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St Ives, Cornwall

ST IVES, CORNWALL, a market town, municipal borough and seaport in the St Ives parliamentary division of Cornwall, England, 10 m. N.N.E. of Penzance, on a branch of the Great Western railway. Pop. (1901) 6699. It lies near the W. horn of St Ives Bay on the N. coast. The older streets near the harbour are narrow and irregular, but on the upper slopes there are modern terraces with good houses. The small harbour, protected by a breakwater, originally built by John Smeaton in 1767, has suffered from the accumulation of sand, and at the lowest tides is dry. The fisheries for pilchard, herring and mackerel are important. Boat-building and sail-making are carried on. An eminence south of the town is marked by a granite monument erected in 1782 by John Knill, a native of the town, who intended to be buried here; to maintain a quinquennial celebration on the spot he bequeathed property to the town authorities. The borough is under a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 1890 acres.

The town takes name from St Hya, or la, an Irish virgin and martyr, who is said to have accompanied St Piran on his missionary journey to Cornwall in the 5th century, and to have landed near this place. The Patent Rolls disclose an almost continuous series of trials for piracy and plunder by St Ives sailors from the beginning of the 14th to the end of the 16th century. A mere chapelry of Lelant and the less important member of the distant manor of Ludgvan Leaze, which in Domesday Book appears as Luduam, it had no fostering hand to minister to its growth. In order to augment the influence of the Tudors in the House of Commons, Philip and Mary in 1558 invested it with the privilege of returning 2 members. Its affairs were at that time administered by a headwarden, who after 1598 appears under the name of portreeve, 12 chief burgesses and 24 ordinary burgesses. The portreeve was elected by the 24; the 12 by the chief inhabitants. This body had control over the fishing, the harbour and harbour dues, the fabric of the church, sanitation and the poor. In 1639 a charter of incorporation was granted under which the portreeve became mayor, the 12 became aldermen, and the 24 were styled burgesses. Provision was made for four fairs and for markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays, also for a grammar school. This charter was surrendered to Charles II. and a new one granted in 1685, the latter reducing the number of aldermen to 10 and of burgesses also to 10. It ratified the parliamentary franchise and the fairs and markets, and provided a court of pie-powder; it also contained a clause safeguarding the rights of the marquess of Winchester, lord of the manor of Ludgvan Leaze and Porthia. In 1835 a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors were invested with the administration of the borough. In 1832 St Ives lost one of its members, and in 1885 the other. Both markets are now held, but only one of the fairs. This takes place on the Saturday nearest St Andrew's day.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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