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.
Most parish and church description(s) on these pages are from Lake's Parochial History of the County of Cornwall by J Polsue (Truro, 1867 - 1873)
- Barnoon, is St. Ives oldest cemetery. It is an area of St. Ives on a steep hill above Porthmeor beach and was formed in 1855. The cemetery is located on the hill itself behind the Tate Gallery. Some monumental inscriptions at Barnoon are available on-line courtesy of West Penwith Resources.
[All burials prior to Barnoon for St-Ives were at nearby churchyards. When all the plots at Barnoon were full or purchased, the next cemetery used from late 1950's was Longstones Cemetery at Carbis Bay. There is no church situated at either Barnoon or Longstones, however at Longstones there is a small chapel where services can be held].
- Transcriptions from Barnoon and Longstones cemetery, in St Ives, are available on the Cornish Cemeteries site. A webcam view of Barnoon cemetery is also available.
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line Monumental Inscriptions
- The Parish Church - 194 entries.
- Barnoon Cemetery.
- War Memorial inscriptions for St Ives parish are separately available.
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.
Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:
- The 1841 Census of St Ives (HO107/144) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- The 1841 Census of St Ives is also available on-line from West Penwith Resources as follows:
- The 1851 Census of St Ives (HO107/1917) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- The New Zealand Society of Genealogists have compiled separate surname indexes of the 1851 Census for each Cornish registration district; St Ives is listed in Volume 25. The booklets are available in Cornwall at the Cornwall Centre, (formerly known as the Cornish Studies Library), and is also available in the Cornwall FHS Library.
- 1861. The 1861 Census of St Ives is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- RG9/1589. Enumeration Districts 5, 6 [including some Merchant Shipping] and 7.
- RG9/4454. In the 1861 census, Merchant Shipping was treated peculiarly. Shipping Returns for St Ives and Padstow have been placed on-line by the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1871. The 1871 Census of St Ives is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- The Census of St Ives is also available from the on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- Details of the 1891 census of St Ives is available on-line from the West Penwith Resources project.
- The Census of St Ives (RG12/1854) is also available from the on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- Anglican. "The church of St. Ives a beautiful structure of the age of Henry V, with a lofty tower, is dedicated to St. Ia the Virgin; the edifice is well worthy of the observation of those who are curious in ecclesiastical architecture: the living is part of the vicarage of Uly Lelant, but has lately been endowed, by a grant from Queen Anne's bounty, the maintenance of a perpetual curate; the present encumberant of the parish is Rev. Dr. Cardew, the curate is the Rev. C. Aldrich; the patronage of preferment is the diocesan bishop. There are two methodist chapels, one of which is the largest in Cornwall, and two others belong to Lady Huntington's sect." (Pigot & Co 1830 Directory of Cornwall).
The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW5140 and was dedicated to St Ia the Virgin. Further information on the churches of St Ives and Halestown is available. An extract from Blight's Churches of West Cornwall (1864) is also available.
The church was built between 1410 and 1426. This is a large church, consisting of chancel, nave with western tower, north and south aisles to both, with porch, and a side chapel opening by an arcade of two into the eastern part of the south aisle. The east walls of the aisles and chapel are all flush with that of the chancel. The chapel was added, but the other portions of the structure appear to have been built according to one design, without any additions or alterations, excepting those which were barbarously effected in almost every church during Puritanical times. The roodloft staircase is at the north-west angle of the chapel. The roodscreen has been removed, but some of the carved oak benches remain.
The tower, which is 119 feet in height is in four stages, buttressed on the square, and finished with battlements and battlement pinnacles. The belfry windows are unusually large and are transomed. The tower contains two bells and a clock.
The parish is now part of the St Ives Team Ministry which is on-line.
A second church dedicated to St Nicholas was built in 1903/04; details about the plans of this modern church are also available on-line.
- Roman Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church in St Ives is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the patroness and name saint of St. Ives, St. Ia. A legendary biography of St. Ia was mislaid or spoilt in the Reformation, but a few details exist. St. Ia was apparently, one of a group of Irish missionaries who came to Cornwall about 460 A.D. The saint found herself separated from her companions, but after praying she spotted a coracle, (some legends tell of an enormous leal), which carried her safely to the port of Hayle. She built an oratory in St. Ives, now the site of the present Parish Church. St. Ia worked hard to foster the Christian faith in this part of Cornwall. She was martyred with several other missionaries on the orders of Theodoric, a local chieftain who had a castle in Hayle. Her relics were placed in the oratory which she had founded. During the fifteenth century a new Parish Church was built and her relics were laid there. St. Ia's feast is recorded in the liturgical calendar on 3rd February. The following Sunday a special Mass and procession are held in her honour in the Catholic Church here and then the whole town celebrates a public holiday "Feast Monday".
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries St. Ives seemed to have completely broken with the Roman Catholic Faith which it had formerly cherished. Foreign visitors, Breton fishermen, Irish workers, shipwrecked sailors had to go as far as Penzance for Mass. In 1901 a site in Street-an-Pol, once used as a shop and warehouse, was bought by a rich Catholic convert who then presented it to the Canons Regular of the Lateran for a new "Mission". The first Mass was celebrated on 16th February 1902 with only a very few people present. As time went on Mass attendance increased and it became necessary to find a more suitable location at the top of Skidden Hill facing Tregenna Hill. The new Church was blessed on 21st September 1908 by Bishop Charles Graham and solemnly opened with the celebration of Pontifical High Mass on 24th September 1908.
The Church has fulfilled an artistic role, past and present, in this renowned part of Cornwall. The memorial plaque, already mentioned, was made by a Benedictine monk, Fr. Charles Norris of Buckfast Abbey. Other artists' work can be seen in the interior. The wooden statue of St. Ia was carved by a parishioner, Faust Lang of Oberammergau, from a thick section of Austrian Oak found floating in St. Ives Bay. Near the statue are seventeen painted panels, in the style of El Greco, depicting Our Lord with the Twelve Apostles and four Latin Doctors of the Church: St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Augustine of Hippo, Pope St. Gregory the Great and St. Jerome. The panels were a gift of the late Mr. & Mrs Philip Hill for the Consecration of the Church on 8th May 1946.
- Non-Conformist. There were a number of Non-Conformist chapels in St Ives. The Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion had a chapel in Fore Street which was built in 1800. The Wesleyan chapel in Chapel Street is a large building capable of seating 750 persons. The Primitive Methodists also had a chapel in Fore Street, erected in 1831, which is capable of accommodating 800 persons. The Bible Christians built a chapel in Back Row for 400 persons, in 1858. The Methodist New Connexion also had a chapel in Chapel Street.
- LDS Church Records.
- The LDS Church batch numbers for St Ives are: C023291/2, P014781, Primitive Methodist Church C045701, Sion Chapel Lady Huntingdon C065411, Wesleyan Methodist C065401. These are searchable by surname.
- The IGI coverage for this parish is 1651 - 1812; the parish is NOT believed to be fully included in the LDS Church's International Genealogical Index (IGI).
- Church Registers.
- Available surviving church registers are listed on-line.
- The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1651 - 1940, Burials 1653 - 1964, Marriages 1653 - 1977, Boyds Marriage Index 1607 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1800 - 1812, BTs 1607 - 1674, Non-Conformist records 1800 - 1837.
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
- Pre 1813 Marriages
- 1813-37 Marriages
- 1813-37 Burials.
- Baptisms 1753 to 1901 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- St Ives Non-Conformist baptisms are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP), as follows:
- Methodist New Connexion baptisms 1860 to 1899.
- Methodist Bedford Road (Formerly New Connexion) baptisms 1901 to 1911.
- Wesleyan-Methodist baptisms 1818 to 1837.
- St ives and area W-M baptisms 1838 to 1908.
- The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD, baptisms 1730 to 1840 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest.
- Baptisms at St Ives parish church are available on-line from West Penwith Resources as follows:
- Baptisms of St Ives (1730 to 1840) are available on CD by the Cornish Forefathers' Society and this can be purchased on Parish Chest.
- Baptisms 1832 to 1903 of St Ives Primitive Methodist Circuit are available on-line courtesy of West Penwith Resources.
- Baptisms 1860 to 1899 of St Ives Methodist New Connexion Chapel are available on-line courtesy of West Penwith Resources.
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1606 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
- Phillimore's Marriages 1653 to 1812, and parish transcriptions 1813 to 1848 and 1860 to 1900, for this parish are also available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Phillimore's Marriages at St Ives - 1653 to 1812 are available on-line from UK Genealogy Archives.
- Marriages in St Ives parish church 1837 to 1900 are available on-line from West Penwith resources.
- St Ives Methodist funerals for 1886 are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Burials 1753 to 1869 and 1891 to 1936 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Burials in St Ives parish church 1653 to 1753 are available on-line from West Penwith resources.
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Burials 1813 to 1837, which is available in Book and CD formats.
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.
- A history of the parishes of St. Ives, Lelant, Towednack and Zennor in the county of Cornwall by J. H. Mathews (Published 1892), is available on-line, courtesy of the Old Cornwall Society.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from St Ives to another place.
You can see the administrative areas in which St Ives has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
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.
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.
- Map of the Penzance Registration District in which the parish lies.
- An old map of Lelant, St Ives and Towednack in 1835 is available on-line from GENMAPS.
- A map showing St Ives in the context of its neighbours is available.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW518407 (Lat/Lon: 50.214124, -5.480763), St Ives which are provided by:
- Google Maps
- StreetMap (Current Ordnance Survey maps)
- Bing (was Multimap)
- OldMaps (Old Ordnance Survey maps.)
- Old Maps Online (Other old maps.)
- National Library of Scotland (Old Ordnance Survey maps)
- Vision of Britain (Click "Historical units & statistics" for administrative areas.)
- English Jurisdictions in 1851 (Unfortunately the LDS have removed the facility to enable us to specify a starting location, you will need to search yourself on their map.)
- Magic (Geographic information) (Click + on map if it doesn't show)
- GeoHack (Links to on-line maps and location specific services.)
Information about the St Ives, Zennor, St Erth Mines, is available on-line.
St Ives parish was part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
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
- The St Ives Trust is a charitable organisation which was set up in 1967 to educate the public in geography, history, natural history, and architecture of St Ives and District. Since 1997 it has supported the Archive Study Centre. It is located on the first floor of the Public Library in Gabriel Street.
The Centre is a community-based project linked to the local Public Library, St Ives Museum, the County Record Office and other like organisations.
Further detail is given on its website (given above).
- Recently terminals/PCs, containing information from the Cornwall Family History Society, have been provided to the Archive Study Centre.
- The Penwith Local History Group aims:
- To encourage and sustain public interest in the history of Penwith to provide mutual support and encouragement to members in their individual research projects, whether related to Penwith or of wider historical interest.
- To work as a group on specific research projects, with the aim of publication to an academic standard.
- To encourage the strong link with the Morrab Library, supporting the Library in its aims and activities.