LOSTWITHIEL, a market town and municipal borough in the Bodmin parliamentary division of Cornwall, England, 30% m. W. of Plymouth by the Great Western railway. Pop. (1901) 1379. It is pleasantly situated on the banks of the river Fowey. The church of St Bartholomew is remarkable for a fine Early English tower surmounted by a Decorated spire; there are also beautiful Decorated windows and details in the body of the church, and a richly carved octagonal font. A bridge of the 14th century crosses the river. The shire hall includes remains of a building, called the Stannary prison, dating from the 13th century. The Great Western railway has workshops at Lostwithiel.
Lostwithiel owed its ancient liberties probably its existence to the neighbouring castle of Restormel. The Pipe Rolls (1194- 1203) show that Robert de Cardinan, lord of Restormel, paid ten marks yearly for having a market at Lostwithiel. By an undated charter still preserved with the corporation's muniments he surrendered to the burgesses all the liberties given them by his predecessors (antecessores) when they founded the town. These included hereditary succession to tenements, exemption from sullage, the right to elect a reeve (praepositus) if the grantor thought one necessary and the right to marry without the lord's interference. By Isolda, granddaughter of Robert de Cardinan, the town was given to Richard, king of the Romans, who in the third year of his reign granted to the burgesses a gild merchant sac and soc, toll, team and infangenethef, freedom from pontage, lastage, etc., throughout Cornwall, and exemption from the jurisdiction of the hundred and county courts, also a yearly fair and a weekly market. Richard transferred the assizes from Launceston to Lostwithiel. His son Edmund, earl of Cornwall, built a great hall at Lostwithiel and decreed that the coinage of tin should be at Lostwithiel only. In 1325 Richard's charter was confirmed and the market ordered to be held on Thursdays. In 1386 the assizes were transferred back to Launceston. In 1609 a charter of incorporation provided for a mayor, recorder, six capital burgesses and seventeen assistants and courts of record and pie powder. The boundaries of the borough were extended in 1733. Under the reformed charter granted in 1885 the corporation consists of a mayor, four aldermen and twelve councillors. From 1305 to 1832 two members represented Lostwithiel in parliament. The electors after 1609 were the twenty-five members of the corporation. Under the Reform Act (1832) the borough became merged in the county. For the Thursday market granted in 1326 a Friday market was substituted in 1733, and this continues to be held. The fair granted in 1326 and the three fairs granted in 1733 have all given place to others. The archdeacon's court, the sessions and the county elections were long held at Lostwithiel, but all have now been removed. For the victory gained by Charles I. over the earl of Essex in 1644, see GREAT REBELLION.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)