Mapping Methodism – Fowey Bible Christian Chapel

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The Fowey Chapels have been profiled by Jo Lewis and Tony Mansell.


The comment below, “The members belonging to the Bible Christian Connexion resident in the place have had for the past fifty years to worship in various incommodious and otherwise unsuitable premises,” suggests that the Bible Christians had used a number of locations in Fowey.

1823: Kresen Kernow holds a Draft lease for a Methodist meeting house, with dwelling house and cellars, Fowey. Ref: CF/1/1254. Parties: 1) George Lucey, esquire. 2) William Rogers, Thomas Pearce, John Champion, farmers, Henry Johns, schoolmaster, Edmund Venning, maltster, William Beal, cordwainer, all of Fowey, William Pearce, gentleman, John Chappel, cordwainer, of Lanteglos by Fowey, James Hill, farmer, of Mevagissey, Edward Hocking, farmer, of Lansallos, Richard Rundle, cordwainer, and John Rundle, shipwright, of Talland. 1) to 2): property now for many years used as a Methodist meeting-house, with dwelling-house and cellars in Fowey, near the passageway [leased in 1800 by Philip Rashleigh to Robert Parker Flamank as a malthouse; lease assigned in 1817 by Flamank to trustees as above]. Term: 99 years. Details of Methodists’ conditions of tenancy. Dated: 1823 [no day or month given].

Circa 1830: Initially services were held in a dwelling.

Circa 1843-1883: “… the congregation had occupied a small chapel.”

1872: Lease, malthouse, Fowey. Parties: 1) Robert Thomas Head of Alphington, Devon, esquire, and Edward Lambert of Regent’s Park, Middlesex trustees of will of Joseph Thomas Treffry. 2) Reverend Edward John Treffry of Place, tenant for life. 3) Sir Thomas Dyke Acland of Killerton, Devon, Samuel Trehawke Kekewich of Peamore, Devon, esquire, and Sir John Thomas Buller Duckworth of Weir House, Devon, trustees of West of England Fire and Life Insurance Company. 4) Thomas Hitchens of Fowey, baker. 21-year lease; rent £12. Malthouse or messuage and hereditaments on north side of Albert Quay, adjoining river or harbour of Fowey now and for some time past unoccupied. (Kresen Kernow Ref: TF/1694. 1st May 1872.


1883 Chapel

Assumed Bible Christian Chapel – architecture suggests it as a chapel. (Photo: Jo Lewis)

Located on the west side of Fore Street, just ten metres or so south of the former bank. (Kelly’s Directory of 1902)

1883: Build date. (Kelly’s Directory of 1902)

New Bible Christian Chapel at Fowey. Memorial stones of a new Bible Christian Chapel were laid at Fowey on Wednesday week. The want of a suitable place for the services has been long felt in the town. An effort was made to raise funds to defray the cost of a new building, and subscriptions amounting to £160 being received, Mr. A. S. Clunes, architect, of Fowey, was instructed to prepare plans for a chapel 40ft. long by 28ft. wide, to accommodate nearly 200 persons. A site in the main street was obtained, on the ground for many years occupied by the “old armoury,” and there the ceremony of Wednesday was performed. At the site of the chapel a house will be built which may be used as a schoolroom. The erection will be in the Gothic style, and built of local stone with a brick frontage. The interior will be of pitch pine with a wagon ceiling. When completed, the chapel promises to be a neat and comfortable building. Messrs. lsbell and Mitchell are the builders…He said that more than fifty years ago a section of the Bible Christian Church was established at Fowey. The services were first held in a dwelling-house, and for the past forty years the congregation had occupied a small chapel. Those who had been accustomed to attend there were satisfied that that place was not only insufficient and uncomfortable for holding the services, but had now become unsafe… During the past three years the congregations of the Bible Christians at Fowey had increased, there had been greater activity among them, and infinitely more heartiness. In conclusion he desired to recognise the excellent services of the architect and builders, and appealed for funds towards the new building. At three p.m., a large number of persons assembled at the site of the chapel to witness the laying of memorial- stones. A short service was first held. There were six stones representing various branches of religious work. They were laid under the superintendence of the builders and architect.” (Royal Cornwall Gazette – Friday 15 June 1883)

Build cost of £750. (Kelly’s Directory of 1902)

Seating: 160 persons. (Kelly’s Directory of 1902)

1883: Opening of a New Chapel at Fowey. “The new Bible Christian Chapel at Fowey was opened on Wednesday week. The members belonging to the Bible Christian Connexion resident in the place have had for the past fifty years to worship in various incommodious and otherwise unsuitable premises. This bad accommodation the congregation lately determined to put up with no longer, and after many fruitless efforts a good site for the proposed new chapel was secured in Fore-street. About five months ago memorial stones were laid. The chapel, which has been erected at a total cost of £750 (of which nearly one-half has been raised) is a Gothic structure about 40 feet long by 24 feet wide, and 21 feet high. The building will be lighted with gas. The congregation feel highly pleased at the way in which the architect, Mr. A. S. Clunes, Fowey, and the builders, Messrs. Isabell and Mitchell, Fowey, have carried out the work entrusted to them. (Royal Cornwall Gazette – Friday 9 November 1883)

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

Presumably became a United Methodist Church.

Early OS maps fail to label the chapel, but there is a highlighted building on Fore street on one 1907 map which may be this one.

1912: Lease, premises, Fore Street, Fowey. Parties: 1) Charles Ebenezer Treffry of Place, esquire, to 2) Robert Varco, junior of Fowey, licensed victualler. 30-year lease; rent £15. Messuage or dwelling-house with store yard and adjoining premises in Fore Street, bounded on north west with lessor’s premises occupied as church Sunday School, on south west with premises of lessor leased to Bible Christian chapel, on south east with Fore Street, on north east with lessor’s premises in occupation Henry Harris. (Krese Kernow Ref: TF/2667. 7th March 1912)

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

Presumably became a Methodist Church.

1948: Closed and congregation joined with North Street Chapel. (Revd David Easton, Methodist Historian)

Kresen kernow notes a proposed conversion of Methodist Chapel, Fore Street, into shop, store and offices for Fowey Direct Building Company Limited in 1949. There was no other chapel on Fore Street but this….

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