Lavington United Reformed Church

What you see today is the second chapel on this site, in 1696 the congregation built ‘The Great Meeting House’ which served the congregation for 100 years.

About this church

This was demolished to meet the needs of a growing congregation and the present church was erected and dedicated in 1869. Significant features are the twin spires, the clock, the pews and the Sweetland organ.

It was estimated that the new church would be £500 and take less than a year to build. It actually cost £1,610 and took 13 years. It was named Lavington Chapel in memory of its former long serving Minister.

A new school room opened in 1862. The current Primary Hall was erected in 1923 as the Church’s War Memorial. In 1972 on the occasion of the Union between the Presbyterian Church of England and the congregational Church it became a part of the United Reformed Church.

The interior of the church remains largely unaltered, although it was originally decorated in the ornate Victorian style.

The clock is one of two, the other being owned by the Town Council and originally situated in the Market but now in the Court Room of the Town Hall. It was built in Bideford by Ephraim Dyer and is a relic of the Great Meeting House, for which it was made.

The pulpit chair is a replica of John Calvin’s chair at Geneva Cathedral. Calvin (1509-64) was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation, responsible for introducing new forms of church government and liturgy.

The original organ was built for the church in 1863 by W. Sweetland of Bath. It is a two manual organ with 22 speaking stops and is known locally as ‘The Old Lady of Lavington’. This instrument is still used occasionally, but is in need of restoration work.

Also of interest are the pews with their numbered doors, complete with linen fold decoration. So too is the carving at the top of the front choir gallery. This front was also highly coloured at one point and bits of this can still been seen through the varnish.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Social heritage stories

Visitors information

  • Level access throughout
  • Level access to the main areas
  • Ramp or level access available on request
  • On street parking at church
  • Accessible toilets in church
  • Café within 500m

Other nearby churches

St Margaret

St. Margaret's dates from 1250 and in years gone by its prominent position and high tower has made it a landmark for shipping in Bideford Bay.

Holy Trinity

The imposing parish church of Weare Giffard was built in the 13th century and enhanced to its present size in the 15th century. It is one of the more important examples in North Devon of the beautiful medieval churches built in this period.

St John the Baptist

One of the highest churches on the North Devon coast, a landmark yet hidden from marauders; great views of Bideford Bay from the churchyard which is probably celtic in origin.

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