Mapping Methodism – Shortlanesend Wesleyan Chapel

Categories Mapping Methodism, Projects0 Comments

Shortlanesend is a village between Truro and the main A30 road. This profile of Shortlanesend Wesleyan Chapel has been compiled by Jennie Thomas.


  • 1814 –  Truro Circuit records show that a Methodist Society was set up in Short Lane    End with a Class of 16, the Leader being Mr. George Mason.
  • 1818 –  On September 18th a lease was granted by William Powell (who held under Lord Falmouth) for a plot of ground on which to build a Chapel near the (main) road, just outside the village on the Perranporth road and on the left-hand side. It is impossible to locate the area on which this first Chapel was built as there is no concrete evidence. Neither is it known which was the main road out of Shortlanesend at that time. The main road as we now know it is only mapped on the 1856 Ordnance Survey Map. The previous road went to the rear of Shortlanesend, down towards Zelah.
  • 1819 –  On February 25th the new Chapel was enrolled.
  • 1826 –  Weekly Services were held on a Sunday at 2.30pm.
  • 1840 –  A different plot of land at the other end of Short Lane End was leased from              Lord Falmouth on which to build a larger Chapel.  On February 5th the foundation stone was laid by the Revd. E. Betty. The building costs came to £177-11s-8d.
  • 1840 –  In November the new Chapel was opened by the Revd. Joseph Wood. The capacity of the Chapel was about 100.

The 1840 Chapel as painted by Heather Rounsevell in the 1990’s.

  • 1859 –  A new vestry and stable was added at the cost of £37-2s-6d.
  • 1863 –  Pew rent was set at 6s per annum.
  • 1870 –  Another vestry costing £43-7s-1d was added for Member’s meetings and Prayer meetings.
  • 1878 –  The start of a Band of Hope. Superintendent: Mr. R. Tinney; Secretary: Mr. Frances; and Registrar: Mr. W. Tinney.(Richard and William Tinney are my great, great grandfather and great grandfather. There has been a member of my family worshipping at the Chapel ever since 1843 when they first came to the area as farmers.)
  • 1879 –  A new room was built for the use of the Sunday School. Other Chapel improvements were made, including a better side entrance; old fashioned ‘high backed’ pews and benches were replaced with open pews of modern design; and new lamps were added.
  • 1883 –  A new Sunday School was built costing £105-11s-9d.   Chapel renovations costing £121-14s-1d.
  • 1886 –  A heating apparatus (£19-15s-0d) was installed.  A harmonium was purchased for £25 to replace the violoncello.
  • 1894 –  Four stained glass windows were installed by four families in memory of their parents who had lifelong connections with the Society. Cost – £36-0-0.  The names recorded in the windows were: George and Sophia Mason; Jacob and Ann Reskelly; Robert and Elizabeth Lanyon; Richard and Mary Tinney.


The Beautiful Commemorative Windows

  • 1896 –  A Class of 64 members was recorded.
  • 1904 –  A new Sunday School and Classrooms were built adjacent to the Chapel. Total cost: £469-86s-0d. The builder was Mr. Matthew Clemens and the architect Mr. Hill of Redruth.

The new Sunday School built in 1904 showing the stables underneath. The Chapel is to the rear of the building on the far right.

  • 1909 –  A new harmonium costing £20 was bought from Criddle and Smiths and installed in the Chapel.
  • 1910 –  A harmonium (£7-10s-0d) was purchased for the Sunday School.

A photo taken during WW1 – the words refer to the war.

  • 1920 –  The land on which the Chapel stood was gifted to the Trust by Lord Falmouth.
  • 1946 –  A pipe organ was bought for £20 from the City Mission Chapel in Kenwyn Street, Truro. It was renovated for £30.
  • 1949 –  In July water was connected to the Chapel.
  • 1950 –  The Centenary and Ten celebrations took place with a Chapel Anniversary on October 15th and a Thanksgiving Meeting followed by a Celebration Dinner on October 17th.  £159-1s-0d was raised. This money was to go towards electric lighting, heating and renovations.

               Photo taken in 1950 for the Centenary & Ten celebrations.

  • 1951 –  A second heating system was installed.
  • 1952 –  An electric organ blower was installed.
  • 1962 –  There ceased to be a Sunday evening Service due to a shortage of preachers and small numbers attending.
  • 1977 –  Services had to be held in the Sunday School due to the poor state of the Chapel ceiling.


Inside the old Chapel – 1996

Inside the old Chapel looking to the rear – 1996

  • 1977 –  All Trustees were discharged and a new Church Council was appointed.
  • 1978/79 –  Chapel renovations took place. The inside was gutted, rebuilt and decorated.  The old pulpit was pulled down and a concrete rostrum installed at the front of the Chapel on which was placed a smaller, moveable pulpit built from the original. This work was carried out by Mr. Telfer Thomas from Connor Downs, brother of Mr. Cyril Thomas, Chapel Steward.  Electric wiring was renewed. The organ was stripped and rebuilt by Mr. Philip Davey of Twelveheads.  During this time Services were held in the Sunday School room.
  • 1979 –  On September 21st the Chapel reopened, having been closed for a year for alterations. It was opened by Mrs. King, one of the Chapel members. A concert was given by Mr. Philip Davey and the Praisemakers Choir from Truro.
  • 1980 –  A Communion Table was added. It came from Philleigh Chapel.
  • 1981 –  A marriage Licence was applied for and granted.  On October 10th the first Wedding in the history of the Chapel took place between Mr. Ross Rounsevell and Miss Heather Thomas.
  • 1982 –  A new wooden Chapel Cross was made by the boys of Truro School.
  • 1982 –  A small room off the Sunday School room was converted into a kitchen.
  • 1984 –  It was decided to close the Sunday School for the time being except for the Christmas party and Prize giving.
  • 1990 –  On May 19th/20th the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the Chapel was celebrated. There was a concert by the Goonhavern Quartet on the Saturday evening. On the Sunday the preachers were Revd. Ian Haile at 11.00 and the Minister, the Revd. Michael Taylor at 6.15pm.
  • 1994 –  The first “Summer Surprise” was held – an activity session for local children.
  • 1995 –  A “Christmas Surprise” was held for the children.
  • 1995 –  Discussions took place as to the future of the Chapel. Enquiries were made into looking for other properties in the village which might be suitable to move into.
  • 1995 –  In December “Prospect House” across the road was purchased as a new, modern home for the Chapel. This building was only built a few years before and had previously been occupied by the Wesleyan Assurance Company.  It cost £80,000. Money came from the Circuit Advance Fund and the Chapel raised £10,000 which was paid back over several years.
  • 1995 –  Kenwyn Parish Council wished to share the building but were not in the position financially to help with the purchase at that time.  The Chapel Trustees agreed to rent them the smaller of the two rooms upstairs for an office as a favour. This was taken up by the Parish Council once the Chapel opened and they continued to have an office there until 2006.
  • 1996 –  40 new chairs for the Sanctuary were bought at a cost of £36 each. A further 40 stacking chairs for the new School room were purchased at a cost of £6.29 each.   A new Communion Rail was made by the boys of Truro School.                                     A new Lectern was made to order by Rosehill Contract Furnishing Ltd. who specialised in such products.                                                                                                                   A new organ was purchased costing £1,850. “The Organ that Plays Itself”. GEM/AHLBORN Classic Organ, Model “SL 100” with Yamaha MDF2 Sequencer. This organ can be played as it is or can be used with the Yamaha Midi Data Filer MDF2 enabling the organ to be played by non-organists. The old pulpit, pews, iron gratings, stain glass windows, wooden partitions from the SS, organ, piano, etc were removed by a salvage company from Preston, Lancashire.
  • 1996 –  The old Chapel was closed on March 30th and the congregation was led over the road to the new Chapel in a Service of dedication led by The Revd. Stephen Dawes, Chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Methodist District, and the Revd. David Watson, Superintendent of the Truro Methodist Circuit.  About 150 people attended the opening Service. £1,608 was raised from Gift envelopes.

Crossing the road from the old Chapel to the new Chapel – March 1996

The Opening of the new Chapel in 1996

The newly purchased Chapel in 1996

  • 1996 –  On October 30th the inaugural meeting of the Tuesday Afternoon Social Group was held.
  • 1996 –  Glass from the commemorative windows in the old Chapel could not be used in a screen in the new Chapel because it did not comply with fire regulations. However, the names of those commemorated were kept and made into a box display which now stands independently in the foyer.
  • 1997 –  Easter workshops with children from the village School were held on Thursday March 27th and Good Friday March 28th.   Following these successful events the Thursday Evening Children’s Activity Group (TAG) was set up.
  • 1997 –  The former Chapel was sold for a sum of between £50,000 and £60,000. It has since been converted into a residence. The old Sunday School building and former Stable were converted into flats.

The back of the new Chapel


Inside the new Chapel

The Ahlborn Organ that “plays itself”

  • 2013 –  Improvements began to up-date the present building. This still continues.
  • 2014 –  A series of celebrations were held throughout the year to commemorate 200 years of Methodism in the Village of Shortlanesend.
  • 2021 –  Covid 19 restrictions permitting, Services are still held on a weekly basis, once every Sunday at 11.00. The Sunday School now operates as the Thursday Activity Group for children and young people.   Community Coffee Mornings are held twice a month.     A Tuesday afternoon Social Group meets monthly.  A joint Fellowship Group meets with members of Allet Methodist Church on a monthly basis. In September a 6 Kw system of solar panels was installed on the Church roof.


Information and photos gathered from:

  • Minutes of the Chapel Trustee Meetings which are now held in the County Archives.
  • “1840 – 1950 A Short History of the People called Methodists at Short – Lane – End, Cornwall” written by W. Stainer Smith for the Centenary and Ten Celebrations.
  • Memorabilia from the Tinney family archives.
  • Ross and Heather Rounsevell.
  • Sue Coney.


November 2021

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.