St Mary Magdalene

St Mary Magdalene is the parish of South Molton. Visit for a service, for some quiet personal reflection, or to have a look around.

About this church

Whoever you are and whatever you believe, you are welcome. People have worshipped here for centuries, seeking a closer relationship with God. This large fine Grade I listed building, is situated just off the town centre, tucked away behind the main shopping street.

The church tower is a prominent landmark as you approach the rural market town of South Molton, from any direction. The town has a long history, much of it closely connected with the churches that have occupied the site. The town grew around the site of the church in the Middle Ages.

The current building was built in the late 15th century. With large stunning stained glass windows, mostly Victorian and connections to St John of Bridlington, this church is a visit to be inspired by the beauty and peace of the building.

It is said that following the English civil war, there was an attempted rebellion against the rule of Oliver Cromwell. Rebel leaders in the south west roamed the region recruiting supporters to their cause. Despite numbering 300-400 they found themselves cornered by a single troop of the well trained New Model Army, and were defeated after a three hour fight through the streets of South Molton on 14th March 1655. Royalist Sir Joseph Wagstaffe managed to escape by jumping his horse over the churchyard wall on the north side of the church. In 1930 a gate was added to this wall to make access easier, and to this day it is known as Wagstaffe’s Gate or the Wagstaff Gate.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Wildlife haven
  • Social heritage stories
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Ramp or level access available on request
  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard
  • Parking within 250m
  • Café within 500m

Other nearby churches


St James

St James is built on ‘holy ground where the saints of old worshipped untold centuries ago’.

St Michael

There are always fascinating pieces of historical evidence and secrets to be uncovered when visiting a church as old as our Norman church at East Anstey.


St Peter

St Peter’s is an unusually large church for Devon, and is sometimes known as the little Cathedral of Devon.

Become a Friend of the National Churches Trust, for people who love church buildings!