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:
- The 1841 Census of Gwennap with St Day (HO107/137) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- The 1841 census for this parish (Gwennap with St Day) has also been filmed by the LDS church - film No. 241260.
- The 1851 Census of Gwennap (HO107/1914) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- The New Zealand Society of Genealogists have compiled separate surname indexes of the 1851 Census for each Cornish registration district; Gwennap is listed in Volume 34. The booklets are available in Cornwall at the Cornwall Centre, (formerly known as the Cornish Studies Library), and is also available in the Cornwall FHS Library.
- The 1861 Census of Gwennap is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: 1861 Census of this parish, which is available in Book or CD formats.
- 1871. The 1871 Census of Gwennap is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- RG10/2312. Enumeration Districts 11 to 14.
- RG10/2313. Enumeration Districts 15 [including Schools] and 16.
- 1881. The 1881 Census of Gwennap is also available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1891. The 1891 Census of Gwennap is also available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 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].
- 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 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).
- 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).
- Other Non-Conformist Records. OPC Coverage of Non-Conformist records of Carharrack in this parish is available.
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.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from Gwennap to another place.
- OPC Assistance.
- A list of Web Sites which contain Gwennap family histories is available
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:
- Tolgullow (Talgollo, Talgolle), Grid Reference 730430.
You can see the administrative areas in which Gwennap has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
- Map of the Camborne and Redruth Registration district in which the parish lies.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW738401 (Lat/Lon: 50.217447, -5.171685), Gwennap which are provided by:
- Google Maps
- StreetMap (Current Ordnance Survey maps)
- Bing (was Multimap)
- OldMaps (Old Ordnance Survey maps.)
- Old Maps Online (Other old maps.)
- National Library of Scotland (Old Ordnance Survey maps)
- Vision of Britain (Click "Historical units & statistics" for administrative areas.)
- English Jurisdictions in 1851 (Unfortunately the LDS have removed the facility to enable us to specify a starting location, you will need to search yourself on their map.)
- Magic (Geographic information) (Click + on map if it doesn't show)
- GeoHack (Links to on-line maps and location specific services.)
The OPC has produced a webpage of extracts from local Newspapers which relate to events in Gwennap in the 19th century.
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.
- 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.