Gwennap Pit

“John Wesley was the Aphex Twin of the 18th century. Discuss.”

This one has been on the list of Aphex Kernow spelunking spots for ages and we finally made it today. It was very quiet. Odd, really, that an amphitheatre built for the sole purpose of providing Methodists with a place to shout about God was so empty on a Sunday, but there you are.

It’s said that the original depression was already here in Gwennap — perhaps the result of a collapsed mine. Then, later, it was turned into a “church” after John Wesley preached there to 30,000 people, effectively birthing Methodism in Cornwall. There’s some ripe symbolism in there, for sure — a denomination of Christianity often preaching specifically to the disenfranchised and the poor growing out of the ruins of an old mine. Rebirth from collapse and all that.

On that note, you might recognise it as the inspiration for the cover art of Aphex Twin’s recent Collapse EP. Some might also recognise it from an interview John Peel did for Channel 4 with RDJ and Luke Vibert back in 1999. It’s maybe my favourite interview RDJ has ever done — and that’s saying something. I laughed out loud watching it earlier, seeing John Peel gesture over to the makeshift pulpit, asking: “What’s that bit over there?”

“That’s where you put the decks.”


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