Ann Glanville

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Ann Glanville
The statue of Ann Glanville in Fore Street, Saltash, unveiled 2013.
Personal information
Born(1796-04-02)2 April 1796
Saltash, Cornwall
Died6 June 1880(1880-06-06) (aged 84)
Saltash, Cornwall

Ann Glanville (1796–1880) was a Cornishwoman who achieved national celebrity for rowing a four-oared watermen's boat.

Early life[edit]

Born in Saltash in Cornwall as Ann Warren or Warring, she married John Glanville, a waterman from a line of watermen. They had fourteen children and when John fell ill, Ann continued her husband's trade to support the family.

Rowing success[edit]

Ann formed a crew of four female rowers who took part in local regattas; she was noted for her large stature and for her crew who dressed in white caps and dresses. Their success led to competitions all over the country; one event at Fleetwood was watched by Queen Victoria, who congratulated Ann when they won by beating an all-male crew. The most famous competition was said to have been in 1833 when they visited Le Havre and beat the best ten French male crews by 100 yards; this led the press to call her the champion female rower of the world.[1][2][3] However, recent research by A T Goodman for the Old Cornwall Society has thrown doubt on this version of events. The visit to Le Havre was actually in August 1842 aboard the paddle steamer Grand Turk; the French refused to put up a team to row against women and so a demonstration race was conducted between Ann Glanville's female crew and male rowers from the Grand Turk, which was won by the women.[2]

Old age[edit]

Blue plaque for Ann Glanville

Ann continued competitive rowing until she was in her sixties. Into her old age, she was given to circling the warships anchored in the Hamoaze exchanging banter with their crews. When the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Plymouth in 1879, they invited Ann to lunch on their yacht. She died on 6 June 1880 and was buried in St Stephen's Churchyard at the expense of Admiral Lord Beresford. Admirers from all parts of the country attended and a Royal Marines band played the funeral march.


The Ann Glanville at World Pilot Gig Championships 2018, at St Mary's Harbour in the Isles of Scilly.

The Caradon Gig Rowing Club named their first pilot gig after Ann.[2] In September 2013, a fibre glass statue of Ann sitting on a bench was unveiled in Fore Street, the main shopping street of Saltash. The life-sized figure has a sound recording of the key events of Ann's life, which can be activated by pushing a button.[4] In 2018, the statue was moved to its new location of Saltash Waterside.[5]


  1. ^ "Ann Glanville". Kernoweb. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Hunt, Bruce. "Ann Glanville". Archived from the original on 15 April 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
  3. ^ "Ann Glanville". Sense Of Place. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  4. ^ Clark, Lisa. "Take a seat with Ann – the statue that likes to talk". The Plymouth Herald. Retrieved 31 March 2016.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Saltash's famous talking statue is back - but in a new place". 5 June 2018.
  • Baring-Gould, Sabine (1925) Cornish Characters & Strange Events. London: Bodley Head; Vol. 2, pp. 289–295 in turn citing heavily Mr. P. E. B. Porter, Around and About Saltash, 1905
  • Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries; Vol., edited by John S. Amery, pp. 127–129
  • Smelt, Maurice (2006) 101 Cornish Lives. Penzance: Alison Hodge; p. 101

External links[edit]

A long article from Saltash Heritage website with painting of the subject in Saltash museum and a photograph of large white, red-bottomed Cornish pilot gig named in the mid-1980s the Ann Saltash at Caradon Pilot Gig Club in Saltash and a statue of Ann Glanville in blue dress holding the Cornish flag, unveiled by the Mayor of Saltash in 2013.