Mapping Methodism – Madron (New) Wesleyan Chapel

Categories Mapping Methodism, Projects0 Comments

Madron is the name of the Parish and the village. Madron Parish was originally a large area, encompassing from Tolcarne Green in Newlyn to Chyandour near Tesco in Penzance and up to Badgers Cross on the B3311 to the North. The Methodist Chapel is registered for marriages: number in marriage register 26055, number in worship register: 39420. This profile has been researched and compiled by Val Thomas of St Ives Old Cornwall, with much original research being done by Colin C. Short for his book ‘In Spite of Dr. Borlase’, The Story of Methodism in Madron.

See also Madron (first) Wesleyan Chapel

1704 A school next to the Church was endowed by Mr George Daniel.

1744 There was a Methodist Society near Gulval.

1760 John Wesley’s diary says he preached in Madron then rode to St Just.

1780 The Devon and Cornwall Record Society states that the Wesleyan was founded in 1780. Perhaps they met in barns and homes for the next 20 years?

1799 The lease of a piece of land was obtained from ‘The grandfather of the late Mr Adams’ in order to build a chapel. This was the original Wesleyan Chapel.

1800 Evidence records a chapel in Madron opposite the present building. The journal of the statistical Society of London Volume 2 1839, page 223, states it had 200 sittings, no itinerant, had 2 services on Sundays and 2 during the week but held communion at Penzance.

1821 The original chapel had a membership of 34 with two class leaders.

1893 £15.00 from the sale of Boswarthen chapel was given to the fund towards building a new chapel.

1897 The Cornishman newspaper, 1st July. Mr T. Robins Bolitho offered to mark out a site he had ‘liberally’ offered to give for the building of a new chapel in Madron.

1901 The chapel organised the annual open-air service at Madron Well and between 150 and 200 people attended: then number being reduced due to a local funeral!

1902 Notice was given to quit and deliver up the chapel to Ambrose and Beatrice Taylor, the landowners. It had originally been leased for 99 years. A new lease was obtained from the Bolitho family on a piece of land opposite the original chapel, and the first stone was laid in June. The old chapel was still being used on an annual tenancy which ended in September.

1903 The new chapel opened in January but it is thought that services did not commence immediately.

The new Chapel

The plans for the new chapel were drawn by Mr Henry Maddern F.I.A.S. of 26, Clarence Street, Penzance.

All photos on the next few pages are from: “In Spite of Dr. Borlase”. The story of Methodism in Madron. – Colin C. Short

The original plans for the chapel were for it to be heated by a stove with underground flues right in front of the communion rail. However, at a very late stage of the building, the idea was rejected in favour of a low-pressure hot water system with a boiler at the back of the building.

Section and elevation from the architect’s plans. It can be seen that very little has changed within the chapel.

There were 175 adult seats provided with a 20-inch allowance per seat. The schoolroom was for 100 children. The final cost was £1331.00.

1902 April. Mr. J. S. Tregenza of Paul secured the contract for building the new chapel. Mr T. James of Penzance was the carpenter.

Jun The stone laying ceremony took place on Friday 13th June at 3.00pm with tea afterwards at Wesley Rock Chapel in Heamoor. So many people attended that 2 sittings were needed!

Mary Friggens and Bill Cock inherited the mallets used by their families, but both are now deceased.

(The Cornishman Thursday 19th June 1902)

The new chapel. Image:

1903 Opening the new Chapel. 30th January. Mr Vingoe was appointed chapel keeper at £4 5s 0d per annum.

Bazaars and other fundraising efforts were held to pay the debt. Baptisms had always been carried out in the chapel with many different ministers mentioned.

1904 The Cornishman, Thursday September 29th. The first Harvest Festival was held in the new chapel in September.

1908 An organ fund was started and James Henry Dale, who had emigrated to America sent home a contribution towards it. The balance was paid by the Cock family, in memory of Thomas James and Agnes Mary Cock. Prior to this a harmonium had been played.

There was a Band of Hope meeting in November.

1910 The Madron Wesleyan chapel was still organising anniversary services at Madron wishing well.  It is stated in the Cornish Telegraph on Thursday May 5th that “many solemnly wished with the pin and two crossed rushes by dropping them in the well”

The serpentine candle holder, above, was given by J. Newton in 1910. He was vice president of the Band of Hope and secretary of the Sunday school in 1884. He lived at Trengwainton Farm.

1912 John Jenkin, whose family had been closely involved with the chapel, died aged 62 years. He was the first Sunday School Superintendant in the new chapel and his remembrance plaque is on the wall.

1930 William Charles Leggo had a clock dedicated to his memory. He was a trustee in 1901 and presented the Sunday school prizes in 1926. Unfortunately the clock no longer works and cannot be mended.

1931 It was decided that the Chapel should be lit with electric light. It was paid for by Mr James Henry Dale who had emigrated to America in memory of his mother, Mary Jane Dale who had died in 1931.

(Image: Nancy Carter)

1932 The Primitive Wesleyan of the village united with the Wesleyans, although their chapel had closed in 1916.

1934 In January the chapel was licensed for weddings. One of the first weddings was of Charlotte Dale whose father Charles was a trustee

1955 The large Bible which sits on the pulpit was donated by the wife and daughter of James Henry Dale in his memory. The Dale, Jenkin, and Cock family were closely involved with the chapel over many generations.

1960s The Chapel held Summer School for 2 weeks each summer. It was run by Goldie (Catherine Goldstone) and Tommy (Kathleen Toms), the two district nurses.  There are about 67 children in this photo!

1977 – Nurses Goldstone and Toms, Goldie and Tommy took an active part in the life of the Chapel. On the retirement of Tommy, Mr Rowe of Heamoor was commissioned to make this lectern.

1984 The chapel plot lease was finally dissolved in June and the land conveyed to Methodism.

Many hymn books, psalm books and Bibles are dedicated to the memory of people who attend, or attended, the Chapel.

This small cross was donated by Mrs A. Moss, from her home Church which was demolished. David and Alison Moss were ministers at Madron before moving to Canada.

Kathleen Toms donated this cross stitch of the Chapel. The heating of the vestry was installed in memory of Catherine Goldstone’s father, George Goldstone. Kathleen Toms also made a kneeler which she presented to the Chapel and it was dedicated by Rev. Underhill in 1979.

Images not otherwise credited were taken by Val Thomas


These images show views to the front and back of the Chapel in 2002. The large round window on the front wall is a real feature. (Images: ‘Madron’s Story – Dundrow. / Comment from: Picture Penzance)

The Ten Commandment plaques which hang each side of the pulpit on the back wall were donated by Mrs. A. Watts and made by Charles Hoare.

The large cross between the Ten Commandments was commissioned in the 1990’s and carved from a tree which had fallen in the graveyard.

Below are photos taken in 2020 which show the inside of the chapel.  I am sure I have missed out many items which were donated by members of the congregation over the years, and for that I apologise. To the right and left of the lectern can be seen two ornately carved chairs which no one could date. The Chapel now has a carpet and comfortable seating. A legacy from Mary Friggens enabled the fundraising to be kick started for the renovations. A new heating system to replace the old boiler was installed in 1999.

Many activities took place in the chapel, including visits to the Baptistry with Rev. Steven Wild, Christian Fellowship and Bible Study.

Nancy Carter remembers that in the 1950’s and 60’s the children sat on long wooden seas covered in red felt runners. Mr Tom Cock taught Sunday school and pupils gave him their ‘star cards’ which he marked with a red star for attendance. The more stars, the better the book you received on ‘Prize Giving Day’. The attending children partook in activities rather than being sat on benches all the time. The Sunday School outings were to St Ives or Newquay and every child received a large saffron bun and a 3d piece. Nativity plays Junior Mission medals were given for collecting money in order to fund missionary work.

The chapel choir practiced once a week to Colin Lyne playing the piano. The Chapel now has a congregation of 13, but is still used as a meeting point for many village activities.

One of the ornate chairs flanking the pulpit


Below are images taken in 1999 of the Chapel and the shrubbery to one side. In the front wall of the shrubbery is the old village pump and behind it is the holding tank which ensured the water supply was uninterrupted.

The chapel records from 1833 to 2003 were deposited at the County Record Office. Baptisms prior to 1877 in Madron Wesleyan chapel are recorded in the earlier register entered at the County Record Office under Chapel Street, Penzance. The last entry in the previous register is No 268. Entire 26A-8 and covers the 15 years 1988 – 2003.




  • In Spite of Dr. Borlase. The story of Methodism in Madron. From the beginning to 2002 – Colin C. Short.
  • Madron’s Story – Dundrow
  • Picture Penzance.
  • Find my past newspaper records.
  • Nancy Carter.
  • Jackie and Stuart Myers who look after the chapel for opening it for me to take photos.
  • Rose Haggar and her sister Vida Pengelly.
  • Penzance Methodist website

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.