Chapel Street Chapel, Bere Alston

Chapel Street Chapel

The only date we have for the chapel in Chapel Street comes from a indenture (mortgage) dated the 3rd February 1854. The wording starts:

“This indenture made the third day of February one thousand eight hundred and fifty four. Between Hugh Eva, Miner, Stephen Paull, miner,Samuel Spurrell, tailor, Walter Richards, miner, Edward Winter of Tavistock Devon, cabinet maker, William Johns, miner, John Jeffery, miner, John Daw, miner, William Mitchell, miner, James Opie, miner, John Williams, miner, and James Willis, miner all (except the said Edward Winter) of the Parish of Beerferris in the County of Devon of the first part and Hannah Tyeth Feaston of Tavistock, aforesaid bookseller, of the second part.

Whereas by an Indenture of Appointment and Grant dated on or about the twenty eighth day of May one thousand eight hundred and fifty three made between Richard Humphrey Toll Gentleman of the first or one part and the said several persons parties hereto of the first part or the other part and duly enrolled in Her Majesty’s High Court of Chancery on the Twenty Ninth day of July one thousand eight hundred and fifty three For the valuable consideration therein mentioned the peice or parcel of land therein particularly described and with the Chapel or Meeting House since erected amd laid out thereon and hereinafter more particularly described and also granted and conveyed with the appurtenances Were appointed and conveyed or otherwise assured unto and to the use of the said several persons parties hereto of the first part their heirs and assigns for ever .

Nevertheless upon such and the same trusts and to and for such and the same powers provisoes declarations and agreements as were expressed contained or declared or referred to in and by a certain Indenture of Release dated on or about the twenty seventh day of January one thousand eight hundred and forty two therein particularly mentioned or such of the same trusts ends intents and purposes powers provisies declarations and agreements having regard to the hereditaments in the now reciting Indenture assured were subsisting undetermined and capable of taking effect.....”

It goes on to say that the persons have borrowed one hundred pounds of “lawful British money” from Hannah to defray the cost of building the chapel and finishing it. The land involved is described as “containing by admeasurement from North to South on the Eastern side thereof fifty feet or thereabout and on the Western side fifty feet or thereabout and from East to West on the Northern side thereof fifty none feet or thereabout and on the Southern side thereof sixty nine feet and one inch or thereabouts and containing altogether three thousand two hundred square feet of land or thereabout (be the same more or less) ....... And which said piece of land and hereditaments are bounded on the North by premises belonging to Mr. Offord; on the South by premises belonging to the said Richard Humphry Toll and from which the same hath been or is intended to be separated by a stone wall; on the East by by the Public Road or Way and on the West by premises belonging to Mr.Thomas Frise or howsoever else the said premises are bounded described and known.....”.

Payment was to be made, together with interest at the rate of five per cent per annum, by half-yearly payments, commencing on the thirty first of July the following year.the property to be auctioned by Hannah in the case of default. The ‘persons’ were also to insure the premises for at least one hundred pounds in Hannah’s name. (All parties signed the document with their full names, with the exception of John Jeffery, who made his mark.) The document is headed: “Mortgage in Fee of a Chapel or Meetinghouse and premises at Beeralston. With power of sale for recovering £100 and Interest as within mentioned. Mr.Hugh Eva & others and Mrs.H.T.Feaston”.

The list of signatures added subsequently, acknowledging receipt of the £100 from Hannah, excludes Stephen Paull. In fading ink is added the following to the document: “Tavistock 18(?) December 1860. Received of the within named Mortgagors by payment of the Rev.Charles Edwards the sum of Eighty six pounds being the full amount of Principal Interest and Costs due in the within Indenture”. Signed by Carpenter & Luxton, Attornies for the Executors of the late Miss(?) Hannah Tyeth Feaston deceased.The Indenture also has on it the stamp or Rev.James Sharpe, Bere Ferrers Rectory, Bere Alston.

The next document jumps to the 20th November 1921 and is a conveyance between Mrs.E.G.Winters and others and Mr.L.G.Homeyard. Elizabeth Gaunt Winter of Enderby, Crapstone, Yelverton was the widow of John Edward Winter, late of Enderby, a Wesleyan Minister who had died on the 27th August 1915. The ‘others’ mentioned were Norris Edward Winter of The Friends School, Wigton in Cumberland and the Rev.Clifton Samuel Winter of Wesley House, Knighton in Radnor (also a Wesleyan Minister). The property was sold for £200 and was at that time two cottages in the respective occupations of John Homeyard and Samuel Hocking. The document mentions “...the Vendors acknowledge the right of the Purchaser to production and delivery of copies of an Indenture dated the thirtieth day of April one thousand eight hundred and ninety one made between William Skinner Dainty Winter of the first part the said John Edward Winter of the second part and John Douglas Johnson of the third part whereby the conveyed hereditaments were with other hereditaments conveyed as therein mentioned.”

The Rev Charles Edwards mentioned two paragraphs above was a minster in Tavistock for three years from 1860. He entered the ministry in 1836 and was a 'Free Methodist', which at that time was a 'United Free Methodist'. The United Free Methodist Church was formed by the joining together of the Wesleyan Reformers and the Wesleyan Methodist Association. They were halfway between Methodism and Congregationalism. It is considered unlikely that the Bere Alston Chapel was a 'Reform' church, despite entries in White's Directories to that effect. It was more likely to be an 'Association' one.

Ann Parsons