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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 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 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
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 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 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
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.
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 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) 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.