St Petroc is reputed to have founded a monastery on the site of Bodmin in the 6th century naming the place Petrocstow. Certainly, by the time of the Doomsday Book, the monastery held land across this part of Cornwall and the associated settlement was the largest in Cornwall at the time. The name Bodmin is probably derived from the Cornish for ‘dwelling of the monks’ and was recorded as early as 1100, although there are plenty of variants in documents including Bodman, and Bodmyn.
Bodmin was the centre for three Cornish rebellions. the first in 1497 when a Cornish army marched all the way to Blackheath in London in protest against increased taxes. here it was met by the Royal army, which defeated the rebels in battle. This unrest probably led to Bodmin being the place where the usurper Perkin Warbeck, masquerading as one of the ‘princes in the tower’ was proclaimed King Richard IV before moving east. However, once the army came up against forces loyal to Henry VII, it soon surrendered. The third rebellion was in 1549 when people in the west country objected to the imposition of the new prayer book by Edward VI. They advanced into Devon and besieged Exeter, but after fighting a number of battles, they were forced to retreat.
Bodmin briefly served as the County town of Cornwall from 1835 until 1876, when the administration moved to the newly created city of Truro. Bodmin’s former jail, courthouse and Barracks are now open as museums