St. Martin's Methodists




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St Martin's Methodist Church History

In the nineteenth century, Methodism had several branches which were active and the work of one of these - the Bible Christians - founded this chapel. Drawn largely from the poorer members of Scillonian society - at a period when there was a great deal of poverty and destitution on the islands - the Bible Christians had to build their places of worship largely by the labours of their own hands. The original chapel seems to have been a simple, thatched construction (c1821) and was replaced in 1836 by the present building on the same site which - apart from the roof - was built entirely by members.

St. Martin's Methodist Church
It was reseated in 1876, previously there would have been benches. The small Sunday School Hall (on the left of the photo) was added in 1881. Thus this chapel stands as a tribute to the faithfulness and dedication of a group of Islanders who, despite their poverty, built a place where they could worship freely.
St. Martin's church interior The plain exterior speaks powerfully of its origins as do some of the internal features. The simple pulpit has central place - an indication of the importance of "the word", whether the reading of the Bible or preaching by the minister or local preacher. The pews are intended to cater for as many people as possible. Originally there were pews on either side of the pulpit for a choir.

Before the days of organs in churches there would probably have been a "singer's seat" below the pulpit where someone would strike up a note for hymns. The oil lamps were still in use until mains electricity was brought from the mainland in 1984.

The Sunday School hall was used for teaching the children - in the early days before compulsory schooling it was often where children (and sometimes adults) were taught the basics of reading and writing as well as scripture stories.

The building is now Grade II listed which means it has to be carefully (and expensively!) maintained and improved.







Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.


Joshua 1:9

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January 28th., 2024