Padstow was originally named Petroc-stow, Petroc-stowe, or ‘Petrock’s Place’, after the Welsh missionary Saint Petroc, who landed at Trebetherick around AD 500. After his death a monastery (Lanwethinoc, the church of Wethinoc, an earlier holy man) was established here which was of great importance until “Petroces stow” (probably Padstow) was raided by the Vikings in 981, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Whether as a result of this attack or later, the monks moved inland to Bodmin, taking with them the relics of St Petroc. The cult of St Petroc was important both in Padstow and Bodmin.
Padstow is recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) when it was held by Bodmin Monastery. There was land for 4 ploughs, 5 villeins who had 2 ploughs, 6 smallholders and 24 acres of pasture. It was valued at 10/- (10 shillings or 50p).
In the medieval period Padstow was commonly called Aldestowe (‘old place’ in contrast to Bodmin, the ‘new place’). or Hailemouth (“hayle” being Cornish for estuary). The modern Cornish form Lannwedhenek derives from Lanwethinoc and in a simpler form appears in the name of the Lodenek Press, a publisher based in Padstow.
The seal of the borough of Padstow was a ship with three masts, the sails furled and an anchor hanging from the bow, with the legend “Padstow.” 
Time Team visited Padstow for the episode “From Constantinople to Cornwall,” broadcast on 9 March 2008.
There are two Cornish crosses in the parish: one is built into a wall in the old vicarage garden and another is at Prideaux Place (consisting of a four-holed head and part of an ornamented cross shaft). There is also part of a decorated cross shaft in the churchyard