Ives, St. (St. Andrew)

IVES, ST. (St. Andrew), a sea-port, borough, and parish, in the union of Penzance, hundred of Penwith, W. division of the county of Cornwall, 9 miles (N. E. by N.) from Penzance, and 278 (W. S. W.) from London; containing 5666 inhabitants. This town derived its ancient appellation, Porth Ia, from its situation on the coast, and the dedication of its original church to St. Hya or Ia, daughter of an Irish chieftain, who, devoting herself to a religious life, visited Cornwall with some Christian missionaries about the middle of the fifth century, and took up her residence at this place, where she was interred. St. Ives appears from its very origin to have been governed by portreeves; and in the reign of Edward VI., Payne, who at that time held the office, having engaged in the rebellion under Humphrey Arundel, governor of St. Michael's Mount, was hanged here by order of the provost-marshal, Sir Anthony Kingston.

The Town is situated on the western shore of the bay of the same name, and consists of several streets, which, towards the entrance from Redruth, contain some wellbuilt houses, but which in the lower part of the town are narrow and uneven; the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. When viewed from the surrounding heights, its appearance is tolerably picturesque; and the scenery is enriched with some pleasing valleys in the vicinity, watered by small streams. Though still rather difficult of approach, from the steepness of the hills in the neighbourhood, the access has been greatly improved by the formation of a new road, of a good width, round the hill which formerly led into St. Ives; it affords an agreeable view of the bay. The town would make an excellent bathing-place, the water being perfectly clear, and the bottom a hard sand: provisions of all kinds are cheap; there is an abundance of fish, particularly turbot; and the place is remarkably healthy. Within two miles, is a neat village of about eighty houses, with a good inn, in a district abounding with tin and copper mines; it was erected some years since, by J. Halse, Esq., for the accommodation of the miners. On a promontory extending northward from the town is a building, formerly a lighthouse, which is now used as a depôt for government stores; and near it is a battery for the defence of the harbour. A good pier was erected at an expense of £10,000, in 1770, by Smeaton, the builder of the Eddystone lighthouse, and several subsequent efforts have been made for the improvement of the harbour. The entrance is rendered incommodious by the constant accumulation of sand driven in by the north-west winds, to prevent which it was proposed to extend the pier and construct a breakwater: the latter of these was commenced a few years since, but, after an expenditure of nearly £5000, was discontinued. A harbour light, for facilitating the access to the port, was erected in 1832.

The chief trade arises from the extensive fisheries carried on off the coast, and from the mines in the neighbourhood; and consists of the importation of articles necessary for their use, and the exportation of their produce. The number of vessels of above fifty tons' burthen registered here is 101, and their aggregate tonnage 8676. Within the jurisdiction of the port are comprehended the ports of Portreath, Hayle, and St. Agnes. The Drift and Sean pilchard-fisheries are conducted on a very large scale, and during the season, which lasts from July till the end of October, the quantity of fish taken and cured has in some years amounted to 20,000 hogsheads: the fish are exported principally to Italy and other ports in the Mediterranean. An act was obtained in 1841, to repeal an act passed in the 16th year of George III. for the encouragement and improvement of the pilchard-fishery within the bay, and to make other provisions in lieu thereof. A steam-packet sails to Bristol every week. Ship-building and the making of ropes and sails are carried on, and the produce of the mines in the neighbourhood is consigned to Wales and to Bristol. The market-days are Wednesday and Saturday, the latter being the principal: there were formerly four annual fairs, of which only those on May 29th and the Saturday before Advent-Sunday are at present observed.

The borough was incorporated by charter of the 16th of Charles I., confirmed and extended by James II., in 1685, and under which the government was vested in a mayor, recorder, ten aldermen, and an unlimited number of common-councilmen, assisted by a town-clerk and other officers. By the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, the corporation now consists of a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors, the number of magistrates being three. The town received the elective franchise in the 5th of Philip and Mary, from which time it sent two members to parliament till 1832, when it was deprived of one by the act of the 2nd of William IV., and the parishes of Uny-Lelant and Towednack were, for parliamentary purposes, incorporated with the borough, which now comprises an area of 4803 acres: for municipal purposes the borough is co-extensive with the parish. The mayor is returning officer. The corporation hold quarterly courts of session for the trial of misdemeanors; courts baron for the manor are held annually, and petty-sessions weekly. A town-hall, with a commodious market-house, was erected in 1832, at an expense of £1000. The parish comprises 1206 acres, of which 75 are common or waste. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Vicar of Uny-Lelant, with a net income of £150: the tithes have been commuted for £430, and there are 63 acres of glebe. The church, commenced in 1416, and finished in 1432, is a large handsome edifice, chiefly in the later English style, with rich Norman details: the tower is admired for its fine proportions; the stone of the interior of the church was brought from Caen, and the ancient carved work, which is of black oak, still remains in excellent preservation. A church district named Halsetown was endowed in 1846 by the Ecclesiastical Commission: the living is in the gift of the Crown and the Bishop of Exeter, alternately. There are places of worship for the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, Primitive Methodists, and Wesleyans, which last have also a meeting-house in the village of Halsetown. The Rev. Jonathan Toup, a celebrated critic, who published an edition of Longinus, and other learned works, was born here in 1713.

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