The parish of Gwinear (Cornish: Sen Gwynnyer), is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Penwith. To the north is the parish of Gwithian with Camborne also in the north going around to the east. Crowan is to the east going around to the south of Gwinear Parish, with St. Erth and Phillack both lying to the west. This parish lies on high ground south-west of Camborne and is composed of scattered farms and houses. There is archaeological evidence that farming in this area goes back at least to the 2nd century, as a defended farmhouse of that period was discovered in the parish. The village of Rosewarne was once in possession of the Arundells of Lanherne. Gwinear was the son of an Irish pagan king and is reputed to have been slaughtered together with his companions by the Cornish pagan king Theodoric.

Silver and copper mines and related industries were important in the past, but as elsewhere in Cornwall these have now declined. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Rosewarne and Herland mines produced silver, whilst Wheal Alfred and Wheal Relistian produced copper. In those days, the parish was a thriving mining community and one of the first steam engines ever to be built was installed at the Herland mine in 1758. Now the parish has camping and caravan parks and agriculture is the other source of industry.

Villages within the Parish are the Churchtown, Coswinsausin, Drannock, Fraddam, Tregortha, Rewala, Relistian, Carnhell Green, and Wall. The civil parishes of Gwinear and Gwithian were combined to form Gwinear-Gwithian in 1934.

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:

  • 1841. The 1841 Census of Gwinear (HO107/142), Enumeration Districts 5 to 8, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1851.
    • The 1851 Census of Gwinear (HO107/1916) 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; Gwinear is listed in Volume 38. 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.
  • 1861. The 1861 Census of Gwinear (RG9/1585), Enumeration Districts 5 to 8, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1871. The 1871 Census of Gwinear (RG10/2329), Enumeration Districts 7 to 9, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1881. The 1881 Census of Gwinear (RG11/2338), Enumeration Districts 6 to 9, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1891. The 1891 Census of Gwinear (RG12/1852), Enumeration Districts 6 to 9, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.

Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW5937 and was dedicated to St Winierus or Gwinear. The Gwinear Church stands on an elevated part of the parish, some 240 feet above sea-level, and the living was held by Exeter College and had been since 1261.
    The church comprises a chancel, nave, south aisle, north aisle, and an extreme north aisle. The south arcade has four obtuse arches, the north six, and the extreme north four. Entrance is by a north porch, there is a priest's door; the south door is blocked. The tower is of three stages, buttressed on the square, and finished with battlements and pinnacles. The stone staircase is finished with a turret which also is battlemented. The tower was built around 1441, when money was left for its building. A beacon used to be lit on the church tower as a navigation aid.
  • Non-Conformist.There is a Methodist Church at Wall, and a Meeting House at Carnhell Green. John Wesley preached at Wall in 1747.

Church Records

The Gwinear parish registers begin in 1560; however, the orginal register is in very poor condition.

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for Gwinear are: C025711/2/5, M025714/6/7. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage of this parish is 1560 - 1895.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1560 - 1900, Burials 1560 - 1900, Marriages 1560 - 1812, Boyd's Marriage Index 1560 - 1912, Pallot's Marriage Index 1800 - 1812.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1736 to 1812, and 1813 to 1913, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Wesleyan Methodist baptisms 1902 to 1914 in this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD baptisms 1712 to 1840 for this parish and these are available for purchase on Parish Chest.
    • Baptisms in Gwinear parish 1813 to 1820 are available on-line courtesy of West Cornwall Genealogy.
    • The OPC of Breage has transcribed Breage Circuit: Bible Christian Births & Baptisms 1821 to 1837. Parishes mentioned include: Breage, Crowan, Gwinear, Helston, Mullion, Porthleven, St Anthony, St Hilary, St Keverne, Sithney and Wendron. These can be searched on-line.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1560 to 1837, which is available in Book, CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Phillimore's marriages 1560 to 1710, and parish register marriages 1754 to 1907, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Burials.
    • Burials in the parish 1560 to 1678, 1702 to 1939, and 1750 to 1799 (Bishop's transcripts), 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.
    • West Cornwall Genealogy have placed on line burials in Gwinear parish:

Civil Registration

The parish of Gwinear 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. Gwithian-Gwinear is now part of the Penzance Registration District. Parishes in this registration district were: Camborne, East Phillack, Gwennap, Gwinear, Gwithian, Illogan, Phillack, Redruth, St. Sithian's, West Phillack.

The Superintendant Registrar of Penzance can be contacted at: Alphington House, Alverton Place, Penzance, TR18 4JJ. Tel: 01736 330093.


Description & Travel

    You can see pictures of Gwinear which are provided by:



    The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

    "GWINEAR, a parish in the E. division of the hundred of Penwith, county Cornwall, 3 miles S.W. of Camborne, and 7 S.W. of Redruth. The parish is of large extent, and the surface clayey, with occasional rocks of slate, and patches covered with pebbles of white spar. The principal hamlets in the parish are Cattebidrew, Drannock, Fraddam, Penhal, Tregortha, and Wall. Many of the inhabitants are engaged in the copper-mines of Herland, Wheal Carpenter, Wheal Alfred, and Wheal Trelistion. In the first mentioned, native silver is also found in considerable quantities. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £483, and the vicarial for £284. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter, value £308, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is dedicated to St. Winnear. The Wesleyans have a chapel, and there is a National school. Many copper and silver coins of the later Roman emperors have been found in this parish, especially on the estate of Trungle, and in the old fortification of Coswinsawsen."



    • 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.
    • There is a genealogical website for the parish.

    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 Gwinear ecclesiastical parish:


    There were five Manors which held land in the Parish; they were: Connerton, Drannick, Gurlyn, Polkinghorne, and Roseworthy.



    You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW609371 (Lat/Lon: 50.185218, -5.351056), Gwinear which are provided by:


    Poor Houses, Poor Law

    Gwinear parish was part of the Redruth Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.



    The civil parishes of Gwinear and Gwithian united to form 'Gwinear - Gwithian' in 1934. However, population figures were combined from 1901 for the joint Gwinear-Gwithian civil parish.

    • Population in 1801 - 1654 persons
    • Population in 1811 - 1952 persons
    • Population in 1821 - 2383 persons
    • Population in 1831 - 2728 persons
    • Population in 1841 - 2862 persons
    • Population in 1851 - 2635 persons
    • Population in 1861 - 2880 persons
    • Population in 1871 - 2717 persons
    • Population in 1881 - 2170 persons
    • Population in 1891 - 2197 persons
    • Population in 1901 - 2123 persons
    • Population in 1911 - 2068 persons
    • Population in 1921 - 1956 persons
    • Population in 1931 - 1868 persons
    • Population in 1951 - 1869 persons
    • Population in 1961 - 1693 persons
    • Population in 1971 - 1701 persons
    • Population in 1981 - 2255 persons (Gwinnear-Gwithian)
    • Population in 1991 - 2815 persons (Gwinnear-Gwithian)
    • Population in 2001 - 3032 persons (Gwinnear-Gwithian)
    • Population in 2011 - 3177 persons (Gwinnear-Gwithian)

    Probate Records

    A list of Wills & Admons for Gwinear, Cornwall 1660 - 1773 is available on-line.



    The parish comprises 4647 acres of land.