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St Gregory’s History

 

Building History

Parish church.  Circa late C13 and early C14 with later alterations including C15 west tower.  Restored in 1860 by Edward Ashworth. Stone rubble with freestone dressings. Nave with flat-headed two and three-light south windows one with ogee arched lights. North aisle and north transept with two and three-light windows with reticulated tracery and three-light intersecting traceried east window of transept now only visible inside. South chapel has restored perpendicular three-light east window and decorated window in what was south transept. Chancel has datestone 1764 in the gable, restored three-light east window and two-light south window. South porch with chamfered arch.

Squat C15 west tower with diagonal buttresses, polygonal stair turret on the south side enbattled parapet, single-light bell openings with cusped arches and three-light west window with reticulated tracery, over moulded arch west doorway.

Interior: moulded north arcade without capitals. Only two bays of arcade remain, the west end is supported on cast iron columns to allow late C19 gallery to span the width of the church into the north aisle. Similar chancel arch without capitals. Squint from north transept. Treble-chamfered tower arch with shafts in the responds. C19 roofs and furnishings.

 

Brief description of the building

A plan of the Church. It has a Nave, Chancel, North Aisle, Lady Chapel, Organ Chamber, South Porch, West Tower, and Vestry at the NE corner. All compass references in the text relate to liturgical north, which approximates to true north. Access and Parking a) Pedestrian and vehicular access is obtained via a shared drive from Colyford Road and there is pedestrian access from a public footpath at the south east corner of the Churchyard. b) There is limited parking next to the South Porch and unrestricted parking in Colyford Road. Churchyard The Church is located towards the centre of the original Churchyard, which is well kept but has a number of collapsing graves towards the west boundary. Brief Description and History . The Church is late 13th-early 14th Century with a 15th Century Tower. It was restored in 1860 by Edward Ashworth when the roof was replaced and the interior re-Ordered, including the removal of the south arcade and the rebuilding of the Gallery. There is a 1930s oak Chancel screen dedicated to Annie Hayman. There is a pine boarded wainscot in the west end of the Lady Chapel. There are small inaccessible voids over the vaulted ceilings in the Nave and North Aisle. The Tower parapet walls are of Chert with Beer stone quoins.

 

The Setting of the Church

St Gregory’s is on the edge of the town of Seaton in East Devon. Seaton is a seaside town, fishing harbour and civil parish in East Devon on the south coast of England, between Axmouth (to the east) and Beer (to the west). It faces onto Lyme Bay and is on the Dorset and East Devon Coast Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. A sea wall provides access to the mostly shingle beach stretching for about a mile, and a small harbour, located mainly in the Axmouth area.

Seaton's recorded population at the 2011 Census, was 8,413, whilst the Seaton and Beer Urban Area that includes Colyton had an estimated population of 12,815 in 2012. The Seaton electoral ward, which includes Beer, Axmouth and Colyton, had a population of 7,096 at the above census.

 

Social History

A farming community existed here 4,000 years before the Romans arrived and there were Iron Age forts in the vicinity at Seaton DownHawkesdown HillBlackbury Camp and Berry Camp. During Roman times this was an important port although the town's Roman remains have been reburied to preserve them. In Saxon times Seaton was known as Fluta or Fleet, the Saxon word for creek. The town of Fleet was founded by Saxon Charter in 1005 AD. The first mention of Seaton was in a papal bull by Pope Eugenius in 1146.

Seaton was an important port for several centuries, supplying ships and sailors for Edward I's wars against Scotland and France. In the 14th century heavy storms caused a landslip which partially blocked the estuary, and the shingle bank started to build up. In 1868 the arrival of the railway reduced the use of the harbour.

In November 2013 builder Laurence Egerton, a metal detector enthusiast, unearthed the Seaton Down Hoard of
copper-alloy coins. The hoard, of about 22,000 Roman coins, is believed to be one of the largest and best-preserved 4th-century collections ever found in Britain. A team of archaeologists carefully removed and cleaned the coins over the next 10 months.

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