The parish of Gwinear lies on high ground south-east of Hayle and is composed of scattered farms and houses.There is archaeological evidence that farming in this area goes back to at least the 2nd century B.C. Gwinear was the son of an Irish pagan king and is reputed to have been slaughtered together with his companions by the Cornish pagan king, Theodoric.
Silver and copper mines and related industries were important in the 18th and 19th centuries, but as elsewhere in Cornwall these industries have now declined. In those days, the parish was a thriving mining community and one of the first steam engines ever to be built was installed at the Herland mine in 1758.
The Churchyard contains the tomb of John Harvey, founder of the famous Hayle Foundry.