Salcombe Regis, St Mary & St Peter's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Medieval chough lectern
HistoryThough the church we see today was begun in the Norman period, the history of the building goes back much further. In the mid 10th century King Athelstan gave Salcombe Regis to the Benedictine monks of Exeter, and it is possible ther was a Saxon timber church at that time. The monks were ousted by Bishop Leofric when he moved his see from Crediton to Exeter in 1056, and Salcombe Regis was seized by the bishop for his new cathedral.
In the 15th century the aisles were adde and the roof raised. The north aisle boasts its original 15th century wagon roof. Around 1445 the west tower was built, with an external stair turret rising in three stages to an embattled top. The 15th century west door is a peculiar combination of Scots Pine panels on one side and elm on the other.
The church was badly damaged during WWII, when guns when German bombs blew out all the windows. As a result there is no old glass, but the sanctuary windows hold glass by the famous Victorian firm of Clayton and Bell, with panels depicting scenes from John Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress'.
One feature that I loved was the lectern, probably also 15th century, and unusually carved in the likeness of a chough (another theory suggests that it is a featherless eagle). The lectern was removed for safekeeping during the religious turmoil of the Commonwealth years. It was hidden in a barn loft, and only rediscovered in 1850.
St Mary and St Peter's is a lovely church, full of historic interest, set in a beautiful Devon village. Do take a few minutes to walk from the church up to the crossroads, where you will find the current iteration of the Salcombe Thorn. A thorn tree has stood on this spot since the Saxon period to mark the parish boundary, and the thorn gives its name to Thorn farmhouse, where the canon representing Exeter Cathedral resided from the 11th century.
About Salcombe Regis Church
Address: Salcombe Regis, Devon, England, EX10 0JH
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: There is a free parking area below the church (towards the seafront). The church was open when we visited.
Website: Salcombe Regis Church
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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Branscombe - 3.1 miles (Historic Building)
Blackbury Camp - 3.2 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Beer Quarry Caves - 4.1 miles (Countryside)
Southleigh, St Lawrence Church - 4.7 miles (Historic Church)
Bicton Park Botanical Gardens - 4.8 miles (Garden)
Otterton Mill - 4.8 miles (Historic Building)
Nearest Accommodation to Salcombe Regis Church: