Magna Britannia: Volume 3, Cornwall. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1814.
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ADVENT, commonly called St. Ann or St. Tane (fn. n1), lies in the hundred of Lesnewth and deanery of Trigg-minor, about a mile and a half south from Camelford. It contains the small villages of Treclegoe or Trelegoe, Pencarow, and Tresinny. Most of the estates in this parish are parcel of the duchy of Cornwall, being held as free and customary lands of the manor of Helston in Trigg. The manor of Trelegoe, Treclegoe, or Trenelgoe, after having been for some descents in the family of Phillipps, was bequeathed by the late Rev. William Phillipps, rector of Lanteglos and Advent, to his nephew John Phillipps Carpenter, of Tavistock, Esq., whose son is the present proprietor. Helsbury Park, held under the duchy of Cornwall, extends into this parish. Tonkin speaks of Trethyn as a place of chief note in the parish of Advent, and says, that Sir Henry Rolle retired thither during the protectorate of Cromwell, about which time it became, by lease, the seat of a branch of the Vivians, whose heiress married into the family of Beale of St. Teath: it was, in 1736, the seat of Matthew Beale, Esq. It is now, by inheritance from his father, the property of Robert Lovell Gwatkin, Esq. The church of Advent, which is a distinct parish, is united to Lanteglos-juxta-Camelford, and forms with it a consolidated rectory, in the patronage of the Prince of Wales as Duke of Cornwall.
ST. AGNES, in the hundred and deanery of Pyder, is a small market-town, situated nine miles north-west-by-west from Truro, near the Bristol channel. It was anciently called Breanick or Bryanick. The market, for which there does not appear to be any charter on record, has been held from time immemorial for all sorts of wares and provisions, except corn. In 1706 Mr. Tonkin procured the Queen's patent for a weekly market and two fairs, but, after the writ of ad quod damnum had been duly executed, and the Queen's sign manual obtained, in consequence of a petition from the inhabitants of Truro, the grant was revoked. A small market is nevertheless kept up: the market-day is Thursday. The town and parish, comprising a great mining district, thickly strewed with cottages, contained 4,161 inhabitants in 1801, and 5,024 in 1811, according to the returns made to parliament in those years.
A pilchard-fishery was established at St. Agnes about the year 1802.
The principal villages in this parish are Malow or Mola, where are the remains of a chapel, Mithian or Mythian, and Stenclose. The great manor of Tywarnhaile, which will be more particularly treated of in the parish of Perranzabuloe, extends into this parish.
The manor of Mythian belonged formerly to the family of Winslade: John Winslade was executed for being concerned with Humphrey Arundell and others, in the Cornish commotions in 1549, and his estates were forfeited to the crown. King Edward VI. granted this manor to Sir Reginald Mohun. William Mohun, Esq., the last heir-male of this family, bequeathed it to his wife Sibella, (who was afterwards married to John Derbyshire Birkhead, Esq.) and his sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Prowse. Sir Christopher Hawkins, Bart., who is the present proprietor of the whole, bought it in 1777; one moiety of Mr. Birkhead, and the other of Matthew Grylls, brother and heir of Robert Grylls, who had purchased it in 1758 of the devisees of Mrs. Prowse.
The manor, or reputed manor, of Trevaunance, is said to have been acquired by the Tonkin family in marriage with the heiress of Carne, a younger branch of the family of Carne of Glamorganshire (fn. n2). In the year 1559, Henry Earl of Rutland, then lord of the manor of Tywarnhaile-Tyes, sold the fee of the Trevaunance estate to Richard Crane, who the same year conveyed it to John Jeffery. In 1593, it was sold by Jeffery to Thomas Tonkin alias Trevaunance, whose family had long been possessed of it as lease-holders. This estate was the property and the seat of Thomas Tonkin of Trevaunance, Esq., who made large collections for a parochial history of Cornwall (fn. n3). Mr. Tonkin enjoyed his estate but a few years: he died in 1742. His two sons, who did not long survive him, successively inherited his estates, which, after their death, were for a while in the possession of Thomas Heyes, Esq., who married the daughter and heir of his son James, but left no issue; the only child of his daughter, who married Foss, having died unmarried, they descended to the representatives of the three daughters of Thomas Tonkin, who died in 1672; which daughters had married into the families of Jago, Cornish, and Ley. Mr. John Jago, and Mr. Hugh Ley, the immediate descendants of two of the daughters, are now possessed of twothirds of the manor of Trevaunance, and of such portion of the manor of Lambourn as extends into this parish, and was part of the Tonkin estate (except some lands sold to J. Thomas, Esq. of Chiverton). The other third part has been subdivided. Mr. Thomas has one half of it by purchase, the other half is divided between Mr. Geach, a descendant of the family of Cornish, and Mr. Paul Clerk. Trevaunance house was taken down a few years after the death of Mr. Tonkin: there is now a cottage on its site.
An attempt was made by the Tonkin family to form a harbour at TrevaunancePorth as early as the year 1632; it was attempted again in 1684, and, after a considerable expence had been incurred, again given up. In 1699, a third attempt was made with the assistance of Mr. Winstanly, the celebrated engineer; the works then constructed were destroyed by a violent storm in 1705. Mr. Tonkin, from whose notes this account was taken, again commenced his works in 1710, at the expence of 6,000l.; he formed the foundation with large masses of rock laid in hot lime made of Lyas-stone from Aberddaw, in South Wales: these works having become decayed, a jetty pier of Moorstone was built about the year 1794, at the expence of 10,000l., by a company of gentlemen, and a considerable trade in coals, lime, state, &c. is now carried on with Ireland and Wales. The proprietors are enlarging the harbour, and rendering it more commodious and safe for shipping. A small stream of water which rises in the manor of Tywarnhaile, turns several stamping mills in Trevaunance-Comb.
Mr. Tonkin speaks of Chyton and Trevenythick, now Trenethick, as tenements in this manor. He says, that the Beauchamps owned Chyton in the reign of Henry IV.: and that, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, they removed from Chyton to Trenethick; in the year 1633, Walter Beauchamp sold both to Peter Jenkyn of St. Columb the Higher, of whose representatives Chyton was purchased about the latter end of that century by Hugh Tonkin. It is now partly the property of the heirs of Tonkin before mentioned, and partly of Francis Enys, Esq. Trenethick was sold by the Jenkyn family in 1699 to John Tonkin, Esq. of Mullion, who possessed it in 1736. It was afterwards, for many years, in the family of John, of whom it has been recently purchased by Mr. Collan Harvey of St. Day.
Penwennick, a tenement in the manor of Tywarnhaile, was divided in the reign of Henry VIII. between Thomas Kemyell, who possessed a moiety, and Sir John Chamond and Urinus Nicholl, who had a fourth each. The representatives of Kemyell sold their moiety in 1568 to William Whitta; from Whitta, it passed to the Lanyons, who resided here several years, and sold this estate in 1622 to Edward Noye of Mawgan: it was purchased of the latter, in 1627, by John Tonkin, Esq. of Trevaunance. Sir John Chamond's share passed through several female heirs to Francis Basset, Esq. of Tehidy, who sold it to Thomas Tonkin, Esq. in 1705. These three parts of Penwennick were, till of late years, vested in the heirs of Tonkin. The remaining fourth part, which had belonged to Nicholls, was, in 1736, the property of John Nance, Esq. whose ancestors had acquired it by purchase: the whole is now the property of John James, Esq. who resides on another estate, which he has in this parish called Rosemundy.
Treuellis or Trevellis, a tenement in the manor of Tywarnhaile, was for several descents the seat of the family of Crocker; it belonged afterwards to Mr. Joseph Donnithorne, and is now the property of Mr. Chilcot. The mansion is occupied as a farm-house.
The church of St. Agnes, a daughter-church to Perranzabuloe, is said by Hals to have been originally built as a parochial chapel in 1484, when it was consecrated by Archbishop Courtenay; but it appears by Mr. Tonkin's notes, that he had deeds in his possession which shewed that St. Agnes was esteemed a distinct parish, and had a parochial chapel in 1396: the licence to build a new chapel was dated 1st October 1482. In this church are some monuments of the family of Tonkin of Trevaunance.
St. Agnes and Perranzabuloe form a consolidated vicarage in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter.
In a dingle called Chapel-comb, was an ancient chapel known by the name of Porth-Chapel, the ruins of which were taken down about the year 1780. Near this spot is St. Agnes' Well, of which many miraculous stories are told; the water is of an excellent quality, and much esteemed. Hals speaks of an ancient freechapel in the manor of Mythian, which had been made a dwelling-house. There are remains of an ancient chapel at Mola. Nicholas Kent of Mingoose, by his will, bearing date 1688, gave for the term of 499 years a dwelling-house, divided into four tenements and a garden, for poor widows of this parish, and charged his lands of Mingoose and Tereardrene with the repairs of the house; but it does not appear that it was endowed. One of the schools, founded by the trustees of the fund left, for charitable uses, by the Rev. St. John Eliot, who died in 1760, is at St. Agnes. The endowment is 5l. per annum. There is a Sunday-school at St. Agnes, supported by subscription, and numerously attended.
St. Agnes Beacon, formed out of an ancient cairn or tumulus of stones, was kept ready for use a few years ago during the apprehension of invasion, and was attended by two soldiers (fn. n4). A summer-house has been built near it, from which there is a fine view of St. Ives, with a very extensive sea-prospect. The beacon is 664 feet above the level of the sea. (fn. n5)
The parish of St. Allen lies in the west division of the hundred of Powder, and in the deanery of the same name, about 10 miles north-east from Redruth, and four north-east-by-north from Truro, which is the post town. The principal villages in this parish are Lane and Zelah, or Zealla, through which the high road from Exeter to the Land's-End passed, before the present turnpike-road was made. The antient mile-stones remain, and a house at Zelah is still called the Tavern.
The manor of Laner, in this parish, was an appendage to the Bishop of Exeter's manor of Cargol; and the capital mansion on it was for many years one of the country-seats of the bishops, till the reign of Henry VIII., when Bishop Voysey leased it to Clement Throckmorton, cup-bearer to Queen Catharine Parr; from him the lease passed by successive conveyances to the families of Williams and Borlase (fn. n6). During the possession of the latter, the house was suffered to go to decay, and there are now scarcely any remains of it; on the site is a mean farm-house. The Bishops of Exeter had, at an early period, a castle here, which William of Worcester speaks of as dilapidated in the reign of Edward IV.
The manor of Gwarnike passed at an early period, by a female heir, to the antient family of Bevill, whose chief seat it continued to be for ten descents. The male line of this family became extinct in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when the two coheiresses married into the families of Arundell of Trerice, and Grenville. The Arundells became possessed of Gwarnike; John Arundell of Gwarnike, commonly called Black Arundell (from his always wearing a black dress), dying without issue, in the year 1597, gave it to his kinsman Prideaux. In 1704, it was sold by the Prideaux family to James Kempe of Penryn, and in 1731 purchased by Edward Prideaux, Esq. (fn. n7), of Place-House, Padstow, ancestor to the Rev. Charles Prideaux Brune, of the same place, who is the present proprietor. There were formerly two chapels at Gwarnike; one at a small distance from the house, which was demolished before the year 1736, and another attached to it, which, together with "the old hall, curiously timbered with Irish oak," was then remaining (fn. n8). These old buildings were not long ago pulled down, and a farm-house built on the site with the materials.
Talgrogan, in this manor, was some time the seat of a younger branch of the Prideaux family; and Trerice, in this parish and manor, was the seat of a younger branch of the Arundells of Trerice in Newlyn. (fn. n9)
The manor of Bosvellick is supposed to have been part of the estate of the Bevills, and to have been sold by the coheirs to the family of Robarts. Sir Richard Robarts was possessed of it about the close of the sixteenth century (fn. n10). It is now the property of John Thomas, Esq., vice-warden of the Stannaries, by purchase from the representatives of the Robarts' family.
In the reign of James I. this estate was leased out to the Tregeags; the heiress of that family brought the lease to the Cleathers, who continued to possess it for several generations. (fn. n11)
Nancarrow, on the site of which is now a common farm-house, was for many generations the seat of a family of that name, who possessed it as lessees; the fee of the estate was in the family of Borlase; afterwards in that of Scawen (fn. n12) : it now belongs to Mr. Oliver Adams Carveth.
Treonick, as Hals writes it, now called Trefrannick, was a seat of the Borlases; there is now a small farm-house on the site. The Borlases had another estate in this parish called Nanteg. (fn. n13)
The church of St. Allen was given to the college of Glaseney by Bishop Stapleton, and appropriated to the vicars of that college in 1314 (fn. n14), but the bishop had previously endowed the vicarage of St. Allen with the great tithes of his manors of Laner, Tretheris (where was formerly a chapel (fn. n15) and cemetery), and Venteronisick. The vicarage is in the patronage of the Bishops of Exeter. The rectory of St. Allen belonged, in the seventeenth century, to the family of Coke (fn. n16); it is now the property of Viscount Falmouth.
ALTERNON, in the hundred of Lesnewth, and deanry of Trigg Major, lies about eight miles west of Launceston, which is the post town; and about the same distance south-east of Camelford. It is the most extensive parish in the county, supposed to contain about 12,770 acres. The principal villages in Alternon are Tredawl, Trethyn, Treween and Trewint. At Five-Lanes, in this parish, are fairs for all sorts of cattle, on the Monday week after June 24th, and the first Tuesday in November.
The manor, or united manors of Alternon alias Penpont, Treglasta, and Trewinneck, extend into the parishes of Alternon, St. Cleather, Davidstow and Laneast. It is probable that they were formerly separate. Alternon, alias Penpont, is said to have belonged to the Trevelyans. Treglasta, the site of which seems to have been Treglasta in Davidstow, was parcel of the estate of Richard Lucy, chief justice of England, whose daughter, Rohais or Rohesia, gave a moiety of it to William Briwere, a powerful baron in the reign of King John. The widow of this William brought it, in marriage, to Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, by whom the manor of Treglasta was given in, 1234, to the abbot and convent of Clive in Somersetshire (fn. n17). In 1630 it was the property of Arthur Arscot Esq., subsequently in the Pyper family, from which it passed, by marriage, to the Vyvyans of Tresmarrow. The late Mr. Vyvyan, of Tremeal, sold it to Edmund Bennet, Esq. who in 1790 divided it into four parts. These parts are now the property of Jonas Morgan, Esq. of Woodovis, the Hon. William Eliot, William Hockin, Esq., and John Tillie Coryton, Esq. (fn. n18)
The manor of Tredawl, which belonged also to the Pypers, passed by successive purchases, from their representatives the Vyvyans, to the family of Tyeth, and to Jonas Morgan, Esq., the present possessor. It has been lately offered for sale.
The manor of Trelawney was the original property and seat of the antient family of that name. Many years ago, most probably on the extinction of the elder branch in the reign of Henry VI., it passed into other hands. In 1791, this manor, which is called the manor of Gunnon, Tregarlick (or Tregarrick), and Trelawney, was purchased of Vyell Vyvyan, Esq., by Edward Archer, Esq., brother of Samuel Archer, Esq., the present proprietor. The barton of Trelawney, to which in ancient times a deer-park was annexed, was the residence of Sir John Trelawney, a distinguished military character in the reign of Henry V.: his elder son left only daughters, among whom this ancient patrimony of the family appears to have been divided. It is still in severalties: the farm-house and immediate demesne are the property of William Newcombe, Esq. who resides at Trevithick in this parish. The estate he possesses by bequest from the last of the family of Hickes, which had been for many generations of Trevithick. The manor of South-Carne, in this parish, which belonged, at an early period, to the Trelawneys, is now the property of George Morth Woolcombe, Esq., of Ashbury, in Devonshire. The manor of Treveage, in Alternon, is the property of Francis Hearle Rodd, Esq., of Trebartha Hall, in Northill.
The tower of Alternon church, which is said to be the highest in the county except Probus, was much damaged by storms in 1791 and 1810.
The church of Alternon was given by William Earl Moreton to the Prior and convent of Montacute, whose successors, in 1236, made over their right in it to the church of Exeter. The great tithes are now appropriated to the Dean and Chapter, who are patrons of the vicarage. This church is said to have been the burial-place of St. Nonnet, or St. Nun, mother of St. David, who, according to her legend, was born here (fn. n19). It is not improbable as Carew observes, that this saint has given name to the church (fn. n20). There is a well in the parish called St. Nun's Well. Near Dosmery-pool, in this parish, are the ruins of an ancient chapel.
Hals speaks of a very remarkable instance of longevity at Alternon, in the person of Peter Jowle or Joll, an under-clerk of the parish, who lived to be more than 150 years of age, and says that, in his hundredth year, he had a new set of teeth, and his hair became again black. The name of Joll is still extant in the village, and the family have been remarkable for longevity, but we cannot learn that any tradition exists relating to Peter Joll, nor does his name appear in the register.
ANTHONY, in the hundred and deanery of East, lies about three miles and a half south-west from Saltash, and about a mile and a half west of Plymouth-Dock, which is the post town. The principal villages in this parish, exclusive of the church-town, are Torpoint, Wilcove, and Tregantle.
The manors of West and East Anthony were both in the family of De Alneto Dawney or Danny; East-Anthony passed, by a female heir, to that of Archdekne or Erchdeken. Sir Waren Archdekne left three daughters, one of whom, Margery, married Sir Thomas Arundell, and died possessed of East-Anthony in 1420, leaving no issue: this estate passed to her sister Philippa, who married Sir Hugh Courtenay, and left a daughter and sole heir, Joan: East-Anthony devolved to the descendant of Alexander (fn. n21), the fourth son of this Joan, by her first husband Sir Nicholas, Baron Carew of Hacomb. The fourth in descent from Alexander, was Richard Carew, the well-known historian of Cornwall, a member of the original Society of Antiquaries, which was formed by Camden, Stow, Spelman, and other learned men, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Richard, his eldest son, was created a baronet in 1641. On the death of Sir Coventry Carew, in 1748, the title passed to the Rev. Alexander Carew, descended from Thomas, a younger son of the second baronet, whose family had been settled at Harrowbear, or Horraborow, and became extinct at his death in 1799. The Anthony estate passed, under the will of Sir Coventry Carew, to the Carews of Crocombe in Somersetshire; and in consequence of Thomas and John Carew, of that family, dying without issue, devolved in 1771 to Reginald Pole, Esq. (now the Right Hon. Reginald Pole Carew, M. P.), grandson of Charles Pole, fourth son of Sir John Pole, Bart. of Shute, by Sarah Rashleigh, whose mother (Jane, daughter of Sir John Carew, Bart., who died in 1692) had married Jonathan Rashleigh, Esq. of Menabilly.
East-Anthony House, built of Pentuan stone, by Gibbs the architect, for Sir William Carew, was finished in the year 1721: there is a view of it in Borlase's Natural History. Among the portraits at this place, are those of Richard Carew the historian, at the age of 32, with the device of a diamond on an anvil, and a hammer suspended over it; which has been engraved for the new edition of the Survey of Cornwall, lately published by Lord De Dunstanville; Dr. Butts, physician to King Henry VIII., and his lady, by Holbein; Admiral Van Trompe, Anthony Stewart, Duke of Lenox, and Sir Kenelm Digby, by Vandyke; and the late Reginald Pole Carew, Esq. painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, before he went to London.
The manor of West-Anthony passed by marriage with Emmeline, daughter and heir of Sir John Dawney to Sir Edward Courtenay, and was possessed for some descents by the Earls of Devonshire of that name. Having been vested in the crown by forfeiture, it was granted to George Duke of Clarence, who died seised of it in 1474. King Henry VII. restored it to the Courtenay family, but it became again forfeited by the attainder of Henry Marquis of Exeter, and was by King Henry VIII. annexed to the duchy of Cornwall, with other estates, in lieu of the honour of Wallingford; and continued to be parcel of the possessions of the Prince of Wales (fn. n22) as Duke of Cornwall, till the year 1798, when it was sold, under the land-tax redemption act to the Right Hon. Reginald Pole Carew, M.P. lord of the manor of East-Anthony. West-Anthony extends into the parish of St. John.
The manor of Tregantle passed, with West-Anthony, from the Dawney family to the Courtenays. It is now the property of the Right. Hon. Reginald Pole Carew, having been purchased by the Carew family soon after the attainder of the Marquis of Exeter.
Thancks or Thankes, formerly a seat of the Searles, took its present name from the family of Thonke, to whom it was enfranchised in the reign of Henry V. It was before called Pengelly. From the Searles it passed to the family of Warne, whose heiress brought it in marriage to Captain Thomas Graves; it is now a seat of his grandson, the Right Hon. Thomas North, Lord Graves.
The parish-church contains several monuments worthy of notice. In the chancel is the figure of a lady on a brass plate, under an elegant Gothic canopy, in memory of Margery Arundell, lady of the manor of East-Anthony, who died in 1420.
In the north aisle is a tablet of black marble, in memory of Richard Carew, author of the survey of Cornwall, with the following inscription: Ric. Carew Arm. Nat. 1555 pacis presul 1581; Cornub. Vicecomes 1586; in re milit. regias vices funct. 1586; in colleg. antiquariorum elect. 1598: ob. 1620.
"The verses following were written by Richard Carew, of Anthony, Esq. immediately before his death (which happened the sixth of November 1620), as he was at his private prayers in his study (his daily practice), at four in the afternoon, and being found in his pocket, were preserved by his grandson, Sir Alexander Carew, according to whose desire they are here set up in memory of him:
"Full thirteen fives of yeares I toiling have oerpast,
And in the fourteenth, weary, enter'd am at last;
While rocks, sands, storms, and leaks, to take my bark away,
By grief, troubles, sorrows, sickness, did essay:
And yet arriv'd I am not at the port of death,
The port to everlasting life that openeth
My time, uncertain, Lord, long certain cannot be,
What's best to me's unknown, and only known to Thee.
O by repentanance, and amendment, grant, that I
May still live in thy fear, and in thy favour dye."
Anthony Wood, in his account of Mr. Carew, says, that a splendid monument was erected to his memory at Anthony, with an inscription written in the Latin tongue; the author of his life, prefixed to his edition of the Survey of Cornwall, printed in 1769, professes himself ignorant (never having seen the inscription), whether it was the same that was written for his epitaph by Camden (fn. n23), as appears by the epistles of that learned author.
Among other memorials of the Carew family, is one of Jane, relict of Sir Alexander Carew, Bart., who, having the command of the island of St. Nicholas, near Plymouth, then a garrison of the parliament, was seized whilst he was secretly making terms for his pardon with the royalists, and having been condemned for his intention of betraying that important post, suffered death by beheading on Towerhill, December 23, 1644; his widow, who was daughter of Robert Pole, Esq. of Heanton, survived till 1679. In the north aisle is a monument with a head in basrelief, by Thomas Carter of London, in memory of Mary Carew (daughter of Sir William Carew, Bart.), who died in 1731. There is a handsome monument in memory of Sir John Carew, Bart. who died in 1692, and his son Sir Richard, who died in 1703. In the south aisle is a monument of white marble, by Wilton, in memory of Thomas Graves, Esq. of Thanks, grandfather of the present Lord Graves, who, as captain of a man of war, distinguished himself very much in the attack of the forts St. Jago and St. Philip in the year 1740; soon after which he retired from the service. In 1747, he was made a rear-admiral, and put on the superannuated list; his second wife (fn. n24), Elizabeth, who died in 1738, was sister of Eustace Budgell, grand-daughter of Dr. Gulston, Bishop of Bristol, and first cousin of Addison the poet. A quarto pamphlet was published in 1640, giving an account of the effects of a thunder-storm at Anthony, on Whitsunday in that year, when fourteen persons, then attending divine service, were scorched by the lightning, but no lives lost.
The church of Anthony was formerly appropriated to the abbot and convent of Tavistock, who possessed it when the survey of Domesday was taken. The manor and church of Anthony was granted as parcel of the possessions of that abbey to John Lord Russell, in 1540; and having been for some time in that noble family, were purchased, before the year 1672 (fn. n25), by the Carews. Mr. Pole Carew is now impropriator and patron of the vicarage. Not far from Anthony House is a ferry over the Lyner to Trematon, Saltash, &c. belonging to Mr. Pole Carew, as lord of the manor of East Anthony.
ST. ANTHONY, in the deanery of Kirrier, and in the east division of the hundred of the same name, commonly called St. Anthony in Meneage, lies about ten miles from Helston, and seven south-by-west from Falmouth. Helston is the posttown. Bishop Tanner says, that there was at this place a cell of black monks of Angiers, belonging to the priory of Tywardreth, which existed as early as the reign of Richard I.; its site is supposed to have been on an estate called Lantinny, adjoining the church-yard, where foundations of buildings and remains of human bodies have been found.
There are two ancient entrenchments in this parish, called the Great and Little Dennis, or the Great and Little Castle. The latter became the site of a small fort of the same name (the Little Dennis), which was occupied during the civil war in the 17th century as a post for the security of Helford harbour: it was surrendered to Sir Thomas Fairfax in the month of March, 1646 (fn. n26), being the last place in Cornwall that held out except the Mount and Pendennis Castle. Vyell Vyvyan, Esq. of Trelowarren, has some MS. accounts of this garrison, of which his ancestor was governor. The manor of Porthia-Prior, extending its jurisdiction into the parishes of St. Anthony, Gulval, St. Ives, and others, belonged to the priory of Tywardreth. It was made parcel of the honour of Wallingford in 1540, and soon after annexed to the duchy of Cornwall, of which it still constitutes a part. The principal, if not the only estate, now belonging to this manor, comprises the Little Dennis above mentioned, and almost the whole of the church-town and the adjacent lands.
The manor of Tregarne-Condurra, partly in this parish and partly in St. Keverne, and other neighbouring parishes (fn. n27), belonged anciently to the Earls of Cornwall; and having been many generations in the family of Arundell of Lanherne, were purchased of its representative, in 1737, by the grandfather of Sir William Lemon, Bart. the present proprietor. Trewothike or Trewothick, in this parish, was a seat of the ancient family of Tregose, supposed by Hals to be quite extinct: in the reign of Charles II. it passed, by sale, to the Vaughans of Ottery-St. Mary, in Devon. In 1736, it was purchased of that family by Robert Trefusis (fn. n28), Esq., whose descendant conveyed it in 1786 to Sir William Lemon, the present proprietor: it is occupied as a farm-house. Rosecreeg, in this parish, gave name to a family; it was sold about the year 1680, by Anthony Rosecreeg, Esq., to Henry Penrose, Gent., of Gillan, whose seat it was in 1736: it has since passed through several hands, and is now the property and residence of Mr. William Morgan. The Rosecreeg family still reside at Anthony, in the rank of respectable yeomen. The site of Rosecreeg beacon is one of the most commanding spots on the south coast of Cornwall. Boscehan, in this parish, is the seat of Thomas Grylls, Esq.
The church of St. Anthony was appropriated to the priory of Tywardreth; the rectory was granted by Queen Elizabeth, in or about the year 1563, to the family of Killigrew; it is now the property of Francis Gregor, Esq. of Trewarthenick. The benefice, which is a perpetual curacy, is in the patronage of the Prince of Wales, as Duke of Cornwall.
Mr. Anthony Hosken of Lanne, in St. Anthony, in the year 1743, gave an annuity of 4l. charged on the estate of Boden-Veor, in this parish, for providing a schoolmaster or mistress to teach poor children to read and write.
ST. ANTHONY, in the deanery of Powder, and in the west division of the hundred of that name, commonly called Anthony in Roseland, lies near Falmouth harbour; the nearest market-town by land is St. Mawes, scarcely half a mile distant by water; by land, about six. This is the post-town. It is eleven miles south-west-by-south from Tregony; from Falmouth, by water, about four miles; but by land, through Tregony, Truro, and Penryn, twenty-three.
At this place was a small priory of Austin canons, subordinate to that of Plympton in Devonshire, to which monastery the church of St. Anthony the King and Martyr was given, before the middle of the twelfth century, by Robert Chichester, Bishop of Exeter (fn. n29); the site was granted, as parcel of the possessions of the prior and convent of Plympton by Henry VIII., in the year 1547, to Thomas Goodwin. This estate has been, for many generations, in the family of Spry; and the site of the priory, called "Place," is now the seat of Thomas Spry, Esq., Admiral of the Blue, who is the lay-impropriator, and presents to the benefice, which is a donative. Admiral Spry is also lord of the manor of Bohurtha or Bohurra, in this parish, purchased about the year 1796 of the Boscawen family, who had possessed it about 150 years. The patronage of the donative was purchased of John Hals of Fentongollan, by Hugh Boscawen, Esq. On the western promontory of Roseland, in this parish, was formerly a chapel, dedicated to St. Anne. (fn. n30)
ST. AUSTELL, in the deanery of Powder, and in the eastern division of the hundred of that name, is a considerable market-town, thirty-four miles from Launceston, and about 257 from London. The market, which is on Friday, was granted in 1661 to Oliver Sawle, Esq. and Henry Carlyon, Gent. in trust for the poor of St. Austell, together with two fairs, on St. Andrew's-day and the Thursday in Whitsunweek. Hals speaks of a third fair on Palm-Sunday, and says, that "the market was a considerable one, wherein were vended all commodities necessary for the life of man." It is now a considerable market for corn as well as other articles, The tolls are let at 147l. 10s. per annum. The number of inhabitants in this town was 3,788 in 1801; in 1811, only 3,686, according to the returns made to parliament at those two periods. In King Henry VIII.'s reign, Leland described it as a poor village. It first rose to consequence from its vicinity to Polgooth and other considerable mines: it is now a considerable thoroughfare; the great road from Plymouth to the Land's-End was brought through it about the year 1760. The principal villages in this parish are Carvath, Corbean, Pentewan or Pentuan, Porthpean, Rescorla, Tregonissy, Tregorick, Trenarren, Trethergy, and Charlestown. The last-mentioned place was formerly called Porthmear, and was too inconsiderable to be mentioned in Martyn's map. In 1790, it contained only nine inhabitants. In consequence of the commodious harbour, the docks and shipwrights yard, and the pilchard fishery established by Charles Rashleigh, Esq., it has gradually increased to be a large village, containing at present nearly 300 inhabitants.
The town of St. Austell, in which part of the Earl of Essex's army had been quartered, was taken by King Charles I. not long before the capitulation of that army near Lostwithiel, in 1644.
Captain Jonathan Upcot, of this town, distinguished himself by his bravery under King William III. in Flanders, where he and the greater part of his company lost their lives in an attempt to storm the enemy's camp at Enghien. (fn. n31)
The manor of St. Austell or Austell-Prior, belonged to the prior and convent of Tywardreth. Upon the dissolution of religious houses, it was annexed, with other manors, in 1540, to the duchy of Cornwall, in lieu of the honour of Wallingford. During the interregnum in the seventeenth century, it was sold to Edmund Bourne, but at the Restoration was restored to the duchy. It is now the property of Charles Rashleigh, Esq., having been purchased under the land-tax redemption act in 1799.
The duchy manor of Tewinton, which extends into the parishes of St. Blazey and Roche, and formerly gave name to a hundred, was purchased (fn. n32) also, under the land-tax redemption act, by Charles Rashleigh, Esq., who is the present proprietor. The lands in this manor are held by two descriptions of persons, called free-tenants and conventionary or customary tenants; the free-tenants hold lands of inheritance, subject to a high rent payable to the manor: the others hold by copy of court-roll from seven to seven years, under a small reserved rent, and suit and service to the court; the widow has a life-estate in these tenements, which descend to the eldest son, and in default of male issue, to the eldest daughter.
The manor of Trenans-Austell belonged, in the reign of Edward III., to the equestrian family of Hiwis, a Devonshire family, whose coheiress brought most of their Cornish estates to the Coleshills; afterwards, it was for several generations in the family of Chywarton. In 1634, it was the joint property of Ezekiel Arundell, and Thomas Trewren, Esquires. Oliver Sawle, Esq., ancestor of Mr. Joseph Sawle Graves, a minor, to whom one moiety now belongs, was possessed of it as early as the year 1640; the other moiety was purchased of the Arundells, in the year 1724, by Henry Hawkins, Esq., of St. Austell, grandfather of the Rev. Henry Hawkins Tremayne, the present proprietor.
The manor of Tregorrick was purchased, in 1771, by the present proprietor, Charles Rashleigh, Esq., of Sir Edward Dering, Bart., Sir Rowland Wynn, Bart. and William Strickland, Esq., representatives of Edward Henshaw, Esq., who married the heiress of the Ropers of Eltham, in Kent. It is probable that it was, at an earlier period, in the Lowers of St. Winnow, whose estates were inherited (fn. n33) by the Ropers.
The manor of Treverbin belonged to an ancient family of that name (fn. n34), who had a free chapel upon it, which Hals speaks of as "lately extant, and of public use before the church of St. Austell was erected." This family became extinct in the reign of Henry VI., when the estate was divided into moieties, having passed by coheiresses to the families of Courtenay, and Trevanion of Caerhayes. TreverbinCourtenay having been forfeited to the crown by the attainder of the Marquis of Exeter, was, with other manors, annexed by King Henry VIII., in 1540, to the duchy of Cornwall, in lieu of the honour of Wallingford. The other moiety, which constituted the manor of Treverbin-Trevanion, still continues in the Trevanion family, being now the property of J. P. T. B. Trevanion, Esq. Knighter, now a farmhouse on this estate, was a seat of the Trevanions.
The manor of Penrice belonged, for many generations, to the ancient family of Sawle, and is now vested in trustees for Mr. Joseph Sawle Graves a minor, whose mother was one of the coheiresses of that family. Tewan (or Towan, as Hals spells it) was the ancient seat of the Sawles, who had been settled in Cornwall ever since the Norman conquest. Tonkin speaks of it as gone to decay; it has been since rebuilt, and is now occupied as a farm-house. Lavrean, another seat of the Sawles, and still belonging to their representative, is now also a farmhouse. Penrice, which has a deer-park, is now the seat of Mr. Graves.
The manor of Trenarran or Trenarren was given or confirmed to the prior and convent of Tywardreth by Robert de Cardinan, in the reign of Richard I.; this estate, no longer considered as a manor, has been many years in the family of Hext; the old mansion has been taken down, and a new house built by Thomas Hext, Esq. of Lostwithiel, the present proprietor, who occasionally resides in it.
Norden describes Polruddon in St. Austell, as "the ruynes of an auntient howse somtymes the howse of John Polruddon, whoe was taken out of his bed by the Frenche in the time of Henry VII., and caried away with violence, and then began the house to decaye; and Penwarne, the house of Mr. Otwell Hill, was builded with Polruddon stones. The howse (as by the ruyns it appeareth) was a fayr howse, and by the arched free-stone windowes which it had curiouslye wroughte, testifieth it to be for the time elegant." The house was afterwards rebuilt, and became a seat of the Scobells; it now belongs to Sir Christopher Hawkins, Bart., who is descended from that family in the female line; being occupied as a farmhouse.
Mena-Gwins, now also a farm-house, was the seat of Richard Scobell, clerk of the parliament to Oliver Cromwell; it belongs to Thomas Carlyon, Esq. to whom it descended by a coheiress from the Scobells: Mr. Carlyon is proprietor also of the bartons of Porthtowan and Penventon, both occupied as farms, which belonged to the same family. Boscundle, which belonged to the family of Trewbody, is now a farm-house, the property of their representative, Mr. Carlyon. Merthen, formerly a seat of the family of Laa (fn. n35), belonged afterwards to that of Hext, and is now a farm-house, the property, by purchase, of Thomas Carlyon, Esq. Trevisick, some time the seat of a younger branch of the Moyles, of Bake, and afterwards of the Slades, is now a farm-house, the property of W. Slade Gully, Esq. Tregangeves, some time the seat of the Goldsworthy family, now belongs to Lord Mount Edgcumbe. Rescorla, in the village of that name, the seat of the ancient family of Rescorla, has been pulled down. George Rescorla, the present representative of this reduced family, is a day-labourer at Roche. The present gentlemen's seats in this parish are, Duporth, the seat of Charles Rashleigh, Esq., Penrice already mentioned, Trevarnick, the seat of H. Lakes, Esq., and Trewiddle, the seat of Francis Polkinhorne, Esq. as lessee under Lord Mount Edgcumbe.
In the parish church, which has a handsome tower, are some monuments of the ancient family of Sawle, the last heir-male of which, John Sawle, Esq., died in 1789; his monument was put up by his maiden sister, Mrs. Mary Sawle, the last survivor of the family: another sister brought Penrice, as before-mentioned, into the family of Graves. There is a memorial also for the family of May.
The church of St. Austell was given to the prior and convent of Tywardreth by Robert Fitzwilliam; the lay-impropriation is now divided between Charles Rashleigh, Esq. (fn. n36) and the Rev. H. H. Tremayne. The vicarage is in the gift of the crown. In or about the year 1291, Philip Cornwallis, Archdeacon of Winchester, gave the church of St. Clether for the endowment of a chantry chapel in the church-yard of St. Austell (fn. n37). There was a sanctuary at St. Austell, which Robert Fitzwilliam, by his deed bearing date 1169, discharged of a payment to which it had been before subject. (fn. n38)
At Menacuddle farm is the site of an ancient free chapel, which was subject to the priory of Tywardreth; the last incumbent of this chapel had a pension of 5l. per annum allowed him in the reign of Edward VI. The lands belonging to this chapel, which are tithe-free, were granted by that monarch to Sir Thomas Pomeroy and Hugh Pomeroy; they are now the property of Charles Rashleigh, Esq. Under the hill, upon the same estate, is the chapel-well, over which is an ancient Gothic building. There was a chapel of St. Mary also at Millinse, in St. Austell (fn. n39), and another at Treverbin-Courtenay. In this town are meeting-houses for the Quakers, the Independents, and the Westleyan methodists. An alms-house, with six apartments for poor persons, was erected in the year 1809; it is not endowed.
Polgooth mine, esteemed in Hals's time the richest that had ever been worked in England, is partly in this parish, in which also is the famous stone-quarry of Pentuan or Port-Towan, from which many of the churches and gentlemen's seats in the county have been built.