St Mary’s Church

St Mary'sPriest-in-charge: The Rev. Peter Walker – 831193
Retired Priest: The Rev. Sue Houghton – 831887
Reader: Mrs. Katharine Murray – 831549

Parochial Church Council contacts
David Murray – 831549
Marion Hutchinson – 830055. Marion is now a Churchwarden.

Monthly Services:

1st Sunday  9.30 am Holy Communion
3rd Sunday 6.00 pm Evening Prayer
4th Sunday 9.30 am Sunday 4U: a less formal service for all ages

Facebook: St. Marys Offwell

June Update:


Between Ascension Day (25 May this year) and Pentecost (4 June) churches all over this country and across the world will be joining in a special time of prayer for the needs of all our communities, friends and neighbours.  In this diocese it will culminate in a special service in Exeter Cathedral on Pentecost Sunday to celebrate and bring all our prayers together in one big prayer: “Thy Kingdom Come”.  This phrase from the Lord’s prayer expresses our longing that all the goodness of our Father God will be made real in this world.Our service on 28 May will be centered around this theme of prayer.

Everyone is invited to write a prayer and place it in a special box which will be in the church during this time.  The box will go with us to the Cathedral to be offered along with others from all over the area.

Prayer is for every time as well, and the church is always open for anyone who wants a quiet space to ponder and pray.  We also now have a prayer board, on the wall of the north aisle near the font.  If you would like to write a prayer request – no names needed – pen, paper and pins are provided.  We will offer all these prayers to God during Sunday worship.


All the necessary permissions for rebuilding the church steps to the Goyle have now been obtained and work will really start soon!  Once that is completed much-needed repairs to the pews, including an adjustment which will give us a clearer social space in the North Aisle by moving the font, can go ahead.  Although there was some discussion about a larger re-ordering of the interior, it appears that the community needs which would justify major alterations to a Grade 1 listed building are not strong enough.


On Saturday 22 July there will be a Quiz night in the Village Hall in aid of church maintenance and restoration.   £5 per head including Ploughman’s, bring your own drink and glasses.  All welcome – come as a team or come anyway and make one up on the night.  We need to know numbers by Wednesday 19 July – contact David on 831549, Marion on 830055, or Phyllis on 831520.

Please find here copies of the APPC Minutes for April 2017 : APPC Minutes April 2017


The parish church of Offwell is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Architectural evidence dates the core of the building to around 1200, characterised by the chamfered semi-circular chancel arch and the little window in the south wall of the chancel. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries saw a great wave of church-building in England, part of a larger pattern of religious revival in western Europe. In its original form the church would have consisted simply of the chancel and nave; the tower and north aisle were added centuries later. The church was built from local materials – flint and chert, dressed with Beer stone – and Lias limestone was used for the floors. Local stone was used for the many additions and repairs that were made in the 18th and 19th centuries.

We do not know whether there was a church at Offwell before the present structure was built, although this is likely, nor do we know who built it. The history of the manor of Offwell during the medieval period is a complex one  but we do know that whoever built the church at Offwell would have been a relatively humble tenant of one of the great overlords and the earliest name that we have in this respect is that of Gervase de Offewell, in 1218/19.

Before about 1150, a parish church was the private property of the family who built it, but by Gervase de Offewell’s time, ownership of most churches had passed either to a monastic foundation or (as in this case) to the Bishop. Nevertheless, the owning family usually held on to the advowson: the right to appoint the Rector. This meant that the gentry retained a significant hold on the parish church – and the parish – for centuries to come, and this was certainly the case with Offwell.

The arrival of the wealthy Copleston family in the late 18th century as Rectors and patrons raised the parish to a new level.

Offwell Publications






Debrett Ancestry Research have recently published ‘A History of Colwell Wood and Cottage’, this being the culmination of a very long research project by Bill Hutton and Debrett’s. It is a companion ‘to A History of Offwell Church and Parish’, published in 2009.

For more information click here –

To purchase this new publication please use the following link:

History of Colwell Wood and Cottage (2016)

or to purchase the previous publication concerning Offwell please use the following link:

A History of Offwell Church and Parish (2007)

The Revd. Peter Sidney Caleb Walker

peter-walkerRev. Walker was licensed as Priest In Charge of the Parishes of Cotleigh, Farway, Northleigh, Offwell and Widworthy on 24th October 2012.

Our first letter from Revd. Peter was published in The Link (the church magazine for the five parishes) in October 2012:

“It was the last flight into Adelaide Airport that evening of the 29th September. It was Michaelmas Day. I stepped out into the seemingly deserted concourse but there was Brother Gilbert waiting to greet me. As we drove up the winding hill the lights of the City became ever distant as we arrived at St. Michael’s House, the home of the Society of the Sacred Mission whose mission was to train young men for ordination. I was there to see if I was being called to train for ordination in that unusual environment. I was there also to see if SSM would take me!

The rest, as they say, is history, and returning to England and resigning from my Bank job I returned the following year and thus began four years with the brothers. I often looked down on those far distant Adelaide lights twinkling in the distance during the next four years and remembered that first trip up into the Adelaide hills with Brother Gilbert.

At the end of the four years I was duly ordained as Deacon and Priest for the Diocese of Tasmania and was ‘out on my own’ within fourteen months caring for a vast area of that island which covered a valley of 45 miles and 8 churches!

Since then I have served back in England in a number of situations – a spell of three and a half years in the biggest Diocese in the world – Europe – as a chaplain to ex-pats on the Costa del Sol.

As I come to serve in the Diocese of Exeter, I look back with affection on all the many varied places God has led me. Finally I have arrived on your doorstep and look forward to being a pastor to you and help in developing plans to take us forward to being classed as ’A Mission Community’.”


Church Coffee mornings are held regularly in the Village Hall Social Club Room.

This is for everyone in the village, not just churchgoers. For details look in The Link or contact the editor, Nick Hill, at



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