St John the Baptist, Meshaw


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

St John the Baptist, Meshaw, Annual Parochial Church Meeting – Tuesday 20th October, 2020 at 7.00pm via Zoom


If you wish to attend this meeting please contact Vicar Adrian Wells for an electronic invitation via email.


The purpose of this public meeting is to elect Parochial Representatives for the Parochial Church Council (PCC) and to discuss other matters of parochial and general church interest.  You can only vote at this meeting if you are on the Electoral Roll.


If you wish to be added to the Electoral Roll prior to the meeting, information and forms will be left in the Church on the table, please return these to Tim Smith, Rosemary Cottage, Meshaw.

2020 Harvest Festival


Pictures of the "harvest" in the church, supplied by Sue, can be found on the Gallery Page.

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.

2018 Church Fête


The sun shone (and how!), the crowds came and copious quantities of tea and cake were consumed, so, yes, we all had a good time at this year's Church Fête. See some photos on our Gallery page. The event raised nearly £1000 for church funds, so thanks to all who attended, donated prizes and bought tickets for the raffle and tombola. And special thanks are due to Kathleen and Cyril for all the hard work they put in to host the event and, I'm reliably informed, with the aid of their family, for baking most of the cakes that were on offer for our tea - thank-you!


Many games and competitions were available and, especially in the Welly Wanging, were keenly contested. Some results -


Welly Wanging winners :


Boy – Leo B with a distance of 19.1 metres (or yards, we never did decide)

Girl – Bethany, 16.9 metres


Lorna took the women's prize with 16.7 metres


The men's competition was eagerly contested, with Phil, Will and Kevin all being in the lead at various times. But, at the end of the day, just one winner, and this was Kevin with a hedge-rattling throw of 25.05 metres, giving him victory over Phil by just 10 cm (4” in old money).


Guess the Sheep's Weight – Lorna, with a remarkably close estimate


Guess how many Sweets in the Jar – Leo, a not-at-all-suspicious winner, as Andrew said when awarding the prize :)


Name the Barn Owl chick – Holly and Marilyn, joint winners, both choosing the name Lucky. They got to help Cyril feed the abandoned chick.


Quiz – a somewhat fiendish quiz (well I thought so) set by Angus. Mary T was the worthy winner.


Skittles – Leo B took the children's prize, Phil was top man and Sarah top lady. Sarah is clearly a bit of a demon bowler on the quiet as she also took the prize for the top score!


Darts - well, crossbow "bolts" really, but whatever, it was apparently Angus who triumphed.


 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.