This old building is of great historical and architectural importance. In the middle ages it was customary for Markets and Fairs to be held in Churchyards, but in the reign of Edward III a Law was passed to prohibit such activities on Church premises and the Markets transferred to some adjacent site nearby.
The site upon which the Market House now stands was previously used as Market Place and records show that in 1791 a small market building stood on the site.
It was totally inadequate for the needs of a growing market town and in 1842 an Act of Parliament was given Royal Assent by Queen Victoria to permit the people of St Austell to build a Market House and Town Hall on the site.
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The St Austell Market House is often described as the jewel in St Austell's crown, a marvellous old building dating from 1844. Restoration is badly needed and the Directors are, at present, working towards an application for up to £2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the HLF require 10% of that to be funded locally and have therefore set up a "Friends Programme" to achieve this.