Mapping Methodism – Berkeley Vale, Falmouth, Bible Christian 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 Berkeley Vale, Falmouth, Bible Christian Chapel has been compiled by Tony Mansell with considerable help from Alan Cox of Penryn and Falmouth Old Cornwall Society.


1867: Bible Christian Chapel built. (Miss Susan Gay’s Falmouth chronology)

1867: Berkeley Vale Bible Christian Chapel built. (Alan Cox)

Seating for 430. (David Easton)

Seating for 500. (Alan Cox)

1890: Berkeley Vale Bible Christian Chapel re-opened following renovations. (Lake’s Falmouth Packet and Cornwall Advertiser – Saturday 26 July 1890)

1907: The Methodist New Connexion, Bible Christians and United Methodist Free Churches amalgamated to become the United Methodist Church.

1907: Became Berkeley Vale United Methodist Church.

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

1932: Became Berkeley Vale Methodist Church.

Harvest Festival (Photo: courtesy Alan Cox of Penryn & Falmouth Old Cornwall Society)

Berkeley Vale Chapel, Kimberley Park Road (Photo: courtesy Alan Cox of Penryn & Falmouth Old Cornwall Society)

(Photo: courtesy Alan Cox of Penryn & Falmouth Old Cornwall Society)

Following bomb damage during the Second World the members of Falmouth Central Methodist Chapel joined the congregation at Berkeley Vale.

1956: Berkeley Vale Methodist Chapel closed. (SWChurches / David Easton)

There were 393 members at closure (Berkeley Vale and Falmouth Central). (David Easton)

Became Berkeley Vale United Reform Church.“Anne and I went to the closing down service which we expected it to be sad but turned out to be not so – the building is finished but the people are the Church. (Alan Cox)Bible Christian Chapel in Classical style of 1867. MATERIALS: Constructed of killas rubble with granite dressings including quoins, sills, jambs, round arches and moulded frame of semi-open pediment to front, as well as embattled parapets to front walls of ancillary rooms at rear. Dry slate roof. PLAN: Rectangular aisle-less plan with gallery on 3 sides and staircases at front [ritual west] end either side of pair of entrances. Vestries flank the rostrum and organ loft at rear and there is a schoolroom plus flanking porches at far rear. EXTERIOR: The building is of 2 storeys with a symmetrical 1:3:1-bay pedimented front. The central bays are broken forward with an oculus over a shaped string which forms a hoodmould to the name and date panel. Below this are 3 linked lights with hoodmoulds and keyblocks and panelled aprons on pilasters with moulded imposts. The pair of doorways below the entablature have similar heads to windows but springing from continuous moulded impost string. Each flanking bay has tall narrow stair sash with margin panes. All front windows and windows to front of porches have spoked fanlight heads. All windows are horned sashes with glazing bars including the 3-window range to each side elevation. INTERIOR: panelled gallery front on shaped brackets, the gallery carried on slender near Doric columns; rostrum with arcaded front and turned balustrade; carved central plaster ceiling rose and original box pews to gallery.

Bible Christian chapel, later a Congregational chapel and now a United Reform Church. Dressed stone with dry slate roof. Very fine example in Italianate style with original windows. Good interior with original bench-type “box” pews. Attached Sunday school to rear. Replaced previous c 1830 Bible Christian chapel in Smithick Hill, Falmouth. The combined Methodist congregations formed around 1956 all moved to the re-constructed 1874 Wesleyan Chapel, Killigrew St/The Moor, itself built on the site of a c 1791 Wesleyan chapel. Listed in Stell (b1) (Heritage Gateway)

Berkeley Vale United Reform Church closed.



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