Alphington Church House was on the west
side of Church Rd, overlooking the Dawlish Road junction. In Devon
of the 1400s and early 1500s almost every parish had a church house
in which church fundraisers were held. Most went out of use
following the Reformation. This one was built to house men who were
building the new church (see links) around 1480. It became the
original Vernon Inn but this later burnt down. The village's first
school replaced it.
Ide Lane Wesleyan Methodist Chapel is
on the north side of Ide Lane, midway between the Denise Close and
Myrtle Close turnings. The first Wesleyans here met in various
private houses, noted in 1807 and 1818. In 1822 they had a rented
room and another private address. A plot was purchased in 1836 and
the chapel opened the same year, known as Alphington Chapel.
Burdened with debt, it closed in 1866. The meeting found a new home
on Chapel Road (below).
Chapel Road Wesleyan Methodist Chapel
is on the northern side of the road, about forty metres west of
the Church Road junction. After being forced to close the Ide Lane
chapel in 1866 (above), the village's Wesleyans met in private
houses until 1895. Then their new red-brick chapel was opened on
land that had been leased from the Devon Estate. It remained in
existence in 2012 but by January 2020 it had gone and the building
was being used for other purposes.
St Mary de Marisco Priory could be found
on the west side of Marsh Green Road North, with the core site (as
shown by a late Victorian OS map) now occupied by Jewson Exeter
buildings and yard. Also referred to as Marsh Barton Augustinian
Priory, it was a small foundation that existed by 1142 as a cell
of Plympton. It owned various parcels of land in Exeter but was
dissolved in 1539 and was being demolished within thirty years. Some
of its former buildings survived in 1815.
From Marsh Barton, a tour of the churches of the
St Thomas district of Exeter begins with St Thomas' Baptist
Church. This stands at the north-east corner of the Dorset
Avenue and Somerset Avenue junction. It was founded in 1940 as an
outreach for Bartholomew Street Baptist Church. It developed in the
1950s into a full worshipping congregation and ministry, and moved
in 1963 to its present site on a mixed housing estate. The building
was refurbished and extended in 2006.
St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Church is
on the northern side of Dunsford Road, about seventy metres east of
the junction with Bowhay Lane. A date of construction is unavailable
but OS maps first show it in the post-war period, on grounds that
were formerly nurseries. It closed around 2006 and lay empty for
around two and-a-half years, gradually being vandalised, until it
was converted into two private residences, 'Canterbury House' (left)
and 'Tower House' (right).
St Philip's Church was set back on the
western side of Buddle Lane, at its southern end, with the buildings
and grounds of Bowhill Primary School immediately behind it (visible
to the left here) and to the south. This tin hut mission church was
built in the 1920s to provide a place of worship for the newly-built
estate here. Very basic in fashion, in winter it was draughty and
cold. It was demolished towards the end of the twentieth century in
favour of new housing.
St Thomas' Methodist Church stands inside
a broad plot on the northern side of Cowick Street, about sixty
metres east of the junction with Wardrew Road. A small United
Methodist Free Church stood here in the late Victorian period, and
is shown on the OS 25-inch map of 1892-1914. Following the Methodist
union of 1932, the old chapel was demolished in favour of the
present building being constructed on (or partially behind) the old
site, to be opened in 1934.
The Church of St Thomas the Apostle and
the churchyard on its western flank occupy a place on the southern
side of Cowick Street, approx a hundred metres east of the junction
with Prospect Place. It inherited the dedication of St Thomas on the
Bridge when the first building here was erected in 1412, but the
'Thomas Becket' was changed for 'the Apostle' during the Reformation.
Destroyed by its Royalists defenders in 1645, the present building
replaced it in 1657.
Cowick Road Hall sits at the south-west
corner of the Cowick Road and Church Road junction, behind the
eastern part of St Thomas' grounds. The building's Victorian origins
are uncertain - possibly it was a hall for St Thomas. Around the
First World War period the Salvation Army in Exeter expanded into
several new sites, one being somewhere on Alphington Street before
it moved to a hall that may have been this one. Today Exeter
Shotokan Karate Club meets here.
Seven photos on this page by P L Kessler, and
three kindly contributed by Rowena Kirkpatrick of The Alphington
Archives. Additional information from Historic Collections,
relating to the Monasteries in Devon, George Oliver (of St
Nicholas' Priory, Exeter (1820).