Austell, St. (The Holy Trinity)

AUSTELL, ST. (The Holy Trinity), a market-town, parish, and the head of a union, in the E. division of the hundred of Powder and of the county of Cornwall, 34 miles (S. W.) from Launceston, and 252 (W. S. W.) from London; containing 10,320 inhabitants. This place was in the reign of Henry VIII. an obscure village, and first rose into importance from its vicinity to Polgooth and other considerable mines. In the civil war, part of the army under the Earl of Essex was quartered here; and the town was taken by Charles I. a short time prior to the capitulation of the parliamentarians near Lostwithiel, in 1644. In 1760 the great road from Plymouth to the Land's End was brought through the place, which is now a considerable thoroughfare. The town is pleasantly situated in a well-cultivated district, on the south side of a hill sloping gradually to a small stream; the streets are paved, and lighted with gas, and the inhabitants are well supplied with water. The trade principally consists of the produce of the numerous mines of tin and copper, and in china-stone and clay of a very superior quality, which are found here in great abundance; the manufacture of coarse woollen cloth is also carried on to a small extent. The mines in the vicinity are exceedingly productive, and, from the improved manner of working them, promise continued prosperity to the town, the population of which has been trebled within the last twenty years. The parish comprises 8678 acres, of which 3121 are common or waste: freestone of excellent quality abounds; and near the harbour of Pentewan is a very extensive quarry, from which have been raised materials for the erection of many churches and mansions in the county. Several harbours have been formed in different parts. Many vessels are engaged in the importation of coal from Wales, for the use of the mines, and in the exportation of copper-ore for smelting, and of chinastone and clay to the different potteries and for the use of linen-bleachers. The principal part of the grain tin produced in Cornwall is obtained here, and blowinghouses for melting it have been erected near the town. A considerable pilchard fishery is also carried on, in which many boats, fitted out from the different harbours, are employed. The market, which is considerable for corn and provisions, is on Friday; and there are fairs on the Thursday next after Palm-Sunday, the Thursday after Whit-Sunday, the nearest Friday to July 23rd, and on Nov. 30th. In 1842 an act was obtained for providing a new market-place, and regulating the fairs. The town is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, by whom constables and other officers are appointed; and the Blackmore, the most considerable of the stannary courts, is held here. The powers of the county debt-court of St. Austell, established in 1847, extend over the whole of the registration-district of St. Austell.

The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £21, and in the patronage of the Crown; impropriators, Miss Rashleigh, and J. B. Tremayne, Esq. The tithes produce £537. 16., and the glebe comprises about an acre, with a large garden. The church combines various styles of English architecture, and has a very handsome tower richly ornamented with sculpture. Two church districts, named respectively Charlestown and Treverbyn, were endowed in 1846 by the Ecclesiastical Commission: each of the livings is in the alternate gift of the Crown and the Bishop of Exeter. There are places of worship for Baptists, Bryanites, Calvinists, the Society of Friends, Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists, Warrenites, and Plymouth Brethren. The poor law union of St. Austell comprises fifteen parishes and places, and contains a population of 31, 417. At Menacuddle and Towan, in the parish, are baptismal wells, over which are ancient buildings in the early English style, covered with arched roofs of granite. In one of the celebrated tin stream-works of Pentewan, the bones of men, of oxen of enormous size, of a whale, and of animals now unknown, have been found.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.