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HALF A CENTURY OF PENZANCE MARKET [1825 - 1875]

Discussion in 'Penzance' started by Halfhidden, Apr 13, 2016.

By Halfhidden on Apr 13, 2016 at 8:15 PM
  1. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    The Old Market House.

    "Now came the Market Place. Most of the shops were in this quarter. The Market House was a low oblong building, with pent-houses on the north and east sides, but it was not sufficient for the trade of the town, and several of the butchers had stalls in the street, placed against the shop now occupied by Mr. F. J. Clarke, the draper, and the two houses above. The upper part of the Market House was used as a corn chamber, which a large quantity of corn was exposed for sale on market days; and the west end of this chamber was the Guildhall. At the east end of the Market House was a vacant covered plot where on Thursdays the Pig (carcase) Market was held: this open space was a great thoroughfare, and in it stood the stocks. East of all came the house where Sir Humphry Davy served his time and made his earliest experiments. Soon after I came to Penzance this house was occupied Mr. Eva, painter and earthenware dealer, and on market-days he used to expose his wares a narrow pavement in front of his shop. There was a low shop or two at the north-east end, and some rooms lent to John Thomas, conveyancer, usually known as the French king. In a corner in the middle of this group was run a very narrow house commonly called the bird cage. In the Market House was also the town prison, then called the clink. All these were taken down in 1835, when the New Market was begun under the superintendence of Mr. John Pope Vibert.
    On Market-day many stalls stood around the Market House. The space the south side was covered by the shoemakers' stalls and the fisher women with their barely leaving room for cart to pass: they claimed this as a right until the mayoralty of Mr. J. N. R. Millett, who, in 1839, sheer force compelled the former to go the Pork Market.

    The shoemakers were so numerous that they had a special benefit society, called ' The Shoemakers' Club In 1839 there were in the market from thirty to forty stalls, and some would hold over two hundred pairs of boots and shoes: of all these only two remained in 1875.

    On the north were curriers' stalls, with leather to sell to the country people for repairing their shoes; at the south-east were the women with butter and eggs; fish stalls with fresh and salted fish, and jars of train oil for supplying lamps used in cottages, were on the pavement both on the south and west.
    In the corner by Mr. Care's (then Mr. Small’s) shop stood a dyer, ready to take the knitted woollen stocking to be dyed black and returned in a week or two, having also with him a well-filled basket of worsteds of all colours for knitting and mending purposes. In the spring, trays full of grass-seeds were sold to men who were guiltless to any farming knowledge; whilst in front of one at least of the drapers' shops sat near the door, occupying a good part the pavement, old woman selling the hessian which formed the coverings the bales drapery, the said bales themselves often completely filling the foot ways on both sides of the street near to what we now called Queen Square.

    This does not half exhaust the different articles exposed for sale on market-day; it seemed if everyone who had goods to sell, and did not keep a shop, availed himself of this opportunity of coming before the public. Occasionally the midst of this scene would appear a pack of mules laden with copper ore, threading their way through the crowd and sometimes being a little restive.

    The Green Market.

    "From Market Place one passed into the Green Market, some idea of which may be gathered from a view by Skinner Prout, taken in 1838. All the houses in this place have either been rebuilt or much altered. At the corner opposite Messrs Branwell's was a shop with a projecting upper story, supported by pillars, which stood sometime after the other old houses had gone.
    Next came the Three Tons Inn, a long low house with a balcony over the entrance; this was torn down about 1831. At the north-west corner was the Shoulder of Mutton Inn, an extremely low thatched house, and by the side of it, forming part of the entrance to what is now called Bromley's Square, was the prison of the manor of Conorton. This prison was a most wretched place. In 1775 it was visited by John Howard, who found one prisoner in it in a most distressing state. A description of this visit may be found in Brown's Memoirs of John Howard. The last person confined here for any length of time was a man from St. Just, and while in the prison a bed was lent him by a Mrs. Crocker, whose son gave me this information. "The manor of Conorton, with many privileges, extended from Gwithian, or perhaps farther, around to the Land's End and Mount's Bay, and in fact it included nearly the whole of West Penwith. Before the County Court came into existence the lord of the manor held a monthly court for the trial of small cases of debt, trespass, etc., not criminal. This court was for a long time presided over by Mr. Aaron Scobell, solicitor, as the lord's deputy. The manor of Conorton was for many years held by Mr. Francis Paynter, Penzance, solicitor. Every butcher in Penzance used to pay annually, at Christmas, to the bailiff of the manor of Conorton a marrow-bone or one shilling; this custom was continued until about 1848.
    "The granite-fronted house in Bromley's-square, which seems so strangely out of character with the other buildings, was at first approached from Alverton Street, and was considered a very respectable residence; this entrance was blocked some time before by the building the house now occupied by Mr. Hobley, confectioner.

    "At the west side the Green Market, where Mr. N. J. Hall's shop now stands, was a large brick house; this house has been much altered and reduced in size, and made narrower to give more room to the entrance to Alverton Street. At one time Mr. Barnaby Lloyd kept a draper's shop on these premises. A grove of fir trees, called Barnaby Lloyd's Grove, which stood until a few years since at Madron Well, was planted by him.

    "On the south side stands the one house which has not changed since 1852: The Commercial, formerly the Fire Engine, Inn. This inn was not called after the engine employed to put out fires, but, after the steam engines used in mines, which were at first commonly called fire engines. "In 1825, and for many years after, a great part of the Green Market was occupied by stalls of vegetables. Until about 1820 it was the Cattle Market. The pigs for sale were tied to the old cross, which then stood where the stone cross is let into the ground. On market days Mr. Barnaby Lloyd used gallantly to escort his lady customers across the place. On some market-days the space at the west end was filled with earthenware, offered for sale by travelling dealers from the potteries; these men usually stopped at the 'Shoulder of Mutton.' An auction for all sorts of odd things was often held near the same place, whilst an itinerant knife-grinder would occupy some convenient corner. I do not remember this man's name, but he was ambitious of having a very long word painted on his machine to announce his trade. This word puzzled me and I enquired what it meant: the man said he did not know, but it was the longest word that could be found the word was honorificabilitudinitatibus
    He was also a corn doctor, and one of his patients informed me that he was a very skilful operator. From this and the account of the Market Place it will be seen that in 1825 Penzance Markets contained a little of everything and something more.

    "Rosevean Road was laid out for the purpose of making a carriage drive to the Rev. Canon Rogers' property, at Lescudjack Castle, which was to have been covered with villas; and a very pretty plan was sketched out for that purpose, but it never came to the desired end. However, Rosevean Road gradually extended, and some detached houses, such as Rosevean, Penare, etc., were built. Besides the houses, the Roman Catholic Church was erected; this was done principally through the instrumentality of the Rev. Father Young, an Irishman.

    "Father Young began his mission in a small building, originally a school-room, on the spot where Scott's marble yard stands, in Victoria Place; he was a most enthusiastic man, and devoted himself entirely to the cause; his work was known as 'The Cornish Mission.' Falmouth, having had a church many years before Penzance, was not included in the Father's district. The building of the Roman Catholic Church happened in this way: I was at the bank when Father Young brought a small sum of money to be at the disposal of a young woman who had opened a shop on the terrace for the sale of Roman Catholic books. Shortly after, I was told the money was towards building the church, and weekly I was to pay the young woman for the work done. The shop was soon closed, and the woman gone; the men then came to me for their wages, and before long I found it almost a matter of necessity that I should superintend the building. Father Young did indeed try to get Dr. Hockin, who took great interest in the building of St. Paul's Church, to overlook the matter, but he declined; and in the end it all rested with a young excise man, named Mac Enerny, and myself. The funds were supplied in a marvellous manner, remitted from all parts of the kingdom. We never had a month's pay in hand, often at the end of the week scarcely a pound; but yet it went on, and the masons' and carpenters' work was done. Before everything was ready for the opening, the building was handed over to the Order of 'The Immaculate Conception,' whose head-quarters were at Marseilles. Bishop Aubert, of Marseilles, came to open the church, and the Rev. Father Daly was appointed to the charge of it. Some nuns were located in Medrose Cottage, but did not stay long in the town. After a short time, the expenditure exceeding the income, the organ and some other things were obliged to be sold, and by some means the connection with the order of 'The Immaculate Conception' ceased. I have forgotten who had the charge when Mr. Daly removed, but since 1858, it has been held by the Rev. Canon Shortland.
     
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Discussion in 'Penzance' started by Halfhidden, Apr 13, 2016.

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