Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

St Michael's Church, Axmouth, Devon

A delightful village church, it's earliest parts date back to the Norman times, although there are references to a Saxon church previously on the site. Much of its facade is Victorian but there are older remains, including a Norman door and Mediaeval wall paintings. The windows and Norman door are made from limestone, possibly from the Beer quarries, and the West Chancel window dates from the late 15th century. The Tower has been placed in the perpendicular period of 1500, but one source states that an earlier date for the belfry windows could be as early as 1150.

Two piers near to the Chancel bear Mediaeval wall paintings. They are thought to depict St Peter (shown above and below) and Christ showing his wounds from the cross, but other sources think they could also be St Michael or the Virgin Mary. Both images are also included in the Chancel window. On the South wall there is another, barely visible, wall painting of a tortured bishop or martyr.

Interestingly the Norman doorway, which is still used today as the main entry, is north facing. Legend has it that a north door is known as the 'Devil's Door', because the north is connected with the ungodly, including women...which is why in Mediaeval times women had to sit in the north aisle. Several churches in this part of the country have a Devil's Door...which might have something to say about East Devon! ;)

Three beautiful sets of 19th century Arts & Crafts stained glass windows adorn the South aisle, depicting scenes of rural life; sheep tended by a shepherd, various beasts, birds and wild flowers, together with corresponding texts from the bible. 

Below, one of the south chapel windows, bright and sunny with a spring floral display for Easter.

Below, a cute little cinquefoil squint in the north wall.

Apple trees and benches in the front churchyard make a welcoming aspect to sit and enjoy, and just across the road is the equally ancient Harbour Inn. Just the thing for a village sunday morning...out of the church and into the pub! ;)

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

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