The church of Saint Paul, Gulworthy stands on high ground virtually in the middle of its parish. It is surrounded by the farms which today are the single main business of the parish.
Our church is part of the benefice of Tavistock and Gulworthy. The parish is bounded to the east by the River Tavy and the parish of Tavistock, with the vast expanse of Dartmoor lying beyond. To the west the River Tamar forms the stunning beautiful boundary with the parishes of Gunnislake and Calstock (in the Diocese of Truro and the county of Cornwall)
History of the Church
With mining and industry bringing many more people in to the area, Francis Sackville Russell, the seventh Duke of Bedford, gave the Duke gave land and money in 1856 for the Church of St Paul and the neighbouring school to be built to cater for their spiritual and educational needs.
On 5 July 1856 the Bishop of Exeter granted a licence for the church to be used ‘for divine service’
The licence said:
At and in the vicinity of the Hamlet of Gulworthy in the Parish of Tavistock there was resident a population of about one thousand persions and in order to make better provision for their attendance at Divine Worship the Most Noble Francis Duke of Bedford had freely given and conveyed to Her Majesty’s Commissioners for building new Churches a piece of ground part of Gulworthy Farm in the said parish containing one acre and seventeen perches and had erected thereon a building designed to be consectrated and which was finished and furnished with all things necessary for Diving Service.
The Duke of Bedford continued to provide for the maintenance of the church building throughout the century. The Rural Dean’s report on his visit of 5 March 1883 reads:
The church has been painted and coloured by the Duke of Bedford and the seats have been varnished… The commandments have been set up in their proper place… The whole appearance of the church has been much improved and everything about it is in excellent condition.
The patronage of the parish was transferred from the Duke of Bedford to the Bishop of Exeter on 17 January 1912.
Our church is now known as the Miners’ Church, in recognition of its history and foundation and you will find the graves of many mining families in the church grounds.
The Parish Hall
Next to the church is the Parish Hall, centre for a variety of activities from sales, meetings and nursery school to the WI. Harvest Festival and many other church celebrations are held in the Hall, where food usually features.