Truro Cathedral overlooking the city
Truro is located in Cornwall
Location within Cornwall
Population18,766 [1]
OS grid referenceSW825448
• London232 miles (373 km) ENE
Civil parish
  • Truro
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
  • Cornwall
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townTRURO
Postcode districtTR1-4
Dialling code01872
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
50°15′36″N 5°03′04″W / 50.260°N 5.051°W / 50.260; -5.051

Truro (/ˈtrʊər/ ; Cornish Standard Written Form: Truru)[2] is a cathedral city and civil parish in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is Cornwall's county town, sole city and a centre for administration, leisure and retail trading. Its population was 18,766 in the 2011 census.[1] People of Truro can be called Truronians. It grew as a trade centre through its port and as a stannary town for tin mining. It became mainland Britain's southernmost city in 1876, with the founding of the Diocese of Truro. It is home to Cornwall Council, the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro Cathedral, the Hall for Cornwall and Cornwall's Courts of Justice.


Truro's name may derive from the Cornish tri-veru meaning "three rivers", but authorities such as the Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names have doubts about the "tru" meaning "three". An expert on Cornish place-names, Oliver Padel, in A Popular Dictionary of Cornish Place-names, called the "three rivers" meaning "possible".[3] Alternatively the name may come from tre-uro or similar, i. e. settlement on the river Uro.[4][5]


A castle was built in the 12th century by Richard de Luci, Chief Justice of England in the reign of Henry II, who for court services was granted land in Cornwall, including the area round the confluence of the two rivers. The town grew below the castle and gained borough status from further economic activity. The castle has long disappeared.[6]

Richard de Lucy fought in Cornwall under Count Alan of Brittany after leaving Falaise late in 1138. The small adulterine castle at Truro, Cornwall, originally the parish of Kenwyn, later known as "Castellum de Guelon", was probably built by him in 1139–1140. He styled himself "Richard de Lucy, de Trivereu". The castle passed to Reginald FitzRoy, an illegitimate son of Henry I, when he was invested by King Stephen as the first Earl of Cornwall. Reginald married Mabel FitzRichard, daughter of William FitzRichard, a major landholder in Cornwall. The 75-foot (23 m)-diameter castle was in ruins by 1270 and the motte was levelled in 1840. Today Truro Crown Court stands on the site. In a charter of about 1170, Reginald FitzRoy confirmed to Truro's burgesses the privileges granted by Richard de Lucy. Richard held ten knights' fees in Cornwall before 1135. At his death the county still accounted for a third of his considerable total holding.[7]

By the early 14th century Truro was a major port, due to an inland location away from invaders, to prosperity from the fishing industry, and to a role as a stannary town for assaying and stamping tin and copper from Cornish mines. The Black Death brought a trade recession and an exodus that left the town in a very neglected state. Trade and prosperity gradually returned in the Tudor period. Local government came in 1589 with a new charter of Elizabeth I giving it an elected mayor and control over the port of Falmouth.[8]

During the Civil War in the 17th century, Truro raised a sizeable force to fight for the king and a royalist mint was set up. Defeat by Parliamentary troops came after the Battle of Naseby in 1646, when the victorious General Fairfax led his army south-west to relieve Taunton and capture the Royalist-held West Country. The Royalist forces surrendered at Truro while leading Royalist commanders, including Lord Hopton, the Prince of Wales, Sir Edward Hyde, and Lord Capell, fled to Jersey from Falmouth.[9]

Later in the century, Falmouth gained its own charter, giving rights to its harbour and starting a long rivalry with Truro. The dispute was settled in 1709 with control of the River Fal divided between them. The arms of Truro city are "Gules the base wavy of six Argent and Azure, thereon an ancient ship of three masts under sail, on each topmast a banner of St George, on the waves in base two fishes of the second."[10]

Boscawen Street in 1810

Truro prospered in the 18th and 19th centuries through improved mining methods and higher prices for tin, and its consequent attraction to wealthy mine-owners. Elegant Georgian and Victorian townhouses of the period can be seen today in Lemon Street, named after the mining magnate and local Member of Parliament Sir William Lemon. Truro became the centre for county society, even dubbed "the London of Cornwall".[11]

The Cathedral in 1905, before completion of the spires

Through those prosperous times Truro remained a social centre. Among the many notables were Richard Lander, the first European explorer to reach the mouth of the River Niger in Africa and was awarded the first gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society, and Henry Martyn, who read mathematics at Cambridge, was ordained and became a missionary, translating the New Testament into Urdu and Persian. Others include Humphry Davy, educated in Truro and the inventor of the miner's safety lamp, and Samuel Foote, an actor and playwright from Boscawen Street.[12]

Truro's importance increased later in the 19th century with an iron-smelting works, potteries, and tanneries. From the 1860s, the Great Western Railway provided a direct link to London Paddington. The Bishopric of Truro Act 1876 gave the town a bishop and later a cathedral. In 1877 it gained city status. The New Bridge Street drill hall was completed in the late 19th century.[13]


River Kenwyn which converges with the Allen to become the River Truro

Truro lies in the centre of western Cornwall, about 9 miles (14 kilometres) from the south coast, at the confluence of the rivers Kenwyn and Allen, which combine as the Truro River – one of a series of waterways and drowned valleys leading into the River Fal and then the large natural harbour of Carrick Roads. The valleys form a steep bowl surrounding the city on the north, east and west, open to the Truro River in the south. This shape, along with high precipitation that swells the rivers and a spring tide in the River Fal, were major factors in the 1988 floods that seriously damaged the city centre. Since then, flood defences have been constructed, including an emergency dam at New Mill on the River Kenwyn and a tidal barrier on the Truro River.

The city is amidst several protected natural areas such as the historic parklands at Pencalenick and areas of ornamental landscape such as Trelissick Garden and Tregothnan down the Truro River. An area south-east of the city, including Calenick Creek, has been included in the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Other protected zones include an Area of Great Landscape Value comprising farmland and wooded valleys to the north east, and Daubuz Moors, a local nature reserve by the River Allen, close to the city centre.

Truro has mainly grown and developed round the historic city centre in a nuclear fashion along the slopes of the bowl valley, except for fast linear development along the A390 to the west, towards Threemilestone. As Truro grew, it encompassed other settlements as suburbs or districts, including Kenwyn and Moresk to the north, Trelander to the east, Newham to the south, and Highertown, Treliske and Gloweth to the west.


The Truro area, like the rest of Cornwall, has an oceanic climate. This means fewer extremes in temperature than elsewhere in England, marked by high rainfall, cool summers and mild winters with infrequent frosts.

Demography and economy

Sunday morning on Pydar Street

The Truro urban area, including parts of surrounding parishes, had a 2001 census population of 20,920.[14] By 2011 the population, including Threemilestone, was 23,040. Its status as the county's prime destination for retail and leisure and administration is unusual in that it is only its fourth most populous settlement.[14] Indeed, population growth at 10.5 per cent between 1971 and 1998 was slow compared with other Cornish towns and Cornwall.[out of date]

Major employers include the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Cornwall Council and Truro College. There are about 22,000 jobs available in Truro, but only 9,500 economically active people living there, which make commuting a major factor in its traffic congestion. Average earnings are higher than elsewhere in Cornwall.

Housing prices in Truro in the 2000s were 8 or more per cent higher than in the rest of Cornwall. Truro was named in 2006 as the top small city in the United Kingdom for rising house prices, at 262 per cent since 1996.[15]


The west front of Truro Cathedral
The north front of the Hall for Cornwall


Truro's dominant feature is the Gothic-revival Truro Cathedral, designed by architect John Loughborough Pearson, rising 249 ft (76 m) above the city at its highest spire.[16] It was built in 1880–1910 on the site of St Mary's Church, consecrated over 600 years earlier. Georgian architecture is well represented, with terraces and townhouses along Walsingham Place and Lemon Street often said to be "the finest examples of Georgian architecture west of the city of Bath".[17]

The main attraction to the region is a wide variety of shopping facilities. Truro has various chain stores, speciality shops and markets that reflect its history as a market town. The indoor Pannier Market is open all year with many stalls and small businesses. The city is also popular for catering and night life, with bars, clubs and restaurants. It houses the Hall for Cornwall, a performing arts and entertainment venue.[18]

The Royal Cornwall Museum is the oldest and premier museum of Cornish history and culture. Its collections cover fields such as archaeology, art and geology. Among the exhibits is the so-called Arthur's inscribed stone. Its parks and open spaces include Victoria Gardens, Boscawen Park and Daubuz Moors.


Lemon Quay

Lemon Quay is the year-round centre of most festivities in Truro.

In April, Truro prepares to partake in the Britain in Bloom competition, with floral displays and hanging baskets dotted around the city throughout the summer. A "continental market" comes to Truro in the holiday-making season, featuring food and craft stalls from France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece and elsewhere.

The Truro City Carnival, held every September over a weekend, includes various arts and music performances, children's activities, a fireworks display, food and drinks fairs, a circus, and a parade. A half-marathon organised by Truro Running Club also occurs in September, running from the city centre into the country towards Kea, returning to finish at Lemon Quay.

A Celtic cross at High Cross near the cathedral

Truro's Christmas includes a Winter Festival with a "City of Lights" paper lantern parade. Local schools, colleges, and community and youth groups join in.[19][20]


Truro temporarily hosted the Cornish Pirates rugby union club in the 2005–2006 season, but it moved again for 2006–2007 to share the ground of Camborne RFC.[21] In April 2018, the construction of a Stadium for Cornwall was discussed with Cornwall Council, which had pledged £3 million for the £14.3 million project.[22] It is planned for a site in Threemilestone.[23] The town's remaining rugby union side, Truro RFC, founded in 1885. It belongs to Tribute Western Counties West and plays home games at St Clements Hill. It has hosted the CRFU Cornwall Cup several times.

Truro City F.C., a football team in the National League South, is the only Cornish club ever to reach this tier of the English football league system. It achieved national recognition by winning the FA Vase in 2007 against A.F.C. Totton in only the second final at the new Wembley Stadium, becoming the first Cornish side ever to win that award. Its home ground is Treyew Road. Cornwall County Cricket Club plays some home fixtures at Boscawen Park, also the home ground of Truro Cricket Club.

Truro Fencing Club[24] is a national flagship, having won numerous national championships and supplied three fencers for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics.

Other sports amenities include a leisure centre, golf course and tennis courts.

Cornish wrestling

Truro has been a centre for Cornish wrestling for centuries.[25][26][27] Before the formation of the Cornish Wrestling Association, the tournaments in Truro were often described as the "Great County Wrestling Matches"[28] and, with winners getting money prizes or silver medals,[29][30] silver cups[31][32] and silver belts.[33][34] A large number of venues have been used throughout Truro including various inns which put on tournaments such as the White Hart Inn,[35] Western Inn,[36] Ship Inn[37] and Victoria Inn.[38]

In the 1970s Truro Cathedral School taught Cornish wrestling as part of its physical education programme and was at this time the only school in Cornwall to do so.[39]

John Lander was a noted wrestler during the late 1700s and early 1800s. He was landlord of the Fighting Cocks Inn in Truro and was the father of the famous explorers John Lander and Richard Lander.[40]


Georgian architecture at Walsingham Place

Truro is the centre of Cornwall's local media. The county weeklies, the Cornish Guardian and The West Briton, are based there, the latter providing a Truro and Mid-Cornwall edition. The city also holds the studios of BBC Radio Cornwall, and those of the West district of ITV West Country, whose main studio is now in Bristol after a merger with ITV West. This closed the studio in Plymouth – the Westcountry Live programme was replaced by The West Country Tonight.


A mummers play text ascribed until recently to Mylor, Cornwall (quoted in studies of folk plays such as The Mummers Play by R. J. E. Tiddy – published posthumously in 1923 – and The English Folk-Play (1933) by E. K. Chambers), has now been shown by genealogical and other research to have originated in Truro about 1780.[41][42]

The traditional Nine Lessons and Carols at Christmas originated in Truro in 1880, when its bishop, Edward White Benson, began to provide chances for evening singing of carols before Christmas Day, often on Christmas Eve.[43]


Diagram of the alignment of Truro City Council directly after the 2021 local elections:
  Green Party: 4 seats
  Labour Party: 3 seats
  Liberal Democrats: 7 seats
  Independent: 5 seats
  Conservative Party: 4 seats
Map of Truro
  City/parish border
  Urban area

Truro City Council forms its basic level of government,[44] as one of 213 parish bodies in the county. Centred upstairs at the Municipal Buildings in Boscawen Street, it covers Truro's public library, parks and gardens, tourist information centre, toilets, allotments and cemeteries.[45] It also views planning issues and was involved in creating the Truro and Kenwyn Neighbourhood Plan in association with Cornwall Council. The city council has four wards – Boscawen and Redannick, Moresk and Trehaverne, Tregolls and Malabar – with 24 councillors elected for four-year terms.[46] It is affiliated to Truro Chamber of Commerce and other civic bodies.[47][48]

The city council comes under the unitary Cornwall Council, which is directly under central government.[49][50] Cornwall Council, a unitary authority, is based at Lys Kernow, formerly County Hall, west of the city centre. It covers planning, infrastructure, development and environmental issues. Truro seats four members on it, one from each of its wards: Truro Tregolls, Truro Boscawen and Redannick, Truro Moresk and Trehaverne and Gloweth, Malabar and Shortlanesend. Threemilestone and Chacewater, conurbations of the city, also elect a member.

Truro's borough court, first granted in 1153, became a free borough in 1589,[51] and a city in 1877, receiving letters patent after the Anglican diocese was placed there in 1876.[52] However, it forms the eighth smallest UK city in population, city council area and urban area.[53]


Truro is twinned with


Several towns outside Britain have taken Truro as their name:


Roads and bus services

Truro is 6 miles (9.7 km) from the A30 trunk road, to which it is linked by the A39 from Falmouth and Penryn. Also passing through is the A390 between Redruth to the west and Liskeard to the east, where it joins the A38 for Plymouth, Exeter and the M5 motorway. Truro as the southernmost city in the United Kingdom is just under 232 miles (373 km) west-south-west of Charing Cross, London.

The city and surroundings have extensive bus services, mainly from First Kernow and Transport for Cornwall. Most routes terminate at Truro bus station near Lemon Quay. A permanent Park and Ride scheme, known as Park for Truro, opened in August 2008. Buses based at Langarth Park in Threemilestone carry commuters into the city via Truro College, the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske, County Hall, Truro railway station, the Royal Cornwall Museum and Victoria Square, through to a second car park on the east side of Truro. Truro also has long-distance coach services run by National Express.


Carvedras Viaduct, built in 1859 by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It was replaced by a stone viaduct in 1904.

Truro railway station, about 1 mi (1.6 km) from the city centre, is on the Cornish Main Line with direct links to London Paddington and to the Midlands, North and Scotland. North-east of the station is a 28-metre-high (92-foot) stone viaduct with views over the city, cathedral and Truro River in the distance. The longest viaduct on the line, it replaced Isambard Kingdom Brunel's wooden Carvedras Viaduct in 1904. Connecting to the main line at Truro is the Maritime Line to Falmouth in the south.

The nameplate of preserved Great Western Railway locomotive City of Truro, built in 1903

Truro's first railway station, at Highertown, was opened in 1852 by the West Cornwall Railway for trains to Redruth and Penzance, and was known as Truro Road Station. It was extended to the Truro River at Newham in 1855, but closed, so that Newham served as the terminus. When the Cornwall Railway connected the line to Plymouth, its trains ran to the present station above the city centre. The West Cornwall Railway (WCR) diverted most passenger trains to the new station, leaving Newham mainly as a goods station until it closed in 1971. The WCR became part of the Great Western Railway. The route from Highertown to Newham is now a cycle path on a countryside loop through the south side of the city.

The Truro River and a ferry transporting passengers to Falmouth

Air and river transport

Newquay, Cornwall's main airport, is 12 mi (19 km) north of Truro. It was thought in 2017 to be the "fastest growing airport" in the UK.[55] It has regular flights to London Heathrow and other airports, and to the Isles of Scilly, Dublin and Düsseldorf, Germany.[56]

There is a boat link to Falmouth along the Truro and Fal four times a day, tide permitting. The fleet run by Enterprise Boats as part of the Fal River Links calls on the way at Malpas, Trelissick, Tolverne and St Mawes.


St Mary's Truro (early 19th-century engraving)
St George's, Truro
St John's Church
St Paul's Church, Truro

The old parish church of Truro was St Mary's, which was incorporated into the cathedral in the later 19th century. The building dates from 1518, with a later tower and spire dating from 1769.[9]

Parts of the town were in the parishes of Kenwyn and St Clement (Moresk) until the mid 19th century, when other parishes were created. The lofty St George's church in Truro, designed by Rev. William Haslam, vicar of Baldhu, was built of Cornish granite in 1855. The parish of St George's Truro was formed from part of Kenwyn in 1846. In 1865 two more parishes were created: St John's from part of Kenwyn and St Paul's from part of St Clement.[57][58] St George's contains a large wall painting behind the high altar, the work of Stephany Cooper in the 1920s. Her father, Canon Cooper, had been a missionary in Zanzibar and elsewhere. The theme of the mural is "Three Heavens": the first heaven has views of Zanzibar and its cathedral (a happy period in the life of the artist), the second views of the city of Truro including the cathedral, the railway viaduct and St George's Church (another happy period), and the third, above the others, separated from them by the River of Life (Christ is seen bridging the river and 17 saints including St Piran and St Kenwyn are depicted).[59]

Charles William Hempel was organist of St Mary's Church for 40 years from 1804 and also taught music. In 1805 he composed and printed Psalms from the New Version for the use of the Congregation of St. Mary's, and in 1812 Sacred Melodies for the same congregation. These melodies gained popularity.

The oldest church in Truro is at Kenwyn, on the northern side. It dates from the 14th and 15th centuries, but was almost wholly rebuilt in 1820, having deteriorated to the point where it was deemed unsafe.[60]

St John's Church (dedicated to St John the Evangelist) was built in 1828 (architect P. Sambell) in the Classical style on a rectangular plan and with a gallery. Alterations were carried out in the 1890s.

St Paul's Church was built in 1848. The chancel was replaced in 1882–1884, the new chancel being the work of J. D. Sedding. The tower is "broad and strong" (Pevsner) and the exterior of the aisles are ornamented in Sedding's version of the Perpendicular style.[61] In the parish of St Paul is the former Convent of the Epiphany (Anglican) at Alverton House, Tregolls Road, an early 19th-century house extended for the convent of the Community of the Epiphany and the chapel was built in 1910 by Edmund H. Sedding.[61] The sisterhood was founded by the Bishop of Truro, George Howard Wilkinson in 1883 and closed in 2001 when two surviving nuns moved into care homes. The sisters had been involved in pastoral and educational work and care of the cathedral and St Paul's Church.[62] St Paul's Church, built with a tower on a river bed with poor foundations, has fallen into disrepair and is no longer used. Services are now held at the churches of St Clement, St George, and St John. St Paul and St Clement form a united benefice, as do St George and St John.

Other denominations

One Methodist place of worship remains in use, in Union Place – Truro Methodist Church – which has a broad granite front (1830, but since enlarged). There is a Quaker Meeting House in granite (c. 1830) and numerous other churches, some meeting in their own modern buildings, e. g. St Piran's Roman Catholic church and All Saints, Highertown, and some in schools or halls. St Piran's, dedicated to Our Lady of the Portal and St Piran, was built on the site of a medieval chapel by Margaret Steuart Pollard in 1973, for which she received the Benemerenti Medal from the Pope.[63] The Baptist church building occupies the site of the former Lake's pottery, one of the oldest in Cornwall.


A free grammar school associated with St Mary's Church was endowed in the 16th century. Its distinguished pupils have included the scientist Sir Humphry Davy, General Sir Hussey Vivian and the clergyman, Henry Martyn.[9]

The former Truro Girls Grammar School was converted into a Sainsbury's supermarket.

Educational institutions in Truro today include:


Lower Lemon Street

Truro has many proposed urban development schemes, most of which are intended to counter the main problems, notably traffic congestion and lack of housing.

Major proposals include construction of a distributor road to carry traffic away from the busy Threemilestone-Treliske corridor, reconnecting at Penventinnie Lane. This will serve the new housing planned for that area.[65]

Changes proposed for the city centre include traffic restrictions in some of the main shopping streets and the encouragement of conversion of appropriate commercial properties back to residential use.[65] Since March 2023, through traffic has been prohibited from entering some streets in the City centre.[66]

Re-development of the former Carrick District Council site at the top of Pydar Street will provide much needed homes, and facilitate the relocation to Truro of a faculty of the University of Falmouth, as well as creating space for a hotel, restaurants, leisure facilities, open spaces and public amenities.[65] Langarth Garden Village, a major development aiming to provide homes for 8000-10000 residents, has begun construction.[67] This includes a new access road for the development, which is being delivered alongside the A30 improvements scheme.[68]

Along with redevelopment of the waterfront, a tidal barrier is planned to dam water into the Truro River, which is currently blighted by mud banks that appear at low tide.[65]

More controversial plans include the construction of an urban extension at Langarth, to the west of the City, including a new stadium for Truro City F.C. and the Cornish Pirates, and perhaps eventually the relocation of the city's golf course to make way for more housing. A smaller project is the addition of two large sculptures in the Piazza.[69]

Notable residents

See also: Category:People from Truro

Admiral Edward Boscawen
Richard Lemon Lander

Public thinking, public service


Samuel Foote, 1769
William Golding, 1983
Charles Foster Barham

Science and business


Matthew Etherington, 2015

See also


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