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In the ancient West Devonshire village of Lydford, St Petroc's is a Norman church but is founded on an earlier settlement. A small timber church probably stood on the site, built about 650AD. It was dedicated in honour of St. Petroc, a 6th century Celtic missionary who came from Wales (via Ireland) and brought the Gospel to many parts of Devon and Cornwall. The timber church was probably burnt down by Danish raiders in 997. It was rebuilt in Norman times, enlarged in the 13th century, and in the 15th century the tower and the south aisle were added.
Notable features of the church include the Saxon or early Norman Font, made of Hurdwick stone, the pews with their fine carved bench-ends with figures representing the Prophets, Martyrs and Saints of the Holy Church, border ornamentation based on the Benedicite: 'All the works of the Lord', and portraying the flora and fauna of the West Country. The Watchmaker's Tomb (now sited inside the church to prevent further damage from the elements) bears a unique epitaph describing George Routleigh as if he were a clock himself.
Today St Petroc's is a member of the Northmoor Team of Churches in the Okehampton area on the north-west edge of Dartmoor. There is a Sunday service every week at St Petroc's and the church is open to visitors throughout the year. A congregation of all ages is active in the village community, and the church is a beautiful venue for christenings, weddings and other special services. The Team clergy welcome enquiries about christenings and weddings. Do come to Lydford and visit St Petroc's - a place of prayer and wonder in a beautiful village steeped in history.
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