Places of worship

All Saints Church Clovelly John Wesley’s Fishermen’s Church St Peter’s Chapel

All Saints Church, Clovelly

Through the lychgate beyond Clovelly Court Gardens is All Saints’ Church. It dates from the 12th century – notice the old Norman carvings around the porch. An unusual feature is the tower, which once stood alone and separate.

Inside all is silent and peaceful, but there is a mystery here. How were the five massive granite pillars of the arcades brought over the rough seas of Bideford Bay from Lundy Island 600 years ago in small boats powered only by oar or sail?

In the chancel there are wall monuments to the Cary family, who were owners of the village from the 14th century. On the west wall is a tablet to Clovelly’s beloved patron Christine Hamlyn, who did so much to conserve the very best of Clovelly’s buildings and character. Don’t miss the brass tablet to the writer Charles Kingsley, whose father was rector here.

With its wealth of old slate headstones, the churchyard is a rich source of Clovelly family history.

John Wesley’s Fishermen’s Church

Turn right along the path just before the New Inn and you will arrive at Clovelly’s Methodist chapel. This unpretentious building with its whitewashed walls dates from around 1820.

During the late 18th century John Wesley inspired a strong Methodist movement in the West Country. His sermons were aimed at the heart as well as the mind, and made a direct appeal to Clovelly’s fishermen, who lived hard, tough lives. The chapel felt more like a home than a church, and services at Clovelly were always well attended. ‘Mr Fred’, caretaker until his death in 1978, told how the building was once full to the door, with the singing of hymns so loud that the roof almost took off!

These days the chapel, with its serene interior and walls washed a lime green, is a haven of peace away from the bustle of the village street and the wider world.

St Peter’s Chapel

This small and intimate place of worship was opened in 1846 for those unable to walk all the way up the cobbles to the parish church. It was licensed on 29th November 1948 at the behest of the vicar at the time, the Revd A S Chandler. Inside there are colourful mural panels painted in the 1990s by North Devon artist Fiona Balfour.

You’ll find this peaceful chapel at the end of the path that runs alongside the Kingsley Museum.