An architects’ drawing of 1912, showing the design for the expanded Parsonage. Courtesy of Kresen Kernow, Redruth.
What do you know about the Old Vicarage in St Ives? The fine old building, acquired by St Ives Community Land Trust to convert into six affordable flats for local people, has been a focus of life in the town since the 1830, yet has been almost forgotten in recent years.
It is now the subject of a collaborative project by the Community Land Trust and St Ives Archive.
Jill Block from the trust explains how the project came about: “At our open day in autumn last year, so many people came forward with stories about the Old Vicarage, and we thought: ‘This is too important to lose’. There are people who came to nursery here, had their wedding receptions here, or came to meetings of local organisations like the WI and the camera club.
“So we approached the Archive, and they will be working with us to put together the history of the building and its role so far as a core part of the community.”
The Old Vicarage: facts and figures
- It was known originally as the Parsonage and replaced the medieval Old Parsonage opposite the church, since demolished.
- It was home to a succession of perpetual curates and then vicars of St Ives.
- It was planned in 1835 for Rev Havart, with church funds from Queen Anne’s Bounty totalling £900.
- It was modernised in 1912 from public funds and a local fundraising campaign spearheaded by Sir Edward Hain.
- It was adjacent to The Retreat, the elegant home of the Anthony and later the Lanham families, until it was demolished to make way for the Guildhall in 1939.
- Behind the parsonage was a piece of land which became the burial ground, used for 30 years until the opening of Barnoon Cemetery in 1956.
- Bordering the garden was the National School, opened “for the education of children and adults of the Labouring, Manufacturing and other poorer classes in Borough of Saint Ives” in 1845.
The building was the home of the vicars of St Ives until the early 1950s, when Canon Jenkin moved into the newly constructed vicarage, beside the Parish Rooms, off St Andrew’s Street. At this point, the building we know as the Old Vicarage Flats was taken over by St Ives Borough Council and turned into flats on the upper storeys, while the ground floor was owned by Cornwall County Council and used by a number of local organisations.
Can you help fill in the missing pieces?
- Did you go to WI, or playgroup, or any other regular group in the Old Vicarage?
- Did you go to events in the downstairs rooms?
- Did you live in the flats, or did you know someone who did?
- Have you heard any stories about the building?
- Do you have any photographs showing the Old Vicarage and activities there, or of Street-an-Pol?
- Do you know anything about the neighbouring buildings, including the Guildhall and the Retreat?
St Ives Archive: Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 01736 79608
St Ives Community Land Trust: Email email@example.com, or phone 07747844239. Follow the Trust on social media @stivesclt and visit www.stivesclt.org