The parish church of St Michael and All Angels, Poughill is located in a remote and picturesque part of Devon, roughly 5 miles north of Crediton. NB – This parish isnt to be confused with Poughill in Cornwall, near Bude!
The journey to Poughill (from Cruwys Morchard) takes the traveller along the narrowist of Devonshire lanes, however the journey is worth it.
My visit to St Michael’s took place early one Summer evening in 2015 and I’d long wanted to visit the Church since it carries a great significance in my family history. Like with Cruwys Morchard I have direct ancestors who were Rectors here during the 17th century. It was incredible to discover tangible evidence of their lives remaining in this church…
The village of Poughill is small and narrow. The church is located in the centre of the village and stands prominently overlooking rolling fields and pasture land.
The pathway from the roadside to the church takes the visitor through part of the interesting ancient churchyard towards the south porch.
The first impression on entering the church is its size. It’s a small church – comprised of nave, chancel, tower with north aisle. In many ways the remoteness of the church has probably aided its charm and character and the church possesses a great many features of interest:
The stained glass inside the church is truly beautiful and the sunshine streamed through the windows on my visit. I found the east window in the chancel to be especially beautiful.
The church possesses some interesting C18 box pews in the north aisle – its so pleasing to see such relics remaining in churches. So many were lost during C19 and later restorations.
C19 STENCIL WORK
The church was ‘restored’ during the C19 and the stencil work appears to be a remnant of the work carried out in 1856. Once again, I found it pleasing to see these remains of stencil work – given that so much similar work has been lost elsewhere.
Of greatest interest to me were the many varied and important memorial stones being used to pave the aisles. Many were very ancient, I suspect one or two were almost certainly C16 although their inscriptions were partly obscured by the C18 box pews!
The most interesting memorials relate to the FRANK and BRADFORD families – both featuring in my own ancestry and I found memorial slabs to my direct ancestors which (as any family historian will testify) was a great thrill!
The memorial to my 9th Great Grandfather, the Rev. William FRANK provides a slight conundrum since the Burial Register records that he died on 28 September 1674, not 1675 as suggested on this stone. The inscription is unusual in that “R” is replaced by “Y”.
HERE LYETH THE BODY OF WILLIAM FRANK YE ELDEY MINISTEY OF THIS PAYISH WHO DEPAYTED THIS LIF THE 28TH DAY OF SEPTEMBEY 1675
A wander around the churchyard here is of interest too; although many aged headstones do not appear to be in existence.
In all, a visit to Poughill, off the beaten track, is well worth it. Alongside Cruwys Morchard one could feel as if they had gone back in time… and I’m sure I’m not the only person to appreciate that in our modern world!