Church of Saint Nectan

Church of Saint Nectan
Church of Saint Nectan

Church of Saint Nectan

50°59′42″N 4°30′59″W / 50.995°N 4.51639°W / 50.995; -4.51639Coordinates: 50°59′42″N 4°30′59″W / 50.995°N 4.51639°W / 50.995; -4.51639
Country  United Kingdom
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Broad Church
Founder(s) Gytha, Countess of Wessex
Dedication Saint Nectan
Status Parish Church
Functional status Active
Style Gothic
Capacity 600
Length 137 ft
Other dimensions tower ht 128 ft
Materials stone and rubble
Parish Hartland (Hartland Coast Team)
Deanery Hartland
Archdeaconry Barnstaple
Diocese Exeter
Province Canterbury
Vicar(s) The Revd Wendy Mitchell
Team Vicar
Priest(s) The Revd Shirley Henderson
Priest in Charge
Reader Andrew MacWilliam

The Church of Saint Nectan is the parish church of Hartland, Devon, England. Sometimes referred to as the "Cathedral of North Devon", it is located in the hamlet of Stoke, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of the town of Hartland. It is dedicated to Saint Nectan.



St Nectan's Church, Hartland

Saint Nectan was one of many Celtic hermits and missionaries associated with early Christian sites in south west Britain, South Wales and Ireland in the fifth and sixth centuries. A well 100 metres from the church is the reputed site of his hermitage.

The history of the area is obscure, however the first recorded building here was a collegiate church served by twelve secular canons founded ca. 1050 by Gytha, Countess of Wessex (mother of King Harold). Traditionally the church was founded in thanksgiving for the preservation of her husband's life in a storm at sea; a better tradition associates her husband Godwin, Earl of Wessex and holder of the royal manor of Harton, with the foundation.

Nothing is known of the earliest building nor whether it was rebuilt or enlarged when the collegiate church was replaced by a house of Augustininian regulars at Hartland Abbey in the twelfth century.

The current building, believed to date from 1360, replaced the earlier church on the site, of which only the font still remains and is thought to date from 1170. The 128 ft tower, rising in four stages, claimed to be the highest in Devon, has for centuries been a landmark to sailors at sea. It was built about sixty years after the rest of the church and it contains a peal of six bells, last rehung in 1952, weighing practically 3 tons. The arch of the tower, open today, once housed a musicians' gallery where the 'church orchestra' of fiddles, double bass, flute and clarinet played for services.

Notable features

The magnificent rood screen (the finest in north Devon), dating from 1450, is a massive structure of eleven bays, 45 ft 6 in long, 12 ft 6 in high and 5 ft 10 in wide at the top. Earlier times saw both the organ and seating on top of the screen. Other features of great interest include the fine Norman font, and the old wagon roofs. The monuments include an elaborate medieval tomb-chest, a small brass of 1610 and a metal-inlaid lid of a churchyard tomb of 1618.[1]

List of clergy

Period Perpetual Curate
1543-1547 The Reverend John Husband
1598-1627 The Reverend Thomas Dove
1627-1646 The Reverend William Churton MA
1646-1676 The Reverend George Mountjoy BA
1677-1705 The Reverend William Orchard
1708-1726 The Reverend Robert Forster
1726-1739 The Reverend Canon James Harcourt DD[2]
1739-1752 The Reverend Kenrick Prescot DD
1752-1755 The Reverend William Morris
1755-1796 The Reverend Francis Tutte MA
1796-1859 The Reverend William Chanter BA
1859-1865 The Reverend Thomas How Chope BA
Period Vicar of Hartland
1865-1906 The Reverend Thomas How Chope BA
1907-1917 The Reverend Edgar Albert Luff MA
1917-1953 The Reverend Prebendary Ivon Lancelot Gregory BD [3]
1953-1966 The Reverend Andrew T. H. Jones
1966-1977 The Reverend F. Harold Lockyear
1978-1993 The Reverend Louis M. Coulson
Period Hartland Coast Team Ministry
(Minister with special responsibility for Hartland)
1994-2001 The Reverend David Ford, Team Vicar
2003-2006 The Reverend Colin Hodgetts, Associate Minister
2006-2007 The Reverend Colin Hodgetts, Hon. Ass. Minister
2007- The Reverend Shirley Henderson BA, Team Vicar



  • 8 am Holy Communion (1st & 3rd Sundays)
  • 11 am:
    • Ecumenical Worship(1st Sunday)
    • Parish Eucharist (2nd & 4th Sundays)
    • Morning Worship (3rd Sunday)


  • 8 am Morning Prayer


  1. ^ Pevsner, N. (1952) North Devon. Penguin Books
  2. ^ Also a Canon of Bristol
  3. ^ Assistant Curate 1908-1913. Made a Prebendary of Exeter in 1940s.
  • Warmington, B. H. (1996) Guide to the Church of St. Nectan
  • Manley, T. (ed.), Hartland Times

See also

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Saint Nectan — Infobox Saint name= Saint Nectan birth date=c. 468 AD death date=c. 510 AD feast day= June 17 venerated in= Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion imagesize=250px caption= The Holy Martyr Nectan birth place=Wales death place=Newton, Hartland,… …   Wikipedia

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  • Hartland, Devon — infobox UK place country = England official name= Hartland latitude= 50.993 longitude= 4.483 shire district= Torridge shire county = Devon region= South West England post town= BIDEFORD postcode district= EX39 postcode area= EX dial code= 01237… …   Wikipedia

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