Camelford

CAMELFORD, an incorporated market - town, having separate jurisdiction, and the head of a union, in the parish of Lanteglos cum Camelford, locally in the hundred of Lesnewth, E. division of Cornwall, 16 miles (W. by S.) from Launceston, and 228 (W. S. W.) from London; containing 705 inhabitants. This place, supposed to have been the Guffelford of the Saxon Chronicle, takes its name from a ford on the river Camel. It is generally thought to be the scene of a memorable battle between King Arthur and his nephew Mordred, about the year 542, when the former was mortally wounded, and the latter killed on the spot; and about a mile to the north of the town, where the road crosses a small brook, is a place called "Slaughter Bridge" in allusion to the carnage which then ensued. In 823, a battle took place between the Britons and the Saxons under Egbert, the former of whom were defeated with great loss. The town, though in a dreary part of the county, has a pure air, and is considered healthy: it is indifferently built, and consists principally of one street, part of which is spacious, and was macadamized a few years since; it is well lighted, and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. The Camel is noted for its trout and salmon-peel, and is much resorted to by anglers. There is a manufactory on a small scale for the making of serge; and the spinning of yarn affords employment to a few persons. The market is on Friday: fairs are held on the Friday after March 10th, May 26th, July 17th and 18th (the former day being noted for the sale of sheep and lambs), and Sept. 6th, chiefly for cattle; another fair has been lately established, on the second Wednesday in November.

Camelford was made a free borough by Richard, Earl of Cornwall: its privileges were confirmed by charter of Henry III., in 1259; and in the 21st of Charles II. it received a charter of incorporation, by which the government is vested in a mayor, nine capital burgesses, and an indefinite number of free burgesses, assisted by a recorder, town-clerk, sergeant-at-mace, and subordinate officers. The mayor, who is elected on the Monday after Michaelmas, by the capital burgesses, from their own body, is a justice of the peace. The county debt-court of Camelford has jurisdiction over the registration-district of Camelford. The elective franchise was granted in the reign of Edward VI., from which time the borough returned two members to parliament, until disfranchised by the act of the 2nd and 3rd of William IV., cap. 64: the right of election was vested in the free burgesses, being householders, residing in the borough, and paying scot and lot, in number about twenty; the mayor was returning officer. The town-hall, begun in June, 1806, was built at the expense of the Duke of Bedford, then proprietor of the borough; the lower part forms the market-place. The ancient chapel, dedicated to St. Thomas à Becket, has long been desecrated, and a new chapel has been built. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. A school was founded in 1672, by Sir James Smyth, and endowed with the tenement of Great Tregarth, now producing £28 per annum; the schoolroom was rebuilt in 1823, at the expense of the Duke of Cleveland, on land belonging to the corporation. There is an estate worth £60 per annum, which are distributed in clothing among the poor. The union of Camelford comprises 14 parishes or places, and contains a population of 8063. The renowned King Arthur is said to have been born at Tintagel Castle, about five miles north-west from the town.

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

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