The Church of St. Peter, Lewtrenchard
The Parish of Lew Trenchard consists of approximately 250 people. The Church Electoral Roll has 23 members.
St. Peters has a thriving congregation and continues to be the heart of Lewtrenchard. The church has a reputation for its open and welcoming spirit. We enjoy a regular flow of visitors joining our services from the nearby hotel, villages and towns.
Originally, St Peter’s was the Church of St Petrock. Nothing remains of the Church of St Petrock now, the building was completely rebuilt in 1261, and again in 1520. The current Church is a good example of vernacular ecclesiastical architecture with some interesting internal characterful features attributable to the reverend Sabine Baring-Gould who between 1881 and his death in 1924 restored the Church in an eclectic and intriguing manner, giving the Church the unique interior that is has today.
The Revd. Sabine Baring-Gould was Squire and Parson at Lewtrenchard until his death in 1924 and is buried with his beloved wife Grace in the churchyard. During his lifetime, Sabine Baring-Gould was a High Churchman, antiquarian and prolific author of fiction and theological works. He also wrote several notable hymns and collected West Country folksongs. This has proved to be a great asset to the Church, with many people visiting the Church (which is left open during daylight hours) to appreciate his connection.
The location of St Peter’s church, being in a very small hamlet comprising only the Church, Manor House (now a hotel) and the adjacent Forgotten Gardens of Lewtrenchard, means the congregation must always travel by car. A few years ago, the PCC decided to try to secure the future of the church with the instigation of various alterations needed to bring the church from its Victorian state into this Century by creating a car park, disabled access, toilet facilities and a vestry. Further to this, we are at this moment embarking on a very exciting project: an extension to be built on the North side of the Church to enhance and improve existing church facilities.
For this project, the church and its Architect have applied and received approvals from the external recognised bodies (with final faculty approval shortly awaited from the Diocese of Exeter) and intends to apply for financial assistance in funding the project once all approvals are received.
In addition to the normal regular Church services, the Church is used by the Lewtrenchard Church of England Primary School for services and local history projects. It is hoped that more use of the church building itself will be made when the planned facilities are available.
St. Peter’s Church, Part of the Rood Screen
Recently, we have enjoyed relatively more weddings, baptisms and visits to the adjacent ‘Forgotten Gardens’ than in previous years. On all these occasions. the existing car park, disabled access and toilet facilities have proved invaluable.
St. Peter’s Church, Christmas Eve Service
The last quinquennial inspection was carried out in 2016 and the work identified is being undertaken as funds allow. Our Common Fund commitment for 2019 is £10,330.00. The church has, in the past, met its financial needs with prudent stewardship and generous volunteers helping with general and special maintenance.