William Haslam's Church - Hayle (1857-1860)

Haslam received a letter from a lady informing him that she had been praying for six months that he be appointed to her late husband’s church at Carnmenellis in Cornwall and she had written to Lord Palmerston who was the patron. Palmerston finally agreed and to Haslam’s surprise the Bishop of Exeter, in whose diocese the parish was, agreed to the appointment. However he was not happy there, despite a good salary and a large house; so he accepted an offer to be a curate in Hayle, Cornwall; a large parish that was on the coast and so better for his health. ‘My rector was a dry Churchman who had no sympathy with me but he seemed glad to get anyone to come and work amongst such a rough, and in some respects unmanageable, set. He had bought a chapel from the Primitive Methodists for Divine service and had erected schools for upwards of three hundred children. These he offered me as my ground of operation, promising, with a written guarantee, that if I succeeded he would build me a church and endow it with all the tithes of that portion of the parish.’


The people in Hayle were spiritually dead and he realised that prayer was key so he got a few Christians together to pray for Holy Spirit to come; they prayed privately and together. The congregation began to grow a bit but nobody seemed ready to make a commitment to Jesus; so he decided to go house to house to find out what was wrong. Within a week five had come to the Lord and from that point the work really began in earnest. Haslam took those who were anxious to his home after the service. He was able to get ninety people in the dining room and forty-five in the hall and often people had to stand outside. These meetings became so large that they had to move it to the large schoolroom. One night at 11.00pm he was walking down a street and saw lights on in nearly all the houses and at the same time he heard praying and rejoicing all around him; the whole street was alive.


The work was going very well as the revival continued but some asked him ‘This teaching seems all true and scriptural; but what will become of us if you go away and another man comes who thinks otherwise? We have no security as in the chapels that the conversion work will go on and living souls be fed and encouraged. Very few churches have such a work as the Lord is doing here!’


These words turned out to be prophetic. In 1860, after the agreed three years of service and with the church and parish blessed beyond measure the rector came to see Haslam. ‘You know I am no revivalist. I do not like all this uproar. I cannot have it.’ He then went on to say that he wished me to leave, for though he had given a guarantee that if I succeeded he would build me a church and endow it, he could not do anything of the kind now, for he did not consider my work any success whatever – quite the contrary. ‘These converted people (as you call them) are no churchmen! Five months later the rector returned to say that he wanted Haslam out within a month (which fulfilled the six-month notice that was required) and so Haslam laid the whole thing before the Lord and asked what next. The next day he received an invitation from Bath to take charge of the district of St Paul’s in the parish of Holy Trinity. His people were grieved and angry but at the end of the year he left for Bath.

Additional Information

The church is now used as a Band Hall