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ST. AUSTELL PARISH

Life in the Parish

LEEK SEED WESLEYAN CHURCH *
BRITISH HERITAGE; J. Mosman, OPC

SX 05 SE ST AUSTELL ROAD ST BlAZEY GATE - Leek Seed Chapel

Wesleyan chapel. 1824, restored and refitted 1904 by Sylvanus Trevail. MATERIALS: killas rubble with granite dressings; dry Delabole slate roof with hipped side projections flanking a central gable fronted roof which continues over canted apse at the rear plus hipped roofs over small wings flanking the apse; tall brick stack to rear left in the angle. PLAN: aisle-less plan plus apse with organ over rostrum with porch on its right and vestry on its left.

EXTERIOR: 2-storey elevations; symmetrical 3-window front surmounted by a panelled roof parapet with moulded cornice and corner finials and a taller central gable resembling an open pediment. Original round-arched 1st-floor windows and lintelled ground-'floor windows flanking a 1904 distyle Tuscan porch and the original doorway with 1904 panelled doors. The windows are 1904 with paired round-arched lights and leaded glass, the 1st-floor windows with round tracery. 2-window range to each side with similar windows.

INTERIOR: Good quality complete and unaltered 1904 interior with gallery on all sides with rounded corners; moulded plaster ceiling cornice and panelled centre with scalloped corners and panelled elliptical arch to apse; screen between entrance/stair hall, with 2 staircases, and auditorium; panelled doors with diagonal V-jointed boards.

FITTINGS: Very fine pine and Spanish mahogany fittings, the gallery front with paired panels between Ionic pilasters; rostrum with shaped front, segmental-arched panels, Ionic pilasters and dentilled cornice; pews with shaped ends and backs with V-jointed boards; simple panelled organ with bronze-finish pipes. GLASS: 1904 coloured glass includes central West Window with john Wesley to centre of tracery.

MONUMENTS include an arched marble wall monument by Bovey and Co. of Plymouth inscribed: " IN MEMORY OF JOHN WILLIAMS OF BLUEGATE WHO DIED 24th OF APRIL 1849; AGED 75 YEARS. ALSO OF CHARITY, HIS WIFE WHO DIED 8th jUNE 1844; AGED 61 YEARS. ALSO OF MARGARET WEBB BARRATT, THEIR DAUGHTER WIFE OF FRAN~IS BARRATT, WHO DIED 30th.JULY 1831; AGED 25 YEARS. THEY ARE REMOVED FROM THIS HOUSE TO THE HOUSE NOT MADE WITH HANDS "

HISTORY: The interest of this chapel is enhanced by the reputed historical event which enabled it to be built. The founder of the chapel was William Stephens, a gardener and former soldier who worked hard to raise money to build a meeting house. One evening at midnight he was disturbed by 3 intruders (3 squires who were opponents of Methodism and former students of Oxford University) who demanded the money that had been saved for building the chapel, to which, in the words of one of the intruders, Stephens replied "The Lord is my defence, you shall have no money from me, for in this house is the Lord's. Take it if you dare". They saw that Stephens held a flint and steel in front of a heap of what the intruders took to be gunpowder "large enough to blow up a castle". The intruders were terrified.lest the old man should blow them all up and before leaving were persuaded to join Stephens in prayer and to sing the 100th psalm. Also, in order to appease Stephens they gave him the contents of their purses which amounted to a considerable donation towards the building of this chapel.

*taken from the British Heritage website

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