Truro, Cornwall - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"
Truro is a city and civil parish in Cornwall.
It is Cornwall's county town, only city, and centre for administration. As the most southern city in mainland Great Britain, Truro grew as a centre of trade from its port and then as a stannary town for the tin mining industry. Its cathedral was completed in 1910.
The origin of Truro's name is debated. It is said to be derived from the Cornish tri-veru meaning "three rivers". Alternatively the name may derive from *tre-uro or similar, i.e. the settlement on the river *uro.
The earliest records and archaeological findings of a permanent settlement in the Truro area originate from Norman times. A castle was built in the 12th century by Richard de Luci, Chief Justice of England in the reign of Henry II, who for his services to the court was granted land in Cornwall, including the area surrounding the confluence of the two rivers. The town grew in the shadow of the castle and was awarded borough status to further economic activity.
Richard de Lucy fought in Cornwall under Count Alan of Brittany after leaving Falaise late in 1138. The small adulterine castle later known as “Castellum de Guelon” was probably built by him between 1139-1140. He styled himself "Richard de Lucy, de Trivereu". The castle later passed to Reginald FitzRoy, an illegitimate son of Henry I, when he was invested by King Stephen as the first Earl of Cornwall.
By the start of the 14th century Truro was an important port, due to its inland location away from invaders, prosperity from the fishing industry, and a new role as one of Cornwall's stannary towns for assaying and stamping tin and copper from Cornish mines. The Black Death brought a trade recession and an exodus of the population that left the town in a very neglected state. Trade gradually returned and the town regained prosperity in the Tudor period. Local government was awarded in 1589 by a new charter was granted by Elizabeth I, giving Truro an elected mayor and control over the port of Falmouth.
During the Civil War in the 17th century, Truro raised a sizeable force to fight for the king and a royalist mint was set up. Defeat by the Parliamentary troops came in 1646 and the mint was moved to Exeter. Later in the century Falmouth was awarded its own charter giving it rights to its harbour, starting a long rivalry between the two towns. The dispute was settled in 1709 with control of the River Fal divided between Truro and Falmouth.
Truro prospered during the 18th and 19th centuries. Industry flourished thanks to improved mining methods and higher prices for tin, and the town attracted wealthy mine owners. Elegant Georgian and Victorian townhouses were built, such as those seen today in Lemon Street, named after the mining magnate and local MP Sir William Lemon.
Truro's importance increased later in the 19th century, when it had its own iron-smelting works, potteries, and tanneries. The Great Western Railway arrived in the 1860s with a direct line from London Paddington, and the Bishopric of Truro Act 1876 which gave the town a bishop, then a cathedral. The next year Queen Victoria granted Truro city status.
One of the most noteworthy residents was Richard Lander, an explorer who discovered the mouth of the River Niger in Africa and was awarded the first gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society. Henry Martyn read mathematics at Cambridge, was ordained and became a missionary, translating the New Testament into Urdu and Persian. Others include Humphry Davy, educated in Truro and the inventor of the miner's safety lamp, and Samuel Foote, an actor and playwright from Boscawen Street.