Marazion is a small seaport and holiday resort in Cornwall, England, on the shore of Mountís Bay, 2 m. east of Penzance, served by the Great Western Railway. A causeway passable at low tide, unites Marazion with the insular St Michaelís Mount. The church of St Hilary, destroyed by fire in 1853, had a very fine spire, which was faithfully reproduced in the reconstructed building. Unusual archaeological interest attaches to the churchyard. Its inscribed stones date from the 4th century, one being in honour of Constantine the Great. Another has Cornish lettering, which can no longer be deciphered; and there are British and Roman crosses.

History of Marazion

The charter attributed to Robert count of Mortain, granting lands and liberties to St Michaelís, Mount, opposite Marazion, included a market on Thursdays. This appears to have been held from the first on the mainland. From it is probably derived the Marghasbigan (Parvum Forum) of the earlier and the Marghasyewe or Marketjew (Forum Jovis) of the later charters. It may be added that a Jewish origin has been ascribed to the place from the name Marketjew.

It is certain that Richard king of the Romans provided that the three fairs, on the two feasts of St Michael and at Mid-Lent, and the three markets which had hitherto been held by the priors of St Michaelís Mount on land not their own at Marghasbighan, should in future be held on their own land at Marchadyou. He transferred in fact the fairs and markets from the demesne lands of the Bloyous in Marazion to those of the prior.

To remedy the loss incurred by this measure Ralph Bloyou in 1331 procured for himself and his heirs a market on Mondays and a fair on the vigil, feast and morrow of St Andrew at Marghasyon. In Lelandís time the market was held at Marhasdeythyow (Forum Jovis), and both Norden (1582) and Carew (1602) tell us that Marcajewe signifies the Thursdayís market, which, whether etymologically sound or not, shows that the priorís market had prevailed over its rival. In 1595 Queen Elizabeth granted to Marazion a charter of incorporation.

This ratified the grant of St Andrewís fair, provided for another on the Feast of St Barnabas and established a market on Saturdays. The corporation was to consist of Ďa mayor, 8 aldermen and 12 capital burgesses. This corporation continued to administer the affairs of the borough until it was dissolved under the Municipal Corporations Act in 1835, when the property belonging to it was vested in charity commissioners. The chairman of the commissioners retains possession of the regalia. Of the fairs, only the Michaelmas fair has survived and all the markets have gone. It is frequently stated that Marazion had formerly the right of returning two members to parliament, but that owing to its inability to pay the membersí expenses the right was lost.

Under the Commonwealth an attempt was made to secure or recover the right, and two members are said to have been returned, but they were not allowed to take their seats. Remains of an ancient bronze furnace, discovered near the town, tend to prove that tin smelting was practised here at an early period.

Marazion was once a flourishing town, and owed its prosperity to the throng of pilgrims who came to visit St Michaelís Mount. During the first half of the 16th century it was twice plundered; first by the French, and later by the Cornish rebels. The rise and progress of the neighbouring borough of Penzance in the 17th century marginalised Marazion.

Marazion is now a thriving tourist resort with an active artists community who produce and sell paintings and pottery at numerous art galleries.

Article based upon 1911 Encylopedia Brittanica entry