History + Friends of St Mary’s Church, Dartington


dartingtonshieldST MARY’S CHURCH in Dartington dates back to the 12th Century. It was originally located alongside Dartington Hall. However, in 1878 the foundation stone of the present church was laid on glebe land near the Parsonage (now known as The Old Postern).

The architect, John Loughborough Pearson, used the same ground plan as the old church, yet skilfully adapted the medieval features to meet the needs of that day. He was already engaged in designing Truro Cathedral.

The Rood Screen (the wooden partition separating the Chancel and Choir Stalls) from the Nave (the congregation area), together with the Rood Loft, were re-erected and access stairs were built.

stmarysdartingtonfontThe oldest artefact in the church is the octagonal shaped Font, which is made of Moorstone granite and dates back to the Middle Ages – although the pedestal is more recent.

The records imply that the Pulpit dates back to 1499, and the screen separating the Bell Tower from the Nave also dates back to the 15th Century.

The names and dates of the previous clergy are displayed on the plaque near the bookstall.

The High Altar is mounted on a marble plinth and was originally installed in the old church in 1836, by Reverend Robert Froude, M.A., in fulfilment of a project and as a memorial to his eldest son Reverend Richard Froude, M.A., who died that year.

Before the Reverend Robert Froude became the Rector at Dartington Church (1820 – 1859), he was Archdeacon at Dartington from 1799. During this time, his eldest son Richard, was born on the 25th March, 1803, who also went into the ministry and became an Anglican churchman and theological scholar.

He was one of the founders of the Oxford Movement, together with his friends J.H. Newman and the Reverend John Keble (the hymn writer).

His other son, named William, was also born in Dartington on the 28th November, 1810, and became an engineer and naval architect.

William was educated at Westminster School and Oriel College, Oxford. His work was significant and he advised the British Admiralty on ship design and how model ships can be used to determine the physical laws of full-scale ships.

His model testing tank was located near Torquay and he introduced what is known as the Froude Number in fluid mechanics. William was a member of the Royal Society, from which he was awarded a Royal Medal.

The Organ dates back to around 1865 and was built by Speechley of London. It has a 16ft length pipe, which gives a rich deep sound, together with the usual 8ft and 4ft length pipes. It has two manual keys, which can be linked together – and has a full set of pedals.

The Church Clock has an interesting mechanism and needs careful adjustment to keep accurate time. It was installed in 1891 by relatives, parishioners and friends of Reverend Richard Champernowne, M.A., who was Rector at Dartington from 1859 to 1891.

The Church Pew Ends and Choir Stalls date back to medieval times.
stmarysdartingtoncandlescandles are available for visitors to light and make prayer requests, which every month are prayed over by the clergy

Please help us
(see below) maintain our objectives, which are:
• to help with the running costs of keeping the building open (but excluding any ministry costs)
• to help maintain and improve the church building and the surrounding grounds, so that its architecture and historical significance can be handed down to future generations

Coming soon: a printable, 4-page booklet (pdf) featuring the above historical information and photographs, plus an enrolment & standing order form for membership of Friends of St Mary’s Dartington.

dartingtonbrookingClick below for:
• service times for Dartington and Brooking churches
 information about booking Dartington Church Hall