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Truro in 1843

TRURO, a parliamentary borough in the western division of the hundred of Powder in Cornwall, 301 miles west-south-west of the General Post-Office, London ; namely 166 by railway to Taunton, and from thence 135 miles by coach-road through Collumpton, Exeter, Ashburton, Plymouth, Devonport, Liskeard, Bodmin, and St. Austell.

The earliest ascertained mention of Truro is in an extant charter of Reginald, earl of Cornwall, in about 1175. In this charter the name is written Triueru, which appears to be derived from two Cornish words, 'tre' or 'trei' (three) and 'ru' (a 'street,' or 'way’), and is interpreted to signify a town at the meeting of three roads or ways. In a later document, in 1262, the name is written 'Treuru,' and in one still later (1369) 'Truru.' It is first found under the form Truro in the reign of Henry VII, and from that time almost to the present has been variously written Truru and Truro.

Little historical interest attaches to this town. Its market is held by prescription. In 1540 an act was passed for the repair of some decayed towns, among which Truro is enumerated. In the years following this act the town so far revived, that in 1574 it is recorded to have been one of the most neatly-built places in the western part of Cornwall ; and it has in modern times very much increased.

The old municipal borough comprehends a part of Kenwyn parish, chiefly occupied for agricultural purposes ; and the whole of the parish of St. Mary, which is almost entirely occupied by houses. This latter parish had, in 1831, a population of 2,925, and an area of 190 acres. The town however had spread beyond the municipal boundary, and comprehended a considerable proportion of the houses and population in the parish of St. Clement, and in the extra-municipal part of the parish of Kenwyn : St. Clement's parish had of 3,520 acres, and a population of 2,885 ; Kenwyn had altogether 7,370 acres, with a population of 8,492 : making a total for the three parishes of 11,080 acres, and 14,302 in habitants in 1831, of whom 8,468 were in the town itself.

The town of Truro is situated at the confluence of the Allen and Kenwyn (two small rivers, whose junction forms a stream, a furlong wide, flowing into the Carrick road) : it occupies the point of land between the rivers, and some portions of the opposite banks. It is well built : the streets are partially paved and lighted under an act obtained in 1790, and including in its operation all streets and passages in the old borough and half a mile beyond its boundary.

St. Mary's Church is in the centre of the town : it is a handsome building of perpendicular character, with a spire of modern erection. Kenwyn Church is within the municipal boundary, but stands half a mile north-west of the town. There is a chapel-of-ease to Kenwyn in the town, and there are several places of worship for Protestant dissenters and for different classes of Methodists. There are assembly rooms, which may be converted into a theatre ; a county library ; a literary society, called the Cornwall Institution ; a county infirmary, and a small borough gaol.

The trade of Truro is considerable ; and the town is the residence of several of the gentry of the county, and is in the centre of an important mining-district. Some tin is smelted, and tin and copper are exported : the manufacture of carpets was formerly carried on, but we know not whether it is continued. The imports are iron, coal and timber. There are two weekly markets (Wednesday and Saturday), both well supplied with meat and fish and other provisions ; the Wednesday market is also a corn-market. There are four yearly cattle-fairs. The Easter sessions for the county are held at Truro ; and the court of the Vice-Warden of the Stannaries, which is a court of record, is held here also. Truro is one of the coinage towns for the coinage of the tin : the process is carried on only here and at Penzance.

The borough sent members to parliament in the reign of Edward I. The boundaries of the borough were enlarged for parliamentary purposes by the Boundary Act, considerable portions both of St. Clement's and Kenwyn parishes being added ; and these enlarged boundaries have been adopted in the Municipal Reform Act for municipal purposes also : the borough thus enlarged is by the same act divided into two wards, and has six aldermen end eighteen councillors, with a commission of the peace. The number of parliamentary electors, in 1835-6, was 556 ; in 1839-40, it was 644 : showing an increase of 88.

The living of St. Mary is a rectory of the clear yearly value of £135, with a glebe-house ; that of Kenwyn is a vicarage (united with the vicarage of St. Kea), of the clear yearly value of £703, with a glebe-house ; and that of St. Clement is a vicarage, the yearly value of which is not returned. All are in the rural deanery of Powdre, in the archdeaconry of Cornwall, and in the diocese of Exeter.

There were in the three parishes, in 1835, forty-nine day schools of all kinds, with 1,674 scholars, viz. 598 boys and 551 girls, and 525 children of sex not stated ; one of these
schools, with 45 children, was partly supported by an endowment and an allowance from the Earl of Falmouth, and one appears to have been a national school. There were also eleven Sunday-schools, containing 1,027 scholars, viz. 522 boys and 505 girls.