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Lesser known and lost churches of Exeter

Page updated 19th November 2017

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Wonford Baptist Church and childrenWonford Baptist Church frontWonford Baptist Chapel
The photo on the left shows the Wonford Baptist Chapel with some local children, sometime before the First World War. The photo on the right shows the new Wonford Baptist Church, built in 1931.

St Matthews Church, NewtownSt Matthews interiorSt Matthew's Church, Newtown
St Matthew's Parish was created on 24 April 1883 from part of the parishes of St Sidwell and St James. The church was built in 1882 in an Early English style of red brick, to a design of R Medley Fulford. It cost £7,000 and has a chancel, chapel nave, transepts, aisles, vestries and a truncated western tower. The chancel was added in 1890 and an organ installed in 1903. The church could hold 630 people.

Interior of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital ChapelThe Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Chapel
The RD & E had its own chapel, which in 1897 had daily services at 10.30 am and 6.30 pm, conducted by the Rev. William Heathman. The chapel was paid for by Arthur Kempe, in 1866. Arthur Bullivante Esq., paid for a stained glass window in memory of Kempe in 1896/7.

South Street Baptist ChurchThe South Street Baptist ChapelThe South Street Baptist Chapel
Rebuilt in 1823, the chapel was enlarged in 1876 to allow 700 seated. Baptists from this church would push a wheeled stand for speakers and a portable organ onto the streets of Exeter after Sunday service to spread the gospel, before the Second War. It narrowly escaped destruction during the blitz.

St James ChurchSt James's Church and School
The parochial district was created in 1838 apart from St Sidewell. Consecrated on 26 November 1836, it cost £3,722 to build, of which, £500 came from the Church Building Society. In the modern Gothic style there was space for 1,200 people, of which, 600 were free. The school was built in 1845. St James' was destroyed by enemy action in May 1942.

St Thomas Methodist Church, Cowick StreetThe Methodist Church, Cowick Street
This church was opened in 1934 by the local Wesleyan and United Methodists. It was built on the site of the nineteenth century United Methodist Free Church.

Mount Pleasant Methodist Church, Pinhoe RoadThe Mount Pleasant Methodist Church
Another lost church of Exeter, the site is now a block of flats on the corner of Pinhoe Road and Mount Pleasant Road. The church was built in 1905 and demolished in 1969. Also known as the United Methodist Church – it was next to the Polsloe Park Christian Chapel, right.

Polsloe Park Chapel, ExeterPolsloe Park Christian Chapel
Next to the Mount Pleasant Methodist Church, left, and on the corner of Thurlow Road and Pinhoe Road could be found this chapel. The site is now the car park of the block of flats.

Emmanuel Church, Okehampton Road, St ThomasArchitects drawing of Emmanuel Church, Okehampton Road.Emmanuel Church, Okehampton Road
Although the parish was created in 1910, the first church was constructed in 1887 as an iron structure at a cost of £550. The present church was built in 1899 at a cost of £9,000 in the early Perpendicular style and had seating for 600 people. The second illustration shows that the architect intended the church to have a tower. During the floods of October and December 1960, the flooring and furnishing were badly damaged as water flowed through the church. Emmanuel Church Hall in Emmanuel Road was opened in 1921. The hall is now the home of the NorthCott Studio Theatre and Theatre Alibi.

Whipton ChurchWhipton Church
Known as All Saint's Parish Church, it was a chapel of ease to St Michael's, Heavitree. Constructed in the Gothic style out of stone, it had a chancel, nave, south transept, south porch and a small western turret with a single open bell. Lord Poltimore donated the ¾ acre of land. The building was funded with £800 raised by the churchwardens and £400 left as a legacy. Designed by Mr Ashworth, it was consecrated on 23 June 1862. The building was made redundant in the 1970s and is now used by the Whipton Community Association. The church yard has some interesting graves including that of Lt. F H Cheshire who won the VC at the charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War.

The Mint Methodist Church, Fore StreetArchitects drawing of Emmanuel Church, Okehampton Road.The Mint, off Fore Street
This is the original Wesleyan Chapel that was demolished after the Second War and replaced with the present church. This church was opened in March 1813 on the site of a former Arian (Unitarian) Meeting House built in 1720. The chapel was enlarged in 1867 and remained unchanged until 1965 when the roof was declared unsafe, as subsistence was cracking the walls. The congregation used St Mary Major on a temporary basis as the chapel was demolished and the present Mint constructed on the site. John Wesley visited Exeter, and the modern church preserves an oak, drop leaf table, that he stood on to preach in Southernhay.

The Iron Church, Mansfield RoadThe Iron Church, Manston Road
The Iron Church was a temporary structure moved from the Emmanuel Church site in 1901. It originally cost £550 and dated from 1887. Both parishes were growing quickly, as the suburbs of the city expanded. Within ten years a better, replacement church was constructed, and the iron structure became a church hall.

It was replaced in 1910 by St Mark's Church. It continued as a church hall and chapel and can be found in Kelly's 1939 as Polsloe Park Chapel. The building was demolished in 1975 and the foundation stone moved into the grounds of St Mark's.

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