Mapping Methodism – Chapel Terrace, Falmouth, Primitive Methodist Chapel

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Falmouth is a town, civil parish and port on the River Fal on the south coast of Cornwall. This profile of Chapel Terrace, Falmouth Primitive Methodist Chapel has been compiled by Tony Mansell.


1825: William Clowes first visited Cornwall in 1825. (My Primitive Methodists)

1832 Falmouth Primitive Methodist Chapel built in Chapel Terrace. (Miss Susan Gay’s Falmouth chronology)

1832: The first Primitive Methodist Chapel in Falmouth was opened, in Chapel Terrace. (My Primitive Methodists)

Chapel Terrace, Falmouth Primitive Methodist Chapel built. (SWChurches)

Built as a Primitive Methodist chapel. (SWChurches)

Part of Falmouth Primitive Methodist Circuit. (SWChurches)

1836: Gallery added. (Miss Susan Gay’s Falmouth chronology)

1885: “Fracas in a Falmouth Chapel. A painful scene was enacted at the Primitive Methodist Chapel at Falmouth on Sunday, which put an end to the services for the day. A dispute arose through some unpleasantness amongst the choir. Some two years ago the former choir leader left the country, and his place in the choir was taken by another. Last March the former choirmaster returned to Falmouth, and received an invitation to take his old position. He, however, refused, but took a place in the choir, until the September quarter, when he gave up everything connected with the membership of the chapel On the first of this month he made a request to be again received as a member, and at the same time ten out of fourteen sent in a petition asking that he should be reinstated leader of the choir ; but notwithstanding this petition the quarterly meeting elected the present choirmaster to that position. Last Sunday week the majority of the choir expressed their displeasure by refusing to sit under the leadership of the choirmaster, and no music could be obtained. On the following Wednesday the Rev. J. W. Coad, the superintendent minister, endeavoured to put matters straight, and it was agreed that the choir should take their places as usual on Sunday. When, however, on Sunday morning the old choir went to take their places, surprise was expressed at the fact, that the harmonium had been tampered with, and that it had a new lock on it. The young lady who played it managed to find a key to fit the new lock, which had evidently been put on to prevent her getting at the instrument. She then took her usual position. The choirmaster and his followers were heard discussing affairs at the other end of the chapel, and they were urged not to make any bother. They, however, marched up the chapel in single file, males on one side and females on the other, and then a disturbance commenced. The instrumentalist was charged with having broken open the harmonium, which she denied. High words ensued, and a gentleman was told by one who took the instrumentalist’s part to mind his own business. To this be retorted that he would pick his adviser up and carry him out of the chapel. A sort of free fight then took place. I. is alleged than an officer of the society struck a young man several times behind the head. The young man’s father then rushed from his seat to his son’s protection, as also did another young fellow who was presumed to be peculiarly interested in the protection of the instrumentalist. A leader in the fray was then seized by the collar and had his nose punched, causing it to bleed freely. A young man is also accused of having struck a prominent member of the choir in the eye. During the disturbance blows were freely exchanged and for a time the chapel was the scene of the utmost confusion. All this took place before the time for the commencement of the service, and very few of the congregation were present. The preacher had not arrived. The row gradually sub- sided, and the chapel, which soon became empty, was locked up for the remainder of the day, even the children’s afternoon service being dispensed with. (Royal Cornwall Gazette – Friday 18 December 1885)

1886: “The Fracas in a Chapel at Falmouth. At the Falmouth County Court on Friday, before Mr. H. Bere, cases were down for trial arising out of the fracas at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Falmouth. In be first William Pascoe, wheelwright, Budock, sued John md Henry Kelway, of Vernon-place, Falmouth, for damages for assault. Mr. W. L. Fox appeared for plaintiff, and Mr. VV. Jenkins for defendants. Mr. Fox, in opening the case, said that prior to leaving England in 1883 Mr. John Rolling was choirmaster of the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Falmouth, and his daughter, Harriet Rolling, was the appointed player. While Mr. Rolling was away Mr. John Pascoe acted as choirmaster. Mr. Rolling returned from abroad in March last, and in November an application was sent to the quarterly board that he might be reinstated as choir leader. This, how- aver, was not acceded to, and the members of the choir, who signed the application, feeling piqued, on Sunday, the 6th December, sat out in the chapel, the choir being made up by the Messrs. Kelway and others. On the following Sunday, in consequence of overtures which had been made to them in the meantime, the choir took their accustomed places, Miss Rolling being at the harmonium, ready to conduct the service in a quiet, orderly manner. The Kelways and others, however, did not join them. They held a consultation outside and then marched up the chapel, the males walking up one aisle and the females up the other. John Pascoe charged Miss Rolling with having broken open the harmonium. Between the two Sundays a fresh lock had been put on and the front nailed down. Miss Rolling’s key fitted the lock, and no request had been made to her to give it up. John Pascoe consulted with John Kelway, after which the instrument was forcibly closed. Edward Roiling, thinking John Kelway was going to molest his sister, stepped forward to protect her, and Kelway seized him by the throat, pushed him, and struck him violent blows on the head. This caused considerable commotion in the chapel. William Pascoe, who was engaged to Miss Rolling, then came forward to prevent further injury being done to his future brother-in-law. John Kelway took him by the throat, tore off his collar, tore off some of his shirt buttons, forcibly shoved him out of the choir pew, and whilst holding him Mr. Jenkins (interrupting) said no such assault was committed. The Judge: I don’t care whether this is true or not. If the Kelways chose to use physical force they committed an assault. Mr. Jenkins: We deny the assault, except that it was in self-defence. The Judge: Surely the religious society to which these parties belong have power to suppress brawling in church. The minister is the proper person to consider the matter and to regulate the order of the church. It is monstrous that this should be brought into Court. It won’t reflect any credit upon either parties concerned in the matter. Mr. Jenkins: It is quite a scandal. Mr. Fox: The complainant feels the same, and would not have pressed the matter. The damages claimed were on account of money out of pocket in consequence of a violent blow received, which was unjustifiable. The young man lost two and a half days’ work. Mr. Jenkins said he would rather pay money out of his own pocket than have such a scandal on a religious com- munity. People had come to the Court that morning out of curiosity. Mr. Fox remarked that he had offered to withdraw the summons if his client’s out-of-pocket expenses had been paid. But the defendants not only said they would not pay the money, but they would not allow anybody else to pay it. The Judge: I have given my opinion that it is not a proper place to enter into it. It will do neither side any good. What is the actual sum claimed? Mr. Fox: Including the doctor’s fee and the loss of two and a half days’ work 14 9d. is claimed. Plaintiff is an apprentice. He is not suing for sentimental damages, but for actual money out of pocket. The Judge: Well, go on, please. Mr. Fox: Kelway gave him a violent blow on the eye, cutting it open. He also struck him in the face, causing his nose to bleed. The chapel was finally closed for that Sunday. Mr. Jenkins consulted with the Rev. J. Coad (superintendent of the chapel), and it was stated that he was prepared to pay the amount mentioned by Mr. Fox. The Judge: I am very glad. I speak feelingly in the matter. It would be an unpleasant thing to have this squabble heard in public. The Rev. J. Coad: I should like publicly to thank your Honour for the kind way in which you tried to settle this matter. I am sure if it had not been for my friend Mr. Fox it would have been settled. Mr. Jenkins: You must not say that; it is a reflection on a professional man. Mr. Fox: Then the cases are dismissed, the defendants to pay the costs of the court. Mr. Jenkins: I say pay the 14s. 9d., and each one to pay their own costs. The Judge: What are the costs? The Registrar (Mr. H. Tilley): About 6s. Mr. Jenkins: The plaint is Is. and the hearing fee Is. I will pay 2s. out of my own pocket. The two shillings were handed to the registrar. The Judge: If there are any other costs they will be paid. Then these cases are withdrawn.” (Royal Cornwall Gazette – Friday 22 January 1886)

c1900-1915: Plan, proposed additions, Chapel Terrace Primitive Methodist Chapel, Falmouth. Plan of choir stalls, organ and assemble room behind. Elevation view of organ screen. Scale: 8 feet to 1 inch. Size: 21×18 inches. (Kresen Kernow MRF/357)

1926: Letter, wall by school, Chapel Terrace Primitive Methodist Chapel, Falmouth. Letter to Falmouth Education Committee, Falmouth Corporation, concerning wall between Clare Terrace School and chapel. (Kresen Kernow MRF/354)

1907-1929: Minutes, Chapel Terrace Primitive Methodist Chapel, Falmouth. Trust and chapel committee minutes. (Kresen Kernow MRF/347)

1930: Local authority order, unfit chapel cottages, Chapel Terrace Primitive Methodist Chapel, Falmouth. Order condemning chapel cottages as unfit for habitation. (Kresen Kernow MRF/360)

1832-1932: Papers, Chapel Terrace Primitive Methodist Chapel, Falmouth. Certificate of registration, solemnisation of marriages, 1901; list of chapel deeds, 1832-1923; correspondence relating to 1909 conveyance of land for chapel by Falmouth Corporation, 1922; lists of trustees, 1853, 1908, 1923 and 1932. (Kresen Kernow MRF/19)

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

1932: Became known as Chapel Terrace Methodist Church. (SWChurches)

Part of Falmouth Methodist Circuit. (SWChurches)

1932: Correspondence, sale of organ, Chapel Terrace Primitive Methodist Chapel, Falmouth. (Kresen Kernow MRF/362)

1938: List of caretaker’s duties, Chapel Terrace Methodist Chapel, Falmouth. (Kresen Kernow MRF/359)

1932-1939: Correspondence, closure of Chapel Terrace Methodist Chapel, Falmouth. Correspondence by trustees relating to sale of chapel cottages and closure of chapel. (Kresen Kernow MRF/365)

1939: Closed. (David Easton)

1939: Chapel Terrace, Falmouth Methodist Chapel closed and most of its members joined with Berkeley Vale Methodist Bible Christian Chapel built in 1867. (My Primitive Methodists)

1939: Chapel Terrace, Falmouth Methodist Chapel closed and premises sold. (SWChurches)

Circa 1939: Congregation joined Berkeley Vale Methodist Chapel. (David Easton)

Chapel Terrace, Falmouth Methodist Chapel sold and used by theatre group.

Became Music Studio. (David Easton)

The former PM Chapel was sold and is now the HQ of the local theatre group. The former Sunday School at the rear is used as a costume store. (My Primitive Methodists)

????: An application to convert a former Methodist chapel and HQ of Falmouth Theatre Company into a community space and flat has been submitted to Cornwall Council. The building in Chapel Terrace was the base for the theatre company for 30 years before rising maintenance costs meant it had to be sold. (The Packet)

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