Meeting to discuss Honiton's church future
PUBLISHED: 16:33 02 May 2019
A public meeting will be held to discuss the future of Honiton's 15th century church.
Church officials have expressed their hope to reopen St Michael's Church in Honiton for the use of the community ahead of the meeting tonight (May 2) at St Paul's Church.
The Diocese of Exeter says there are no plans to sell St Michael's and has had a number of meetings with church and secular bodies with no viable future use for the building being identified.
The 15th century building was closed to the public earlier this year because of poor attendance and a need for major structural repairs.
St Paul's was built in the 19th century to serve Honiton's growing population resulting in St Michael's being re-designated as a chapel of ease.
The Right Reverend Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter, said: “Honiton is one of the most attractive and important towns in the county.
“St Michael's has a unique place in its history and landscape, and I hope that together we can find a way to bring this ancient building back to life in the service of its community.”
Ahead of the meeting, Charles Courtenay, the current Earl of Devon, expressed his hopes for the church, which has a strong connection with his family.
Lord Devon said: “Honiton holds a special place in my family, as my grandfather and his five sisters enjoyed a blessed childhood at the rectory, with many fond memories of the parish.
“Our medieval links to St. Michael's Church are also significant, and I am enthusiastic about encouraging a modern community use for this remarkable old building.
“I fully support the diocese's efforts to engage with the community in the renewal of St. Michael's.”
The churchyard remains open for burials and continues to be the responsibility of the Parochial Church Council.