University of Exeter logo

Cornwall's Maritime Churches

Toggle navigation Open menu

Visiting the churches of Gunwalloe and Landewednack

A University of Exeter second year history module ‘Landscape history’ has driven fascination into various themes surrounding two of the churches in the project. Lucy Raymond discusses how the themes of afterlife, as well as looking at change and continuity within the landscape, connects to the project.

On Wednesday 2 October, a group of students from Dr Nicola Whyte’s ‘Landscape history’ module travelled to St Winwaloe’s Church in Gunwalloe and St Wynwallow’s Church in Landewednack, with the Cornwall’s Maritime Churches Project.

Both churches are said to be dedicated to St Wynwallow, an important Breton cleric who has had long lasting influence across Cornwall. Sadly, St Wynwallow’s Church has little original features left. However, throughout history there has been significant amounts of money and time gone into transforming what once was a lonely chapel.

Beautiful sunshine at Gunwalloe

We find deeply captivating how meaning can still remain within communities long after physical changes occur. Throughout the demise of the Cornish language and powerful religious reform during the reformation – a beautiful church can still stand and represent what once was.

‘The Church of the Storms’

Place names are a symbol of continuity and hold a lot of value here. Maritime connections are obvious within both churches. We noticed graves of lifeboat crew at Landewednack, the most southerly church on The Lizard, alongside the obvious connections with Gunwalloe’s amazing natural beauty overlooking the beach. Folklores of this church nicknamed ‘The Church of the Storms’ make it obvious how the landscape would have had to resist the ever-changing patterns in weather. There too remains medieval rood screens which hold catholic connections. We find these remnants important in our study of afterlife and how, whether defaced or destroyed, meaning can still remain within landscapes. I look forward to personally working and researching alongside the Institute of Cornish Studies, taking part in their Maritime Church Project, focusing on churches on the Roseland – and discovering what hidden secrets they have to offer!


Lucy Raymond, Researcher

Back home