Gwithian, Cornwall

gwithian cornwall towns

Gwithian is a village at the northern end of a three mile sandy beach. The beach is a popular surfing venue. The village has some charming thatched cottages, a small Methodist chapel and an inn. Cornwall County Council has planted the sand dunes here with Marram grass in an effort to stabalise them and prevent sand been blown inland in quantity.

The church is dedicated to St Gothian. He was an Irish missionary whose monastic cell was excavated from under the sand in 1827, but has now been allowed to return to the sands. Gothian was traditionally said to have been martyred in the area; though no written reference to this can be found until recently. This little building with its surrounding graveyard, served as the church until the 13th century.

The sand dunes (towans) here make up the second largest sand dune system in Cornwall and are one of the largest systems to be found on the west coast of the United Kingdom. The system is 5 kilometers long by 2 kilometers wide and runs from north-east to south-west.

The original church was a Norman cruciform in shape, and it is said that the removal of the wall in the south transept caused the downfall of the chancel arch, of which traces remain. The aisle was added in the 15th century. The church was rebuilt in 1864.

Victorian Pendarves Arms pub.

You can see Godrevy Lighthouse, Gwithian standing off shore.

For many archaeologists Gwithian, Cornwall is synonymous with the discovery of ancient ploughmarks, unique beaker houses and rare "dark age" pottery. Gwithian, English Heritage have recorded the archaeology here. The exceptional preservation of successive ancient land surfaces have been found sealed beneath the undulating sand dunes - the towans - within this extraordinary landscape. The project revealed prehistoric plough and spade marks, houses and dark age pottery being just a few of its highlights. Over 60 sites of all periods were examined in an area of some 4 sq. miles during the period 1949 to 1963.

Gwithian, Cornwall genealogical information at Genuki


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