St Mary's Church, East Worlington

This page offers some information about St Mary's Church, East Worlington.
 Church Wardens
 Ray Bassingthwaighte
 01884 860568
St Mary’s, East Worlington is a church of ancient foundation situated within the cluster of buildings which makes up East Worlington.
There was probably a Saxon place of worship on the site but the present church dates from Norman times. The Morris Directory, 1870, refers to “Nave, chancel and tower containing 4 bells, and surmounted by a wooden spire.” So the two villages of East and West Worlington would have complimented each other in this respect. Unfortunately the church was allowed to fall into a state of dilapidation and was rebuilt, by the generosity of its Patron, the Earl of Portsmouth, whose home was the now derelict Eggesford House, about 10 miles to the west.



 Professor Hoskins dismisses this action in a few words. “The church,” he writes, “almost rebuilt in 1879 and spoilt.” Elsewhere there was even a comment about the rebuilt tower resembling a municipal water tower. But to the layman this may perhaps seem unduly brusque. The rebuilding was done not only with generosity, but with taste and restraint, resulting in an attractive little church, with the Norman arch still visible in the south porch. There also remains a narrow little Norman window in the chancel. The peal of bells underwent a complete refurbishment with the aid of a National Lottery grant in 2007. The Royal Arms (Charles II) indi¬cates that after the Restoration of the Monarchy (1660) East Worlington came back into the Royalist fold. The 17th century Church House nearby is now part of the school, and the old tithebarn is the Parish Hall.



 East and West Worlington remained separate districts and parishes until 1885, when they were united for civic purposes under the title of East Worlington, there being two livings held in plurality. By an Order in Council dated 18th August 1919 the two benefices were united and the West Rectory was sold as a farm. The living was put into abeyance in 1958, and the East Rectory also sold. In 1967 the Worlingtons became part of a group ministry based on Witheridge including Thelbridge, Creacombe and Meshaw. The group has now become a United Benefice ministered to by the Little Dart Team.

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