Cotts Wesleyan Chapel

Cotts Wesleyan Chapel

The Chapel was in the East Cornwall Circuit until its closure, along with the Bere Alston chapel. It was in later years that Bere Alston and Bere Ferrers became part of the Tavistock and District Circuit. The Superintendent minister lived in Gunnislake, with a Pastor living at Calstock. Preachers crossed the river Tamar by ferry at Calstock, as indeed a lot of preachers for the parish did. They were then fetched by pony and trap, and later by car.

Iris Snell's father preparing to fetch a preacher for Cotts chapel
(My grateful thanks go to Iris for much of the information about Cotts)

In 1951 the cost of the car to fetch preachers to Cotts was raised to 4s per trip. Preachers would often preach at more than one chapel in the parish on one day. In 1955 the proportion of garage rent paid for the pastor's car was 10s 10d, and insurance on local preachers travelling by private car was 2s 9d.

As with other chapels, seat rent was collected; this was a means of collecting the assessment.

The last chapel organ (harmonium) was purchased with money obtained from carol singing, mainly around the local farms. It was purchased after closure by a local lady and was passed on to Mount Zion chapel in Bere Alston after her death. After electricity was installed, the oil lamps were passed to Latchley chapel.

In 1948 the chapel was licensed for the solemnization of marriage. The exterior of the building was renovated in that year, and and evening service was added once a month in place of the evening service, making two services a day on those days.

In 1950 at a church meeting there was discussion as to 'what constituted church membership'. The minister concluded it by giving Wesley's definition: 'One who loves the Lord.'

Heating seems to have been by coal fire; in 1957 the coal house roof was painted and treated and someone was required to light the fire before every service.

MINISTERS FROM 1945
Circa 1945 Rev. Merritt and Pastor Wilmott Peters
Circa 1948 Rev. Bowles and Pastors Peters and Snow
Circa 1955 Rev. D. Thornton-Smith and Pastor Guard
Circa 1957 Rev. S Dixon, no pastor
Circa 1961 Rev. Dorrington

The Band of Hope was active in the chapel, as in many chapels in the area, members receiving certificates. In Bere Alston they held a Good Friday festival for some years.

Ann Parsons