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History of St John's Church

The Church of St John the Evangelist, Bridgetown dates from 1832. It was built by the 11th Duke of Somerset for the tenants of his estate and was a Chapel of Ease to Berry Pomeroy. In the early 1970s, St John’s became part of the Parish of Totnes and in 2004 the name of the parish was changed to ‘Totnes with Bridgetown’.

On the morning of July 9th, 1976, fire broke out by arson, gutting the whole inside. Over the next four years, insurance claims and hard work fundraising resulted in the church being rebuilt with a more modern and flexible worship area, with hall and rooms for community use. It was re-consecrated by the Bishop of Exeter in 1980.

Many items in the 1980 restored church were produced locally in South Devon: the ‘Tree of Life’ East window, by Peter Tysoe of Totnes; the fine Baroque organ by William Drake of Buckfastleigh; the church furniture designed by local architect Pedro Sutton and made by Chris Faulkner of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, from Devon ash; the font bowl turned by local woodturner Rendle Crang; and the slate surfaces made by local stonemasons Allwood.

More information is available from the following sources:

  • History of St John’s Church Bridgetown by Joy Hanson, 2006

  • The Buxton Hydro by Peter Lomas, 2007 Axbridge Press Country books (detailed history of Rev James Shore)

  • Totnes Museum study centre

  • Totnes Image Bank

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