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The most westerly town in England, is a seaport, situate on the north-west side of Mounts Bay, distant 280 miles from London, 109 from Exeter, and 10 from the Land’s End; it is a chapelry, in the parish of Madron, western division of Penwith Hundred, deanery of Penwith, archdeaconry of Cornwall, bishopric of Exeter, West Cornwall. The name of the town is said to be derived from the “Holy Headland,” a chapel having formerly stood on the point near where the present pier stands. In later days this place was denominated “Bariton,” or Castle Town. The Barbican cellars, near the quay, denote where once the castle stood. In 1595 (July) a party of Spaniards landed at Mousehole, and having laid waste that village and Newlyn, commenced an attack on Penzance, and destroyed it by fire, and then retired in their galleys. In 1646 this town was sacked by Fairfax.
Penzance was first incorporated in 1614, which charter was confirmed by Charles II. Other charters have since been granted, and by the Municipal Act (1835) the corporation, was vested in a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors, and denominated “the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonality of Penzance.” When it became necessary to adopt arms for the borough, the origin of its name was apparently overlooked, and the head of St. John the Baptist, on a charger, was emblazoned. The town extends about half a mile east and west, and is divided into wards. The streets generally are handsome, well paved, and lighted with gas.
The Town or Guild Hall is a building of granite, in the Doric style, and stands upon the site of the old market-place, at the top of Market Jew-street; it was built in 1837. Surmounting the building, and in the centre, is a handsome dome, the interior of which is used for the Natural History and Antiquarian Societies’ Museum; and from this room the finest views around Penzance are to be seen. Immediately beneath the dome is the Butchers’ Market, which is spacious and well regulated; there are 54 stands. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, are market days; but Thursday is the chief market. The Guildhall or justice-room is to the front of the building, approached by a flight of steps, covered over with an Ionic trastyle portico, in which is an illuminated clock; this room is used for holding the sessions, county courts, and for all magisterial business. The police offices and council chambers adjoin; in the latter there is a painting representing “the Daughter of Herodias receiving from a page the head of St. John the Baptist on a charger.” In another portion of the room is a painting by a native artist, the subject is “the Departure of the Queen and Prince Albert from St. Michael’s Mount, 6th September, 1846;” it is a spirited painting, and most of the figures are portraits.
In 1772 the western arm of the pier was built; its foundation is upon a vein of felspar porphyry, which at low water is exposed to view. Upwards of £30,000 have lately been expended upon the pier by the Town Council. A new lighthouse has been erected on the extremity of the eastern extension; the light is a dioptric of the fifth order; its elevation is 33 feet above high water, at ordinary spring tides, the light by night, and a black ball by day, are exhibited only when there is 15 feet depth of water at the pier head, which is eight hours out of twelve. The principal trade consists in the importation of coals, timber, tallow, hemp, iron, corn, flour, bale goods, groceries &c.; the exports are tin, copper, fish and large quantities of granite. The pilchard fishery is carried on to a considerable extent in the adjoining neighourhood of St. Paul and Newlyn. The battery rocks, westward, are composed of greenstone.
The Poultry and Butter Market is in Princes street, a large building. The Fish Market is in the Market Jew-stret, immediately opposite to the front entrance to the Guildhall, and is extremely unsightly.
The parish church is at Madron, 1 mile north. The church of St. Mary, in Chapel-street, is a chapel of ease to Madron. It was rebuilt in 1834, and is an extremely handsome building in the second and third pointed style or achitecture, and pinnacled, and has a lofty tower containing only 1 bell; the interior is very spacious [and] handsomely decorated; the ceilings are arched and panelled in blue, and ornamented with gildings; there are three aisles, nave, chancel, and north, south, and west galleries—in the latter there is a fine organ; the altar window is entirely of stained glass. The chapel of St. Paul in Clarence-street has been lately built at the expense of W. Batten, Esq., cost £5,000; it is in the early English style of architecture, nearly approaching the decorated style of the thirteenh century, and built entirely of granite; in the interior, which is small, are one aisle, two transepts, chancel, and lectern; the pulpit is carved out of one solid block of granite, and the communion rail and steps are of the same material; the windows are all of handsomely stained glass, which offers a subdued light; the altar window, which was a gift, cost £400, and is remarkably chaste; the roof is fine and open, and the principal beams are gilt. The organ is placed in a niche at the east end of the south transept, and, with the choristers, nearly hid from observation. The Roman Catholic chapel at Rosevean, is a fine edifice, but only partially completed. The baptist chapel, in Clarence street, is a substantial building in the Norman style of architecture. There are chapels for Wesleyan Methodists, Primitive Methodists, Society of Friends, Bible Christians, Jordan Baptists, and a synagogue.
The dispensary in Chapel-street is ably supported by volutary contributions, and is efficiently attended and conducted.
In a large building in Parade-street, is the Public Subscription Library, the Institute News-room, and the Savings Bank.
The Royal Geological Society, in North-parade, was established in 1814 by Dr. Paris, then resident in this town, who was aided by the nobility, gentry, and mine agents of the county; it now ranks amongst the most distinguished institutions in the kingdom. In connexion there is an elegant and extensive museum and library; and in the room below stairs is a private subscription news-room.
Cattle markets are held on the third Thursday in January, February, April, July, August, October, and December; and fairs are held on the 25th of March, 1st and 22nd of May, 8th of September, and 27th of November.
The Grammar school, in Princes-street, is supported by the town and corporation.
The Public Baths, on the Esplanade, is a neat and commodious building, replete with every convenience and comfort; there are warm, cold, shower, fresh and salt water baths; also waiting and reading rooms, and library for the use of subscribers. At each end of the baths, and communicating therewith, is a respectable lodging house.
The railway station is at the east end of the town for the West Cornwall Railway—open from Penzance to Truro
A Mail (sailing) packet leaves twice a week for the Isles of Scilly, when the weather will permit. The distance to St. Mary’s, Scilly, is about 40 miles.
Mount’s Bay is a large expanse of sea bounded by Tol Pedn Penwith on the west, and the Lizard on the east; it is noted for its invariable mild and even climate. The principal feature in the bay is St. Michael’s Mount. There are numerous delightful walks around Penzance; and the locality is generally prescribed to invalids suffering from pulmonary complaints.
Lord Exmouth, Mr. Davies Gilbert, and Sir Humphry Davy, were born in this town. The last, by his will, bequeathed the sum of £100 to the Grammar school conditionally on the schollars beng allowed an annual holiday on the anniversary of his birthday.
On the 23rd and 28th of June, an ancient custom is observed in the celebration of the eves of St. John and St. Peter. Towards sunset, the inhabitants assemble in the principle thoroughfares, and kindle immense tar barrels at all conspicuous places; after these are consumed, the populace run hand in hand furiously through the streets, bearing blazing torches, and crying out, “An eye, an eye.” At length two of the party clap hands and form an eye, through which the whole thread of people pass; this is repeated again and again until a late hour. The following day is spent in water-parties, and all kinds of outdoor amusements.
The population of Penzance is 9,214.
Angwin, Mrs. Elizabeth, Chapel street
Armstrong Rev. Jas. B.A. Penare house
Arthur Henry, esq. 5 Penrose terrace
Aubyn Mrs. St. Alverton terrace
Barnes Mrs. Eliza, 10 Regent’s terrace
Baynard Mrs. Ann, 3 Clarence terrace
Batten Rev. Henry. M.A. vicar
Batten John, esq. Chapel street
Batten Mrs. Lydia, Alverton terrace
Bedford Delbouf Baker, esq. 2 Clarnce. pl
Berriman Mr. Nicholas, 1 St. Mary’s ter
Berryman Thomas, Alverton street
Bettany Mr. George, 5 Morrab place
Birt Mrs. Cornwall terrace
Boase Miss Alice, 4 Clarence terrace
Boase Mrs. Henry, Alverton road
Boase John Josiah Arthur, esq. Alverton Vean
Bodilly Misses, Alverton road
Bodilly Mr. Thomas, 23 North parade
Bolitho Richard, esq. the Cliff
Bolitho Thomas, esq. Coombe
Bolitho William, jun. esq., Alvern hill
Borlase Walter, esq. Lariggan
Bosustow Mrs Mary, 25 North parade
Bothell Mr. 4 St. Mary’s terrace
Bowman Richd. H. esq. 18 North parade
Branwell Robert, esq. 1 North parade
Branwell Mr. Robert, Regent’s Square
Broad Mrs. Grace, 18 Clarence street
Broad Mrs. Margaret, Chapel street
Bromley Mrs. Grace, 3 North parade
Brown John C. esq. 7 Regent’s terrace
Burney[?] Henry D. R.N. 4 Morrab place
Burnstow[?] Capt. Chapel street
Campbell Vivian, esq. Lanowarth house
Carne Joseph, esq. Chapel street
[obscured] Charles Pearson, esq. 1 Tre[obscured]a terrace
[obscured] [Mrs.] Jane, 19 North parade
[Church?] [obscured]lent Jno. R.N. 12 Regent’s ter
[Clan?]maris Lady, 15 Clarence street
[obscured]y Henry, esq. 3 St. Michael’s terrace
Cock Mrs. Orpah, Alverton terrace
Cock Mrs. Rebecca, 7 Clarence street
Cook Rev. Corbet [Wesleyan], 6 St. Mary’s terrace
Cornish Thomas, esq. 4 Clarence place
Couch Richard Q. esq. Chapel street
Coulson Miss Mary, 9 Regent’s terrace
Coulson Thomas, esq. Penare
Coulson William, esq. Medrose cottage
Cunnick Mr. Edwin, 2 Belle vue ter
Dark Thomas, esq. the Orchard
Davey Humphrey, esq. Market Jew st
Davey Richard V. esq. Chapel street
Davies Rowland, esq. 1 St. Michael’s ter
Davies Rowland Augustus G. esq. St. Michael’s terrace
Davy Mrs. Catherine, Market Jew st
Davy Mr. Edmund, 15 North parade
Denbigh Mr. George, 3 Belle vue terrace
Dennis Mr. Richard, 2 Wellington ter
Dodge Wm. Henry, esq. Market Jew st
Dryburgh Mrs. 5 St. Mary’s terrace
Eddy Miss Mary, Cornwall terrace
Eden Capt. Henry, R.N. 13 Clarence st
Edmonds Fredk. esq. M.D. 4 North parad
Edwards Mrs. Wilmott, 5 Clarence pl
Ellery Rev. thos. [Wsleyn.], St. Clare ter
Ellis Capt. John, 1 Wellington terrace
Giddy Miss, 11 Clarence street
Giles Rev. Thomas [Methodist], 13 Leskinick terrace
Green Capt. Joseph, Regent square
Gregory Mrs. Maria, the Abbey
Grenfell Mrs. Caroline, 2 Trewartha ter
Grylls Rev. Thomas Glyn, M.A. Richmond cottage
Guy Mr. Charles Robert, Regent sq
Hamilton John, esq. 6 Clarence street
Harvey Mr. William, Chapel street
Harvey William George, esq. North st
Henwood William John, esq. Clarence place
Hewett Richard, esq. Alv[obscured]
Hewett [obscured] T[obscured]
Heynes Mr. Thomas, 2 St. Michael’s ter
Higgs George, esq. 12 Penrose terrace
Higgs Samuel, esq. Alverton road
Hocking Miss Honor, 8 St. Mary’s ter
Hocking Mr. James, Brighton terrace
Hosking Mr. Richard, Cornwall terrace
Jenkins Rev. Joseph [Baptist], Clarence street
John Misses, Chapel street
Kemp Mr. John, 8 Belle vue terrace
Kernahan Rev. James [Independent] 1 Morrab place
Laffan Rev. William [Catholic], Rosevean
Lawrence Mr. John, Chapel street
Leah Mrs. Ellen, 2 North parade
Legg Capt. Stephen, Quay street
Legoe Mrs. Joannah, 4 Belle vue terrace
Ley Edwin, esq. Alverton house
Longlands Miss Margaret J. Alverton terrace
Magor Martin, esq. Chapel street
Marrack Mrs. Mary, Regent square
Marrack Philip, esq. 12 Clarence street
Marriott Edmund C. esq. Poltair
Mathews William D. Cornwall terrace
Matthews Capt. John, 1 Clarence place
Merriott Edmund C. esq. Poltair, Madron
Michell Miss Ann, 4 Wellington terrace
Michell Mrs. Mary, 2 Penrose terrace
Millett Misses, 5 Clarence terrace
Millett Mrs. Jane, Chapel street
Millett John, esq. Market Jew street
Millett Miss Louisa, Chapel street
Millett Miss Louisa, 14 Clarence street
Millett Mrs. N. 2 Morrab place
Millett Richard, esq. Parade street
Mitchell Mrs. Elizabeth, 8 Regent’s ter
Mitchell Mrs. 4 Wellington place
Montgomery James, esq. M.D. 27 North parade
[Mon]tgomery James Barclay, esq. [obscured] [N]orth parade
[obscured]e Rev. Cha[rles] [obscured]
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