The following description is lifted directly from [Lysons 1814]. It must be read in the context of that date.

St. Ives, a market and borough-town in the hundred and deanery of Penwith is situated on the shore of the Bristol Channel, eight miles north-north-east from Penzance; seven north from Marazion; thirteen north-west from Helston; fourteen west from Redruth; and 277 from London. This town, called in ancient records Porth-Ia, is said to have taken its name from St. Hya or Ia, an Irish saint, who came over into Cornwall in company with St. Breaca and others, and was buried in the church at this placeg.

The market of St. Ives was originally granted by King Edward I., in 1295, to William Bottreaux, to be held on Thursday, within his manor of La Nanth. The same charter granted two fairs; one at the purification, the other at the assumption of the Virgin Mary. Hick’s manuscript makes mention of a market granted by King Henry VII.j The charter of Charles the First grants two weekly markets at this town, Wednesday and Saturday; but the Wednesday market has of late been supplied with scarcely any commodities except vegetables. The same charter grants four fairs, May 10, July 20, September 26, December 3d, and the following day to each. Of late years there has been only one fair (the last Saturday in November), an that chiefly for shoes, sweatmeats, &c. &c.

Leland, speaking of St. Ives, says, “most part of the houses in the peninsula be sore opressid or over covered with sandes that the stormy windes and rages castith up there. This calamite hath continuid ther litle above 20 yeres.” “The best part of the toun now standith in the south part of the Peninsula, toward another hille for defence from the sandes.”k Norden describes the haven of St. Ives as much annoyed with sandes, and insufficient to receive ships of any burden. “The town and port of St. Ives,” says Carew, “are both of mean plight; yet with their best meanes (and often to good and necessarie purpose) succouring distressed shipping. Order hath been taken,” he adds, “and attempts made for bettering the road with a peere; but eyther want or slacknesse, or impossibilitie, hitherto withhold the effect: the whiles plentie of fish is here taken and sold verie cheap.” In Holinshed’s Chronicle is the following mention of a light-house or block-house near St. Ives. On “a little byland cape or peninsula, called Pendinas, the compas not above a mile, standeth a Pharos or light for ships that sail by those coasts in the night. There is also a block-house and a peer on the east side thereof, but the peer is sore choked with sand, as is the whole coast from St. Ies unto St. Carantokes.” There is still a battery on the eastern side, and the old pharos, which still exists, is used for depositing government stores. A new and comodious pier was constructed under the direction of Mr. Smeaton, between the years 1766 and 1770.l St. Ives is now a place of considerable trade, and has an extensive pilchard-fishery. The principal export, except fish, is copper-ore; the imports are coals, salt, timber, iron, leather, groceries, &c. The principal trade is carried on at Hayle, three miles from the town, which is within the port of St. Ives. In the year 1705, the town of St. Ives contained 240 houses; according to the last return to parliament, in 1811, it contained 712 houses, 3281 inhabitants.

Sir Francis Basset, of Tehidy, who was member for St. Ives, procured from King Charles, in the year 1639, a charter of incorporation for this town, under which the body-corporate consisted of a mayor, twelve capital burgesses, and twenty-four inferior burgesses: a subsequent charter was granted by King James II. in 1685, under which the body-corporate consists of a mayor, recorder, town-clerk, ten aldermen, and twelve common-council-men. Four of these are justices of the peace, and hold a sessions. It appears that before the incorporation, the chief officer of this town was called the mayor or portreeve, and it is said that one Payne, who held that office in the reign of Edward VI. was executed by order of Sir Anthony Kingston, for being concerned in Arundell’s rebellionm. Sir Francis Basset abovementioned, gave to the corporation of St. Ives a drinking-cup, on which is the following inscription:—

If any discord ’twixt my friends arise,
Within the borough of beloved St. Ives,
It is desyred that this my cupp of love,
To everie one a peace-maker may prove;
Then am I blest, to have given a legacie
So like my harte unto posteritie.

Francis Basset, Ao. 1640

St. Ives has sent members to parliament ever since the reign of Philip and Mary. The borough extends over the whole parish, and all householders paying scot and lot, being about 340 in number, are entitled to vote.

The principal villages in the parish of St. Ives are Aire, Batavellan, Bovallen, Carrackdues, Corva, Hellesvean, Hellesveor, Penbeagle, Treloyhan, Trenwith, and Trowan.

The manor of Porth-Ia Prior, which belonged to the priory of Tywardreth, being situated partly in the parish and partly in St. Anthony in Meneage, and in other parishes, was one of those annexed to the duchy of Cornwall in lieu of the honor of Wallingford. Another manor of Porth-Ia was successively in the families of Hele, and of Robartes, Earl of Radnor, and was purchased, together with the manor of Dynas-Ia, and that of Lelant and Trevellow, of Vere Hunt, Esq., representative of the Robartes family, by the grandfather of Samuel Stephens, Esq., the present proprietor. On the manor of Lelant and Trevellow is Tregenna castle, the seat of Mr. Stephens, built by his father, on an elevated site which commands a fine sea-view. On the summit of a lofty hill, about a mile from this house, is a pyramid, erected by the late John Knill, Esq., a bencher of Gray’s-Inn, some time collector of the port of St. Ives, and afterwards secretary to Lord Hobart, when Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. On one side of the pyramid, which he intended for the place of his burialn, is inscribed “Johannes Knill;” on another, “Resurgam;” on a third, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Mr. Knill, who died in 1811, directed that at the end of every five years, and old woman, and ten girls under fourteen years of age, dressed in white, should walk in procession, with music, from the market-house at St. Ives, to the pyramid, round which they should dance, singing the hundredth psalm; and for the purpose of keeping up this custom, he gave some freehold-lands, which are vested in the officiating minister, the mayor of St. Ives, and the collector of that port for the time being, who are allowed ten pounds for a dinner.

The manor of St. Ives, and Trelyan or Treloyhan, in St. Ives, which, from the circumstance of having the great tithes attached to it, we suppose to have belonged to the College of Crediton in Devonshire, was many years in the family of Praed, of whome it was purchased in or about the year 1807, by Sir Christopher Hawkins, Bart. The manor of Ludgvan-Lees has an extensive jurisdiction in this parish: Leland, indeed, speaks of its Lords and Lords of St. Ives. “The Lord Brooke was Lord of St. Ives, now Blunt, Lord Montjoy, and Lord Pawleto.”

The manor and barton of Trenwith, which was anciently the name of a district including the whole parish of Lelant, belonged in the reign of Edward the Confessor to Abbot Sitricius; when the Survey of Domesday was taken, to the Earl of Cornwall: John de Beaufort, son of John of Gaunt, had a grant of it, and it continued in the noble family of Beaufort till the attainder of Edmund Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, in 1471. The manor appears to have been long ago annihilated: the barton became the property of a family who are said to have taken the name of Trenwith, in or about the reign of Henry VIII., and became extinct in the male line by the death of Mr. Thomas Trenwith, lieutenant in the navy, in the year 1796. The barton is now the property and residence of their representative Mr. William Lander.

The church of St. Ives was built as a chapel to Lelant, by virtue of a bull from pope Alexander I., bearing date 1410; it was consecrated by the Bishop of Exeter, on the 3d of February 1434.p St. Ives is a daughter-church to Lelant. The great tithes which belonged to the college of Crediton in Devonshire, are vested in Sir Christopher Hawkins, Bart., by purchase from the Praedsq. The Bishop of Exeter is patron of the vicarage. Within the memory of man were the remains of a chapel near the Quayr. There were chapels also formerly at Brunians and Higher-Tregenna: the foundations of the latter are still visible. In Holinshed’s Chronicle is mention of a chapel of St. Nicholas, on the very point of a peninsula called Pendinas, which had belonged of late to Lord Brooke, and mentioned in the Liber regis. It must have been appurtenant to the manor of Ludgvan-Lees.

The Rev. Jonathan Toup, rector of St. Martin’s, near Looe, the learned annotator on Suidas, and editor of Longinus, was born at St. Ives, where his father, of the same name, was lecturer. He was baptised January 5th, 1713-4. The plague was very fatal at St. Ives in the year 1647, in which year 535 persons are said to have died, between Easter and the middle of Octobert. The following remarkable entries appear in the churchwardens accounts at this place.

1730—Paid for horses to carry the Prince of Mount-Lebanon and his retinue 1 10 0
1734—To the Greek Bishop, by order of the Mayor 1 11 6

Mrs. Cheston Hext, widow, in the year 1649, founded an alms-house for six poor people, and gave the sum of 50l., out of the interest of which, 20s. per annum was to be given to the priest of the parish, and the remainder to the pooru. There is no trace of the alms-house.

A grammar-school, for the instruction of youth, by a master and usher, was founded in this town by King Charles’s charter, in 1639; the Bishop of Exeter, with the mayor and capital burgesses of St. Ives, having been appointed governors. This school has not been kept up for many years past.

g William of Worcester’s Itinerary.

h Rot. Cart. 24 Edw I.

j Extracts taken by Dr. Cardew. The manuscript itself could not be procured. (See p.5.).

k Itin. III. 21. [see Leland]

l Dr. Borlase.

m Dr. Borlase’s MSS.

n He was buried in London, where he died.

o See the account of Ludgvan.

p Extract from Hicks’s MS.

q They had before belonged to the Earls of Suffolk.

r Dr. Borlase says, that in the month of June 1770, a chapel called St. Leonard’s, not far south of the pier, then turned into a smith’s shop. This chapel, nevertheless, might have been that of St. Ante als Ansa, prope ripam maris, in which was a gild or fraternity, as appears by the registers of the See of Exeter, anno 1495. (Borlase’s Collections.)

s Ibid.

t Extracts from Hicks’s MS.

u Ibid.

Additions and Corrections

Add to the villages Polmanter. Trenwith is the property of Mr. William Lander, and other representatives of the Trenwiths. The great tithes consist of corn, wool, and lamb.

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