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Kentisbury is a parish, and scattered village situated 9 miles north-east of Barnstaple – an ancient market town reputed to be the oldest borough in the country and the administrative centre of North Devon.

The Parish extends to some 3,000 acres, and the soil is sandy loam with a sub-soil of shale. 

We welcome you to our parish church situated in the tranquillity of the North Devon Countryside. 


It is understood to be dedicated to St Thomas. The Church was first mentioned in the Deed of 1275 when the Hamilton de Heanton was appointed Rector.  The Wolf Family were the founders of the church, and they also held the Manor until the early 16th Century. On the south wall of the Church is a tablet which mentions a member of the Wolf Family. A list of the rectors of the parish since the reign of Elizabeth 1 with the dates of their institutions, and patrons where known, is hanging on the south wall inside the main door. 

The Church is a Grade II* listed building.  


The restoration of the Church was carried out from 1873-75 at an approximate cost of £3000 when the north aisle was added, the chancel was enlarged together with an extended chapel. According to the records these works were carried out by E Dolby of Abingdon for the Rev Thomas Openshaw who was an absentee Rector and Patron (1863-77) He actually lived at Ramsbottom near Manchester, where it is understood the Openshaw Family had connections with the textile industry.  The Rev Thomas Openshaw met all the costs of the restoration except for £100-00.  

The Church now consists of a Sanctuary, Chancel, North Aisle, and Incomplete Chapel – known as the Openshaw Chapel, Nave, and a tall western Tower containing six bells.








The tower is of the late 15th Century which is determined by the stone in its lower stage. This stone contains the roses of York and Lancaster, and those became one after the defeat of Richard III at Bosworth when the Tudor King Henry VII married Elizabeth of York.  

The Tudor Rose – a red and white rose was adopted as a badge by Henry VII. The structure of the western tower is three staged, embattled with buttresses, and a north-east stair turret. There is mention of three bells in the Edward VI inventory of church bells (1553), and these were re-cast into four bells in 1723. During 1953 the ancient peal of four bells were restored, cast, and two more added to the peal by Messrs Gillett & Johnston of Croydon.


The Ringing Gallery was erected by Messrs Hobbs & Tucker of Lynton under the terms of a bequest in memory of other Members of the Openshaw Family.  


The Tower Roof which had become unsafe, was removed, and replaced by a re-enforced concrete roof during 1952-1953 at a cost of £250.















THE NORTH AISLE was added to the Church during the restoration between 1873- 1875. The Aisle is a three bay Arcade of Bath Stone and to the eastern end is the incomplete part of the Church known as the ‘Openshaw Chapel’. The walls are arcading on marble shafts with plate tracery windows. A monument of modest brass with a Celtic cross mounted on marble in memory of the Rev Thomas Openshaw and his family is erected near the Vestry Door. 

THE PORCH was rebuilt during the restoration period with old materials and has decorated capitals with a wagon roof. 

THE SUNDIAL above the Porch – outside – is of slate by Berry and dated 1762.


On Wednesday 15th July 1993 a Consecration Service of the unhallowed ground was held and the ground to the North of the Church was consecrated by the   Bishop of Crediton – The Right Rev Peter Coleman –

also attending were the Rural Dean the Rev Peter Fox,  

 The Team Rector Rev Jonathan Richards and other clergy.







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