Skip to content

Belstone Church of St Mary the Virgin

Serving the community of Belstone and outlying areas

Greetings…

From Reverend Stephen Cook

St Mary’s Belstone serves our small moorland village. We pride ourselves on being an integral part of our community, providing a place where the highs and lows of life can be celebrated and marked.

The ancient church and its churchyard have been tended and cared for by successive generations and serve as a continuing reminder of the presence of God in the heart of this beautiful landscape. We offer a service every Sunday at 9:30 am; normally using Common worship but sometimes branching out into other styles. The church, like the village, is noted for its hospitality and warm welcome. In Belstone you can always be sure of excellent cake!

Team Rector:
Reverend Prebendary Stephen Cook

Why not take a moment to consider your faith?

Faith Guide
Faith Guide…
Faith Guide
I lift my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who has made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

Regular Church Services at Belstone Church of St Mary the Virgin

Church Services
Morning Prayer
Holy Communion Common Worship
Other special services as announced

Church Services Calendar & other Church events

Please be patient while the calendar loads…

 

Wise words from figures in history…

Notable Quotes
Notable Quotes…
Notable Quotes
The soul is like an uninhabited world that comes to life only when God lays His head against us

Thomas Aquinas

Contact the Belstone Church team

Reverend Stephen Cook

Team Rector: Reverend Prebendary Stephen Cook

Northmoor Team Ministry Personnel

Churchwarden: Michael Ash

Telephone: 01837 840082

Northmoor Team Ministry Personnel

Safeguarding: Edwina Hill

All safeguarding enquiries are treated with absolute privacy and discretion.

Telephone: 01837 840332

Northmoor Team Ministry Personnel

Secretary: Wendy Bloor

Telephone: 01837 659323

Reverend Gillian George

Team Curate: Reverend Gillian George

Help for Visitors

Opening Times, Accessibility, Worship, & MUSIC & ABOUT THE BUILDING

Regular opening times

Monday to Sunday: Usually open during daylight hours.

Closing times

When are we closed: Sometime, when?

Accessibility

Wheelchair friendly access

Permanent ramp to allow access to the church

There is a step between the nave and the chancel

Toilet with disabled access

Assistance dogs welcome

Belstone public car park is a short walk from the church

No hearing induction loop

We do not have a Church car park

Worship & Music

Bell Ringing

Organ

A wide range of music is used, usually accompanied on the organ or on first Sundays by a small worship band.

Book of Common Prayer Services

Common Worship

Occaisonal Choir

Click here for more about our choir.

Miscellaneous help for visitors

Misc 1

Misc 2

Misc 3

Misc 4

Misc 5

About the building

Find the Church & more information

Belstone Church
Belstone
Okehampton
Devon EX20 1QZ

Church hall hire

Apologies, we do not have a church hall for hire.

Events & activites

Belstone Church of St Mary the Virgin history

There has been a parish church at Belstone since at least 1260AD, the date when the first recorded priest, William de Speccot, was appointed.

There has been a parish church at Belstone since at least 1260AD, the date when the first recorded priest, William de Speccot, was appointed. However, at the time, Belstone Church was ‘void by official sentence’ and it seems probable that a priest was here well before that date. Indeed, the incised granite cross, which stands on the south wall of the Church, near the Lady Chapel, has been dated from somewhere between the 7th and the 9th centuries. This indicates that there has been active Christian worship in the area since before the Norman Conquest and the Manor of Belstone is recorded in the Domesday Book, confirming the existence of an established farming community from the Anglo-Saxon era. Tin streaming on the moor and granite quarrying and cutting seem to have made Belstone wealthy enough to afford to build a church, even in such a remote place.

There is some evidence in the building of its Norman origins, but the present small and solid granite building, built to withstand the Dartmoor winters, dates from the 14th or 15th century. the earliest surviving written record of it is in an ‘Inventory of Church Goods’ compiled in 1547. the first reference to the Church being dedicated to St Mary the Virgin is later still, in 1738. A contemporary Visitation Report complements the parish on the good state of the Church fabric, but this appears to mark the beginning of a long period of neglect and decline. By the early 19th century a series of reports testified that the whole fabric was in a very sorry state. A partial restoration was undertaken in 1855, including the rebuilding of the singing gallery, a traditional feature of many small churches. There is also a record of an unusual and distinctive feature of church life in Belstone: men and women were separated during services at this time, with the men sitting on the south side of the Church and women on the north. By the 1870s the Church had again become very neglected and decayed and there was a further major restoration in 1881 which swept away all the old pews, carved rood screen and rotting floor. Much of the present day simple granite church building dates from this restoration.

The ancient font is a relic from the earliest church building in which parishioners have been baptized, perhaps since the time of William de Speccot’s day. The organ stood originally in the private chapel of the Tudor manor house, Knole House in Sevenoaks, Kent. The open rood screen was erected as the parish memorial to those killed in the first world war. A granite stone with an incised cross stands in the church; it has stood in various places being first discovered in a mid 19th century demolition of the Church meeting room and alms houses, it was then part of the Rectory wall, but when this was demolished in the 1930s, the cross was returned to the Church and leant against the outside of the north wall. It was placed in its current position in 2005. The centre piece of the high altar is a copy of the Madonna and Child by Marie Basaili, the original of which is in the National Gallery. There are several fine stained glass windows, most installed as part of the 1880 restoration, but there are modern examples as well. Set in the floor of the south aisle are three 17th century gravestones bearing the names of old Belstone families. There are also some interesting gravestones in the church and churchyard, several of which are listed Grade II.

The arms of King George III are over the vestry door. When King, he ordered that the Royal Arms should be placed in all churches as a reminder that the monarch and not the Pope was the final authority in England.

Before leaving St Mary’s Church, 1000 feet up on the edge of Dartmoor, do not forget to pray for the present priest and people of this parish, for the multitudes that need God’s grace in today’s world and for the departed priests and parishioners over so many generations. Our prayers will be with you.

Safeguarding Policy

We take the safety of everybody in these parishes very seriously.

If you or someone you know is being abused, is at risk of being abused, or presents a risk to others, or if you have concerns but are not sure, our Safeguarding Advisor is here to give advice and support in confidence.

Our Parish Safeguarding Officer is Edwina Hill, Telephone 01837 840332.

You can also contact the Diocese of Exeter Safeguarding Team on safeguardingenquiry@exeter.anglican.org or phone 01392 294929.

If there is an immediate risk of harm to you or anyone else please call 999 and report your concern to the police. Our Parish Safeguarding Officer Edwina Hill can support you in this.

Our full safeguarding policy is explained here on this page, along with information about a range of local and national organisations that can help.