Penzance
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Morrab Gardens, Penzance
Morrab Gardens, Penzance


Penzance
Penzance

Market House, Market Jew Street, Penzance
Market House, Market Jew Street, Penzance






 

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Penzance Jubilee Pool area from the air
Penzance Jubilee Pool area from the air




History of Penzance




Image: Penzance from "A Week at the Land's End" by J.T. Blight, 1876.



Lysons History of Cornwall, published in 1814, described Penzance:

"... large market and corporation town, formerly called Burriton, is situated on the sea-coast, in Mount’s-bay, 283 miles from London, and eleven from the Land’s-end.

A market at this town to be held on Wednesdays, was granted in 1332 to Alice De Lisle, then lady of the manor of Alwarton, with a fair for seven days at the festival of St. Peter ad vincula: this market was confirmed in, 1404, to Thomas Lord Berkeley, with three fairs of two days each; one at the Conception, another at the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, and a third at the festival of St. Peter in cathedrá.

In later times there have been two markets, formerly Tuesday and Thursday, since changed to Thursday and Saturday: these markets are well supplied with provisions of all sorts: Thursday is a considerable corn-market. The present fairs are, May 28, the Thursday after Trinity-Sunday, and the Thursday before Advent-Sunday.

The town of Penzance was originally incorporated in 1614; the charter was confirmed by King Charles II. The corporation consists of a mayor, eight aldermen, twelve assistants, and a recorder.


Spanish invasion

Carew relates the particulars of this town having been set on fire by a small party of Spaniards, who landed near Mousehole, on the 23d of July 1595, and who, as Camden observes, were the only Spaniards that ever landed in this kingdom as enemies.

Sir Francis Godolphin, having summoned the county to his assistance, attempted to save Penzance from the threatened danger; but his followers being seized with a sudden panic, he was obliged to abandon it to its fate. The Cornish men having rallied the next day in greater numbers and in better heart, the Spaniards, who had already set fire to Newlyn and Mousehole, as well as Penzance, quitted the coast without attempting any further hostilities.


Royalist Penzance plundered by Parliamentarians

Penzance, is said to have been plundered by Sir Thomas Fairfax’s army in 1646, as a punishment for the kindness which the inhabitants has shown to Lord Goring’s and Lord Hopton’s troops.

Penzance is a large and populous town, much frequented in the winter by invalids, on account of the mildness of the climate. The number of houses in 1801 was 694, of inhabitants 3,382; in 1811, there were 784 houses, and 4,022 inhabitants.


Trade

Here is a considerable pilchard-fishery, and a great export-trade for tin, copper, and fish; the imports are coals, groceries, cloth, and other articles of merchandize. Penzance was added as a fifth to the coinage towns about the time of the Restoration; all the tin is now coined at this town and Truro.


Churches and Chapels

The chapel of St. Mary at Penzance, existed before the year 1612; it was enlarged in 1671, but not consecrated till 1680, when it was endowed with land, now let at 20l. per annum, by John Tremenhere, Esq.: a cemetery was then inclosed and consecrated, and the limits of the town were defined to be the limits of the chapelry. It has since been twice augmented bu Queen Ann’s bounty. Marriages have not been solemnised at this chapel since the marriage-act. Penzance is not deemed a separate parish, but has its own vestry, and maintains its own poor. There was an ancient chapel at Penzance, dedicated to St. Antony, near the Quay, on the site of which is now a fish-cellar. The registers of the see of Exeter mention chapels there, dedicated to St. Raphael and St. Gabriel.

There are meeting-houses at Penzance for the baptists, independents, quakers, and methodists; and a Jews’ synagogue."


Penzance History in Brief



1014
Mount's Bay inundated by a sea-flood. Several towns and many people drowned.

1099
Mount's Bay suffers another inundation by the sea.

1284
Chantry of St Mary's founded.

1332
Edward III granted to Alice de l'Isle of Penzance a weekly market on Wednesdays and a fair of seven days for the festival of St. Peter in June.


1404
Penzance Market granted by Henry IV to Lord Berkeley.

1512
Charter from Henry VIII allowing Penzance to keep profits from all ships visiting the harbour.

1578
The Plague struck Penzance

1595
Penzance burned by the Spanish

1602
'The Survey of Cornwall' by Richard Carew is published. It contains a partial account of the history of Penzance.

1614
Penzance granted a new charter by King James I. Now a Corporation with a mayor it could hold 7 fairs per year and 2 weekly markets.

1634
Turkish Pirates around the coast.

1646
The Borough was attacked by Parliamentarians at the end of the Civil War because of its loyalty to the King.

1647
The Plague struck Penzance again

1661
Charles II bride, Catherine of Braganza, anchored off Penzance

1663
Penzance is made a coinage town

1686
Boundary stones of Penzance Borough set up

1692
Bishop Trelawny visited Penzance

1740
A battery of guns built at Penzance in case of Spanish attack.

1743
John Wesley first preached at Heamoor.

1755
The effect of the Lisbon earthquake was recorded in Penzance when a tsunami hit the town - the sea rose 8 feet (nearly 3 metres) before receding with minimal damage.

1760
Pirates visited Penzance.

1766
Old Pier built. This was later extended in 1785, 1812 and in 1853.

1778
Sir Humphry Davy born 17th December, Ludgvan, Penzance. Chemist and Inventor of the Davy Safety Lamp. He died in 1829 at Geneva, Switzerland.

1779
Grammar School was founded.

1782
Joseph Carne born in Penzance. Geologist. FRS. Manager of the Hayle Copper Works. Died in 1858.

1789
The first theatre in Penzance opened.

1797
Penzance's first bank opened.

1807
Independent Chapel built. Enlarged 1870.

1808
Sir Humphry Davy discovered Barium

1809
Public Dispensary established.

1814
Royal Geological Society of Cornwall founded.

1830
Gas lighting was introduced to Penzance

1836
Old Market-house was taken down.

1839
Penzance Gazette was first published becoming the Penzance and Cornwall Gazette in 1855, continues until 1858.

1843
Richard Quiller-Couch started his medical practice in penzance. Western Promenade constructed.

1844
Butter and Vegetable Market built.

1846
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the Bay and St Michael's Mount. Prince Albert landed at Penzance.

1847
Roman Catholic Church built.
First publication of The Penzance Journal newspaper which continues until 1850.

1850
Trinity House erected warning markers on two half-tide rocks off Penzance, visible 15 feet above high water.

1852
August 25. West Cornwall Railway opened from Penzance to Truro.

1861
Queen's Hotel built. Enlarged in 1871 and 1908. Still receiving visitors today.

1861 - 1869
Lighthouse prepared at the Trinity Yard, Old Quay, Penzance, for erection on the Wolf Rock. First lit in December, 1869.

1864
Post Office moved from Chapel Street to the Market House.

1865
Horse Races held at Eastern Green.

1867 - 1868
St John's Public Buildings constructed

1868
Railway Viaduct washed away the second time. Present stone viaduct constructed soon after.

1870
Tidings Newspaper first published, ceased 1945. Last time the Borough Bounds were beaten.

1872
October 17. Sir Humphry Davy's Monument inaurgurated.

1873
West Cornwall Dispensary and Infirmary established at St Clare Re-built 1906. Excursion Brakes first ran to Land's End.

1876
'A Week at the Land's End' by J.T. Blight is published. It includes information on the history of Penzance. See image above.

1879
Present Railway Station opened. February 11th to 15th. Davy Celebrations in St. John's Hall.

1880
School of Art erected. Road between Penzance and Newlyn washed away by the sea.

1881
St. John's Church erected. Morrab Road commenced.

1883
Post Office built. Enlarged 1893. Norton's Baths on Western Promenade removed.

1884
November 11. Floating Dock opened.

1889
Morrab Gardens opened.

1891
March 9. The Great Blizzard.

1896
Double sea wall built from Cornwall Terrace to the western end of the Promenade.

1902
H.M. King Edward VII visited Penzance and St Michael's Mount.

1906
Old Coinage Hall taken down.

1911
July 1. About 60 Whales were stranded on the Eastern Beach, near Ponsandane.

1912
Electric Light first introduced into the town.

1912
Cinema opened at Causewayhead.

1930
After a storm, a number of tree-trunks forming part of the submerged forest in Mount's Bay were exposed at Larrigan Beach, Penzance.

1935
Jubilee Pool opened to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V.

 

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