Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Chapel of Ease of St Michael, Colyford, Devon

After the last two surprises of Sidmouth and Lyme Regis parish churches, I honestly didn't expect to find any more but, as things tend to turn up in threes, I really should have known better! It's an easy visit within walking distance so I'd left it for a time when there wasn't anything else to do. Another reason was that I didn't think it would be overly interesting inside, in which I was proved wrong.  So, having saved this one for a rainy day, I decided to go on a very hot April afternoon instead. ;)

Although only a little over a hundred years old, it really is a lovely building.  Completed in 1889, this was the first time in some three centuries that there was once again a place of worship in Colyford; the former chantry of St Edmunds having disappeared from use. Erected in remembrance of Admiral John Impey by his daughter and grandson, the chapel is built in the decorated style, consisting of brick with a flint facing and dressings of Beer Stone from the limestone quarry at Beer.

Entering by the south-west door, an interior porch has been formed by using screens between the west arch, both of which consist of plain and coloured glass panels...enabling warm light into an area which can often be quite dark in traditional churches.

Looking down from the chancel, below. The roof consists of pitched pine with curved boarded ceilings; the interior quite spacious with room for around two hundred people. On the left is the south transept, where the font is situated; constructed from Beer Stone with a Hamhill and Corsehill base. The glass-panelled porch can be seen on the far left.

A squint in the south transept wall enables those sitting in there to see through to the sanctuary, below.

Left until last, the surprise I had when entering the nave and looking towards the east end was this stunning carved oak reredos...most unexpected in a humble chapel of ease. It was modelled upon 'The Entombment' by the Renaissance artist, Bartolemmeo.

Erected as a memorial to the daughter of Admiral John Impney, Marian Impney Scarborough who died in 1891, by her son Elijah John Scarborough.

The exterior has a pleasing aspect with some interesting features. The photo below shows the west gable with a bell turret containing a single bell, and topped with a metal cross.

A tiny turreted trefoil window nestles between two adjacent walls on the south-east corner.

Adjoining the chapel is a stone house which was built as a rectory. The intention was to establish a separate parish in Colyford, but the chapel came under the care of the rector at Colyton in 1903 and the house was sold as a private residence.

More photos can be seen in the Photo Gallery album along with these.

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