Carvosso, William

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Cornish fisherman and farmer and saintly revivalist, born near Mousehole on 11 March 1750. He began to associate with the Methodists through his sister's influence and in revulsion against the cock-fighting and Sabbath-breaking prevalent in his day. He was soundly converted in 1771. He farmed at Cosawes Barton, Ponsanooth, but gave this up to move around the Cornish countryside visiting classes, sometimes as many as eleven in a week. He compensated for his lack of formal education by his evangelical fervour. He died at Dowstal, Mylor on 13 October 1834. His memoirs (edited by his son, 1860), a classic WM biography, give one of the most vivid accounts of an early Methodist class leader.

His son Benjamin Carvosso (1789-1854; e.m. 1814), born at St. Gluvias near Ponsanooth, on 27 September 1789, was a pioneer WM missionary in Australia. He arrived in Tasmania in 1820 and served in New South Wales and Tasmania until 1830, opening the new chapel in Hobart in 1825. He was the main instigator of the Australian Magazine, the earliest Methodist periodical and literary journal on that continent. Its suppression by the Missionary Committee in London was resented by the Australians. Ill-health compelled his return to England in 1830. He became a teetotaler and during the time of his appointments to the *Redruth and Liskeard Circuits in the 1830s was the only WM itinerant stationed in Cornwall to be an active supporter of the total abstinance movement. He died at Tuckingmill, Camborne on 2 October 1854.

  • WM Magazine,, 1835 p.156
  • William Carvosso, Memoir of Mr. William Carvosso of Mousehole (1860)
  • L.F. Church, The Early Methodist People (1948) pp.104-6, 133-5, 165-6
  • T. Shaw, A History of Cornish Methodism (1967) pp.50-1
  • Oxford DNB
  • Dictionary of Australian Biography

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Entry written by: EWD and JKL
Category: Person
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