OS Grid ref:- SW6620
Gunwalloe, sometimes known as Winninton, and known in Cornish as Sen Gwynnwalo, consists of a fishing cove and small settlement situated between Cury and the sea.
The name derives from the sixth century Breton saint Winwaloe, whose mother is reputed to have grown a third breast when she had triplets! St. Winwaloe founded the monastery at Landevennec in Brittany.
Gunwalloe lays claim to be the first entry in the Domesday Book as the King's manor of Winnianton is the first entry for Cornwall. At the time of Domesday it was of great importance and the head manor in the hundred of Kerrier. The parish church was originally a manorial church of this manor but in the thirteenth century it became a chapelry of Breage.
The village was once owned by the Penrose family but was sold off, parts of it were purchased by the National Trust. The village depended on fishing in the past, but this industry has largely died out.
To the west stand the Halzephron cliffs, on which the bodies of many shipwrecked seamen have been buried, the name comes from the Cornish als and yfarn, meaning 'Hell's cliff'. An area notorious for shipwrecks, there is reputed to be lost Spanish treasure at nearby Dollar Cove.
A stream runs down the fine sand and pebble beach at Gunwalloe to the sea, the beach is often visited by treasure seekers but to date little, other than a few coins, has been discovered.
The characterful village pub, the five hundred year old Halzephron Inn, a former haunt of smugglers, has an outside seating area offering superb views across Mount's Bay. The inn offers accommodation and serves excellent food.
Nearby Poldhu Cove was the site of Marconi's first radio transmissions across the Atlantic.
The church of St. Winwaloe
The village church of St. Winwaloe is said to be one of the oldest in Cornwall and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Curiously situated at the foot of the sand dunes, with only the rocks of Castle Mound separating it from the sea, the church's detached bell tower is actually embedded in the side of the cliff. It was originally known as 'the Church of the Storms'. Its precarious position has meant that it has frequently, over the centuries, had to be reinforced by depositing large quantities of granite into the gap between the church and Dollar Cove to break the force of the waves.
Nothing now remains of the original fifth century church which once occupied the site, the present detached bell tower is believed to date from the thirteenth century while the rest of the building is mainly of fifteenth century origin but was heavily restored in 1869 by Edmund Sedding after incurring heavy damage caused by storms.
In the churchyard stands an early cross which once guided pilgrims across the stream. The church contains two surviving parts of the early sixteenth Century Rood Screen, depicting the Apostles. The screen was made from wreckage of The St. Antonio (St. Anthony) of Lisbon, captained by Antonio Pacheco, the ship was wrecked at Gunwalloe on Saturday, 19th January, 1527, on the way from Lisbon to Antwerp, the wreck has now been located off Fishing Cove.
The church contains two fonts, the older is of Norman origin, dating to around 1100, the second font, a granite octagonal bowl dates from the thirteenth century. By the porch may be seen a figure of St. Winwaloe.