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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Devon

by Peter Kessler, 12 June 2020

Exeter Part 23: Churches of Stoke Hill, Beacon Heath & Whipton

St Katherine's Priory, Polsloe, Exeter, Devon

The remains of St Katherine's Priory stand on open ground (albeit walled), on the eastern side of an unnamed lane which connects St Katherine's Road to the north with Chaucer Grove to the south. St Katherine's was separated from the main grounds of Polsloe Priory which lay along the northern side of Monks Road by the later Exeter Junction. Largely built in the 1100s, following the Reformation the surviving domestic building was for many years a farmhouse.

Beacon Heath Church, Exeter, Devon

Beacon Heath Church is inside the north-east corner of the King Arthur's Road and Galahad Close junction. It was founded in 1961 as an Independent Evangelical place of worship - the late twentieth century version of a Victorian Gospel hall. The OS 25-inch compilation map of 1892-1914 shows this entire area as open countryside, divided into fields, and close to Devon & Exeter Reformatory (Boys). Even around 1946 barely a start had been made on local construction.

Holy Trinity Church Centre, Beacon Heath, Exeter, Devon

Holy Trinity Church Centre is located somewhat behind the south-east corner of the Beacon Heath and Arena Park junction. Isca Church has the centre as an administrative address while using St James School, next to The Beacon centre a couple of hundred metres to the west on Beacon Heath, for Sunday services. Isca Church took over The Beacon in May 2015 to provide a community centre following the centre's closure as a youth club due to funding cuts.

Whipton Chapel / Chapelfield Hall, Exeter, Devon

Whipton Chapel's old building is on the south side of Whipton Village Road. George Alford of Whipton Barton and his family attended 'Fore St Gospel Hall' in Exeter, possibly New Bridge Street Pentecostal Chapel. From 1906 informal meetings would also be held at Whipton Barton. These developed into a Sunday school, Gospel meetings and, in 1931, the building of this chapel on a site next to the village church (see below), so it became known as Chapelfield Hall.

Whipton Chapel / Chapelfield Hall, Exeter, Devon

Whipton Chapel's new building sits with its back to the old chapel (see above), facing out over the northern side of Pinhoe Road, around a hundred and twenty metres east of the access road for Honeylands Specialist Children's Centre. In 1959 a total of 135 were meeting in the now-cramped old chapel and a larger building was clearly needed. It was decided that the new hall would be built. This was opened on 26 May 1961. The Chapelfield Hall name was dropped in 1964.

Church of All Saints Whipton, Exeter, Devon

The Church of All Saints Whipton stands in an open churchyard on grounds between the newer Pinhoe Road and the original Whipton Village Road, about sixty-five metres west of the Summer Lane junction. Now known as Whipton Community Hall, it was built in 1896 as a chapel-of-ease to St Michael Heavitree. It was closed and deconsecrated in the late 1970s, subsequently being obtained by the local community for general functions and service requirements.

All photos on this page by P L Kessler. Additional information from Discovering Exeter 4: Pennsylvania, Hazel Harvey (Exeter Civic Society, 1984).



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