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A selection of unusual Cornish place names and their history

A selection of unusual Cornish place names and their history

With an office in every corner of the West Country, Stags has 145 years of experience across the region, from cities to hamlets, coastal cottages to towering townhouses. Here’s a few of the unusual place names we have come across in Cornwall and their presumed origins.


Minions is the highest village in Cornwall, steeped in the dramatic beauty of Bodmin Moor, and is rich in heritage and legend. The name is thought to derive from the Cornish Menyon, meaning ‘stones’, rather than any relation to the popular movie!



Chacewater lies in the heart of what was one of Cornwall’s most famous mining areas, and also comes into history as a hunting-ground of the early kings of Cornwall. The village is thought to be named after the Chase, referencing hunting, with the ‘water’ referring to the village’s stream.


Zennor is set amid rugged yet romantic coastal scenery, close to St Ives. The name is thought to derive from ‘St Sinar’ or ‘St Senara’, and to this day Zennor is famous for the medieval carving of a mermaid inside the parish church of St Senara, known as the Mermaid of Zennor.



A beautiful harbourside village which is peaceful and yet boasts a thriving fishing industry. The name Mevagissey is presumed to derive from ‘St Meva’ and ‘St Issey’, with the ag meaning ‘and’ in Middle Cornish.



A beautiful village tucked away in the rolling Cornish countryside, Polgooth has an extensive, and impressive, mining history. Despite this, the village is unusually named from the Cornish Pollgoodh for ‘Goose Pond’!



Lostwithiel is situated in a beautiful wooded valley at the upper reach of the River Fowey. The name is believed to come from the Old Cornish Lost-gwydhyel meaning 'the place at the tail of the forest', or more simply ‘at the end of the woodland’.

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