St John’s Methodist Church stands on Conwy Road, Colwyn Bay, North Wales. The external envelope of the structure is an amalgam of granite, limestone and sandstone and capped with a Welsh slate roof. Once known as "Wesley's folly" today the spire of St. John's Church is one of the principle landmarks in Colwyn Bay. During its construction in the 1880’s the building funds ran out and the locals considered it mad to try and build a Church so large and majestic in such a small town as Colwyn Bay then was.
But the Methodists were nothing if not determined and with the backing of the Wesleyan Conference they persisted with their dream of a Cathedral of English Methodism on the North Wales coast, and the first service was held in the completed Church at Easter 1888.
The Methodist cause along the North Wales coast was spearheaded in the 1870's by the Rev. Dr Wi l l i a m Morely Punshon, who at the time was regarded as one of the foremost figures in the Methodist Church. He had a great ambition to build chapels in the new seaside resorts which were springing up during the second half of the 19th century. Dr. Punshon created a fund and raised £10,000 over a 5 year period and St John's was one of the proposed chapels that would benefit from the fund.
Following Dr Punshon's death, the missionary zeal was continued by the Rev Frederick Payne who set about organising the building of a Church, School and Manse. During this period he was also involved in the establishment of Rydal School (a Methodist Foundation) which has continued the strong links with St. John's since it's inception.
By 1881 plans were approved for a Church to be built in the gothic style to hold 625, the builder was T. Foulkes whose son the late S. Colwyn Foulkes was the celebrated Welsh Architect.
Firstly, the Manse and boundary walls were constructed and excavations for the schoolroom prepared when the funds ran out. The half completed project being referred to by locals as "Wesley's folly". The costs had already consumed £5,700 and a further £4,750 was required to complete the scheme. This was not achieved until several years later and the first service was held in the completed Church at Easter 1888.
Review Saint Johns Church Colwyn Bay.