Columb, St., Major (St. Columba)

COLUMB, ST., MAJOR (St. Columba), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Pyder, E. division of Cornwall, 32 miles (S. W. by W.) from Launceston, and 245 (W. by S.) from London; containing 3146 inhabitants, of whom 1337 are in the town. This place takes its name from an ancient church erected by the founder of Bodmin Priory, and dedicated to St. Columba. It is situated on the summit of an eminence, supposed to have been occupied as a Danish fortification, and is surrounded by extensive tracts of fine meadow land; the streets are roughly paved, and the inhabitants are well supplied with water. A copper-mine, called Wheal-Constance, was opened a few years since, in which a fine vein of cobalt has been discovered; and there are several stream-works in the parish. The market, granted to Sir John Arundel in 1333, by Edward III., is on Thursday, for corn and provisions; and there is also a market for butchers' meat only, on Saturday: the market-house is an ancient building. The fairs are on the Thursday after Mid-Lent Sunday, for cattle and sheep, and the Thursday after Nov. 13th, for sheep only. The county magistrates hold a petty-session for the eastern division of the hundred, on the first Tuesday in every month: the powers of the county debt-court of St. Columb, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of St. Columb.

The parish comprises 12,046 acres, of which 4980 are common or waste. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £53. 6. 8., and in the patronage of E. Walker, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £1500, and the glebe contains 30 acres, with a glebehouse. The church is an ancient and venerable structure, with a lofty embattled tower crowned by pinnacles; within are several interesting monuments. There are places of worship for Bryanites, Independents, and Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists; also a Roman Catholic chapel at Llanherne. In 1628, James Jenkins gave by will £200, which have been invested in the purchase of land, producing £73 per annum, for distribution among the poor. The union comprises 16 parishes or places, and contains a population of 16,167. The curious Druidical circles called the Hurlers are in the neighbourhood. About two miles to the south-east of the town is a large elliptical encampment, called Castle an Dinas, defended by a double vallum, and having only one entrance: the longer diameter of the inner area is 1700 feet, and the shorter 1500; within are two tumuli, one of which is surrounded by a small ditch. It is supposed to have been erected by the Danes, and to have been the residence of one of their chiefs. At the distance of a mile and a half, in the same direction, is a fine cromlech, covered with ivy; and three miles to the north-east, on the road to Wadebridge, are nine upright stones, called "the Nine Maidens."

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

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