Mapping Methodism – West Looe United Reform Church – Riverside Chapel (Former Congregational Chapel)

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


(Photo: Barry West) 

Located in Quay Road.

The first chapel in Looe was founded by Sir Harry Trelawny, a Cornish eccentric, who converted to Congregationalism and built a chapel in West Looe Square in 1777. Kellys 1902 notes: The Congregationalists were first established at Looe in 1771. After he returned to the Church of England, he pulled down his chapel, but his flock built another in 1797 on the site of the present Riverside Church. The present building was built by the thriving worshiping community in 1881. (Sl different timings noted – elsewhere says 1874!). A school hall and caretakers’ cottage were added along the quay in 1889. (

Congregational chapel re-built c1880. Replacing a previous Congregational chapel built c1707. Small burial ground behind. Built in the Geometrical Gothic style, constructed of Liskeard stone with granite dressings. Polychrome stonework with freestone dressings and dry slate gabled roof. The Gothic style, three-bay buttressed and gabled front has two-light traceried windows to first floor and paired lancets below. Gabled porch at far left has traceried stone fanlight. The interior was surrounded by galleries on three sides and sittings for 370 people. It cost £1020 to build, mostly by voluntary contribution. At the north end is a stained-glass window given by John Freeman Norris esq, late of Looe. (Heritage Gateway)

The Congregationalists combined with East Looe’s Wesleyan Methodist congregation to form a new United Methodist Church, ‘Riverside Church’ sometime shortly after 1965. (Heritage Gateway)

1966: Became the United Reformed Church when two Methodist chapels in Looe as well as the Congregational Church (now United Reformed) decided to come together as Riverside United Methodist Church. Riverside is owned by the URC and is pastorally part of the Liskeard and Looe Methodist Circuit.

1966: Opened as a Methodist/Congregational Church formed from the union of the West Looe Methodist Church, East Looe Methodist Church and the Congregational Church. (SWChurches)

Looe Congregational and Methodist Church, Riverside Methodist Church, Riverside United Reform Church, Riverside United Congregational Church. (SWChurches)

1995: Riverside Chapel was completely refurbished when the old pews downstairs were removed and replaced by comfortable seating that can be arranged so that better use can be made of the sanctuary area. (

Riverside is the first church in Cornwall to receive an Eco Bronze award. (


Photos by Berry West





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