Market town in Cornwall, southwest England, 48 km/30 mi northwest of Plymouth; population (2001) 12,800. It is the commercial centre of a farming area. Other activites include some light industry and the provision of tourist services. Bodmin Moor, to the northeast, is a granite upland culminating in Brown Willy, the highest point in Cornwall at 419 m/1,375 ft.
History A monastery was established here in the 6th century by St Petroc, a Welsh missionary. Situated midway between the north and south coasts of Cornwall, Bodmin became an important trading town in medieval times. It was the capital of Cornwall from 1835 until 1989 when it was replaced by Truro. The scholar and writer Arthur Quiller-Couch was born here in 1863.
Features St Petroc's Church is the largest medieval church in Cornwall. Dating mostly from the late 15th century, it contains a 12th-century font. Bodmin Beacon, a 44 m/144-ft obelisk on a hill to the southwest of the town, was erected in 1856 in memory of General Walter Raleigh Gilbert, who was born in Bodmin and regarded a hero for his military campaigns in northern India. Lanhydrock House, 4 km/2.5 mi southeast of Bodmin, is a 17th-century house now owned by the National Trust, which was largely rebuilt after a fire in 1881. Museums include the Town Museum, the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry Regimental Museum, and the Shire Hall. The Turret Clock building marks the site of the old Butter Market. Other notable buildings include the Assize Hall, where public hangings took place until 1862, and Bodmin Gaol, where the Domesday Book and the Crown Jewels were hidden during World War I.