Mapping Methodism – Polperro Wesleyan Methodist Association

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 These Wesleyan Methodist Chapels have been profiled by Jo Lewis and Tony Mansell.


(See: Le Grice, C. Val., The Proofs of the Spirit or Considerations on Revivalism. A Sermon preached at St. Mary’s Chapel (Anglican), Penzance, Sunday, April 24, 1814. Treffry, R. Rev. A Letter to the Rev. C. Val. Le Grice occasioned by his sermon, Proof of the Spirit etc. Le Grice (1773-1858), perpetual curate in Penzance, 1806 to 1831.)

1835-6: Co-leader of a schism in the Wesleyan Methodist Church to form the Wesleyan Methodist Association, later the United Methodist Free Church. He helps establish its chapel in Polperro.



Couch House, Lansallos Street

The House, reputed to date from circa 1595 was the home of Jonathan Couch in 1837 and was also used for Wesleyan Methodist Association meetings, before the building of the Talland Hill Chapel.

It is Grade 2 listed

Painted and rendered stone rubble with scantle slate roof. Main range with gabled ends with higher roof to range at higher end with splayed corner. Gabled end to front projecting cross wing at lower end. Stone rubble chimney stacks on higher gable end, rear lateral hall chimney stack and lateral chimney stack to cross wing. Plan difficult to assess because interior not inspected but overall L-shaped plan with stack at higher gable end and lateral stack at side of projecting wing at front lower end. 2 storeys, asymmetrical front elevation with replacement 2-light casements with glazing bars. Front projecting cross wing at lower end on left with higher range on right. Entrance in angle between leading into cross wing. Rendered porch with lean-to slate roof. 2-light casement above. To right, single window asymmetrical front with 2-light casement beneath timber lintel and 2-light casement above. Regular single window range in gable end of cross wing with 2-light casements beneath timber lintels. Rear elevation to Lansallos Street with 3-storey range at higher end on left and 2-storey range at lower end on right. 2-light casements with glazing bars. Left-hand single window front with entrance on right with C20 low part glazed door and small rectangular window to left. Above, 2-light casement on first floor and to second floor in gabled half-dormer. Range to right, regular 2-window front with 2- light casements flanking lateral chimney stack. Interior not accessible at time of survey. An internal inspection may reveal interesting features and explain the plan. (Heritage Gateway)

Home of Dr Jonathan Couch, FLS, grandfather of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. Jonathan Couch (1789-1870) contributed much to scientic knowledge and was much acclaimed as a Cornish naturalist and ichthyologist. His published works include Cornish Fauna, 1838 second edition 1841; The History of the Fishes of the British Isle 1862-1865, and Calendar of Natural History observed at Polperro 1842. In 1871, Thomas Quiller Couch published his father’s manuscript notes entitled The History of Polperro Sources; de Burlet, S Portrait of Polperro 1977 Couch, B The Life of Jonathan Couch FLS 1891 Lanyon, A The Rooks of Trelawne 1976. Listing NGR: SX2078650946 (Heritage Gateway)



Wesleyan Methodist Association / United Methodist Free Chapel / Central Methodist Church – Kirk House, Talland Hill.

(Photo: Tony Mansell)


Talland Street, Polperro SX 2050-2150 6/111 Iben Estate Agent GV II
Chapel, now estate agents and store in basement. 1838 (datestone). Stone rubble with brick dressings. Slate roof with gable ends: Rectangular plan with splayed front left-hand corner. Plan altered. Entrance in gable end probably originally with gallery above. Ground sloping steeply on Talland Street side. 2 storeys almost symmetrical 2-window gabled front elevation. Ground floor with two C20 3-light shop windows of differing width flanking central C20 part glazed door beneath almost semi- circular hood. Datestone above entrance. 2 rounded-headed sashes above with gothic glazing bars beneath round brick arches. Left-hand corner of front elevation splayed as Talland Hill sweeps round from left. Right-hand side wall facing Talland Street of 2 storeys. Original tall round headed windows altered. Round brick window arches retained. Small basement on lower right-hand side with 2 reused chamfered timber lintels with run-out stops.
Listing NGR: SX2083150980 (Heritage Gateway)

The date stone states: “Formerly Wesleyan Methodist Chapel 1838 to 1960”.

This is likely to have been a Wesleyan Methodist Association Chapel.

1835: The Wesleyan Association was formed as a breakaway group from the Wesleyan Connexion

The Dictionary of Methodism suggests that Jonathan Couch in 1837 led the society (presumably from the Wesleyan in Fore Street) into the Wesleyan Methodist Association, building a chapel in the following year which again supports a build date of 1838 for the WMA chapel.

The same source also states that Billy O’Bryan, on a visit in 1838, opened the Wesleyan Methodist Association chapel at Polperro. Although moved to America, he crossed and recrossed the Atlantic thirteen times, and was generally well received. Billy was the founder of the Bible Christians in 1815, but had left the group and was preaching independently.

1837-1869 Record book with register of baptisms, Polperro Central Wesleyan Chapel, Talland. Chapel diary, meeting minutes and baptism register. Many entries written by John Couch, minister.

1839 Share certificate, Polperro Central Wesleyan Chapel, Talland.

1839/1840: Petition for a Certificate of Registration of chapel for performing marriages.

1857: The Wesleyan Methodist Association and the Wesleyan Reform Church amalgamated to become the United Methodist Free Churches.

1839-1884: List of shareholders with occupations.

1839: Assignment of shares by Sarah Couch, widow of John Couch, 1877;

1868-1915: Register of baptisms, Polperro Central United Methodist Church.

13 April 1870: Jonathan Couch died at Polperro. A memorial originally in the chapel is now in the garden of his former home (Couch House) by the Saxon Bridge.

1877-1885: Receipts and vouchers records.

1877-1892: Correspondence concerning shareholders and chapel property, mainly a dispute between John Perry and John Giles regarding occupancy of cellar by J Giles.

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

1907: Became Polperro United Methodist Church.

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

1932: Became Polperro Central Methodist Church.

1938: Centenary celebrations.

1877-1954: Trust accounts of central.

1956: Closed and the congregation combined with the Wesleyan Chapel.

1956: Union of Wesleyan and central Record of the Polperro Wesleyan Methodist Association Chapel is saved under UMFC and this also ties in with the later Union in 1957.

Became an estate agents with a store in the basement.

Became residential.

It is a grade 2 listed building.









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