Devonport Morice Town Primitive Methodist chapel

Herbert Street

Morice Town Primitive Methodist chapel
Christian Messenger 1914/89

In 1854 there were no Primitive Methodist societies in the Plymouth mission; by 1858 there were 9 preaching places and 150 members. The foundation stone of Morice Town Primitive Methodist chapel in Devonport was laid on the afternoon of Monday 2nd August 1858. Around 500 people attended the ceremony at what was to be the first Primitive Methodist chapel in Devon and which was located in a growing neighbourhood.

Preachers at the service included Samuel Harding, who described it in the Primitive Methodist magazine, and Rev J Pyer (Independent). Rev J Stock (Baptist) laid the stone, under which was a bottle containing Conference minutes for 1858, the month’s magazine, the preachers’ plan for the quarter and some coins.

Later there was a tea meeting for 250 in the Baptist chapel. Addresses were given by Revs Pyer, Stock, Overbury, Johnson, Mitchell and Pithouse.

The opening took place on Friday March 4th 1859. Speakers at opening and following services included  W Harland (London), Rev Mewton, Rev T Drew (Guernsey) who missioned Morice Town and Rev T Horton (General Baptist).

The chapel was expected to cost around £500 of which they planned to raise £200. In fact, by the opening they had raised £150, with an anonymous donation of £10 and £10 from W Hicks of Lotwithiel.

The chapel must have thrived, because there’s a further account in the Primitive Methodist magazine of 1866 when it was enlarged with the addition of a gallery and further renovation. It reopened on 11th March; preachers included  N Broadway, Mr Burden, Revs E Shelton, J Ashworth, N Broadway, G Grigg and J Sellix, who wrote the account. There was a celebratory tea for 160.

Where was this chapel? I can’t find it on early maps.

A chapel located on the south east corner of the junction of Herbert Street and Charlotte Street appears on the Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 map of 1895.  On the 1894 1:1,500 Ordnance Survey map, not only is there no chapel, but Herbert Street itself does not exist.  There’s a story to untangle here.

Herbert Street chapel was destroyed in the Second World War.


Primitive Methodist magazine October 1858 pp.624-625

Primitive Methodist magazine June 1859 p.367

Primitive Methodist magazine June 1866 p. 369


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