S. Iës,” wrote Leland circa 1533, “a 2 miles or more from Lannant (Lelant.) The place that the chief of the toun hath and partely dooth stonde yn, is a very peninsula, and is extended into the se of Severn as a cape. This peninsula, to compace it by rote, lakkith litle of a mile. Most part of the houses in the peninsula be sore oppressid or overcoverid with sandes, that the stormy windes and rages castith up there. This calamitie hath continued ther litle above 20 yeres. The best part of the town now standith in the south part of the peninsula, up toward another hille, for defence from the sandes. There is a blok house and a fair pere in the east side of the peninsula; but the pere is sore chokid with sande.

“The paroch chirch is of Iva, a nobleman’s daughter of Ireland, and disciple of S. Barricus. Iva and Elwine, with many other, cam into Cornewaul, and landid at Pendinas. This Pendinas is the peninsula and stony rok wher now the town of S. Ives stondith. One Dinan, a great lord in Cornewaul, made a chirch at Pendinas, at the request of Iva as it is written yn S. Ive’s legende.

“There is now at the very point of Pendinas a chapel of S. Nicolas, and a pharos for lighte for shippes sailing by night in those quarters. The town of S.Ives is servid with fresch water of brokettes that rise in the hilles thereby. The late Lord Brook was lord of S. Ives, now Blunt lord Monjoy, and young Poulet.”

The position of the town of S. Ives is pleasant and most salubrious; and the spirit of improvement has shown itself in the most unquestionable manner. A better class of houses has been built; and two or three tastefully designed and well-situated terraces have latterly been added to the requirements of the town as an agreeable watering place.

S. Ives, like almost every other town has suffered from occasional epidemic. In 1647 the plague visited it. No market was held in the town for a considerable space of time; but instead of it, supplies were brought to the edge of two streams of water at Polmanter and at Longstone Downs, where provisions were deposited with the prices affixed, which the inhabitants took away, leaving their money in the streams. It is said that the Stephens family having retired to a farm called Aire, which they possessed, a little way out of the town, and having cut off all communication with others, entirely escaped, although 535 died between Easter and the ensuing October, out of a population which could not at the time have been more than three times that number. It appears however that nearly half of the inhabitants fled, and the country people were so afraid to come near the town with provisions, that more would have died of the famine than the plague had not a ship come into the harbour, belonging to a Mr. Opye, of Plymouth, laden with wheat and some butts of sack. The cargo was purchased by the mayor and other gentlemen for £196; the wheat was distributed gratis, and the wine sold at a shilling a quart.

About the year 1634, the coast was much infested with Turkish pirates, and the fishermen of S. Ives met with two vessels at sea whose crews were supposed to have been carried off. They were laden with rum and staves, and it was ascertained that they came from Ireland. Both wore brought into S. Ives, and taken possession of by Sir John Arundell, who gave one to the fishermen who found them, and sent the other to Padstow.

In 1635, a Turkish pirate of twelve guns, and about ninety men, was brought into the harbour. This ship had previously taken three small vessels belonging to Fowey and Looe, in which were twelve men and two boys, who were made prisoners, and the vessels turned adrift. Whilst the pirate was afterwards cruising in the channel, the English sailors conspired against the Turks, and being all on deck, the captain at a given signal, was knocked down with the capstan bar and thrown overboard. The others were driven below deck, and the cabin and forecastle seized by the English, who immediately sailed for S. Ives.

Fortunately the wind was favourable, and they reached the port in safety, although the Turks continued to fire shot up through the deck during the passage. The ship was seized by the vice-admiral, who maintained the pirates in the town for some time and afterwards, it is said, sent them to their own country.

In the winter of 1639, a great storm happened here, which threw down three, of the pinnacles of the tower, and did much other damage.

About the year 1641, S. Ives was rated for the maintenance of the king’s army while in the county, and had to bring forward daily forty-six pounds of bread, forty pounds of butter. thirty pounds of cheese, thirty pounds of beef, and fifty pounds of bacon.

In 1644, the men of S. Ives, Towednack, and Zennor rebelled against the king’s party; when Sir Richard Grenville marched into the west with six hundred horse and foot in order to cheek their proceedings. He discovered the rebels encamped on Longstone Downs, about a mile and half from the town. The latter consisting of about two hundred men, armed with muskets, swords, etc. on seeing the superior force marching against, them, fled in different directions, and in such bye ways that no horse could pursue them, and only three or four men of both parties were killed.

The kings troops afterwards entered the town, and Sir. Richard Grenville lodged at the mayor’s house, on whom he levied a fine of £500 for not putting down the rebellious spirit of the people, who mostly lived without the borough, and over whom, as a magistrate he had little or no control. The mayor could not or would not pay the fine and was committed to Launceston gaol, from which after three months confinement he was liberated by order of Prince Charles.

Sir. Richard also, before he left the town, ordered one Phillips, constable of Zennor, to be hanged; and the day after his departure he ordered a S. Ives man to be hanged at Helston, and another suffered death at Truro. Capt. Arundell who headed the S. Ives rebels was proclaimed a traitor and ordered to be hanged wherever taken. He escaped however to Bridgewater, where he joined the parliament army under General Fairfax.

In the same year General Goring and his army marched towards S. Ives, but the inhabitants stopped up the roads with barrels filled with sand, and also kept a strong guard, and thus compelled the general to withdraw.

On January 30, 1649, the day on which Charles I. was beheaded, a dreadful thunder storm occurred along the western coast, and a ship riding in S. Ives bay, having on board the king’s wardrobe, and other things belonging to the royal family, bound for France, broke from her mooring and ran ashore, on the rocks at Godrevy Island. She had on board about sixty persons, all of whom were drowned, excepting one man and a boy. A wolf dog also swam to the island, and lived among the rocks with the man and boy for two days, with nothing but rain water and sea weed to subsist on. As soon as the storm abated they were brought into S. Ives.

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell was proclaimed at S. Ives as lord protector of the realm, on which occasion the town militia, consisting of about one hundred men under the command of Major Ceely, fired three volleys. Every militia man wore round his hat two yards of ribbon, one white, the other blue, and several hogsheads of beer were given away.

In 1654, Thomas Purefoy, captain of a small privateer of four guns, belonging to Mr. Ceely, captured and brought into S. Ives, five French barques, laden with salt.

In the same year two merchantmen were wrecked in Mount’s Bay. The cargoes were sent to S. Ives by Mr. Ceely, he being vice-admiral, and having a troop of horse under his command.

In. 1657, William Ackland and John Tackabird happened to quarrel at a house in the town, whilst playing at cards, when the former stabbed the latter with his sword, of which he died. Ackland was tried for the murder, found guilty, and hanged. His property was confiscated to the use of the corporation, in accordance with a grant in the charter.

In 1659, a richly laden Dutch merchantman from the West Indies, was wrecked in Whitesand Bay, and most of the crew lost. The chief part of her cargo, consisting of sugar, silver, arid other rich goods, was brought to the vice-admiral’s house, at S. Ives.

In 1680, several French prizes were brought into the harbour.

In 1685, the Duke of Monmouth arrived here from Holland, in the Rising Sun, of thirty guns, and afterwards was landed at Lyme.

In 1705, a Dutch ship, and the Expedition packet from Lisbon, commanded by Captain Clies were chased into the bay by a French privateer. On being fired at by the castle guns she tacked about, and previous to leaving fired several shots into the town; one struck a young woman in the street, who died on the following day.

On January 26, 1718, one Richard Beer of Boyton, came to the house of Mr. James Tregeare, who had been nominated sheriff, and being drunk fell from his chair fractured his skull, so that he died seventeen days after. Mr. Tregeare was indicted for the murder at the next assizes, but was acquitted.

In the churchwardens’ books are the following singular entries:—1730. Paid for horses to carry the Prince of Mount Lebanon, and his retinue, £1 10s 0d. 1734. To the Greek Bishop by order of the mayor, £1 11s 6d.

Sometime in the month of December, 1779, a large, body of troops had been embarked at, New York for the attack on Charlestown; and in a public dispatch from General Sir. Henry Clinton, dated March 9, it was stated that only one ship was missing, having on board a detachment of Hessians; and it was supposed to have borne away for the West Indies.

The vessel alluded to nearly reached Charlestown, the place of its destination, having about two hundred and fifty German soldiers on board, with provision for the short voyage, when being run foul of a ship of war in a gale of wind, and injured in the masts and bowsprit, the Vessel could only sail before the westerly wind then blowing with violence. Fortunately the wind continued steady in the same direction, and the passengers arrived safe but nearly famished at S. Ives, February 17, 1780.

The inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood vied with each other in their efforts to relieve the distress of the ship’s company; Lodgings were, provided for the private men, and the officers were daily invited to the tables of the gentry.

Their sufferings as foreigners on behalf of England had excited general commiseration, heightened by the reflection that they were not engaged in maintaining any cause in which their Country had an interest, but were hired by our government of the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel at so much per day, and a certain sum to be paid for every one killed, missing or lamed.

In December, 1781, a large French cutter entered the harbour and lay-to before the town, thereby giving great uneasiness to the inhabitants. On the 25th of the same month the Phœnix lugger commanded by Capt. J. Davey, came in sight to which the cutter gave chase, and a running fight ensued, which was continued with great bravery and skill by the crew of the lugger against her more powerful opponent; and after having been nearly beaten to pieces, went down stern foremost. Fortunately at the moment an English cutter came to their assistance but before she reached the wreck, fourteen men had perished. The captain and twenty-two of his men were rescued by the boats of the cutter, their own being destroyed in the action. The lugger sunk three or four leagues to the north of Newquay.

For the better protection of the shipping a pier built in the years 1767-70, under the authority of an act of Parliament, after a personal survey and a report by Smeaton, the engineer of the Eddystone Lighthouse. At the extremity of the pier is a lighthouse for the guidance of vessels and boats entering the harbour by night.

A new pier, a little beyond the old one, has recently been constructed at a cost of £15,000, but it does not appear to give any very great satisfaction, and has already been considerably damaged by the violence of the sea in some of the late gales.

A breakwater, of all other things the most desirable for this harbour, was commenced in 1816, but was abandoned after an outlay of £5,000.

The principal historical event connected with this port occurred in August, 1496, 12 Henry VI. when Perkin Warbeck and his wife the lady Catherine Gordon, came here from Ireland, with four ships of war and about one hundred and fifty men. The men addressed their leader by the title of Richard IV. Warbeck and his followers proceeded from this place to S. Michael’s Mount where the lady was placed in the castle, and the party marched towards Bodmin.

Adjoining the harbour is the little cove of Porthminster. Temp. Henry VI. four French ships hovered around the coast, burnt this place, which was never after rebuilt, killed twenty men, and carried much plunder on board their ships, with which they sailed for France.

Boats in harbourFish of almost every kind that frequent the coast are taken in S. Ives Bay; but the fishery absorbing all the others in its magnitude is the taking of pilchards (Clupea pilchardus). These are taken in two different ways quite distinct from each other.

The first, the most ancient and most certain, and consequently of the greatest importance to the inhabitants of the locality, is called Drifting.

In practising this method of fishing, the boats sail in the open sea, drawing after them very long nets, provided with small leads and corks at the opposite sides. The meshes of the nets are made of such size as to admit the head of a pilchard to pass through them, but not the body, the result is that such fish as strike against the net are retained suspended by the gills.

The second method is on a much more extensive scale, and somewhat uncertain as to success; but occasionally in prosperous seasons producing great wealth.

This method is founded on the habit common to all the Clupea genus of congregating in large shoals (schools), and coming occasionally near the shore into shallow water, and into places where the ground is free from rocks; this latter circumstance is peculiarly favourable in S. Ives Bay, and the ground is moreover covered to the depth of several feet by a fine sand, composed entirely of shells reduced to powder.

The seine or net used in this bay is between one hundred and fifty and two hundred fathoms long, and from seven to ten fathoms deep. More than two hundred and fifty of such nets are kept at S. Ives, every one having its own seine-boat to carry it. The nets are provided with heavy lead weights at one of their sides, so as to sink them firmly to the bottom, and with large corks to keep the other side to the surface of the water. Two large boats and one less one as an attendant, are appropriated to each net.

When the huers stationed on the adjoining hills perceive a shoal of pilchards, they at once signal the boats and by signs give directions for their capture. The most common indication of a shoal of pilchards is a reddish line in the water, and the more compact the shoal the deeper is the hue.

As soon as the seine-boat and tow-boat are within reach of the shoal they start from the same point in opposite directions and are rowed rapidly around the fish, while the nets which they carry are being shot into the sea. When the seine and the stop-net meet they are immediately joined and form a circular wall round the fish about three hundred fathoms in circumference and reaching from the surface to the bottom. The Seine with its contents are then warped towards the shore into a secure part of the bay, and there moored with anchors so placed as to keep it as nearly circular as possible. Within the large net a small one called the tuck-net is introduced at low water for the purpose of raising the fish to the surface, when they are dipped up by baskets into the boats.

Pilchards make two migrations every year to the land, the first beginning in July or August, an the second in October. In 1834, an immense shoal passed into S. Ives Bay, and a portion remained in the waters on its western side, occupying the whole of the distance from the mouth of Hayle river to the town of S. Ives, more than two miles in a direct line, and in breadth about three-fourths of a mile. A seine was shot into this mass of fish and 120 boat loads, or 3600 hogsheads, were carried to the cellars,—each hogshead containing fifty wine gallons, or, as the fish were not large, about 3000 pilchards.

In October 1846, a shoal of fish entered the bay and 30000 hogsheads were enclosed, supposed to be about 75 millions of pilchards, the greatest quantity ever enclosed in one place at one time. Of these about 23000 hogsheads were saved. In the latter part of October 1851, there were landed from one seine 5600 hogsheads; and in 1853, 5500, On the 9th, 22nd, and 23rd of October, 1858, various seines caught 11800 hogsheads.

The fishing nets are preserved for many years by steeping them in a decoction of oak bark every time they are used; and, what would scarcely have been expected, without this preservative the fish oil would destroy the twine in a very short time.

There is a custom at S. Ives, of which the origin an specific meaning are entirely lost. When shoals of pilchards are discovered in the bay, all the people, and more especially the children, run about the town shouting with all their might, Heva! Heva!

The little battery on Pendinas has recently been reconstructed, and mounted with new and superior ordnance; the remains of the chapel of S. Nicholas are made into a store house.

The village of Halsetown, about two miles from S. Ives town, was built a few years ago by James Halse, Esq., for the accommodation of the miners. It comprises nearly a hundred dwellings, a good school with a master’s residence, and chapels for the Wesleyan Methodists, Bible Christians, Primitive Methodists, and the Methodist New Connexion. A fair is held here in September.

In the town of S. Ives is a large and commodious Wesleyan Methodist chapel, attached to which is an excellent school premises with granite ashlar front, built in 1815. There is also a Bible Christian chapel with substantial school rooms, built in 1858. One of Lady Huntingdon’s chapels. A Primitive Methodist chapel, built in 1831. And a Wesleyan Methodist New Connexion chapel.

The chief landowners are the Dowager Duchess of Cleveland, John-Augustus Stephens Esq., and Lord Cowley.

S. Hya, that is S. Hy,” writes William of Worcester, “lies a virgin in the parish church of the town of S. Hy, upon the northern sea, about twelve miles from the farthest end of the western kingdom of England, and her day is observed on the third of February.”

The feast day of S. Ives is still held on the Sunday nearest to the feast of S. Blaize, viz. February 3.

The arms of the town are, Arqent, an Ivy branch overspreading the whole field vert.

A MS. history of S. Ives was compiled by a Mr. Hicks, an attorney of the town, and completed in 1722. Borlase and the Lysons quote from it, and C. S. Gilbert, to whom it was lent by Nicholas Harris Nicholas, Esq., of Waterloo Villa, Looe, about the year 1818, speaks of it as abounding with “anecdotes and other particulars not to be found in any other work; and although replete with tautology, and rendered thereby in some parts perplexing and tiresome, yet it is evidently the production of an inquisitive mind, and the fruit of much labour and industry.” Mr. Harris-Nicholas was one of the representatives of the Toup family, as is also Mr. W. Worth Kempthorne, the present estimable churchwarden of S. Ives.

A traditional belief exists in the town that Pendinas was once a tidal island, and that it was permanently joined to the mainland by some extraordinary influx of sand; possibly that spoken of by Leland. This may in some measure account for the very great irregularity of the streets,—or rather the absence of street arrangement, in the older portion of the town, which adjoins the island.

There is a weekly communication between S. Ives and Bristol, and the intermediate ports, by steam packet.

There are several mines in the parish and neighbourhood; the principal of which is S. Ives Consols tin mine. here in connexion with a lode was found a deposit of tin called by miners a carbona; it measured about ten fathoms in length, breadth and height.

The northeastern part of the parish is composed of compact and slaty felspar rocks the other part is situate on granite. Both of these rocks are traversed by metalliferous veins, which have been for many ages the objects of mining speculations.

There is a Logan Rock on the southern border of the parish.

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