Leedstown is a village on the B3280 road between Helston and Hayle. It lies 5.5 miles (8.9 km) north-west of Helston and 3 miles (4.8 km) south-east of Hayle. It is located halfway between the north and south coasts. Leedstown got its name from the Duke of Leeds who married the daughter of the St Aubyn Family. This profile of Leedstown Wesleyan Chapel has been compiled by Jo Lewis and Tony Mansell.
Binnerton (Manor) Farm Meeting House
The ancient manor of Binnerton still remains on the outskirts of the village. It is now run as a farm. The manor of Binner was mentioned in the Domesday records. At one time, there was a chapel there dedicated to St Augustine and one of the fields is still called Chapel Field. Some dressed stone, including fragments of window tracery have been found, some of which are in a small garden near the entrance.
Presumably, this was at Binnerton Farm. (The Cornish Telegraph – Thursday 19 June 1913)
“Binnerton Manor, a lovely thatched farmhouse, has a direct connection with John Wesley. He preached there a number of times, both outside from the barn steps and indoors in the main hall. Since then, many a Wesley Day service has been conducted there.” (Paul Phillips)
Circa 1836: Wesleyan chapel built at Gwinear Downs and eventually replaced by a new chapel in 1863. (Checklist of Churches in the Hayle Circuit – 31st August 1961) (Unsure if this can be described as a Leedstown Chapel)
Leedstown Methodist Chapel (Photo: Paul Phillips)
A Wesleyan chapel and a later schoolroom at rear survive. Granite ashlar front. Pedimented front with round-arched openings with original sashes with fanlight heads; two doorways with panelled doors and spoked fanlights. Good interior with original full gallery on grained clustered columns; good ceiling rose; later pitch-pine seating; good rostrum, large organ. Good example. Listed in Stell (1). (Cornwall Council Heritage Gateway)
Wesleyan Chapel, forecourt walls, gate piers and gates, and later schoolroom. Datestone 1862, schoolroom circa late C19. Granite ashlar with rock-faced rusticated quoins, slightly rusticated jambstones and voussoirs, granite sills and moulded granite pediment cornice. Dry Delabole slate roofs with gable ends. Rectangular aisless plan with a gallery on 4 sides. The ritual east end facing south west with large schoolroom added to that end. The entrance front (north east) with 2 entrances. 2 storey elevations. Symmetrical 3 window north east entrance front surmounted by triangular gable pediment with moulded cornice and apex finial all in granite. Round-headed openings, the doorways left and right wider. Double 3-panel doors to each with fanlight over. Leaded window with coloured glass to ground floor middle. (Similar window to the ground floor middle of each of the side elevations). The first floor windows and those to the side elevations are original round-headed hornless sashes with glazing bars in radial pattern at the top. Each side is symmetrical with 3 ground floor and 3 first floor windows. Oculus windows with coloured glass at rear of chapel are converted from original round-headed openings. Interior: virtually complete interior with original or late C19 fittings. The nearly oval-on-plan gallery is carried on wooden Doric columns and the panelled front is cantilevered out on scrolled brackets. The flat plaster ceiling has a moulded cornice and a large central rose with concentric moulded bands and carved acanthus and strapwork decoration. The pulpit has a bowed centre and terminal pilasters flanked by geometric open-string stairs with winders; ornate cast iron balusters to the stairs and balustrade panels to the pulpit front. The pews are pitch pine with shaped and chamfered ends. The side windows, with coloured glass, are memorials to the Trewella family of Carsize. The central front window with coloured glass is a war memorial. The schoolroom has exposed arched bracing carried on granite corbels. The forecourt walls are chamfered granite plinths, formerly with iron railings. Wide central gateway with round-headed granite monolith piers and terminal piers with ogee caps. C20 iron gates. Listing NGR: SW6053434210. (Historic England)
There were Wesleyan and Brianite chapels in Leedstown… (Genuki)
Leedstown Methodist Church, – schoolroom and courtyard walls are grade 2 listed.
1862: Build date. (Cornwall Council Heritage Gateway)
1863: Build date. (SWChurches)
Built in 1862, this is now Leedstown United Methodist Church on the main road through Leedstown and is still active on the circuit with its own Facebook page.
2nd Jul 1861: Lease, site, Wesleyan chapel, Leedstown, Crowan. Parties: 1) The Reverend Hender Molesworth St Aubyn of Clowance. 2) William Rosewarne of Crowan, mine agent, and William Arthur of Gwinear, mine agent. Consideration: lessees to build forthwith a chapel to be used as a place of religious worship, walls to be of stone laid in good lime and sand mortar. Term: 99 years. Rent: 7 shillings 6 pence. Part of field near Leedstown, Tithe no 491, late in the occupation of William Lethlean, 50 feet from the south hedge of field, 95 broad from the roadside of the east hedge of the field, the plot being intended as a site for a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, part no 182. Read more… (Kresen Kernow RH/1/124)
6 Jan 1863: Lease, site, chapel, schoolroom and playground, Leedstown, Crowan. Parties: 1) The Reverend Hender Molesworth St Aubyn of Clowance. 2) William Rosewarne of Leedstown, Crowan, mine agent, Stephen Hosking of Binner, yeoman, and William Edward Williams of Leedstown, carpenter. Term: 99 years on the lives of Elizabeth Mary Williams, daughter of William Edward Williams, Ann Harvey daughter of John and Susan Jane Harvey of Leedstown, and Martha Cock, daughter of John and Elizabeth Ann Cock of Leedstown. Rent 7 shillings 6 pence. Recites lease of 25 March 1818 by Sir John St Aubyn to Alexander and William Lethlean and surrender of lease of 29 June 1861. Part of field, Tithe No 491, in Crowan, of 33 lace, being 54 feet wide northerly from the south hedge of the field, and 198 feet from the highway to the west hedge of the field, premises intended as a site of a Wesleyan Chapel, schoolroom and playground; part of No 183. Also surrender by William Lethlean and Mary, widow of Alexander Lethlean to The Reverend Hender Molesworth St Aubyn of part of two fields near Leedstown [Tithe Nos 491 and 485] now in the occupation of William Lethlean, lying to the west of the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel premises lately erected and enclosed in field, June 1863. Read more… (Kresen Kernow RH/1/125)
1885: Concert in aid of the renovation and restoration of chapel. (Cornishman – Thursday 19 March 1885)
1890: Draft lease, Methodist chapel, Leedstown, Crowan. Parties: 1) The Reverend St Aubyn Hender Molesworth St Aubyn of Clowance. 2) The Reverend William Jones of Hayle, superintendent minister of the Hayle circuit of the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion. 3) William Rosewarne, mine agent, William Jenkin, carpenter, Samuel Arthur, miner, James Trewhella, farmer, James Munday, boot and shoe maker, Edwin Pearce, farmer, John Hosking, farmer, William John Trevaskis, photographer, Thomas Trevaskis, carpenter, John Waters, farmer, William Henry Sleeman Coom, schoolmaster, Richard John Williams, grocer, John Williams, tin dresser, Henry Jenkin, butcher, all of Leedstown; John Harvey, carpenter, and William John Spray, engineer, of Hayle, Richard Henry Rosewarne of Gwinear, farmer, and Gilbert Bennett Pearce of Marazion, smelter. Consideration: William Rosewarne is the only surviving trustee; and surrender of 1863 lease. Term: 99 years. Rent: 7 shillings 6 pence. Recites 1832 model Methodist trust deed and lease of site of Chapel and premises of 6 January 1863 [RH/1/125]. 1) to 3). Chapel and buildings to be used as Methodist Chapel. Also rough draft. Read more… (Kresen Kernow RH/1/126)
29 Sep 1890: Lease, Leedstown Wesleyan Chapel, Crowan. Parties: 1) The Reverend St Aubyn H Molesworth St Aubyn, Clowance. 2) The Reverend William Jones, Hayle 3) Named Trustees. Property: Wesleyan chapel at Leedstown. Term: 99 years. Rent: 7 shillings and 6 pence. (Kresen Kernow MRPL/133)
1892-1897: Correspondence, chapel debt, Leedstown Wesleyan Chapel, Crowan. Correspondence concerning debt, with chapel committee and others. (Kresen Kernow MRPL/134)
Late 19th century: List of contributors to reduce debt, Leedstown Wesleyan Chapel, Crowan. Likely to have been produced during the 1890s. (Kresen Kernow MRPL/135)
1899: Harmonium replaced with new pipe organ. (Cornishman – Thursday 03 August 1899)
Inauguration of new organ. (Cornishman – Thursday 10 August 1899)
1904: New Sunday school erected. (Paul Benney of Leedstown / The Cornish Telegraph – Thursday 19 June 1913)
1910: Memorandum of appointment, new trustees, Leedstown Wesleyan Chapel, Crowan. (Kresen Kernow MRPL/136)
5 Oct 1911: Lease, Leedstown Wesleyan Chapel and Sunday School, Crowan. Parties: 1) The Reverend St A H Molesworth, St Aubyn. 2) Trustees. Property: Wesleyan chapel and Sunday School. Term: 80 years. Rent: 7 shillings and 6 pence. (Kresen Kernow MRPL/137)
1911-1912: Correspondence, lease and consent for building Sunday School, Leedstown Wesleyan Chapel, Crowan. Letters from Chapel Committee. (Kresen Kernow MRPL/138)
1913: “Leedstown Wesleyan Church. Jubilee Celebrations. Leedstown Wesleyans, together with many old friends from outside the district, joined enthusiastically Sunday and Monday in celebrating the jubilee of their church. Favoured with propitious weather the occasion was well attended and gratifying success all respects. Leedstown is in the extensive Hayle circuit, and it is one those places whence Methodism derives much of its vigour and inspiration. Binnerton, which is an adjunct to Leedstown Wesleyan church, is where the seed Methodism was first sown by no less a person than John Wesley. It is a large and pleasantly situated farmhouse, and services have been held there ever since Wesley’s visit. Mr, John Giles, who is a worthy Methodist layman, conducts a class meeting there every Sunday morning, while one of the circuit ministers preaches there once a quarter. Incidentally, while Binnerton is where local Methodism was founded at one period, there was an Anglican chapel there and a cemetery. So the old farm has a wealth of religious associations. The first Leedstown Wesleyan chapel was a small and unattractive, but cosy thatched building, which stood on the brow of Downs hill, but which several years ago was pulled down, after being used as barn or cattle bouse. Perhaps, local Methodists would have done a commendable act if they preserved their first sanctuary, fragrant with many memories precious to the followers of John Wesley. The present pretty church, having a massive granite front, was created in 1863 at approximate cost £800, having a seating capacity 500. Within the past ten years the old harmonium has been replaced with an admirable new pipe organ and a new Sunday school has been erected a total cost exceeding £700. The fact that the chapel is practically free of debt reflects highly the energy and the liberality of the adherents. The Sunday school has been the nursery of many well-known ministers and layman, several of whom are doing good service in various parts of the empire to-day. Its present old ‘pillars” who remain, are Messrs. James Mundy, James and Thomas Trevaskis. …” (The Cornish Telegraph – Thursday 19 June 1913)
1913: “Mr. A. Rule, who has been organist at the U.M. church for considerable time, resigned last week, and will take up duties as organist at Leedstown Wesleyan chapel. Master David Tonkin, eldest son of Mr. George Tonkin. Connor Downs, has been appointed organist in the place of Mr. Rule.” (The Cornish Telegraph – Thursday 23 October 1913)
Stained glass commemorates the dead from the first war in a central window depicting St George and the Dragon. This was bought for £90 in 1923.
Leedstown Wesleyan Chapel Harvest Festival (Photo: courtesy Leedstown Chapel Congregation)
1923: Electricity installed, the chapel re-seated, decorated and heating installed at a cost of £850. The gallery pillars are wood painted to resemble marble and the central ceiling rose is a very fine example of plasterwork.
1924: Certificate of registration, Leedstown Wesleyan Chapel, Crowan. Certificate of registration to conduct marriages. (Kresen Kernow MRPL/140)
1922-1925: Correspondence, consent for renovations, Leedstown Wesleyan Chapel, Crowan. Letters from Chapel Committee. (Kresen Kernow MRPL/139)
27 Nov 1926: Conveyance, meeting house, Gwinear Downs, Leedstown Wesleyan Chapel, Crowan. Parties: 1) George Duke of Leeds. 2) Reverend Wilfred H Boocock. 3) Trustees of Leedstown Chapel. Meeting house at Gwinear Downs. (Kresen Kernow MRPL/141)
1932: The Wesleyan, Primitive Methodist and the United Methodist Church amalgamated to become the Methodist Church of Great Britain.
1932: Became Leedstown Methodist Church.
1932: “The Methodists of Leedstown held their annual Sunday-school festival on Saturday. Led by the superintendents and Penzance Silver Prize Band, the usual parade was made after which tea was served. This was followed by well-attended public games and sports …” (14 July 1932 – Cornishman)
Part of Hayle Methodist Circuit but later transferred to Porthleven Methodist Circuit. Later part of Mounts Bay Methodist Circuit and from 2010 Lizard and Mounts Bay Methodist Circuit. (SWChurches)
25 Jun 1987: Letter, expiry of lease at chapel and at Leedstown, Horsedowns Methodist Church, Crowan. Letter from Reverend Edward J Rowland, Porthleven to Methodist Church Property Division concerning expiry of lease of chapel and also that of Leedstown. (Kresen Kernow MRMB/262)
1950: Two stained glass windows dedicated. (Cornishman – Thursday 27 April 1950)
1951: Circular windows given to remember the dead of the second world war. Pictorial windows of Jesus and Dorcus were given and installed in 1951 by an American emigree family.
(Photo: Paul Benney, Leedstown Methodist Chapel)
(Photo: Paul Benney, Leedstown Methodist Chapel)
(Photo: Paul Benney, Leedstown Methodist Chapel)
Leedstown Methodist Chapel website: https://www.localprayers.com/GB/Hayle/501009806733870/Leedstown-United-Methodist-Church
Leedstown Methodist Chapel 2021 (Photo: Jo Lewis)