Coyright Maxwell Adams 2004, 2005
There are ambiguities in references to "Lelant." It is not always clear what settlements and areas are intended. There have been changes due to a shift of administration from the church to civil authorities and from population growth which have seen neighbouring St Ives and Carbis Bay increase in population much more than Lelant.
Lelant was in West Penwith hundred. It was part of the Manor of Trevethoe. In the Domesday Book Lelant is not mentioned and the area appears to be part of Ludgvan manor.
Lelant ecclesistical parish, in the diocese of Exeter, originally included the settlements of Lelant (and Trendreath), St Ives, Towednack, and what is now Carbis Bay, along with a large rural area. St Ives and Towednack became separate ecclesistical units (though not independent ecclesistical parishes) in the middle ages. St Ives became a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1826 and Towednack in 1903. Since 1948 Lelant has been part of the ecclesiastical parish of Carbis Bay and Lelant. Much of Lelant life in medieval and early modern times was subject to church jurisdiction including the consistory courts of the diocese of Exeter.
In the fourteenth-century surveys St Ives is listed separately from Lelant, so they were distinguished from each another early on. They are treated separately in the Tudor survey and subsidy returns. References to Lelant do not usually include St Ives unless the town is specifically mentioned, as in the vicar of Lelant, St Ives, and Towednack. For most of the past "Lelant parish" means the village and the rural area.
From 1597 Lelant ecclesiastical parish administered aspects of civil life such as the poor law in the village and rural area. Parish officers were elected by the well-off ratepayers who were usually Anglicans and who throughout England were called the vestry because they often met in that church room. There was a "council" in St Ives in Elizabethan times which dealt with civil life and the town obtained a formal borough council in 1639.
More civil power was taken away from the Anglican church and secularised in the nineteenth century.
For example, on 5 September 1832 the vestry voted to set up a parish board of health. Members were Edward BENNETTS, J BEVANS surgeon, Henry BRUSH, William BOSUSTOW, Joseph GILES, TP GURNEY surgeon, Henry HOSKING, (Captain) J HOSKING, Richard HOSKING, Francis JOHNS, Thomas MICHELL, Reverend WJ PHILLPOTTS the vicar, W PRAED, Charles RICHARDS, James SANDOW (CRO AD 867/1). The vestry minute book records: "At a meeting on Wednesday the 19th day of September 1832, the Board of Health...was authorised to act in conformity with the Instructions given in the Act of parliament and particularly to direct their attention to scouring out the Cess Pools or Catch Pits and to removing all nuisances prjudicial to Health, and further to promoting Cleanliness in the Houses of Persons of the Poor in this parish, and for this purpose and the [illegible but perhaps: 'washing such properties'] as shall appear to them necessary the sum of thirty pounds is placed at their disposal to be hereafter accounted for to the Parish, and the Overseers of the Poor are hereby directed to furnish the same when required."
The same year the vestry paid £9.5.0d "to Gaol Marshalsea and Bridge Rate" which suggests that Lelant still had a jail.
From 1837 Lelant was part of the new Penzance registration district for the registration of births, marriages, and deaths. It is in Penzance district for the censuses. In 1834 Lelant ceased to manage the poor law, the poor, and workhouse in the parish and became part of the newly established Penzance poor law union and board of guardians (abolished in 1929) with a workhouse at Madron in 1839. In January 1876 the vestry set in train the establishment of additional burial grounds (see The burial grounds on this website). In 1888 Cornwall county council and in 1894 West Penwith rural district council were established and Lelant elected members to both. In 1894 also a civil parish council was established in Lelant, the village and rural area, to run the civil life in the parish. These three councils managed most of the civil life locally in Lelant parish. A separate parochial or church council administered the Anglican church in the village. The various district councils merged and became Penwith district in 1974 and this was subsequently meged with other Cornwall district councils and the county council to become the Cornwall unitary authority.
Education was at first offered only by a national school (that is, Church of England school) established in the village in 1833 and managed by leading Anglicans. Following the 1870 education act a secular school was established at Trevarrack (at what is now the Tyringham Arms) managed by a board of five members elected by people in the parish; this was known as a board school. In June 1875 a public meeting in the vestry agreed to set up a school board and this was formed the next month. The parish then had two elementary schools, Trevarrack in the rural area and the National School in Church Road.
In 1934 Lelant parish council was abolished. The village and Carbis Bay and part of the rural area became part of St Ives borough, which was itself abolished in 1974 and replaced by a parish with a parish council but called a town council. The remaining rural area became part of Ludgvan parish. 1956 acres and about fourteen hundred people were transferred to St Ives; 1568 acres and about three hundred people to Ludgvan.
Today Lelant village is part of St Ives parish and Cornwall unitary county and elects people to the councils of both. It is part of St Ives parliamentary constituency which covers west Cornwall. The birth, marriage, and death registration district is Penzance.