Holden 1805 Business Directory
Cornwall, 261 miles from London, stands on a hill at the entrance of Falmouth haven by Pendennis Castle; and has so many gardens and orchards, that it resembles a town in a wood. It is well watered with rivulets, and has an arm of the sea on each side of it, with a good custom-house and quay, and other neat buildings. It drives a considerable trade in drying and vending pilchards, and in the Newfoundland fishery, so that here are many merchants. It was anciently governed by a portreve; but King James I. made it a corporation, consisting of a mayor, 11 aldermen, 10 common-councilmen, with a recorder, steward, &c.; an office of record every three weeks, with a prison, and power to try felons in their juristiction. And he granted, that the mayor and two aldermen should be justices of the peace, and that they should have a guildhall. Here was once a monastery, which was a cell to Kirton; and here are still to be seen a tower, and part of the garden walls, the ruins of a collegiate church. Markets are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday; fairs May 1, July 7, and Dec. 21. It has no church nor chapel, but belongs to the parish of Gluvias, a quarter of a mile off. It has sent members to parliament ever since the first year of Queen Mary. And King James II in pursuance of his view to enslave the nation, by putting all corporations under the influence of the crown, granted it a new charter, whereby their election was vested in the magistracy alone: but the design being too barefaced, it was never made use of; all the inhabitants that pay scot and lot, who are not much above a hundred, being the electors. Mr. Rymer gives this very remarkable account how Penryn was once saved by a company of strolling players, viz. that towards the later end of the 16th century, the Spainards were landing to burn the town, just as the players were setting Sampson upon the Philistines; which performance was accompanied with such drumming and shouting, that the Spainards thought some ambush was laid for them, and scampered back to their ships. Queen Elizabeth founded a free school here.
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