Trewint, Altarnun, Near Launceston,
Tel: (01566) 880265
Where John Wesley, the founder of Methodism preached and rested
In Cornwall, the busy A30 road carries visitors from Launceston to Bodmin across Bodmin Moor and beyond. Near Five Lanes is the hamlet of Trewint with a place all its own in the Wesley Saga.
Wesley was born in the rectory at Epworth, Lincolnshire, on 17th June 1703, the 15th child of the British clergyman Samuel Wesley.
Wesley attracted immense crowds virtually from the outset of his evangelical career. His success also was due, in part, to the fact that contemporary England was ready for a revivalist movement; the Anglican church was seemingly unable to offer the kind of personal faith that people craved. Thus Wesley's emphasis on inner religion and his assurance that each person was accepted as a child of God had a tremendous popular appeal.
One Summer day in 1743, two of John Wesley's advance agents, John Nelson and John Downes, tired and hungry, asked for refreshment at a house with a stone porch, the home of Digory Isbell, a Journeyman Stonemason. In his absence his wife, Elizabeth, entertained the two strangers who on leaving insisted. on paying and then knelt and prayed - "without a book!"
The story of these unusual visitors, with such unusual ways, was told to Digory on his return.
A year later John Wesley himself, wet and weary, was entertained in the Stonemason's house and left a rich blessing behind.
One evening Digory Isbell read in his Bible of the Shunamite woman who built a Prophet's Chamber for a man of God. This passage seemed to Digory to contain a direct divine command, and he immediately set about building an extension to his house, two rooms, one up and one down, which could be used by John Wesley and his preachers whenever they were in the district.
In the latter years of his life the hostility of the Anglican church to Methodism had virtually disappeared, and Wesley was greatly admired. He died on the 2nd March 1791, and was buried in the graveyard of City Road Chapel, London. In Westminster Abbey is a memorial plaque inscribed with his name.
Trewint became a flourishing Methodist Society, but when other chapels were opened the Trewint rooms fell into disuse and eventually became a roofless ruin.
In 1950 the Isbell house and the Wesley rooms were suitable restored and opened to the public. Annual Wesley Day Celebrations are held in May each year.
The rooms are also believed to be the smallest Methodist preaching place in the world.
The A30 road symbolises the stress and strain of modern life. Digory Isbell's house at Trewint calls the soul to prayer and peace. For those who will linger and listen there, voices will speak of the riches of yesterday providing a thrill for today and a challenge for tomorrow.
Between Altarnun and the new A30 Dual Carriageway, just off the old A30.
Every day (except Christmas Day)
Altarnun Bodmin Bodmin Moor Launceston Gwennap Pit Museum of Cornish Methodism