Gwinear, St Winnear

gwinearChurch town on edge of mining district.  The church may well have gone through a cruciform phase with a north aisle added first, then double north chapel in the early 16th century, and finally a south aisle.

  1. Corbel heads from original Norman church and beak head from large Norman south doorway found during restoration work in 1879, reset in porch and tower.
  2. One of best Decorated period east windows in west Cornwall.  All rest of windows except for those in the south aisle were replaced with wooden sash windows c.1800 so the tracery of most of the present windows is mid or late 19th century guess-work.
  3. Tower dated by a will bequest to 1441 and earlier than aisles, though part of chancel earlier.
  4. Base of rood screen includes unusually detailed carved symbols of Christ’s Passion – the crossed spear ad sponge with crown of thorns, dice etc, scouges and pillas, the sacred monogram IHS for Jesus and the pious pelican.
  5. Tudor roses in spandrels of blocked south door.
  6. Bench end fragments incorporated in the pulpit and a litany desk.  Symbols of Christ’s Passion include pierced hands and feet.  Elsewhere helmeted Renaissance male head like chancel bosses.
  7. North aisle chapel and outer north aisle chapel have distinctive octagonal piers carved with a hare etc. There is also a separate entrance suggesting that this may have originated as a pilgrim chapel.  The legend of St Gwinear is well-documented in a 14th century book.
  8. Chancel roof bosses with Renaissance designs and an Elizabethan communion cup suggest a remodelling perhaps in 1570s.
  9. 1727 font on Norman base.
  10. Modern church plate by Charles Hall, renowned local silversmith, whose work is also in use at St Endellion, St John’s Penzance and Perranarworthal.


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