Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for HELSTON

HELSTON, a town, a parochial chapelry, a sub-district, and a district, in Cornwall. The town stands on the side of a hill, sloping to the river Hel, 3 miles N by E of the river's influx to the sea, 9 S of Camborne r. station, and 10 WSW of Falmouth. It was known, at Domesday, as Henliston; it was made a stannary town, for the stamping of tin, by Edward I.; it had an ancient castle, sometime the residence of Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, which William of Worcester, writing in the time of Edward IV., mentions as then a ruin; it was one of the decayed towns, for the repairing of which an act of parliament was passed in the time of Henry VIII.; and it is said to have been the place where the first symptoms of the Cornish rebellion of 1549 appeared. A bowlinggreen, at the W end of the principal street, is believed to be on the site of the ancient castle. A remarkable annual festival, called Helston Flora-day, or Helston Furry, has been held from time immemorial on the 8th of May; and is thought, by some, to be a continuation of the Roman Floralia, -by others to have been instituted in memory of a victory over the Saxons.-The town has been much improved since the beginning of the present century; is regularly and neatly built; comprises four large streets, in cruciform arrangement, with a handsome and spacious market house and townhall in the centre; and contains a borough jail with six cells, a police station, a church, four dissenting chapels, a literary institution, a reading room, a dispensary, and a workhouse. The church stands on an eminence, on the N side of the town; is later English; was restored, about the middle of last century, at a cost of £6, 000; has a lofty pinnacled tower, which serves as a landmark to mariners; and contains a fine E window, and several monuments. One of the dissenting chapels, built in 1805, occupies the site of an ancient priory of the Knights of St. John. The workhouse is in Meneage street, and is a stone edifice on the newest design. The town is a seat of petty sessions, and a polling place; was made a borough by King John; sent two members to parliament from the time of Elizabeth till the act of 1832; sends now one member to parliament; is governed by a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors; and has a head post office, ‡ designated Helston, Cornwall, three banking offices, one or two good inns, and a grammar school. Markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays; nine annual fairs are held; and considerable trade is done in connection with neighbouring mines. A railway hence to the Cornwall line at Penryn was authorised in 1864. The environs are in teresting; the mansions of Penrose and Nansloe are in the neighbourhood; a fine lacustrine expansion of the Hel, called Loe Pool, commences V a mile to the S, and goes to the bar at the river's mouth; and a picturesque tour of 11 miles lies southward to the Lizard. The municipal borough is conterminate with the chapelry; and the parliamentary borough extends beyond that into Wendron parish, and includes all Sithney parish. Borough income, in 1855, £1, 044. Real property of the borough, in 1860, £10, 685; of which £60 were in gasworks. Electors of the p. borough, in 1868, 363. Pop. of the m. borough, in 1851, 3, 355; in 1861, 3, 843. Houses, 752. Pop. of the p. borough, in 1851, 7, 328; in 1861, 8, 497. Houses, 1, 683. The chapelry is in Wendron parish, and was constituted in 1845. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter. Value and Patron, not reported.—The sub-district contains also the parishes of Gunwalloe, Cury, and Mawgan-in-Meneage. Acres, 9, 838. Pop., 5, 499. Houses, 1, 094.—The district comprehends also the subdistrict of Wendron, containing all Sithney parish and all Wendron excepting Helston chapelry; the sub-district of Crowan, conterminate with Crowan parish; the sub-district of Breage, containing the parishes of Breage and Germoe; and the sub-district of St. Keverne, containing the parishes of St. Keverne, Mullion, Grade, Ruan-Minor, Ruan-Major, Landewednack, Manaccan, St. Martin-in-Meneage, and St. Anthony-in-Meneage. Acres, 72, 571. Poor rates in 1863, £8, 449. Pop. in 1851, 28, 402; in 1861, 30, 036. Houses, 6, 071. Marriages in 1862, 260; births, 1, 045, -of which 62 were illegitimate; deaths, 597, -of which 236 were at ages under 5 years, and 24 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 2, 252; births, 9, 776; deaths, 5, 968. The places of worship, in 1851, were 21 of the Church of England, with 6, 899 sittings; 1 of Independents, with 96 s.; 4 of Baptists, with 660 s.; 36 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 8, 347 s.; 7 of Bible Christians, with 1, 039 s.; 19 of the Wesleyan Association, with 2, 873 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 30 s. The schools were 24 public day schools, with 1, 933 scholars; 46 private day schools, with 1, 022 s.; 54 Sunday schools, with 4, 660 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 120 s.

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

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a parochial chapelry, a sub-district, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Helston Ch/CP       Helston PLU/RegD       Cornwall AncC
Place names: HELSTON     |     HENLISTON
Place: Helston

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