Penryn Primitive Methodist chapel
The opening of Penryn Primitive Methodist chapel in the Falmouth circuit is described by Joseph Best, one of the preachers at its opening on 27th January 1861. Penryn had had a longstanding, struggling Primitive Methodist society which met in a rented chapel. This is the chapel recorded in the return from Penryn Primitive Methodists to the 1851 Census of Places of Public Religious worship.
However, in 1860, following the initiative of Bro. R Killingrey, they bought and demolished a house at Fish Cross and in its place built a chapel.
The celebration services and associated tea meeting were held in the Independents’ chapel. Preachers in addition to Joseph Best included CT Harris (St Ives), and Revs. J. W. Lawson (Independent) and W. D. Tyack (Wesleyan).
The new chapel cost £213 of which they had raised £100 Principal donors included J. Freeman, Esq., G. A. Jenkin, Esq., S.JGurney, Esq., M.P.; P. Sambell, Esq; J. Baring,Esq. M.P, Mrs. Mead, Mrs. Davies, S. Stephens, Esq. and T. Corfleld, Esq.
Possibly the most interesting part of the account is the description of the social make up of Penryn before and after the arrival of the Methodists. “Penryn is a borough town in Cornwall, containing about 4,000 inhabitants. Before the Reform Bill was passed it returned two members to Parliament. The social and religious state of the town was very different then from what it is now. There were then, strictly speaking, but two classes, the rich and the poor. The honourable and useful middle class had then, comparatively, no existence in Penryn. Aristocratic elements and influences were powerfully predominant. Such a state of things, opposed at once to the religious interests and social progress of the people, now no longer obtains ; a numerous class of respectable shopkeepers, thriving traders, and rich merchants, has been raised up, and they are actively concerned for the sanitary, social, political, moral, and religious wellbeing of the town. The several churches of the place are most fraternal in their intercourse with each other.”
The chapel was built at the bottom of St. Thomas Street. Later it was acquired by Roman Catholics and damaged by bombing in 1941.
Primitive Methodist magazine May 1861 pages 302-303