- Church of Saint Nectan
Church of Saint Nectan
Church of Saint Nectan
Coordinates: Country United Kingdom Denomination Church of England Churchmanship Broad Church Website www.achurchnearyou.com/hartland-st-nectan/ History Founder(s) Gytha, Countess of Wessex Dedication Saint Nectan Architecture Status Parish Church Functional status Active Style Gothic Specifications Capacity 600 Length 137 ft Other dimensions tower ht 128 ft Materials stone and rubble Administration Parish Hartland (Hartland Coast Team) Deanery Hartland Archdeaconry Barnstaple Diocese Exeter Province Canterbury Clergy Vicar(s) The Revd Wendy Mitchell
Priest(s) The Revd Shirley Henderson
Priest in Charge
Laity 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.
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.
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.
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 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  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
- Warmington, B. H. (1996) Guide to the Church of St. Nectan
- Manley, T. (ed.), Hartland Times
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