Diocesan Training College, Chapel of the Holy Spirit

Truro Diocesan Training College was established in 1813 as part of a scheme to train young people as teachers for the burgeoning number of Church Schools in Cornwall (Brown, 1938). Initially, only masters were trained but in 1842 a Female Training Department was organised. Within a few years, however, the men were moved to Exeter and Truro became a Diocesan Female Training School (later College) for Devon and Cornwall. The chapel for the College was designed by Edmund H. Sedding (WMN, 1921a) and built between 1911 and 1913 (Brown, 1938). The College was declared redundant by the National Church authorities and closed in 1938 and the chapel with it.

Truro Diocesan Training College Christ Child
Figure of the Christ Child at Truro Diocesan Training College (PWDRO 244/1 with permission of Pinwill family)

Celtic Cross – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4 & 244/5); 1913

At the dedication of the chapel on Whitsuntide 1913, most of the essential furniture and fittings were in place, all either gifts or bought with voluntary offerings (Brown, 1938). Among these was a Celtic cross for the altar, given by old students. Among its Celtic carvings are symbols of the Passion and the pelican feeding her young.

Lectern – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5); probably 1913 but before 1920

In a photograph of the chapel in Brown (1938), taken after the installation of the rood and rood beam below, there is a lectern that exactly matches one shown in an unannotated photograph in PWDRO 244/5. It may have been a later addition to the furnishings, but it was probably in place for the dedication in 1913.

Rood and Rood Beam – Photograph (PWDRO 116/89 & CRO TCM1166); 1920

A memorial to the husbands, sons and brothers of teachers trained at the College who died in WWI came in the form of a rood beam, on which were carved their names, that extended across the width of the chapel. On the beam were placed life-size rood figures. The annotation on the photograph at CRO reveals that the rood and beam were completed at the Pinwill workshop by March 1920. They were then dedicated by the Bishop of Truro at Whitsuntide that year (Brown, 1938).

At some point after closure in 1938, the chapel became the church hall for nearby St Paul’s Church. The rood beam and rood were removed from the chapel and erected outside St Paul’s, facing Tregolls Road, during the 1970s (Michael Maine, pers. comm.).

The Holy Child – Photograph (PWDRO 244/1); date unknown

This is an interesting departure from the other figures of the Christ child produced for children’s corners, perhaps reflecting the need to appeal to older young people. The child carries a saw in his left hand and gives a sign of blessing with his right.

Front Rail – Photograph (PWDRO 244/2); date unknown

One of these was probably placed at the front of the chairs on each side. It is rather plain, apart from inverted cresting beneath the top rail.


Brown, M. G. (1938) Training in Truro 1813-1938. A Hundred and Twenty-Five Years of Educational Experiment. Truro Training College, Truro.

CRO TCM1166 Photograph Album. Truro Cathedral 1885-1932.

PWDRO 116/89 Photograph. Truro Diocesan Training College. Memorial Rood Beam and Rood.

PWDRO 244/1 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/2 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/4 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/5 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.