Lanlivery is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, although the small settlement at Lantyan in the south of the parish is listed as belonging to Lord Alric in 1066, and having been passed to Reginald of Vautortes after the Norman Conquest.
The Saint's Way, an ancient trackway used by celtic pilgrims travelling from Ireland across Cornwall to reach Brittany via Fowey, crosses the Parish north to south, skirting around the high point of Helman Tor, through Lanlivery village and down to Lantyan before heading south to Fowey.
The parish church was constructed in the 15th century on the site of earlier holy buildings. The church is dedicated to St Brevita or Bryvyth, an unknown saint. A local well is also dedicated to her. It is believed that the earlier churches may have been dedicated to St Vorck, from whence the name Lan-le-Vorck, which became Lanlivery.
The Kendall family were prominent benfactors to the parish, and funded the construction of the church. Memorials to family members can be found in the church. The Kendalls owned the estate at Pelyn, which is just outside the present day parish. Descendants of the family still own and live on the estate today.
In the parish there are also a number of chapels and several medieval stone crosses have been located.
The main London to Penzance railway line passes through the parish. The line passes through Treverran tunnel, which was built in 1859, and which features in Daphne du Maurier's novel "The House on the Strand". An earlier railway venture resulted in the Treffry viaduct, which crosses the Luxulyan valley on the western edge of the parish. This was built to carry mining wagons and and also carried an aqueduct across the valley. The stone for the viaduct came from nearby Colcerrow quarries.
Part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site is located in the parish.
Lanlivery today is primarily agricultural. The abandoned medieval loose tin mining areas now form the nature reserves at Helman Tor, Red Moor and Breney Common.