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Churches of Devon


Crediton
Holy Cross Church


Crediton was the birthplace of St. Boniface, around AD 680 and it is suggested that, despite his departure for Germany, he influenced the founding here of a monastery in AD 739. Almost two hundred years later (AD 909) a new Devonshire-based diocese was created, out of that of Sherborne, and the first Bishop, Eadulf, chose the Abbey at Crediton as his seat. A grand new Cathedral was built there in AD 933 but, unfortunately, nothing of this remains today.

The earliest part of the present church is the base of the tower, dating from about 1150. An ecclesiastical college had been founded here only about twenty years previously and the building must have been undergoing major reconstruction work. The Lady Chapel and Chapter House survive from 13th century additions, but the majority of the church was being replaced, with what we see today, by around 1410. The canons were ejected from their college at the Dissolution, but the people of Crediton purchased the church and some of its associated rights for 300. The establishment has been overseen by twelve governors since 1547.

Most striking amongst the church fittings is the exuberant rood and flanking saints which covers the whole of the eastern nave wall above the tower arch. This masterpiece of arts-and-crafts carving, by Caroe, is a memorial to the famous Devon-man, General Sir Redvers Buller, who died in 1908. There are some fine 17th century monuments in the chancel: a judge who condemned Mary, Queen of Scots, and an early seated effigy of a Mrs. Tuckfield. A painted sedilia and Easter sepulchre are both much damaged, as are the effigies of Sir John & Lady Sully. He supposedly died aged 105 in 1387! The Lady Chapel has a double piscina and there is a superb Flemish merchant's chest of the 15th century used as an altar in the Chapel of St. Nicholas & St. Boniface. The latter has his life-story depicted in the east window and a modern wooden statue in the north aisle. The font is late Norman.

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