Mapping Methodism – Redruth – Dr Boase Nonconformist Wesleyan Methodist Association Chapel

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This profile of Dr Boase’s nonconformist Wesleyan Methodist Association Chapel has been compiled by Jo Lewis and Tony Mansell.


To the east of Chapel Street, in the area now occupied by shops and the old tax office (Piran House) was once the site of a cock pit. The pit was replaced by Dr W Boase non-conformist chapel after 1802 which gave its name to Chapel Street.

The Redruth churchwarden’s accounts for 1798 (b1) refer to “Robt. Sellar for cockpit premises”. The tithe map shows “cockpit” at this location (b2). The checklist records no extant remains, but notes the name “cockpit” still in use to designate this site (b4). It was replaced by Dr W Boase’s nonconformist chapel after 1802, which gave its name to Chapel Street. (Cornwall Council Heritage Gateway)

Dr Boase was born in Penzance and became a convert to Methodism when John Wesley visited the town. While practising as a doctor in Redruth he helped William Murdoch with his experiments in coal gas lighting. Wesley sometimes stayed at his Redruth home and he appears as a local preacher on a St Ives circuit plan in 1791.

June 1791: Following Wesley’s death, delegates from West Cornwall met in the town to demand a more democratic form of Methodism. Boase was one of them.

1802: Dr Boase led a substantial division, built a rival chapel in Redruth and carried two country chapels with him. It appears that he was against the installation of pews, maintaining that the chapel deeds forbade it. High-handed action by Thomas Kelk, the District Chairman, had made matters worse. One report also mentions his objection to the erection of a gallery.

Dr Boase and almost 400 members left.

Dr Boase of Redruth by J C C Probert. (Kresen Kernow LIB/591)

20 January 1813: Dr Boase died and most of his followers re-joined the Wesleyans.

Within a year of Boase’s death on the division had practically ended.

1838: His son, Dr. Matthias Boase, was one of the leaders in the Wesleyan Methodist Association division in the town, and both he and his sister Catherine appear as substantial shareholders in the WMA chapel, which was built on a shareholding plan.





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