Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for IVES (ST.)

IVES (ST.), a bay in Redruth and Penzance districts, and a sea port town, a parish, and a sub-district in Penzance district, Cornwall. The bay commences at the month of the river Hayle, adjacent to the town of Hayle; expands suddenly into half-moon form, with exposure to the NNW; measures about 4½ miles across the entrance, between St. Ives Head on the W and Godrevy Head and Island on the E; measnres about 2½ miles from Hayle bar to a line drawn across the entrance; has anchorage, outside of St. Ives pier, in 6 fathoms; is swept by spring tides rising 20 feet 10 inches, -by neap tides rising 15 feet 8 inches; lies all exposed, except at ST. Ives harbour, to N winds; and suffers impediment from moving sands. The view of it, from the mouth of Hayle river, is very beautiful. The sides of it, as seen there, have the form of two crescents; and they curve round in sandy shore, overhung by cliffs, and terminate picturesquely in the promontory heads of St. Ives and Godrevy. The harbour in it for St. Ives town is a recess on the S side of St. Ives promontory, bounded on the S by Pendenolver Point; but in former times was much choked with drifting sands, brought in by NW winds. A small old pier ran into the harbour at the middle of the N side, but was very much exposed, and has disappeared. A new and commodious pier, on the same side but further to the E, was constructed, in 1767, by Smeaton; and has such direction as to give important shelter. An extension of this pier, in the form of a breakwater, was commenced in 1816; and, if completed, would have given protection, at spring tides, to 200 large vessels; but, after involving a cost of about £5, 000, was abandoned. A harbour of refuge was afterwards projected; and the plans for this figure largely in a parliamentary report of 1858, and have, for their chief feature, a breakwater 2, 000 feet long, running south-eastward from a spot considerably seaward of Smeaton's pier. The harbour has a lighthouse and a battery.

The town stands contiguous to the harbour, at the terminus of a branch of the Cornwall railway, 4 miles NW of Hayle. It is said to have derived its name from St. Ia, Hya, or Iva, the daughter of an Irish chieftain, and companion of St. Piran in his missionary expedition to Cornwall. Tradition says that, about the year 460, St. Piran landed at Pendinas, where there was a royal court; that St. Ia induced a magnate of the court to build a church on the spot where the town of St. Ives afterward arose; and that she was buried there. But the original town stood on the promontory eastward of the present town; and is believed, from substructions and ruined walls found beneath the sand, to have been overwhelmed by sand-drifts. The place was known, at Domesday, as part of Ludduham or Luggyanlese. Even the modern town is described by Leland as, in his time, ' ' sorely oppressed or over-covered with sands; '' and it lost nearly a third of its inhabitants, in 1647, by ravages of plague; but it has escaped all visitations of cholera. A ship, in 1780, with 250 Hessian troops on board, sailing to America, became crippled off Charleston, was driven thence in distress by a W wind, and came right into St. Ives harbour. Jonathan Toup, the editor of Longinus, was a native.

The town, as seen from the neighbourhood, particularly in the approach from Hayle, looks very picturesque, and has been thought, as to both its own appearance and that of its environs, to resemble a Greek village. Nor does it really want a sort of Greek-like character; and, though improved and extending, it is very irregularly built, and consists chiefly of narrow streets, or rather lanes. The shores and sea board near it abound with objects interesting to naturalists; and the lands adjacent swell and bristle with rugged rock-strewn hills. A logan stone is on a summit of one of these hills, called Rosewall, situated to the SW. A granite pyramid, erected in 1782, by the eccentric John Knill, Esq., and originally intended by him as a mausoleum for himself, crowns another eminence 545 feet high, situated to the S. Tregenna, the seat of H. L. Stephens, Esq., a castellated edifice of 1774, stands at the N foot of that hill, and commands a fine prospect of the bay. The town has a head post office, 7dd. designated St. Ives, Cornwall, a railway station with telegraph, a banking office, two chief inns, a town hall, an institute with public news room, a custom house, a coast guard station, a church, four dissenting chapels, national schools, and charities £8. The branch railway to it leaves the main Cornwall line at St. Ives road station, is about 4 miles long, and was opened in 1865. The church stands close to the beach; is of the time of Henry V. and Henry VI.; has a tower 90 feet high; was restored in 1859 and previous years; and contains a curious font and many ancient mural monuments. Markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays; and a fair is held on 29 Nov. Brewing, ship building, pilchard fishing, and trade and commerce in connexion with neighbouring mines of tin and copper, are carried on. The pilchard fishing yields from 12, 000 to 20, 000 hogsheads a year; taints the air with effluvia from the cellars; and makes large exports to the Mediterranean. The principal mines whence trade is drawn are the Trelvyan, the Trenwith, and the St. Ives, all called consols; and the last is situated close to the town, yields large produce, and has a lode of extraordinary size, known as the Carbona. The port includes Hayle, Portreath, and St. Agnes as sub-ports. The vessels belonging to it, at the beginning of 1864, were 70 small sailing vessels, of aggregately 1, 370 tons; 98 large sailing vessels, of aggregately 10, 383 tons; and 1 steamvessel, of 178 tons. The town is a borough by prescription; was first chartered by Charles I.; is governed, under the new act, by a mayor, four aldermen, and 12 councillors; sent two members to parliament prior to the act of 1832; and now sends one. The municipal limits are conterminate with those of St. Ives parish; and the parliamentaly limits include also the parishes of Towednack and Uny-Lelant. Acres of the m. borough, 1,876; of the p. borough, 8, 597. Real property, in 1860, of the m. borough, £17, 728, -of which £1, 865 were in mines, and £27 in gas works; of the p. borough, £33, 490, -of which £12, 059 were in mines, and £30 in quarries. Parliamentary electors, in 1863, 524, -of whom 10 7 were freemen; in 1868, 536-Pop of the m. borough, in 1851, 6,525; in 1861, 7,027. Houses, 1,453. Pop. of the p. borough, in 1861, 10, 353. Houses, 2, 116.

The parish includes the chapelry of Halsetown, which was constituted in 1846, and is a separate charge. The parocbial living is a Vicarage in the diocese of Exeter Value, £300.* Patron, the Vicar of Lelant.-The subdistrict comprises the parishes of St. Ives, Towednack, and Zennor. Acres, 8, 899. Pop. in 1851, 8, 500; in 1861, 8, 967. Houses, 1,814. .

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a bay"   (ADL Feature Type: "bays")
Administrative units: Penzance RegD/PLU       Cornwall AncC
Place names: IVES ST     |     LUGGYANLESE     |     ST IVES
Place: St Ives

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