MARKET TOWNS OF CORNWALL (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)
Padstow in 1837
Padstow, in Pyder hundred, is at the mouth of the river Alan, or Camel, which here forms a wide estuary ; it is 246½ miles from London, by Launceston and Camelford. The town is in a vale, adorned with gardens on each side, and the beauty of the situation is increased by the estuary, which, when the tide is up, presents a clear expanse of water apparently land-locked by the granite cliffs which form the banks. The harbour is the best on the northern coast of Cornwall, and, though the entrance is much obstructed by sand, is capable of receiving vessels of great burden. The streets are in general narrow, and many of the buildings antiquated ; but the town has been much improved within the last half century by the erection of many new houses : the general roofing is a fine blue slate. There is an excellent pier, a custom-house, several quays and shipwrights yards, a workhouse, and a school-room over it.
The church is in the perpendicular style of architecture. There were formerly several chapels in this parish ; the east wall of that of St. Saviour, on a precipice overlooking the town and harbour, yet remains. The number of houses in the parish in 1831 was 325 ; the population at the same period was 1,822. In the time of Leland the town carried on a considerable trade both with Ireland and Wales ; the chief imports now are coals and iron from Wales, timber from Norway, and various goods from Bristol : corn, malt, and block tin are exported. The market is on Saturday. There is a school endowed with £5 per annum from the Rev. St. John Eliots donations, two Sunday schools, and several day-schools, established by voluntary subscription and private benevolence. There is supposed to have been at Padstow a monastery founded by St. Petrock, about A.D. 520, and destroyed by the Danes in 981. The place appears to have had anciently the name of Adelstowe or Aldestowe, and in the Cornish language Lodenek.
The living is a vicarage, of the net annual value of £202, with a glebe-house. It is in the diocese of Exeter and archdeaconry of Cornwall.