St Ives (Cornish: Porth Ia, meaning St Ia's cove) is a seaside town, civil parish and port in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. The town lies north of Penzance and west of Camborne on the coast of the Celtic Sea. In former times it was commercially dependent on fishing. The decline in fishing, however, caused a shift in commercial emphasis and the town is now primarily a popular holiday resort, notably achieving the award 'Best UK Seaside Town' from the British Travel Awards in both 2010 and 2011. St Ives was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1639. St Ives has become renowned for its number of artists. It was named best seaside town of 2007 by the Guardian newspaper. For local information for visitors, holiday makers and local residents, St Ives Town Council opened the St Ives Visitor & Information Centre in June 2011.
The origin of St Ives is attributed in legend to the arrival of the Irish Saint Ia of Cornwall, in the 5th century. The parish church in bears her name, and St Ives derives from it.
The Sloop Inn, which lies on the wharf was a fisherman's pub for many centuries and is dated to "circa 1312", making it one of the oldest inns in Cornwall. The town was the site of a particularly notable atrocity during the Prayer Book rebellion of 1549. The English Provost Marshal (Anthony Kingston) came to St Ives and invited the portreeve, John Payne, to lunch at an inn. He asked the portreeve to have the gallows erected during the course of the lunch. Afterwards the portreeve and the Provost Marshal walked down to the gallows; the Provost Marshal then ordered the portreeve to mount the gallows. The portreeve was then hanged for being a "busy rebel".
The seal of St Ives was Arg. an ivy branch overspreading the whole field Vert, with the legend "Sigillum Burgi St. Ives in Com. Cornub. 1690".
From medieval times fishing was important at St Ives; it was the most important fishing port on the north coast. The pier was built by John Smeaton in 1767-70 but has been lengthened at a later date. The octagonal lookout with a cupola belongs to Smeaton's design.
In the decade 1747–1756 the total number of pilchards dispatched from the four principal Cornish ports of Falmouth, Fowey, Penzance and St Ives averaged 30,000 hogsheads annually (making a total of 900 million fish). Much greater catches were achieved in 1790 and 1796. In 1847 the exports of pilchards from Cornwall amounted to 40,883 hogsheads or 122 million fish while the greatest number ever taken in one seine was 5,600 hogsheads at St Ives in 1868.
Kenneth Hamilton Jenkin describes how the St Ives fisherman strictly observed Sunday as a day of rest. St Ives was a very busy fishing port and seining was the usual method of fishing. Seining was carried out by a set of three boats of different sizes, the largest two carrying seine nets of different sizes. The total number of crew was 17 or 18. However this came to an end in 1924. The bulk of the catch was exported to Italy: for example in 1830 6,400 hogsheads were sent to Mediterranean ports. From 1829 to 1838 the yearly average for this trade was 9,000 hogsheads.
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