[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)]
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003
"BEER FERRIS, (or Ferrers), a parish in the hundred of Roborough, in the county of Devon, 3 miles to the N.E. of Saltash, and 8 N. by W. from Plymouth. It occupies a small peninsula on the English Channel, at the mouth of the rivers Tamar and Tavy, which bound it on the W. and E. The parish includes the town of Beer Alston, which was formerly a borough, and the village of Beer Ferris, or, as it is commonly called, Beer Town. Lead has been for many centuries obtained here in considerable quantities, mixed with much silver, and several other mineral products. The chief mine is known as the Tamar Consols, and gives employment to a great number of the inhabitants. The scenery of the neighbourhood is remarkably fine, and large quantities of fruit are produced here especially black cherries, known locally as "mazards." The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Exeter, of the value of £700, in the patronage of the Earl of Mount-Edgcumbe. The church, which is dedicated to St. Andrew, was erected in 1333. It is in the decorated style chiefly, but with additions of perpendicular and debased, and contains two monuments of Crusaders, besides tombs of the Ferrero and other families who formerly held the manor. Here is the grave of the painter Charles A. Stothard, who was killed, in 1821, by a fall while engaged in drawing the windows of this church. The rich stained glass belonging to the eastern window is now preserved in a cheat. There are several Dissenting chapels in the parish. The charitable endowments amount to £66 per annum, including £21, the revenue of Maynard's free school. The parish comprises an area of about 5,838 acres, chiefly the property of Earl Mount-Edgcumbe, who is lord of the manor.
"BEER ALSTON, a town in the parish of Beer Ferris, hundred of Roborough, in the county of Devon, 3 miles to the N. of the village of Beer Ferris, and 12 miles to the N.W. of Plymouth. It is now a small town, containing about 1,600 inhabitants, situated in a pleasant spot near the river Tamar, and was formerly a borough and market town. Its market was granted about the close of the 13th century, and the elective franchise in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, from which time it returned two members to parliament until the Reform Act, by which it was disfranchised. In the parliament of 1661, Sir John Maynard, law serjeant to Cromwell and King Charles II. sat as member for thin town. He founded the free grammar school still known by his name, and endowed it with land producing £21 per annum. A chapel of ease to Beer Ferris was erected here in 1845. There are also chapels belonging to the Wesleyans, Reformed Wesleyans, Independents, and Bible Christians. A mechanics' institute was established in 1854, but dissolved in 1856. There are both Church of England and Dissenting schools. A large portion of the inhabitants of the town are employed in the lead and silver mines in the vicinity, which were first opened in the 13th century. Extensive smelting works for lead, silver, and tin were formerly in operation, but were discontinued in 1854, in consequence of the stoppage of the two mines, South and East Tamar, which occurred several years ago, through the breaking in upon the works underground of the waters of the Tamar river. The great mine called Tamar Consols is still in full operation, and employs most of the mining population. The name of the town is supposed to be a corruption of Beer-Alencon, which it took from the family of the Alencons, who held the manor after the Conquest."