St Michaels Church in East Teignmouth, Devon, is just yards away from the sea front. I had a quick look when I had finished taking photos of the waves, last week. St Michaels is a Victorian Church, but is built on the site of a much older building. In fact the earliest reported religious building, was a chapel on Church Rocks, where there was a cluster of small fishermen’s huts, but nothing remains of this. A Saxon style church existed on the present site in 1044. It seems that the building was added to and altered until 1763, there is a postcard that shows a square tower with a thatched roof. By 1793 a south porch was added and the 13th century Norman aisle remained. Then as Teignmouth grew into a fashionable and prosperous watering place, public subscription raised funds to rebuild the church completely. The ancient church was demolished…….I wonder what happened to the 13th century stonework from the aisle…… In its place, they built a new church designed by Andrew Patey and finished in 1823. The church was restored in 1887/89 and the tower built for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.
I found the interior of St Michael’s very dark, and difficult to take photos of, so I have tweaked them a little. I have read that the church is in need of funding to make the roof watertight and to prevent any further damp penetration. Also there is work needed on the stone work around the windows, which with the roof, is unfortunately going to take an awful lot of money. While I was taking my photos, there were quite a few people coming in and out, more so than a lot of churches I visit. I think as a church, it is serving the community, its just the fabric of the building that needs some TLC and soon.
The one thing I do like is Victorian stained glass, which this church has in abundance. In the church leaflet is says the glass was supplied by Drake, someone that I know nothing about whatsoever. Drake…. well having researched the name I found a Fredrick Drake (1838 – 1920) who was born in Devon and established himself as a glassmaker in Exeter. He had two sons, Wilfred James Drake (1879-1948) who was apprenticed to his father, with his elder brother Morris (1875-1923, also found as ‘Maurice’) If anyone knows any different, please let me know 🙂