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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Devon

by Peter Kessler, 16 October 2020

East Devon Part 4: Churches of Rewe to Budlake

Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Rewe, Devon

The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Rewe, stands at the south-east corner of the A396 main road and a lane that leads to the nearby River Culm. The first mention of a church on this site dates to January 1280 when Nicholas of Totnes was instituted as rector. The present church building dates from about 1450 (the nave and north isle), but the porch is older, probably part of an earlier building. The north transept (the Wadham chantry) and chancel were added in 1495.

Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Rewe, Devon

On Christmas night in 1810 the tower and church were hit by lightning, causing extensive damage to the windows. The weather vane from the tower was found on the marshes of the River Culm, almost half a kilometre away. Substantial rebuilding took place on the tower as a result. The church was extensively restored and redecorated in 1867, probably re-using original materials, which work involved the nave's south wall, south porch, and much of the chancel.

Columbjohn Chapel, Broad Cylst, Devon

Columbjohn Chapel, Broad Cylst, is on the northern flank of the former mansion site and is reached via a footpath from the western flank of New House farm. It was built as the private chapel for the formerly adjacent Columbjohn Mansion of the Acland family. It was built about 1844 in ashlar volcanic trap with a roof of red clay fish scale plain tiles. Unfortunately it was inconveniently distant for the people of Killerton House, so that house gained its own chapel (see below).

Killerton House Chapel, Broad Clyst, Devon

Killerton House Chapel sits in the grounds to the west of the main house, within the vicinity of Broad Clyst. In 1841, Sir Thomas Dyke Acland commissioned the architect C R Cockrell to design it because Columbjohn Chapel (above) was inconveniently distant. Cockrell was renowned for his Classical style, and only reluctantly agreed to copy the Norman chapel of St Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury. Cockrell and Sir Acland bickered about the design and construction.

Chapel of the Holy Evangelists, Broad Clyst, Devon

The interior of the chapel is unusual for an English place of worship, as serried ranks of seating face each other across the aisle rather than facing the altar. The congregation could all see each other; the Aclands, their guests, their senior servants, their lower servants, their estate workers and tenants. Even in the 1960s, the chapel bell still rung out to call the men to work every morning. Today it is the Chapel of the Holy Evangelists, a chapel-of-ease for Broad Clyst.

Budlake Old Chapel, Chapel Court Cottages, Budlake, Devon

Budlake Old Chapel is now Chapel Court Cottages, at the eastern end of a short lane that leads off the B3181 around a hundred-and-seventy metres north of the Budlake bus stop. The present cottages possibly incorporate remains of one of the Broadclyst parish's medieval chapels-of-ease - one which was closed rather early. The cottage dates to the 1400s with later alterations and additions. It is of well-coursed volcanic trap rubble under a gabled-end thatched roof.

Photos on this page kindly contributed by Alison Day, Robert Slack, and Keith Bowden, all via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group, plus one photo originally published on Lynne's 'Echoes of the Past' blog and reproduced here with permission, and one photo by Zoopla. Additional information from 'Echoes of the Past' and Keith Bowden.



Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.