Between 1755 and 1789 John Wesley preached on twelve different occasions in the town. His host was William Flamank (1742-1810) in Fore Street, who became a local preacher. The first preaching house (c.1876) was on West Hill and is now the schoolroom of the Baptist Church. St. John's, Bodmin Road, opened in 1828, was restored and enlarged in 1892 through the generosity of the Barratts, who were mine-owners in Cumberland. St. John's contains memorials to J.W. Etheridge and to the ministry of Dr. Adam Clarke, which had a significant influence on Samuel Drew.
John Wesley's Journal:
August 1755: 'At five in the morning I preached at St. Austell to more than our room could contain.'
September 1757: 'At six I preached at St. Austell, a neat little town on the side of a fruitful hill. [Next morning, Sunday] 'The whole church service was performed by a clergyman, above ninety years of age. His name is Stephen Hugo. He has been vicar of St. Austell between sixty and seventy years. Oh what might a man full of faith and zeal have done for God in such a course of time!'
September 1769: 'About noon I preached in the Lower Street at St. Austell to a very numerous and very serious congregation.'
September 1770: 'At six I stood at the head of the street in St. Austell, and enforced on a large and quiet congregation, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." '
August 1776: 'The rain drove us into the house at St. Austell, where I think some of the stout-hearted trembled.'
August 1780: 'I preached to a large and quiet congregation in the main street at St. Austell.'
August 1781: 'I just reached St. Austell time enough to preach; and God greatly comforted the hearts of His people.'
September 1787: 'I … preached in the new house, though not quite finished, to a crowded audience, who seemed all sensible that God was there. The old house was well filled at five in the morning.'
August 1789: 'I knew not where to preach, the street being so dirty and the preaching-house so small. At length we determined to squeeze as many as we could into the preaching-house, and truly God was there.'