I have previously mentioned my walk to this church and its peaceful surroundings while staying in Exeter. The most rural of the churches in Exeter, this attractive little church is set in a neat church yard with a fine view over Exeter.
There would have been a wooden Saxon church on this site in the tenth century. It was was burnt during the invasion by the Danes in AD1001. The village of Pinhoe was raided that year by a band of Vikings and the vicar rode to Exeter by donkey for more arrows for the defenders. Although it was to no avail – church and village were burned to the ground - the priest was awarded an annual payment of 16 shillings for his bravery. It is said that this sum was still paid to the Vicar of Pinhoe in Victorian times.
The main body of the present church was constructed of Heavitree stone (a local red sandstone) and Thorverton stone in the early part of the fifteenth century.
It is in the Perpendicular style.
The north aisle was probably added in the sixteenth century.
I understand there is a typical Devon fifteenth century wagon roof with carved bosses and a fifteenth century screen and pulpit. The font is the oldest feature in the church with a Saxon base and would probably have been in the earlier wooden building.
But sadly the porch door was locked.
I find it really aggravating when rural churches are locked.
Not only does it deny one the opportunity for a period of quiet reflection but it also stops one seeing the interior – no matter how far one has travelled to do so.
The register dates from 1561.
In the nineteenth century the church was in a very poor state and restoration work was started. The chancel was rebuilt, the nave, aisle and tower restored. There was new flooring, roof repairs, a vestry and porch. Stairs to the rood were discovered. This work was completed in 1880.
Apart from one small area all the stained glass is modern but other than this little piece in the porch I was unable to see any of it.
I found this most evocative headstone in the churchyard. It has no carving, no mason’s work, ‘just’ a piece of stone and yet it somehow moved me more than any of the traditional ones.
Some of the old headstones were covered in lichens and mosses.
One of my favourite features was the 17th-century, thatched lychgate. It's wonderul to think that people were walking through here at the time of the English Civil War.