Gulval shown within Cornwall
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Gulval (Cornish: Lannystli) is a village in the former Penwith district of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom . Although historically a parish in its own right, Gulval was incorporated into the parishes of Penzance, Madron and Ludgvan in 1934, and like Heamoor, is now considered to be a suburb of Penzance. Gulval, however, still maintains its status as an ecclesiastical parish and parts of the village church date back to the 12th century.
The parish is named after a 6th-century saint, Gulval, the original form of which was probably Welvela or Wolvela. Baring-Gould thought this was Wilgitha, the sister of Saint Juthwara: David Nash Ford agrees. Gilbert Hunter Doble, however, favoured an identification with one of the male Welsh missionaries, Gudwall or Gurwall who are honoured in Brittany, eponym of Locoal-Mendon. A life of each one is to be found in the Acta Sanctorum, June; Bollandists, 1867. Neither identification has been widely accepted by modern scholars. The parish church is dedicated to Gulval and his/her feast is celebrated on 6 June.
During the Iron Age there was much activity in the area, and a few miles from Gulval, beyond the hamlet of Badgers Cross, are the remains of the Chysauster settlement. The site shows the remnants of nine courtyard houses, of a type only found on the Land's End peninsula and Isles of Scilly, and was inhabited from the first century BC for the following four hundred years. The historic Celtic site is now under the protection of English Heritage.
Two inscribed stones attest to continued occupation in the early medieval period. The first is a memorial for "Quenatucus, son of Dinvus", and has been dated as carved sometime between fifth and eighth centuries; it stands near one end of a footbridge in Balowena Bottom. The second is a cross-shaft lacking base or cross-head with a now illegible inscription; it was found in a wall of the church in 1885, and now stands in the churchyard.
In ancient times Gulval was known as Lanisley, derived from Lan, a church, and ishei, low, (i.e. the low church). According to Charles Henderson (quoted by Doble (1960)) this is a corruption of Laniskley. A Latinised version of this, Landicle, is mentioned in the Domesday Book:
- "Roland holds [LANDICLE](GULVAL) from the Bishop; In the time of King Edward (the Confessor, i.e. before 1066) it paid tax for 1 hide (around 120 acres); 1½ hides there however. Land for 12 ploughs (requiring, perhaps, 8 oxen each); in lordship 1 plough; 3 slaves. 13 villagers and 4 smallholders with 3 ploughs. Meadow 2 acres (8,100 m2), Pasture, 2 leagues long and 1 league wide. Value formerly and now £3. 1 virgate (about 30 acres) held by the lord, 1 hide 3 virgates by the villagers; also “1 cob; 3 cows; 30 sheep”. (Roland was the Archdeacon of Cornwall.)
The current church building is predominantly 12th century with subsequent additions. Most notable of these are the tower, built in 1440 and containing eight bells, and a large stone lych gate that was added in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee. The graveyard is famously home to the remains of local pirate and smuggler John 'Eyebrows' Thomas of Marazion, as well as to William Wingfield, MP. One of the vicars of Gulval, the Rev. William W. Wingfield, was vicar for a remarkable 72 years, from 1839 until his death in 1912.
Local government and village amenities
For purposes of local government Gulval is included in the civil parish of Penzance and has its own single member ward on Penzance town council. The principal local authority in the area is Cornwall Council. Elections to Cornwall Council are by way of a three member Penzance electoral division.
Gulval is home to a post office and general store, a public house, and a primary school that houses 144 pupils.
Joseph of Arimathea
Within the bounds of the parish lies the disused Ding Dong mine, reputedly one of the oldest in Cornwall. Popular local legend claims that Joseph of Arimathea, a tin trader, visited the mine and brought a young Jesus to address the miners, although there is no evidence to support this.
The Ding Dong mines have, according to tradition, been worked since Roman times but by the end of the 18th century it was disused. In 1814 it was reopened and worked until 1878. Attempts were made in 1912 and 1928 to reopen it but these failed.
James Payne and the Wilson brothers
Sport and recreation
Gulval has two football teams competing in the Trelawny League; two cricket teams competing in the Penwith area League; the Old Inn - a public house in Gulval Churchtown – was given to the Coldstream Guards Association in memory of Capt Michael Lempriere Bolitho and renamed “The Coldstreamer” (Capt Bolitho was killed in HMS Walney, a Royal Navy tug; her task was to crash through the boom at the entrance to Oran Harbour in Operation Torch on 8 November 1942).
- Place-names in the Standard Written Form (SWF) : List of place-names agreed by the MAGA Signage Panel. Cornish Language Partnership.
- Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 203 Land's End ISBN 978-0-319-23148-7
- Doble, G. H. (1960) The Saints of Cornwall: part 1. Truro: Dean and Chapter; pp. 61-78
- Doble, G. H. (1933) Saint Gudwal or Gurwal, bishop and confessor; with notes on Gulval church and parish by Charles Henderson. Truro: Netherton and Worth
- "St Gulval".
- See the discussion and bibliography in Elisabeth Okasha, Corpus of early Christian inscribed stones of South-west Britain. Leicester: University Press, 1993, pp. 109-15
- Thorn, Caroline & Frank [eds.] "Domesday Book: Cornwall"; Phillimore, Chichester: 1979. ISBN 0-85033-155-2; entry 2,10
- Brown, H. M. (1976) A Century for Cornwall. Truro: Blackford; p. 40
- Ofsted. "Reports on pupils". Retrieved 2009-05-30.[dead link]
- Matthews, John (ed.) (1991) A Glastonbury Reader: Selections From the Myths, Legends and Stories of Ancient Avalon. London: HarperCollins (reissued by The Aquarian Press)
- C. C. Dobson in his Did Our Lord Visit Britain ... ? (1936) collects various traditions which would connect Joseph to Cornwall and Somerset and the tin trade without mentioning Gulval
- Barton, D. B. (1963) A Guide to the Mines of West Cornwall. Truro: D. Bradford Barton; pp. 9-10
- Persey, P. (1796) Legends of Olde Weste Cornwall. Plymouth: Anglican Press
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