At Cornwall Legacy we specialise in transcriptions of the Methodist and other Nonconformist registers for Cornwall. These registers cover circuits and chapels rather than parish – a circuit often covers several parishes or parts of parishes. If you are looking for a particular parish please use the search button above and type in the name of the parish to find the most likely register. Most of the transcriptions are on CD in Adobe PDF format. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, do not worry – all CDs have a copy of the reader on them which you can install from the disc and use to read the files.
The Methodist movement in Cornwall began in the eighteenth century when John Wesley and his associates began to visit Cornwall and small meetings were held in peoples houses while large groups met in the open air. Gradually chapels were built and the Wesleyan Methodists were formed.
William O’Bryan (alias Bryant) of Luxulyan began a breakaway movement in around 1815 called the Bible Christians and in parts of Cornwall this branch of Methodism was more popular than the Wesleyans. Many towns and villages had both a Wesleyan and a Bible Christian Chapel.
The Primitive Methodists also began in the early part of the nineteenth century and in places was as popular as the Wesleyans or the Bible Christians.
There were many other groups of Methodists such as the Wesleyan Reform Union, the Methodist New Connexion and Lady Huntingdons Connexion but these were never such large movements as the three main ones.
Gradually all the groups began to join with each other, some forming the United Methodists in the middle of the nineteenth century, until in 1932 the Methodist Church was formed to which most the the sects subscribed although there are still some independent Chapels.