St Gluvias, Penryn


This parish of St Gluvias, (Cornish: Bosheydhlann), was once known as Behethlan, Betheldan or Bohellan. It is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Kerrier; it is bounded on the north by Perranarworthal and Mylor, on the east by Mylor and Budock, on the south by Mabe and on the west by Stithians. The area known as St Gluvias is actually part of the town of Penryn, whose name comes from the Cornish 'pen rynn', meaning the 'end of a point or promontory'. Penryn Town was founded by the Bishop of Exeter in 1216. Until the Reform Act of 1830, it was also a borough; as a result of that act, Penryn was united with Falmouth.

The town of Penryn lies north west of the port of Falmouth, projecting into the creeks of Falmouth harbour, and until recently was an active port situated at the head of a creek that leads into the sheltered Carrick Roads. The town is behind the main Falmouth to Truro road.

Penryn was the location of the Glasney Theological College which was consecrated in 1267.

Apart from the town of Penryn. the principal village of Gluvias is Ponsanooth, which had its own Wesleyan Methodist chapel to which a cemetery was attached, and a Primitive Methodist chapel. Other villages are Burnthouse, and Treluswell, which also had its own Methodist chapel.

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)


Archives & Libraries

There is a Museum in Penryn:

Penryn Museum
Town Hall,
Higher Market St.,
Cornwall TR10 8LT

Tel: 01326 372158



  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line Monumental Inscriptions for the Parish Church - 3852 entries.
  • Monumental inscriptions for St Gluvias, Penryn, are on-line, courtesy of the OPC.
  • THE DISSENTERS, also known as the 'Congregationalist' or 'Independent' cemetery, had their own burial ground at Ponsharden (wikipedia) which was opened in 1808 for the exclusive use of the Dissenting Christian congregations of Falmouth and Penryn. They acquired their first (and only) dedicated burial ground in early 1808, when they were given a plot of land at Ponsharden.
  • The names inscribed on the War Memorial is available on-line.


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 SW7834 and was dedicated to St Gluvias the Martyr. St Gluvias is said to have been the nephew of St Petroc. In the 6th century the saint settled by the Penryn river. The area where the church now stands was known as Behethlan; and contained a monastic building. In 1266, Bishop Bronescombe, Bishop of Exeter, laid the foundation stone of Glasney colligate church. Funding for the upkeep of Glasney came from the funds collected by St Gluvias, St Budock and St Feock Churches. The incumbent of St Gluvias was pacified by a ruling of the Lateran Council which said a house had to be provided for the priest at a minimum income of five Marks.
    The church was dedicated on 25th July 1318. It comprises a cancel, nave, north and south aisles, extreme south aisle, north, south and west galleries, vestry and store-room. The roofs, which are semi-circular, and rest on moulded cornices, are supported by three rows of tall Composite columns, which give the structiure the appearance of some metropolitan churches. The tower is of three stages, is buttressed on the square, and is finished with battlements. It contains six bells.
    There was a separate Chapel of St. Mary in Penryn which had opened before 1322; it closed at the time of the dissolution in about 1546. There are no registers extant.
  • Non-Conformist.
    • A Wesleyan Methodist chapel was built in 1789 and enlarged in 1814; it was registered for marriages.
    • A Congregational chapel was built in 1805 and opened on 1st January 1806; it closed in 1934.
    • A Primitive Methodist chapel was built in 1860.
    • A Bible Christian chapel was built in 1866.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1598 - 1975, Burials 1601 - 1975, Marriages 1599 - 1977, Boyd's Marriage Index 1599 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1800 - 1812, Non-Conformist records of Penryn 1806 - 1837.
  • The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
    • Pre 1813 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Burials.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1679 to 1883 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • Some births in Falmouth Union workhouse, including those for St Gluvias, are available on-line.
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD baptisms 1727 to 1831 for this parish and this can be purchased on Parish Chest.
  • Banns. Banns 1900 to 1911 for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Marriages.
  • Burials.
    • Burials 1601 to 1644 (with gaps) and 1645 to 1901 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 format.

Civil Registration

The parish of St Gluvias, and town of Penryn, is in the Falmouth Registration District and has been since 1st July 1837; there were sub-districts at Constantine, Falmouth, Mylor and Penryn, but these have now been abolished. Parishes and towns within the district are: Budock, Constantine, Falmouth, Mabe, Mawnan, Mylor, Penryn, Perranarworthal and St. Gluvias. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Berkely House, 12-14 Berkeley Vale, Falmouth, TR11 3PH. Tel: 01326 312606.


Description & Travel



    The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

    "ST. GLUVIAS, a parish in the hundred of Kerrier, county Cornwall, 2 miles N.W. of Falmouth. The parish is situated on the coast of the English Channel, and includes part of Penryn, its post town, and Penwerris. There is a woollen factory at the village of Ponsnooth. A small religious establishment existed here previous to the Norman Conquest. The manufacture of gunpowder and the trade of tanning are largely carried on. Felspar and magnetic iron are found here. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is a venerable structure, with a tower of more ancient date, and beautifully enveloped with foliage overhanging the lake, on the borders of which it is situated. It is dedicated to St. Gluvias, and contains monuments and brasses of the Pendarve, Killigrew, and other families. The principal residences are Enys and Roscrew. The Wesleyans have a chapel, and there is a National school.

    "PENRYN, a post and market town, seaport, municipal, and parliamentary borough in the parishes of St. Gluvias and Budock, hundred of Kerrier, county Cornwall, 26 miles S.W. of Bodmin, and 2 N.W. of Falmouth. It is a station on the Cornwall and West Cornwall railway. It is situated on the declivity of an eminence at the head of Falmouth creek, an inlet from Falmouth harbour, and consists principally of one spacious street, from which several minor streets branch off at right angles. It comprises the manors of Penryn Borough and Penryn Forryn, and was formerly held by the Osbornes, under the bishops of Exeter, who had a seat here, and under whose patronage the town first rose into importance. A college was founded by Bishop Bronscombe, in 1270, for a provost, eleven prebendaries, seven vicars, and six choristers, which continued till the Dissolution, when its revenues were valued at £210 13s. 2d.



    • 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.
    • The OPC has produced a website to help those researching their family history in Penryn.
    • There is also another genealogical website for St Gluvias with Penryn.

    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 St Gluvias ecclesiastical parish:



    There is an Historical Timeline for Penryn on-line.


    Land & Property

    • The parish and town tithe maps, and accompanying survey books of c1840, provide a fascinating snap-shot of land use and ownership in the 19th century. In order to preserve the documents and improve access to them, the Cornwall Record Office are digitising these maps and survey books. The CD ROM tithe package include a map and survey books, together with a reader, for Penryn; it is now available from the Cornwall Record Office. Details are on their website.
    • Persons resident in Penryn in 1873, who owned more than an acre of land. These do not include those who owned land in Penryn but did not live there. The List does not include St. Gluvias.



    Military Records

    Some military records, including prisoners in the Napoleonic Wars, are available.



    Some transcripts from the West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser are available on Penryn Cornwall


    Politics & Government

    A list of Members of Parliament 1553 to 1701 is available.


    Poor Houses, Poor Law



    • Population in 1801 - 624 persons, plus 2324 in Penryn
    • Population in 1811 - 714 persons, plus 2713 in Penryn
    • Population in 1821 - 745 persons, plus 2933 in Penryn
    • Population in 1831 - 969 persons, plus 3521 in Penryn
    • Population in 1841 - 4484 persons, plus 3337 in Penryn
    • Population in 1851 - 4697 persons, plus 3959 in Penryn
    • Population in 1861 - 1213 persons, plus 3547 in Penryn
    • Population in 1871 - 1106 persons, plus 3679 in Penryn
    • Population in 1881 - 1037 persons, plus 3466 in Penryn
    • Population in 1891 - 991 persons, plus 3256 in Penryn
    • Population in 1901 - 995 persons, plus 3190 in Penryn
    • Population in 1911 - 851 persons, plus 3092 in Penryn
    • Population in 1921 - 856 persons, plus 3149 in Penryn
    • Population in 1931 - 888 persons, plus 3892 in Penryn
    • Population in 1951 - 713 persons, plus 4102 in Penryn
    • Population in 1961 - 724 persons, plus 4451 in Penryn
    • Population in 1971 - 823 persons, plus 5135 in Penryn
    • Population in 1981 - 1195 persons, plus 5115 in Penryn
    • Population in 1991 - 1235 persons, plus 5940 in Penryn
    • Population in 2001 - 1271 persons, plus 6227 in Penryn
    • Population in 2011 - 1505 persons, plus 6812 in Penryn.

    Religion & Religious Life

    • A separate list of the Vicars of St Gluvias from the beginning of the 18th century is also available on-line.


    The Penryn & Falmouth Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line.



    The parish comprises 2142 acres of land.




    Town Records


    Voting Registers