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“Iconic Methodist site.”
Review of Gwennap Pit

Gwennap Pit
Ranked #7 of 28 things to do in Redruth
Attraction details
Reviewed December 11, 2012

I was brought here by my maternal grandfather about fifty years ago on a summer Sunday because he was a lay preacher who joined a trio of Methodist ministers who had gathered with what seemed to be hundreds of adherents to Mark some obscure anniversary or other. There were lots of families but mostly old people in dark Sunday best clothes and much singing and praying. I have a vague memory of a foot pedal harmonium but am sure there was also some a cappella singing with robust rustic voices and for me, strange descants. I remember lots of hats, almost all the adult men wearing black or grey trilbys and demob suits. It was quite a stern, no smiles experience. I went back this summer and was surprised that the 'pit' itself was little changed, but that some of the entrance area and around the outside seemed to be different. Looking back, I am surprised that so many people over the preceding century and much longer could afford to travel to this area from all over the county. If you have a feel for the dour but persistent nonconformist practices and history of the county, then this place has to ne visited, preferably when some thing is going on.

3  Thank Jannerbloke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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49 - 53 of 58 reviews

Reviewed November 12, 2012

Lovely place to visit. quite a few information boards at the gate befor you go into the "pit" you can just picture the preacher in the middle of "the pit" preaching away! The little church was shut which was a shame would like to have gone in!

5  Thank widgetisleofwight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2012

This is difficult to find due the poor signposting and the myriad of tiny lanes that circle the area. It is about 2 miles south east of Redruth. Take the B3298 that runs south to a village by the name of Carharrack. As you are about to leave the southern end of the village, there is a small turning to your right, signposted for the Pit. Follow this lane for about a mile, the Pit is on the left.

Gwennap Pit sits on the site of an old mine shaft that fell into disuse and then partially collapsed in the early 18th century after the underlying strata gave way. It sank to form an almost perfect circle some 80m in diameter and 15m deep. During the 18th century, a sea of Revivalism overtook the west-country and the Pit was seen as a useful meeting place where preachers could address their congregations. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, addressed some 2,000 people here during his first visit in 1762 and made a further 17 visits to Gwennap until his last in 1789.

Wesley’s mission in Cornwall was to assist the oppressed miners and fishermen who in general led lives of appalling hardship and poverty and as such, he built an almost fanatical following. He fought for better working conditions and pay for the thousands of tin and copper miners who made fortunes for their masters but earned pennies for themselves. As his following increased in popularity, Gwennap regularly saw crowds of up to 20,000 gathering to hear his preachings. Wesley’s social gospels allowed simple people to better themselves and not to merely exist as “beasts of burden.” They followed his “method” and became known as “the Methodys.”

Wesley died in 1793 but the Pit continued in use by many of his converts, pulling in vast crowds from far and wide. In 1805, the Pit was remodelled by local miners with thirteen concentric grass tiers that were basically cut into the side of the circle then shored up with stone and covered with turf. This made conditions somewhat easier for the congregations.

To this day, every Whitsuntide, a large crowd of Methodists assemble within this unique, natural amphitheatre to listen to sermons and to worship. It is a solemn, lonely place in winter and on the day I visited, I was the only soul around.

5  Thank GBfromDevizes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2012

amazing as i live quite near, lovely place to excesise, rela, have picnics and spend time with family i love visiting here as it is one of the most peacefull places.

4  Thank megan u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2012

What a fantastic auditorium! One can stand at the bottom of the pit and sound carries all the way round and up to the top! It was built for hundreds of listeners. Perhaps Cornwall had little less rain in those days!

4  Thank Rosemarie V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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