The following description is lifted directly from [Lysons 1814]. It must be read in the context of that date.
Maddern, Madron, or Maddron, in the deanery and in the west division of the hundred of Penwith, lies about a mile and a half nearly north-west from Penzance, which is a chapelry of this parish, and is the post-office town. The principal village in this parish is Lanyon.
The manor of Alwarton (now called Alvarton, Penzance, and Mousehole,) appears to have taken its name from Aluardus, who possessed in the reign of Edward the Confessor: sook after the Conquest, it was in the Pomeroys: in the reign of Edward I., it belonged to the baronial family of Tyes, from whom it passed, by successive female heirs, to the Lisles and Berkeleys. this manor having become vested in the crown, was granted to Whitmore and others, and has been divided into severalties. The barton, which is in this parish, is occupied as a farm-house.
The barton of Treneere belonged to the family of liver, by whom it was alienated in 1768: the old mansion has been converted into a barn and outhouses: the estate was sold in parcels; a third part was purchased by the Rev. Anthony Williams, the present proprietor, who built a house on it for his own residence. Lanyon, some time the seat of the Lanyon family, is now a farm-house, the property of their descendant, William Rashleigh, Esq., M.P. Landithy, which belonged to the Knights-Hospitallers, was, after the Reformation, for some generations in the family of Fleming: it is now a farm-house, belonging to Mr. Bolitho, of Chyendour. Trengwainton, formerly the seat of the Cowlins, afterwards of a branch of the Arundells (the Mendarva family), is now a farm-house, the property of William Praed, Esq., whose father purchased it of the Arundells in 1761.
Castle-Horneck, on the site of what Norden describes, “as an antient ruined castlea, standing on a mount near Penzance, and, as it seemeth, in former times of some account,” was for several generations, a seat of the family of Levelisb: it has been for nearly a century in the Borlases, and is now, for life, the property of Samuel Borlase, a minor, son of the late john Borlase, Esq. trereife, the seat of William John Godolphin Nicholls, Esq., has been in the family of the present proprietor ever since the reign of Queen Elizabeth, if not before. Rosehill, in this parish, is the residence of Richard Oxnam, Esq.; Larrigon-cottage, of Thomas Pascoe, Esq. poltaire, built by Richard Hickens, Esq., its late proprietor, is uninhabited.
In the parish-church are memorials for the families of Borlase, Fleming, Harris, and Nicholls. There was a chapel in the parish of Maddern, dedicated to St. Bridget, and another at Lanyon. The great tithes of this parish were formerly appropriated to the Knights-Hospitallers, to whom the church was given by Henry de Pomeroy: they are now vasted in W. J. G. Nicholls, Esq., by inheritance from the flemmings. The advowson of the vicarage belongs to Miss Borlase, daughter of the last Rev. William Borlase, of Castle-Horneck: it was purchased by the Borlases of the corporation of Penzance, who are supposed to have purchased from the Flemings.
In or about the year 1704, Mr. George Daniel founded a school at Maddern, for the instruction of poor children of this parish, and its chapelries Morva and Penzance, in reading, writing, and arithmetic; endowing it with a house and garden for the master, and certain lands and premises, now let at 122l. per annum.
The celebrated well at Maddern has been elsewhere spoken of at large.c
a Probably the castle near Penzance, said to have been built by the baronial family of Tyes; though some suppose it to have been a fortress to the north of the town, where are considerable earth-works, with a treble entrenchment called Lescaddock or Lescudjack; the latter seem however, to be the remains of something more remote.
b Borlase’s Heraldic Collections.
c See p. cci. [below]
The Penzance section which follows next is dealt with on my Penzance pages.
Several springs of pure water, which do not appear to be impregnated with any mineral, were in great repute formerly for wonderful effects in the cure of diseases, as that of St. Maddern, near Penzance; Holy-well in Cubert; St. Uny’s in Sancreed, &c. Norden, speaking of the first mentioned, says, “its fame in former ages was greate for the supposed vertue of healinge, which St. Maderne had thereinto infused: and manie votaries made annale pilgrimages unto it as they doe even at this daye, unto the well of St. Winifrede beyonde Chester, in Denbighshire, whereunto thowsands doe yearelye make resorte; but of late St. Maderne hath denied his or hers (I know noth whether) pristine ayde; and as he is coye of his cures, so now are men coye of coming to his conjured well; yet soom a daye resorte.” A circumstance happened not many years afterwards which again raised the credit of St. Maddern’s well to its former height. A man, said to have been restored to the use of his limbs by the water of this well, was seen by the learned Bishop Hall, whilst in Cornwall on his visitation; and the Bishop, after conversing with him, was so thoroughly convinced of the reality of the cure, that he recorded it in one of his publications, entitled, “The Mystery of Godliness.” Theer was formerly a chapel belonging to this well, which was destroyed in Cromwell’s time by Major Ceely, of St. Ives. Dr. Borlase mentions another superstition attached to St. Maddern’s well, which, on enquiry, we find is not yet worn out. “Hither,” says he, after speaking of its supposed medical virtues, “upon much less justifiable errands, come the uneasy, impatient, and superstitious, and by dropping pins and pebbles into the water, and by shaking the ground round the spring, so as to raise bubbles from the bottom; at a certain time of the year, moon and day, endeavour to settle such doubts and enquiries as will not let the idle and anxious rest. Here, therefore, they come, and instead of allaying, deservedly feed their uneasiness, the supposed responses serving equally to increase the gloom of the melancholy, the suspicions of the jealous, and the passion of the enamoured.”
The manors of Alwarton and Tywarnhaile, then late parcel of the possessions of Edmund Beaufort, were granted to Richard Duke of Gloucester, 9 Edw. IV. The barton of Alwarton now belongs to three ladies of Wroughton. Landithy is held on a lease by Mr. Bolitho, under William Praed, Esq. Rose Price, Esq. has recently purchased Trengwainton for his own residence. Castle-Horneck is now occupied by Mr. John Boase; poltair, by the Rev. Uriah Tonkin Moore. Nancealvern, in this parish, is the seat of John Scobell, Esq. The right to the advowson of Maddern is disputed by the heir of John Borlase, Esq.