The following description is quoted from [Hals 1750] and must be read in the context of about 1730 when it was written. The extract is taken from [Polsue 1868]. Other extracts are available online.
S. Ives is situate in the hundred of Penwith and hath upon the east and north the Irish Sea, south Lelant, west Tywednick; as for the modern name, it is taken from the tutelar guardian of the Church, which, as Mr. Camden tells us, upon what authority I know not, was one Iia, an Irish woman that preached the Gospel here. In the Domesday Tax, the 20th of William I. 1087, both the town and parish were taxed under the jurisdiction of Ludduham, now Lugian-lese manor, still extant here, formerly pertaining to the King or Earl of Cornwall, now to the Duke of Bolton, of whom the town of S. Ives’ privileges are held; and the same manor is held, as I take it, of the Earl of Cornwall’s Castle of Lancaster under certain rents.
In the Inquisition of the Bishops of Lincoln and Winchester into the value of the Cornish benefices 1294, “ecolesia de Lelant in decanatu de Penwith,” is only taxad xxil xviiis iiiid without mention either of S. Ives or Tywednick, probably at that time they were neither erected or endowed; in Wolsey’s Inquisition 1521, Ewny juxta Lelant and S. Ives are rated together £22. 11. 10½. S. Ewny, that is to say Tywednike, and S. Ives being consolidated in their mother church Lelant, did pass in presentation with it; the patronage in the Bishop of Exeter, who endowed them; the incumbent Hawkins, now Polkinhorn, the rectory in possession of Pitz; and the parish rated at 4s per pound Land Tax 1696, £158. 13. 4.
This town, as Mr. Camden saith, was formerly called Pendenis or Pendunes, the head fort, fortress, or fortified place; probably from the little island here, containing about six acres of ground, on which there stands the ruins of a little old fortification and a chapel betwixt which island and the bending shore, or sea cliff stands an indifferent safe road for ships to lie at anchor with some winds, which gives opportunity of trade and merchandize to the townsmen, whose town is situate thereon, and also for fishing, whereby they have much enriched themselves of late years.
The manor of Ludduham, formerly comprehending the parishes of Ludduham, Lelant, Tywednick, and S. Ives, now so many districts, is a lordship of great antiquity, and was privileged with the jurisdiction of a court leet before the Norman Conquest, for under that name it was then taxed, as aforesaid, though it is now transnominated to Luggyan Lese; in which stands the borough of S. Ives, which claims the privileges thereof by prescription and tenure, all which are confirmed by a charter of incorporation from King Charles I. afterwards by another from King James II. by the name of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses, which consists of a Mayor, ten Aldermen, and eleven Common Councilmen; the Members of Parliament elected by free men, alias scot and lot men free there, who sign the indenture; the arms of which borough is a cluster and branch of grapes or pomegranates; and the precept on the writs for electing Members of Parliament from the sheriff, or removing any action at law depending in the court leet of S. Ives, the writ must be thus directed: Preposita et Burgensibus Burgi sui de S. Ives in Corn. Cornub. salutem.
The chief inhabitants of this town are, Mr. Hitchins, Mr. Beer, Mr. Stephens, Mr. Hickes; in which town is held a market weekly on Saturdays, and a fair annually on Saturday before Advent Sunday.
Sir Francis Basset procured their first charter of incorporation, who, being a Burgess, gave a silver cup of £5 value to this corporation for ever, with this inscription,
If any discord doth arise,
Within the borough of S. Ives,
‘Tis my desire this cup of love,
An instrument of peace may prove.
Trenwith in this parish, was the voke lands of a considerable manor, privileged with a court leet before the Norman Conquest, that heretofore extended itself over divers parishes; for by that name it was taxed in Domesday book, 20 William I. 1087, from which place was transnominated an ancient family of gentlemen, now in possession thereof, from that of Bayliff now to Trenwith, who have flourished here in good fame and reputation beyond the memory of man since Henry VIII. The present possessor Is Thomas Trenwith, Gent. that married Lanyon; and giveth for his arms, Argent, on a bead cotised Sable, three roses of the Field.
The lands of Trenwith were of old pertaining to the Earls or Kings of Cornwall, afterwards to the Kings of England; and were held by the tenure of Knight service by such as possessed them, if not from King Arthur’s days, yet from William the Conqueror’s, who, in imitation of him, gave bartons, manors, fields, large territories of land to his favourites, under the tenures of villeinage and Knight service ia capite by means of which Knight service those tenants were obliged to do him any necessary service, either in wars or to his royal person, for the performing whereof he took their oaths in public courts both of homage and fealty; and by reason of this tenure he disposed of the bodies of their heirs in marriage as he listed, and retained in his custody and wardship their whole inheritance till they accomplished the age of twenty-one years; and by those examples other men of great possessions did the like. Those lands of Trenwith tempore Henry IV. were held by that tenure in capite by Edmund Plantagenet, alias Beaufort, Marquess of Dorset, grandchild of John Duke of Lancaster, 21 Henry VI. 1442, consisting of four Knights’ fees, 3 Henry IV. He was slain at the battle of S. Alban’s 1450, on the part of Henry VI, against Richard Duke of York; as also was his son Henry on the same part after the battle of Hexham, and his brother Edmund after Tewkesbury 1471, beheaded by King Edward IV. and his whole estate confiscated to the Crown; from whence Baliff now Trenwith, purchased part of those lands, which still pays high rent to the Kings of England. In like manner Humphry Plantagenet, fourth son of King Henry IV. held by the same tenure in Conerton, Binerton, Drineck, and Ludgian, four Knights’ fees of land in those places. He was impeached of treason at the parliament held at S. Edmund’s Bury in Suffolk; afterwards murdered; and those and all other his lands confiscated.
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