SALTASH, a municipal borough in the Bodmin parliamentary division of Cornwall, England, 5 m. N.W. of Plymouth, on the Great Western railway. Pop. (1901) 33S7- It is beautifully situated on the wooded shore of the Tamar estuary, on the lower part of which lies the great port and naval station of Plymouth. Local communications are maintained by river steamers. At Saltash the Royal Albert bridge (1857-1859) carries the railway across the estuary. It was built by Isambard Brunei at a cost of 230,000, and is remarkable for its great height. The church of St Nicholas and St Faith has an early Norman tower, and part of the fabric is considered to date from before the Conquest; but there was much alteration in the Decorated and Perpendicular periods. The church of St Stephen, outside the town, retains its ornate Norman font. The fisheries for which Saltash was famous have suffered from the chemicals brought down by the Tamar; but there is a considerable seafaring population, and the town is a recruiting ground for the Royal Navy. The borough is under a mayor, 4 aldermen and 1 2 councillors. Area, 194 acres.
The Sunday market established by the count of Mortain at his castle of Trematon, which ruined the bishop of Exeter's market at St Germans, was probably held at Saltash a short distance from the castle. Saltash (Esse, 1297; Ash, 1302; Assheburgh, 1392) belonged to the manor of Trematon and the latter at the time of the Domesday Survey .was held by Reginald de Valletort of the count. Reginald's descendant and namesake granted a charter (undated) to Saltash about 1190. It confirms to his free burgesses of Esse the liberties enjoyedj by them under his ancestors, viz.: burgage tenure, exemption from all jurisdiction save the " hundred court of the said town," suit of court limited to three times a year, a reeve of their own election, pasturage in his demesne lands on certain terms, a limited control of trade and shipping, and a fair in the middle of the town. This charter was confirmed in the fifth year of Richard II. Roger de Valletort, the last male heir of the family, gave the honour of Trematon and with it the borough of Saltash to Richard, king of the Romans and earl of Cornwall. Thenceforth, in spite of attempts to set aside the grant, the earls and subsequently the dukes of Cornwall were the lords of Saltash. It was probably to this relation that the burgesses owed the privilege of parliamentary representation, conferred by Edward VI. In 1584 Queen Elizabeth granted a charter of incorporation to Saltash. This was superseded by another in 1683 under which the governing body was to consist of a mayor and six aldermen. In 1774, the corporation being in danger of extinction, burgesses were added, but it was not until 1886 that the ratepayers acquired the right of electing representatives to the council, the right up to that time having been exercised by the members of the corporation. The parliamentary franchise was enjoyed by the mayor, aldermen and the holders of burgage tenements. In 1814 they numbered 120. In 1832 Saltash was deprived of its two members. The count of Mortain's Sunday market had given place in 1337 to 'one on Saturday and this is still held. Queen Elizabeth's charter provided for one on Tuesday also, but this has disappeared. A fair on the feast of St Faith yielded 6s. 8d. in 1337. This is no longer held, but fairs at Candlemas and St James, of ancient but uncertain origin, remain. Saltash was sufficiently considerable as a port in the 16th century to furnish a frigate at the town's expense against the Armada. This probably represents the zenith of its prosperity.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)