Church History: Axmouth, Devon
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History of St. Michael's Church at Axmouth in Devon
by Roger Johnson

A Short Church History

St. Michael's Church, Axmouth (Devon)

Axmouth Church is tucked under the ramparts of the Iron Age fort at Hawksdown and situated adjacent to the quay that marked the terminus of the eastern fork of the southern end of the Fosse Way. The former is the last in a chain of forts stretching along the crests of the Blackdown hills and manned by the Dorset based Durotriges tribe against the Devonian Dunmonii; the latter a busy Roman port. Commercial activity was continuous until the arrival of the railway in the 19th century, but on a very limited scale from the late Middle Ages onward. The manor and church, or churches, of Axmouth belonged to the King of Wessex in Saxon times. A church is known to have existed at Axmouth in 1090, but not necessarily on the same site. With the Norman Conquest, the manor passed to the new royal dynasty. The right of presentation was given by the King to the Earl of Devon who sold it to the Priory of Loders - a cell of the Benedictine Abbey of Montburg in Normandy - in the early 12th century. It was suspended by Richard II during the war with France and eventually passed to the Augustinian order at Syon Abbey upon Henry V's seizure of all foreign monasteries in 1414. The abbey was suppressed in 1539 and given to Queen Catherine Parr. In 1556 Edward VI gave it to Walter Erle. The Erles sold the right of presentation to Richard Hallet in 1691 whose descendants exercised the same until the late 19th century.

Axmouth Church Architecture
Axmouth Church Medieval Wall Paintings

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Bio: Roger Johnson is a retired School Master who lives in Lympstone in Devon. He has studied several areas of Devon's fascinating past, and is particularly captivated by the more contraversial areas of British History.

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