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St. Mary and St. Benedict Buckland Brewer

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A church has existed here since Norman times (probably about 1100).  Records state that it was totally destroyed by fire except for the Norman arch which then formed - as it still does - the main entrance to the church on the south side. The arch is well preserved, as is some of the carving over the church entrance to the vestry although defaced by some of Cromwell’s men. The doorway is the only relic of the first Norman church and is an excellent specimen of Norman work. Apart from these the oldest surviving parts of the church are the Orleigh Chapel on the north side and the bulk of the tower.

The church was completely rebuilt in about 1399 and then again in 1879. The third to have stood on the site, the Church of St. Mary and St. Benedict is a Grade 2* listed building. The font was carved in local stone by Thomas Jewell in 1771 for the sum of £1. 7s. 0d.

The doorway leading to the vestry is late Gothic and leads to the ancient schoolroom, which retains the original stonework of its window arches and it is sometimes said to have been a chapel dedicated to St. Stephen.  There are several memorials and monuments in the main body of the church and in the Orleigh Chapel.

The tower is 76 feet high and there is a peal of six bells (cast in the village by Taylors of Loughborough and London) which are rung by a team who practise regularly and encourage teenagers to learn the ancient skill.  The bells are of such quality that visiting teams travel from long distances to ring them. The bell frame was recently restored to replace items of corroded steelwork. The modest organ (a Caissons Patent) was restored in 1993 and there are a number of organists in the village.

There are several memorials and monuments in the main body of the church and in the Orleigh Chapel.

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