Sandford, St Swithun's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Wonderful collection of carved medieval bench ends
After 1050 St Swithun's was a chapel of ease under the control of Holy Cross church in Crediton, and it was not until 1928 that it became independent. There was an amusing incident in 1437, when the Swithun's was again closed, this time because so many local people were making the trip to Holy Cross rather than worshipping in their own church. The church license was withdrawn, though it was allowed to hold 'celebration of Devine worship ... on particular occasions.' It was not until 1523 that the church reopened for regular worship.
Murder in the ChurchOn the north wall is a fascinating 17th century brass plaque to members of the Dowrich family. On a nave pillar capital is a humorous carving of two naked figures tearing each others hair. One wonders what story lies behind this carving? Well, we do have a clue in an account by a 17th century rector, Rev. John Hopkins, chaplain of Sandford in 1651. Hopkins writes that around 1127 an argument broke out between 2 men during a service. The fight escalated and one man was killed. As a result of the murder, the church was closed, and no services allowed to be held for 11 years, until an appeal to King John around 1137. The king ordered services to resume.
For more see our extended article on the History of St Swithun's church.
THE BENCH ENDS
Address: Church Street, Sandford, Devon, England, EX17 4NE
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: In the centre of Sandford village, 2 miles north of Crediton. On street parking. Usually open daylight hours.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Upton Hellions, St Mary's Church - 1 miles (Historic Church)
Crediton, Holy Cross Church - 1.5 miles (Historic Church)
Shobrooke Park - 1.7 miles (Garden)
Newton St Cyres, St Cyr and St Julitta's Church - 4.2 miles (Historic Church)
Morchard Bishop, st Mary's Church - 4.6 miles (Historic Church)
Puddington, St Thomas' Church - 5 miles (Historic Church)
Cadbury, St Michael's Church - 5.3 miles (Historic Church)
Cadbury Castle Hillfort - 5.5 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Nearest Accommodation to Sandford: