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Saltash is a place of considerable antiquity; the Assizes for the county are stated to have been held here in 1393, but no other circumstance testifying its consequence is known. During the Civil War it was considered of much importance; was taken and retaken by the contending parties no less than eight times; and was finally abandoned by the Cavaliers in 1646. It received a Charter as early as the reign of King John, which was confirmed by successive monarchs. In 1682 Charles II granted a new one, and a third, by which the town is now governed, was procured in 1774. The Corporation consists of a Mayor, six Aldermen, and about 30 Burgesses, who, with the freeholders, elect two Members of Parliament. The population, in 1821, amounted to 1548 persons, who are principally employed in fishing.
About one mile from Saltash is the village of St. Stephen's, with a spacious and handsome Church, of which the Chapel of Saltash is a member, and here all the christenings and funerals of that town are performed. Near St. Stephen's is Trematon Castle, whose venerable Keep, placed on the summit of an eminence, forms a picturesque object: it is of an oval shape, and the walls, which are 10 feet thick and 30 high, enclose an area 24 yards long and 17 wide, now used as a kitchen garden. The entrance is by an arched doorway on the west, and on the north side is a sallyport. The whole area enclosed by the walls of the Castle is about an acre in extent; these walls are in many parts perfect, and a ditch encompasses them on all sides. A strong square tower forms the entrance; and a very pleasant modern residence was erected within the area by B. Tucker, Esq. who has here collected some fine paintings and other works of art. The garden and grounds are laid out with great taste, and from the summit of the Keep the views are beautifully diversified. In this neighbourhood are several other handsome residences.
SCILLY ISLANDS. These Islands are about 140 in number, and form a group or cluster, nine leagues west by south from the Land's End, from which they are distinctly visible in clear weather. They are mentioned by Strabo and other ancient writers as the Cassiterides or Tin
Islands, and were resorted to by the Phænician and Greek merchants for the purchase of that valuable metal. They are supposed to have undergone great changes, either by a sudden convulsion of nature, or from the gradual advances of the ocean, which, by ioundating the low lands, has increased the number of islands, and much diminished their size: by Strabo they are stated to be ten in number, but it must be acknowledged that neither he nor any other of the classical authors by whom they are mentioned, appear to have had any precise information on the subject, and perhaps included a part of the western coast of Cornwall in their descriptions.
Only six of these Islands are now inhabited, viz.St. Mary's, St. Agnes', St. Martin's, Tresco, Brehar, and Sampson; and it is remarkable that Scilly, from which the name of the whole is derived, is one of the smallest of the group, its surface not exceeding one acre. St. Mary's is about nine miles in circumference, and contains about 1300 inhabitants, while those of all the other islands do not exceed 800. It is strongly fortified and garrisoned, and possesses three towns, called Heugh Town, Old Town, and Church Town; a pier, and a custom-house: some Druidical remains exist here, as well as in the other islands; but not the slightest vestige of Grecian or Phænician art; nor have any traces of the ancient mines which must have existed here, been discovered. Off this island, on the night of the 220 October 1707, four ships of the line, with all their crews, except two of the captains and 25 men, were lost, and the body of Sir Cloudesly Shovel, who commanded the fleet, was washed ashore, and buried in the sand; it was afterwards disinterred, and removed to Westminster Abbey, but his grave is still shown here, as, according to the tradition of the islanders, it is never filled with sand, although close on the sea-shore.
St. Agnes is principally remarkable for a very high and strongly-built Light-house, erected in 1680, which is very useful as a warning of the dangerous rocks which more thickly beset this than any other of the islands: its inhabitants are about 300 in number, and here is a small Church: the island is fertile and pleasant. Tresco, about two miles from St. Mary's, has a town called the Dolphin (or Godolphin) in
which are 20 or 30 houses, and a Church; some remains of an Abbey founded in the tenth century are still visible, near which is a pond or lake, half a mile long: several batteries and dilapidated fortifications also exist here, principally erected during the Civil War, when this island was occupied by the Parliamentary forces.
St. Martin's is one mile eastward of Tresco, and appears, from the remains of ancient enclosures, to bave been formerly well cultivated: it was, however, afterwards deserted, but was resettled about the commencement of the last century, and contains 30 or 40 families, who are mostly related to each other. Here is a small Church, whose minister, as well as those of the other islands, is paid by the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. Here is also a School, in which 25 children are educated, which was erected, and is in great part maintained, by the subscriptions of the poor inhabitants themselves. A high tower and spire on this island serves as a land-mark to maripers. Brehar is so pear to Tresco that the inhabi
from one to the other on foot at low water: it is very mountainous, and is inhabited by about 30 families; near this is Sampson, which is small, and has but two or three families.
The Climate of these Islands is mild and healthy; the cold is never severe, and the heats of summer are moderated by the sea-breezes. The soil is generally fertile, but barley is the grain chiefly cultivated. The horses and cattle are small and not numerous; sheep and rabbits are plentiful; and wild and domestic fowls abound. The inhabitants are principally employed in fishing, and in making kelp, which is exported to Bristol. The fishery is capable of great extension, but the poverty of the islanders prevents their availing themselves of the advantages of their situation; and they are sometimes reduced to the most distressing extremities. This was particularly the case in 1819, when absolute starvation was only averted by a public subscription, a part of which was applied to the relief of their immediate necessities; and the remaining portion was expended in the purchase of boats, nets, and tackling, suitable to the mackarel and pilchard fisheries, from which the poor natives have since derived considerable advantage..
STRATTON is a small market-town, on the northern side of the county, 223 miles from London. It has an ancient Church, and an Almshouse for the poor. The Market-day is Tuesday; and the population, according to the last census, was 1580 persons.
Near Stratton the Parliamentary forces, although greatly superior in number, were totally defeated by the Royalists under Sir Ralph Hopton, on the 16th of May, 1642.
Four miles from Stratton is Kilkhampton, remarkable for its beautiful Church, which was erected by one of the Grenville family, whose arms are sculptured in many parts of the building. The southern entrance is by a semicircular arch, of Anglo-Norman architecture; but the building itself appears to have been erected at a later period. The interior is elegantly light, and contains a' curiously-carved pulpit, an ancient font, and several handsome monuments, among which the most remarkable is one to the memory of Sir Bevil Grenville, who was killed at the battle of Lansdown in 1643, and is commemorated by an elaborate epitaph, embodying Lord Clarendon's character of the deceased.
TREGONY is an ancient Borough, on a branch of the Fal, 251 miles from London, and was formerly of much more importance than at present. It had a Market previously to the time of Edward I, and was defended by a Castle, of which scarcely a vestige now remains. Of its two Churches, one has long since sunk to decay, and the other is a venerable pile. The town was formerly built at the foot of the hill on which the present one is constructed; but even the latter is of antique and dilapidated appearance,
and the inhabitants amounted, in 1821, to no more than 1035 persons. The Charter by which Tregony is at present governed was granted by James I, and the Corporation consists of a Mayor and eight Burgesses, who, with about 60 other inhabitants, elect two Members of Parliament. A Market is held here on Saturday, and five annual Fairs are celebrated.
About two miles from hence is the village of Ruan Lanyhorne, the residence during more than 30 years of the Rev. J. Whitaker, author of the History of the Cathedral of Cornwall, and other works, who died in 1808, and was still more remarkable for bis piety and virtue than for his learning and ability.
TRURO. This town, considered as the Cornish metropolis, is situated 257 miles from London, in a valley, at the junction of the rivers Kenwyd and St. Allen, wbich flow on each side of it, and uniting with a branch of Falmouth Harbour, called Truro Creek, form at spring tides a fine lake, two miles long, and suffciently deep to admit vessels of more than 200 tons burthen; and the importance of this town is to be mainly attributed to the advantage judiciously taken of its situation. To this it may be added that Truro is one of the principal coiuage towns, and more tin is exported from hence than from any other place in the county; and here the Stapnary Parliaments and Monthly Courts are usually held.
The Spring Quarter Sessions are held at Truro, and it has, in many respects, the air and business of a place of more consequence than its population would lead the visitor to expect. The Markets, on Wednesday and Saturday, are abundantly supplied with every article of luxury or necessity; the streets are well paved, and lighted with gas; and all the modes of polished life are visible among the inhabitants, in their houses, apparel, and manners. A considerable trade is carried on here in the exportation of tin, cast into blocks and ingots, to the Mediterranean, the north of Europe, and the East Indies; while the copper ore is principally sent to Wales. A manufactory of carpets is also established, and employs a large number of hands.
The origin of Truro is conjectured to be little, if at all, anterior to the Norman Conquest, about which time a Castle was erected here by one of the Earls of Cornwall, which stood on an eminence near the river, but of which no more than the site now exists. About 1140 it had attained some consequence, and was incorporated by Richard de Lucy, its lord; the privileges granted by this nobleman were subsequently confirmed by Henry II and Edward I, and the town is now governed, by virtue of a Charter of Elizabeth, by a Mayor, four Aldermen, and 20 capital Burgesses, who have the sole privilege of re