Gwinear Church

Gwinear Church, Cornwall
Photos on this page kindly provided by Irene Polkinghorne

Gwinear Church, Gateway
Photo kindly provided by Charles Wimpenny

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The church is dedicated to St. Winnierus, of whom there is now no existing account.

It is divided into a chancel, nave, south aisle, north aisle, and extreme north aisle. The chancel window, which has segmental, or geometrical tracery, has detached columns at the inner angles of the splays, with capitals of carved heads. In the south wall is a piscina. On a bench end are carved the arms of Lanyon of Lanyon. The panels of the rood screen are nearly perfect; they are filled with richly designed foliage and scrollwork. In the nave and north aisle are many well-carved bench ends, bearing the following initials in bold letters:- S.H., T.G., B., S.R., N.M., R.L., G, A., etc. Others have a hand with a crown over it. The pew appropriated to the estate of Taskus, has the Penneck arms emblazoned on it.

The south arcade has four obtuse arches; the north arcade has six; and the extreme north arcade has four. The arches and pillars are of granite and elvan; the pillars of the extreme north arcade are octagonal, and the extreme north aisle has a private entrance near the porch, not now appropriated. Some of the capitals of the pillars are of good designs, others have angels bearing shields sculptured on them; one shield not so supported has a stag courant on it.

The font is octagonal, and is supported on a round shaft with a square ornamented basement. On the faces of the bowl which is of granite, are carved the crucifixion, a saltire cross, a heart, a hand, and the date 1727.

The tower arch, which is open to the church, is pointed and segmental, and of superior masonry. Besides the north porch, which is the chief entrance, there is a priest’s door; the south door is blocked. The Tudor rose is sculptured on the spandrils of the north and south doorways. Two beak-heads are built into the wall of the porch, one on each side of the entrance. In the church are Charles I.'s Letter of thanks, and the royal arms.

The tower is of three stages, buttressed on the square, and finished with battlements and pinnacles; the stone staircase is surmounted by a turret, which is also finished with battlements and pinnacles. In the west wall, about ten feet from the ground are inserted two grotesque heads. The tower, which is a handsome and substantial structure, is built of native olvan slightly tinged with a green colour. The quarry from which this material was raised is not now known, but many specimens of it may be found on the neighbouring high roads. It is supposed that the tower was built circa, 1441, when Michael Lercedekne, treasurer of Exeter cathedral, left by will, forty shillings towards the building of the tower, or the purchasing of bells Ecclesie S. Wynneri. It contains six fine-toned bells, cast in 1727. Their several weights, and inscriptions are as follow :-

1 bell 2 tons, 5 cwt. I CALL ALL TO FOLLOW ME.
2 bell 2 tons 6 cwt. GOD PRESERVE THIS CHURCH.
3 bell 2 tons 7 cwt GOD SAVE THE KING
4 bell 2 tons 9 cwt PENNINGTON CAST US ALL.
5 bell 2 tons 11 cwt PROSPERITY TO THIS PARISH.
6 bell 3 tons 4 cwt EGO SUM VOX CLEMENTI, PERATE!

Marble tablets in the church bear the following inscriptions :

Here lyeth the body of Mrs.ELIZABETH ARVNDELL, late Wife of JOHN ARVNDELL, of Sithny, Esq, and Daughter of Tobias Lanyon, of Gwinear, Gent, buried the 23d day of September 1683, in the 36th year of her age. To whose memory her loving and lamenting husband consecrates this. With whom ahe having been a dear consort, and willing partner

Gwinear Church, view of tower from side
under all the more mild and severer dispensations of God's providence, for fourteen years and upwards, exchanged this troublesome state of life for the joys of a better. By whom likewise in that time blessed with two Sons and three Daughters, one Daughter she sawburied, and the rest surviving her.

Sacred to the memory of Eliza, the beloved wife of Thos. John Forbes, Colonel Royal Artillery, who died 18th March, 1833.

Sacred to the memory of William Vawdrey, for twenty-three years the beloved and faithful curate of this parish. He was born January 22nd, 1771, and died March 30th, 1838, in hope. This Tablet is erected by five sons, to perpetuate the memory of their dear father.

Sacred to the memory of William Smyth Forsaith. Born 23rd Octr. 1812, died 18th July, 1853, aged 40 Years.
Delivered from the bondage of corruption. Rom. viii, ch. 21 v.

There is an ancient granite cross in the churchyard, which was removed from the village for preservation. It is five feet six inches in height, and the shaft, is one foot three inches in breadth.


Before the annexation of the rectory to Exeter College, Robert Fitz-Robert held the living. He was admitted by Walter Bronescombe, bishop of Exeter, January 12th, 1261, ad ecclesiam Sancti Winneri vacantem, on the presentation of Jane, "Domine de Campo Arnulpho, or lady Jane Champernown. She was the daughter of Thomas Champernown.

The following is a list of vicars:

Andrew de Tregilion, collated by Walter de Stapeldon, bishop of Exeter, Nov.8, 1314. On the occasion of confirming him shortly after in the vicarage, the registrar has abruptly broken off in giving the endowment.
John de Nassington was collated May 14, 1335; on whose resignation,
Odo de Tybeste succeeded Jan. 18,1343-4.
John de Bodrigy, June 29,1349.
Peter Davy followed within three months, namely on Sept. 12.
Thomas Berty, who exchanged for the rectory of Endellion with
John Harry, March 19,1404-5; on whose resignation,
William Hoggy, April 5,1438. During the time of this vicar it is believed that Michael Lercedekne canon and treasurer of Exeter, by will made January 5,1441, and proved February 28, 1446 left ad fabricam Turris, sive Oampanilis, seu ad Campanas Ecclesie Sancti Wynneri; in Cornubia xls
Richard Martin, whose date of collation is not recorded; but on whose death,
William Otys succeeded, April 19,1480.
William Treberneth; on whose resignation,
John Gyrmow, February 9,1522-3 ; on whose death,
George Blackney, July 19,1535 ; on whose early cession,
James Tregenna, December 22,1535. He resigned on a pension of £4.
John Harry succeeded July 22,1540 ; on whose death
John Marracke was collated, January 6,1557-8.
Richard Richardson, September 18,1560 ; on whose resignation,
Thomas Trigges was collated, May 23,1561. He must have lived to a very great age. The parish register records that this "pastor and preacher of God’s word was buried the third of July, 1636.”
William France succeeded July 26,1636; on whose cession,
Richard Fowler, February 11, 1660-1; on whose death,
Peter Thomas: on whose death,
Joseph Jane, November 15,1710; on whose cession,
Thomas Paynter, October 11, 1711. He was buried May 26,1732.
Thomas Pascoe, collated June 24.1732 ; buried August 26,1761.
William Savery, September 12,1761; on whose cession,
John Bennett succeeded, March 2,1768 ; buried February 17,1785.
Malachy Hitchins, collated by John Ross, bishop of Exeter, May 23,1785. He died March 28 1809.
Henry Fellowes succeeded April 9,1809 ; on whose cession,
James Gee Wulff succeeded June 20,1833 ; on whosca presentation to the rectory of Illogan, the Rev. Henry Tremayne Rodd, was collated May 27,1851.


Gateway to Gwinear Church, Cornwall
Gwinear Church, Rear Gate

For more information on the history of Gwinear Church, follow this link which is on the Soskernow, Friends of Cornwall website which has many, many different articles on Cornwall.

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