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Camelford

On many of John Wesley’s visits between 1746 and 1789, he preached in Fore Street by the market place. The local society seems to have been remarkably unstable. The Chapel Street Wesleyan church (1810) more recently became an Arts Centre and is now a bed-and-breakfast establishment.

The WM circuit was seriously affected by the disruption of 1834-35, which led to the opening of Fore Street WMA chapel (1837), modernized in 1984. The Bible Christians had a chapel in Victoria Road (1841), next to the birthplace of the outstanding China missionary Samuel Pollard.

Quotations

John Wesley's Journal:

July 1747: 'We stopped at a friend's house near the town; and between four and five walked to Mr. M[allet?]'s house, who had often desired that, if Mr. Wesley came, he would preach either in his house or bowling-green; but word came from the mayor, while I was there,that if I did preach he would prosecute him. Finding no convenient place could be procured, we thought it best to go on to Mr. Bennet's. As I walked threough the town we had a large train to attend us. Only one stone struck me on the shoulder. Fifty or a hundred waited upon us about half a mile: we then went on quietly to Tregear.'

September 1748: 'I rode to Camelforsd and preached about noon, none now offering to interrupt.'

August 1750: '… I preached in the main treet, the rain pouring down all the time; but that neither drove the congregation away nor hindered the blessing of God. Many were I tears, and some could not help crying aloud, both during the preaching and the meeting of the society.'

August 1753: 'The rain stopped at twelve, and gave me an opportunity of preaching in the market-place at Camelford. I saw only one person in the congregation who was not deeply serious. That one (which I was sorry to hear) was the curate of the parish.'

September 1755: '… I rode to Camelford, and preached in the market-place about six, on "Ye must be born again." Some were much afraid there would be a disturbance; but the whole congregation was quiet and attentive.'

August 1757: 'At six I preached in the market-place. How are the lions in this town also become lambs!'

September 1760: '… I found just such another society [as the 'dead, scattered society' at Launceston] at Camelford. But their deadness here was owing to bitterness against each other. In the morning I heard the contending parties face to face; and they resolved and promised, on all sides, to let past things be forgotten. Oh how few have learned to forgive "one another, as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven" us!'

September 1762: 'In the afternoon, the rain intermitting, I preached in the market-place; and it was a solemn season. [Next morning] 'After preaching at eight I left Camelford, now one of the liveliest places in Cornwall.'

September 1765: 'The next day I preached in a field near Camelford, it being the fair-day, on "Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."

August 1768: 'I came to Camelford, where the society is once more shrunk from seventy to fourteen. I preached in the market-place on "O that thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things that make for thy peace!" Many were moved for the present; as they were the next day while I was applying those awful words, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!" '

August 1776: 'I was going to preach in the market-place at Camelford, where a few are still alive to God, when a violent storm drove us into the house; that is, as many as could squeeze in. The fire quickly kindled among them, and seemed to touch every heart. … A flame was once more raised in this town; may it nevermore be put out.'

August 1789: 'I preached at nine in our new house at Camelford, thoroughly filled though at a short warning.'

Sources

  • Thomas Shaw, A History of Camelford and Wadebridge Circuit 1743-1960

Entry written by: CCS
Category: Place

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