Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for AUSTELL (St.)

AUSTELL (St.), a market-town, a parish, a subdistrict, and a district in Cornwall. The town stands adjacent to the Cornwall railway, 1¾ mile NW of a bay of its own name, and 39¼ W by S of Plymouth. Its site is the side of a hill, which descends to a narrow vale watered by a rivulet. The original town, or rather village, stood a short distance to the E, and is still represented by a few cottages. The present town dates from about the time of Henry VIII.; was taken by Charles I., in 1644, from the parliamentarian forces; and has risen to importance in connexion with neighbouring tin-mines, and as a centre of great mineral traffic. It has narrow streets, and a somewhat gloomy aspect, yet shows interesting features, and is skirted with pleasant villas. The market house and the town hall are large granite buildings. The Devon and Cornwall bank is a tasteful edifice of granite and marble. The parish church is a spacious ancient structure, of nave, chancel, and aisles, with a remarkably fine tower, and many curious sculptures; the chancel early English, the nave and the tower perpendicular. A communion cup used in the church is very ancient; was found by tinners, in 1774, about 17 feet below the surface of the ground, in the neighbourhood of the town; and contained several costly personal ornaments of silver and gold, and a large collection of curious Saxon coins. The town has a station on the railway, a head post office,‡ four banking offices, three chief inns, seven dissenting chapels, an alms-house, a workhouse, and several blowing-houses, not now worked, for grain tin; and it is a seat of petty sessions, and a polling-place. A weekly market is held on Friday; and fairs, on the Thursday before Easter, Whit-Thursday, the Friday after 23 July, 16 Oct., and 30 Nov. A small manufactory of serges is carried on; a fishery for pilchards, in St. Austell bay, is extensive; and the mineral traffic embraces a large tract of surrounding country, and includes tin, copper, nickel, porcelain clay, china-stone, porphyry granite, and Pentuan stone. The principal mines are Polgooth, Carclaze, Crinnis, Pembroke, Lanescot, and Pentuan. Harbours exist at Pentuan and Charlestown; and railways go down to them from the town. The name St. Austell is of uncertain origin, but most probably is a corruption of St. Auxilins. Pop., 3,825. Houses, 777.

The parish comprises 12,125 acres. Real property £37,325; of which £14,010 are in mines, and £2,157 in quarries. Pop. in 1841, 10,320; in 1861, 11,893. Houses, 2,369. The property is subdivided. St. Austell bay is 4 miles wide and 5 miles long; and forks in the N into the bay of St. Blazey. Hensbarrow hill, about 2½ miles N of the town, is one of the loftiest heights in Cornwall. The general surface of the parish, together with that of adjacent tracts, is bleak and desolate, and acquires increase to its ruefulness from the appearance of the mines and miners. The quarries in Pentuan vale supply a famous building-stone, which has been used in the construction of many churches and mansions. One of the best tin-stream works, not far from the quarries, has thrown out fossil bones of men, of a whale, of enormous oxen, and of extinct species of animals. An ancient holy well, with remains of a small chapel or baptistry, occurs in a pretty spot, beside a cataract, at Menacuddle hill, on the grounds of Mr. Martin. Penrice, 1½ mile S of the town, on the road to Pentuan, is the seat of SirB. G. Sawle, Bart. Polruddon and Treverbyn were ancient residences. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter. Value, £537.* Patron, the Crown. The vicarages of Charlestown and Treverbyn are separate charges.

The subdistrict contains the parishes of St. Austell, St. Dennis, and Roche. Acres, 21,665. Pop., 14,768. Houses, 2,946.—The district comprehends also the subdistrict of Fowey, containing the parishes of Fowey, Tywardreath, St. Sampson, and St. Blazey; the subdistrict of Mevagissey, containing the parishes of Mevagissey, Gorran, St. Ewe, and St. Michael-Carhayes; and the subdistrict of Grampound, containing the parishes of Creed, St. Mewan, and St. Stephen-in-Brannel, and part of the parish of Probus. Acres, 57,446. Poor-rates, £10,449. Pop. in 1841, 31,408; in 1861, 33,797. Houses, 6,829. Marriages, 286; births, 1,200,-of which 47 were illegitimate; deaths, 675,-of which 292 were at ages under 5 years, and 21 at ages above 85 years. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60,2,804; births, 12,239; deaths, 6,577. The places of worship in 1851 were 18 of the Church of Eng. land, with 7,701 sittings; 5 of Independents, with 1,502 s.; 1 of Baptists, with 350 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 385 s.; 31 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 7,020 s.; 6 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,001 s.; 2 of the Wesleyan Association, with 440 s.; 27 of Bible Christians, with 4,082 s.; 2 of Brethren, with 161 s.; and 2 undefined, with 400 s. The schools were 18 public day schools, with 1,166 scholars; 89 private day schools, with 2,070 scholars; 56 Sunday schools, with 5,651 s.; and 2 evening schools for adults, with 24 s.

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

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a market-town, a parish, a subdistrict, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: St Austell CP       St Austell SubD       St Austell PLU/RegD       Cornwall AncC
Place names: AUSTELL ST     |     ST AUSTELL
Place: St Austell

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