Mapping Methodism – Tregavara/ Tregavarah Wesleyan Chapel

Categories Mapping Methodism0 Comments

Tregavarah is a hamlet off the main road between Alverton and St Just in the parish of Madron. It is situated approximately 2 miles west of Penzance. The name Tregavarah means ‘farm of streams’ and was written without the ‘h’ in early documents. This précis was compiled by Val Thomas with photos by Chris Hawke and WW2 information from Shauney Strick.

Cross with signpost for Tregavarah

  1. John Wesley preached on Tregavarah Downs at noon on Monday 9th April to a ‘great’ congregation that proved deeply attentive. His texts derived from Acts 28;22. He preached there again at noon on Friday, 23th April.

Tregavarah Downs

Located in the parish of Madron, Tregavarah Downs lay 2 to 2.5 miles west of Penzance. John Wesley preached at noon, Monday, 9 April 1744, to a “great” congregation that proved deeply attentive, deriving his text from Acts 28:22. He preached there again at noon on Friday, 13 April (20:22, 24-25)


1822: The chapel was founded and had seats for 126.

Pre 1842: Michael Sagar Fenton reports ‘Out in the fields, a faithful average of thirty five souls received the word in Tregavarah’.

1847: There must have been an established Sunday School with a secretary, Mr Frank Truscott.

1851: Melchisedec James was steward.

  1. A survey reports it had 146 seats.

1818: The Cornishman newspaper reported on the re-opening services  for Tregavara Wesleyan chapel on 22nd August’.

1878: There was a Wesleyan Sunday-School lending library containing 1,123 volumes read by 390 readers established at Chapel-street, St Clare-street, Newlyn, Madron and Tregavarah schools. This was reported by the Cornish Telegraph on 10th December 1878.

1881: There were 11 homesteads in Tregavarah with Matthews and Reynolds being the largest families.

1886: In April a Bazaar was held in the Wesleyan Chapel on Easter Monday.

1892: Diane Donahue recorded the baptism of Mary Jane Kevern, child of John and Elizabeth Kevern of Madron on 21st November: she was born on 5th September 1892.

1899: The Twentieth Century Fund raised 30 guineas from Tregavarah and 100 guineas from Wesley Rock in Heamoor among other donations. This appears to be a fund towards expansion and extension of Methodist properties.

1907: On Thursday April 25th the Cornish Telegraph reported on the opening of a new Sunday School at Tregavarah. ‘On Friday afternoon Tregavarah Wesleyan had the satisfaction of witnessing the opening ceremony of their new Sunday School which has been erected in answer to the need for fuller accommodation. The old Sunday School dd not offer sufficient accommodation for the large number of 120 scholars, and to fully meet their requirements the managers determined that an entirely new building was necessary. The new structure adjoins the old Sunday School, and has been erected on land given by Mr T. B. Bolitho. Its total cost was £205.00. The building is of substantial stone construction and inside is tastefully fitted with pitch-pine seats… The opening ceremony was performed by Mrs S. G. Bazely….. One of the trustees, Mr J. H. Bennetts presented Mrs Bazely with a key to formally open the school. ….. The Chairman, in the course of an address, reminiscent of old Tregavarah, recalled the conditions under which they laboured 40 or 50 years ago and paid tribute to Mr Frank Truscott who had been secretary of the school for 60 years….. The Rev G. D. Mason stated that Tregavarah occupied the unique position of being the only place in the Penzance circuit that had a building exclusively for Sunday School work….. Mr E. H. Mitchell announced collections for the day were £22, leaving the sum of £10. To be raised to clear the building from debt’.

1909: Shows the Chapel with a well nearby.

1920: The Wesleyan Church at Tregavara was re-opened after being thoroughly renovated, reported the Cornishman and Cornish Telegraph on Wednesday September 1st.

1940: The chapel had seating for 150.

1941: The chapel received a direct hit from a parachute mine and was destroyed. Four mines fell in that raid: two at Tregonebris, one at Trewidden and this one at Tregavarah. They were dropped by a Dornier 217 on 6th September 1941. The Bible remained open at the page of the text for that evening’s sermon. Michelle Morse said her Grandad made a boot rack from some of the remains of the organ! The chapel was closed and registered as demolished.  Ken Heale, born in Tregavarah, said that his family told him that the bomb was meant to be dropped on Trereife House where the Home Guard was stationed!

At the time of its closure Tregavarah had a membership of 11.

The memorial plaque from Tregavara chapel was rescued and placed in Tredavoe chapel.

Tregavara Chapel drawn by Dick Pollard (Graham Williams Nostalgic Penzance and Newlyn)


What is left of Tregavarah chapel is now in ruins and overgrown with undergrowth. Chris Hawke from Penzance photographed the ruins in Dec 2020 and here are some of his images:

The remains of Tregavarah chapel – seems to be the room of the chapel in the forefront



Penzance, The biography – Michael Sagar Fenton

The Wesleys in Cornwall 1743-1789 – Samuel J. Rogal

Facebook comments on Nostalgic Penzance and Newlyn

National Maps of Scotland

‘Find my Past’ newspapers.

National maps of Scotland

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.