1600s Descriptions

The Survey of Cornwall, by Richard Carew (1602)

In following the course of Lyner, you fall downe by Master Bonds auncient house of Earth, descended to his auncesters, from the daughter and heire of that name, to that of Master Wivels, newly and fayrely builded, on which abbutteth Ma. Bullers Shillingham, not so much beholden to the owners inhabitancy as to natures pleasant and commodious seating.

Next, wee take view of Trematon Castle, as it doth of the Haven, and Countrie adioyning. It is, or rather was, one of the Dukes foremencioned foure houses: for now all the inner buildings are sunke into ruine: onely there remaine the Ivie-tapissed wals of the Keepe, and base Court, and a poore dwelling for the keeper of the Gayle, to which prisoners are brought upon actions, from al places appurtenant to that large Lordship, if they cannot by suretiship discharge themselves, from the Bailiefes arrest.

It standeth in S. Stephens parish : the sheafe whereof, together with other faire revennues, M. George Wadham enioying in the right of his wife, the daughter and heire to master Hechins, liberally bestoweth in continuall hospitalitie.

The same parish also compriseth Saltash, in old writings, called Villa de Esse; Esse his towne: and such Gentlemen there have been of ancient descent and faire revennues. The word Salt, is added thereunto, because it standeth on the sea, & to distinguish it from other places of the same name. It is seated on the declyning of a steep hill, consisteth of three streets, which every showre washeth cleane, compriseth betweene 80. and 100. households, underlyeth the government of a Maior & his 10. brethren, and possesseth sundry large priviledges over the whole haven, to wit, an yeerely rent of boates and barges appertayning to the harbour, ancorage of strange shipping, crowning of dead persons, laying of arrests, and other Admirall rights, besides electing of Burgesses for the Parliaments, benefit of the passage, foreclosing all others, save themselues, from dredging of Oysters, except betweene Candlemas and Easter, weekely markets, halfe-yeerely fayres, &c.;

The towne is of late yeeres well encreased and adorned with buildings, & the townsmen addict themselves to the honest trade of marchandise, which endoweth them with a competent wealth. Some 7. or 8. ships belong thereunto.

In this towne also dwelleth one Grisling, deafe from a long time, who, besides his merry conceites, of counterfeyting by signes (like the Romane Pantomimi) any kinde of occupation or exercise, hath a strange quality, to understand what you say, by marking the moving of your lips, especially if you speake deliberately, of any ordinary matter, so as (contrary to the rules of nature, and yet without the helpe of arte) he can see words as they passe forth of your mouth: and of this I have caused him to give often experiments.

And if Plyny now lived, I suppose he would affoord a roome, in his natural History, to a dogge of this town, who (as I have learned by the faithfull report of master Thomas Parkins) used daily to fetch meate at his house there, and to carry the same unto a blinde mastiffe, that lay in a brake without the towne: yea, (that more is) hee would upon Sundayes conduct him thither to dynner, and, the meale ended, guide him back to his couch and covert againe.

I had almost forgotten to tell you, that there is a well in this towne, whose water will never boyle peason to a seasonable softnes.

At the foot of Saltash, there abbutteth upon the sea, a rock, called Ashtorre, alias, Esses Torre, which is invested with the iurisdiction of a mannour, and claymeth the suites of many Gentlemen, as his freeholders in Knights service. Below this, there is a rock on eche side of the river, the one termed the Bull, the other the Hen; that on Devon, this on Cornwall side. The Hen standeth a little distant from the shore, which giveth occasion to a Packe, how between it and the land, the Queenes greatest ship may saile; but it is meant of the farther distant.

Britannia, Or, a Geographical Description of the Kingdoms of England, by Richard Blome (1673)

Saltash, seated on the dascent of a steep Hill, consisting of three streets, which are clean washed from filth by every showre of rain. It is a Town Corporate, governed by a Major, and nine Aldermen; enjoyeth large immunities, and sendeth Burgesses to Parliament. 'Twas formerly a large and well frequented Market Town, whose Market is on Saturdays, but of late much decayed to what it was; yet its Inhabitants gain well by traffick, but principally by Mault, and good Beer.

Not far from Saltash in the Parish of St. Stephens is Trematon Castle, once a place of great note, in which is kept the Trematon Court, wherein all sorts of causes within the said Fee are tryed, as also the Prison.

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page updated 2016-06-07

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