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Liskeard - Cornwall

Postal Town: Liskeard (PL14)

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Liskeard is a traditional Cornish town that has been built on the prosperity of mining minerals, especially tin.

It is an important cattle market town and enjoys a beautiful location a little in land from the coast and in the foot hills of Bodmin Moor

©Alan Page

Liskeard, history and present-day details

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Liskeard, pronounced Lis-card, is believed to come from the Cornish Lys Kerwyd, which means Kerwyd’s Court or seat of justice. There are no records of who Kerwyd might be, but records suggest that it is Kerryt rather than Kerwyd, and Kerryt means, a local chief or king. So it seems that Liskeard has been an important administrative centre for considerable time.

Indeed, the town is mentioned in the 1086 Doomesday survey, which describes Liskeard as a farming community of land owned by a lordship with 20 slaves, surrounded by 35 villages and 37 small holdings

Liskeard was charteres as a town in 1240. Liskeard became the main mineral market for SE Cornwall and was also a Stannary centre for the assaying of tin (latin: stannum) that would have been mined in the south Bodmin moor region. Liskeard was also an important wool trading town.

Stuart House, which stands in the main Parade, is so called because King Charles I (Charles Stuart) stayed there for several nights in 1644 during the English civil war.

In its quest to trade and ship local produce and minerals, a canal between Liskeard and Looe was built in 1827. Just nine years later in 1836, how fortunate a decision was this, as large amounts of tin were discovered on Caradon Hill, resulting in a boom and much prosperity for Liskeard. Tin was transported from the local mines into Liskeard to be assayed and taxes raised. From here it was transported by the canal to Looe and shipped all over the world. Later in 1860, the Liskeard to Looe railway was opened.

The tin boom increased the population from 2,700 in 1801 to 6,500 in 1871. When in decline in 1890s, the population started to fall and was just 4,000 in 1901. Some 50 years later, the population was only 4,500.

Today, Liskeard is an important market town and a much visited town by thousands of holiday makers. Just over 8,000 people live in Liskeard

©Alan Page

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