Princetown, St Michael's Church
Princetown, St Michael's Church
The parish church of St Michael and All Angels in Princetown holds the dubious distinction of being the only church in England to be built by prisoners of war (see also the Italian Chapel in Orkney, built by Italian POWs during WWII).
The church was built between 1810-1814 using prisoners from the American and French campaigns being held at nearby Dartmoor Prison. French Napoleonic War prisoners began the building, which was finished by American POWs. When the last POW left Dartmoor Prison in 1816 the church was closed. In 1831 it was reopened and re-consecrated. It remained in service until 1992. St Michael's is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, and is no longer used for regular worhip.

The building is extremely plain, built of local granite, with a pinnacled three-storey west tower. A stained glass window at the east end was installed in 1910 to commemorate the role of American prisoners in building the church. In the churchyard are gravestones of prisoners.