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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Cornwall

by Jo Lewis, 1 September 2021

Restormel (North) Part 8: Churches of St Columb Major

St Columb Major Bible Christian Chapel, St Columb Major, Restormel, Cornwall

St Columb Major Bible Christian Chapel is on the western side of Fore Street, opposite the car park. Records show that the chapel was built in 1801 with sittings for 250 persons. However the chapel's own plaque shows a date of 1842, possibly thanks to a rebuild. Between 1907 and 1932 it was Fore Street United Methodist Church, becoming mainstream Methodist in 1932. It closed in 1963, with the congregation gaining a new permanent building in 1978 (below).

Fore Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, St Columb Major, Restormel, Cornwall

Fore Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel stood on the east side of Fore Street in St Columb Major. It was built in stone in the Gothic style. It was erected in 1868, and would seat 500 persons. A Sunday school was located in the basement. It was partially demolished and rebuilt in 1968, but even this closed in 1978. The building was fully demolished in 1991, leaving the Wesley Car Park. The former congregation met in various places until finding a new permanent home in 1980.

Fore Street Methodist Church, St Columb Major, Restormel, Cornwall

Fore Street Methodist Church sits on the south side of the Wesley Car Park (see above), facing out over Higher East Street. The original Wesleyan chapel closed in 1978, leaving the congregation to wander between various locations until 1980 (perhaps including the former St Columb Major United Methodist Church building - see links). This building was formerly Edyveans printing works until they took the Bible Christian chapel (above), but even this chapel closed in 2015.

Bethesda Chapel (Congregational), St Columb Major, Restormel, Cornwall

Bethesda Chapel (Congregational) sits on the northern flank of the Wesley Car Park (above), facing onto Higher East Street. It began as an independent chapel before becoming Congregational, and is shown in its latter state on 1888 maps. It was registered for marriages in November 1841, with Mr George One being its independent minister for forty-eight years. The stone building was erected in 1790, and enlarged at various times. Now it is Chapel Mews residential building.

Church of St Columba, St Columb Major, Restormel, Cornwall

The Church of St Columba sits in a churchyard off the north side of Market Place in the northern part of St Columb Major. The site probably housed an ancient barrow where pagan rites were celebrated, and was originally circular. In 1100 a Norman church was built. Part of its foundations can still be seen around the pillars. About the middle of the twelfth century this was replaced by a second building, which by 1417 was apparently in a poor state and needed rebuilding.

Church of St Columba, St Columb Major, Restormel, Cornwall

In 1795 the screen was cut up for floor boards, the nave and aisles were filled with deal box pews for the farmers, and a gallery was put up at the west end for the labourers. In 1840 the lay rector destroyed the ancient east window and inserted the present 'churchy' window. In 1884 the building was in a deplorable state and another restoration was effected, although it was not sympathetic to the origins of the church. The tower contains a peal of eight bells.

Four photos on this page by Jo Lewis, and two kindly contributed by Roy Reed via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group. Additional information from The London Gazette, 1841.



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