St Gluvias’ Church, Penryn
Tucked away from the bustle of Penryn high street, the church of St Gluvias is positioned a little way up the hill on Church road.
Research provided by Lucy Geal, an undergraduate student at the University of Exeter, Penryn Campus.
Introducing St Gluvias church of Penryn
Located near the mouth of Penryn river, just up from Penryn Bridge, the church has a wealth of maritime history.
St Gluvias Church and its surrounding parish has an ancient and intriguing history. Its patron, Gluvias, was a sixth century missionary and the son of St Petroc, a Welsh prince turned saint whose namesake is used in several Cornish churches. Gluvias followed in his father’s footsteps as a missionary to the Brittonic Kingdom of Dumnomia; then consisting of modern Devon and Cornwall.
The Church takes Gluvias’ name as he is attributed as the missionary who settled along the Penryn river, gathering converts and Christianising the local population. It was during this time that various Celtic kingdoms throughout Britain, and especially the Kingdom of Dumnonia, were undergoing the Christianisation process. This is exemplified by the fact that both St Petroc and St Gluvias were of Welsh origin, traveling from South Wales which itself had recently converted to Christianity.
Interestingly, the close and easy involvement of Welsh missionaries in the conversion of the Cornish people suggests that there existed a close, linguistic and cultural tie between the two peoples who likely spoke regional variations of common Brythonic.
Little is known of the period, after St Gluvias’ return to Wales. However, it is clear that after the Saxon conquest of Cornwall by Athelstan in 916AD, St Gluvias church and other local parishes were integrated into the wider English clergy. This is attested by records of the Bishops of Exeter which show that upon the official founding of Penryn town in 1216, St Gluvias parish already existed and extended its bounds to include the townsfolk.