Bideford Catholic Churches

Catholic churches of Bideford and Torrington

KSC organised visit to Chideock, Seaton and Colyton

Some parishioners from the three North Devon Parishes made a coach trip to The Church of Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs, & St Ignatius, in Chideock on the 16th of May. There; Father Ralph Candy, held a Votive Mass for the Chideock Martyrs.
[The text of the Mass, can be read here]

Gerald Crowe describes the day:-

It was an early start for those boarding the coach in Ilfracombe, 7.15am to be precise.  Then over to Bideford for more passengers and finally to the park & ride in Barnstaple. So 53 of us set off from North Devon on a rather misty and damp morning. This trip was organized by the Knights of St Columba and my thanks go to Rowland Conibere for his hard work and dedication to detail, in what proved to be a fascinating day.

C.R. Cornwell remarked in relation to Chideock Church ``Steeped in local, national and religious history, a real gem``

I do not have the time, space or knowledge to describe Chideock Church, but just a few facts to whet your appetite for perhaps another visit.  Four families have held the Manor of Chideock from the Norman Conquest until the late 1990`s (Mandeville, Chideock, Arundell & Weld) The Manor and estate were sold to the Coates family in 1996. The church remains in trust to the Weld family.

Chideock Castle was built by John de Chideocke in 1380. In the Middle Ages, it passed into the hands of the Arundells of Lanherne, who remained loyal to their faith when the old religion was banned.  The Castle became a refuge for Catholic priests & a place where loyal Catholic villagers could go to Mass. During this time seven Chideock men were martyred for their faith.  When the Castle was destroyed in the Civil War, the Arundells left Chideock, but despite persecution, the local people kept the faith and worshipped in secret in the loft of a barn next to the present Manor House.

In 1802, Thomas Weld of Lulworth Castle, a relation of the Arundells and also a member of an old Catholic family, bought Chideock estate for his sixth son, Humphrey, who built the present Manor House and turned the barn into a modest chapel. In 1874 Humphrey`s son, Charles transformed the latter into the beautiful church we know today. Dedicated to Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs and to St Ignatius founder of Jesuits.

To me, this was the highlight of the trip.

We visited Seaton for lunch, a pretty seaside town, but the weather was damp and then a tram ride to Colyton.  But if you asked me "Would I go back to visit these places"?  My answer would be a definite YES to Chideock