Mapping Methodism – Nancledra Primitive Methodist Chapel

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The Nancledra Primitive Methodist Chapel is situated on the B3311 between Nancledra and Gulval in the Parish of Towednack. This profile has been compiled by Val Thomas of St Ives Old Cornwall.


Rachael Larkinson has published much of this information in an article for the ‘My Primitive Methodist’ website, dated April 2013.  All words from her will be typed in italics. Many of these images are also hers and will be attributed to Ms. Larkinson who also thanks Rev. Tony Barnes for his help.

The above images are from St Ives Museum, David Allan collection

‘Nancledra Hill is situated on the B3311 road from Penzance to St Ives in a rather isolated position about half a mile up a hill from the village itself.’

1855 ‘The chapel was opened and according to Primitive Methodism in Cornwall by J.C.C. Probert, the chapel was 20ft Long and 15 ft wide and seated nearly 100.’

1859 ‘The society expanded and in 1859 the chapel was lengthened by 14 ft and a gallery 4 seats deep was added, as well as the porch. A wooden floor was put in, the interior was decorated and the walls boarded as high as the pews’.

1883 The chapel members were favoured with a couple of temperance lectures.

1886 August. The Primitive Methodist Sunday School had their outing. They met at the chapel at noon, when a number of conveyances were placed at their disposal by kind and generous friends. They went to Carbis Bay where a variety of games and amusements were freely indulged in by the teachers and children which prepared their appetites for the te and cake, of which there was a bountiful supply. After tea the party amused themselves by boating and excursions by train. Mr Piper from Hayle photographed the school. At half past seven they prepared to travel home and arrived by nine pm. Mr t. Eddy, the senior superintendent was unavoidably absent through illness.

(Images: Rachael Larkinson from ‘My Primitive Methodists’)

1890 The Chapel choir gave a service of Song in the Lelant chapel on Sunday afternoon, according to the Cornish Telegraph of 22nd May.

1901 March.  Mr James Tonkin, 48, superintendent of Nancledra Primitive-Methodist Sunday-school andorganist died in an accident. He was of a quiet and thoughtful disposition.

(The Cornishman Thursday 30th June 1904)

In July 1904, the Primitive Methodists held their annual festival. It was headed by the Towednack brass band and the teachers and scholars marched to Castle Gate then back to Mr Baker’s gardens, on to Amalebra and Nancledra, then back to the chapel where they had tea. Running, jumping, etc were indulged in, in a field lent my Mr Curnow and the band played. The Nancledra Primitive Methodists called their building a chapel in this account.

1908 The chapel is still shown on the OS map.

1920 The Nancledra Primitive Methodist Church is advertising for an organist. The building is new referred to as a Church.

1923 The Nancledra Hill Primitive Methodist Chapel gave a concert on Feast Monday (Jan 29th).

1925 October. The harvest festival was held on Sunday 4th and Tuesday 6th. Newlyn Primitive Church, under the conductorship of Mr J. White jnr., gave a sacred concert on the Sunday afternoon. It was very largely attended, every available seat being occupied. There was a public tea and auction on the Tuesday when £7.00 was raised for funds.

1928  The Nancledra Primitive Methodist Church is, again, advertising for an organist. Apply Miss Roach.

1929 In mid July there was a Sunday–school anniversary service. And then there was Church camp:-


(The Cornishman and Cornish Telegraph 25th July 1929)

1930 The harvest festival service was held on Sunday and Monday 21st and 22nd September. On the Sunday afternoon the Penzance Mount Street P.M. Church choir sang under the leadership of Mr. G. Worsley.  There was also a service in the evening. There was a public tea on the Monday when the fruit and other offerings were disposed of. The total proceeds amounted to £5.5s.

1932 On March 29th there was an entertainment consisting of solos, gramophone selections etc. The Rev F. Hull presided.

1942 Mrs Emily Roach had the first part of her burial service at Nancledra Hill Primitive Methodist Church. She was buried in Ludgvan Churchyard, where the Methodist minister of Penzance officiated.

This is the last newspaper report for the Chapel.

C1948 – 1957 According to ‘My Primitive Wesleyans’: ‘Although quite a lot of money was spent on repairs in the years after the second world war, including the installation of electricity in 1957, the chapel closed in 1963 and the congregation united with the ex-Wesleyan congregation in the village.’

*The correspondence for the lease of Nancledra Primitive Methodist Chapel, Towednack is MRPZ/155 at Kresen Kernow.

This image was on their website without a place name, but it is Nancledra Hill Primitive Wesleyan. (Image: My Primitive Wesleyans)

The excerpt above was on the internet but I dispute the date given for the closure as there are newspaper reports from a later date than this! It is also confusingly named. The comments below indicate that it was still in use in the 1950’s.

* ‘The Churches of Britain and Ireland’ which is in ‘My Primitive Methodists’, lists the closing date as 1963.

*The correspondence for the lease of Nancledra Primitive Methodist Chapel, Towednack is MRPZ/155 at Kresen Kernow.

These are comments from the bottom of the article about the chapel on ‘My Primitive Methodists’ by Christopher Hill.

C1970 John M. Beusmans of Carn Pottery bought the chapel to use as a studio.

The Chapel looks to be in a bad state of repair and there was no sign of anyone making pots there and no signboard. (Images: Val Thomas 2021)


National maps of Scotland

Google research

‘My Primitive Methodists’ website.

St Ives Museum

‘Find my Past’ newspaper articles

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