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Gwennap Pit, Busveal, Cornwall. Around 1900
A church service at Gwennap Pit on a hot day. Numerous umbrellas are being used in the crowd to give shade from the sun. An open air amphitheatre near Redruth made famous by John Wesley the founder of Methodism, John Wesley first visited Gwennap Pit on 5th September 1762. At this time it was described as a relic of mining activities in the area, with a rock face covered in vegetation by the 1760s. In 1766 Wesley described it as "a round green hollow gently shelving down" and as "a natural amphitheatre". In November 1806 a mining engineer Richard Michell of Gwennap and four mine Captains: John Martin, John Dennis, W. Davey and T. Trestrail met at Busveal and agreed to repair Gwennap Pit or rather reconstruct the amphitheatre in respect to and in memory of John Wesley who had died in 1791. Between 1762 and 1789 John Wesley preached at Gwennap Pit eighteen times. The amphitheatre has twelve staged rings top to bottom. It is claimed that walking around all twelve levels top to bottom is equal to one mile and that it can hold 1,500 people. Photographer: Arthur Philp.
© From the collection of the RIC