....

 valley in the ancient hundred of West Wivelshire
East Wivelshire and West Wivelshire are two of the ancient Hundreds of Cornwall.East and West must have originally had a Cornish name but it is not recorded - see Lost wydhyel; the second element gwydhyow meaning 'trees' -...

 and has a population of 8,656. Liskeard was the base of the former Caradon District
Caradon was a local government district in Cornwall, United Kingdom. It contained five towns: Callington, Liskeard, Looe, Saltash and Torpoint, and over 80 villages and hamlets within 41 civil parishes...

 Council and it still has a town council.

The coves and resorts of the south Cornish coast are within easy reach to the south of Liskeard. Bodmin Moor
Bodmin Moor
Bodmin Moor is a granite moorland in northeastern Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is in size, and originally dates from the Carboniferous period of geological history....

 lies to the northwest. The A38
A38 road
The A38, part of which is also known as the Devon Expressway, is a major A-class trunk road in England.The road runs from Bodmin in Cornwall to Mansfield in Nottinghamshire. It is long, making it one of the longest A-roads in England. It was formerly known as the Leeds — Exeter Trunk Road,...

 trunk road used to pass through the town centre but a dual carriageway
Dual carriageway
A dual carriageway is a class of highway with two carriageways for traffic travelling in opposite directions separated by a central reservation...

Bypass (road)
A bypass is a road or highway that avoids or "bypasses" a built-up area, town, or village, to let through traffic flow without interference from local traffic, to reduce congestion in the built-up area, and to improve road safety....

 now carries traffic south of the town leaving the town centre accessible but with low traffic levels.


The placename element Lis, along with ancient privileges accorded the town, indicates that the settlement was once a high status 'court'. A Norman castle was built here after the Conquest, which eventually fell into disuse in the later Middle Ages. By 1538 when visited by John Leland only a few insignificant remains were to be seen. Sir Richard Carew
Richard Carew
Richard Carew was a Cornish translator and antiquary.A county gentleman of Cornwall, the eldest son of Thomas Carew, he was educated at Christ Church, Oxford where he was a contemporary of Sir Philip Sidney and William Camden, and then at the Middle Temple...

 writing in 1602 concurred;
Liskeard was one of the 17 Antiqua maneria
Antiqua maneria
The Antiqua maneria were the original 17 manors belonging to the Earldom of Cornwall.After March 1337 these manors passed to the new Duchy of Cornwall which was created by King Edward III to give financial support to his son Edward, the Black Prince .The table below shows the 17 Antiqua maneria...

 of the Duchy of Cornwall. The market charter
A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified...

 was granted by Richard, Earl of Cornwall (brother of Henry III
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

) in 1240. Since then, it has been an important centre for agriculture.

When Wilkie Collins
Wilkie Collins
William Wilkie Collins was an English novelist, playwright, and author of short stories. He was very popular during the Victorian era and wrote 30 novels, more than 60 short stories, 14 plays, and over 100 non-fiction pieces...

 wrote of his visit to the town in his Rambles beyond Railways he had a low opinion of it: "that abomination of desolation, a large agricultural country town". The town went through a period of economic prosperity during the pre-20th century boom in tin mining, becoming a key centre in the industry as a location for a stannary
The word stannary is historically applied to:*A tin mine, especially in Cornwall or Devon, South West England*A region containing tin works *A chartered entity comprising such a region, its works, and its workers...

 and coinage
Tin coinage
In Devon and Cornwall, tin coinage was a tax on refined tin, payable to the Crown and administered in the Stannary Towns. The oldest surviving records of coinage show that it was collected in 1156. It was abolished in 1838....


Present day

Liskeard is one of the few towns in Cornwall still to have a weekly livestock market. Market day is Thursday.

Local business largely comprises small independent establishments, many specialising in unique local products. Some shops retain original Victorian shopfronts and interiors.

Liskeard is a popular local town serving a wide local area of small villages and is one of the main gateways to Bodmin Moor. There is a good range of restaurants, cafes and pubs in the town.

Liskeard puts on a pantomime in the last week of January with 2 nights free entry for the OAPs and holds a very popular carnival every June all arranged by the Liskeard Lions. St Matthew's Fair was originally established by charter in 1266, the Liskeard Lions' Club re-established the fair in 1976 which runs in September/October. Every December the town comes together for Liskeard Lights Up, Street entertainment and fun activities throughout the day and a lantern parade around the streets before the Christmas lights are switches on

Every July Liskeard holds one of the biggest agricultural shows in the region. The Liskeard Show is always held on the second Saturday in July.http://www.liskeardshow.org



Liskeard has an oceanic climate
Oceanic climate
An oceanic climate, also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, Cascadian climate and British climate for Köppen climate classification Cfb and subtropical highland for Köppen Cfb or Cwb, is a type of climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of some of the...

 (Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...


Notable buildings

The town boasts St. Martin's, the third largest church in Cornwall (after Truro Cathedral
Truro Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Truro is an Anglican cathedral located in the city of Truro, Cornwall, in the United Kingdom. It was built in the Gothic Revival architectural style fashionable during much of the nineteenth century, and is one of only three cathedrals in the United Kingdom...

 and Bodmin Parish Church
Bodmin Parish Church
Bodmin Parish Church is an Anglican church in Bodmin, Cornwall, United Kingdom.The existing church building is dated 1469-72 and was until the building of Truro Cathedral the largest church in Cornwall...

). Built on the site of the former Norman church, the oldest parts of the current structure date back to the 15th century. Other places of worship include a Roman Catholic church and Methodist chapels.
  • Foresters Hall now houses the Tourist Information Office and Liskeard & District Museum. The Foresters still meet in the town at the Public Rooms in West Street.
  • Stuart House (on The Parade) was used by Charles I
    Charles I of England
    Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

     as a lodging in 1644, when his forces were chasing the Parliamentarians. Restored, it is now used as a community building for arts, heritage and community events
  • Luxstowe House (1831). Designed by George Wightwick for William Glencross.
  • The Guildhall was built in 1859 and has a prominent clock tower.
  • The Public Hall was constructed in 1890.
  • Webb's House
    The Cornish Times
    The Cornish Times is a weekly newspaper, published every Friday from offices in Liskeard, Cornwall, United Kingdom. The offices are currently based in the former Webb's Hotel building . It covers all of South East Cornwall, including Callington, Fowey, Liskeard, Looe, Saltash and Torpoint. It has...

     (formerly Webb's Hotel) is a classic early Victorian market-town hotel featuring in royal visits, parliamentary declarations and much more but recently converted into flats and is the home of the local newspaper The Cornish Times.
  • Pencubitt House was built in 1897 for J. H. Blamey, a wealthy wool merchant. The house was designed by local architect John Sansom, responsible for many Liskeard homes of that period.
  • The Liskeard Union Workhouse, architect John Foulston
    John Foulston
    John Foulston was an English architect. He was a pupil of Thomas Hardwick and set up a practice in London in 1796. In 1810 he won a competition to design the Royal Hotel and Theatre group of buildings in Plymouth, Devon, and after relocating he remained the leading architect for twenty-five...

     of Plymouth (later the Lamellion Hospital).


For further details of the parliamentary history of the town see Liskeard (UK Parliament constituency)
Liskeard (UK Parliament constituency)
Liskeard was a parliamentary borough in Cornwall, which elected two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons from 1295 until 1832, and then one member from 1832 until 1885, when the borough was abolished.- History :...

In the year 1294, Liskeard began to send two members to Parliament, but this was reduced to one by the 1832 Reform Act
Reform Act 1832
The Representation of the People Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament that introduced wide-ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales...

. The MPs
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 included Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament...

, author of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a non-fiction history book written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776, and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788–89...

, and Isaac Foot
Isaac Foot
-Early life:Isaac Foot was born in Plymouth, the son of a carpenter and undertaker, and educated at Plymouth Public School and the Hoe Grammar School, which he left at the age of 14. He then worked at the Admiralty in London, but returned to Plymouth to train as a solicitor...


Liskeard is now part of the South East Cornwall constituency, and is presently represented by Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 Sheryll Murray
Sheryll Murray
Sheryll Murray is a Conservative Party politician. She has been the Member of Parliament for South East Cornwall since the 2010 general election.-Early life:...


The first school in Liskeard was founded in 1550 on Castle Hill. For a time it was maintained by the Earls of St Germans, but it closed around 1834 due to a decline in numbers and financial difficulties. From 1835 a series of private schools existed in the borough, until 1908 when Cornwall Education Committee built the County School at Old Road. From 1945 it was known as Liskeard Grammar School
Liskeard Grammar School
Liskeard Grammar School in Liskeard, Cornwall dates back to 1550. In its most recent incarnation it was originally known as the County School, and was built by the Cornwall Education Committee. It opened in Old Road, Liskeard in 1908....

 until September 1978 when it became the Lower School site of Liskeard School, following amalgamation with the town's secondary modern school
Secondary modern school
A secondary modern school is a type of secondary school that existed in most of the United Kingdom from 1944 until the early 1970s, under the Tripartite System, and was designed for the majority of pupils - those who do not achieve scores in the top 25% of the eleven plus examination...


Liskeard County Secondary School received its first pupils on Monday 12 September 1960, and was formally opened by the Minister of Education, Sir David Eccles on 7 July the following year. Costing £100,000, it was built to accommodate around 500 pupils on the site of the current school at Luxtowe. Its glass and steel structure made "free use of fresh air and sunlight" according to local newspaper reports, whilst other modern features included a well-equipped gymnasium, automated central heating and synchronised clocks across the school, operated from the secretary's office. A new block was opened by the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher, Secretary of State for Education and Science in 1974, following the raising of the school leaving age from 15 years to 16, two years earlier. Like many similar secondary schools in Cornwall, from the late 1970s it housed the Upper School (3rd Year / Year 9 upwards), when it merged with the town's grammar school to create a split-site comprehensive
Comprehensive may refer to:*Comprehensive layout, the page layout of a proposed design as initially presented by the designer to a client*Comprehensive school, a state school that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude...


Twenty years later, with increased pupil numbers requiring many to be taught in temporary buildings, the need for improvements to Liskeard's secondary and primary schools was being raised in Parliament. By the late 1990s, Liskeard School and Community College had been extended at Luxstowe, and the Old Road site closed and redeveloped for housing. Further multi-million pound science and technology facilities were added in 2002, and the original 1960s and 1970s buildings were completely modernised by 2011. As Cornwall's only school with an engineering speciality, it now caters for approximately 1300 students aged between 11 and 19, and employs around 200 teaching and non-teaching, full- and part-time staff. It also has a creche, a teenage advice and information service, a centre for children with autism, and facilities at Moorswater
Moorswater is an industrial suburb of Liskeard in Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is situated approximately half-a-mile west of Liskeard town centre....

 where some engineering-based courses are taught.

There are two primary schools in Liskeard: St Martin's Church of England (Voluntary Aided) School in Lake Lane and Hillfort Primary School on Old Road. The latter was opened in September 2006 following the renaming of Liskeard Junior School after its merger with Liskeard Infant School.

Caradon Short Stay School (previously known as a Pupil Referral Unit
Pupil referral unit
In the UK, a Pupil Referral Unit is a centre for children who are not able to attend a mainstream or special school. Each local education authority has a duty to make arrangements for the provision of education in or out of school for all children of compulsory school age...

) is located in West Street, on the site of the former Liskeard Infant School. It provides education for students aged 11–16 from across south east Cornwall who are unable to attend a mainstream school or special school. The nearest independent school
Independent school
An independent school is a school that is independent in its finances and governance; it is not dependent upon national or local government for financing its operations, nor reliant on taxpayer contributions, and is instead funded by a combination of tuition charges, gifts, and in some cases the...

s are in Plymouth and Tavistock.


Liskeard railway station
Liskeard railway station
Liskeard station serves the town of Liskeard in Cornwall, England. The station is west of Plymouth on the Cornish Main Line and it is the junction for the Looe Valley Line.-History:-Cornwall Railway:...

, on the London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to Penzance
Penzance is a town, civil parish, and port in Cornwall, England, in the United Kingdom. It is the most westerly major town in Cornwall and is approximately 75 miles west of Plymouth and 300 miles west-southwest of London...

 Cornish Main Line
Cornish Main Line
The Cornish Main Line is a railway line in the United Kingdom, which forms the backbone for rail services in Cornwall, as well as providing a direct line to London.- History :...

, and the A38
A38 road
The A38, part of which is also known as the Devon Expressway, is a major A-class trunk road in England.The road runs from Bodmin in Cornwall to Mansfield in Nottinghamshire. It is long, making it one of the longest A-roads in England. It was formerly known as the Leeds — Exeter Trunk Road,...

 trunk road provide the town with rapid access to Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

, the rest of Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 and the motorway network. The town is also served by the Looe Valley branch line
Looe Valley Line
The Looe Valley Line is an community railway from Liskeard to Looe in Cornwall, United Kingdom, that follows the valley of the East Looe River for much of its course...

 to Looe
Looe is a small coastal town, fishing port and civil parish in the former Caradon district of south-east Cornwall, England, with a population of 5,280 . Looe is divided in two by the River Looe, East Looe and West Looe being connected by a bridge...

. There are regular bus services to various parts of Cornwall.

Leisure and sports

There is a leisure centre at Lux Park
Lux Park
Lux Park Leisure Centre is a leisure centre in the town of Liskeard which also serves the surrounding area. The centre began in the 1970s as an outdoor swimming pool but has since been enlarged and has since won an award.- Facilities :...

 on the north side of the town: there is a bowling club on the southern side. The soccer, rugby and cricket clubs are all well-supported. The town has a King George V Playing Field
King George's Fields
A King George's Field is a public open space in the United Kingdom dedicated to the memory of King George V ....

. Live music and various theatrical events frequently take place in the unusual but acoustically good Carnglaze Caverns
Carnglaze Caverns
Carnglaze Caverns consists of three man-made caverns formed as part of a slate quarry in the Loveny Valley, near the village of St Neot, Liskeard, Cornwall, England...

 just to the north.

Leisure trails

There are three trails, each has its own blue commemorative plaque (these were unveiled by former town mayor, Sandra Preston).
  • Footpath from the town to the railway station: the path was built by Thomas Lang, who was a former mayor, in 1890.
  • Trail around the north of the town centre, including the Parade and the ornamental fountain. The fountain was given to the town by Michael Loam, whose father (also called Michael Loam
    Michael Loam
    Michael Loam was a Cornish engineer who introduced the first man engine into the UK....

    ) invented the Man engine
    Man engine
    A man engine is a mechanism of reciprocating ladders and stationary platforms installed in mines to assist the miners’ journeys to and from the working levels...

     (a device for lifting men up and down mineshafts, and used in many mines throughout Cornwall & West Devon).
  • Trail around the southern part of the town, commemorating Lt. Lapenotière
    John Richards Lapenotière
    Captain John Richards Lapenotière was a British Royal Navy officer who, as a lieutenant commanding the tiny topsail schooner HMS Pickle, observed the Battle of Trafalgar on the 21 October 1805, participated in the rescue operations which followed it and then carried the dispatches of the victory...

    , who brought back the news of the Battle of Trafalgar
    Battle of Trafalgar
    The Battle of Trafalgar was a sea battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars ....

     to England
    England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

    . For this Lt. Lapenotière was given a silver spice sprinkler by King George III. The sprinkler is still owned by the mayor's office, and is exhibited occasionally.


Liskeard has a sizeable Masonic presence with no fewer than 6 Masonic bodies meeting at the Masonic Hall in The Parade, (foundation dates in brackets)

St Martin's Lodge No. 510 (5 March 1845);

St Martin's Chapter No. 510 (2 November 1864);

St Martin's Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 379 (8 March 1887);

St Martin's Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 379 (4 May 1933);

Duchy Chapter of the Ancient & Accepted Rite of the Rose Croix of Heredom No. 289 (10 December 1931)

Duchy Conclave of the Order of the Secret Monitor No. 260 (8 April 1975)

People associated with the town

  • Richard Coad
    Richard Coad
    Richard Coad was a 19th century Cornish architect.Born in Liskeard, Cornwall, he was articled to Henry Rice of Liskeard and subsequently worked as assistant to Sir George Gilbert Scott from 1847 to 1864...

     - architect
  • Richard Hardinge
    Richard Hardinge
    Richard Hardinge was Groom to the Bedchamber to the then Prince of Wales .-Background:...

     (c1593-1658) - delivered message from King Charles II to Essex the parliamentarian at Liskeard Aug 1644
  • Emily Hobhouse
    Emily Hobhouse
    Emily Hobhouse was a British welfare campaigner, who is primarily remembered for bringing to the attention of the British public, and working to change, the poor conditions inside the British concentration camps in South Africa built for Boer women and children during the Second Boer War.-Early...

     - welfare campaigner
  • Joseph Jane
    Joseph Jane
    -Life:He was born into an old family which had long been influential in Liskeard, Cornwall. His father was mayor there in 1621, and 1625 he was himself mayor of Liskeard, and in 1640 was again returned to represent the borough in the Long Parliament....

     (d. 1658) - politician
  • William Henry Paynter
    William Henry Paynter
    William Henry Paynter was a Cornish antiquary and folklorist who specialised in collecting witch-stories and folklore during the 1920s and 1930s - crucial years when witch beliefs were in decline in Cornwall...

     - antiquarian and folklorist
  • Trevor Woodman
    Trevor Woodman
    Trevor James Woodman MBE is a former English rugby union footballer. He went to Liskeard School in Cornwall and won representative honours with Cornwall Under 16s....

     - former England rugby international, part of the 2003 Rugby World Cup
    2003 Rugby World Cup
    The 2003 Rugby World Cup was the fifth Rugby World Cup and was won by England. Originally planned to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, all games were shifted to Australia following a contractual dispute over ground signage rights between the New Zealand Rugby Football Union and Rugby World...

    winning team

External links