History Files History Files
 

The History Files The History Files needs your help

The History Files is able to keep on doing what it does thanks to some wonderful people who have helped to cover increasing web hosting costs. This year, as the History Files is a non-profit site, it still needs your help. Please click anywhere inside this box to make a small donation via PayPal so that we can continue to provide highly detailed historical research on a fully secure site. If every visitor donated just a penny then we'd cover a year's running costs in a day! Your support is highly appreciated.

Target for 2020: 0  250

 

 

Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Cornwall

by Jo Lewis, 6 March 2020

Restormel (South) Part 18: Churches of St Austell

Blowinghouse Baptist Meeting, St Austell, Cornwall

Blowinghouse Baptist Meeting was located on the eastern part of Blowinghouse Hill in St Austell. There is evidence of a lively Baptist community in the town before 1824, meeting in a cottage on Blowinghouse Hill. A formal church was created in 1832-1833. Lay preacher and church benefactor Francis Stocker lived on the very same hill - in 1832 he leased land next door (to increase the space available to the meeting). Sadly the meeting's chapel has since been demolished.

St John's Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, St Austell, Cornwall

St John's Wesleyan Methodist Chapel is located at the back of a cul-de-sac which may be Union Place (the parallel Union Road is now Priory Road), off the northern side of Bodmin Road. It was built in 1828 and was fully restored in 1890 by Sylvanus Trevail. It has been described as one of the most beautiful nonconformist chapels in Cornwall. Certainly its ceiling is remarkable. It seats approximately 650 people, with extensive school rooms that are used regularly.

St Austell Christadelphians, St Austell, Cornwall

St Austell Christadelphians meet in St Austell Arts Centre (otherwise known as the Assembly Room), 87 Truro Road, the southern side of the road around ninety metres west of the Penwinnick Road junction. The building itself may look old and sturdy but the OS 25-inch map of 1892-1914 shows open fields all around this site. Instead it is an early twentieth century construction in grey Cornish stone. Today the building is owned by Cornwall Council.

Grace Church, St Austell, Cornwall

Grace Church meets in Poldhu School, at the southern end of Dithmarschen Way which accesses Penwinnick Road around half a kilometre east of the Christadelphian meeting (see above). Grace Church was formed by a congregation of locals in March 2018 when they began Sunday meetings in the school. The church is a sister to Truro Evangelical and Newquay Baptist Church (see links), and is part of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches.

St Austell Baptist Church, St Austell, Cornwall

St Austell Baptist Church stands at the south-west corner of West Hill (formerly Western Road) and Trinity Street (a post-war construction). John Wesley preached on the site next door to this: Ebenezer Chapel (see below). This was then purchased from the Methodists in 1833 (and can just about be seen in the very left of this shot). This replaced the Blowinghouse Hill meeting (above), while the present building seen here was erected in 1899 and opened in 1900.

Ebenezer Chapel, St Austell, Cornwall

Ebenezer Chapel is on the corner of West Hill and Trinity Street. John Wesley preached here in the 1740s, and this was initially a small Wesleyan Methodist meeting house. It was purchased by the Baptists in 1833 and became known as Ebenezer Chapel but, in 1862, it was demolished in favour of the present building. In 1900 a bigger chapel was opened next door (above). The old building survived a spell of private ownership and is now Cornerstone Christian Centre.

St Austell Primitive Methodist Chapel, St Austell, Cornwall

St Austell Primitive Methodist Chapel sat on the western side of South Street, just twenty metres south of the Court Gardens junction. It was built in 1876 to seat 450, but at some point the Primitive Methodists moved away (at the 1932 Methodist union, perhaps) and the chapel became Faraday Hall (this photograph is from the Mac Waters collection at Cornish Memory). Demolition followed in the 1960s and the site is now occupied by the southern part of China Court.

Tabernacle Congregational Chapel, St Austell, Cornwall

The Tabernacle Congregational Chapel stood on the south-western side of Duke Street, on the green space west of the tiled-frontage building on the corner with South Street. It was erected in 1850 following the demolition of an earlier chapel on the same site. The new building sat 350 people, but it underwent renovation work as early as 1883, by the ubiquitous Sylvanus Trevail. With a Sunday School underneath it was listed, but was still demolished in the 1970s.

Holy Trinity Church, St Austell, Cornwall

Holy Trinity Church lies at the north-eastern end of Fore Street (the opposite end to the Baptist church - see above). The earliest building here dates to 1169, although this seems to have been replaced entirely by the building of 1290, and only parts of that survive following a wholesale rebuild in the 1400s. The tower can be dated to between 1478 and 1487. The church was restored in 1872 by George Edmund Street and today is a Grade 1 listed building.

St Austell Bible Christian Chapel (First Site), St Austell, Cornwall

St Austell Bible Christian Chapel (First Site) is at the south-west corner of Trevarthian Road and Tregarne Terrace, Also known as Zion Chapel, it was built in 1891, seemingly to replace an older Zion Chapel of at least 1828. When another new chapel replaced this one (see links) it became a lecture hall until 1969, when the Bible Christians made it their Sunday School (perhaps also replacing a previous site). Both buildings closed in 1994, possibly for use as flats.

Eight photos on this page by Jo Lewis and one by Mac Waters / Cornish Memory. Additional information from An Inventory of Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting Houses in South-West England, Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, 1991.

 

 

     
Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.