The parish of Gunwalloe (Cornish: Sen Gwynnwalo), alias Winninton, is situated in the Meneage district of the Lizard, in the Deanery and Hundred of Kerrier. It is bounded on the north by Carminow Creek and the parish of Mawgan, on the east by the parishes of Cury and Mullion, and on the south and west by Mullion. Gunwalloe is a small parish, lying between Cury and the sea. It extends northwards along the shore to the Loe Pool, forming the northwest side of the peninsula of Meneage. The village and church of Gunwalloe are romantically situated amongst the sand dunes and cliffs on the west coast of the Lizard and there are local stories of smuggling, looted wrecks, and buried treasure.

The Primrose sloop of war was lost in 1807, with all her crew except one boy, in Gunwalloe Cove.

The parish name is taken from the Breton saint Winwaloe, whose mother is reputed to have grown a third breast when she had triplets! The village was originally owned by the Penrose family but was eventually sold, mostly to sitting tenants and the National Trust. In the past fishing was important from a shingle beach with the name of Fishing Cove, but this has largely died out. To the west of the church are the Halzephron cliffs, on which the bodies of many shipwrecked seamen and military have been interred. A little to the west of those cliffs is the village of Gunwalloe, which was once a fishing village.

Villages in the parish are Berepper, Gunwalloe and Chivarloe.

Most parish and church description(s) on these pages are from Lake's Parochial History of the County of Cornwall by J Polsue (Truro, 1867 - 1873)



The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for the Parish Church - 281 entries.



Census information for this parish (1841 - 1901) is held in the Cornwall Record Office. The Cornwall Family History Society offers a census search service for its members.
Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:

  • 1841.
    • The 1841 Census of Gunwalloe (HO107/137), Enumeration District 5, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
    • The 1841 census for this parish has also been filmed by the LDS church - film No. 241260.
  • 1851.
    • The 1851 Census of Gunwalloe (HO107/1912), Enumeration District 2, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
    • The New Zealand Society of Genealogists have compiled separate surname indexes of the 1851 Census for each Cornish registration district; Gunwalloe is listed in Volume 32. The booklets are available in Cornwall Centre (formerly known as the Cornish Studies Library), and is also available in the Cornwall FHS Library.
  • 1861. The 1861 Census of Gunwalloe (RG9/1572), Enumeration District 5, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1871. The 1871 Census of Gunwalloe (RG10/2304), Enumeration District 5, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1881. The 1881 Census of Gunwalloe (RG11/2323), Enumeration District 5, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1891. The 1891 Census of Gunwalloe (RG12/1840), Enumeration District 5, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.

Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW6522 and was dedicated to St Winwallo. It consists of a chancel, nave, and north and south aisles. The arcades each consist of five four-centred arches, supported on tall monolith pillars. There is a north door and a south porch.
    The church has a separate tower, dating from the 13th century, standing some 14 feet from the north-west corner, and is interesting in many other respects. It stands at the foot of the sand hills, close to the sea, being sheltered by a rocky peninsula from its waves. It is of two stages; a large portion of the north, south and west walls of the first stage being cut into the solid rock. It has a pyramidal roof. There is an old cross inserted in the chancel wall. Gunwalloe at one time formed one benefice with Breage, Germoe, and Cury. The church, which remains remarkably unspoilt, is now united with Cury, and St Mawgan-in-Meneage only.
  • Non-Conformist. The Wesleyan Methodists and Wesleyan Methodist Free Church had chapels at Barepper.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for Gunwalloe are: C023401/2/3, E023402, M023402/3. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage of this parish is 1716 - 1994 (sic).
  • Cornwall Record Office.. The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1717 - 1812, Burials 1716 - 1812, Marriages 1716 - 1837, Boyd's Marriage Index 1608 - 1837, Pallot's Marriage Index 1608 - 1794.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1713 to 1842, and 1717 to 1901, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility -(C-PROP).
    • The OPC has made available 1708 to 1787 on-line.
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD baptisms 1713 to 1842 for this parish and these are available for purchase on Parish Chest..
  • Banns. Banns 1886 to 1902 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Marriages.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1608 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Marriages 1608 to 1837, and 1676 to 1761 (Bishop's transcripts - with gaps), for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The OPC has made available marriages 1608 to 1837 on-line.
  • Burials.

Civil Registration

The parish of Gunwalloe was originally in the Helston Registration District; there were sub-districts at Breage, Crowan, Helston, St Keverne and Wendron. It is now in the Kerrier Registration District. Parishes in this registration district are: Breage, Crowan, Cury, Germoe, Gunwalloe, Grade, Helston, Landewednack, Manaccan, Mawgan in Meneage, Mullion, Ruan Major, Ruan Minor, St. Anthony in Meneage, St. Keverne, St. Martin in Meneage, Sithney, Wendron.

The address of the Registration Office is: The Willows, Church Street, Helston, TR13 8NJ.
Tel: 01326 562848.


Description & Travel

    You can see pictures of Gunwalloe which are provided by:



    The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

    "GUNWALLOE, a parish in the W. division of the hundred of Kerrier, county Cornwall, 5 miles S. of Helston. The parish extends along the coast of Mount's Bay. The village is small. The living is a vicarage annexed to that of Breage, in the diocese of Exeter. The church, which is situated close to the sea-shore, is an ancient edifice with a low detached tower. The Wesleyans have a chapel."



    OPC Assistance. The On-line Parish Clerk (OPC) scheme operates a service to help family historians; the OPC page for this parish is available on-line, from where the OPC can be contacted by email.


    Historical Geography

    The Domesday Settlements of Cornwall, a study undertaken by the Cornwall Branch of the Historical Association, has identified and located settlements listed in the Exeter and Exchequer Domesday Survey of AD 1086. The following places have been identified in Gunwalloe ecclesiastical parish:



    You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW659222 (Lat/Lon: 50.053594, -5.272274), Gunwalloe which are provided by:


    Poor Houses, Poor Law

    • Gunwalloe parish was part of the Helston Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
    • Overseers' Accounts (1758 to 1825) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


    • Population in 1801 - 216 persons
    • Population in 1811 - 296 persons
    • Population in 1821 - 252 persons
    • Population in 1831 - 284 persons
    • Population in 1841 - 298 persons
    • Population in 1851 - 284 persons
    • Population in 1861 - 244 persons
    • Population in 1871 - 222 persons
    • Population in 1881 - 181 persons
    • Population in 1891 - 176 persons
    • Population in 1901 - 135 persons
    • Population in 1911 - 152 persons
    • Population in 1921 - 191 persons
    • Population in 1931 - 165 persons
    • Population in 1951 - 254 persons
    • Population in 1961 - 215 persons
    • Population in 1971 - 199 persons
    • Population in 1981 - 210 persons
    • Population in 1991 - 226 persons
    • Population in 2001 - 221 persons
    • Population in 2011 - 272 persons

    Religion & Religious Life

    • In the May of 1641 it was agreed and ordered that every Member of the House of Commons and House of Lords should make a protestation (declaration of loyalty) to the crown. The Protestation was printed and then distributed by the Members to their counties. The Protestation was to be made by everyone and the Rectors, Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor, had to appear before the Justices of the Peace in their Hundred to make their protestation and, on returning to their parishes, any two of them were to witness the taking of the Protestation Oath by all males over the age of 18 years. All names were listed and anyone who refused was to be noted.
      The Protestation Returns of 1642 for Gunwalloe are available on-line.
    • A list of the clergy at Gunwalloe from 1208 to the present day is available on-line.


    The parish comprises 1438 acres of land, 24 acres of water, one acre of tidal water and 66 acres of foreshore.