Mapping Methodism – Goonbell Primitive Methodist Chapel

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Goonbell is a hamlet near St Agnes. This profile of Goonbell Primitive Methodist Chapel has been compiled by Clive Benney & Tony Mansell.


(Photo: Building Fund Appeal leaflet)

The Goonbell Society was supposedly formed in 1846 but in a paper entitled Religion in St Agnes it said that the little Goonbell Chapel was built before 1835. Perhaps, however, that referred to the Goonbell Meeting House.

1848: The Society seems to have faltered and closed through lack of support.

Probably circa 1850: Primitive Methodist Chapel built. (Cornwall Heritage Gateway)

Built as a Primitive Methodist chapel. (SWChurches)

Circa 1850: Primitive Methodist chapel, now converted to a house. Circa 1850, extended in the C20. Painted rubble walls with round brick arches. Sashes with glazing bars, some with fanlight heads. (Cornwall Heritage Gateway)

1852:  The Society was re-formed and it is said that there was singing and praying in the streets.

1884: According to J C C Probert the Society attempted to purchase some ground for a new chapel but they found it difficult to raise the money and had to repair the old.

1885: “Chapel re-opening. The Primitive Methodist Chapel, Goonbell, St. Agnes, was re-opened on Sunday last, after it had been undergoing alterations for several months… The carpentry has been done by Mr. Sampson, Blackwater, and the painting by Messrs. J. and P. Reynolds, of St. Agnes. At first it was thought of building a new chapel, but as the parish is not too wealthy at present it was found difficult to raise funds, and therefore it was decided to reinstate the old one. Collections were made at the close of each service in aid of the Restoration Fund.” (Royal Cornwall Gazette – Friday 16 January 1885)

1885 – 11th January: The refurbished Chapel was reopened for services.

1919: More repairs were undertaken.

1932: The Wesleyan, Primitive Methodist and the United Methodist Church amalgamated to become the Methodist Church of Great Britain.

1932: Became Goonbell Methodist Church. (SWChurches)

1940: Seating for 100. (David Easton, Methodist Minister and historian)

1948: “It was hoped that electricity would shortly be installed.”

1940s: The congregation declined to such an extent that the Chapel closed.

1952: Chapel renovated and decorated. (West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser – Thursday 29 May 1952)

1952: The chapel reopened under the leadership of the Revd F H Sims Clapp, a supernumerary Minister who had moved to the area.

1955 – 16th January:  A huge storm severely damaged the building; the end wall collapsed from roof level to within a few feet of the ground and the rostrum was crushed. This seemed to signal the end of this little chapel but the members were made of stern stuff and decided otherwise. It was restored, the rostrum from the old Chapel at Trevellas was installed and a much-needed schoolroom added. While the work was carried out the congregation met at Goonown Chapel.

1955: Collapse of chapel end wall. (West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser – Thursday 20 January 1955)

1955 – surveying the damage (Photo: Ken Young)

1956: The chapel was rebuilt. (SWChurches)

1956 – August: The re-building was complete and the chapel re-opened.

August 1956 after re-opening – the light is shining through the stained glass window which was a gift from Guthrie Thomas of Trevellas (Photo: Ken Young)

1856: Chapel re-opening and dedication. (West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser – Thursday 23 August 1956)

1957 – Saturday the 27th July: A new schoolroom was officially opened.

Goonbell Primitive Chapel and Schoolroom (Photo: courtesy Donald Blight)

The numbers attending declined.

1983: The Chapel closed for the last time. (Rev. David Easton)

1985: Converted into a dwelling.












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