Bible Christians of the Canadian Conference

The Bible Christians of North America ( Ontario, PEI, Manitoba, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin) between 1831 and 1884


Like many of you, I found Bible Christian ancestors as I searched my genealogy.  And like you, I wondered who they were. " What were Bible Christians?"  I asked.  No one seemed to know much about them and so I went on a quest.  It took 2 years, but I was able to find out an awful lot about them.  Much of that research is available on this site.


click each area to see a sample of  what I found about each place.......or click the link at the top of the page







How and When The Bible Christians Began

The year was 1815.  William O'Bryan, who was a Cornishman and a former Methodist minister, was preaching at Shebbear Parish in Devon.  He was an itinerant preacher without a church and preached the gospel from his own perspective with a definite Methodist bent, but not quite Methodist. One of the men who heard him preach asked if he'd preach at his farm where he could draw all his neighbours in to hear him.  O'Bryan loved an audience (of any size) and so he agreed.  He preached at Lake Farm to the Thorne family and their neighbours.  He was an instant success and everyone there asked where they could sign on to this "new" religion.  The most taken by it was James Thorne, the son of the household.  He immediately enrolled at the Methodist seminary and became the first ordained minister in this new religion. 

At first, they were called Bryanites, after their founder, William O'Bryan, who insisted that every thing they needed to know in life could be found in the bible.  One day a slurred remark about them being nothing but Bible Christians is what was needed to give them their name.  They were known as Bible Christians after that and proud of it, too!

Thorne and O'Bryan preached all over Devon and Cornwall, and monthly gained new ministers for their cause.  You see, in that time or hardship in Britain, when the official church (The Church of England) was preaching doom and gloom and giving hellfire sermons, the Bible Christians were preaching light at the end of the tunnel, God's love.  It caught on, and people were flocking to the meetings.

For the most part they were just another arm of the Methodists - one of five - Wesleyan Methodists, Episcopal Methodists, Primitive Methodists, New Connexions Methodists, and now the Bible Christians.  The fundamental set-up and day to day operation and administration was based on the Methodist model.

Eventually, as emigration took their congregations to the far corners of the world, so too, the ministers followed, taking The Bible Christian faith to the people who so missed it.

In Canada, the various Methodist bodies came together in Union in 1884; in England in 1907; in Australia in 1925 and in New Zealand in 1944 .  In Canada there was a further union of various religious congregations and in 1925 their name was changed from Canada Methodists to United Church of Canada.  Many of the little Bible Christian chapels dotted across Ontario, PEI and Manitoba still stand and are still used for Sabbath worship.  The chapel that were constructed in the three American states were Methodist churches after union, and  those buildings that are still standing remain that way today.


Contact Sher with your comments or queries.

For those with an interest in the Bible Christians of Cornwall, UK

A list of Bible Christian Chapels in Cornwall - from the work of Ronald E.Tonkin - 77 Chellow Road, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 1LR UK

dates in brackets indicate date of construction


Ashton  at Breage  (1884) Launceston - Badash House (bef. 1819) St. Neot (1872)
Bethel at St. Austell (1822) Leedstown at Hayle (1837) St. Pinnock (aka Bethel) (1843)
Biscovey at Par  (1842) Liskeard (1854) Talskiddy at St. Columb (1834)
Blisland at Bodmin  (1879) Luxculyan (aka Menadew) (1819) Temple at Blisland (1875)
Bodmin (aka Salem) at Bodmin  (1852) Marazion (1841) Tideford at Saltash (1819)
Bosjewyan at St. Just  (1841) Medrose at Delabole (1863) Trebarvah at Helston (1862)
Brane  at  Sancreed (1831) Mevagissey (1826) Trecangate at Looe (1860)
Bridges at Luxulyan (1846) Morvah at Penzance (c1800 - not for BC's in the beginning) Tredarrup Cross at Boscastle (1838) 
Victoria Road at Camelford (1841) Padstow (1840) Tredavoe at Penzance (1844)
Carfury at Penzance (1866) Paramoor at St. Austell (not given) Tredruston - s.w. of Breock (poss.1815)
Carharrack at Redruth (1885) Penponds at Redruth (1844) Tregerest at Sancreed (1862)
Carnkie at Wendron (1857) Penrose at St. Ervan (1861) Tregony (1836)
Chacewater (aka Zion) (1905) Penryn (1866) Tregoss (1839)
Connon at St. Pinnock (1865) Pensilva (1861) Treligga at St. Teath (1902)
The Little Ship at Coverack (1880) Penzance (1821) Trelights at St. Endellion (1837)
Cross Lanes at Baldhu (not given) Penzance - Alverton Street (1851) Trenant at Liskeard (1826)
Downgate at Stoke Climsland (1854) Penzance - High Street  (1879) Treneglos at Launceston (aka Bethel) (1837)
Drift at Liskeard (not given) Polperro (aka Ebenezer) (1877) Tresmeer at Launceston (1864)
Eastcott at Morwenstow (1821) Ponsangarth at St. Keverne (1833) Trethewell at St. Just in Roseland (1836)
Berkeley Vale at Falmouth (1867) Porthleven (1863) Trethosa at St. Stephen (1876)
Gerrans at Portscatho (not given) Portholland (1858) Treveighan at Michaelstow (1828)
Godolphin Cross (1844) Portloe (1843) Trewarmett at Camelford (1843)
Gorran Haven (1837) Probus (1822) Trewidland at Liskeard (1835)
Greenbottom at Truro (renovated 1885) Redruth (1863) Treworld at Boscastle (1838)
Gunnislake (1864) Rosenannon at St. Columb (1834) Truro - St. Clement Street (1834)
Harrowbarrow at Calstock (1842) Rosudgeon Common 1858 Tywardreath - aka Glenview (1858)
High Lanes at Hayle (1869) Ruanhighlanes (1842) Veryan (1834)
Helston (1860) St. Anthony in Meneage (1829) Wadebridge (1852)
Herodsfoot (1852) St. Austell (aka Zion) (1828) Week St. Mary aka Zion (1843)
Hicks Mill at Gwennap(1821) St. Blazey Gate (1842) Wheal Busy at Chacewater (1863)
Hocking's House at St. Cleer (1846) St. Columb Major (1842) Whitemoor at Nanpean (1875)
Innis at Luxulyan (1846) St. Erth (1837) Woodford at Morwenstow (1836)
Kennard's House at Launceston (not known) St. Ewe (1836) Zoar at St. Kiverne (1877)
Kerley Downs at Chacewater (1835) St. Genny's (1864)  
Kilkhampton (1836) St. Ives - St. Peter Street (1824)  
Lanivet (1834) St. Just in Penwith (bef. 1859)  
Lanner at Redruth (1866) St. Mawes (1874)  

  Contact Sher with your comments or queries.

For those with an interest in the Bible Christians of Devon, UK

The following list was published by Roger Throne in 1907.

Devonport Circuit

Haddington Road Chapel Ebenezer Chapel St. George's Road Chapel      
Plymouth Circuit Brixton Chapel
East Street Chapel Stonehouse Elburton Chapel Embankment Road Chapel Greenbank Road Chapel Rock Chapel Yelverton
  Zion Street Chapel          
Tavistock Circuit Brentor Chapel Chillaton Chapel (Lea) Horrabridge - Ebenezer Chapel Whitchurch Road Lydford Chapel Lydford Station Chapel Millhill Chapel
  Providence Chapel Liddaton Sydenham Chapel (Roadside) Tavistock Chapel Bannawell St. Whitchurch Chapel Zoar Chapel, Hornden  
Callington Circuit Beer Alston Ebenezer Chapel Bere Town Chapel Bere Ferrers        
Launceston Circuit Broadwood, Roadside Portgate Chapel, Roadside Rexon Cross Chapel St. Giles (Roadside) St. Giles in the Heath Tinney/Providence Chapel at Tinhay  
Shebbear Circuit Hope Chapel, Black Torrington Rehoboth Chapel Roadside at Bradford Bulkworthy at Haytown Cookbury Chapel Frithelstock Chapel Zion Chapel at Langtree
  Milton Chapel, Milton Damerel Petersmarsland Chapel Providence Chapel West Putford Rowden Chapel Roadside Ebenezer Chapel Shebbear Sheepwash Jubille Chapel
  Siloam Chapel near Berry Cross Stibb Cross Chapel Sutcombe Chapel Thornhillhead Salem Chapel Twitching Chapel at Lower Twitchen  
Kilkhampton Circuit Atworthy Chapel Bradworthy Chapel Edistone Chapel Hartland Chapel Harbour Cross - Ebenezer Chapel Providence Chapel near Dyke
  Woolsery Chapel          
Holsworthy Circuit Anil Corner Chapel Ashwater Chapel Bridgerule Chapel Buckhorn Chapel Clawton Chapel Affaland Cross Derril Chapel
  Holsworthy Chapel Tetcott Chapel        
Bideford Circuit Ebenezer Chapel Appledore Zion Chapel, Bideford William Reed Memorial Chapel Buckland Brewer Goldworthy Chapel Hope Chapel, Hummacott/Holmacott Monkleigh/Bethel Chapel, Saltrens
Torrington Circuit Torrington Chapel          
Barnstaple Circuit Bishops Tawton Chapel Bratton Fleming Chapel Challacombe Chapel Ebenezer Chapel, Chapelton Charles Bottom or Jubilee Chapel Ebberley Lodge Chapel
  Goodleigh Chapel Heddon Chapel Zion Chapel, Highbickington Providence Chapel, Hiscott Beulah Chapel, Landkey Siloam Chapel, Langridgeford
  Thorne Memorial Chapel, Barnstaple Yarnscombe Wooden Tabernacle        
Hatherleigh Circuit Beaford Chapel Broadwoodkelly Chapel Exbourne Chapel Hatherleigh Chapel Iddisleigh Chapel Langham Chapel
  Meeth Chapel Merton Chapel Monkehampton Chapel North Tawton Chapel Sampford Courtenay Chapel
Winkleigh Chapel
Northlew Circuit Boasley Chapel, Boasley Cross Providence Chapel, Bratton Clovelly Zion Chapel, Bridestow Chilla or Emmanuel Chapel Zion Chapel, Elworthy Bethany Chapel, Inwardleigh
  Bethlehem Chapel, Madworthy Hebron Chapel, Northlew Providence Chapel, Widdin (Roadside)      
South Moulton Cir Terrett Memorial, Bishopsnympton Salem Chapel, Eastcott Cross Providence Chapel Georgenympton Meethe Chapel Molland Chapel Preaching Room Ebenezer Chapel South Moulton
Ilfracombe Circuit Oxford Hall, Illfracombe Woolacombe Chapel        
Exeter Circuit Crediton Chapel Fordton Chapel Mt. Pleasant Chapel, hall only Newton St. Cyres Chapel Providence Chapel, Northernhay St. Exeter  
Ringsash Circuit Zion Chapel, Ashreigney Bethesda Chapel Burrington Emmanuel Chapel Morchard Bishop Siloam Chapel Northlake Hope Chapel, Venhay Down near Rose Ash Peniel Chapel, Stable Green
  Sharon Chapel, Worlington (Chapel Cross)          
Torquay Circuit Dartmouth Chapel Ellacombe Hall, Torquay Southfield Chapel, Paignton Preston Chapel, Torquay St. Marychurch, Ebenezer Chapel, Torquay Zion Chapel, Torquay
Newton Abbott Cir Jubilee Chapel, Newton Abbott Stoke Chapel, Stokeinteignhead        
Kingsbridge Circuit Aveton Gifford Chilington Chapel Dodbrook Chapel, Kingsbridge Hallsands Chapel Prawle Chapel  
Chagford Circuit Zion Chapel, Chagford Hittisleigh Chapel Lettaford Chapel, Mariners Cross Providence Chapel, Providence Place Ebenezer Chapel, South Zeal Spreyton Chapel
  Widdon Down Chapel          
Tiverton Circuit Bampton Chapel Bethel Chapel, Cadeleigh Cheriton Chapel, Cheriton Fitzpaine Clayhanger Chapel Halberton Chapel Melhuish Memorial
Chapel, Oakford
  Petton Chapel Ebenezer Chapel, Rackenford Templeton Chapel, Templeton Bridge Providence Chapel, Tiverton Upham Chapel Witheridge Chapel
  Exbridge Chapel Loxbear (use of a house at Loxbear) Stockley Pomeroy (use of a room at Haswell farm      
Dalwood Circuit Ebenezer Chapel, Churchill Coombewater Chapel Dalwood Chapel Mt. Tabor Chapel, Witford.