Ednovean Farm – what is in a name?

Ednovean Farm today

The mellow granite building that is now our home has stood over the centuries on this spot at Ednoe-Vean

One question I’m often asked by our bed and breakfast guests is “What is the meaning of Ednovean?” And of course with farm and field names they hold knowledge of ancient names for the area.

The name Ednovean was originally two words Ednoe-Vean and is mentioned in one of my favourite books for place name reference “Cornish Place-names” by O.J. Padel. The description there of the evolution of the name for Perranuthnoe and the reference to Ednovean is fascinating.

Ednovean’s first recorded name

Ednovean Farm - a historic name upon the Tithe map spelt Ednoe VeanThe first name recorded for Ednovean farm was “Eccl de Udnowparva” in 1291 suggesting the site of a church or chapel Ref. J.E.B. Gover, Place names of Cornwall 1948

Perranuthnoe w5329 (parish) ref O.J Padel Cornish place names

‘Church of Sanctus Pieranus’ 1348 ‘Church of Sanctus Pieranus of Udno’ 1373 (Both references from the patron saint of the church St Piran) and distinguished from the other parishes of the saint by the name of the manner, Uthnoe, whose meaning is obscure. It was earlier Odenol 1086, Hutheno 1235, Udno parva ‘little Uthnoe 1303. The name survives at the farm at Ednoe-Vean w541297 (+bygan, ‘little’): Uthnoe Veor, ‘great Uthnoe’, with meur, was the name of the churchtown in 1839.

Find Ednovean Farm on the map

Ednovean Farm can be found on the Cornwall County interactive map – use our postcode TR20 9LZ to zoom in and you will see a Blue cross over our home. The blue link gives the following information from the Heritage Gateway

Ednovean – Medieval settlement, Medieval chapel

Monument type: – Chapel?

Settlement Period: – Medieval 1066 AD – 1539 AD

Summary: – The place-name Ednovean first recorded in 1291 as Eccl de Udnowparva, suggest the site of a church or chapel but there are no remains to be seen today. Padel refers to “Little Odenol” or a sub settlement of “Uthnoe” manor.


Ednovean Farm

We were able to trace a little of Ednovean’s history at the county records office at Truro and we were privileged to see one of the few surviving Tithe maps and statements. We were able to unroll the heavy map to take a photo – unfortunately the earlier 17-century maps were destroyed “on the orders of the magistrate”

We discovered that our home shown on the 1840 map was part of a tenement owned by Gilbert Davies Esq., in the care of Freethy William, Frances Henry, Simmons Richard and Frances Henry.

Perranuthnoe Tithe map

The church tithe maps


From the parish tithe map we can also see that originally Ednovean farm was two separate farmsteads each with an absentee landlord with tenant’s working the land. The south western side of the farm stretching to Perranuthnoe was owned by Gilbert Davies Esq. with a farmyard made up of our barn Cot House Townplace and dwelling house now sadly demolished. The land on the higher side of Ednovean lane was a separate farmstead, owned by James Frances Le Fell  and again tenanted, with Ednovean farm cottage and the group of barns known as Little Barn as the working farmyard.

Ednovean Farm Statement

A statement accompanies the tithe map recording the crops and monies due to the church


Cot House Townplace

The farmhouse that we now call home was originally a barn and listed as Cot House Town Place with a Dwelling house opposite to it on the south western side of the old farmyard. The Librarian was of the opinion that the word “Cot” originated from West Saxon times. The old dwelling house had vanished from the map by 1887 leaving an alcove in the boundary bank and this was smoothed out to form the arched shape that frames the courtyard garden today by 1907. The neighbouring barns now know as Little Barn appeared in 1887 along with Ednovean House to our east.

So our home had the early name of Cot House Towneplace, probably with West saxon origins in one of its references and was certainly more important in that it warranted a name than the accompanying Dwelling house. (The town place was usually an area of co-operative farming.)


The Barn known as the Mowhay

A Mowhay

Every farm had a Mowhay – a sheltered place to store the ricks and corn

I have also seen our granite Farmhouse at Ednovean Farm referred to as “The barn known as the Mowhay” within the farm deeds. This inspired the little naive drawing that used to be on the front of our visitor information files and survives on the brass bedroom key fobs. Every farm had its Mowhay – this was a sheltered place for the ricks and corn to be stored. I rather liked the idea of its nurturing embrace and drew the house as a huge nurturing bed within the shadow of St Michael’s Mount.

Over time the two sides of the farm that flank Ednovean lane were united and the large Ednovean House romantically was bought by a wealthy mill owner for his daughter who married a local farmer.

One final Ednovean remains to be found in far away South Africa so far information is scant but who knows one day somebody may read this and tell me more!

Ednovean in South Africa

Google searches have turned up another Ednovean (sometimes known as Endovean)  in South Africa. The alternative Ednovean is 14 Kilometres from Nkayi in Zimbabwe South Africa. Normally in farming families the eldest son was expected to go abroad to follow the mining and the youngest son would inherit the farm – I wonder which homesick Cornishman took the name to a new continent with him?

For more posts about Ednovean Farm and the local area

About Christine Taylor

Christine has written a weekly blog about life at Ednovean Farm and interesting places to visit in West Cornwall for over ten years now, concentrating on those off the beaten track places that only the locals find. Charles and Christine Taylor have hosted Luxury Bed and Breakfast at Ednovean Farm Nr Penzance in West Cornwall since 1991 and live there with three cats and five horses, including a Spanish Stallion called Danni. Ednovean Farm has been awarded AA five star gold for Bed and breakfast and is included in The Michelin Guide and The Alastair Sawday Guide . The Farmhouse and gardens has been featured in BBC Homes and Antiques, Homes and Gardens. Period Living and 25 Beautiful Homes as well as being used as a film and photo shoot location.

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