The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Holne, (www.holnechurch.org) set at the heart of the village, dates from the Thirteenth Century. Built on an ancient sacred site, it is the oldest church in the Moorland Team, predating Widecombe by at least 100 years. Its dedication to the Virgin Mary may indicate earlier links to the abbey at Buckfast whose sheep were grazed in the district of Holne.
The church is part of the Anglican Communion and people gather for worship here every week and it is kept open during the day for all who wish to visit. It is a hidden gem of peace, tranquillity and beauty, and many visitors comment on the atmosphere of prayerfulness.
Over the centuries the church has undergone many changes, including the addition of side aisles in the 14th century; a fine painted medieval rood screen and an unusual pulpit in the 15th century, both of which survived the iconoclasm of the Roundheads and the Reformation. A fine stained glass window of the nativity was added in the late 19th century in memory of Charles Kingsley, who was born and baptised in Holne. Alterations to pews, heating and lighting took place in the mid 20th century and a complete set of kneelers were designed and stitched by local women. Fresh flowers are provided every week by a small but talented team of arrangers. Our peal of six bells is still rung on special occasions and a new team of ringers is currently being trained.
Members of the local parish and congregation work hard to maintain the building. In 2004 work had to be done to the roof to repair leaks; restoration work to some of the windows was started, and our radiators were painted by a team of volunteers. In 2005 we need to replace the bargeboards and guttering and complete repair work to the windows. Work is also being done to improve disabled access. Future tasks include redecoration of the interior plaster work and the cleaning and restoration of the rood screen. There are also plans in progress to create a “Mary Garden” in part of our churchyard, which will hopefully involve the whole community.
If you would like to support our church in any way, please contact
The Rev’d Corynne E. Cooper at The Vicarage, Holne, Newton Abbot Devon TQ13 7RT