Our charming little building was originally a lifeboat house, built in 1870 for £169
The thirty-three foot ten-oared lifeboat cost £500 and was paid for by a legacy to the RNLI by Jacob Gorfenkle, a Liverpool businessman. Unfortunately, the crew had great difficulty in getting the vessel out of its house for launching. Once, on a practice run, the carriage breaking failed and the launch crew was unable to prevent it crashing into a small shop opposite.
A new lifeboat house was built in 1877 just above high-water mark against the cliff opposite what is now the Lugger Hotel. The lfeboat was never launched from there in an emergency and it was withdrawn in 1887.
In 1896 our building was extensively altered and a bell turret were added. It was dedicated as All Saints Mission Church, Portloe, in the parish of Veryan and the Diocese of Truro. The church bell was originally a ship’s bell from the Dundela, a merchantman bound for Hull which was driven on the rocks at Straythe, about a mile westwards along the coast from here, during the Great Blizzard on 9 March 1891.
By the 1990’s the congregations of Portloe’s church and chapel were finding it difficult to maintain the fabric of both buildings and to gather more than a handful of people together for regular worship. After much thought and discussion, the Methodist chapel in the village was sold and an agreement was reached between the two congregations for the joint use of the Anglican Church building in an innovative ecumenical partnership. The building would also provide a much needed community centre for the village. On 17 May 1992, the building began its new life.
Following the closure of their own places of worship, the congregations of the Methodist chapels at Trewartha, Portholland and Ruan have since joined us and there is quiet confidence and optimism for the future of Portloe United Church and its place in the village community.
The re-ordering of the church has made it extremely flexible and it is very much the centre of this small community. During the summer cream teas are provided (from 2.30pm-ish) every Tuesday. In the Winter, a “Soup Lunch” takes place on the first Monday of the month.
The church anniversary is celebrated in some style on the 3rd Sunday in May with a Blessing of the Sea service on the following Monday evening at 7pm culminating in an anniversary supper with entertainments.