Gwithian (Cornish: Godhyan) is a coastal village in west Cornwall,
England, United Kingdom. It is three miles (5 km) northeast of
Hayle and four miles (6.5 km) east of St Ives,
Cornwall across St
Gwithian is in the civil parish of Gwinear-Gwithian
(where the 2011 census population was included ).
Gwithian has a pub, the Red River Inn, which was formerly named the
Pendarves Arms. The pub takes its name from the nearby Red River
which, in turn, got its name from the discolouration caused by mining
effluent. The river's earlier name was Dowr Coner.
Sketch map of St Ives Bay
The lifeguard station on
Gwithian beach with Ceres Rock in the middle distance
Gwithian Towans cover the site of a Bronze Age farm which has been
excavated although no remains are visible. The church and relics of St
Gwithian or Gocianus, built in 490, were uncovered from the beach and
dunes during the early part of the 19th century, but were then allowed
to be reclaimed by the shifting sands.
Gwithian is the patron saint of
good fortune on the sea. Charles Henderson wrote in
1925 that the "oratory ... is more perfect than the Oratory at Perran,
having been less meddled with, though it is probably not so ancient".
According to H. O'Neill Hencken there is the "remains of church,
possibly early, buried in sand".
According to tradition there was in the sandy waste between the
village and the sea a city of Connor. From Norman times there was a
manor here called Connerton which was the paramount manor of the
hundred of Penwith. The lords of the manor were bailiffs of the
hundred and they held courts and enjoyed the rights of wreck for the
coast between Porthtowan and Prussia Cove at least so late as 1580.
The importance of this manor may have derived from it being the seat
of a Celtic prince in early times. The current church was
established further inland in the 15th century but only a few
fragments of this building remain incorporated in the lychgate of
Edmund Sedding's church of 1866 (the tower however is the original one
of the 15th century.)
Hundred of Penwith
Hundred of Penwith had its ancient centre at Connerton, now buried
beneath the sands of
Gwithian Towans. (A hundred was a former Celtic
'keverang', an administrative unit which was sub-divided into
tithings.) The institutions of the hundred were moved to Penzance
in 1771 (or earlier) following large successive inundations of in
blown sand. In the Geld Inquest of 1083, only seven hundreds are found
in Cornwall, identified by the names of the chief manors of each:
Connerton, Winnianton, Pawton, Tybesta, Stratton, Fawton and Rillaton
(corresponding to Penwith, Kerrier, Pydar, Powder, Trigg, West Wivel
and East Wivel). Connerton was held at the time of the Domesday Survey
by King William and had been held by Brictric and then by Queen
Matilda before him. In 1086 there was land for 40 ploughs and 30
villagers, 20 smallholders and 30 serfs are recorded. There was a
mill, 300 sheep, 40 wild mares and 21 other animals.
A Cornish cross just off a footpath leading east above the Red River
valley near Gwithian
There is a Cornish cross in the churchyard.
Chesten Marchant, who died in 1676 at Gwithian, is believed to have
been the last monoglot Cornish speaker (as opposed to Dolly Pentreath
of Paul who could speak English as well, if reluctantly.)
The local community radio station is Coast FM (formerly Penwith
Radio), which broadcasts on 96.5 and 97.2 FM.
A short distance to the east of the village is
Gwithian Towans, which
is an area of coastal duneland that forms part of The Towans. Gwithian
Beach stretches three miles from the
Hayle River mouth to the Red
River mouth at Godrevy. The beach is popular throughout the year with
surfers, windsurfers, and other beachsport enthusiasts.
is patrolled by
RNLI lifeguards from Easter to September and surfing
equipment can be purchased or hired from the nearby surf shop.
^ Place-names in the Standard Written Form (SWF) : List of
place-names agreed by the MAGA Signage Panel. Cornish Language
^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 203 Land's End
^ Hencken, H. O. (1932) The Archaeology of
Cornwall and Scilly.
London: Methuen; p. 298 (citing Henderson Cornish Church Guide, 1925,
p. 107; and PP. 261-2)
^ Cornish Church Guide (1925) Truro: Blackford; p. 107
^ Hundred; Vision of Britain
^ Thorn, Caroline & Frank, eds. (1979) Domesday Book. 10:
Cornwall. Chichester: Phillimore; entry 1,13-14
^ Langdon, A. G. (1896) Old Cornish Crosses. Truro: Joseph Pollard;
^ "Volunteer run Penwith Radio to change its name to Coast FM".
falmouthpacket.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-02-04.
Ceremonial county of Cornwall
Council of the Isles of Scilly
St Columb Major
St Just in Penwith
See also: List of civil parishes in Cornwall
Population of major settlements
Places of interest
Outline of Cornwall
Index of Cornwal