About Our Church History"Little is known about the church’s patron Gluvias, except that he was the nephew of St Petroc. In the sixth century he settled by the Penryn River and gathered converts. He eventually returned to Wales where he died, possibly martyred. From Norman records, it is probable that there was a monastic settlement on this site."
Church of St. Gluvias
Little is known about the church’s patron Gluvias, except that he was the nephew of St Petroc. In the sixth century he settled by the Penryn River and gathered converts. He eventually returned to Wales where he died, possibly martyred. From Norman records, it is probable that there was a monastic settlement on this site.
When the Saxons conquered Cornwall, they superimposed their parochial methods on the Celtic monastic system. So, when in 1216, some think earlier, the bishops of Exeter founded the town of Penryn, St Gluvias was already a parish church able to extend its bounds to include the townsfolk.
In 1266 the history of St. Gluvias took another unusual turn, when Bishop Bromsgrove of Exeter, laid the foundation stone of Glasney Collegiate Church. In order to support this new church the Bishop appropriated part of the living of a number of parishes including St. Gluvias.
There was however some compensation, as the foundation of Glasney College Church gave Penryn importance and it became known all over Britain and throughout Europe. For three hundred years it was a favourite establishment of the bishops of Exeter and many high standing men held positions there.
Glasney’s fame brought reflected glory on the parish church so a new stone church was built. This was dedicated on July 25th 1318, a date that is still celebrated today.
The church has been described during that period as “glowing with colour, its walls covered with paintings, roof and screen bright with scarlet, white and gold; rich hangings and richly coloured glass windows; niches in the east wall of the north aisle filled with gaily coloured images of the saints.” These niches can still be seen today!
The present building was restored by J.P. St Auburn in 1883, although the tower is 15th century and characteristically Cornish in construction. The barrel shaped roof was retained and some original carved beams can be seen.
Further changes were made in the 1950’s by Sir Ninian Comper, who had the Victorian chancel lowered to its original Cornish proportions, the floor laid with slate headstones and the walls whitened.
Further changes were made in following years to re-site the organ, move the pulpit and the font: take out the choir stalls from the front of the church and move some pews, until the church is, as it is seen today.