Mapping Methodism – Truro Shouters or Trumpeters

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The Shouters or Trumpeters (probably derogatory nicknames) left Truro Bible Christian movement and built a chapel where indicated on the cover map. This profile has been compiled by Tony Mansell.


1814: Two middle-aged spinsters, the “very pious” Elizabeth and Mary Downe were expelled from Truro Bible Christian services for excessive fervour including shouting and screaming during the services.

1815: Elizabeth and Mary Downe founded a new order. It is not known if it had an official name but it was referred to as the “Shouters or Trumpeters”.

1817: Elizabeth and Mary Downe leased a plot of land in Campfield Hill on which they proposed to build a chapel.

1817/18: The chapel was built with, probably, help from the Downs family.

The movement was said to have held enthusiastic revivals with violent prophetic warnings and trumpet blasts.

1821: A Church of England report mentioned that there were dissenters called Methodists in Truro: seceders from Methodism (probably meaning Wesleyans) which were Bryanites and Shouters or Trumpeters. The latter was said to have “very few members, chiefly women…”

1821: Thomas Preston of Beeston, St Lawrence, Norfolk, made a nationwide tour which included Cornwall. He describes his thoughts on Methodism at Truro which he visited on the 17th June. “It is dreadful to think what a state Methodism has arrived here; there are many meeting houses, but two in particular I was told to go and see, which are vulgarly called “Shouters and Jumpers”. What their tenets are I cannot say, but they pretend they are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and throw themselves into convulsions sometimes on the floor, sometimes jumping or as they think most applicable. I cannot say I saw any of these extraordinary motions, but to the shouts and groans I can speak, having witnessed both. Some make the noise of a cock, others the screech of an owl. One night they made such a noise and at such a late hour, the constables forced open the door and broke up the meeting.”

1840: Lease renewed.

The society ceased when elder sister died and the members joined the Bible Christians.

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