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St Ives

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The parish and Borough town of St Ives, (Cornish: Porthia), is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Penwith. The parish is bounded on the north by the Bristol Channel, on the east by St Ives Bay and Lelant, on the south by Lelant and Towednack, and on the west by Towednack and the sea. The parish is named after St Ja or Ia, who was believed to have been an Irish saint. The story is that she missed the boat carrying her companions to Cornwall and so climbed on a leaf which arrived before them! She is believed to have died at Hayle about the middle of the 5th century. Further information on the history of St Ives is available.

St. Ives was a small inconsequential town in 1602 according to Carew. By 1700 Tonkin regards it as equal to several other corporations. In the Domesday Survey of 1086 it was taxed with Ludgvan Lees, being the senior manor which encompassed lands in Ludgvan, Lelant, St. Ives and Towednack. Another early manor from the Domesday Survey is Trenwith - legend has it that it was held from King Arthur's time. The parish was junior to Uny Lelant from at least as early as 1294 until 1869. The current building has parts that date back to the early C15th century (petitioned in 1408, built a little later). The town was known as Pendennis and the principle manor was "Porth Ia" - later "Porthia and Dinas". The earliest borough charter known was in the time of Charles I but probably existed before that. The hanging of the Mayor (Payne) was in Edward VI reign for being involved in the prayer book rebellion (1549).

The town contains a picturesque fishing port in the far west of Cornwall with special qualities of light that has inspired many artists to live here in the past. The new Tate Gallery (West) houses an exhibition of modern art and has an excellent refreshment room on the top floor overlooking the bay.

The parish of Halsetown was created from part of St Ives parish in 1849. However, by the early 21st century, St Ives increasingly has absorbed Halsetown, Lelant and Carbis Bay for civil purposes.


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Census information for this parish (1841 - 1901) is held in the Cornwall Record Office. The Cornwall Family History Society offers a census search service for its members. The Cornwall Family History Society have also published on-line census detail by surname on the FamilyHistoryonLine site.

Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:

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Church History

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Church Records

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Civil Registration

The parish of St Ives has been in the Penzance Registration District continuously from 1st July 1837. There were originally sub-districts at Marazion, Penzance, St Buryan, St Just, St Ives and Uny-Lelant but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Gulval, Ludgvan, Madron, Marazion, Morvah, Penzance, Perranuthnoe, St. Buryan, St. Erth, St. Hilary, St. Ives, St. Just in Penwith, St. Levan, St. Michael's Mount, St. Paul, Sancreed, Sennen, Towednack, Uny-Lelant, Wolfe Rock Lighthouse, and Zennor. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Alphington House, Alverton Place, Penzance, TR18 4JJ. Tel: 01736 330093.

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Description & Travel

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Land & Property

Information on the sale of Tregenna Castle and Estate in 1871, is available on-line. All the property concerned is in the parishes of St. Ives and Uny Lelant and totals about 470 acres freehold which was sold as one lot. Also included are the manor of Dynas Ia & Porth Ia which are described in great detail including all the leaseholders, lives and tenants - virtually a census of St. Ives for 1871 which can be compared with the official census. There is also some details of the manor of Lelant & Trevethow, some Mine Setts owned by the estate and some leasehold property held under Lord Wellesley.

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The Manor of Ludgvan Lese covered parts of the parishes of Ludgvan, St. Ives, Zennor and Towednack. The abstracts of the Manorial Records 1688-1739, which are taken from LDS film #1471491, are available on-line.

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Information about the St Ives, Zennor, St Erth Mines, is available on-line.

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Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

St Ives parish was part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.

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Halsetown was created from part of St Ives parish in 1849. From 1924, St Ives increasingly included the parishes of Lelant, Carbis Bay and Halsetown

  • Population in 1801 - 3797 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 4461 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 4797 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 6378 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 7678 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 8815 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 9346 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 9143 persons, plus 54 on shipping
  • Population in 1881 - 8162 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 7533 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 8090 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 8769 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 8614 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 8159 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 9051 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 9346 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 9839 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 10350 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 11085 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 11165 persons (including Lelant and Carbis Bay)
  • Population in 2011 - 11226 persons (including Lelant and Carbis Bay)

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Probate Records

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The parish comprised 1890 acres of land.

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