The parish of Gwennap (Cornish: Lannwenep) is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Kerrier. It is bounded on the north by St Agnes, and a detached part of Kenwyn and Kea, on the east by Perranarworthal, on the south by Stithians, and on the west by Wendron and Redruth. Little is known about the saint that gave her name to this parish which is situated to the south-east of Redruth. Gwennap is better known for it's strong associations with Methodism and John Wesley. In the 18th century Wesley preached here to huge crowds in the stepped open-air amphitheatre known as Gwennap Pit. (An extract from his diary recording his visit to Gwennap is available). At that time Gwennap was the hub of Cornwall's richest mining area, but by the 20th century most pits had closed down. This parish is now a scene of desolation and dreariness; the mines are of great depth, and have been worked for ages, but they are now all stopped. For long periods together their produce exceeded in value £1000 per day, and often more. The value of the whole produce of the parish, in tin and copper, during the 19th century, cannot have been much less than £10,000,000 sterling.

Villages in the parish are the Churchtown, Carharrack, Trevarth, Crofthandy and Sunnycorner. Two new parishes were created from parts of this parish: St Day in 1833 and Lanner in 1845.

Gwennap Parish Council was formed on 4 December 1894 and Carharrack formed part of the area looked after by that Council until, after a government review and pressure from the local inhabitants, Carharrack became a civil parish in its own right in 1985. The first meeting of the newly-formed Carharrack Parish Council took place on 28 May 1985.

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)





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:


Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW7340 and was dedicated to St Wenappa. It comprised a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, three western galleries, and a vestry. The arcades each have seven obtuse arches supported on tall pillars of granite, chiefly monolith. The north wall of the church was rebuilt in the early 19th century; it is strongly buttressed. There are north and south porches, and a blocked priest's door in the north wall. The church is mostly of the 15th century, but parts of it (as e.g. a trefoil-headed piscina) may be earlier, while the north aisle is at least a century later. The tower is detached, as in a few other cases in the county. it is situated near the south entrance to the chuirchyard. It is a large building of two stages, with a pyramidal roof.
    The parish formerly went by the name of the manor, Pensigenans, by which name the church was, in 1226, granted to the dean and chapter of Exeter. There is a separate mission church at Carharrack.
    In the late 1970s the parish of Gwennap was added to the benefice of Stithians together with the village of Perran-ar-worthal which had been linked since the 12th century and, although they are only one parish, they operate as two, both serving populations in excess of two thousand souls. The three churches are now served by a Vicar, a NSM Curate, a lay reader and a retired priest.
    Details about the plans of the existing churches at Lanner, Carharrack and Gwennap are available on-line.
  • Non-Conformist. [Pictures are provided courtesy of the OPC].
    • The Wesleyan Methodists built a substantial chapel at Caharrack in 1815, to which was attached a Sunday School.
    • There was a Bible Christian chapel nearby.
    • There is a Non-Conformist Chapel at Frogpool.
    • There was also a large Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Gwennap at Sunnycorner.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for Gwennap are: C025471/2, Carharrack Wesleyan Methodist chapel C065051. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage of this parish is 1674 - 1772; it is NOT believed to be fully included in the LDS Church's International Genealogical Index (IGI).
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1658 - 1891, Burials 1658 - 1924, Marriages 1660 - 1990, Boyd's Marriage Index 1610 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1790 - 1812, BTs 1610 - 1670, Non-Conformist records 1820 - 1857.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1658 to 1786 and 1841 to 1884 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Carharrack Wesleyan Methodist baptisms 1837 to 1843, Gwennap Wesleyan Methodist baptisms 1820 to 1881, and Gwennap Methodist Circuit baptisms 1844 to 1857, are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD, baptisms 1728 to 1812, and 1813 to 1840 for this parish and these are available for purchase on Parish Chest..
  • Banns. Banns 1754 to 1767 and 1823 to 1911 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 1610 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Phillimore's marriages 1660 to 1812, and parish transcriptions 1754 to 1769 and 1837 to 1900, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Burials.
    • Burials 1658 to 1786, and 1848 to 1900, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C- PROP).
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Burials 1813 to 1837, which is available in Book or CD formats.
  • Other Non-Conformist Records. OPC Coverage of Non-Conformist records of Carharrack in this parish is available.

Civil Registration

The parish of Gwennap was originally in the Redruth Registration District until its dissolution. There were sub-districts at Camborne, Gwennap, Illogan, Phillack and Redruth which have now been abolished. It is now part of the Registration District of Truro. Parishes in this registration district were: Camborne, East Phillack, Gwennap, Gwinear, Gwithian, Illogan, Phillack, Redruth, St. Sithian's, West Phillack.

The address of the Superintendant Registrar of Truro is: Dalvenie House, New County Hall, Truro, TR1 3AY.
Tel: 01872 322241.


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Gwennap which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"GWENNAP, a parish in the E. division of the hundred of Kerrier, county Cornwall, 8 miles E. of Truro, and 3 S.E. of Redruth. This is an extensive and wealthy parish, situated in the centre of a rich mineral district. There are about 20 tin and copper mines, including the famous Consolidated, Poldice, and Tresavean mines, which together yield above £300,000 of ore annually, leaving a profit of about £60,000 per annum, after payment of working expenses, to the shareholders. Some of these mines are worked more than 200 fathoms under the sea, and the district is intersected by short lines of railway communication with the ports of Portreath on the N. coast, and Devran on the S. coast of Cornwall. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £255, and the vicarial for £420. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter, value £482, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. The church is an ancient Norman structure with a detached tower, containing tombs of the Beauchamps of Trewince. It is dedicated to St. Wenap, and has recently been enlarged. There are a district church at St. Day, and a chapel-of-ease at Lanner. The Baptists, Wesleyans, and Bryanites have chapels in various parts of the parish, and there are extensive National schools. Near Gwennap Pit is a small eminence, where Wesley used to preach to multitudes on Whit-Monday. A little to the S.W. of this spot is Karn Marth, with a British barrow on its summit, from which two British urns were taken in 1789, when the barrow was first opened. Opposite to this hill is a mountain called Trebowling, strongly fortified with a ditch and rampart nearly 20 feet high, supposed to be a British or Roman camp."

"ST. DYE, (or St. Dye), a chapelry in the parish of Gwennap, hundred of Kerrier, in the county of Cornwall, 2 miles E. of Redruth, and 7 W. of Truro. It is joined to Gwennap, and is a large mining village, neatly built.




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 Gwennap ecclesiastical parish:

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW738401 (Lat/Lon: 50.217447, -5.171685), Gwennap which are provided by:



The OPC has produced a webpage of extracts from local Newspapers which relate to events in Gwennap in the 19th century.




Poor Houses, Poor Law

Gwennap parish was part of the Redruth Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief. Overseers' Accounts (1818 to 1821) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.



Two new parishes were created from parts of this parish: St Day in 1833 and Lanner in 1845. Figures reflect the inclusion of part of this Parish in Redruth and the formation of Carharrack & St Day civil parish in 1985.


  • Population in 1801 - 4594 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 5303 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 6294 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 8539 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 10794 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 10465 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 10535 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 8397 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 6209 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 6269 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 5662 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 5483 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 4985 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 4866 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 1138 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 1095 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 1232 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 1480 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 1460 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 1501 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 1532 persons

Probate Records


Religion & Religious Life

  • The OPC has provided pictures of the parish church together with a list of the incumbent clergy.
  • 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 Gwennap are available on-line.


The parish comprises 3659 acres of land.