Mapping Methodism – Illogan Highway Wesleyan Chapel

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Illogan Highway is located on the Redruth to Camborne road. This profile of Illogan Highway Wesleyan Chapel has been compiled by Jo Lewis and Tony Mansell.


Travelling west, the chapel(s) are on the left opposite Chilli Road. The first chapel is best views by taking a small lane after the chapels to come round the back. It was set back from the road on an east west axis, behind the existing buildings is marked as a Sunday school on 1880 maps. This first small meeting house at Illogan Highway was built in 1809. As the numbers attending worship increased, a second building was erected in 1839. It remains as part of the church complex used for meetings and Sunday school.


Circa 1809 Illogan Highway Wesleyan Chapel

Original Illogan Highway Wesleyan Methodist chapel, c 1809. Later a Sunday school when superseded by 1838 and 1908 chapels in this group. Extended to west by 1907 while in use as Sunday shown on the 2nd Edition OS Map. Local rubble with granite and brick dressings; tiled roof replacing original scantle slate roof. Interesting vernacular example with some old 16-pane sash windows. The original element of a rare group of 3 Wesleyan chapels of different dates. Illustrated in Stell (b1). (Cornwall Heritage Gateway)

Wesleyan Methodist chapel, now Sunday School and meeting room. 1809; altered. Slobbered killas rubble with granite quoins and dressings, slate sills, modern pantiled roof, brick chimney. Small rectangular building on east-west axis. Single storey, 4 bays; very plain square-headed openings with rectangular lintels, including a doorway in the 3rd bay of the north side, 16-pane sashed windows in the 2nd and 4th bays and a former window in the 1st now blocked by a wooden addition; and 4 windows on the south side, that at the west end a 16-pane sash but the others altered. Added brick chimney attached at north-east corner. Interior not inspected. History: the first of 3 successive chapels on this site, which collectively illustrate the progress of Methodism and are included for that reason. Reference: Thomas Shaw A History of Corish Methodism (1967). Listing NGR: SW6794141582. (Historic England)

1880: Appears on map.

Congregation outgrew the chapel.


1839 Illogan Highway Wesleyan Chapel

The 1839 chapel on the left with the 1903 chapel (Photo: Jo Lewis)

Wesleyan chapel, superseding 1809 chapel and later adapted (or rebuilt) as Sunday school when 1908 chapel built alongside. Local rubble with granite dressings. Italianate classical influence with round-arched openings. 3-bay front gable end has centre broken forward with pair of windows over wide doorway. Single window to each side bay, the side bays expressed as aisles. Small-paned windows with fanlight heads; fanlight over panelled doorway. Coped rubble forecourt wall with dressed granite piers. Part of a rare evolved group of 3 Wesleyan chapels. Illustrated in Stell (b1). (Cornwall Heritage Gateway)

Wesleyan Methodist chapel, now meeting hall and Sunday School. Dated 1839 on gable wall; altered. Killas rubble brought to courses, uncoursed rubble sides and rear, with granite quoins and dressings, slate roof. Rectangular plan, 3×3 bays, gable to road. Single-storey, but with a 2-storey 3-bay facade in unorthodox style; this has a chamfered plinth, a projected centre containing a large round- headed doorway with panelled double doors and fanlight with radiating glazing bars, coupled round-headed windows over the door, a datestone above these with raised date “1839”, and a Romanesque-style triple-lancet in the gable, with a sill-band; the flanking bays each have a large round-headed window, and all these windows have radiating glazing bars. Chamfered gable coping. The side walls have matching windows, and there is a lean-to extension at the rear with a doorway. Interior not inspected. History: the second of 3 successive chapels on this site, which collectively illustrate the progress of Methodism and are included for that reason. Reference: Thomas Shaw, op.cit. Listing NGR: SW6793841597 (Historic England)

1839: Build date. (Date stone)

1880: Appears on map.

Thomas Merritt (1863-1908), the famous Cornish carol composer, was organist here from 1889 until his death in 1908.

The building is Grade 2 listed.

Larger chapel became necessary which was built in 1903.

The 1839 chapel then became the Sunday school / Church Hall.


1903 Illogan Highway Wesleyan Chapel

Methodist church. Early C20. Snecked killas with granite ashlar quoins and dressings, sides and rear rendered (probably on rubble), slate roof. Rectangular plan, 3×5 bays, gable to road. Two-storey facade in free Gothic (or Arts and Crafts) style, in a form probably derived from that of its 1839 predecessor immediately to the left, with a wide projected centre which is gabled; the ground floor level is of ashlar; the centre bay has 2 doorways flanking a window of 2 round-headed lights, all these openings with deep chamfered reveals and shouldered heads and the doorways containing panelled double doors with overlights of 3 round-headed lights, a large round-headed 3-light window above with Perpendicular tracery, deep chamfered reveal and ogival hoodmould with trefoil crest, small coupled lancets in the gable, and moulded gable coping with kneelers and an apex cross. The narrow side bays have shouldered single-light windows at ground floor, quatrefoils at 1st floor, and the roof is hipped over them. The side walls and rear have square-headed windows, the roof is half- hipped at the rear, and there is a fleche on the ridge. Interior not inspected, but understood to contain continuous gallery, large organ, elaborate pulpit, etc. History: the third of 3 successive chapels on this site, which collectively illustrate the progress of Methodism and are included for that reason. Reference: Thomas Shaw, op.cit. Listing NGR: SW6792241594. (Historic England)

History and photographs:


1903: Build date.

1908: ILLOGAN HIGHWAY WESLEYANS. Opening of the New Chapel with description of building. (Cornubian and Redruth Times – Thursday 05 November 1908)

Circa 1906 Illogan Highway Wesleyan chapel tea treat group with the unmistakable background of Carn Brea. This picture would have been taken on open ground, where the treat would have been held, somewhere behind the Chapel itself. The sequence of Methodist buildings at Illogan Highway Wesley is quite unique as, from the rear, the three successive chapels can be glimpsed, from modest beginnings to the present large House of worship. A fine image, with the usual luxuriance of Edwardian female fashion and hats very much to the fore. A vanished world, both from the religious and social history standpoint. (Photo: Tom Saunders of Pool courtesy David Thomas Kresen Kernow)

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

March 2002: New link building providing access to the three buildings with toilets new boiler room.

1946: “… Illogan Highway Fore-street Methodist Sunday-school held their annual tea treat. They paraded the street headed by Gweek Silver Band. Teas were served in the schoolroom to the adults and each child was given a bun, tea and threepence. …” (11 July 1946 – Cornishman)


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