St Pancras

St Pancras is the centrepiece of Widecombe village and is very obvious from any direction, especially when approaching from the east, down Widecombe Hill.

About this church

The tall tower is a particular feature of this 14th century Perpendicular style church, referred to locally as the Cathedral of the Moor.

The interior has a fine barrel roof and many carved wooden bosses. The remains of a wooden screen holds panels containing paintings of saints and martyrs. The tower is probably early 16th century, is 135 feet high and houses a peal of 8 bells. The only monuments are on the walls or laid in the floor. Up to the middle of the 18th century parishioners could be buried in the nave at a cost of 6 shillings and eight pence per grave. Between 1712 and 1762 there were 71 such interments.

In October 1638 the church and tower were seriously damaged by a severe thunderstorm. A number of people were killed and many were injured. A record of The Great Storm can be found on boards affixed to the wall close by the west door and local superstition as to what really happened is graphically detailed.

Uncle Tom Cobley and friends are an historical feature of Widecombe Fair to which they made an annual pilgrimage. A working model of them upon their grey mare is on show in the south transept of the church.

Beatrice Chase, the author, is buried in the churchyard under her real name of Olive Katherine Parr (1874 – 1955). Her pen name is on the reverse side of the headstone.

Key Features

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

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Level access to the main areas
  • Car park at church
  • Accessible toilets in church
  • Café in church

Church videos

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