Earl of Devon’s hopes for future of 15th Century church in Honiton
The Earl of Devon has said that he hopes a new community use can be found for an historic church in Honiton which has family connections.
St Michael’s Church dates from the 15th Century but in the 19th Century a new parish church, St Paul’s, was built in the town to serve the growing population and St Michael’s was re-designated a “chapel of ease”.
It was closed to the public earlier this year because of poor attendance and the need for major structural repairs.
Ideas for its future use are now due to be discussed at a public meeting on Thursday 2 May at St Paul’s Church, Honiton.
Charles Courtenay, the current Earl of Devon, has a long family association with the church.
Lord Devon said: “Honiton holds a special place in my family, as my grandfather and his five sisters enjoyed a blessed childhood at the Rectory, with many fond memories of the parish.
“Our medieval links to St. Michael’s church are also significant, and I am enthusiastic about encouraging a modern community use for this remarkable old building.
“I fully support the diocese’s efforts to engage with the community in the renewal of St. Michael’s.”
The Rt Revd Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter, would also like the building to be used for the benefit of the local community. This includes the possibility of returning the building to use as a place of Christian worship.
Bishop Robert said: “Honiton is one of the most attractive and important towns in the county.
“St Michael’s has a unique place in its history and landscape, and I hope that together we can find a way to bring this ancient building back to life in the service of its community.”
There are no plans to sell St Michael’s. However, despite a number of meetings with both church and secular bodies, no viable future use for the building has been identified. The churchyard remains open for burials and continues to be the responsibility of the Parochial Church Council.