About Marwood

Marwood Parish

 Marwood is a relatively large rural parish of 8-10 sq miles, 3-4 miles to the north of Barnstaple. It consists of some 10 hamlets, but no single village centre. These hamlets are based on a series of ‘Bartons’, typical of the agricultural structure in Devon. Those living in the parish are mostly retired or work in Barnstaple, with little employment locally other than agriculture, but the proximity of Marwood to the North Devon District Hospital makes it an attractive location for medical and ancillary staff.

St Michael and all Angels Church

St Michael & All Angels Church is located in Marwood. It is a listed building dating from the 12th century but predominantly 13th /14th century. There is also a small building (probably a remnant of the parish workhouse) adjoining the church and adjacent to the entrance gate known as the Lych Gate Room. The Church Hall is a few hundred yards along the lane.

The church appears to have been originally a Cross church of the first pointed style.

An extract from the Register of Walter de Stapleton, Bishop of Exeter 1307-26 Latin Translation as follows;
January 1st 1309. "At Marwood  the Lord Bishop ordered the Parishioners of Marwood Church under a penalty of £10 to enlarge their church within a year from the Feast of St. Michael so that whereas a certain part of the Parishioners are now during Divine Service excluded from the Church because of its narrow dimensions and want of room, they may for the future be able to enter and thus the Parishioners may together be able at the same time and in the same building hear the Services of the Church."

At a later period the North wall was replaced by the piers and arches, the transept converted into the aisle, and the chantry added at the East end, probably by a member of the Chichester family.

The screen separating the Chantry from the Aisle bears  the name of John Beapul, Rector of the Parish in the  reign of Henry VIII, and is instanced by Rickman as one of the best specimens of a rood screen in the country. Presumably a full screen at this date 1894. Marwood bells date from 1771.

There are two chapels in the parish; the URC is in the hamlet of Muddiford and the Methodist in the hamlet of Prixford. We all share a monthly service. There is one housegroup that meets regularly. Church-run social events are well supported by members of the community who are not necessarily regular church goers. The annual summer holiday club which runs for a week in the summer holidays is always well supported

There is no longer a post office or shop, but there is one public house serving good food and providing a place for the local community to meet other than the churches. There is a community primary school with over 100 children and a fairly new community hall on the school site. The Mission Community ministerial team together with the Methodist/URC minister leads a full school assembly once a week on a rota. The population suffers from a degree of rural deprivation. There is a lack of public transport, and a shortage of affordable housing.

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