ST. IVES is a municipal borough and parish, on the north coast of Cornwall, and the terminus of the St. Ives branch from St. Erth, of the Great Western railway, 9 miles north-north-east from Penzance, 15 miles west from Redruth, 22 miles north-west from Falmouth, 22 miles west-south-west from Truro and 325 from London, in the Western division of the county, hundred of Penwith, petty sessional division of Penwith West, Penzance union and county court district, rural deanery of Penwith, archdeaconry of Cornwall and diocese of Truro.

Formerly it was called Porthia, and before the arrival of St. Ia, or Ives, c. 430 A.D. it is said to have been known as Pendinas, from the headland which marked its position. St. Ives is recorded as a borough in 1558, when it was governed by a portreeve and burgesses; it was first incorporated by Charles I. in 1639, which charter, forfeited in 1685, was renewed by James II. in 1686, and this charter remained in force until modified by the operation of the Municipal Corporations Act, 1835 (5 & 6 Wm. IV. c.76). The corporation now consists of a mayor, four aldermen and twelve councillors. The corporation act as the Urban Sanitary Authority. The borough returned two members to Parliament from the year 1558 until the passing of the Reform Act of 1832, when it lost one member, and by the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, it was deprived of its independent representation and with the district of Penzance and St. Just it now forms the St. Ives or Western division. The borough has a commission of the peace.

The town is irregularly built and has very narrow streets, but there are terraces of good houses and many modern villas, and on entering the town from Hayle the general appearance of the place is charmingly picturesque; it is lighted with gas by a company. The town council have applied to the Local Government Board for sanction to borrow £7,000 for the purposes of sewage and water supply and for the provision of public conveniences.

The church of St. Ya, or Ia, is a fine old building of granite, erected in the early part of the 15th century, and consists of chancel, nave, aisles, separated from the nave by arcades of seven arches, south chapel, called the Trenwith aisle, south porch, and an embattled western tower, 84 feet in height, with lofty pinnacles resting on angels, and containing a clock and 2 bells, cast in 1830: the tower was restored and repointed at a cost of £90 in 1872: in 1853–4 the church was repaired and reseated at an expense of £900, and the chancel restored by the late Nathaniel Pyne esq. as agent of the Earl of Mornington: the curious font of granite was also restored at the same time by J. N. Tremearne esq. at a cost of £30; on its base are four figures of demons, and on the bowl are four other figures representing angels: 1n 1859 the church was entirely repaved at a cost of £150, defrayed by the late Robert Hichens esq. of London, and in 1887–9 it was new roofed at an outlay of £500: the eagle lectern, copied from that in Wantage church, Berkshire, was presented in 1866 by the Rev. J. B. Jones M.A. the present vicar: the east window is a memorial to members of the family of Stephens of Tregenna, 1804–35, and there are also memorial windows to the families of Hichens, 1835—64, Yonge, 1888, and Tremearne, 1889: at the east end of the Trenwith aisle is a slate slab, in which have been reset the fragments of a brass to Otho Trenwyth esq. ob. 1462–3, and Agnes his wife; these now include only the kneeling effigy of Dame Agnes and a small figure of St. Michael, bearing a shield with an irradiated cross and vanquishing the dragon; over the head of the saint is a scroll with the invocation “Sancte Micaell ora pro nobis,” and below the figures an inscription: here is also a brass to the original members of the St. Ives Artillery corps: there are monuments to the Sise family, 1642, and others of more modern date to the families of Stephens, 1729–1852; Hichens, 1770–1851; Hocking, 1800–49; and others: the church will seat 600 persons.

The churchyard, which is near the sea, is defended from the waves by a strong and high wall. In the churchyard is an unusually fine cross with a flattened octagonal shaft and a square panelled head carved with a crucifix, over which is a crowned head representing the first person of the Trinity and other subjects; it was discovered in the churchyard in 1832 and is 10 feet 6 inches in height, and in 1852 was re-erected on a new base by Robert Hichens esq. The register dates from the year 1686. The living is a vicarage, tithe rent-charge £175, payable to Lelant, gross yearly value £283, with residence built in 1840, in the gift of the vicar of Lelant, and held since 1869 by the Rev. John Balmer Jones M.A. of Trinity College, Cambridge.

In connection with the parish church there is a mariners’ chapel, which has a mission district assigned to it. The congregational chapel, formerly belonging to the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion, is in Fore street; it was erected in 1800, and has sittings for 200 persons. The Wesleyan chapel, in Chapel street, is a spacious building, seating 1,400 persons. The Primitive Methodist chapel, in Fore street, erected in 1831, has 800 sittings, and there are smaller chapels at Balnoon and Trevalgen. The Bible Christians’ chapel, in back road, was erected in 1858, and has 400 sittings. The Methodist New Connexion chapel, in Chapel street, will seat 700 persons. A Cemetery, with two mortuary chapels, was formed in 1855, at a cost of £500, and is managed by a burial board of 5 members. The charities are small.

There is a subscription reading and news room, and a masonic lodge, No. 1272. The Town Hall and meat market, erected in 1832, at a cost of £1,000, is a plain but substantial building. The municipal insignia include two maces, a covered loving cup and a corporate seal: the maces of silver, form a pair, being exactly alike in every particular, and are 24 inches in length with plain banded shafts and semi-globular heads, divided into compartments by nude caryatid figures, one compartment containing a branch or tree of ivy, and the rest the inscription “Richard Hickes, Maior of St. Ives, 1639;” the heads are double crested, and on the flat tops are the royal arms between the letters C.R.: the cup of silver-gilt, presented in 1640 by Sir Francis Basset kt. M.P. and recorder of St. Ives, is with the cover 33 inches in height, and is richly chased with foliated work in relief: the open worked spire-like finial of the cover is surmounted by the figure of a man in armour, holding in his right hand a bow, his left resting on a shield bearing the arms of Basset; round the inside of the base is an inscription in six rhyming lines: the circular silver seal, affixed to the handle of a curiously blown glass, was given in 1690 by James Praed esq. of Trevester, and displays the borough arms, “arg. an ivy branch vert,” surrounded by scroll work and a legend. A new seal was presented in 1890 by E. Hain, jun. J.P. of St. Ives.

The population here are almost entirely dependent on the fishing industry, pilchards and herrings being at times in great abundance; the pilchards are cured and packed in hogs heads, and are chiefly exported to Italy, and the mackerel to supply the London and other markets. Boat building is carried on to some extent; there are also sail and netting manufactories. The only remaining fair is held on the Saturday nearest St. Andrew’s Day. St. Ives bay, which is a creek under Falmouth and a life-boat station, affords excellent shelter, except against north-east gales, which too frequently prove fatal to such vessels as may not be moored within the pier. By an Order in Council (1886) the works and property of the St. Ives harbour were vested in the Corporation, who were authorised to borrow £32,000 for purposes of construction; the pier, originally built in 1767–70 at a cost of £10,000, under an Act of Parliament passed in 1767, after a personal survey and report from John Smeaton, the celebrated engineer of Newcastle, was repaired and lengthened; a new pier is now (1893) in course of construction at a cost of £8,500. There is also a pier on wood piles, erected in 1864–6, at a cost of about £15,000, but this is rapidly falling into decay. The construction of a breakwater, begun in 1816, was abandoned after an outlay of £30,000. Adjoining the harbour is Portminster Cove. There is a battery of 3 guns on Pendinas, still called the “Island” (although now connected with the other portion of the promontory): the battery is under the charge of a sergeant of the coast brigade and one gunner. The building on the site of the ancient chapel of St. Nicholas has been converted into a store house.

On a hill south-east of St. Ives is a triangular pyramidical monument, of granite ashlar, the sides of which are each about 25 feet in length; it was erected by John Knill, of St. Ives, and has a receptacle in the basement intended by him for his place of sepulchre; on the south side are the words “Johannes Knill, 1782,” on the east side the inscription “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” and on the third or souh-west side the word “Resurgam,” with the arms of Knill: the monument stands on a square platform of granite, and is inclosed with iron railings and gates. Mr. Knill bequeathed certain property and moneys in trust to the mayor, incumbent, and collector of customs at St. Ives, to be expended yearly in a singular and grotesque celebration, which is still strictly observed. Mr. Knill, who eventually became a bencher of Gray’s Inn, died March 29th, 1811, and was buried, not in this mausoleum, but in St. Andrew’s Holborn.

Tregenna Castle, erected about 1773, by Samuel Stephens esq. under the direction of Mr. Wood, architect, of Bath, and for many years the residence and property of the Stephens family, is now an hotel. The principal landowners are the Right Hon. Earl Cowley P.C., K.G., G.C.B. the Duchess of Cleveland, the Earl of Sandwich, and Messrs. Bolitho. To the north-east of the parish the soil is composed of compact and slaty felspar rock, traversed by metalliferous veins. The area of the parish is 1,019 acres; rateable value, £14,938: the population of the municipal parish and borough in 1891 was 6,094.

Official Establishments, Local Institutions &c.

Post, M.O. & T.O. [Money Order & Telegraph Office], S.B. [Savings Bank] & Annuity & Insurance Office (Railway Sub-Office. Letters should have R.S.O. Cornwall added).—Postmaster, Morgan Anthony, Fore street. Letters arrive at 8.35 a.m. 3.10 & 5.40 p.m.; sundays at 8.20 a.m.; dispatched at 7.15 a.m. Penzance; 9.30 a.m. all parts; 1.30 p.m. Penzance; 4.5 p.m. London; 5.45 p.m. all parts (except West Cornwall); 7.45 p.m. London; sundays, 4.25 p.m. all parts

Wall Boxes:—Fore street, cleared at 8.20 a.m. 1.10, 3.30 & 7 p.m.; sundays, 3.30 p.m.; South terrace, at 8.15 a.m. 3.10 & 7 p.m.; sundays 3.10 p.m.; Stennack, 1.5, 3.30 & 7 p.m.; sundays, 3.30 p.m.; Railway station, 8.20 a.m. 3.20 & 7 p.m.; sundays, 3.20 p.m.; Ayr lane, 8.20 a.m. 1.10, 3.30 & 7 p.m.; sundays 3.30 p.m.; Street-an-pol, 8.10 a.m. 1.10, 3.30 & 7 p.m.; sundays, 3.30 p.m.; Wharf, 8.20 a.m. 1.10, 3.30 & 7 p.m.; sundays, 3.30 p.m


Mayor, John Michael Nicholls.


*Craze William

*Roach John

§Christopher John

§Hambly William


†Berryman Philip Bennetts

†Comley Lander Elvin

†Hollow John

†Jenkyn Charles, jun

‡Blight William

‡Daniel Joshua

‡Harry Thomas Row

‡Read Robert Sawle

*Hain Edward, jun

*Hawke Philip Kingcome Watty

*Nicholls John Michael

*Trawhella William

Marked thus † retire in 1893

Marked thus ‡ retire in 1894

Marked thus * retire in 1895

Marked thus § retire in 1896

Mayor’s Auditor, Charles Jenkyn, jun

Elective Auditors, John Stevens & John Gyles Oliver

Officers of the Corporation and Urban Sanitary Authority.

Town Clerk & Clerk to the Urban Sanitary Authority, Edward Boase, Street-an-pol

Treasurer, Francis Jennings, Tregenna place

Medical Officer of Health, John Michael Nicholls L.R.C.P.Lond. Penwyn

Borough Surveyor & Inspector of Nuisances, John Grenfell, Street-an-garrow

Collector of Rates, William Trevorrow, Tregenna place

Town Crier, Charles Paynter, Fore street

Bill Poster, James Quick, Back lane

Borough Magistrates.

The Mayor (J. M. Nicholls)

Craze William, Nanjivey

Daniel Joshua, Bellair terrace

Hain Edward, jun. Treloyhan

Paynter William John, Shun Lee

Rosewall George Bennett, The Terrace

Staff George Thomas Albert, Chyanporth

Williams George, Salubrious villa

Woolcock Peter, Bowling Green terrace

 Clerk, William Tolmie Tresidder, Street-an-pol

The magistrates meet at the Town hall, the 1st & 3rd wednesday in every month, at 11 p.m [sic]

Vice-Consuls & Consular Agents.

Austria & Hungary, E. J. Matthews (consular agent), Penzance

Belgium & Liberia (Republic of), E. J. Matthews (consul), Penzance

Denmark & France, E. J. Matthews (vice-consul), Penzance

Germany & Portugal, E. J. Matthews (vice-consul), Penzance

Honduras, E. J. Matthews (vice-consul), Penzance

Sub-Commissioners of Pilotage

Frank Harvey, Hayle

Thomas Row Harry, Barnoon terrace

John Graham (correspondent)

Public Establishments.

Borough Police Station, Back street; the force consists of one sergeant & 4 constables; William Jones, sergeant

Cemetery, Back street, Thomas Rosewall, Mornington house, clerk to the burial board

Coast Guard, Ralph F. Ley, chief officer; Richard Dell chief boatman

Life Boat, James Murphy, coxswain; W. T. Tresidder, hon. sec. & treasurer

Public Hall, Fore street, William Faull, sec

Stamp Office, Fore street, Morgan Anthony, distributor

Public Officers.

Admiralty Surgeon & Agent, George Thomas Albert Staff L.R.C.P.Irel. Chyanporth

Assistant Overseer, Richard Stevens, Barnoon cottage

Agent to Lloyd’s, J. T. Short, Fore Street

Certifying Factory Surgeon, John Michael Nicholls L.R.C.P.Lond. Penwyn

Clerk to the Harbour Commissioners, Edward Boase, Street-an-pol

Collector of Harbour Dues, William Paynter

Collector of Market Tolls & of Water Rates, James Bennett, Street-an-pol

Collector of Taxes, Richard Stevens, Barnoon cottage

Harbour Auditor, William Woolcock

Harbour Master, Capt. Samuel Barber

Medical Officer & Public Vaccinator, St. Ives District, Penzance Union, George Thomas Albert Staff L.R.C.O.Irel. Chyanporth

Registrar of Births & Deaths for St. Ives Sub-district, Penzance Union, John Bray Anthony, Street-an-pol

Places of Worship, with times of servcies.

St. Andrew’s Church, Rev. John Balmer Jones M.A. vicar; Rev. Charles Frederick Jones B.A. curate; 8 & 11 a.m. 3.30 & 6.30 p.m.; daily, morning & evening

Mariners’ Mission Chapel, Wharf, 6.30 p.m.; 7 fri

Bible Christian, Back road; 10.30 a.m. & 6 p.m.; 7 tues

Congregational (Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion), Fore street, Rev. Thomas Morgan; 10.45 a.m. & 6 p.m.; 7 thurs

Methodist New Connexion, Chapel street, Rev. Joseph Whitton; 10.30 a.m. & 6 p.m.; 7 mon

Primitive Methodist, Fore street, Rev. James Crompton; 10.30 a.m. & 6 p.m.; 7 wed

Wesleyan Methodist, Chapel street, Rev. Thomas Richards & Rev. William Ellis; 10.30 a.m. & 6 p.m.; 7 mon


A School Board of 7 members was formed February 7, 1876; H. S. Warren, Bowling Green terrace, clerk to the board; John Stevens, Fore street, attendance officer

Board (boys, girls & infants), Stennack, erected in 1880, for 850 children; average attendance, 239 boys, 211 girls & 175 infants; Thomas Aaron Kay, master; Miss Mary O. Parker, mistress; Miss Harriett Hare, infants’ mistress

National (mixed), St. Andrew street, for 214 children; average attendance, 117 boys & 79 girls; Walter Seaman, master; Miss A. Cock, assistant mistress

Railway Station, Charles Louis Williams, station master

More about St. Ives

More from Kelly’s 1893