Penryn, Cornwall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St Gluvias Street, Penryn (Geograph 2015028).jpg
St Gluvias Street, Penryn
Penryn is located in Cornwall
Location within Cornwall
Population6,812 (Census 2011)[1]
OS grid referenceSW782345
Civil parish
  • Penryn
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townPENRYN
Postcode districtTR10
Dialling code01326
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
50°10′08″N 5°06′25″W / 50.169°N 5.107°W / 50.169; -5.107Coordinates: 50°10′08″N 5°06′25″W / 50.169°N 5.107°W / 50.169; -5.107

Penryn (/pɛnˈrɪn/;[2] Cornish: Pennrynn,[3] meaning 'promontory') is a civil parish and town in west Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is on the Penryn River about 1 mile (1.6 km) northwest of Falmouth.[4] The population was 7,166 in the 2001 census and had been reduced to 6,812 in the 2011 census, a drop of more than 300 people across the ten-year time gap.[5] There are two electoral wards covering Penryn: 'Penryn East and Mylor' and 'Penryn West'. The total population of both wards in the 2011 census was 9,790.[6][7]

Though now the town is overshadowed by the larger nearby town of Falmouth, Penryn was once an important harbour in its own right, lading granite and tin to be shipped to other parts of the country and world during the medieval period.


Early history[edit]

Prayer Book Rebellion Memorial, near the site of Glasney College

The ancient town first appears in the Domesday Book under the name of "Trelivel", and was since founded and named Penryn in 1216 by the Bishop of Exeter. The borough was enfranchised and its Charter of Incorporation was made in 1236. The contents of this Charter were embodied in a confirmation by Bishop Walter Bronescombe in the year 1259.[8] In 1265, a religious college, called Glasney College, was built in Penryn for the Bishop of Exeter to develop the church's influence in the far west of the diocese. In 1374, the chapel of St Thomas (sometimes called St Mary's) was opened. Standing at the head of the Penryn River, Penryn occupies a sheltered position and was a port of some significance in the 15th century. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII and the disestablishing of the Roman Catholic church, Glasney College was dissolved and demolished in 1548 during the brief reign of Edward VI, the first Protestant Duke of Cornwall and afterwards King of England. The dissolution of Glasney College helped trigger the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549.[9]

Later history[edit]

Jubilee Wharf

From 1554, Penryn held a parliamentary constituency, which became Penryn and Falmouth in 1832. The constituency was abolished in 1950, Penryn becoming part of the Falmouth and Camborne constituency. It received a royal charter as a borough in 1621, mainly in a bid by the crown to cure the town of piracy. At least three mayors of Penryn were convicted of piracy between 1550 and 1650. The arms of the borough of Penryn were a Saracen's head Or in a bordure of eight bezants.[10] The merchant traveller and writer Peter Mundy (c.1600–67) was the son of a Penryn pilchard trader and travelled extensively throughout his life in Asia (where he was one of the first Europeans to taste Chaa), Russia and Europe before returning to Penryn to write his Itinerarium Mundi ('World Itinerary'); one of the earliest travel guides in English.[11]

By the mid-17th century, the port was thriving from trade in Cornish fish, tin and copper. However, Penryn lost its custom house and market rights to the new town of Falmouth as a direct result of supporting the Parliamentary side in the English Civil War (1642–48).[12]

In the early 19th century, granite works were established by the river and large quantities of the stone were shipped from its quays for construction projects both within the UK and abroad.[13]

The A39 road, which begins in Bath and is about 200 miles (320 km) long, once passed through Penryn towards the end of its route in nearby Falmouth, but in 1994 was diverted around the town when the Penryn Bypass was opened, incorporating a stretch of new road along with upgrading to an existing road.[14]

The town is the setting of the play The Penryn Tragedy, which tells of a young man unwittingly murdered by his parents after disguising himself as a rich stranger.[15]

Present-day Penryn[edit]

Market Street, looking south
Collegewood railway viaduct

Today, Penryn is a quiet town and has retained a large amount of its heritage. A large proportion of its buildings date from Tudor, Jacobean and Georgian times; the town has therefore been designated as an important conservation area. The local museum is housed in Penryn Town Hall. The town hall building is partly 17th century[16] and partly 19th century in date; its clock tower is dated 1839.[17]


Higher education[edit]

In 2004, the Penryn Campus was completed, creating the hub of the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) project. It includes the University of Exeter housing the 6th best Ecology Department in the world and Camborne School of Mines, which has moved from Camborne, where it has been for over a century, among other departments of the University of Exeter. The Campus also houses departments of Falmouth University, which is based in the centre of Falmouth. In 2007, phase two was completed, which includes increased student accommodation and new teaching areas.


There are currently two schools in Penryn:

  • Penryn Primary Academy (a merging of Penryn Infants and Junior Schools)
  • Penryn College[18]


Penryn railway station was opened by the Cornwall Railway on 24 August 1863. It is towards the northwest end of the town and is served by regular trains from Truro to Falmouth on the Maritime Line.

Sport and leisure[edit]

Penryn RFC, founded in 1872, is a rugby union club which plays in the Tribute Western Counties West league, the seventh tier of the English rugby union league system. They are nicknamed "The Borough" and are the oldest rugby club in Cornwall.[19]

Penryn Athletic (founded 1963; also known as "The Borough") is a non-League football club who play at the 1,500-capacity Kernick Road ground. The club is a member of the South West Peninsula League Division One West, which is a step 7 league in the national league system.

In 2021, Penryn-based Cornwall R.L.F.C. joined the third tier of professional Rugby league, RFL League 1.

The English Shinty Association is based in Penryn.


The policing of the area is the responsibility of Devon and Cornwall Police who have a dedicated team to cover the area known as the Penryn & Mylor Local Policing Team.[20]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Local statistics – Office for National Statistics". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  2. ^ BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names; new ed.; edited & transcribed by G. E. Pointon. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983; p. 191
  3. ^ "List of Place-names agreed by the MAGA Signage Panel" (PDF). Cornish Language Partnership. May 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 July 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 204 Truro & Falmouth ISBN 978-0-319-23149-4
  5. ^ "Parish population 2011". Archived from the original on 8 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Ward population for Penryn East & Mylor 2011". Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Ward population for Penryn West 2011". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  8. ^ Roddis
  9. ^ "The Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549". Devon Perspectives. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  10. ^ Pascoe, W. H. (1979). A Cornish Armory. Padstow, Cornwall: Lodenek Press. p. 134. ISBN 0-902899-76-7.
  11. ^ Mundy, Peter; Temple, Richard Carnac; Anstey, Lavinia Mary (29 April 2018). "The travels of Peter Mundy in Europe and Asia, 1608–1667". Cambridge [Eng] Printed for the Hakluyt Society. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2018 – via Internet Archive.
  12. ^ "Happy 800th Birthday, Penryn!". Falmouth Anchor. 18 October 2021. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Teamwork sculpture among statues carved from Cornish quarries". The Packet. 8 September 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  14. ^ "25 Years Ago: Only a few weeks to go for the new Penryn bypass". The Packet. 3 March 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  15. ^ "Penryn Cornwall, tourist guide & map, events, accommodation, businesses, history, photos, videos". Into Cornwall. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  16. ^ Historic England. "The town hall, museum and attached walls and railings (1280314)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  17. ^ Beacham, Peter; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2014). Cornwall (The Buildings of England Series). New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 413–414. ISBN 978-0300126686.
  18. ^ Penryn College website Archived 22 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Salmon, Tom (1983). The First Hundred Years. Illogan: Cornwall RFU. ISBN 0 946664 01 3.
  20. ^ Devon and Cornwall Police. "Devon and Cornwall Police". Retrieved 29 April 2018.


  • Roddis, Roland, Penryn, The History of an Ancient Cornish Borough, 1964
  • Warmington, Ernie, Penryn: People, Places, Postcards, Photographs, 1998, Published by the author, reprinted 2007
  • Warmington, Ernie, Around Penryn (Images of England series), Stroud: Tempus Publishing, 2000, ISBN 0-7524-2098-4
  • Warmington, Ernie, Penryn Revisited, Stroud: Tempus Publishing, 2007, ISBN 978-0-7524-4607-3
  • Warmington, Ernie, Penryn Through Time, Amberley Publishing, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84868-543-7
  • Hallett, Christine E., ‘Nurses of Passchendaele: Caring for the Wounded of the Ypres Campaigns 1914-1918’, Pen & Sword History, 2017, ISBN 978-1-52670-288-3

External links[edit]