Mapping Methodism – The Lizard Wesleyan Chapel

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Lizard, also known as The Lizard, is a village on the Lizard peninsula situated about ten miles (16 km) south of Helston and is mainland Britain’s most southerly settlement. This profile of Lizard Wesleyan Chapel was compiled by Terry Moyle.


First chapel on Cross Common – now a dwelling

First baptism 1844

Well attended chapel – no music or hymn books. Tunes were pitched by a member of the congregation and words sung from memory. Minister would preach about 4 times a year. Other services taken by local preachers. (A good insight into chapel life at the Lizard can be found in “A Corner of Old Cornwall” by E. Bonham pub.1896. Mrs. Bonham was the minister’s wife at Porthleven at one time)

Growing congregation – chapel too small

6 February 1864 – assignment of Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

New chapel opened 1864 in Housel Bay Road

Capacity 250 (about 50% of Lizard’s population)

Built of local stone quarried & transported free by local farmers

Most southerly chapel on mainland

Baptisms from Helston Wesleyan Register (1837-1900) – 40 baptisms

Family names associated with baptisms – Hendy, Prior (Pryor), Hocking, Bosustow, Willey, Harris, Roberts, Ellis, Goodman and Mitchell

Choir of about 20

1880 – opening of Sunday School – capacity 60

While Sunday School being built services were held in the Reading Room.

November 1880 – chapel enlarged by taking in the vestry space and adding a new vestry. On Friday the wall dividing the chapel and the new vestry fell down and destroyed £6 worth of timber belonging to the contracting carpenter

August 1888 – the Lizard Wesleyan Blue Ribbon army had their outing on Monday when about 40 members had a pleasant day at Porthleven

28 April 1893 – Conveyance of Wesleyan Chapel site. Lord Robartes to Rev. A. Shipham

11 January 1894 – Conveyance Rev. A. Shipham to Mr. W. Mitchell and others

8 March 1894 – Assignment of leasehold premises W. Mitchell and others to W. Mitchell and others.

December 1894 – a three-week gospel mission was held at Lizard Wesleyan chapel led by Mr. G. W. Clegg, evangelist of Camborne. From 150 to 200 people gathered each night. Nearly 100 came out to the rail professing their faith.

Pipe organ installed 1895

Preacher’s horse and trap left in Mr. Hendy’s farm across the road.

June 1895 – the Sunday School teachers and friends (about 40 in number) enjoyed their annual tea at Kynance Cove followed by games on the beautiful beach.

February 1899 – annual prize giving to the children of the Sunday School

Annual Christmas Bazaar – in 1900 the bazaar was held in Lizard Reading Room on Boxing Day; in the evening a bat trimming competition for men only was held, the winners being Messrs W. F. Jose and T.W. Ellis. This was followed by a race for blindfolded men, the winner was Mr. Thomas Harris. In 1901 the proceeds of the bazaar were £18. Owing to the wet weather the attendance was not as good as in previous years

February 1901 – Mr. Mayell conducted a united non-conformist service at Lizard Wesleyan Chapel. The choir sang suitable hymns and Mr. Carwardine gave a short address about the late Queen. Mr. John Lyne read a portion of Scripture and the Dead March in Saul was played by Mr. R. H. Tiddy

July 1901 – Lizard Wesleyan Choir had their annual outing and drove to Penzance in two wagonettes

August 1901 – an organ recital given by Mr. Richard White, organist at Penzance Wesleyan Chapel, delighted a large audience of visitors and inhabitants

July 1902 – Lizard Wesleyan Bible Class and teachers had an outing to Trevarno, the home of

Mrs. Bickford Smith. Dinner was taken in the gardens and tea at Porthleven. Mr. N. Goodman, teacher of the Bible Class, made the arrangements.

March 1903 – a nice ceremony was carried out at Lizard Wesleyan Chapel last week by the trustees. Miss Mary Hendy, the eldest daughter of Mr. John Hendy, who had been the organist for 11 years was presented with a silver tea and coffee service on her approaching wedding

July 1903 – the Bible Class and teachers for the annual outing drove to Falmouth and saw the Prince and Princess of Wales lay the foundation stone of the pier. Arrangements were made by Mr. N. Goodman

November 1903 – Rev. James Letcher commenced a three-week mission

June 1904 – annual Sunday School outing to Falmouth and then by steamer to Truro. The Lizard Wesleyans and UM Methodists passed a resolution protesting against the GWR Co. employing men on a Sunday to complete the motor car shed at the Lizard

July 1904 – Mr. H. N. Burton preached his farewell sermon to a fairly good congregation

July 1905 – Bible Class outing to Penzance and St. Michael’s Mount

February 1905 – Lizard Wesleyan Choir has been busy practicing new hymn tunes including “Aberystwyth” composed in Wales and sung at revival meetings

June 1905 – Miss Carkeek from Hayle preached to a crowded congregation at the Sunday School anniversary. On Monday the tea treat parade went through the village headed by Grade and Ruan Minor Brass band; tea and an evening public meeting followed.

February 1906 – At Lizard Wesleyan Sunday School a very interesting magic lantern presentation was given by Messrs. Evelyn Hill and Sidney Roberts. Miss Irene Ellis presided at the harmonium

July 1907 – Lizard Wesleyan teachers and Bible Class visited Penzance and St. Michael’s Mount. Mr. Triggs supplied the carriage. Lunch and tea were in Jenkins’ restaurant

August 1907 – Rev. Colonel E. P. Lowry who was one of the chaplains with the British Forces in the march to Pretoria preached at Lizard Wesleyan Chapel

October 1907 – collections were taken at Lizard Wesleyan Chapel for Truro Hospital

June 1908 – Miss Fox of Falmouth preached to a crowded chapel on the occasion of the Sunday School anniversary. On Monday the parade was headed by Ruan Minor Temperance Band; there was tea in the Sunday School and an evening public meeting in the chapel

July 1908 – Lizard Wesleyan Band of Hope held a very enjoyable picnic at Kennack Sands. Tea was served on the sands after which games were indulged in. The conveyances were supplied by Messrs. S. Mitchell, F. Saunders, J. Hendy and R. Triggs

April 1909 – at annual tea treat and concert, the proceeds were for the Dr. Stephenson’s House and Orphanage

May 1909 – special music at the evening service was given by Mr. A. E. Old (Camborne, bass), Miss Irene Ellis (soprano), Miss Elsie Hill (contralto) and Mr. F. Pope (tenor). The sermon was preached by Mr. John Thomas of Lanarth.

February 1910 – a lantern entertainment on Cornwall was given in the schoolroom in aid of the Wesley Guild by Mr. Harris of Porthleven. Miss Elsie Hill sang a solo and Miss Hendy presided at the organ

May 1910 – Lizard Wesleyan Chapel was re-opened after being thoroughly renovated. The building has been re-seated and petrol gas lighting installed at a cost of £150. The decorating was carried out by Mr. Eddy of Helston and the re-seating by Mr. J. H. Hill of Lizard. On Sunday the Rev. A.C. Holt of Wall (Hayle) preached and Miss Irene Ellis sang at both services. On Monday afternoon Rev. Holt preached and Rev. J. Harper of Porthleven sang a solo. There was a public tea served by Mesdames Squibb, Triggs and Burchall and Misses Hill, Dew, Goodman and Ellis. The choir sang an anthem with Miss Ellis singing the solo and Misses D. Ellis and I. Hendy the duet. The organist was Miss L. Hendy

1911 Booklet of Quotations published – people invited to submit a verse.

January 1911 – the chapel has lately been renovated

4 October 1911 – certificate of registration for marriages

February 1912 – marriage on February 19th at Lizard Wesleyan Chapel – Mr. Ernest Hancock of Lizard to Miss. L. Hendy, daughter of Mr. J. W. Hendy, Lizard

Petrol vapour lights installed in 1912

August 1912 – despite inclement weather Lizard Wesleyan Chapel was comfortably filled on

Sunday last and Rev. W. E. Clapham (resident minister) conducted the service. A solo was sweetly rendered by Miss Irene Ellis who has been connected with the chapel all her life. Her many friends were delighted to see and hear her again after her successful London and provincial tour. Her career will be followed by her Lizard friends with keen interest.

August 1913 – there was an excellent musical treat on Sunday evening when the Rev. W. E. Clapham preached at his farewell service. The soloist was Miss Irene Ellis, the famous Cornish vocalist. The UMF chapel closed so that members could attend the service. The organist was Mrs. A. Butler of Birmingham.

1930s – electric lights installed

1935 – UM Chapel on Village Green closed and joined with the Wesleyan Chapel

1940s – members of the American 29th Infantry Brigade stationed in Morwenna House in Church Cove Road attended Sunday morning services before they left for Trebah Beach and the D Day landings on Omaha Beach

1952 – addition of kitchen and toilets

1979 – Sunday School roof badly damaged in storm – Lizard Youth raised £462 towards the cost of repairs by having a sponsored walk

Early 1980s – major redecoration of chapel

Lizard Feast in June – Feast Monday Tea treat and sports – followed band and banner around village

Parade called at home of Miss Thomas in Penmenner Road – gave each child a bag of sweets and in later years the parade visited Miss Wallace at Maenheere

Feast Sunday – everyone had a new outfit for the chapel services – children sang special hymns – three services (morning, afternoon and evening)

Meetings – previously Women’s fellowship Tuesday afternoons, Fellowship meeting Thursday evenings and Guild Friday evening. Now meetings are Ecumenical and meet in people’s homes

1933 MHB – still in use + Complete Mission Praise (2004) and Hymns and Psalms from Lowertown Chapel (2008)

Refreshments after Sunday morning services

Monthly united service with other churches in Rectory

Strong links with Cornwall District Evangelism Team

Community use – including OCS and Landewednack School

2009 – Open Doors Project – chapel open each day during summer months

Coffee mornings, recitals and cream teas

Monthly newsletter – Light at the Lizard

Lizard Chapel is a Grade 2 listed building

Laura Irene Ellis Born 22nd January 1890 at The Lizard. Eldest daughter of Thomas and Laura Ellis – Thomas Ellis was a serpentine manufacturer. Baptised 18th March 1890. Siblings – Daisy Hetwood (1894), Beatrice May (1896) and Lily Gertrude (1900). 1911 Census – living at The Lizard with parents and sisters. Aged 21 and a professional singer. Married 22 August 1921 at Holy Innocents Church, South Norwood, Surrey to Gerald Beaumont Cottier, a solicitor. 1939 Register – living in South Norwood, Croydon with her husband. Died 13 March 1947 in South Norwood

Lizard Wesleyan Chapel built 1864 – Grade 2 listed

1970s sketch

The first Lizard Wesleyan Chapel in Cross Common – replaced in 1864 by the current chapel. Converted into a dwelling.

Lizard Wesleyan Chapel – the view from the pulpit

The pulpit and organ

Ceiling Rose

Pipe organ installed 1895

The short pews with rounded tops may have come from the UM Chapel after it closed in 1935

Photographs – courtesy of Mrs. Thora Hill of Lizard Methodist Church and National Monuments Record

Sources – The Lizard Methodist Church website (Lizard and Mounts Bay Methodist Circuit)

A Short History of Lizard Chapel – Courtney Rowe 1996 and 2005

The Lizard Chapel 1939-1945 (references to American soldiers attending Lizard Chapel – notes by Vivian Bosustow)

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