(former) Primitive Methodist Chapel, Frederick St, Launceston


45 Frederick Street, Launceston. Google Maps.
Opened 1862.
Photo, 1890s.

Wycliffe Chapel

LE 5 December 1857
Launceston Examiner, 5 December 1857.

On Saturday evening last the public were made aware of placard on the walls of Launceston, “the first primitive Methodist Camp Meeting would be held (D.V.) on Sunday, the 28th Nov., vacant ground at the corner of Elizabeth and Welman-streets, service to commence at half past 9 in the morning, and at 1 o’clock in the afternoon.” It was further announced that a public Love Feast would be held in the Wycliffe Chapel, York-street, the same evening, at 6 o’clock, to which all were invited.

Accordingly a number of the most zealous members of the Primitive Methodists assembled in the Wycliffe Chapel, at 9 o’clock on Sunday morning, and after prayer formed in procession and proceeded, singing a hymn, up York, George, and Elizabeth streets to the camping ground mentioned above.

When stopping at the corners of those streets to pray, they were informed by one of the Municipal Police Force that they were committing a breach of the law in obstructing the thorough far in the public streets. Ono of the leaders, in reply, said he did not believe that singing to the praise and glory of God could constitute a breach of the an English law, but if so, he would like to see the matter tired, and he, for one, would therefore not desist.

Another member of the society said, that while in the chapel had been strongly tempted, he believed by the devil, not to join the procession, and he considered that the man in blue was a messenger from the evil one who wished by such means to throw obstacles in the way of good work, but this only tended to strengthen his (the Speaker’s) believe that his brothers wore adopting the right course, and he would not be prevents form following that that, which he was convinced was right.

The man in authority was thus defeated, and the procession continued on its way to the camping ground. This spot was well chosen it is an unoccupied space on the side of the Windmill Hill. Southward, it is sheltered by the top of the hill, and to the north east by a fence and grove of trees which throws an umbrageous shade over the green sward. The view form the spot is a picturesque and noble one.
Cornwall Chronicle, 1 December 1858

PRIMITIVE METHODISTS.—This body had a social meeting at Launceston, on 11th July. The Mayor presided, and the resident ministers of the Wesleyan, Congregationalist, and Baptist churches addressed the meeting.
Launceston Examiner, 13 August 1859


[extract from a longer article]
After a few introductory remarks from the Chairman, the Secretary read the report of the trustees of the intended chapel. The report stated that in June last a suitable plot of ground in Frederick street was purchased for £350. Of this the Society hid raised £250, leaving £100 to be paid. For this sum a note of hand, which would become due in the course of two or three weeks, had been given ; and it was hoped by collections, profits of the tea, and subscriptions, to raise the required sum ; after which the trustees would be able to invite tenders for holding the chapel, which is estimated to cost £400 or £500, and for which plans and specifications have been already obtained. Rev. J. Foggon then addressed the meeting, appealing to them to give, not only their money, but their prayers, towards the accomplishment of the object in view.

Rev. H. B. Giles expressed himself as very much pleased with the excellent tea provided by the ladies. He spoke of the necessity for a new chapel for the Primitive Methodists, of the usefulness of that body, and of the want of more chapels in the town; and pressed upon the meeting the duty of carrying their religion into other people’s houses, not keeping it In the house of God only. The Chairman was very much pleased with what Mr. Giles had said. Exactly his (the Chairman’s) views had been expressed by that gentleman.

Rev. J Lindsay appeared there, as he had at other meetings of the Primitive Methodists, to give them a helping hand. He was an old hand among the Primitive Methodists. He had occupied Wycliffe Chapel before they did ; then he came to the Temperance Hall, to which place they had now come, and he wished to them the joy which he had experience in that building he called upon them to take courage from past success. Wycliffe chapel had become too straight for them, and they would soon find the Temperance Hall the same, so they must have a new chapel. The more places of worship there were the better would they be filled. Mr. Lindsay cautioned them, however, not to get a heavy debt upon the chapel. He could say from experience that a heavy debt was a very annoying thing.

Rev. E. C. Pritchard delivered a humorous and interesting address, in which he likened a people without a chapel of their own to a bachelor in lodgings. He alluded to the time when he was a bachelor, and contrasted it with the present. Mr. Pritchard spoke of the nice chapel the Primitive Methodists had in Hobart Town, and hoped that in a few weeks, he would see tenders called for a chapel in Launceston.
Launceston Examiner, 13 March 1862



A ceremony of much interest to the Primitive Methodist connexion took place on Tuesday afternoon, in the laying of the foundation stone of the chapel in Frederick-street, between Charles and Wellington streets. The ministers present were the Revs. John Sharpe (pastor of the church) and J. Foggon (mini ster at Longford), and the spectators num bend between 200 and 300.

The proceedings were commenced by singing a hymn, after which the Rev. J. Foggon offered prayer. The Rev. J. Sharpe then read the following document (a copy of which was to be deposited under the foundation stone)–

The chapel about to be erected here is for the use of the body of Christians known as Primitive Methodists. This body, in the order of divine Providence, was called into existence in the year of our Lord 1810. The first class was formed in a village called Standley, in the county of Stafford, England, consisting of ten members, not one of whom had ever been connected with any religious society whatever; proving that Primitive Methodism was not an off-shoot from the Wesleyan body. From a beginning so small and apparently so very insignificant it has, by the divine blessing, been brought to its present position. From 10 members in 1810 it has increased–in 1820, to 7842; in 1830, to 35,535; in 1840, to 73,990; in 1850, to 104,762; in 1860, its jubilee year, to 132,114;–showing rapid and ceaseless progress. This connexion occupies about 6000 places of worship, has 729 regular and 11,887 lay ministers, employs 32,738 Sabbath school teachers, and has 180,000 Sabbath school children. Has 40 ministers and nearly 3000 members in the Australian colonies. In November, 1857, the first Primitive Methodist Society was formed In Tasmania by Mr. Thomas Woolnough. In September, 1859, the Reverend Joseph Lang ham, the first minister, arrived from England. There are three ministers at present in the island and about 250 members. In June, 1861, the ground on which the intended chapel is to stand was purchased for the sum of 350l. Foundation stone to be laid this 13th day of May, 1862, by Alderman Norwood. Minister of the congregation, the Rev. John Sharpe. Trustees and. Building Committee-Rev. J. Langham, Rev. J. Foggon, Messrs. T. Edginton, J. Hudson, J. Turner, W. Brothers, W. Grace, T. Woolnough, W. H. Godwin, G. Potter, J. Dakin. W. Dockin, Architect-Mr. J.H. Wiltson. Contractors–Messrs. Ditcham, Button, and Co.

Alderman Norwood, the gentleman whose business it was to lay the stone, then proceeded, in the usual manner, to deposit be. neath the slab a hermetically sealed bottle, containing copies of the Launceston Examiner and Cornwall Advertiser of that day, the bill announcing the services, a plan of the station, and a copy of the document given above. The stone having been duly adjusted, Mr. Norwood gave a suitable address, in which he spoke of the need of charity and liberality of feeling between the various de nominations of Protestant Christians. The Primitive Methodists in building that chapel were not encroaching upon the sphere of operations of other de nominations; there was room. for all, and if the Primitive Methodists increased a thousand. fold, other denominations would not thereby be prevented increasing to the same extent. That member of a Christian church who had not a heart full of love for other denominations than his own, and would not extend to them the right hand of Christian fellowship, was an. worthy of the name he bore. Mr. Norwood wished them great success, and concluded by declaring the foundation stone duly laid.

The Rev. J. Sharpe explained one fact which, he said, had perhaps been noticed by the audience; vis., the absence of coin under the foundation stone. In these times the necessity of economy was much spoken of, and it was on that principle they had proceeded. They thought coins above the stone would be much better than coin under the stone. A collection was then made, after which the Rev. J Sharpe pronounced the benediction and the assembly separated.

In the evening a public meeting was held in the Wycliffe Chapel, York-streets when Mr. T. Edgington occupied the chair. Mr. T. Woolnough told the meeting how it was he came to originate the Primitive Methodist Connexion in Launceston. The Rev. F. Foggon alluded to the wrong notions existing respecting’ the Primitive Methodists, and spoke of their catholicity. Mr. H. B. Giles, Town Missionary, addressed the meeting on the importance of little things–of small beginnings, and of small subscriptions. The Rev. J. Sharpe spoke of the object the Primitive Methodists had in view, which was to spread the truth. He also alluded to the good done by open air preaching, and related some instances of it,

A collection was then made, which with some promises, amounted to £12 16s. 7d. With the collection at the laying of the foundation stone (£7 14s.) this made a total £20 10s. 7d. The meeting concluded with the singing of the doxology and prayer.

The chapel will be a neat edifice of brick, of an Italian design. Its length is forty foot; width, thirty-six feet; and there will be sitting room for about 300 persons. There will not be any pews, but the seats will be open. The back, as we have before stated, will be of wood, so as to permit of the building being easily enlarged when necessary, by being carried back some fourteen feet. The chapel will be completed in about two months time.
Launceston Examiner, 15 May 1862


As journalists, it is not our province to – examine the tenets of any sect, except those, aided by the state, which may be adverse to the social well-being of the community. They are legitimate subjects for comment and animadversion. But in respect to other denominations; we feel it is not our business to intrude,. and we have never done so. We are, however, at liberty to refer to the rise and progress of the denomination called Primitive Methodists. A few years ago, and there was not one of the name in the island, and at. the present moment they have achieved, a name and a place. They have not been suppliants for, state pay, and yet they have erected places of worship, and provided teachers in many places. This is to their honor. Individually, they are poor; but each member has an interest in the advancement of his society–and hence the aggregate success. In a short time they will become a power, and that power will be wielded for the general advantage. Their bazaar and chapel opening in Launceston, are significant, and read out this lesson: that if a poor and numerically small sect can accomplish what they have effected by voluntary effort; what could not other churches now endowed perform, if thrown back on their own resources?
Launceston Examiner, 12 August 1862

As announced in our last issue a tea-meet in connection with the opening of the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Frederick-street, was hold in the chapel on Monday evening. The building, which is airy, commodious, and well-fitted up, was comfortably filled, about two hundred persons sitting down to the re past. After tea a hymn was sung, and the Rev. J, Foggon offered prayer, after which Alderman Hart was voted to the chair.
Launceston Examiner, 14 August 1862

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