TRURO, CORNWALL, an episcopal city and municipal borough in the Truro parliamentary division of Cornwall, England, n m. N. of Falmouth, on the Great Western railway. Pop. (1901), 11,562. It lies in a shallow valley at the junction of the small rivers Kenwyn and Allen in Truro river, a branch creek of the great estuary of the Fal. It is built chiefly of granite, with broad streets, through the chief of which there flows a stream of water. The episcopal see was founded in 1876, covering the former archdeaconry of Cornwall in the diocese of Exeter; the area including the whole of the county of Cornwall, with a small portion of Devonshire. The cathedral church of St Mary was begun in 1880 from the designs of John Loughborough Pearson, and is among the most important modern ecclesiastical buildings in England. The architect adopted the Early English style, making great use of the dog-tooth ornament. The form of the church is cruciform, but it is made irregular by the incorporation, on the south side of the choir, of the south aisle of the parish church, this portion retaining, by Act of Parliament of 1887, all its legal parochial rights. The design of the cathedral includes a lofty central and two western towers with spires, and a rich west front and south porch; with a cloister court and octagonal chapter-house on the north. Among other noteworthy modern institutions may be mentioned the theological library presented by Bishop Phillpotts in 1856, housed in a Gothic building (1871). The grammar school possesses exhibitions to Exeter College, Oxford. Truro has considerable trade in connexion with the tin mines of the neighbourhood. There are tin-smelting works, potteries, and manufactures of boots, biscuits, jam and clothing. Small vessels can lie at the quays, though the harbour is dry at low water; but large vessels can approach within three miles of the city. The borough is under a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 1127 acres.
At the time of the Domesday Survey Truro (Trueret, Treurok, Treueru) was a comparatively small manor held by Jovin of Count Robert of Mortain. Its municipal charter dates from Richard Lucy the chief justiciar who held the demesne lands and under whom the free burgesses had apparently a grant of sake and soke, toll and team and infangenethef. Reginald earl of Cornwall, by an undated charter, added to these privileges exemption from the jurisdiction of the hundred and county courts and from toll throughout the county. Henry II. confirmed the grant of his uncle the said Reginald. In 1304 Truro was constituted a coinage town for tin. In 1378 the sheriff reported that the town was so impoverished by pestilence, hostile invasions and intolerable payments made to the king's progenitors that it was almost uninhabited and wholly wasted. A similar complaint was preferred in 1401 in consequence of which the fifteenth and tenth amounting to 12 was for the three years ensuing reduced to 503. The charter of incorporation granted in 1589 provided for a mayor, recorder and steward and a council of twenty capital burgesses and four aldermen. Under it the mayor and burgesses were to enjoy the liberties of infangenethef, utfangenethef, sake, soke, toll, team, thefbote, backberindthef and ordelf; also freedom from toll passage, pontage, murage, fletage, picage, anchorage, stallage, lastage and tollage of Horngeld throughout England except in London ; they were, moreover, to be entitled in respect of their markets to pontage, keyage, etc. The assize of bread and ale and wine and view of frankpledge were also granted and a court of piepowder was to regulate certain specified fairs. In 1835 the number of aldermen was increased to six. From 1295 to 1885 Truro enjoyed separate parliamentary representation, returning two members. The charter of 1589 provided that the burgesses should have power by means of the common council to elect them. Such was the procedure from 1589 to 1832 when the burgesses recovered the privilege. Under the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885 the representation of Truro was merged in the county. No fairs or markets are mentioned prior to 1589 when two markets, on Saturdays and Wednesdays, were provided, also three fairs. Both markets and two of the three fairs are held.
See Victoria County History: Cornwall; Canon Donaldson, Bishopric of Truro (1902).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)