Parishes: Falmouth - Fowey

Magna Britannia: Volume 3, Cornwall. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1814.

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Daniel Lysons. Samuel Lysons, 'Parishes: Falmouth - Fowey', in Magna Britannia: Volume 3, Cornwall, (London, 1814) pp. 99-112. British History Online [accessed 30 May 2024].

Daniel Lysons. Samuel Lysons. "Parishes: Falmouth - Fowey", in Magna Britannia: Volume 3, Cornwall, (London, 1814) 99-112. British History Online, accessed May 30, 2024,

Lysons, Daniel. Lysons, Samuel. "Parishes: Falmouth - Fowey", Magna Britannia: Volume 3, Cornwall, (London, 1814). 99-112. British History Online. Web. 30 May 2024,

In this section


FALMOUTH, a large sea-port town, taking its name from the celebrated harbour on which it is situated, lies in the eastern division of the hundred of Kirrier, and in the deanery of West; fifty-five miles from Plymouth, and two hundred and sixty-five from London.

There are many traditional stories concerning the origin of Falmouth as a town, some of which are too ridiculous to be repeated. They all date its origin subsequently to the year 1600. As a haven, it had long before been well known and resorted to, by ships making for British ports, being one of the most secure and commodious in Great Britain: we first find it mentioned in the reign of Henry IV., Jane, Duchess of Burgundy, having landed there, when she came over to England to be married to that monarch. From the great probability that there should have been a town on the shores of a haven so excellent, and so well known, and from the circumstance of Villa de Falmouth being mentioned by William of Worcester, whose itinerary of Cornwall was written in the reign of Edward IV., one might be led to suppose that its origin was more remote, if we had not such satisfactory evidence to the contrary. It is true, that in a map of the world, made about the year 1500, by Francesco Mauro, in the library of St. Michael Murano at Venice, Falamua, Plemua, Paesto (Padstow), and Artemua (Dartmouth), are described as the principal towns in the west of England. This must, nevertheless, have been the mistake of a foreigner, who knowing Falmouth to be one of the principal havens of this kingdom, concluded that there must have been a considerable town on its shores. Leland, who visited Cornwall in the reign of Henry VIII., and who scrupulously notices not only every "praty," but every "poor fischar towne," speaks of Falmouth as "a havyn very notable and famose, and in a manner the most principale of al Britayne (fn. n1);" but says nothing of any town there. In the large chart of the southern coast of England, made in the reign of King Henry VIII., preserved in the British Museum (fn. n2), no town or village is expressed, only a single house (near what is there called Gylling-down,) which must have been intended for Arwenack. Norden, who visited every part of Cornwall, in 1584, for the purpose of preparing his map, describes neither town nor village at Falmouth; nor does Carew mention any in his survey, printed in 1602.

A manuscript history of the Killigrews, written by one of that family, says, that there was only a single house at Falmouth, besides Arwenack (the seat of the Killigrews), when Sir Walter Ralegh, being homeward-bound from the coast of Guinea, put in there; that he was entertained at Arwenack, and his men poorly accommodated at the solitary house, which, it is probable, had been originally built for the entertainment of sea-faring persons; that this celebrated navigator, being struck with the great utility of providing more extensive accommodations at the mouth of Falmouth harbour for the officers and crews of homeward-bound ships, laid before the Council a project for erecting four houses for that purpose. It is probable, that the single house here spoken of, was single as a house of entertainment, and that there were also a few fishers' cottages, though too inconsiderable to have been described by Norden, even as a village. The act of 1664, which will be hereafter mentioned, speaking of the progress of buildings at Falmouth, refers to a time when there were only ten houses. The first attempt to enlarge this insignificant village, then called Smithick, was in 1613, when John (afterwards Sir John) Killigrew, to whom the site belonged, began to build several new houses. On this occasion, he experienced much opposition from the corporations of Penryn, Truro, and Helston, who joined in a petition to King James, representing the ill consequences which would ensue to those boroughs, if a town should be built at Falmouth harbour. The matter was referred to the Lords of the Council, and in the mean time the buildings were stopped by the King's order. The Lords of the Council having applied for information on the subject to Sir Nicholas Hals, then governor of Pendennis-Castle, received such ample satisfaction as to the reasonableness and utility of building a town at Falmouth, that they decided in Mr. Killigrew's favour. The buildings, in consequence, proceeded rapidly, and the town soon became a place of great trade. It appears by the act abovementioned, that there were 200 houses in Falmouth in 1664; before the close of that century, they had increased to nearly 350; about 1750, to between 500 and 600; in 1801 and 1811, according to the returns made to parliament in those years, there were 465 inhabited houses in the town of Falmouth, exclusively of 182 in that part of the suburbs which is in Falmouth parish, and 72 at GreenBank or Dunstanville-town, in the parish of Budock, making altogether 719.

During Cromwell's usurpation, Peter Killigrew, though of a family eminently loyal, contrived to make such interest with the existing government, as to procure considerable advantages for the then infant-town of Smithick. He is said, not only to have procured the establishment of a market, but to have obtained an order, that the custom-house should be removed from Penryn to Smithick. On the 18th of January 1652-3, it was resolved by the House of Commons, that a weekly market should be kept in the town of Smithick in the county of Cornwall; and the Attorney-General was accordingly authorized to draw up a patent for keeping the said market on Thursday in every week. There are now three weekly markets for butchers'-meat, fish, and other provisions—Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday; and two fairs for cattle, &c. August 7th, and November 10th.

This town is first recorded by the name of Falmouth, in the charter of King Charles II., bearing date 1661, which incorporates the principal inhabitants by the style of mayor, aldermen, and burgesses. In 1664, an act of parliament was passed, for making Falmouth, which had, till that time, been part of St.Budock, a separate parish.

Soon after the year 1670, Sir Peter Killigrew, Bart., constructed a new quay at Falmouth, and procured an act of parliament for confirming certain duties to be payable to him and his heirs. The trade of Falmouth, which, from its advantageous situation, soon began to be extensive, and to exceed that of any other Cornish port, has been already spoken of more in detail. Its principal imports are, timber, hemp, tallow, grain, iron, &c. from the north; wine, fruits, and spirits from Spain, Portugal, and Holland; rum and sugar from the West-Indies; and provisions, grain, &c. from Ireland; its principal exports, tin, tin-plates, copper, woollens, pilchards, and other fish, oil, &c. Cotton goods from Manchester are sent in large quantities from this port to Malta, &c. A coasting-trade of considerable extent is carried on between Falmouth and London, Bristol, Plymouth, &c.

Falmouth owes much of its prosperity to the establishment of the post-office packets to Lisbon, the West Indies, &c. It is supposed, that it first became a station for packets about the year 1688; and it is known that, in 1696, packets were employed between Falmouth and the Groyne. In 1705, five packets were employed between Falmouth and the West India islands; the vessels were of 150 tons burthen, and manned with thirty men; two years afterwards, the fame number of packets were employed between Falmouth and Lisbon. In 1755, two packets were employed between Falmouth and New York; the next year, a packet went from Falmouth to Corunna, and another to Gibraltar. In 1763, the packets to New York were increased to four. In 1764, packets were established to Pensacola, St. Augustine, Savannah, and Charles-town. In 1766, an additional packet was employed on the West India station; and in 1768, four additional boats between Falmouth and Charles-town.

In 1776, the total number of packets on the Falmouth station was nine; in 1782, there were four to Lisbon, and eighteen, including office-boats, to the West Indies and America. In 1799, a fifth packet was employed on the West India station. In 1806, four packets were employed between Falmouth, Gibraltar, and Malta; in 1808, five between Falmouth and the Brazils, and three between Falmouth, Corunna, &c.; in 1810, three between Falmouth and Surinam. The present establishment consists of seven packets on the Lisbon station; twenty established, and fourteen temporary packets, for general purposes. (fn. n3)

The title of Earl of Falmouth was given, by King Charles II., in 1664, to Charles Berkeley, Lord Botetourt, and Visc. Fitz-Harding, who died the following year, without issue. In 1679, John, Lord Robartes, was created Earl of Falmouth; which title he retained only fix days, by reason, as Tonkin says, of a jest; Lady Mohun having complimented his lady on her acquisition of the title of Countess of Penny-come-quick, a name given in derision to Falmouth, by some of the neighboring towns, which had opposed its rise. It is more probable that it was because the title of Viscount Falmouth was then enjoyed by George Fitzroy, natural son of the King, by the Duchess of Cleveland, to whom it had been given with the Earldom of Northumberland in 1674. These titles became extinct in 1716; and in 1720, Hugh Boscawen, ancestor of the present nobleman of that title, was created Viscount Falmouth.

The manor of Arwenack, which extends over this parish, was acquired by the Killigrew family in the reign of Richard II., by marriage with the heiress of Arwenack. The Killigrews, in consequence, removed their residence from Killigrew in St. Erme, the ancient seat of the family, to Arwenack. John Killigrew, Esq., who died in 1567, built at Arwenack, what was then esteemed the finest and most costly house in the county. It has been said, that this house was set on fire during the civil war, by its owner Sir John Killigrew, who was a zealous royalist, to prevent its falling into the hands of the parliamentary army. The manuscript history of the Killigrew family before quoted, says, on the contrary, that it was set on fire, under that pretext, by the malicious and envious governor of Pendennis-Castle. It was never wholly rebuilt after the Restoration, but partially fitted up for the occasional residence of the family. In the year 1660, William Killigrew, Esq. was created a baronet, with remainder to Peter, son of his elder brother, Sir Peter Killigrew, Knt. The title became extinct by the death of this Peter, who was the second baronet, in 1704. On the event of the death of his only son, George Killigrew, who was killed in an affray at an inn in Penryn, by Walter Vincent, Esq., and died without male issue, Sir Peter entailed his estates on his son-in-law, Martin Lister, Esq., who took the name of Killigrew; but dying without issue, they passed to the descendants of Frances, the eldest daughter of Sir Peter Killigrew, Bart., above-mentioned, who left issue, and are now enjoyed by the Right Hon. Lord Wodehouse (fn. n4), who married Sophia Berkeley, representative of the Killigrews. What remains of the ancient mansion of Arwenack has been divided into two dwelling-houses adjoining the town of Falmouth, now occupied by James Bull, Esq., and Mr.Lake. The pyramid in the adjoining grove was built in 1737 and 1738, by Martin Killigrew, Esq., at the expence of 455l. 15s. 6d. It is fourteen feet wide at the base, and forty-four feet in height.

The parish-church of Falmouth, which was built soon after the Restoration, was dedicated by Dr.Seth Ward, Bishop of Exeter, to the memory of Charles I., "King and martyr;" it was made parochial by act of parliament, in 1664, as before-mentioned. Lord Wodehouse is patron of the rectory.

There are meeting-houses at Falmouth for the Baptists, Independents, Quakers, and Methodists; a small Roman catholic chapel, and a Jew's synagogue.

There is no endowed school in Falmouth, but some extensive charities for educating the children of the poor, are supported by voluntary contributions. A school for thirty boys and thirty girls, who are clothed and instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the girls in needle-work, was established about the year 1801, under the patronage of the resident clergyman. There is a Sundayschool also, in which about 300 children are educated, connected with the churchestablishment. A school for sixty girls on Mr. Lancaster's plan, patronized chiefly by some ladies of the Quakers' persuasion, but supported by a general subscription, was instituted in 1811. A school of the same description for boys, to contain from 200 to 250, has been recently established under the direction of the Quakers.

An alms-house, containing ten small rooms for the habitation of poor widows, was erected in 1810, at the joint expence of Lord Wodehouse and Samuel Tregelles, Esq.

The Merchants' Hospital, for the relief and support of maimed and disabled seamen, and the widows and children of such as should be killed, slain, or drowned in the merchants' service, was established about the year 1750, under the authority of an act of parliament, passed 20 Geo. II., for the relief and support of maimed and disabled seamen belonging to the port of London, which gives a power to any out-port desirous of reaping the benefit of that act, by establishing a hospital for seamen belonging to such port, to appoint fifteen trustees for its management, who are annually elected by the owners and commanders of vessels belonging to the port, and confirmed by the corporation in London, which was established under the said act (fn. n5). A treasurer, receiver, and secretary, are appointed by the trustees. The present income of the Merchants' Hospital at Falmouth is about 300l. per annum. There are at this time twenty-four regular pensioners belonging to this institution; and the number of widows and children of deceased mariners, who receive relief from this excellent institution, is very considerable. (fn. n6)

A dispensary was established in or about the year 1806, and not long afterwards a Misericordia or Benevolent Society, for the relief of the poor, particularly strangers, under the management of a committee of visitors, the town being divided into different districts for the more convenient examination of the actual situation of applicants. There is also a Lying-in charity, established about the year 1800; a humane society established in 1812; and a charitable institution for supplying the poor with blankets, of the same date.

Adjoining to Falmouth, but in the parish of Budock (fn. n7), is Pendennis-Castle, built by King Henry VIII. on the site of an ancient fortification, which occupied the summit of a hill commanding Falmouth harbour. John Killigrew, Esq., on whose land the castle was erected (fn. n8), was appointed the first governor, and, on his death, in 1567, he was succeeded by his son, Sir John Killigrew, Knt., who died in 1584. Queen Elizabeth repaired the fortifications, and enlarged the castle. "Henry the Eighth," says Norden, "having warrs with the Frenche, buylte there firste a castelle, which now serveth for the governor's howse, a strong rounde pyle; but since Her late Majestie having like occasions with the Spaniardes, fortefied it more strongely." The Queen made Sir Nicholas Parker governor, on the death of Sir John Killigrew; his successors were Sir John Parker, Sir Nicholas Hals, and Sir Nicholas Slanning. The latter was slain at the siege of Bristol, in 1643. Pendennis-Castle was an important garrison of the King's during the whole of the civil war. In the month of July 1644, it was for a short time the residence of Queen Henrietta Maria, who embarked thence for France (fn. n9). The Duke of Hamilton was for a considerable time a prisoner in this castle in 1644 and 1645. (fn. n10) Prince Charles was entertained there by the Governor, John Arundell, Esq., in 1645. (fn. n11) During the spring and summer of 1646, Pendennis-Castle underwent a close siege, being invested by the parliamentary forces, both by sea and land, under the command of Colonel Fortescue and Admiral Batten (fn. n12). Lieut.-Col. Ingoldsby was shot as he was viewing the castle (fn. n13), in the month of March. It was most obstinately defended by its veteran governor, then nearly fourscore years of age, that and Ragland being the last garrisons in England which held out against the parliament. The garrison was reduced to such extremities for want of provisions, that they are said to have fed upon the flesh of horses and dogs. "Pendennis," says Lord Clarendon, "refused all summons, admitting no treaty till they had not victual for twenty-four hours, when they carried on the treaty with such firmness, that their situation was never suspected, and they obtained as good terms as any garrison in England." After the surrender, which took place in the month of August 1646, the besieging-officer, Colonel Fortescue, was made governor by the parliament: he was succeeded by Captain Fox, and the latter, in 1649, by Sir Hardress Waller (fn. n14). In the month of March 1660, Sir Peter Killegrew was made governor by General Monk (fn. n15). After the Restoration, Richard Lord Arundell (son of the brave veteran by whom the castle had been so ably defended), his son, John Lord Arundell, and John Grenville Earl of Bath, were successively governors. (fn. n16)

In the month of November 1717, Pendennis Castle received great injury from a thunder-storm: the lightning struck through the walls of the building, which are eight or nine feet thick, removing stones, as it was said, of five or six hundred weight; and so far damaged the fort, as to render it for a time indefensible (fn. n17). The government of Pendennis-Castle has, of late years, been given to officers in the army. The present governor is General F. Buckley.


FEOCK, in the hundred and deanery of Powder, lies about four miles north-east of Penryn, and about the same distance south of Truro, which is the post-office town. Falmouth also is about the same distance across the passage. The principal villages in this parish are La Feock and Trevella.

The manor of Trevella belonged to the family of Halep, whose coheiresses, in the reign of Edward IV., brought it to Trefusis and Boscawen. It is now the joint property of Lord Clinton, and Lord Viscount Falmouth. At La Feock was the seat of Admiral Penrose, a distinguished officer during Cromwell's time, and in the reign of Charles II.: it is now a farm-house. Tregew, which was formerly the seat of the Edmunds' family, is now a farm-house, the property of R. A. Daniell, Esq., who has a seat at Trelisick, in this parish, which belonged to the Lawrences. Killiganoon, in this parish, is the seat of Admiral Spry.

Hals says, that the Cornish language was so long retained in this parish, that the Rev. William Jackman, the vicar, was obliged to administer the sacrament in that language, because some of the aged people did not well understand the English tongue, as he himself had informed him. It is not known, however, to have been in use within the memory of any person now living. The great tithes of this parish, which belonged formerly to Glaseney college, are now vested in the see of Exeter. The bishop is patron of the vicarage.

Filley or Philleigh

FILLEY or PHILLEIGH, in the hundred and deanery of Powder, lies about six miles south-west of Tregony, and about the same distance south-east of Truro, which is the post-office town. The small villages of Couches, Trewoolas, Treworthall or Trewothall, and White-Lane, are in this parish.

The manor of Tolverne came into the family of Arundell by the marriage of Sir John Arundell with the heiress of Ralph Soor or Le Sore. (fn. n18) Sir John Arundell gave Tolverne to his younger son Thomas, whose posterity were settled there from the reign of Richard II. to that of Charles I. King Henry VIII., when he went into Cornwall for the purpose of fortifying St. Mawes and Pendennis castle, is said to have been entertained by his kinsman Sir John Arundell, at Tolverne. Sir Thomas Arundell, having injured his fortune, as it is said, by an attempt to discover an imaginary island in America, called Old Brazil, sold this manor and barton, and removed his residence to Truthall in Sithney. The manor became the property of the Seymours, from whom it passed by successive female heirs to the Tredenhams, Scobells, and Hawkins's. It is now the property of Sir Christopher Hawkins, Bart. The barton which was sold to the Boscawens is now the property of Lord Falmouth: the site of the ancient mansion is occupied by a farm-house.

The manor of Ardevro or Ardevora, said to comprise the manors of Treveneage and St. Mawes, belonged at an early period to the Petits, whose coheiresses, in the reign of Henry VI., married Arundell of Tolverne and Sayer. In Carew's time it belonged to the Sayers; and the house which had been the chief seat of the Petit family, was then occupied by Mr. Thomas Peyton. This estate came afterwards by purchase to the Robartes family, and is now the property of Sir William Lemon, Bart., who bought it, in 1792, of Sir James Laroche, Bart., one of the devisees of the last Earl of Radnor. Penhallow, in the parish of Filley, the ancient seat of the family of that name, is now a farm-house, the property of their descendant John Penhallow Peters, Esq.

The Rev. Francis Bedford, the present incumbent, is patron of the rectory. The parish is called in the old valors Eglos-ros. The manor of Eglos-ros belonged to Jonathan Prideaux, in the reign of James I. (fn. n19)

Forrabury or Farrabury

FORRABURY or FARRABURY, in the hundred of Lesnewth, and deanery of TriggMinor, lies about three miles east of the borough of Bossiney, and about five miles north of Camelford, which is the post-office town. Norden calls Forrabury "a mayor town, the meanest and poorest that can beare the name of a town, much less of an incorporation, for it consisteth but of two or three houses. It hath been of more importance, as appeareth by the ruins; but the fall of Tintagel and Bothreaux castle hath been the overthrow of this and many others upon the coast."

Part of Boscastle, which is scarcely a furlong from Forrabury, is in this parish, and part in Minster. The parish of Forrabury is in the manor of Worthyvale. The rectory is in the same patronage as that of Minster.


FOWEY, in the hundred and deanery of Pyder, is a considerable borough, corporate and market town on the south coast; 24 miles from Plymouth dock, 31 from Falmouth, and 244 from London.

The market was granted to the prior of Tywardreth, in the year 1316, to be held on Monday, together with two fairs, one for three days, at the festival of St. Barre, and the other for the same duration at the festival of St. Lucy. The market is now held on Saturday for butchers' meat and other provisions: the present fairs are Shrove Tuesday, the 1st of May, and the 10th of September.

The town of Fowey was incorporated by King James II.; a second charter was granted by King William and Queen Mary in 1690. The corporation consists of a mayor, recorder, eight aldermen, and a town-clerk. Fowey has sent members to parliament ever since the 13th year of Queen Elizabeth. The right of election is vested in the householders paying scot and lot, and the tenants of the duchy manor who are capable of being portreeves of the borough; the number of voters being about 200. It was determined by a committee of the House of Commons in the year 1792, that the persons entitled to elect the portreeve of the borough of Fowey were those who were capable of holding that office; namely, such prince's tenants only as had been duly admitted on the court-rolls of the manor of the said borough, and had done their fealty, whose lands, being freehold, were anciently and continued to be held immediately of the duchy of Cornwall, as parcel of the manor of the said borough, and whose title to such lands had been presented at a court-baron by a sworn homage or jury of the said manor.

"The glorie of Fowey," says Leland, "rose by the warres in King Edwarde the First (fn. n20) and the Thirde, and Henry the V. day, partely by feates of warre, partely by pyracie, and so waxing riche felle al to marchaundize: so that the towne was hauntid with shippes of diverse nations, and their shippes went to al nations." As a proof of the importance of the port of Fowey, we find from "the roll of the huge fleete of Edward the Third before Calice," printed in the first volume of Hakluyt's voyages (fn. n21), that it contributed 47 ships, being a greater number than came from any other port in England, and 770 mariners, being more than were furnished by any port except Yarmouth. Carew, speaking of the prosperous state of Fowey in his time, says—"I may not passe in silence the commendable deserts of Master Rashleigh the elder, descended from a younger brother of an ancient house in Devon, for his industrious judgment and adventuring in trade of marchandise first opened a lighte and way to the townsmens newe thriving, and left his sonne large wealth and possessions, who, together with daily bettering his estate, converteth the same to hospitality and other actions besitting a gentleman well affected to his God, Prince, and country." These were the immediate ancestors of William Rashleigh, Esq., of Menabilly, one of the present representatives of the borough.

Fowey harbour is esteemed the best outlet to the westward of any in the west of England; is safe at all times; has excellent anchorage, and vessels may enter at the lowest tide drawing three fathoms water, and go into deeper water above. The shores are bold and free from danger: ships in distress may run in with perfect safety without cable or anchor. (fn. n22) There is still a considerable pilchardfishery at Fowey; but the port, though formerly so thriving, is now almost bereft of trade, being frequented only by a few timber and coal ships, two or three London traders, and some small country barges. The annexed bird's-eye view of the harbour, &c. taken in the time of King Henry VIII., is copied from the drawing in the British Museum, before-mentioned under Falmouth.

Norden speaks of Fowey as a "pretie market towne, fortefied and fenced in some measure, and guarded with some ordnance; and the haven's mouth defended with block-houses on both sides, in the time and at the command of Edward IV." The ruins of these block-houses still remain. (fn. n23) The fort of St. Catherine, built for the protection of the harbour in the reign of Henry VIII. (fn. n24), is still in use, and mounts four guns; and there are two small forts of more modern erection between it and the town, and in the whole ten guns.

Carew tells us that part of the town of Fowey was burned by the French in 1457. (fn. n25) Leland speaks of this as the last of several attacks. "The Frenchmen," says he, "divers times assailed this town, and last, most notably, about Henry the VI. time, when the wife of Thomas Treury the 2, with her men, repelled the French out of her house in her housebandes absence." During the civil wars in the seventeenth century, Fowey was originally a garrison of the King's. In 1644 the town and harbour were taken possession of by the Earl of Essex, with several ships, and seventeen pieces of ordnance (fn. n26). That General's army was quartered principally at Fowey, when they capitulated to the King in the beginning of September 1644. (fn. n27) Essex had previously made his escape from Fowey by water. The garrison and haven of Fowey continued in the King's hands till the month of March 1646, when it was delivered up with thirteen pieces of ordnance to Sir Thomas Fairfax (fn. n28). The Dutch Admiral De Ruyter made an unsuccessful attempt on Fowey harbour in 1667. (fn. n29)

The manor of Fowey was held, at the time of the Domesday survey, under the Earl of Moreton, by Richard, ancestor of the Fitz-Richards and Fitzwilliams's (fn. n30), whose heiress married Robert de Cardinham. This Robert, in the reign of Richard I., gave the church of Fowey and certain lands which formed a manor to the prior and convent of Tywardreth, who claimed manerial rights in Fowey under this grant in the reign of Edward I. (fn. n31) This manor, not long after the dissolution of religious houses, was annexed to the duchy of Cornwall. It was purchased under the powers of the land-tax redemption act in 1798, by the late Philip Rashleigh, Esq., and is now the property of his nephew William Rashleigh, Esq., M.P.

The manor of Fowey, which appears to have been retained by Robert de Cardinham, passed from his representatives, either by marriage or purchase, to the family of Boniface of Pyworthy in Devonshire, whose heiress married Thomas Treffry, Esq., of Treffry, in Lanhidrock, either grandfather or great-grandfather of Sir John Treffry, who distinguished himself at the battle of Cressy (fn. n32). After this match the Treffrys removed their residence to Fowey. Their venerable mansion called Place House, still remaining, and the seat of their representative, is said to have been successfully defended in the year 1457 against some French invaders, by the Lady of Thomas Treffry, grandson of Thomas above-mentioned: "wherapon," says Leland, "Thomas Treury builded a right fair and stronge embatelid towr in his house: and embateling al the waulles of the house, in a manner made it a castelle, and onto this day it is the glorie of the town building in Faweye." It is probable that this is what was meant by William of Worcester, who, in his itinerary of Cornwall, written in the reign of Edward IV., speaks of a tower at Fowey, which he calls Treuery Stowe. Carew calls Place "the faire and ancient house of Mr. William Treffry, castlewife builded and sufficiently flanked:" Norden adds, that it had in it "a portion of artillerye." St. John Treffry was attainted by Richard III., but restored to his estates by his successful competitor for the crown (fn. n33). His descendant, John Treffry, Esq., who died in 1730, left his estates from his sister's son, John Trefusis, to his cousin Thomas Treffry of Rooke, in the parish of St. Kew, who having no issue, settled it upon his nephew William Toller, on condition of his taking the name of Treffry. The manor above-described, known by the name of the Burgagemanor of Fawe, and that of Langurthowe alias Langourd, in Fowey, which had always been a part of the Treffry estate, passed to the late Thomas Dormer, Esq., and Joseph Thomas Austen, Esq., in right of their wives, who were daughters of Thomas Treffry, Esq., and grandaughters of William Toller above-mentioned. They are now (the moiety belonging to Dormer having been purchased in 1808) the sole property of Joseph Thomas Austen, Esq., son of Mr. Austen abovementioned.

The manor and barton of Trenant, inherited by Robert de Cardinham from the Fitz-Richards, and by him given to the priory of Tywardreth, belonged, soon after the dissolution, to the family of Fraylly: it was afterwards in a younger branch of the Rashleigh family, who had a seat at Coom within this manor. The manor of Trenant was sold to the Rashleighs of Menabilly in 1698, and is now the property of William Rashleigh, Esq. M.P. Mr. Rashleigh is also owner of the barton, which had been some time in the Treffry family, and was purchased of them, in the year 1809, by the late Mr. Rashleigh of Menabilly.

The parish-church was rebuilt in 1336, and dedicated to St. Nicholas (fn. n34). The original patron-saint was St. Barre, supposed to have been St. Barrus or Fimbarrus, the first Bishop of Cork, who, according to William of Worcester, was buried at Fowey. The church was again rebuilt or much altered, and its present handsome tower erected, about the year 1466. In this church is the gravestone, with engraved effigies, of Sir John Treffry, who died 16 Henry VII., and the monument of John Rashleigh, Esq. 1580, Jonathan Rashleigh, Esq., of Menabilly, 1675, and several others belonging to those families; William Rashleigh, Esq., and the Rev. John Pomeroy, vicar of Bodmin, are joint impropriators of the great tithes, which belonged to the priory of Tywardreth. Mr. Austen is patron of the vicarage. In the time of Walter Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter, the vicarage was endowed with a dwelling-house, and the sanctuary and altarage of the parishchurch, the tithes of all water-mills, and the tithe of hay and curtilages; reserving to the priory the tithe of fish, of two wind-mills, and the small tithes of the manor of Trenant. The tithe of fish appears to have been held on lease by the vicars under the priory. There was formerly a chapel in this town dedicated to St. Catherine, which, in 1464, was leased with all its oblations and other profits to John Williams, vicar of Fowey. St. Catherine's chapel, which existed in Leland's time, gave name to St. Catherine's hill and bay.

In the reign of Charles I., Philip Rashleigh, Esq. built an alms-house for eight poor widows, and endowed it with the great tithes of the parish of St. Wenn. The original weekly allowance to the pensioners was 1s. 3d. each, with 1l. 3s. at Christmas, for clothes, &c. The weekly allowance was increased a few years ago to 2s. 9d. each. The widows are prohibited from begging, or receiving any other stipend.

Mr. Shadrach Vincent, by his will bearing date 1700, founded a school at Fowey for 30 children of voters, and endowed it with the sum of 500l., to be laid out in the purchase of lands. (fn. n35) This was formerly a grammar-school, but is now kept up only as a school for teaching English, writing, &c.: the master has a salary of 30l. per annum., paid out of the rent of the lands.


  • n1. It in. VII. p. 119.
  • n2. MSS. Cotton. Augustus I. vol. i., from which the annexed plate is taken.
  • n3. For this satisfactory account of the Falmouth packets, we are indebted to Francis Freeling, Esq., secretary to the General Post-office.
  • n4. Frances, daughter of Sir Peter Killigrew, married Richard Erisey, Esq., of Erisey, whose daughter, Mary, married Colonel John West, of Bruton in the county of Somerset. Mary, elder daughter and coheir of Colonel West, having taken the name of Killigrew, married John Merrill, Esq., by whom she had an only daughter, Mary, married to the Rev. Robert Bathurst. The issue of this marriage was two sons, who died without issue. Frances, the other coheiress of Colonel West, who took also the name of Killigrew, married the Hon. Charles Berkeley, brother of the last Lord Berkeley of Stratton: their only surviving daughter, Sophia, married Sir John Wodehouse, Bart., now the Right Hon. Lord Wodehouse, who became entitled to one moiety of the Arwenack estate in right of his wife, under a settlement made by Sir Peter Killigrew, and purchased the other moiety of General Bathurst, to whom it had been bequeathed by his nephew Robert Bathurst, Esq. (son of the Rev. Robert Bathurst before-mentioned), who died fine prole in 1791.
  • n5. The office of this corporation is over the Royal Exchange, and is known by the name of the Merchants' Seamen's Office.
  • n6. From the information of Mr. R. W. Fox.
  • n7. The act of parliament by which Falmouth was made a separate parish, states its boundaries to extend only "to the outer-works of Pendennis Castle on the south side," leaving the castle within the old parish of Budock. We were not aware of this circumstance when the account of that parish was printed.
  • n8. The fee of Pendennis-Castle continued in the Killigrews, under whom it was held by the crown, at a small yearly rent and a fine. Sir Peter Killigrew, Bart. procured this to be converted into a yearly-rent of 200l. without fine. (MS. History of the Killigrews.)
  • n9. Sanderson's Reign of Charles I., p. 725.
  • n10. Lord Clarendon.
  • n11. Lord Clarendon.
  • n12. Heath's Chronicle, p. 111.
  • n13. Whitlocke's Memorials.
  • n14. Perfect Diurnal, July 29, 1649.
  • n15. Mercurius Politicus, March 15, 1660.
  • n16. Hals.
  • n17. Mercurius Politicus, Dec. 1717, p. 879.
  • n18. In 1383 Ralph Soor had the bishop's licence for celebrating divine service in his chapels of the Virgin Mary and St. George, in his manor-house at Tolverne, in the parish of St. Filii de Eglos-ros. (Borlase's notes from the registers of the see of Exeter.)
  • n19. Extent. Ducat. Cornub. 17 Jac. I.
  • n20. Leland adds, that "the shippes of Fawey sayling by Rhie and Winchelsey about Edward the III. tyme, wold vale no bonet beying requirid, wherapon Rhy and Winchelsey men and they faught, wher Fawey men had victorie, and therapon bare their armes mixt with the armes of Rhy and Winchelsey; and then rose the name of the gallaunts of Fawey." (Itin. III. f. 15.)
  • n21. P. 118, taken from the roll in the great wardrobe.
  • n22. From the information of J. T. Austen, Esq., of Place-House, who has lately published a chart of the harbour.
  • n23. There was also a strong boom or chain, which ran across the harbour, two links of which were taken up by a trawl-boat, about the year 1776, and preserved by Philip Rashleigh, Esq., in his grotto at Menabilly. (Grose's Antiq. vol. i. p. 19.)
  • n24. Partly, as Leland says, by Mr. Treffry, and partly by the townsmen.
  • n25. F. 134. b.
  • n26. Whitlocke's Memorials, p. 93.
  • n27. Clarendon.
  • n28. Whitlocke.
  • n29. Heath's Chronicle.
  • n30. See p. lxiv, lxv.
  • n31. Placita, 30 Ed. I. The following curious letter, from Lord Cromwell to the Prior, on the subject of this claim, (written a short time before the dissolution,) is preserved in the British Museum, where it was deposited some time since, by Charles Bowles, Esq.:— "To the Priour of Trewardreth in Cornewall be this youen. "Mr. Prior, as vnaccquanted I haue me comended vnto you, that where as it is comen vnto the Kings highnes knowledge that the Towne of Fowey is sore decayed, and thoccasion therof p'tlie is that in the saide Towne is no order of Justice, bicause the liberties concerninge the same graunted by the Kings highnes and his noble progenitours to your predecessours, and by theame vnto the inhabitaunts of the saide Towne, remayne in yor handes and kepinge, so that betwene you no maner good order, equitie, nor iustice is executed and vsed wtin the saide Towne: Wherfore I require you to condiscende and agree wt the inhabitaunts of the saide Towne so that you hauynge yor reasonable approued Duties, they may haue theire liberties to be vsed and extended amongeste theime wtin the said Towne to thincrease of good order wtin the same; And as ye shall agre therin to certifie me in writinge by Thomas Treffry berer herof: For his Highnes thinketh that the saide Porte of Fowey oweth to be his, and to be holde of hime so that his Grace entendeth from hensforth to haue it as well prouided for wt good gouernūce and of defence for vtter enemyes as other his townes and ports be wtin those parties. Whereunto ye for yor partie before this tyme haue had litle or no regarde neyther to the good order, rule, and defence therof, ne yet to the good rule and gouernaunce of your self, yor Monasterie, and religion, as ye be bounde; Wherefore his Highnes thinketh that ye be veray vnworthey to haue rule of any towne that cannot well rule yor self. And that I may haue aunswer as is afforesaide by this berer what ye intend to do I require you to th'intente I maye certifie his Highnes therof. And thus fare ye well. At London the xxjth daie of Maie, your Freend Thom[a]s Crumwell."
  • n32. See p. clv.
  • n33. Rot. Parl., vol. vi. p. 273.
  • n34. Registers of the see of Exeter.
  • n35. Polwhele's Literary History of Cornwall, p. 57.