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The east bank of the river, viewed from the quay
Gweek is located in Cornwall
Location within Cornwall
Population581 (United Kingdom Census 2001)
667 (2011 Census)[1]
OS grid referenceSW705268
Civil parish
  • Gweek
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Historic countyCornwall
Post townHELSTON
Postcode districtTR12
Dialling code01326
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
50°05′46″N 5°12′32″W / 50.096°N 5.209°W / 50.096; -5.209Coordinates: 50°05′46″N 5°12′32″W / 50.096°N 5.209°W / 50.096; -5.209
Gweek Village Hall

Gweek (Cornish: Gwig, meaning forest village) is a civil parish and village in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is situated approximately three miles (5 km) east of Helston.[2] The civil parish was created from part of the parish of Constantine by boundary revision in 1986. The name Gweek is first recorded as Gwyk in 1358 and is derived from the Cornish word gwig, meaning "forest village", cognate with the Welsh gwig and Old Breton guic.[3] Gweek village has a pub, the Black Swan,[4] and a combined shop and post office. The village is also home to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary.

Gweek lies within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Almost a third of Cornwall has AONB designation, with the same status and protection as a National Park.


Gweek is at the head of navigation of the Helford River. It has been a port since Roman times and thrived in the Tudor period, with its own Customs House.[5] In the 13th century, the townspeople of Helston bought the rights to the port of Gweek.[6]

During the mining boom, a tin-smelting blowing house operated at the quayside.[7]

In Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England published in 1848, the village was described as:[8]

GWEEK, a small port, in the hundred of Kerrier, W. division of Cornwall, 3½ miles (E. by S.) from Helston. The pilchard-fishery is carried on extensively, 200 boats being employed in taking the fish, which are cured in the various creeks and coves within the limits of the port. In addition to the fishery, the chief trade consists in the exportation of copper-ore, corn, moorstone, and oysters, and the importation of timber, coal, and limestone.

In an August 1880 edition of The Cornishman newspaper, Gweek (along with Porthleven) was described as a prominent seaport, supplying coal, lime, timber, slate, etc to the neighbouring mines and inhabitants. Timber was unloaded from ships at Merthen Hole and floated up-river to Gweek on barges. The western wharf was owned by Mr Basset of Tehidy.[9][10]

Musical activities[edit]

Gweek has a silver band[11] which performs locally and provides music at some Anglican services in the Gweek Mission Church. The band also organises a yearly "band week". This starts with a concert of three local brass bands in a field overlooking the Helford River. Afterwards, there is a pig roast with stalls and entertainment and at the end of the week a clay pigeon shoot.

The Cornwall Fiddle Orchestra[12] was formed in 2007 by fiddle player Hudson Swan. He was a member of Scottish band, The Tannahill Weavers but now lives in Cornwall and works as a violin teacher for the Cornwall Music Service.[13] The orchestra rehearses weekly at Helston School.


The Tolvan Holed Stone

The three-cornered Tolvan Holed Stone is an unusual megalith. It is about 800 metres north of Gweek behind Tolvan Cross Farm.

In literature[edit]

Gweek is featured in The Meaning of Liff, a book by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd. A passage in Charles Kingsley's novel Hereward the Wake features Gweek and its neighbouring woods. Kingsley received some of his education at nearby Helston Grammar School.[14]


  1. ^ "parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 203 Land's End ISBN 978-0-319-23148-7
  3. ^ Weatherhill, Craig (2007) Cornish Place Names and Language. Ammanford: Sigma Press
  4. ^ "The Black Swan".
  5. ^ Scolding, Bill (2006) Five Walks around Constantine: heritage, landscape, wildlife. Constantine, Kerrier: Constantine Enterprises Company ISBN 0-9552816-0-1
  6. ^ Le. Messurier, B. and Luck, L. (1998) Loe Pool and Mount's Bay. No. 12 in The National Trust Coast of Cornwall series of leaflets
  7. ^ Barton, D. Bradford (1969) A History of Tin Mining and Smelting in Cornwall; revised edition. Cornwall Books, reprint 1989 ISBN 1-871060-03-6; p. 20 fn
  8. ^ "'Gunthorpe - Gyhirn', A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 360-62". Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  9. ^ Nix (26 August 1880). "All About". The Cornishman (111). p. 8.
  10. ^ "A Rival Company At Gweek". The Cornishman (271). 20 September 1883. p. 4.
  11. ^ "Gweek Silver Band".
  12. ^ "Cornwall Fiddle Orchestra website". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007.
  13. ^ "Cornwall Music Service". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007.
  14. ^ "The Helston Grammar School". The Cornishman (122). 11 November 1880. p. 5.

External links[edit]