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St. Ives in 1838

St. Ives is in Hurstingstone hundred, on the north bank of the Ouse, 59 miles from Shoreditch church, London, and 6 miles east of Huntingdon. The parish has an area of 2,330 acres, and had in 1831 a population of 3,314. St. Ives was in the Saxon times called Slepe, which name is still attached to one of the two manors comprehended in the parish ; its more modern name is derived from Ivo, or St. Ives, a Persian ecclesiastic said to have visited England as a missionary about A.D. 600, and whose supposed remains were discovered here some centuries afterward. On the spot where they were found the abbots of Ramsey, to whom the manor belonged, built first a church, and then a priory, subordinate to Ramsey abbey , which priory remained till the dissolution. The town stands on a slope ; the lower part, close on the bank of the Ouse, is liable to be inundated in the floods of that river. A good stone bridge of six arches forms the entrance to the town on the London side ; there is an ancient building, probably intended for a chapel, but now occupied as a dwelling-house over one of the piers. The approach to the bridge on the south is by a causeway raised on arches, to admit the passage of the waters in the time of floods. The streets of St. Ives are well paved and lighted, and in the outskirts of the town are some good houses inhabited by respectable families Brewing and malting are carried on, but there are no manufactures. Considerable business is done by means of the navigation of the Ouse, on which there, is a wharf, rebuilt and widened by the duke of Manchester A.D. 1724. The market is on Monday, and is one of the largest in the kingdom for cattle ; there are two large yearly fairs for cattle, second-hand clothes and haberdashery ; at the Michaelmas fair much cheese is sold. The church is a light neat building, with some ancient portions deserving attention, and a handsome tower and spire at the west end.

The dove-house and barn of the ancient priory are yet standing, but do not exhibit anything remarkable. There are several dissenting meeting-houses. The living is a vicarage united with the chapelries of Old Hurst and Wood Hurst ; no return of its yearly value was made. There were in the year 1833 two boarding and day-schools, with 85 children, two day-schools, partly supported by subscription, with 84 children ; seven other day-schools with 246 children ; also three Sunday-schools with 395 children.