town market east
PENZANCE, a seaport and municipal borough of Cornwall, and the westernmost borough of England, is finely situated on gently rising ground on the north-western shore of Mount Bay, at the terminus of the Great Western Railway, 10 miles east-north-east of Land's End and 20 west-south-west of Truro. It is the nearest port to the Scilly Isles, which are about 40 miles distant to the west-south-west. The market-place is in the centre of the town, and near it the four principal streets intersect each other at right angles. The southern arm of the pier was built in 1772, the Albert or new pier on the east in 1845. The piers are connected by a wharf, viaduct, and swing-bridge (1882); and a dock is being at present constructed at a cost of £60,000, which will extend to about 3 acres. The limits of the port have lately (1881) been extended. The churches are St Mary's, constructed of cut granite, in the Perpendicular style, with lofty pinnacled tower and peal of eight bells ; St Paul's, of cut and rubble granite, in the style of the 13th century (1843) ; and St John's, of stone, Early English (1881). The public buildings, erected of granite in the Italian style in 1867, include the town-hall and council-chambers, St John's Hall for public meetings, the lecture-hall, the public library (upwards of 16,000 volumes), the news-rooms, the masonic hall, the museum of the Penzance Natural History and Antiquarian Society, and the museum and other rooms of the Geological Society of Cornwall. The market-house (1837), in the Grecian style, with a central dome, includes a meat-market on the ground-floor with a corn-market above, and in the east end of the building is the grammar-school, founded in 1789. In front of the east end is a marble statue of Davy. Somewhat east of the market-house are the post and telegraph offices, completed in 1883. Among the benevolent institutions is the West Cornwall Infirmary (1874), which includes the dispensary (1809). The town has a considerable shipping trade, the total number of vessels which entered the port in 1882 being 1829 of 197,933 tons burden, the number which cleared 1774 of 187,569 tons. The exports include tin, copper, granite, serpentine, and fish, and the imports coal, timber, and provisions. Large quantities of pilchard are annually exported to Italy. Fruits, flowers, and vegetables are grown in the neighbourhood for the London market. On account of its sheltered situation and its remarkably mild and equable climate, the town has a high repute as a winter residence for persons suffering from pulmonary complaints ; and on account of its fine scenery it is also becoming a favourite watering-place. The population of the municipal borough in 1871 was 10,414, and in 1881 it was 12,409.
Penzance is said to mean "holy head," the name being derived from a chapel dedicated to St Anthony, formerly situated on a headland now forming the base of the old pier, around which a few fishermen built their huts and thus originated the town. A castle built by the Tyes, possessors of the manor of Alwarton or Alverton, is supposed to have occupied the present site of St Mary's Church. Alice de Lisle, sister and heiress of the last Baron Tyes, obtained for the town the grant of a weekly market from Edward III. In the 15th century Penzance was known as a "place of ships and merchandise ;" and on the 16th March 1512 it received from Henry VIII. a charter granting to the inhabitants all profits arising from ships visiting the harbour upon condition that the quays and bulwarks of the town were kept in repair. In 1595 the town was burned and pillaged by the Spaniards, and in 1644 sacked by Fairfax. In 1614 it was incorporated by James I. ; and in 1663 it obtained a coinage charter, - a privilege it retained till 1838. On account of the usurpation of its chief magistrate its municipal charter was forfeited in the beginning of the reign of Queen Anne, but was restored in 1706. By the Municipal Act of 1835 the government was made to consist of a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors.
Lach-Szynna, History of Penzance, 1S78 ; 3lillett, Penzance Past amid Present, 1876-1SSO.