There’s some very special chapels and churches on Dartmoor. Here are five within easy reach – all unusual for some reason, and worth a viewing.
From Poundsgate Methodist chapel with its plain wooden pews. A place of contemplation on the edge of just-about-tamed moorland. It’s a humble building, and makes one imagine a simpler time.
From there we take in the more ornate, with geometric domed roofs, gold ornamentation inside, and crenelations on the outside.
Buckfast Abbey is newer than one might think. There was a religious presence on the site from 1018, although it was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times.
The current Buckfast Abbey building was consecrated as recently as 1932. It has modern and well-appointed facilities, funded in part by its brewery. Read more in the description, here.
We look up to Brentor, at 1100 feet. Built in the 13th century and still running scheduled services every Sunday.
The locals started building at the bottom of the tor, in keeping with tradition, but the Devil moved the construction to the top of the tor to thwart development.
Ha! The locals won by building at the top! Take that, Devil.
On the other hand, a Lemony-Snicket little church in Sticklepath, near Okehampton, seems to be falling a little into disrepair.
Any building that is wholly one-third bell is worth a little love, in my book.
Last on this list is again near the Buckfast Abbey. The Church of the Holy Trinity in Buckfastleigh has led a troubled life. Lightening strikes and a more recent arson attack have gutted the whole structure, which is now in ruin.
Just one piece of the building remains in service – the tower, which has been the subject of a recent restoration.
Dartmoor is covered in religious symbolism; from way-marker crucifixes to older megalithic grave structures, stone circles, rows and field boundaries.
From digs we know that foreign dignitaries were buried with jewels unobtainable in this part of the world. They died here and were sent off with religious adherence into the hereafter.
It’s tempting to assume that modern man will attend church in low numbers, but we can still find peace in these places. Indeed, a uniting thread between all time and every religion is peace itself.
Wherever you find it – and one must often put effort in to find it – we pray you find a place for peace, for sanctuary, for stillness. Maybe you will find it within one of these beautiful South Devon churches, just as thousands have done before you.