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Lostwithiel in 1837

Lostwithiel (otherwise Loswithiel and Lestwithiel) is in the hundred of Powder, on the west or right bank of the Fowey, 234½ miles from London, by Tavistock and Liskeard.

The number of houses in 1831 was 217, chiefly of stone, and covered with slate, of which large slabs are quarried in the neighbourhood. The streets are narrow and roughly paved.

The church is a curious edifice, with a tower, in the early English style, and an octagonal lantern and spire of decorated English : there is a fine east window. The aisles are of later date. Within the church is a singular octagonal font.

Near the church is an ancient building said to have been a palace of the dukes of Cornwall. There is a town-hall, in which the Epiphany and Midsummer sessions for the county are held ; the county members were also elected here until the division of Cornwall by the Reform Act.

There are a grammar-school and a writing-school, supported by the corporation, and a school endowed by the trustees of Mr. St. John Eliot's donation. The market is on Friday. The population of the parish in 1831 was 1,548 : but the borough extends beyond it into the parish of Lanlivery.

The corporation of Lostwithiel consists of seven capital burgesses, one of whom is annually elected mayor, and seventeen assistants, or common-councilmen. The borough sent members to parliament from the time of Edward I until it was disfranchised by the Reform Act.

The living is a vicarage of the net annual value of £96, in the diocese of Exeter and the archdeaconry of Cornwall.

Lostwithiel was made a free borough by Richard earl of Cornwall and king of the Romans. Edmund, earl of Cornwall, son of Richard, was also a great benefactor of this town, conferring upon it several important privileges, some of which however were lost upon his death. In the civil war of Charles I and the Parliament, the Royalists under Sir Richard Grenville were defeated in a skirmish near Lostwithiel by the Parliamentarians. Restormel castle, in the parish, was however soon afterwards taken by Sir Richard Grenville, and the earl of Essex, commander-in-chief of the Parliamentarians, retired from Lostwithiel, where he had his quarters, to Fowey, where his infantry was obliged to capitulate, though on very favourable terms.

Lostwithiel is, by some antiquaries, considered to have been a Roman station : Camden and Borlase fix here the Uxela of Ptolemy, which later antiquarians fix on the Parret, in Somersetshire.