PENRYN, CORNWALL

Church
History
This is a history of the Churches of Penryn that I wrote many years ago, back in 1970:

    This is the story of the Church as shown through the history of a single town; a town that although today is of very little importance, at one time was destined to become the ecclesiastical centre of West Cornwall. This is the history of the Church in Penryn. The Church in all its various forms: its worldliness, revival, monasticism, reformation, growth, heresy and backsliding are all illustrated by the development of the Church in this single town.

    Penryn itself has a population of about 5,000 people [fn1] and stands at the head of the so-called Penryn River, two miles away from a town, now much larger than Penryn, which was founded by the Killigrew Family during Stuart Times [i.e. Falmouth].

Founded on land belonging to the See of Exeter, Penryn was the site of the famous Glasney Collegiate Church. But with the collapse of the influence of Rome during the Reformation, Penryn itself fall from its influential position, and since then has had to rely either on its own strength, together with that of the input of its benefactors, or to the hand of God working at specific times through its history in revival, renewal or specific national movements whose influence have reached this part of Cornwall Because of this, the church situation in Penryn has been as diverse as elsewhere, with the spectrum ranging from the Jehovah Witness Sect to the traditions of Anglo and Roman Catholicism.

Briefly the history of the Church in Penryn can be summed up in the words of H Miles Brown [fn2]:

    "With sweeping glance, the whole span of the Church's history in the town [fn3] has been taken in. It is a story of rise and fall, of faithfulness and worldly pride. It is a story of unity and of fragmentation, of apparent imminent death and of astonishing revival. There will be some who can discern no plan or shape in such a story, pointing to the rise of divisions and parties, with bitterness and clamour hiding devotion and spiritual awareness. What plan or shape there will be discovered by the reader according to his faith. To the believer the purposes of hod patiently and faithfully unfold in history. And that is the Justification for the telling of the story.

fn1: According to the then [1970] official guide - "Penryn. - South Comwall"

fn2: Taken from "The Church in Cornwall" by H Miles Brown

fn3: Brown was of course thinking "county" rather than the "town" of Penryn.