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Penryn in 1840

A corporate town in the parish of Gluvias, in east division of the hundred of Kerrier, in the county of Cornwall, 273 miles from the Post-office, London, by the Falmouth and Exeter mail route, which is by the south-western railway to Basingstoke, and thence, by road, through Launceston, and Bodmin.

Penryn was made a market-town in 1258, and was incorporated by James I. It was garrisoned by Charles I in the great civil war, and surrendered to Fairfax, March, 1646. This town is about two miles from Falmouth, at the end of one of the inlets of Falmouth Harbour. It is built on a low hill projecting eastward into the inlet and dividing it into two navigable branches. At the point between these branches is the public quay, from which place the main street of the town gradually rises along the ridge of the hill to its western extremity, more than half a mile in length, having other streets and lanes branching off into the valleys on each side. The two navigable branches of the inlet from Falmouth Harbour allow a commodious space for wharfs, and there is a considerable trade carried on between Penryn and the populous mining district of Redruth.

There is an Episcopal chapel, and several dissenting places of worship. The area of the municipal borough comprises 290 statute acres. In 1831 it contained 598 inhabited houses, and in 1835, 722 (Municipal Corporation Boundaries Report) ; the population in 1831, was 3,521, a small part agricultural. The buildings of the town extend beyond the borough limits into the parishes of Gluvias and Budock. The trade consists in the exportation of granite (which is considerable and increasing), and in the importation of corn and flour for the supply of the surrounding district. There are colour-works, corn-mills, breweries, and numerous shops. There is a weekly market, and there are five cattle-fairs in the year.

The borough returned two members to parliament from the time of James I. By the Reform and Boundary Acts, Falmouth was, for parliamentary purposes, united with it. The number of voters in the year 1835-6 was, for the united borough, 832. The council, by the Municipal Reform Act, consists of 4 aldermen and 12 councillors, but the borough was not to have a commission of the peace except on petition and grant. An enlargement of its municipal boundary is proposed in the Commissioners' Report. Penryn is a chapelry or perpetual curacy in the vicarage of Gluvias.

There were in 1833, in the borough, one infant-school, with 60 girls and 40 boys ; one national school, with 130 boys ; nine other day-schools, with 217 children of both sexes ; two boarding-schools, with 77 children ; and three Sunday-schools with 365 children of both sexes. In that part of Gluvias parish which is not included in the limits of the borough there were three day-schools ; one, a national school with 137 boys, and two others with 42 children ; and one Sunday-school with 150 children.