WE ARE PART OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
serving the parish of farway
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”
history and heritage
St Michael and All Angels was built in the Norman period, then enlarged in the 14th centiury, with a west tower added in the 15th century. A north aisle was added in 1628, then the entire church was rebuilt in 1877. The first record of a rector comes from 1340 but there was a church here for several centuries before then.
The oldest part of the church is the 12th century arcade, with its huge early Norman piers with scalloped capitals. You can see where the original Norman pillars were cut away by the masons in the 13th century when the rounded arcade arches were replaced by pointed Gothic arches.
The altar table is a lovely Elizabethan piece and also in the chancel are a pair of 18th century monuments and a candelabra of the same date.
On the south wall is a stained glass window in memory of Reverend Thomas Putt, a rector of the parish who built the Farway School. Putt gave his name to the Tom Putt apple variety grown in local orchards.
Sir Edmund Prideaux (1554-1629)
In the north aisle is an attractive 17th century monument, with a pair of reclining effigies, one above the other. The topmost effigy commemorates Sir Edmund Prideaux, Baronet (1554-1629) and shows Sir Edmund in his lawyers robes. Sir Edmund brought the Netherton estate, formerly held by Canonsleigh Priory, and built Netherton Hall in 1607. The Hall is set on the slope of the valley east of the church.
Below Sir Edmund's effigy is another effigy of a man in armour, possibly Sir Edmund's grandson, Peter Prideaux, who died in 1643 at the age of 25.
The Prideaux family was one of the most widespread and successful of all the gentry families of Devon. Sir Edmund Prideaux, 1st Baronet, who died in 1628, purchased Netherton Hall, was married three times and is buried at St. Michael’s in Farway. The monument to Sir Edmund is particularly arresting: a life size effigy lies supine in prayer dressed in barrister’s robes on a chest tomb under an ornamented round arch surmounted by the family arms. At the foot of the monument a knight in armour lies on his side.
Few records of Sir Edmund’s life have survived but his principal biographer, the Rev. John Prince, vicar of Totnes, wrote the following in his book of biographies ‘Worthies of Devon’: “…For one to mount from the condition of a younger brother in a private family to the degree of a baronet, and leave so fair an estate and so high a title to his name and posterity, is an argument of pregnant parts and an extraordinary blessing of Providence.”
According to a locale tale, Humphrey Hutchins was ploughing land at the top of the hill when his plough turned up a crock of gold. He gave part of this miraculous treasure to the church to rebuild the north aisle. The field where Nutchins discovered this golden hoard is still known as Money Acre.
In the church yward are a pair of olde yew trees. The largest measures 25 feet around the base and is though to be 800-1000 years old.
unhappy neighbours (1850'S)
The Copleston, Marwood-Elton and Prideaux families were not always the happiest of neighbours. In the 1850’s John Gay Copleston caused disharmony with both Sir Edward Marwood-Elton and Sir Edmund Prideaux, 9th and last Baronet, over trusteeship of the ‘Poor Field’ in Offwell Parish. The Charity Commission recommended the resignation of older trustees and the election of ‘young persons’ likely to remain in the Parish’. All three older men reluctantly resigned and a newly elected trustee included Sir Edmund’s only surviving son, John Rolle Prideaux, who was not yet 20. Sadly he was to die just a few weeks later on his way from India to the Crimea; his father outliving him by 23 years.
preserving and proclaiming
"the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
1 Peter 5:10