Musbury, Devon, St Michael's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Drake family memorial
We know there was an early medieval church on the site, for records show a rector named Roger de Hamtone in 1204. The first record of an appointed priest does not come until 1260. The oldest part of the present building is the tower, built around 1420.
The highlight of St Michael's is the Drake family memorial, begun in 1611 and enlarged around 1646. The memorial is a beautiful example of 17th century Renaissance style. It is divided into 3 sections, with a pair of kneeling effigies in each section. The left-hand figures represent Sir John Drake (d. 1558) and his wife Amy (d. 1577).
The arrangement of 3 pairs of kneeling couples is extremely rare in English churches. The couples are separated by pilastered screens, and kneel atop a plinth with coats of arms below. The top section of the monument is missing, and it is interesting to imagine what the entire memorial must have looked like when new.
When the memorial was being prepared for restoration in 1926 a stone mensa, or altar stone was found lying on the plinth. The stone, believed to be 14th or 15th century, still showed 5 consecration crosses.
Look for the grave slab of yet another Sir John Drake, who died in 1683 at the age of 37.
I loved visiting Musbury's church, and the Drake memorial is a delight. I especially enjoyed the painted and gilded coats of arms at the base of the monument and the intricately detailed costumes of the effigies.
About Musbury, St Michael's Church
Address: Church Hill, Musbury, Devon, England, EX13 8DD
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: At the top of Church Hill, beside the school. Usually open to visitors.
Website: Musbury, St Michael's Church
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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Beer Quarry Caves - 5 miles (Countryside)
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Nearest Accommodation to Musbury, St Michael's Church:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Tourist Information Centre
The Old Courthouse
Tel: 01297 34386
Fax: 01297 34386