Trebudannon Meeting House and Chapel

My Methodist Family History including the Morlen Family Story

Courtesy Ordnance Survey Pathfinder Map SW 86/96
John L Symonds 1992
John L Symonds 1992
John L Symonds 1992
John L Symonds 1992

In the following pages, I will outline an extension to the document, published on 18 March 2013 entitled My Symonds/Methodist Family History including the story of John Murlin.

My Symonds Family History crossed the path of the Morlen Family history at what is now Indian Queens. At that place, Francis Symonds and his wife Elizabeth nee Morlen had set up a family house, sometime before 1770, with some useful area of attached farm land. By 1775, Francis #2 had leased land called White Splat in Carworgey Common.

The Morlen family had lived in the St Stephens in Brannel Parish for a considerable period. Richard #2 became a farmer in the Parish area and married Elizabeth Rogers. They had three children – Richard #3, Elizabeth and John.

We take up the Morlen Family Story at the time when Richard #3 was much influenced by John Wesley in his visits through Cornwall in 1745 and many times thereafter. He met John Wesley at Indian Queens in 1785, probably when his brother John Murlin was visiting too. Richard #3 married Catherine Francis (b.c1722) at St Enoder Parish Church on 1 July 1743. He went back to farming before that date, taking up a lease from Squire John Rowse on some land in Carworgey Estate and Commons.

Finding all the details of this lease and its position in the Estate was greatly helped by Graham Gape in early 1992. He sent me an airletter, saying that he could provide considerable help as he lived at St Dennis and had been able to collect a large amount of data for the areas listed of interest. In the interchange of letters with an appreciable amount of data, it seemed likely that much more could be achieved if we were together looking over the sites and data.

On a visit to the UK in Autumn 1992 and a car hired, I collected him in Cornwall and we had wide-ranging discussions about the Symonds and Morlen families in Indian Queens and Carworgey Estate. We were able to make many significant visits around Cornwall, but more particularly to Trebudannon, a small village within the Carworgey Estate, as well as gathering vital data for the Morlen/Methodist story about a Trebudannon Farm.

The first place of interest was Indian Queens for a quick look at what had been the Posting House/Inn started by Francis #2 and Elizabeth nee Morlen. So much had changed since I had visited there in earlier years that we decided to head to St Columb Road on the main road towards Newquay. Just crossing the main road north, I noticed a building which had been mentioned by Ron Clark in one of his visits – the Indian Queens Chapel. It will appear briefly below.

With quite narrow streets and much built up area, we were rather tangled up with which was would go towards Newquay. We managed to pick up a useful local map at a petrol station and some worthwhile directions from the proprietor: “You’ll have to keep close watch when you reach Manor Park, and a sharp turn right back.”

The Road to Trebudannon

From St Columb Road, we headed westerly passing Carworgie Manor Park and turned right passing the Park entrance and soon reached Trebudannon.

On our right was Trebudannon Farm but it appeared to have no connection with the farm which had been run by the Morlen family in the late 18th Century.

The Pathfinder OS SW 86/96 map was very helpful. The narrow village lane looped around and went southerly to another farm listed as Hawkes Farm.



After looping around, we seemed to be at our much sought location. Now going southerly, the first building could be the Trebudannon Chapel. Alongside it was the farmhouse, followed by two covered storage areas. Adjoining was an old cob-structured building, with a row of windows well up on the south facing wall. Graham and I agreed that this fitted perfectly with the description given in Richard #3 Morlen’s Will. This last structure could have been the original Meeting House. We were walking up and down the lane enjoying our discovery.

There was a voice from the farm house doorway, “Can I help you with information about my farm and the buildings?” We both called out, “Yes, please!” Mr Hawke emerged from the doorway, with a beaming smile. I gave him an outline of the reason for our visit to Trebudannon, with my family connections in South Australia and the valuable information that had been given me by Graham Gape who lived at St Dennis.

He was quite delighted and told us that he had lived on the farm for over 70 years and had gained a lot of background history of the area in that time, with dates for the construction of the main buildings. “Come along with me and we will get down to looking, talking and listening at the same time! First, we will start with the oldest building, down there by the gate into the farm at back.” The discussions went more or less along these lines.

H: This is a cob wall of pebbles, stones, twigs and straw mixed into a clay mixture and set up in large layers as you can see. Weathering has shown up some of the straw and pebbles. Have you seen this mix before (putting his hand on it)?

JS: That sort of structure was used in South Australia by the Cornish miners who came to assist in the development of the copper mines at Kapunda.

GG: We were looking at some at Indian Queens too.

H: This is the original meeting house, built in 1789. The original front door was taken down and filled in with wall. It is behind that creeper. Up there are the set of long windows to let the light in from the south. I s’pose that is upside down for you with the sun in the north!

JS: (…much laughter…) The chapel in South Australia, organised by my GGF, was aligned N-S and had windows on both sides so it got the early morning sun for morning services and the afternoon sun for Sunday School (,,,more chuckles).

H: You understand me fine! When a preacher came, he would stay for a few days He would need to have a place where he could sleep and plan. That was up back of meeting house fitted out with a bed, small table and chair. Whole building is now used for farming jobs.

GG: The Morlen Will gave us a lot of the details and it is wonderful to have it confirmed. The 1789 date for the building fits in with what we found from Mr May and Mr Rabey.

H: It seems to me that 1789 would be the year that it began to be used so the construction must have started earlier. Around to the front again. This opening alongside the wall of the meeting house was made for a preacher to leave his horse stabled. Most moved around the Parish that way though sometimes in a wheeled vehicle of sorts, drawn by a horse for longer distances.

We move on past the farmhouse because it has been changed many times but it’s definitely the area which would have been occupied by Mr Morlen and his family. There were quite a few young ones in that family.

JS: We have nine of them named and listed on our computers. One of the young Morlen ladies married my 3xGGF Francis of the Indian Queen posting house/inn so I am directly related.

H: No wonder your interest! On to the Chapel and I have a key. It was built in 1818 with a transfer of the land for it given by the Squire Rowse. It’s no longer used (unlocks and opens the door). As you see all the pews have gone. There were 92 sittings for the Queens Society and 21 registered members. The pulpit is still in its proper place. (No photo through lack of light.). I hope I’ve helped you both with some of the information and dates. You can wander round as much as you like. I’m off back to get some things done.

JS and GG: You certainly have and thanks a lot because it has confirmed more than we had expected. (…Very firm handshakes all round…)

Morlen Farm now known as Hawkes Farm

1. The Meeting House Building.

1w. Long southside window for lighting.

2. Entrance door boarded behind the creeper.

3. The stable for the Preacher’s horse.

4, Hawke Farm House.

5. The Trebudannon Chapel.

Hawke Farm House

on left formerly occupied by the Morlen family TREBUDANNON CHAPEL

On right of Farm House, beyond white car.




The Trebudannon Meeting House

The Entrance Door was removed and walled up behind the green creeper. The cob-walled structure is still clearly visible.

The space on its right was a stable for the Preacher’s horse as described in Richard Morlen’s Will.

There was a small room at the back of the Meeting House with sleeping arrangements for the Preacher.

Cob-structured Wall of the Meeting House

Made of a mixture of yellow local clay, pebbles and stones plus binding twigs and straw.

The entrance door, removed and walled up, is hidden behind the green creeper.



The Morlen Farm Tenement

A Cornwall Record Office (CRO) search for relevant papers in the WH File with deeds, leases, land and buildings in St Column Major Parish produced Item No. 5555 about a tenement in Carworgey Common, dated 25 July 1805, assigning a 400 year lease term but was transferred not long afterwards to the Rowse family. The title deed shows the property referred to as:

All those two parts in three parts undivided of and in all that houses heretofore erected by Richard Morlen and five feet behind the back wall thereof to be cleared out for an area and also in one acre of land heretofore hedged in and enclosed by the said Richard Morlen out of commons of Carworgey in the Parish of St Columb Major …

This property lease was the land for the Trebudannon Chapel, given by the Rowse family in 1818. A further assignment of terms of 400 years, 500 years and 99 years in 1860 went to Henry Jenkin Rowse, one of the ‘lives’ in the lease. That reference indicates that the property was late in the occupancy of Richard Morlen and had an area of about 4 acres. Suffice to say here that the Morlen family was firmly established in the Carworgey Commons in the second half of the 18th Century.

Apart from the first child, Elizabeth, for whom there is an uncertainly about her place of birth in 1744, she was baptised and registered in the St Enoder Church records. Her mother’s Francis family had clearly lived in St Enoder Parish. The next was Richard #4, born c1745, Catherine (c1749), Ann (c1751), Mary (c1754), Julyan (c1756), John (c1761), Susanna (c1764) and Jennifer (c1768). Richard #4 took over the farm on the death of his father in 1803, his mother died not long before in 1803 too. Most of these children are mentioned in Richard #3 Morlen’s Will .

Richard #3 Morlen’s Will

Some parts of Richard’s Will are very important as they relate to the family down to grandchildren and most significantly to the Trebudannon Chapel and the Queens Society in the St Austell Wesleyan Circuit. There is much of family history and Wesleyan involvement, proved in St Columb Major on 10 May 1804.

I give and bequeath unto my son Richard Morlen one Shilling Also I give and bequeath unto my four Grandchildren as follows (that is to say) Francis Symonds John Symonds Ann Pearse wife of Thomas Pearse and Jane Hugo wife of William Hugo the sum or sums of Five Pounds and Two Shillings the above sums to be paid by (my Executors in Trust) on or immediately after the Death of my Wife Catherine Morlen …

The deep involvement of the family in the work of the Wesleyan Circuit is made clear in the reference to the Chapel (actually The Meeting House in year 1803) at Trebudannon:

Also I give and bequeath unto James Anderson the Present Superintendant of the Methodist Societies in the Saint Austle Circuit and after him unto the Superintendant for the time being of the said Circuit (In Trust) for the People called Methodists who may being connexion in the Society called the Queen’s Society the Chapel attached to the House I now reside in during lives which are now on the same Also the Bed and Bedding belonging to the same which the Preachers have hitherto sleeped in for the time past in my House to be still kept there for the use of the Preachers and that have free access to the same at all times during the said Term (The Methodist Society keeping the same in Repair) Also the use of the Stable to keep the Preacher’s Horses in during the said Term (And Also I give and bequeath One Shilling per week to be paid weekly if demanded (out of my Property and Tenements for which Payment or Payments I bind my said Tenements) unto the Steward of the said Society called Queens Society for the time being (in Trust for the Members of the Society) towards the support of the Gospel in this place during the natural lives of my Daughter Mary Kent my Grandson Francis Symonds and my Grandaughter Elizabeth Osborne or any or either of them …

He made further family bequests, relating to his children and grandchildren:

And the Rents Issues and Profits arising from my Property and Effects (except before bequeathed and reserved) shall be equally divided between my Daughter Ann Ball wife of Thomas Ball Mary Kent and Julia Brokenshire wife of Benjamin Brokenshire and Grandaughter Elizabeth Osborne and their Executors …

Richard #3 Morlen signed in a very shaky hand and sealed the will on 23 April 1804, witnessed by Elisha Burtt and Edward George.

On his father’s death, Richard #4 took over the farm, as a ‘life’ in the lease. He no doubt had been running the farm much earlier as his father’s age grew. It is interesting to note that his surname had become Murlin, just as that for his Uncle, Rev. John Murlin. He died at his farm on 1 May 1831 and was buried at St Enoder Church Cemetery. I have a photo of the headstone but the text is difficult to read except for ‘RICHARD MURLIN’. The family lived on in the area for some considerable time. As Mr Hawke lived there for 70 years or more, his family must have taken over the farm before 1920.

Indian Queens Chapel

Many of the people named in Richard Morlen’s Will are part of the Symonds/Morlen family story. The continuation of the Wesleyan connection at Indian Queens appeared again in the CRO WH File Index at Item No. 5574 in the second half of the 19th Century:

5574 4 Dec.1860

99 yr. Lease; rent 4/-,

Hen. Jenkin Rowse of St. Columb Major, gent., Wm. Roberts of St. Columb Major, innkeeper, and w.Ann, Jane Truscott of St Dennis, wid.,and Wm. Truscott of St. Dennis, farmer, her son, and Eliz. Trethewy of St. Stephens-in-Brannel, wid., and her s. Rich. T. of St. Stephens-in-Brannel, farmer, to Jas. Hawkey Elvins of St. Enoder, miller, Wm. Goodge of St Enoder, clay agent, Jn. Bullock of St. Columb Major, clay agent, Wm. Common of St. Columb, miner, Wm. Julian of St. Columb, carpenter, Jas. Common of St. Columb, farmer, farmer, Jn. Tamblyn of St. Columb, miner,and Jn. Jane, jun. of St. Columb, mason. Piece of land marked out where chapel or place for religious worship is in course of erection, at Indian Queens, being about 4 yards of ground, ‘to expound God’s Holy Word … after the manner of the late Mr. John Wesley …’,


The Trebudannon Chapel must have been in use during the 20th Century. This search all started with a discussion with Mrs Iris Lang at the 1992 Cornish Festival at Ballarat In Victoria. She had lived in St Columb Road area and remembered that she and other young people walked on Sunday afternoon from St Columb Road village to a place called Trebudannon where there was a Methodist Chapel that had been there a long time. Looking at the Map above, it is possible to trace their path across CarworgeyManorPark up various paths across country to Trebudannon. She provided books and much help in my search.

Finding relevant papers about the Symonds/Morlen families and the background to the Trebudannon was greatly helped by Graham Gape, a Cornwall researcher who had noticed my Symonds/Morlen queries on the Cornish Family History Society Journal in early 1992. His ability to find data in his huge collection of Cornish material proved well beyond anything I had anticipated. His provision of this data by post in 1992 was further enhanced by actually travelling around in Cornwall in his company, particularly St Columb Major Parish.

There are two other people to whom I am most grateful for their assistance. Ron Clark in the UK and Pauline Hartmann in Australia were found through Cornish Societies in those countries by the discovery that they were related to me, many generations back, through Ann Symonds, first child born to Francis #2 Symonds and Elizabeth Symonds nee Morlen.


1. Cornwall Record Office WH File DD WH5489-6196, Miscellaneous Deeds, Leases and Papers deposited by Whitfield and Sons, Solicitors, St Columb Major.

2. Personal Communications with Graham Gape, a Cornwall history researcher who had noticed my Symonds/Morlen queries on the Cornish Family History Society Journal in early 1992.

3. Personal Communications with Ronald B. Clark who had discovered this Will through the Cornwall Record Office. He provided a transcript of the Morlen Will and many items relating to his family connections around Indian Queens area.

4. Personal communications with Pauline Hartmann of Vic. Australia during and after the Ballarat Cornish Festival gathering in 1992.

5. Personal Communications with Mrs Iris Lang, Springvale, Vic. Australia after the 1992 Cornish Festival in Ballarat Vic. Australia.

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