No. 52 - Wesleyan Chapel St Leonards - One Chapel and Three Schools

St Leonards or Paterson Plains as it was once called, had been settled for some 20 years before a church was established. In 1846, the village's first church, a Wesleyan chapel was built. It was designed by William Archer, a son of the public figure Thomas Archer.  At one time Presbyterian services were held in the Chapel with the permission of the Wesleyan Conference.  It is no longer used as a chapel and is now part of the St Leonards Primary School complex.  It seems remarkably well preserved as is its accompanying cemetery.

The land on which the church was built is the gift of John Trethewie and he was amongst the first to be buried in the churchyard cemetery. Also buried here is William Walker Fox, Principal of Horton College, whose mysterious arched entrance is all that remains standing in an exposed field north of Ross. His daughter Mary, who was Headmistress of Launceston Methodist Ladies’ College (later to become part of Scotch Oakburn College) is also buried here as is his son William, who drowned in the nearby Esk River at the age of 29. By default, the chapel has an association with three Tasmanian schools: Horton College; the Methodist Ladies College through those sleeping in its graveyard, and then its caretaker, St Leonards Primary School.

The St Leonards Chapel is one of the oldest original Methodist churches in Tasmania and is classified in category 'A' by the National Trust.

A note on the name St Leonards

Originally known as Paterson Plains, it was renamed the township of St Leonards in 1866 after Edward Sugden, Lord Saint Leonards who became Lord Chancellor of Great Britain in 1852. Edward Sugden was the son of a hairdresser and wigmaker who rose to prominence as a lawyer, judge and conservative politician.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018


Examiner Saturday 14 September 1945

Examiner Wednesday 31 May 1933


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