An introduction to Wendron
Wendron is situated in the Hundred and District of Kerrier and lies northeast from the market town of Helston. The parish is the largest in Kerrier and has a number of small but active villages including Porkellis, Penmarth, Trenear, Trewennack, Rame and Carnkie to name just a few of the largest.
A little history
Wendron was originally called Gwendron and was an important tin mining area with mines such as Bassett and Grylls, Polhigy and Medlyn. Polhigy mine closed in 1937 leaving many out of work.
Wendron Parish has seven Methodist Chapels of which four are still in use. Burras, Trewennack, Penmarth and Edgcumbe Chapels are used each week by people of the parish. Porkellis Chapel has moved its services into the old Sunday School building as Porkellis Chapel itself, which is a listed building, is falling into disrepair. Both Manhay and Carnkie chapels have been approved for conversion and have been or are being renovated retaining part of the Parish’s history. In the past, there were four churches in the parish, situated at Churchtown near Trenear, Porkellis, Carnmenellis and Franchise Farm. Wendron Church at Churchtown is the only church now in use, and has incorporated a primary school which recently moved into newly built premises nearby. The other churches have all closed, with Carnmenellis burning down in the 1960’s, the church at the Franchise Farm converted into a residence and Porkellis Church closing in the late 1970’s.
The ancient parish village of Penmarth was originally inhabited by tin streamers, the oldest known mechanical tin smelter being recorded there in 1326. Underground working began in the 1700’s and ended with the new Polhigy mine 1927-1937. Polhigy Terrace was built by the mine company in 1927 for their workers. The village once had a post office and shop, church, chapel, reading room (Bethal), Men’s Institute, carpenter’s shop and blacksmith.
Porkellis also had a church and chapel and was a more extensive mining village with Basset and Grylls mine at Orchard Lawns. Porkellis moor was streamed constantly for tin for at least 2,500 years. Porkellis had a cinema, post office and shop, pub, Men’s Institute and a coach builder.
Carnkie was originally inhabited by workers of quarries at Longdowns and Mabe, and the village grew with a shop, chapel, Men’s Institute, blacksmiths, two carpenters shops and a village pump. The Chapel finally closed its doors in 2010.
Trewennack village is situated to the southwest of the parish and was a busy village having a wheelwright, carpenter’s shop, blacksmith’s forge, grocers shop, village pump and a large Methodist chapel. There is an ancient holy well dedicated to St. Euny in Trewennack. The well, which was the first listed building to be registered in Cornwall, has recently been restored.
Wendron was not only noted for being a tin mining area but also for its farming lands which produced food and work for the people of the parish.