Nestled in the heart of Cornwall, lies a place steeped in history and heritage, where the echoes of medieval academia and linguistic preservation resonate to this day. Glasney College, also known as the College of All Saints, is more than just a relic of the past; it’s a testament to the profound influence of education on a region’s culture and language. In this blog post, we will embark on a journey through time to discover the rich tapestry of Glasney College’s history and its enduring legacy.

A Glimpse into the Past

Glasney College was founded in 1265 by Bishop Bronescombe of Exeter, making it one of Cornwall’s oldest educational institutions. Its strategic location in Penryn, near Falmouth, allowed it to serve as a hub for learning and religious instruction in the region.

A Hub of Religious Education

At its core, Glasney College was an ecclesiastical institution dedicated to religious education. Monks and scholars flocked to its hallowed halls to delve into theology, philosophy, and Latin. Yet, what makes Glasney College truly remarkable in the annals of history is its dedication to preserving the Cornish language.

The Preservation of Cornish

Glasney College played a pivotal role in the preservation of the Cornish language. While Latin was the predominant language of instruction, Cornish was not forgotten. In fact, it was actively promoted and used in the teaching of theology. This approach to education ensured that the Cornish language thrived within the college’s walls, even as Latin reigned supreme in the ecclesiastical world.

The Legacy of Manuscripts

One of the enduring legacies of Glasney College is the wealth of Cornish language manuscripts it produced and housed. These manuscripts encompassed religious texts, poetry, and historical documents. These written works have become invaluable records of the Cornish language’s historical development and cultural expressions.

The Decline and Dissolution

The winds of change blew over Cornwall in the 16th century with the English Reformation. As part of this religious and political transformation, monasteries and religious institutions were dissolved. In 1548, Glasney College met the same fate, marking a significant turning point in its history.

The Impact on Cornish Language

The dissolution of Glasney College had a profound impact on the Cornish language. With the loss of an educational institution that actively promoted and preserved Cornish, the language faced a challenging period of decline.

Glasney College’s Enduring Significance

Though Glasney College may have ceased to exist physically, its legacy endures. Today, it is a symbol of the importance of education in shaping a region’s cultural and linguistic identity. Efforts to revive the Cornish language continue, driven by a recognition of its historical significance and its place in the modern world.


Glasney College stands as a testament to the power of education to shape the destiny of a language and culture. Its commitment to preserving the Cornish language, even in the face of changing times, leaves an indelible mark on Cornwall’s history. As we look back at this venerable institution, we are reminded