A famous little rhyme/riddle learned by school children, remembered by Julie Paynter Rice and posted to CORNISH-L on 11 Apr 2001.

As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives.
Each wife had seven sacks,
Each sack had seven cats,
Each cat had seven kits.
Kits, cats, sacks and wives,
How many were going to St. Ives?

There are other variations e.g. “Lives, kits, cats, wives.” It is possible that this rhyme is about the other St. Ives in Huntingdonshire/Cambridgeshire, but who cares! Note that the “Other St. Ives” is named after a different saint.

From “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”:—


With the current boundaries the area is now 1,890 acres including the ecclesiastical parish of Halsetown that was separated off in 1849. [[Off Site]GENUKI 2002]. In 1868, Polsue had a very similar figure of 1876A.

Year Population Year Population Year Population
1801 3,797 (2,714) 1901 8,090 1992 7,085
1811 4,461 (3,281) 1911 8,769 1993 6,955
1821 4,797 (3,526) 1921 8,614 1994 6,955
1831 6,378 (4,776) 1931 8,159 1995 6,940
1841 7,678 (5,666) 1996 6,880
1851 8,815 (6,506) 1951 9,051 1997 6,800
1861 9,346 (7,027 Borough 10,353) 1961 9,346 1998 6,765
1871 9,143 + 54 shipping (6,965 Borough 9,992) 1971 9,839
1881 8,162 1981 7,020
1891 7,533 1991 7,230 (10,969)

The main figures are from [Off Site]GENUKI (2002), the ones in brackets are from other sources (and I can't reconcile them at the moment). The later figures were obtained from from the [Off Site]Country Socio-Economic Statistics as the sum of Halsetown and St. Ives sub-parishes.

Online Parish Clerk

A new (Jan 2001) initiative that has started in Cornwall is the [Off Site]Online Parish Clerk. One person is encouraged from the CORNISH-L or CORNISH-GEN-L mailing list to be the custodian of historical records, including transcripts of registers, for each parish and will supply extracts to researchers as they need them. This person may be geographically distant from the parish, but their heart will be there. The volunteer for St. Ives is myself and links to data will be found on these pages as it becomes available. Parish information, Halsetown


The [Off Site]Historic Town of St. Ives Cornwall Official Website has some interesting pages about the history etc.

The [Off Site]St. Ives Parish site has current and historical information about St. Ives churche.

[Off Site]Spooky St. Ives is a light-hearted look at the area by a resident. He has stuff on the Knill celebrations, St. Eia’s festival and lots on Doom Bar beer. This is no longer updated (he has moved away) but is kept online for interest.

[Off Site]The St. Ivean Weblog is the area’s very first Blog covering News, Views and the Arts edited by Roy Bland. Note, this is a new address (Jan 2008)—please don't use the old one as the advertising site that has taken over that address is riddled with viruses.

The [Off Site]St. Ives Archive Study Centre are an independent research group based in the St. Ives Library on Gabriel Street and in the Wesleyan Church, Carbis Bay.

[Off Site]Cornish Light, the Travel and Tourist Guide, have a page devoted to St. Ives.

The [Off Site]Tate St. Ives gallery and the Barbara Hepworth Garden Museum are attractions of the highest international standard.

[Off Site]SOSKernow (link broken 17 Mar 2015 friends of Cornwall) have a [Off Site]detailed history of St. Ives church (link broken 17 Mar 2015).

The [Off Site]St. Ives Harbour website advertises some apartments and restaurants in the town but also has a very nice street map in PDF format with a lot of detail. Beware though, it is over 500KB and may take a while to download.

The [Off Site]St. Ives Society of Artists based in the Mariner’s Church, just off the Wharf and with another gallery in Norway Square.

The Treloyhan Manor Hotel has a fine [Off Site]history of their building.

There is a good [Off Site]history of the Old Halsetown Vicarage which is now the Old Vicarage Hotel. They have some pictures of some of the vicars and an early painting and plan.

[Off Site]History of Trowan (link broken 17 Mar 2015).

[Off Site]Church of the Vine (link broken 17 Mar 2015), Elim Pentecostal.

See also the general West Penwith Links.

Domesday & other notes

facsimile extract from the book of Domesday
Domesday Book, folio 121c, chapter 5, section 1, paragraph 7 [James 1861].

Translation — The Count [of Mortain] himself holds TRENOWTH [or TRENWIT]. Abbot Sihtric held it in the time of King Edward [before 1066], and paid tax for 2 hide [240 acres]; 6 hides there, however. Land for 40 ploughs; In lordship 5 ploughs [with, perhaps, 8 oxen each]; 16 slaves; 30 villagers and 30 smallholders with 12 ploughs. Woodland, 40 acres, pasture, 1000 acres. Formerly 12 silver marks [£2]; now it pays £25 18s 4d. Exon Domesday adds that there were “21 unbroken mares; 12 cattle; 200 sheep”. [Thorn 1979].

It is quoted by some, including Hals that the manor of Trenwith (which includes Amall Veor in Towednack) is this TRENOWTH but [Thorn 1979] puts this manor in the Liskeard area. There is some discussion of the manor in [Matthews 1892] and the conclusion that I come to is that the bulk of this very large and rich manor cannot have been in St. Ives as it would have overshadowed the next largest, Ludgvan Lees, which plays such a prominent role in the history of the area. It is always referred to as the ‘Manor and Barton of Trenwith’ and it is possible that a smaller farmstead (the Barton) was near here and when the main manor broke up, the family that took on that satellite adopted the surname Trenwith. Research continues.