The name Bodmin is generally interpreted as "dwelling of or by the sanctuary of monks" from the Cornish "Bod-meneghy".
Bodmin continued to be a major religious centre all through the later Medieval period until the Reformation. In about 1136, St Petroc's monastery was re-established as the Augustinian Priory of St Mary the Virgin and St Petroc, with a range of new buildings constructed slightly to the south of the old monastery. In the early 13th century the Franciscan order established a friary in the area of Mount Folly Square.
The three main Cornish rebellions of 1483, 1497 and 1549 were centred on Bodmin. In 1497 a rebellion against taxes imposed by Henry VII was led by a Bodmin lawyer, Thomas Flamank and Michael Joseph, a blacksmith from St Keverne. With 3,000 men they marched on London but were heavily defeated at Blackheath. In the same year Perkin Warbeck, a pretender to the throne, arrived in Bodmin and proclaimed himself king as Richard IV. He led a Cornish army towards Exeter but was defeated and hanged in 1499 in London. In 1549 the Cornish rebelled once again against the loss of their Latin Mass and the imposition of the Book of Common Prayer in English. An army set off from Bodmin for London and yet again it was defeated with the leaders executed including the Mayor of Bodmin hanged on his own gallows.
In the mid 18th century communications improved significantly when the moorland road to Launceston was adopted and improved by the Turnpike Trust. Several coaching inns were established and by 1801 there were 278 town houses and a population of almost 2000.
In the late 19th century Bodmin began to lose county functions to Truro when that town became Cornwall's cathedral city and the newly formed County Council was established there. Bodmin's fine legacy of public buildings of the Georgian and early Victorian period were thus progressively abandoned rather than redeveloped. The courts finally closed in 1988.
Today Bodmin plays an important role as a market town serving the surrounding rural villages.