The Chapel of St Loyes, East Wonford,
sits inside fenced-but-accessible grounds between Hurst Avenue and
Rifford Road, about fifty metres south of Lethbridge Road. It was
built as a domestic chapel, possibly in 1238 according to one
historian (Ethel Lega-Weekes). In that case William Gervais was
probably responsible as a prominent landowner in East Wonford and
the mayor of Exeter who built Exe Bridge. The nearest parish church
is at Heavitree, not that close.
The chapel was also recorded in 1387 and 1587. On
the latter occasion the estate was divided into four parts, one of
which contained St Loyes and lands around it that were known by the
same name (as this particular area of Exeter still is). By 1607 half
the chapel was being let as a dwelling, and by 1785 it was serving
first as a stable and then as a cow shed. Some repairs were
undertaken, possibly adding a slate roof, but within a century or
so the chapel was a ruin.
St Lawrence Birchy Barton, Hill Barton,
sits on the western side of Lower Hill Barton Road, a little way
south of the connection with the newer Hill Barton Road and
overlooking the slip road between the two on its eastern flank.
Built relatively recently, in the late twentieth century for a
district of Exeter that is far removed from a parish church, it was
given the dedication of the now-lost city centre church of the same
name. Unsurprisingly there are no pews here!
Exeter Lunatic Asylum Chapel is at the
south-western corner of Clyst Heath as it leaves Digby Drive and
reaches the former lunatic asylum main building. In addition to the
city's Devonshire County Asylum, this asylum was opened in Digby in
1886 to cater for the city's paupers. The design was by local
architect, Robert Stark Wilkinson, and the chapel stands in front of
the main building. Closure was in 1987, followed by conversion into
apartments. The chapel is now a nursery.
The Church of St Paul Burnthouse Lane,
Northbrook, was located where the southernmost apartment block now
stands in this complex, with a c-shaped block to its immediate north
forming St Paul's Close, at the southern end of Burnthouse Lane. This
post-war church inherited its dedication from St Paul Old Church in
the city centre. The building was temporary, intended to be replaced
by a permanent one, but vandalism and low funds resulted in closure
The core of the Priory of St James lay
here, inside the v-shape formed by the southern end of Salmonpool
Lane and Veysey Close on the east bank of the River Exe. The priory
was founded in 1140 by Baldwin, second earl of Devon, and one
'Stephen of St Leonard granted six acres of land the the Cluniac
monks... opposite Salmon Pool'. The St Leonard would have been the
church of that name to the north of here. The priory was closed long
before the Reformation.
Exeter & Devon Crematorium Chapel is
deep within the crematorium grounds which lie between the western
side of Topsham Road and the River Exe. The crematorium opened in
November 1963 and is set in fourteen acres of well-maintained land
which used to be part of the Northbrook Park Estate, owned by John
Dawson in the late 1800s. It has two service chapels, the larger and
much more impressive of which is shown here. Both chapels are
St Luke Countess Wear sits high up on the
eastern side of Countess Wear Road, occupying grounds up to the
corner with School Lane. Prior to 1838 the nearest church was St
Margaretís Church in Topsham. In 1837 this chapel-of-ease was opened
on a site that had been donated by two brothers, both priests. The
chapel was only available for public worship, not for marriages or
funerals, but it quickly became a parish church in its own right -
At this time there was no churchyard, but in 1847
the northern part of the current churchyard was obtained. There were
originally three rows of pews in the chapel, each of which had doors
- some of them with locks! The pulpit, surmounted by a sounding
board, was an elevated structure with twelve steps leading up to it.
The original organ and the choir were housed at the west end of the
chapel, but the choristers were not robed until a chancel was added
Topsham Cemetery Chapels lie within
grounds on the eastern side of Tophayes, flanked to the north by
Sunhill Avenue. The cemetery chapel shown here - the more westerly
and ornate of the two - was built for nonconformists, while the
Anglican chapel lacks the small spire. Admiral Sir George St Vincent
King KCB (1809-1891), former commander-in-chief of the British
empire's China station, was buried here in 1891 after passing away
at his home, Wear House.
All photos on this page by P L Kessler.
Additional information from Discovering Exeter 2: St
Leonard's, by Gilbert Venn, Exeter Civic Society 1982.