Universal Business Directory of 1791
PENRYN is an ancient borough in the hundred of Kirrier, in the county of Cornwall, pleasantly situated on a hill between two other hills, at the head of a navigable river, whose entrance is guarded by the strong and impregnable fort of Pendennis. It is exceedingly well watered, having streams of water running through it; and is bounded by a stream of water on each side.
This place was first incorporated by James I. and is now governed by a corporate body, consisting of twelve aldermen, twelve common councilmen, a recorder, a steward, and other inferior officers. The right of election is in the mayor, portreeve, aldermen, and inhabitants at large, who pay scot and lot. The number of voters is about one hundred and forty. Returning-officer the mayor. This is a scot and lot borough. The number of housekeepers paying to church and poor is about one hundred and forty. The property is divided between the Earl of Mouth Edgecumbe and Sir Francis Bassett; but the latter has, at present, the greatest part, and the majority of the electors are in his interest.
Penryn is an ancient manor, belonging to the see of Exeter; of which it is now held by the corporation, at a small annual rent. It is a free borough, and held by the corporation, at a small annual rent. It was a free borough, and had a market before 30 Edward I. and has sent representatives to parliament every since the first of Queen Mary. It was made a free borough about the year 1270, by Walter Bronescomb, then bishop of Exeter. It sends two members to parliament; the present are Sir Francis Basset, Bart. and Richard Glover, Esq.
Here was once a monastery, which was a cell to Kirton; and her are still to be seen a tower and part of the garden-walls, the ruins of a collegiate church.
There is no church within the borough, but the inhabitants attend divine service at the adjacent parish church of Gluvias, the vicar of which has the benefits of the borough. There are two markets in the week here, viz. Thursdays and Saturdays; and there are three fairs held here in the year, viz. May 12, July 7, and December 21
Penryn is distant from Truro nine miles east, Grampound seventeen east, Marazion twenty west, St. Ives twenty-two west, Mitchel seventeen east, St. Columb's sixteen east, Penzance twenty-three west, Redruth eight west, and from London two hundred and sixty-two.
The principal street of Penryn is spacious and airy, and there are many very good houses. There is a fish-cross, market-house, town-hall, assembly-room, and an excellent town-clock with chimes, made by Tompion. Upon the streams, before mentioned, are four grist-mills and a paper-mill; and in the town are three very good porter and beer breweries. This place is the granary of the south-west of the county, the warehouses for flour and grain being very numerous, and the supply from the Isle of Wight and Hants being considerable. An extensive woollen-manufactory was once set on foot near the old abbey lands of Glasney, but for want of proper management did not succeed. At present trade is not very considerable here, but is likely to increase.
The inhabitants of Penryn are a loyal and affectionate people, and have raised a larger body of volunteers than any other town in Cornwall, for internal defence. They consist of four companies, and of the following commissioned officers:
The non-commissioned officers are, a sergeant-major, twelve sergeants, and twelve corporals. They have sixteen drums and fifes, two triangles, a long drum, and a pair of symbols. The privates amount to two hundred. They have a handsome pair of colours, presented them by their lieutenant-colonel, and are in every respect completely accoutred and disciplined.
Mr. Rymer gives very remarkable account how Penryn was once saved by a company of strolling players, viz. That, towards the latter end of the sixteenth century, the Spaniards 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 Spaniards thought some ambush was laid for them, and scampered back to their ships.
There is a very numerous and respectable lodge of free masons held at the principal inn in this borough, viz. the Lodge of Joy, Peace, and Brotherly Love, at the house of Brother Pellowes, the sign of the King's Arms. Treasurer, Francis Mukins, Esq. Secretary, William Crowsey, who is also commissary for French prisoners at the prisons of Kergilliack and Roscrow. Chaplain, Rev. Robert Dillon.
The manor of Penryn Forryn has a court of record, and the stewart holds pleas to any amount, and proceeds by bailable capias in all cases above ten pounds.
The London mail comes in every Friday, and goes out the Sunday following.
The following is a list of the principal inhabitants:
Gentlemen's seats in the neighbourhood of Penryn:
Within the hundred of Kirrier, besides the borough of Penryn, are, the borough of Helstone ten miles west, the town of Falmouth about two miles south, and the village of Flushing, within the parish of Mylor, about two miles east.
The parishes within the hundred of Kirrier are as follows:
Curty, Gunwallo, Grade, and Germo, chapels to Breage
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