St John the Baptist, Meshaw


Church and Village Hub


St John the Baptist Church Meshaw is proud to announce that after a period of closure to allow for the reordering for wider community use, it reopened its doors on 20th April 2024.


In 2018, the Meshaw Parish Meeting and the Parochial Church Council started serious discussions about the wider community being able to become more involved with the Church and using the building as a village hub, as Meshaw did not have a village hall of its own. 


Initially a feasibility study was carried out to gauge opinions, support and possible outcomes, and following Covid-1, the necessary planning issues were tackled, resulting in agreement from the Church of England in April 2022 to alter and make improvements to the fabric of the building to provide not only improved facilities for church goers but also provision for much wider community use.


During 2022 the team finalised plans and put out tenders to builders so that they could cost the work required and start to raise the necessary funds. Work started in November last year and the new facilities include a kitchen servery, WCs, heating, an audio-visual system, and chairs and tables, creating a multi-use building for the residents of Meshaw and the surrounding area to have tea and coffee mornings, lunches, meetings and other village events hosted by the Parochial Church Council, Meshaw Together (Friends of St John the Baptist) and more.


Thanks to all the grant funders and bodies involved in making this possible.


On Sunday 12 May 2024, Archdeacon Verena Breed led a service of Rededication and Holy Communion following the reordering of the Church.


The Church of St John the Baptist is a member of the Little Dart Mission Community, a group of twelve local churches. The vicar is The Reverend Adrian Wells, who can be contacted via -


01884 861383


Details of service times, and the names of the churchwardens, can be found here

The graveyard


Details of most of the gravestones in the graveyard have been recorded by Andy Blakely. You can find details of his work here.

 Church History


The Church of St John the Baptist is a Grade-II listed building. For those that understand the jargon, the Listing for the church can be found here. Essentially then, some old bits but mostly knocked about by the Victorians. A not-untypical North Devon church.


Some interior shots of the church, dressed for Christmas, can be found here. Note the fine lancet (slender & pointed) window. Pevsner, in acerbic mood, described the church as "a lancet box with ruggedly Gothic masonry".


Another description of the church


The Church of St. John the Baptist, rebuilt in 1838, is an edifice of stone in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, nave, south porch and an embattled western tower containing 4 bells: in the church is a monument to James Courtenay esq. (dated 1683), in memory of whom the tower was rebuilt in 1691: the chancel has been enlarged and a stained east window inserted as a memorial to the Rev. William Heberden Karslake, rector from 1832, and prebendary of Exeter: the west window is a memorial to Mrs. W. H Karslake: the porch was built and the bells rehung at the expense of the late Miss Preston, lady of the manor, in 1879, and the church was restored during the period 1878-84, at a cost of £742; in 1906 it was further restored and new windows placed in the nave at a cost of £200: in 1909 a new organ was added at a cost of £200: there are 150 sittings.

Courtenay monument (courtesy Wikipedia)

In the church is a mural monument with the following wording: To the memory of James Courtnay (sic) Esq.r. 2d son of John Courtnay of Molland in this county, Esq.r. who died at Meshaw House the 27th of March 1683 & was buried among his ancestors in Molland Church in ye grave of his first wife Susanna ye daughter of Henry Sandford of Ninehead Flory in ye county of Somers.t, Esq.r. His 2d wife & relict (being also relict of Lewis Rosier of Swymbridge in this county, Gent.) was Elizabeth daughter of Will. Lynn Esq.r of Southwicke in who to ye lasting memory of her Lord did this too slender monument afford, for in her judgement she could scarce approve so mean an offering for so great a love. Were it as great and lasting too as she could wish ye me(m)ory of his love should be, this marble would out live eternity.