Axmouth, St Michael's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 15th century wall paintings in the nave and south aisle
The most obvious surviving feature of the Norman church is the beautifully carved north doorway. In the tympanum area is a 17th century inscription, but do not be fooled; the doorway itself is pure Norman. The lower sections of the nave and chancel also date to the 12th century, with the south aisle being slightly later. The south aisle had to be rebuilt around AD 1300, when the huge nave pillars were strengthened.
On the south wall of the aisle is a fragment of medieval painting showing a martyr being tortured. If you look closely you can see what looks like the figure of a Bishop with a spindle above him and winding mechanism at one side. A recent interpretation of the painting by an art historian from the Victoria and Albert Museum has identified the martyr as St Erasmus (also known as St Elmo), a Bishop of Formia killed by the Romans around AD 300. The same historian has placed the date of the painting between 1480-1500.
Another interesting feature is a medieval hagioscope, or squint, allowing worshippers in the Bindon Chapel to see the high altar. Beside the altar is a medieval piscina, set under a late Victorian window dedicated to the Bindon family.
St Michael's is a delightful church, in a very pretty village. As far as we know it is usually open daylight hours. My only word of warning is that there is no sidewalk in front of the church gate, and traffic along the B3172 can be quite busy, so please take care!
About Axmouth, St Michael
Address: Church Street, Axmouth , Devon, England, EX12 4AG
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: On Church Street (B3172) opposite the pub. Roadside parking.
Website: Axmouth, St Michael
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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